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Sex allegations 1) May announces a wide enquiry into abuse failure…

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 07.48.12“Britain faces a day of reckoning over an institutional failure to protect children from abuse. Public bodies from the police to ­parliament, and spanning schools, churches and the BBC, will be subjected to a sweeping independent inquiry into how paedophiles were allowed to act with impunity for decades. Political parties could also be interrogated by the inquiry, which follows claims of an establishment cover-up of abuse.” – The Times (£)

  • Member of Edward Heath’s government boasted he could cover up a ‘scandal involving small boys’ – Daily Telegraph

Sex allegations 2) …And a more narrow one into the handling of abuse claims in Westminster and Whitehall

“She also appointed a children’s charity chief to spearhead a separate review into the handling of child abuse claims around Westminster in the 1980s. Peter Wanless, chief executive of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), will examine the way the Home Office, police and prosecutors dealt with information about sickening crimes by a suspected paedophile ring said to involve public figures in the “higher echelons” of the political establishment.” – Daily Express

  • Knowl View inquiry: Police halt review to investigate cover-up allegations – The Independent

Sex allegations 3) The Home Office Paedophile Information Exchange connection

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 05.41.47“A Whitehall inquiry found ‘clear evidence’ that £476,250 was granted over a decade to two organisations connected to the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange. The findings were released yesterday as Home Secretary Theresa May announced a major inquiry into how public bodies dealt with historical allegations of child sex abuse.” – Daily Mail

  • 1979 Whitehall study wanted age of consent lowered to 14 and sentences for sex cut – The Guardian

Sex allegations 4) Leon Brittan: Claims against me are “wholly without foundation”

“In a separate development, Leon Brittan, who served as home secretary under Mrs Thatcher from 1983-85, confirmed that police had questioned him “about a serious allegation made against me”, adding that the claim was “wholly without foundation”. Lord Brittan’s remarks follow reports that a woman accused him of raping her in 1967 in London. Police confirmed that a man in his 70s was interviewed under caution in connection with the allegation but was not arrested.” – Financial Times

  • Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt says that she is a sex abuse survivor – The Sun (£)

Comment:

David Mellor: I was a minister at the time and Dickens was happy with our response. Now Leon Brittan should be left in peace

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 07.59.38“I was a Home Office minister when Geoffrey Dickens brought in his dossier, amid a welter of press publicity. He was received courteously by then home secretary, Leon Brittan, and his documents were passed to officials for appropriate action. Brittan then wrote to him, detailing what he had done, and Dickens did not express any dissatisfaction with what the home secretary said or wrote. Indeed, three years later Dickens put in Hansard his thanks to the Home Office for its efforts. Quite how this innocuous tale became the scandalous allegations and innuendos we have been hearing in recent days beggars belief.” – The Guardian

  • Geoffrey Dickens: a clown whose campaign is finally taken seriously – Michael White, The Guardian
  • I recall the rumours of child abuse in Westminster in the 1980s. They weren’t taken very seriously – Steve Richards, The Independent
  • Pope Francis makes strongest condemnation yet of paedophile priests and senior clergy – The Guardian

Editorials:

The Commons:

  • Boy Damaged“Theresa May, as of a few days ago, became the longest-serving home secretary since Rab Butler, who served from 1957-62. The reason why was on display yesterday as she came to the House to make a statement that was entitled simply “Child Abuse”…Ms May, when faced with total chaos, seeks to do two things: contain and control. Her goal is to close down speculation and rumour, her language specific and cloaked, her demeanor calm and restrained.” – Ann Treneman, The Times (£)
  • “Mrs May was at her most austere. Clad in black, her face lined, fingernails maroon. All this topped by a grey, Richard III-style barnet which swung lightly on its mophead when she rose at the despatch box to take questions.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • “The investigators certainly did not find any evidence that the files were in existence,” replied Mrs May, not quite answering the question, “but there was no categorical evidence that they had been destroyed, because that hadn’t been recorded.” If that’s the type of evidence required to prove the files were destroyed, the search for it may prove as fruitless as the search for the files, because personally, if I were to destroy files I had some special interest in destroying, I probably wouldn’t leave a note saying, “I’ve destroyed these files.” – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – May announces the over-arching inquiry into sex abuse that was needed

The Home Office and Downing Street clash over “attempt to bury good news over drinks industry deal”

“Home Office officials were told to wait until first thing on Tuesday morning to place details of the summit, in which the drinks industry signed up to a four-point plan to tackle irresponsible drinking, on the department’s website. The order from No 10 prompted a furious response in the Home Office, where ministers and officials were proud about the agreement reached with the industry to improve education around drinking.” – The Guardian

Cameron: Whitehall no longer knows best

“On a visit to the West Midlands yesterday, David Cameron said the city would get a bigger say on how money is spent on transport, infrastructure and skills here from now on. The Government unveiled a £350 million “growth deal” for Greater Birmingham, which included funding towards the Midland Metro, transport around Longbridge and £11.2 million for a Centre of Excellence for Advanced Technologies at Birmingham Metropolitan College.” – Birmingham Post

> Today: Local Government – The “Growth Deals” for cities shows localism is more than rhetoric

Robots are a threat to the middle class, says Willetts

Willetts David DP“David Willetts that professions which require “quite a high level cognitive” skills are more likely to be replaced by robots than ones that involve manual tasks such as making a cup of tea for an old lady. This “rise of robots” would lead to “dramatic changes in the pattern of work”, he said, although not to a reduction in the number of jobs as a whole. He said that it was a “paradox” that IT advances mean that professions that are seen as “really rather sophisticated” are actually harder to replicate with a computer programme. More instinctive manual tasks are much more challenging to replicate.” – Daily Telegraph

McLoughlin rejects plans to reduce motorway speeds

“The reversal comes after the Government’s Highways Agency announced in January that the existing national speed limit of 70mph would be curtailed on certain sections of motorways policed with a new generation of speed camera. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin will today announce he is ‘rejecting’ this approach stating: ‘I want all motorways to run at 70mph.’” – Daily Mail

Rachel Sylvester: No, Minister – the civil service bible which decrees that Sir Humphrey, not Jim Hacker, is in charge

Rachel Sylvester“An extraordinary document leaked to me reveals who the civil service establishment thinks is in charge. Nicknamed “the Sir Humphrey Bible”, it sets out the criteria for choosing the permanent secretaries who run Whitehall departments. Drawn up in 2009, it expresses with astonishing candour the values of the mandarin class. The mindset is clear: the wise heads of the permanent civil service, rather than flibbertigibbet temporary politicians, should run the show.” – The Times (£)

  • Sir Bob Kerslake, Head of the Civil Service, tells the Public Accounts Committee that the latest Universal Credit blueprint hasn’t been signed off – Financial Times

> Today: ToryDiary – Maude is right to take on striking militants – now he must woo Tory trade unionists

Brokenshire “proved right” by immigration report

“The academics’ research also gives crucial backing to a controversial claim by Immigration Minister James Brokenshire. In March, the senior Tory sparked anger when he claimed only the “wealthy, metropolitan elite” saw big benefits from mass immigration. Lib Dem boss and Deputy PM Nick Clegg attacked the Immigration Minister over the claim, branding it the “ugly side of the immigration debate”…But a Whitehall source said last night: “James Brokenshire is proved right by this work. The London media bubble don’t want to hear it, but it is what a lot of working people have known anyway for some time.” – The Sun (£)

India investment no longer a one-way street, says Osborne

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 08.27.03“Speaking in Mumbai on Monday during the first day of a mission with William Hague to drum up foreign trade, George Osborne announced that pharmaceuticals company Cipla is to invest £100m in UK-based research on a range of drugs. Automotive manufacturer Mahindra will also inject £20m into the British economy as it develops its electric vehicle technology, with the company’s first car expected to go on sale in the UK within one year.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “The government of Narendra Modi promises an expansion of trade and investment. That is a big opportunity for Britain” – Times Editorial (£)

> Yesterday:

Miliband to promise new technical degrees

“The Labour leader will outline his party’s proposals for new practical degree courses, saying these qualifications will be his priority for the expansion of university places. The “technical degrees” will be co-designed by employers who will sponsor young people taking the qualifications. They will be targeted mostly at young people who have already done apprenticeships and vocational qualifications and want to continue down that path.” – Financial Times

  • Shadow Wales Secretary Owen Smith says Thursday’s public sector strike is ‘entirely legitimate’ – Daily Mail
  • Selfish strikers – Leo McKinstry, Daily Mail
  • Thursday’s pensions strike is a return to the bad old 1970s – Ross Clark, Daily Express
  • Sharp cuts and dull protests augur ill for Labour – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

Both the Ashcroft National Poll and Populus give Labour a seven-point lead

ASHCROFT blue shirt“The latest poll from Lord Ashcroft, former vice-chairman of the Tories, has put the party at just 27 per cent, a drop of six points from last week’s score of 33 per cent. The peer suggested that last week’s high may have been down to a short-term “Juncker effect” as voters backed the prime minister’s attempt to resist the coronation of the former Luxembourg prime minister as the next president of the European Commission…A separate poll by Populus on Monday also gave Labour a seven-point lead over the Tories – at 38 per cent to 31 per cent – while rival firm Opinium put Labour ahead by six points on Sunday.” – Financial Times

Farage mulls constituency decision

“The Ukip leader says he has not yet chosen which parliamentary seat he will target in his attempt to become the first person in his party elected to the Commons, but that it would ‘more than likely’ be in Kent. It had been widely expected that Mr Farage would stand in Thanet South, but his plans were dealt a blow at the weekend when the Tories selected a former Ukip leader to stand there.” – Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

  • MPsETC: With a sense of drift replacing momentum, what next for UKIP?
  • Chris Richards on Local Government: Beating UKIP in Tendring

Salmond ‘personally pressurised financial body to drop independence report’

SALMOND on Marr “The First Minister telephoned the chairman of the Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) last November and is said to have discouraged him from publishing a briefing paper on the referendum. Both Mr Salmond and John Swinney, the finance minister, are also alleged to have rung senior executives of leading SFE member companies expressing their concerns about the paper. A source at the trade body characterised the ministers’ conversations as “forceful” and said the SNP Government had been “trying to discourage us from saying anything” on the referendum.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Italy declares independence neutrality as it takes over EU presidency – Herald Scotland
  • Darling says that Scottish independence could be ‘more damaging for UK than 2008 banking crisis’ – Daily Telegraph

Philip Johnston: Would a Written Constitution save Britain from the EU?

“The EAW has been sold to the nation as a law enforcement tool that helps bring bad people swiftly to book. That may well be its effect. But it is at odds with what we previously understood to be a fundamental constitutional principle – that no one can be arrested and incarcerated arbitrarily. Suspects surrendered under an EAW to France, for instance, may spend years in detention before they can appear in court to establish their innocence. If we had a written constitution, the legislation enacting the EAW would doubtless have been struck down by the courts right at the outset, since it would almost certainly have infringed one of its articles.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Troops to leave Helmand two months early – The Sun (£)
  • David Burnside’s voyage from Troubles to oligarchs’ PR – The Guardian
  • Bank of England bosses warned over rate rise – Daily Express
  • Airport security: you won’t fly to the US if your mobile phone battery is dead – Daily Telegraph
  • Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove says that the Islamist terror threat to the west is blown out of proportion – The Guardian
  • World leaders at NATO summit will be treated for free on the Welsh NHS – Wales Online
  • British hospitality chief held over World Cup ticket scam – The Times (£)
  • Northern Ireland bakery refuses to make gay Bert and Ernie wedding cake – The Independent
  • Punishment shooting in North Belfast – Newsletter
  • Heart FM and Magic help me relax, says Clegg – Daily Mail

 

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