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Scotland to retain the Winter Fuel Allowance

“Scottish pensioners will keep universal winter fuel payments because it is “colder” north of the border, the Conservatives announced today. David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, said it made sense to use devolved powers to keep the benefit because of “climatic issues” in Scotland and because more people are “off-grid”. Critics accused the Tories of “utter hypocrisy” and said the party was trying to bribe Scottish OAPs into voting for them with a benefits “bung”. Retired people in England and Wales were also told that the money they lose will help to fund free social care for all in Scotland. It means older people on modest incomes south of the border could end up subsidising welfare for millionaire Scots.” – Daily Telegraph

Davidson says Scottish Conservatives will bring the SNP down to size

“Theresa May and Ruth Davidson have made a pledge to stand up to the Scottish National Party at the launch of the Scottish Conservatives’ manifesto. They were speaking at an event in Edinburgh. Scottish party leader Ms Davidson told the gathering that the election on 8 June was about “bringing the SNP down to size”. Prime minister Mrs May said the Conservatives were the “only party” able to stand up to the SNP.” – BBC

  • Two women pleading for Scottish Labour votes – Daily Telegraph
  • Sturgeon won’t be allowed to undermine Brexit says May – Daily Mail
  • Second independence referendum postponed indefinitely – Daily Telegraph
  • Tories will invest heavily in Scotland – The Guardian

Britain will the world’s internet policeman says May

“Theresa May has promised to make Britain the world’s internet policeman and served notice that technology giants will be forced to give their customers more power over their own data. The prime minister said that Britain “should be a leader” in regulating the internet as she outlined new details of a crackdown on how companies hold and exploit personal data. “We want the UK to be . . . the best place for a digital business to be set up and to grow but also the safest and most secure place for people to be online,” she said in an interview with The Times.” – The Times(£)

“Backlash on the doorstep” over “dementia tax”

“Theresa May’s plan to make tens of thousands more people pay for their old-age care from their estates have triggered anger among Tory candidates, who said that the author of the proposal “should be shot”….One candidate standing for re-election said that it could be a disaster. “This plan was coming up on the doorstep this morning and there has not even yet been much coverage it. It is very hard to justify, because people with a house of £300,000 could have a liability now of £200,000. I thought the campaign was just right until this yesterday”. – The Times(£)

  • “This is an agenda for the mainstream” – Interview with Theresa May, The Times(£)
  • Corbyn’s muddle over what the policy is – The Sun

Lord Sugar backs May

“Lord Sugar has given his backing to Theresa May – telling the Sun: “I’d vote for her.” The Apprentice star and former Labour peer was made an Enterprise Tsar by Gordon Brown. But he has thrown his weight behind Mrs May’s Conservatives. And he backs the Prime Minister’s decision to dodge head-to-head TV debates throughout the Election campaign. The mogul said: “Mrs May is 100 per cent right not to get sucked into a head-to-head slanging match on TV.” – The Sun

Fisherman fear rights could be negotiated away

“Fishermen fear Theresa May could waive the rights to almost 95 per cent of British waters after failing to make any solid promises over sovereignty of the seas in the Tory manifesto. A desire to take back control of Britain’s waters was a constant theme for Leave campaigners ahead of last year’s EU referendum. They believe Britain has legal rights to all fish within 200 miles of the coast, but the manifesto leaves open the possibility that only 12 miles of water will be protected after Brexit. A report published last October found that more than half the fish caught in British waters are currently landed by trawlers from the rest of the EU.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: MPsETC: Manifesto small print 4) Taking back control of our fishing

Boris challenges Heathrow third runway

“Boris Johnson has defied Theresa May by publicly questioning the Government’s new commitment to expand Heathrow. The Foreign Secretary risked the wrath of No10 by saying: “I don’t think it’s the right solution.” He was echoed by Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Boris Johnson has repeatedly opposed plans for a third runway at Heathrow. But in the Tory manifesto on Thursday, the party threw its weight behind the “expansion of Heathrow Airport”.” – The Sun

May: If I lose just six seats Corbyn wins

“Jeremy Corbyn has spent decades apologising for Britain. He accuses me of wanting to wrap myself in the Union Flag, as if that were a term of abuse…The prospect of him walking through the door of Number 10, flanked by John McDonnell and Diane Abbott and propped up by the Liberal Democrat and nationalist parties, should scare us all. And make no mistake, it could happen. The cold hard fact is that if I lose just six seats I will lose this election, and Jeremy Corbyn will be sitting down to negotiate with the presidents, prime ministers and chancellors of Europe. Yet with his manifesto this week, he has demonstrated that he is simply not up to the job of leading Britain through the critical years ahead.” Theresa May, Daily Mail

Voter targeting looking good for Tories says Forsyth

“National opinion polls can only tell you so much about British elections. What really matters is what happens with certain voters in key seats. This is why the Tory ground campaign is all about what they call “TVT” – or Targeted Voter Turnout – at the moment….This means reaching out to those voters in key seats who the Tories’ magic formula has identified as potential switchers to them. Tories on the ground report “amazingly good returns” using this data. Conservative campaign headquarters remain desperate, though, to play down talk of a Tory landslide.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: The biggest threat to a Tory landslide is the expectation of a Tory landslide

The return to grown-up politics is welcome says Oborne

“If June 23, 2016, marked the moment when a dagger was plunged into the heart of the Notting Hill set and everything it stood for, this week saw its death as Theresa May unveiled her unashamedly moral and honest vision for Britain. As the writer who first gave them that name, I feel duty-bound now to comment on their demise. This week saw the set’s death as Theresa May unveiled her unashamedly moral and honest vision for Britain. And it was deliciously symbolic that as the vicar’s daughter set out her core beliefs and hopes for Britain, Cameron was in so-called Sin City, Las Vegas, pocketing a fat cheque for making a speech to billionaire bankers.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: We asked for Grown-Up Government. Now we’ve got it.

A Burkean manifesto for intergenerational fairness says Moore

“Burke’s point about the contract between the generations applies not only to the dead, the living and unborn, but also to the old, the middle-aged and the young. Nowadays that contract is violated if the old person, sitting on property values that which price the young out of housing, is completely protected from having to bear the costs of her/his own needs. It is also violated if the state pension is triply -locked so that it must always rise above adverse public finances.” Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

May’s vision is inspiring says Parris

“When I was young I used to think the aim in politics was to discover the right balance between laissez-faire and intervention, and strike it. With age, though, has come the dispiriting suspicion that we must forever bounce between the ills of going too far one way and then too far the other. Theresa May’s instinct is that it’s time to bounce back from light-touch Toryism. One day we may have to bounce back from heavy-handed Toryism — but for the moment I think she’s making the right judgment.” – Matthew Parris, The Times(£)

Other election comment

>Today: Ryan Bourne on Comment: May has chosen to occupy the centre, rather than try to shift it. This bodes badly for Britain, Brexit – and the economy.

>Yesterday:

M15 opened a file on Corbyn due to his IRA links

“MI5 opened a file on Jeremy Corbyn amid concerns over his links to the IRA, the Telegraph has discovered. The Labour leader was investigated over fears that he could have been a threat to national security at a time when he was supporting convicted terrorists and campaigning for a unified Ireland. The revelations come as a Telegraph investigation reveals Mr Corbyn’s full links to the IRA, including his support for one of the Balcombe Street gang, who waged a 14-month bombing campaign across south-east England, and his links to the bomb maker believed to have been behind the Hyde Park and Regents Park devices.” – Daily Telegraph

  • McDonnell defends praise for IRA killers – Daily Mail

Increasing vote share is not enough says Starmer

“Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, has rejected the idea that improving on Ed Miliband’s vote share in the last election would mark a good performance for the Labour party on 8 June. Labour’s standing in the polls has been creeping up since the start of the election campaign, and senior allies of Jeremy Corbyn have suggested that if the leader tops Miliband’s 30.4% from 2015, he could stay on even if the Conservatives significantly increase their majority. But when asked about that idea, Starmer, who is touring marginal constituencies in an attempt to bolster the morale of Labour candidates, said: “We are in a first-past-the-post system, therefore we measure success in the number of seats.” – The Guardian

Labour split over Trident

“Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry was “wrong” to suggest Labour might drop its commitment to the UK’s nuclear deterrent, the party’s defence secretary has said. Nia Griffith told BBC Newsnight it was “already settled” that Trident would remain if the party came into power. Ms Thornberry had suggested support for the missile system could not be guaranteed following a defence review.” – BBC

Lib Dems fear losing seats

“Tim Farron’s anti-Brexit strategy appears to be faltering, with activists’ hopes of a breakthrough being replaced by the “real possibility” that the party will lose seats. Mr Farron’s first campaign as Liberal Democrat leader has been hindered by a series of distracting rows over his views on gay sex and abortion. The party’s anti-Brexit stance has also suffered from a fall in the number of so-called hard Remainers, with surveys suggesting that only around half of the 48 per cent of people who voted against Brexit still want to overturn the decision.” – The Times(£)

  • Only 22 per cent of voters don’t accept Brexit – Stephen Pollard, Daily Express

Comey agrees to testify before Senate after Trump calls him a “nutjob”

“Former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump last week amid an agency investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US election, has agreed to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee….Mr Trump reportedly told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak: “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off. I’m not under investigation.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Trump pulls trigger on Nafta negotiations – BBC
  • More pressure on North Korea from Trump – Daily Express

Cycle lanes putting patients lives at risk

“Segregated cycle lanes are putting patients’ lives at risk because they prevent traffic moving out of the way of ambulances, medical leaders have warned. The College of Paramedics said the new model of kerbed lanes, which are fiercely supported by cycle safety campaigners, leave drivers nowhere to go when they see blue flashing lights behind them. For some of the most critical emergency patients, such as those suffering cardiac arrest, every minute added to the time it take to reach hospital can significantly reduce the chances of survival.” – Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Swedish authorities drop investigation of Assange – Daily Mail
  • UKIP candidate suspended over racist Tweets – BBC
  • Councils breaking air pollution rules – Independent
  • Moped crimes hit 50,000 a year in London – The Times(£)
  • Election delays release of NHS financial performance data – BBC
  • Eurocrats demand continued British funding for gold-plated pensions – Daily Mail
  • Gaddafi aide laughing after being told he won’t be charged over Yvonne Fletcher’s murder – Daily Telegraph
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on course for a second term – BBC
  • Brexit negotiations to start on June 18th – The Guardian
  • Branding on cigarette packets outlawed – Financial Times(£)

6 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 20th May 2017

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