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Reshuffle 1) Will Greg Hands become Chief Whip?

Screen shot 2014-07-13 at 09.43.14“Some are wary of this  being portrayed as Osborne’s reshuffle. But I am told Cameron has not agreed to  all of his suggestions.  The chances of Osborne’s ally Greg Hands becoming chief whip are 50/50. There  is also a growing lobby for bringing back Mark Harper, who resigned as Immigration Minister earlier this year after discovering his cleaner didn’t have the right papers to work in this country.” – James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday

> Today: ToryDiary – A Hands-On Chief Whip?

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Lord Howard would be a good choice for EU Commissioner

Reshuffle 2) The “Reshuffle for Women” takes shape

“Among those expected to be promoted is Esther McVey, the employment minister, who is being lined up to replace Ken Clarke…Nicky Morgan and Liz Truss, both Osborne protégées, are also set for promotion to the cabinet while Anna Soubry, the defence minister, and Penny Mordaunt will be asked to take on more media work. Osborne has lobbied Cameron to promote Amber Rudd and Claire Perry, both whips, and Therese Coffey. Other women tipped for promotion include Priti Patel, Harriet Baldwin, Nicola Blackwood and Margot James. Despite rumours of her demise, Baroness Warsi will remain a minister…In addition to Clarke and Young, David Jones, the Welsh secretary, Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, and Andrew Lansley, leader of the Commons, are vulnerable.” – Sunday Times (£)

Reshuffle 3) Is Fox set to return?

FOX GESTICULATING“Senior MPs say David Cameron is considering giving Right-winger Dr Fox a key role in the run-up to next year’s General Election…Conservative insiders say Dr Fox has impressed with his ‘diligence and loyalty’ since leaving the Cabinet and deserved a recall. A former Minister said: ‘Liam has paid the price for a silly mistake and deserves his return. The Government will be stronger for his experience.’” – Mail on Sunday

Meanwhile, David Davis launches a broadside against this week’s Government emergency legislation: “This data law has nothing to do with catching terrorists – and everything to do with a lust for power”

“The Government has engineered a ‘theatrical emergency’ – in this case terrorism and hidden paedophile rings – to ram the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill through Parliament without proper debate.  It is an insult to the supremacy of Parliament, to democracy and to the trust of the public. It was April 8 when the European Court of Justice struck down the Data Retention Directive for being incompatible with human rights. The Home Office has had time to put an alternative in place, so the excuses for why the legislation is being  fast-tracked are laughable.” – Mail on Sunday

13 police forces currently investigating 21 possible sex abuse cases. National group set up.

Boy Damaged“Police have set up a national VIP sex crimes group in response to the growing number of politicians and celebrities accused of child abuse. As hundreds more victims came forward last week and it emerged that government whips had shredded compromising records on MPs, chief constables revealed they were conducting at least 21 separate criminal investigations. Simon Bailey, the chief constable of Norfolk, who is running the national group, said 30 senior officers involved in investigating MPs, peers, and other “prominent” figures were now co-ordinating their work.” – Sunday Times (£)

Dominic Lawson: The child abuse scandal is of our own making

“It is in the thoroughgoing public rejection of the sexual strictures of church doctrine that British society has become a risk-free playground for what used to be called the corruption of minors. The authorities long ago gave up the pretence that they took seriously the legal age of consent (still 16 in this country)…The notion of “displacement” was invented by Sigmund Freud to describe how rage caused by trauma from the past is directed at less threatening people in the present. In the furore over alleged paedophilia from the 1970s and 1980s, Britain is raging against the past in order to avoid confronting its present.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • The allegations of the VIP paedophile plot further shred respect for key institutions – Andrew Rawnsley, Observer
  • We must have the truth – Louise Mensch, Sun on Sunday (£)

Did the police target former Conservative MP Michael Mates because of his politics?

MATES Michael“In October last year a statement from the CPS asserted that there was “a realistic prospect of conviction” of Mates but because “his culpability was relatively low”, in view of the likely penalty and because of his age, it had been decided that a prosecution would not be in the public interest. Earlier this year, after months of unaccountable delay and having exhausted the formal process of seeking redress, Mates took private legal action which has swiftly led to a settlement. His legal costs have now been met by the CPS.” – Sunday Times (£)

Populist Conservative initiative 1) £3 million bank fines to aid dementia veterans

“Cash from penalties imposed on City traders who fixed Libor interest rates will go towards a unit for 30 sufferers. PM David Cameron will this week announce £2.5million funding for the Royal British Legion dementia centre in Broadstairs, Kent. The rest will go to Erskine care homes for veterans in Scotland and a nursing home window replacement service to keep out the cold. The cash is first of the £40million raised from Libor fines and earmarked for accommodation for service personnel.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Populist Conservative initiative 2) Tories discuss stripping benefits claimants who refuse treatment for depression

IDS on Marr“Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants face being stripped of their state allowances if they refuse to undergo treatment for anxiety and depression, under radical plans being drawn up by ministers. Existing welfare rules mean it is not possible to require claimants to have treatment, such as therapy or counselling, as a condition of receiving sickness benefits. Senior ministers now believe the rules should be reviewed in order to reduce the “huge” numbers of people who are declared unfit for work due to mental health problems.” – Sunday Telegraph

Populist Conservative initiative 3) NHS tourists to pay extra

“Foreign visitors will be charged extra for NHS treatment from next year in a bid to fight health tourism. Patients from outside Europe will have to pay 1.5 times the true cost of procedures if they do not have a visa. Visa holders will also pay an upfront “insurance” surcharge if they are staying for longer than six months as part of measures to save £500million a year. Hospitals will get a 25 per cent top-up fee for treating European patients, as long as they claim back the cost of procedures from other EU nations under reciprocal agreements.” – Sun on Sunday

Populist Conservative initiative 4) Tory manifesto will toughen strike laws

On strike“Proposals expected in the party’s manifesto would restrict the ability of militant trade unionists to hold open-ended strike ballots. David Cameron last week said that he wants to outlaw strikes unless there is a minimum turnout. Under existing rules, union bosses do not have to spell out any dispute, and may cite general objections to pay and conditions as a trigger for a strike. Details of when and where walkouts will take place are also not specified. It has led to some members backing strike action without realising it would mean Christmas walkouts.” – Sunday Times (£)

History Corner 1) Blair faces Commons summons over IRA “comfort letters”

Tony Blair faces being summoned before Parliament to explain the secret deals he made with Sinn Fein to assure IRA suspects “on the run” that they were not wanted by the police, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose. The former prime minister has been accused of dodging a Commons select committee investigating the affair.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • ‘Sloppy’ police failed to tell ministers about IRA letters – Sunday Times (£)

History Corner 2) Family fury over rubbish programme about Airey Neave

Screen shot 2014-07-13 at 09.49.34“Producers of the drama Utopia pretend that his 1979 death was perpetrated by a secret MI5 cell, when in fact he was murdered by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), an IRA splinter group. His devastated family – who were not consulted by the channel – last night said they were intending to take action after learning how the prime-time series had fictionalised the atrocity ‘in the name of entertainment’ as well as falsely depicting him as a debauched and conniving figure.” – Mail on Sunday

  • History Corner 3) Thatcher was set for gunfight with Soviets over the corpse of Rudolf Hess – Mail on Sunday
  • History Corner 4) How Thatcher checked her candidate file at Conservative Central Office – Mail on Sunday
  • A scurrilous slur against a brave man – Mail on Sunday Editorial

Labour’s plan to present Miliband as ‘Mr Normal’

“Senior party lieutenants concede that efforts to overhaul the Labour leader’s geeky image have largely failed, and are now drawing up plans to promote him as a dull but competent alternative to David Cameron…But aides believe Mr Cameron’s ‘flash’ personality can be countered if Mr Miliband adopts an ‘authentic’ approach. His wife Justine Thornton is expected to be given a much higher profile during the campaign to boost his image as a family man.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Prescott: Alan Johnson should run Labour’s election campaign – Observer
  • Miliband still looks like a man trying to square a circle – Matthew D’Ancona, Sunday Telegraph
  • Does the left hand know what the far left hand is doing? – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • Harriet Harman is right – Rachel Johnson, Mail on Sunday

Birmingham Council fights back against Ofsted and Gove

gove“We’ve had to deal with a national political agenda that has deliberately conflated religious conservatism with an extremist agenda that is all to do with radicalisation and violent extremism,” said Mark Rogers, chief executive of Birmingham City Council. “It doesn’t reflect the issues that are going on in our schools. Sir Michael appears to be unclear about the delineation between him as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector appointed by the Privy Council to provide independent assessment and getting involved in politics.” – Independent on Sunday

  • Parent wrote to Cameron about Trojan Horse school two months before crisis erupted – Mail on Sunday
  • Shock horror: Gove and May were guests at the opera – Independent on Sunday

> Yesterday: Chris Skidmore on Comment –  The EBacc is boosting the number of pupils taking core subjects

Cable floats national interest test on foreign takeovers

“In a radical move to be unveiled today, he will widen the “national interest test” to protect world-class British groups from overseas raiders. Foreign buyers of key companies will also face multimillion-pound fines if they break pledges to protect jobs, under the business secretary’s new proposals. Cable is planning legislation to toughen takeover rules in the wake of the abortive bid by the US drug giant Pfizer for its British rival Astra Zeneca.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • General election latest: computer model predicts the Lib Dems might have even more of an influence than they do now – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday

Darling claims Salmond bullies because he is facing defeat

Alistair Darling“He claims ‘tawdry’ Scottish Nationalist Party leader Alex Salmond is using ‘bullying’ tactics to silence opponents because he knows he faces defeat.” in a rallying cry aimed at the whole of Britain, Darling said people had grossly underestimated the huge impact of a ‘Yes’ vote. Britain’s voting power in Brussels, based on national populations, would be slashed. And it could be thrown off the top table of the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund.” – Mail on Sunday

News in Brief

11 comments for: Newslinks for Sunday 13th July 2014

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