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Pressure on Miller switches to her “bullying” of the press..

telegraphmiller“The Telegraph has now published details of a recording of a telephone call made by Mrs Miller’s adviser to one of its reporters. In the conversation, the adviser said she wanted to “flag up” that the Culture Secretary was currently involved in discussions over the future of press regulation. The growing furore over Mrs Miller’s expenses on Friday embroiled Downing Street as Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s communications director, issued an unusual personal statement — denying that he had also threatened The Telegraph.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “A Tory MP has defended a government adviser after claims she invoked future press regulation to suppress a newspaper’s coverage of Culture Secretary Maria Miller’s expenses. The Daily Telegraph has released a recording in which the adviser mentions the Leveson Inquiry while being asked by a journalist about Mrs Miller. But MP Therese Coffey said Mrs Miller’s elderly parents had been “doorstepped”. She said adviser Joanna Hindley was just suggesting that was inappropriate.” – BBC
  • “Promising a new regime if he was elected prime minister, the Tory leader said, “This sort of stuff is not going to go on into the next parliament.” Contrast that admirably tough attitude with his response to the Maria Miller scandal. He appeared confused by the process involved in the investigation of his Culture Secretary’s mortgage claims and even tried to close the debate down. “She has apologised,” he concluded. “I think that we should leave it there.” – Leader Daily Telegraph

…and of the MPs expenses watchdog

“Maria Miller’s 15-month campaign to browbeat the watchdog investigating her expense claims was laid bare yesterday as David Cameron faced opprobrium for urging critics of the Culture Secretary to “leave it”. Letters from Mrs Miller to Kathryn Hudson, the independent standards commissioner, reveal that the minister threatened to go over the head of the watchdog to a committee of MPs that has the right to fire her. She railed against the length of the inquiry and repeatedly refused to release documents relating to expenses of £45,000 that she allegedly overclaimed.” – The Times(£)

  • Labour plan ban on MPs second jobs – Daily Mail

Tories pledge to curb blight of solar farms…

“The spread of large solar farms should be controlled so they do not become as unpopular as wind turbines, the Energy Minister said yesterday. Greg Barker pledged that he would not allow solar power to ‘become the new onshore wind’. He said he wanted a shift away from huge solar farms that blight the landscape, in favour of small panels on the roofs of homes, offices and schools.” – Daily Mail

…and wind farms…

Wind turbine“The Conservative party is planning to pledge in its manifesto for next year’s general election that it will introduce a moratorium on future onshore windfarms from 2020 on the grounds that they have now become “self-defeating”.” – The Guardian

..but Barker and Gove launch solar panels for schools scheme

“The revelation that the Tories will abandon support for onshore windfarms comes after Michael Gove, the education secretary, and Greg Barker, the climate change minister, outlined ambitions to encourage all 22,000 schools in England to install solar panels. Schools would fund the installation of solar power, which can cost around £10,000, by accessing feed-in tariffs which would be used to pay off the capital costs, which could take up to 10 years.” – The Guardian

Interview with “Britain’s most notorious MP” Nadine Dorries

nadine“I am here because Nadine Dorries, Tory MP and recovering celebrity jungle dweller, has written a novel. It is a family saga set in Fifties Liverpool, in a slum near the docks, not unlike the one Dorries grew up in. Again, I must admit that I didn’t expect to like this book but, one night, I found myself reading it in the bath. You don’t do that for work. I tell her this. She glows. “You should read the next one. It’s much better,” she announces. This is classic Dorries. Why does she say these things? It’s as if she has no filter.” – Ann Treneman The Times Magazine(£)

  • “Nadine Dorries has said that she regrets calling David Cameron and George Osborne “two posh boys”, but only because she admires Boris Johnson, an Old Etonian.” – The Times(£)
  • Nadine’s debut novel – The Guardian

Grayling: Parcels ban stops knives and drugs

“KNIVES and drugs will be halted from getting into jails under a parcels ban, a minister insisted yesterday. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling hit back as celebrity authors like Stephen Fry said the move amounted to a “books ban”. Mr Grayling showed The Sun confiscated items, including a razor-sharp spike hidden in the lining of a trainer. There were also knives made from toothbrushes and tins.” – The Sun(£)

> Yesterday:ToryDiary:Grayling should compromise over the so-called prison “book ban” and pull the rug from under his opponents

Pickles starts investigation of Tower Hamlets

PICKLES Eric smiling“Inspectors have been appointed by the government to examine allegations of “governance failure, poor financial management and fraud” in Tower Hamlets. It comes after the BBC Panorama’s investigation into the east London borough, which is run by directly elected mayor Lutfur Rahman.” – BBC

  • “Tower Hamlets Council insisted it had “seen no evidence” that its processes had been run inappropriately. A spokesman said: “Under an order introduced yesterday, Government
    auditors are today meeting with senior officers of the council. “We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that council processes have been run appropriately and to date we have seen no evidence to suggest otherwise.” – Daily Telegraph
  • What will the voters think? – Dave Hill The Guardian

> Yesterday:Local Government: Pickles sends in the inspectors to Tower Hamlets

Cameron urges firms to take on more staff

money“FIRMS are today being urged to make sure they take advantage of a £2,000 tax break. PM David Cameron has written to nearly two million companies to let them know about the employment allowance, which can cut their National Insurance bills. He called on them to use the cash to employ more staff. Mr Cameron said: “This means £2,000 cashback on the cost of jobs that you can choose how to spend. I hope you will consider using it to take on more employees.” – The Sun(£)

Government investigates sex selective abortions

“A new survey of birth ratios in Britain has been ordered by the Government, amid fears that sex-selective abortions are taking place in Britain. Earl Howe, a health minister, said the Government wants to “monitor the situation” and “remain vigilant” following evidence that some doctors in the UK are carrying out selective abortions.” – Daily Telegraph

Welby: Church backing gay marriage would put lives of Christians abroad in danger

WELBY, Justin“A Church of England decision to accept gay marriage would be ‘absolutely catastrophic’ for Christians in troubled countries, the Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday. Anglicans in countries such as South Sudan, Nigeria and Pakistan are in danger as a result of liberal positions taken by the leaders of churches in the west, he said.” – Daily Mail

  • “Speaking on his first live phone-in on LBC Radio, Archbishop Welby recalled visiting a grave in South Sudan where 369 people had been buried. He said the victims had been killed because local people believed allowing a Christian community to exist would mean “we would all be made to become homosexual”.” – BBC

Moore reflects on the anniversary of Thatcher’s death

“The odd thing is that this extremely troubled time has brought forth no Thatcher equivalent. No new leader has “kitchen-sinked” the problem, boldly analysing what is wrong and forthrightly expounding what to do about it.” – Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

Parris: Afghanistan was a crime

PARRIS Mathhew“It was our generation — its military chiefs, its Whitehall mandarins and its politicians, cheered on by a largely supportive media — who decided that we British could sort out southern Afghanistan. We have failed. Who did not wince on reading the Times report of the lament of Tony Philippson, the father of a dead soldier, who said last week that his son’s sacrifice was a total waste? Now we creep away.” – Matthew Parris The Times(£)

Farage backs legalising drugs

“Speaking during a phone-in with Telegraph readers the Ukip leader said the war on drugs had been lost “many, many years ago” and that it was time for them to be legalised – despite strong opposition from his party. Mr Farage’s clear statement will put pressure on David Cameron who has repeatedly refused to say whether he ever took cocaine as a young man.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “The UK Independence Party leader made the highly controversial claim that Portugal, where drugs were decriminalised 12 years ago, may have a ‘more enlightened’ approach. He said in a television phone-in that he ‘hates drugs’, has never taken them, and has experience of the damage they can do to young people’s lives. But he believes the current laws criminalising users are ineffective, and would back a Royal Commission to look at alternatives including that in Portugal and some American states.” – Daily Mail
  • Farage’s lover “made false sex claims against Tory MP Andrew Bridgen – The Times(£)

Redwood says top rate tax cut raises billions more

Redwood John Oct 11“Cutting the top rate of income tax has massively increased the amount of money the rich are paying into government coffers, says a senior Tory MP. John Redwood points to figures from HM Revenue and Customs that show a £9bn increase in tax receipts this year – after the top rate was cut to 45%. The Office for Budget Responsibility suggests the boost is partly down to people delaying declaring their income. But Mr Redwood insists it is not a one-off and will be sustained.” – BBC

Public are split on EU membership

“The public are split down the middle on whether Britain should leave the EU, a poll commissioned by the BBC suggests. Some 35% of those surveyed would vote to remain in the EU if there were a referendum today, according to a Populus poll for the Daily Politics. And 32% would vote to leave, with 27% saying they are undecided and 6% saying they would not vote.” – BBC

Margo Macdondald has died

margo“Margo MacDonald, one of the most popular and well-known politicians Scotland has ever seen, died yesterday after a long battle with illness. She was 70. Her death robs the Nationalist movement in Scotland of a major, influential voice, coming as it does less than six months before the referendum on independence — a cause she fought for all her political life.” – The Times(£)

  • “From the moment she burst on to the scene with the SNP in the 70s to her bitter bust-up with the party and reinvention as a popular independent politician, she never relinquished her role as a political firebrand and maverick operator. Serious yet charismatic, Ms MacDonald was hugely influential within the Scottish independence movement for more than 40 years.” – BBC

Britain has the most generous tax treatment for the low paid in the G7

“The Treasury released research showing that Britain now outstrips Germany, which had the most generous personal allowance system in 2010, after a series of increases in the personal allowance which stood at £6,475 in 2010. It will increase to £10,000 from Sunday, the start of the new tax year, and will increase to £10,500 next year – a month before the general election.” – The Guardian

New claims of police corruption

Police shield“Evidence of police corruption relating to Britain’s most notorious unsolved murder mysteriously “disappeared” from Scotland Yard during the initial investigation, according to a leaked file. A police statement taken from an officer on the first inquiry into the brutal death of Daniel Morgan suggests the victim was about to blow the whistle on a case of “major police corruption” – but internal police documents detailing the claim were removed from the incident room.” – The Independent

News in brief

  • More planning powers for councils to cut down on bookies – Daily Mail
  • £1.5 bn owed by criminals in confiscation orders – The Sun(£)
  • Families £974 worse off claims Labour – BBC
  • Chinese buyers fuel housing market – Daily Mail
  • BBC propose charging a TV Licence Fee even to those who do not have a set – Daily Telegraph
  • Ofsted to visit 12 schools over extremism claims – The Times(£)
  • “Please don’t go” is Eddie Izzard’s message to Scotland – The Guardian

27 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday April 5th 2014

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