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Banks warn Osborne controversial new HMRC powers may breach human rights

Osborne-Headshot3“British banks have warned the chancellor of the exchequer that HM Revenue & Customs is not competent enough to be trusted with the power to seize unpaid tax directly from people’s bank accounts, adding to the outcry over the controversial proposals. In a letter to George Osborne, the head of the British Bankers’ Association said plans allowing HMRC to take money directly from bank accounts risked falling foul of human rights laws and would put vulnerable taxpayers at risk.” – Financial Times

  • Voters give Tories credit for the recovery over the Lib Dems – The Times (£)

Evans demands answers as police admit to working with BBC before raiding Sir Cliff Richard’s home

“Nigel Evans, the Conservative MP and former deputy speaker of the Commons, who was cleared of sex offences after a trial this year, told ITV that “questions have got to be answered” about the BBC’s presence at Sir Cliff’s home. “It appears the press knew what was happening before he did and the world’s media were camped outside his doorstep,” he said. “A press helicopter was up before the police even arrived — he is quite right to be angry about that. Questions have got to be answered.”” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Vaz and Whittingdale should call in South Yorkshire Police over the Cliff Richard raid

Gove’s successor Morgan seeks ‘clean slate’

BARRIE CHARACTER EDUCATION“The new education secretary has played down the importance of the free schools programme and allied herself with the “outstanding” teaching profession, in her first public intervention, designed to show a significantly different approach from that of Michael Gove. Nicky Morgan also singled out state schools which had neither converted to academies nor been created as free schools, in a clear signal that she will not be obsessive about the flagship reform programme to the detriment of other state schools.” – The Times (£)

  • UK to become one of the most qualified countries in the world – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: John Bald in Local Government: For the Blob, research is dangerous

Vicki Woods: Will nobody but me stand up for Michael Gove?

“I’m cross with Cameron for ditching him for Nicky Morgan, the MP for Loughborough. I wouldn’t say this to the face of any teachers I know, mind. I’ve never met one yet who has any love for Gove. He upset so many people when in office that I started believing he must have been wrong to tweak the exams and wrong to bang on about literacy and numeracy. But he was definitely right.” – Daily Telegraph

Halfon attacks police who refuse to use powers against troublesome travellers

HALFON-robert“Illegal traveller sites are not being dealt with by police because senior officers fear it would breach families’ human rights, a Tory MP claimed yesterday. Robert Halfon said travellers are causing “misery” to law-abiding families in his Harlow constituency but Essex police were refusing to use their legal powers to move them on. “Their reasoning is so-called human rights legislation and guidance from senior police headquarters,” he wrote in his local newspaper.” – The Times (£)

Disabled forced to holiday abroad by ‘unwelcoming’ UK tourist industry, claims Harper

“Research published by the Department for Work and Pensions today found travel companies said it was easier to arrange holidays for disabled people overseas than in Britain… Mark Harper, the minister for Disabled People, said: “Everyone needs and deserves to enjoy a summer holiday – and people with disabilities are no exception. I’m calling on everyone in the British tourist industry to look at what more they can do to better cater for disabled travellers.”” – Daily Telegraph

Politics is ‘childish, superficial, and rotten’, Goldsmith tells Bryony Gordon

Zac Goldsmith“Zac Goldsmith has been a Conservative MP for just over four years now but, try as he might, he can’t get used to it. Parliament, he says, is “weird”. “Every aspect of it is bizarre. It is bizarre that you have genuinely accomplished people who have reached the top of whatever they were doing in their former lives, and all of a sudden the height of their excitement is being in a lift with George Osborne.” – Daily Telegraph

Summer Blues: Discontent in the Tory ranks after string of ‘unforced errors’

“If Labour had the wobbles last summer, then this year it is the turn of Conservative MPs and activists to fret. There are growing murmurings of discontentment in Tory ranks about the party’s lacklustre performance in recent weeks, and worries that the leadership has committed too many unforced errors.” – The Independent

UK joins European effort to arm the Kurds

International shield“A list of demands from the Kurds had yet to be drawn up, “but anything the Kurds need which we can’t supply from our stocks, we’ll go to the private sector,” one Ministry of Defence source said. Before the meeting, some had cautioned that arming the Kurds could eventually strengthen their bid for independence from Iraq and see the weapons turned against Baghdad’s soldiers.” – The Times (£)

Hammond: UN resolution a major step forward – Daily Telegraph
The challenges facing Philip Hammond – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Benedict Rogers on Comment: The new Foreign Secretary must show us that he’s more than a bean counter

Matthew Parris: The crisis is easing. The cries for action aren’t.

“Beware those who piggyback the argument for war on to the case for rescue. Distrust the urge to solve the world’s problems by trying to round up the bad guys and zap them. The Kurdish region of northern Iraq does not yet face an existential crisis. Nothing decisive is about to happen. There is time to think. Paddy Ashdown never spoke truer than when he said yesterday that “this is not . . . about what happens on a mountaintop in Iraq”.” – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Johnny Mercer on Comment: There’s no point having the finest armed forces in the world if we don’t use them

Miliband receives £100,000 from the ‘Pharaoh of Hull’

Red Ed Miliband“Ed Miliband has accepted a £110,000 donation from a tycoon who took him to a football match in a Rolls-Royce. Businessman Assem Allam, 75, who owns Premier League side Hull City, handed over the six-figure sum two years after controversy over the Labour leader’s attendance at the game. Mr Miliband appeared in the chairman’s seats for the afternoon match against Ipswich Town despite having earlier said he was too ill to attend a rally against government health reforms in the morning.” – Daily Mail

Tories will outspend us, claims De Piero, but we shall ‘out-body’ them

“The Labour party is acknowledging that it will be outspent by the Conservatives by a margin of three to one in next year’s general election but believes it will be able to “out-body” the Tories on the ground with a new generation of grassroots activists, shadow cabinet minister Gloria De Piero has said. As a Labour analysis shows a fall in membership in Tory associations in the most marginal parliamentary seats, De Piero is to launch a campaign to sign up supporters who are normally disengaged from politics.” – The Guardian

An independent Scotland would have a ‘neo-colonial’ relationship with the UK, claims Brown…

Scottish flag“An independent Scotland that kept the pound would have a neo-colonial relationship with the rest of the UK because it would have no say over key economic and monetary decisions, Gordon Brown said on Friday. The former prime minister was at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to talk about his book My Scotland, Our Britain, which is a personal case for Scotland being part of the UK.” – The Guardian

  • A working-class, kick-boxing Glaswegian lesbian – meet the leader of the Scottish Tories – The Guardian
  • Scotland’s ‘passionate engagement’ with the campaign feels like a mirage – Ian Jack, The Guardian
  • Why are many Catalans desperately hoping Scotland will vote ‘Yes’? – The Independent
  • Salmond’s fatal flaw: We women think he has the charm of a turnip – Jan Moir, Daily Mail
  • London and Edinburgh in tussle over Scottish islands – Financial Times

…whilst Tony Abbott calls independence ‘a victory for the enemies of freedom and justice’

“Scottish independence would be a victory for the enemies of freedom and justice, the Australian prime minister has said in the most pointed intervention yet by a foreign leader in the independence debate. A win by the Yes campaign would be cheered abroad by countries that opposed British values and influence, while an independent Scotland would make little positive impact on the world stage, Tony Abbott told The Times.” – The Times (£)

Alexander reported to watchdog over EU job creation statistics

Danny Alexander on Andrew Marr“Lib Dem minister Danny Alexander has been reported to the statistics watchdog over “blatantly false” claims about job losses if we quit the EU. The pro-EU Treasury chief secretary claimed in a speech it would risk three million UK jobs. But civil servants insist it is “not an estimate of the impact of EU membership on employment”.” – The Sun (£)

Lib Dem policy 1) Freedom of Information system for the private sector

“Water companies, the “Big Six” energy suppliers and housing associations would be forced to open their books to the public under Liberal Democrat proposals. The move would represent the biggest overhaul of Freedom of Information rules since their introduction in 2000. Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem justice minister, is also pressing for private sector contracts delivering public services to be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.” – Financial Times

Lib Dem policy 2) Create distance from the Conservatives with fresh manifesto promise on child poverty

Libdem bird vs TORY“The Liberal Democrats will on Saturday create a dividing line with their Tory coalition partners when they pledge to introduce a new set of child poverty reduction targets that widen the focus beyond the traditional measure of income levels to causes. David Laws, the Lib Dem education minister, will say that the party’s general election manifesto will include two new measures that will focus on tackling entrenched poverty and on closing the education achievement gap.” – The Guardian

Farage confirms: it’s South Thanet

“Ukip leader Nigel Farage has finally confirmed he will stand in the Kent constituency of Thanet South in next year’s general election. Mr Farage said he had thrown his ‘hat in the ring’, ending months of speculation that he was lining up the South East constituency as his target for the 2015 contest. Mr Farage insisted it was not a certainty that he would be selected by the local party but added: ‘I think I stand a good chance of winning.’” – Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • Why is the RSPCA killing half the animals it comes into contact with? – Daily Mail
  • Frustrated at Cameron, confused by Miliband, disgusted by Clegg: how voters react to politicians – The Times (£)
  • UK jails run up a £1.3 million bill on translators – The Sun (£)
  • Woman tested for Ebola in Scotland – Daily Telegraph
  • Overcrowded Mount Snowdon poses safety risk – Financial Times

10 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 16th August

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