Reform 1) Anonymous member of the Government threatens to resign over Human Rights Act

ARREST WARRANT European“Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Conservative figure said the proposals would undermine vital protections for British citizens who can use the European Court of Human Rights to appeal against injustices they suffer in the UK. The individual suggested it may be necessary to resign in order to vote against the Tory plan to abolish the Human Rights Act in the House of Commons. “I will probably oppose it,” the government figure said. “The idea that my constituents should have fewer protections available as a last resort is not something that I can accept.”” – Sunday Telegraph


Reform 2) Prime Minister facing ‘nightmare’ over EU referendum

“David Cameron is facing a “battle royal” to deliver his promise of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, as Labour and Liberal Democrat peers plot to sabotage the Tory plan in the House of Lords. An EU Referendum Bill is expected to be announced in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday to pave the way for a national vote on whether the UK should leave or remain a part of Europe. However, the Prime Minister will come up against determined opposition in the Lords, as well as in Brussels, while facing “impossible” demands from hard-line MPs inside his own party in the Commons.” – Sunday Telegraph


>Yesterday: Nick Faith in Comment: Cavendish has some big items on her to-do list

Whistleblowers claim DfID gets taken to the cleaners by consultants

aidgraphic“Whistleblowers sought to raise such concerns with DfID, the official watchdog, Ministers and MPs to improve the effectiveness of spending and evaluation of contracts. They contacted David Cameron, claiming he urged them not to go public and arranged a meeting at No 10 with Kate Joseph, his adviser on foreign affairs and development. Joseph admitted the £180 million Growth And Employment In States programme in Nigeria ‘had been pretty bad’ but told them DfID believed it was now back on track. One whistleblower said: ‘Whatever DfID does they can justify it because they use all these statistics that are impossible to verify. All that matters is their money is being spent.’” – Mail on Sunday

  • MPs call for ban on ‘revolving door’ public sector payoffs – Sunday Telegraph
  • Putin’s propaganda coup as Arctic heroes attend march snubbed by Prime Minister – Mail on Sunday

Prime Minister set to toughen sentences for paedophiles in web crackdown

“Paedophiles face tougher jail sentences under an internet porn crackdown to be launched by David Cameron this week. The Prime Minister will unveil plans to allow offenders to be jailed for up to 14 years if they use the internet to broadcast live images of child abuse. The move, to be announced in the Queen’s Speech as part of the new Government’s legislative programme, will close a legal loophole that currently allows some paedophiles who ‘live-stream’ abuse to escape proper punishment. Whitehall sources last night explained that under current rules the images may have to be recorded to guarantee a conviction for the offences of causing, inciting or facilitating child abuse. They said that although live-streaming of child sexual abuse was illegal, offenders in some cases escaped with a lighter sentence.” – Mail on Sunday

Ministers’ anger as Cameron imposes pay freeze

MANIFESTO money“David Cameron will today pledge to freeze Ministers’ pay for the next five years – to the quiet fury of many Government members. The Prime Minister is expected to announce that salaries in his administration will be pegged at their current level for the duration of the next Parliament, as part of his ‘one nation’ approach to clearing the deficit. However, one Conservative MP warned last night that pay is now so low relative to comparable professions that politics is in danger of becoming a ‘middle-class free zone’.” – Mail on Sunday

  • He’s just won, but Cameron is already fighting for 2020 – James Forsyth, Daily Mail
  • The Prime Minister is likely to remain the cautious pragmatist, majority or no – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)

David Cameron: The two-speed society stops right here – this is one nation

“We can’t pretend there’s not still a long way to go. We’ve halved the deficit as a share of the economy — but there’s still half of it left to pay off. So we will continue to take the difficult decisions necessary to bring spending down and secure our economy. As we go about doing that, I want people to be in no doubt: I said five years ago we were all in this together and, five years on, nothing has changed. That’s why, for example, I’ve decided to freeze the pay of the ministers in the government. For me, that’s just one step which sends out a clear signal: that as we continue knuckling down as a country, we will all play our part.” – Sunday Times (£)

>Today: Chris Walker in Comment: Housing is key to a Conservative vision for working people

IDS is fighting a rearguard action to protect his budget

idspic“Iain Duncan Smith is “pushing back” against attempts to “salami slice” through the welfare budget to deliver the prime minister’s pledge of £12bn in savings, allies of the work and pensions secretary have claimed. Duncan Smith was surprised when the sheer scale of the cuts was announced in January last year, and is now fighting a rearguard action against changes that would involve slashing at key benefit schemes in his budget. It is understood the cabinet minister has long been frustrated by a failure within the leadership of the party to get to grips with how the reduction in spending will be made. He fears that such lethargy could ultimately lead to rushed and deeply unpopular cuts.” – The Observer

Why did the Chancellor kiss the ‘Wizard of Oz’?

“George Osborne was so convinced that the Tories would not win an outright victory in the general election that he offered to give Lynton Crosby a French kiss if they got a majority. The chancellor made the bizarre pledge to the Conservative campaign chief on election day as senior Tories tried to predict whether David Cameron would be returning to Downing Street. When Cameron stormed to an unlikely win, Osborne was forced to “consummate” his promise but withdrew his pledge, as one senior Tory put it, to give the architect of the campaign “a proper snog”. The chancellor planted a kiss on Crosby’s cheek in front of Cameron and fellow strategist Jim Messina when they met in No 10 on the morning after their triumph.” – Sunday Times (£)

Osborne’s new mayors to be initially appointed in Labour stitch-up

Manchester Town Hall“There’s only one problem. As almost nobody seems to have realised, Mr Osborne’s democratic revolution does not at this stage involve democracy. The new mayor of Greater Manchester will not be elected. He will be appointed – this Friday – by a handful of councillors, meeting in private, without even the pretence of public involvement. The two shortlisted candidates, Tony Lloyd and Lord Smith of Leigh, are Labour. They have published no manifestos, done no campaigning, made no appearances in public and answered no questions from voters or journalists. Last week, The Sunday Telegraph asked to speak to both candidates. “He’d love to,” said Mr Lloyd’s spokesman. “But he’s been told he’s not allowed to talk to the media.” A spokesman for Lord Smith said: “He can’t speak about it until it’s over.”” – Andrew Gilligan, Sunday Telegraph

Labour leadership 1) Mid-Staffs whistleblower denounces Burnham as ‘grossly unsuitable’ for leadership

Labour’s leadership front-runner was last night condemned as a ‘grossly unsuitable candidate’ by the whistleblower who exposed the Mid Staffs hospital scandal. Campaigner Julie Bailey said she was ‘shocked and appalled’ that Andy Burnham – who was Health Secretary when the true scale of neglect at the NHS Trust emerged – had put himself forward to succeed Ed Miliband. Mrs Bailey also accused him of showing no remorse and giving no apology over the scandal. She told The Mail on Sunday: ‘While Health Secretary, Andy Burnham presided over a culture of denial and cover-up over NHS care scandals that cost lives in failing hospitals across the country.’” – Mail on Sunday


Labour leadership 2) Kendall warns of risk to Union posed by surging nationalisms

UNION FLAG torn“The United Kingdom could be torn apart by a surge of nationalism in Scotland and England, a contender for the Labour leadership has warned. Liz Kendall, who is seen as a modernising Blairite candidate, warned that there was a “growing sense of grievance” among the English as she called for “radical” measures to give England more powers within the United Kingdom. The MP and shadow care minister said Labour must also face the rise of “identity politics” head on after it was wiped out by the Scottish National Party in the general election. Miss Kendall has asked her former rival in the leadership contest, Tristram Hunt, to draw up plans to give England sweeping new powers over its own affairs.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Kendall accuses left of dirty tricks as she denies allegations of ill-temperedness – Mail on Sunday
  • Creagh claims Labour lost voters’ trust and denounces the Mansion Tax – Sunday Times (£)
  • Harman calls on Sun readers to help choose Labour’s next leader – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • Dugdale wins support of half of Labour’s MSPs for Scottish leadership – The Observer


>Yesterday: Quentin Langley in Comment: A secret of our recent success – we understand the Left better than it understands us

Labour leadership 3) Cooper denies that her husband will wield undue influence

“Yvette Cooper has told hubby Ed Balls that SHE wears the trousers now as she steps up her bid to become Labour’s first female leader. She insists her other half — between jobs after losing his seat — won’t be pulling the strings from home if she wins. Mum-of-three Ms Cooper declared: “I won’t be anyone’s puppet. I can think for myself. I have my own ideas, my own vision and if I am lucky enough to be elected leader, I will be entirely my own person.” In an exclusive interview, she told how she aims to “smash the glass ceiling” and land the job her husband failed to secure five years ago. But the female half of Labour’s “golden couple” made it clear the political side of her partnership with ex-MP Ed was over.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Labour to drop opposition to EU referendum

EU Exit“Labour is today expected to say it is ditching opposition to the ‘in/out’ EU referendum after its Election rout. Party sources said acting leader Harriet Harman would confirm the U-turn now the referendum was inevitable. At a discussion in the Shadow Cabinet, no one opposed the climbdown, The Mail on Sunday was told. Leadership contenders Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Mary Creagh have called for Labour to accept the referendum.” – Mail on Sunday

Janet Daley: Labour cannot afford to back the producer-interest guerrillas ranged against the Government

“But there is going to be a terrible awakening here. Maybe the decision by the rail unions to call off their potentially disastrous strike was a sign that awareness has dawned. If public service employees are digging in for a bitter fight with the Tories in which travellers/patients/consumers are held hostage, they will find themselves politically orphaned. Labour – in its present delicate state – will know better than to take the side of the militant producer-interest. The campaign of resistance which sprang into life within days of the Conservative victory would look too much like a vendetta against an elected government – in which ordinary people’s needs were collateral damage – for a Labour Party under existential threat to endorse.” – Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: Gareth B Streeter in Comment: If politics is to be more charitable, some third-sector organisations must change the way they campaign

SNP fury as HS2 team see no case for Scottish extension…

SNP logo white background“The High Speed Two rail line will not extend to Scotland because there is ‘no business case’ for the move, the team behind the project has said. The Scottish National Party is reportedly furious about the news and described it as a ‘snub’ to their country. It was hoped that HS2 – which aimed to cut journey times from London to Birmingham to just 49 minutes – would ultimately reach Scotland. There is an ‘undeniable economic case’ for linking Edinburgh and Glasgow to London, SNP Transport spokesman Drew Hendry told the Independent on Sunday. When the then-Transport Secretary launched the project in 2009, Lord Adonis said it would be ‘the union railway, uniting England and Scotland, north and south, richer and poorer parts of our country, sharing wealth and opportunity’.” – Mail on Sunday

…but Nationalists could use Clegg’s law to unseat remaining Scottish Lib Dem

“Alistair Carmichael, the former Scottish secretary and sole Liberal Democrat MP north of the border, could find himself unseated by a law introduced by his former leader, Nick Clegg. Scottish National Party depute leader Stewart Hosie has called on the Parliamentary Standards commissioner to investigate Mr Carmichael, because he admitted to leaking a confidential and disputed diplomatic memo that was potentially damaging to Nicola Sturgeon when he was still in the Cabinet last month… If the standards commissioner, Kathryn Hudson, conducts a follow-up investigation and finds Mr Carmichael guilty, and exercises a punishment of a lengthy suspension from the House of Commons, a by-election could be triggered under the Recall of MPs Act 2015. This was the brainchild of Mr Clegg: if an MP is suspended for just 10 sitting days, then only 10 per cent of an MP’s constituents would need to sign a petition demanding a by-election.” – Independent on Sunday

New in Brief:

  • Ireland says ‘F*ck yeah!’ to gay marriage – Mail on Sunday
  • Doctor claims medicalisation of childbirth risks women losing ability to give birth unaided – Sunday Times
  • Mountbatten murderers may have received amnesties – Sunday Telegraph
  • MPs get choice of Mister, Mrs… or Mixter – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • Uber tells Government restricting private cabs will increase congestion and pollution – Independent on Sunday
  • Serjeant at Arms quits over MI5’s Commons ‘honeytrap hunter’ – Mail on Sunday

And finally… art critic gives verdict on £17k official election artist

Ed Miliband Election Sketch“Adam Dant draws like a talentless schoolboy incapable of any depth, truth, wit, mischief or criticism, passionless and indifferent. Where did the Speaker’s Committee find him? Why did they think that he could do the job? What made them promise him £17,000 for three weeks of scribbling? And the most serious question of all is are his drawings in any way an informative record of the 2015 Election and worthy of the ancient archives of the House of Commons? To this last, the answer is a resounding ‘NO’, and the MPs have wasted our money.” – Brian Sewell, Mail on Sunday

43 comments for: Newslinks for Sunday 24th May 2015

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.