Cameron attacked for giving honours to Tory donors and supporters…

CONSERVATIVE tree“David Cameron has been accused of cronyism for rewarding several Tory donors in the new year’s honours list, along with a senior civil servant who committed a “catastrophic leadership failure”. Lin Homer, the chief executive of Revenue & Customs, becomes a Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath — an award exclusive to civil servants — despite being heavily criticised in a succession of jobs.” – The Times (£)


Civil Service:



…as he is accused of ‘authoritarian’ reforms

“David Cameron has been accused of “authoritarian” tendencies by Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, and of “grubby” behaviour by Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister. However, do many apparently unconnected proposals by the prime minister since the 2015 general election amount to a concerted crackdown on legitimate opposition, as Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, claims?” – Financial Times

  • Kerslake accuses ministers of undermining transparency laws – Daily Mail
  • Former civil service chief warns of Tory plan to silence critics – Financial Times
  • Farron calls for breakup of Freedom of Information review – The Guardian


  • Cameron has a brutal time ahead of him – Anthony Seldon, The Times (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Cameron delivered ConHome readers’ Speech of the Year

Osborne cracks down on duty-free shops

OSBORNE red and blue“George Osborne has announced a review of duty-free shops to ensure that airport retailers pass on VAT savings to customers. The “extensive” review will ensure that travellers are receiving the savings from VAT relief and will also cover all other airport shopping taxes.” – The Times (£)

  • Chancellor tells retailers to pass on discounts – Daily Telegraph
  • Experts criticise Osborne over flood protection funding – The Guardian

Ministers 1) May refuses to rule out leading ‘Out’ campaign in EU referendum

“Theresa May has refused to rule out leading the Out campaign in the EU referendum campaign. The Home Secretary is rumoured to be considering breaking ranks with David Cameron and agreeing to head-up the cross-party campaign for Britain to leave the EU when the Prime Minister calls the vote, expected to be in June 2016.” – The Independent

  • Soubry criticises Miriam Clegg for ‘embarassing’ interview with the Home Secretary – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: May is ConHome readers’ Conservative to Watch in the year ahead

Ministers 2) Duncan Smith recruiting new Universal Credit chief

idspic“Iain Duncan Smith is recruiting a new £140,000-a-year director of his troubled welfare reform project Universal Credit – barely a year after the last change of leadership. The job is among the top paying jobs in the civil service – more than the Work and Pensions Secretary earns himself.” – The Independent

Muslim convert jailed for threatening Tory MP

“Craig Wallace, 23, of Willesden Green, north London, who converted to Islam while serving a jail term for attempted robbery, said that he wanted to bomb Tory MP Charlotte Leslie’s house. Just three weeks after he was released from prison he launched a tirade of abuse at the Bristol North MP on a thread of comments on the UK Truth Movement Facebook page.” – Daily Mail

  • Anti-extremism plan accused of feeding hatred of Muslims – The Times (£)
  • Trump could be banned from Britain over comments about Muslims – Daily Mail

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: Trump, the modern-day Marxist

MPs 1) Bacon calls for greater scrutiny of ATOS

MANIFESTO moneyThey do have quite a reputation, which is why I am very keen that the Cabinet Office takes a proper look at all the services Atos provides,” said Richard Bacon, a Conservative MP who sits on the committee. “We expect suppliers to take a more rounded view of the project and not simply dot the “I”s and cross the “T”s and there is a particular responsibility when the client is the taxpayer.” – Financial Times

MPs 2) Cleverly accuses opponents of exploiting Letwin comments

“Comments by Oliver Letwin, the Government’s policy chief, about black communities 30 years ago are being seized upon by those who “desperately want to believe” that the Conservative Party is “riddled with racism”, one prominent MP from an ethnic minority background has warned. James Cleverly, the Conservative MP for Braintree, Essex, said the remarks, in a memo to the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, were “lazy”, wrong and “embarrassing” and did not represent the views of the party.” – Daily Telegraph

Tim Montgomerie: Letwin was right about the limits of what money can do

Britain shieldThe Letwin memo, co-written with Hartley Booth, was not wrong, however, to challenge the economic determinism of some of his Tory colleagues. Although he exaggerated his case, perhaps deliberately, Letwin was correct to argue that investment in housing and job creation were rarely sufficient for social justice.” – The Times (£)

  • He might be a posh idiot, but he did have a point – Rod Liddle, The Sun
  • Letwin’s memo on race isn’t history, it’s Tory policy – Joseph Harker, The Guardian

Corbyn ally accused of plotting ‘Stalinist’ coup

“A hard left ally of Jeremy Corbyn was accused yesterday of devising “Stalinist” blueprints for a takeover of the Labour party. Jon Lansman, the founder of Momentum, a grassroots leftwing network, drew up papers recently in which he discussed measures to help Labour’s ruling body to “take control of the party”. – The Times (£)

  • Momentum founder ‘would cooperate’ with bullying enquiry – The Guardian
  • Dugher criticises reshuffle plans – The Independent
  • Shadow minister urges Labour to ‘stop infighting’ and focus on May – The Guardian


John McTernan: Labour MPs could bring their leader down… with a strike

LABOUR dead rose“It has long been a watchword of the labour movement that “an injury to one is an injury to all”. The PLP have to put that into action – starting with the Shadow Cabinet. If any frontbencher is moved, let alone sacked, because of how they voted over air strikes on Isil then the entire Shadow Cabinet should resign in solidarity. Immediately. Without hesitation.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The year in a word: Edstone, Labour’s monument to hubris – George Parker, Financial Times

>Today: ToryDiary: ConHome readers’ Gaffe of the Year is, of course, the Edstone

News in Brief:

  • Two thousand armed police deployed in London for New Year – Daily Mail
  • Soldiers pour into European  cities on New Year terror alert – The Times (£)
  • End of train tickets as railways ‘go paperless’ – Daily Telegraph
  • UK draws  line under ‘banker bashing’ – Financial Times
  • Thousands of NHS patients left without medicine as online pharmacy goes into meltdown – Daily Mail

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