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Quince attacks Labour over its ‘mothers will die’ by-election tactics

Rosette shield“An MP who with his wife suffered the agony of a stillborn baby today attacked Labour for its claim that mothers and babies will die if the Tories win the Copeland by-election. Will Quince, Tory MP for Colchester, Essex, says he is angry and saddened by a Labour leaflet being delivered to homes in the marginal Cumbrian seat that Labour hold with a majority of just 2,500. Quince’s baby son Robert was stillborn in 2014, and since becoming an MP a year later he has focused on tackling the causes of baby loss and improving care for bereaved parents.” – Daily Mail

  • May hits the phones ahead of closely-contested votes – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister flooding seats with activists in bid for double win – The Sun
  • Fallon insists Tories can take Copeland as Labour worry about weather – Daily Mail
  • Labour’s fears of failure: Tories in Copeland, weather in Stoke – The Guardian

UKIP:

  • Party faces a moment of truth in Stoke – FT
  • Pro-Putin ‘bots’ turn on Nuttall – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • Nuttall is paying the price for UKIP’s blurring of the truth – Phil McDuff, The Guardian

EU 1) Behind-the-scenes plot to climb down and give Parliament veto on Brexit deal

“Ministers are working on a climb down to give Parliament a veto on the PM’s final Brexit blueprint in a bid to fend off a fresh court fight. Secret talks are underway to allow MPs and peers a vote to authorise the eventual shape of Britain’s EU exit, even if it is a negotiations walk out without any deal. They were sparked by warnings from senior legal figures that Theresa May’s ultra-tight 137 word Article 50 bill is not enough to satisfy a Supreme Court ruling last month that only Parliament can sign the final exit terms. Mrs May must also upgrade her promise of a vote on any deal after two years of Brexit talks to passing a full law, lawyers insist.” – The Sun

  • Johnson slams doom-mongers after better than expected growth – The Sun
  • Farron urges Brussels not to undermine case for second referendum – Daily Express
  • ‘Third of manufacturers’ want to move some operations out of Britain post-Brexit – The Independent

Migration:

  • EU migrants fuel near record levels of immigration – Daily Telegraph
  • Farage feels ‘betrayed’ by Davis over open borders – Daily Express
  • Post-referendum surge in residency applications – FT
  • Tax rises could deter migration to Scotland, warns Mundell – The Scotsman

EU 2) Doubts that civil service are up to the task of Brexit

LETWIN Oliver“Many UK civil servants write “unclear, jargon-ridden” briefing papers, offer ministers their views “without knowing the essential facts” and are too often promoted because of a “willingness to play the game”, according to David Cameron’s former policy chief. In a devastating assault on the quality of the civil service, Oliver Letwin, who was responsible for implementing government policy across Whitehall from the Cabinet Office from 2010 to 2016, has hit out at what he calls “the deficiencies of training and culture” in too many departments, resulting in what he calls a “suboptimal” service.” – FT

  • Britain can’t rely on ‘gifted amateurs’ of Whitehall, warns former Treasury head – The Times (£)
  • Civil servants told to replace ‘Just About Managing’ with ‘Ordinary Working Families’ – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • We must leave quickly, the EU is falling apart faster than I thought – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • Is the break-up of the Euro now inevitable? – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
  • Once again the Union will need defending – Iain Martin, The Times (£)
  • In the new world of Trump and Brexit, Ireland could be ripped apart – Fintan O’Toole, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: How Brexit could end the golden age of British-Irish relations

>Yesterday: Scott Mann MP in Comment: Brexit is a great opportunity for British agriculture

Ministers 1) Javid admits rates rise would have riled his father

“Sajid Javid said that his late father would have been “the first to phone” to complain over changes to business rates as he confirmed further help would come in the budget for those hit by the steepest increases in the tax. The communities secretary gave no details to the Commons of what form the additional support would take, although rebel Conservative MPs said that Philip Hammond, the chancellor, may have to find £1 billion to compensate the losing businesses. The government has already announced £3.6 billion of transitional support to help those companies facing increased bills.” – The Times (£)

  • Minister bows to pressure and promises extra cash – The Sun
  • Beleaguered figure may yet be crucial ally to May – The Times (£)
  • Traders hiss but Labour is split on rates – FT

More tax and spending:

Sketch:

  • Ever-so polite, Saj had a couple of heavies keeping an eye on him – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

>Today: David Morris MP in Comment: Javid and Hammond are the right team to ensure the business rates revaluation is fair

>Yesterday:

Ministers 2) Truss to hold prison governors to account

Prison bars“Prison bosses will be replaced if they fail to tackle drug abuse and violence behind bars and get inmates into work under a Bill published today. Liz Truss will finally hold governors to account in what has been dubbed the biggest shake-up of jails in a generation. In sweeping reforms, the Justice Secretary will give prison governors in England and Wales freedom from State control over budgets for education, employment and health.” – Daily Mail

  • Reform to give governors more control over rehabilitation – The Guardian

Comment:

  • May’s domestic dead-ends are stacking up – John Healey, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Titter ye not. It turns out Truss really did open up new pork markets in China.

Ministers 3) Gibb announces new focus on times tables

“Eleven-year-olds will sit online times tables tests from next year, the Schools Minister revealed yesterday. Nick Gibb insisted multiplication was a ‘very important part of mathematical knowledge’ and should be assessed at primary school. It will be the first time a specific test on times tables has been introduced at Key Stage Two. The assessment, described by Mr Gibb as a ‘multiplication check’, will also be the first use of on-screen technology in national curriculum testing.” – Daily Mail

>Today: John Bald in Local Government: British pupils can learn Mandarin if they are taught in the right way

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Technical education. Who’s right – Gove or Baker?

Ministers 4) Justine Greening: To bring an end to FGM we must shout about it

GREENING Flickr“As education secretary and minister for women and equalities, I believe that it is in our schools that we have real power to not only raise awareness and change perceptions but, crucially, take active steps to safeguard children from this abuse. That is why we are supporting Forward with £375,000 funding, to help make sure teachers and schools can spot the risks and know what steps to take to give help to the girls who need it.” – Times Red Box

Mosley’s donations to Watson cast fresh doubt on would-be press regulator

“Former F1 tycoon Max Mosley has given half a million pounds to Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson in the past eight months, raising further doubts over the independence of the Press regulator Impress. The latest official records show Mr Watson received £300,000 from the former Formula 1 boss on February 10. That followed a £200,000 donation registered in June and £40,000 from 2015. In the House of Commons register of members’ interests, Mr Watson says the money was donated via the Labour Party to support his office.” – Daily Mail

More Labour:

  • Blair supported jihadist’s release despite fears – The Times (£)
  • Former Prime Minister attacks ‘hypocrisy’ of critics – The Independent
  • Leader of scandal-hit council to stand down ahead of elections – Wales Online

Comment:

  • Labour’s unknowns may be the only ones we like enough to lead – Chris Curtis, Times Red Box
  • Why it was right to release Jamal al-Harith in 2004 – David Blunkett, The Guardian

Sketch:

  • Corbyn’s tired routine brings out the dancer in Watson – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)
  • Dabbing Watson steals the show – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Matthew Ellery in Comment: Both possible successors to Corbyn have electorally disastrous views on the EU

Policy 1) UK wasting ‘hundreds of millions’ on Huhne’s failed green subsidies

Chris Huhne“Britain is wasting hundreds of millions of pounds subsidising power stations to burn American wood pellets that do more harm to the climate than the coal they replaced, a study has found… Green subsidies for wood pellets and other biomass were championed by Chris Huhne when he was Liberal Democrat energy and climate change secretary in the coalition government. Mr Huhne, 62, who was jailed in 2013 for perverting the course of justice, is now European chairman of Zilkha Biomass, a US supplier of wood pellets.” – The Times (£)

  • Wood pellets fuel former ministers journey into private sector – The Times (£)

More energy:

  • Tories back plans for nuclear power plants in Scotland – The Scotsman

Policy 2) Peers defeat Government on mobile phone and broadband bill

“Consumers will be able to switch mobile phone providers free of charge if they move home to an area where they have poor reception under current plans. The Government suffered two defeats in the Lords yesterday as peers backed to treble minimum broadband speeds and improve mobile phone coverage. Peers voted for an amendment to a new bill which will allow users to switch firms in so-called ‘not spots’ – where there is sub-standard coverage or none at all.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Secret RAF drone strikes to take out British jihadis – Daily Mail
  • Lecturers offer advice on ‘stifling’ right-wing views – The Times (£)
  • Trump revokes Obama guidelines on transgender bathrooms – Daily Telegraph
  • Federal Reserve flags interest rate rise ‘fairly soon’ – FT
  • Cressida Dick becomes first female Metropolitan Police Commissioner – The Guardian
  • BBC announces new Scottish channel… – Daily Mail
  • …but accused of ‘short-changing’ Wales – Wales Online
  • NASA finds solar system with Earth-like planets – The Times (£)
  • Catholic Church urges Assembly candidates to block abortions – Belfast Telegraph

13 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday 23rd February 2017

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