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8.45pm Local Government update: Barnet Councillor Brian Salinger explains that but for illness he too would have opposed the increase in councillors' allowances this week

Picture 68.30pm WATCH: Zac Goldsmith exposes that Channel 4 News refused to give him a platform on last night's programme as he answers the allegations about his election expenses in an angry interview with Jon Snow

8.15pm Gazette: Mark Wallace leaves the TaxPayers' Alliance

5.15pm WATCH: Ed Balls parries charges of disloyalty to Tony Blair

4.45pm ThinkTankCentral: There's more to family policy than marriage, warns Relationships Foundation

4.15pm Parliament: Lord Taylor of Warwick resigns Tory whip as he is charged with false accounting over expenses claims

12.45pm Local Government: Eric Pickles warns Labour fiefdom of Newham against trying to break the record for the largest redundancy pay-off in history

12.15pm Local Government: Should councillors' allowances be set before
local elections and for the duration of their tenure so as to avoid any
more Barnets?

11.15am Local Government: Yesterday's council by-election results

Picture 4
General Election Review: Cameron's smokescreen must not hide true reasons for election failure

ToryDiary: Clarke's Sun interview may disguise his plans – but Duncan Smith's welfare proposals are in deadly earnest

Eric Pickles cheerful Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles MP writes his first fortnightly column for ConservativeHome in Local Government today: Publishing all spending over £500 online is the right thing for councils to do – so that's why my Department will be the first in Whitehall to follow suit

Robert Leitch on Platform: After more than a decade of being dumbed down under Labour, the Higher Education system should be re-invented in a flexible and rigorous way

Parliament: Dominic Raab and David Davis want to know whether the Government will sign up to the European Investigation Order

WATCH: William Hague outlines the Government's foreign policy in a speech at the British Embassy in Tokyo

Fox in wrangle with Treasury over Trident bill

Liam Fox 2010 "Liam Fox, the defence secretary, is locked in high-stakes talks with the Treasury over the future funding for Britain’s nuclear deterrent, as he resists pressure on his department to absorb the £20bn cost of renewing the system into its core budget. In a dispute that may have serious implications for the shape of Britain’s armed forces a decade from now, Mr Fox insists that the Treasury must stick to a commitment made by the last Labour government that the nuclear deterrent is of special strategic significance – and that the cost of renewing it must, therefore, be ring-fenced from spending on conventional defence equipment. " – FT (£)

Graduate tax throws doubt upon independence of Browne inquiry

"The independence of Lord Browne's review into student finance was
questioned today after the government raised the prospect of a graduate
tax before the inquiry had reported. In his speech Vince Cable said he
had been "assured" by Lord Browne that he was looking at the
possibility of a tax." – The Guardian

Graduate tax is an elementary error – FT (£) editorial

"Record numbers of school-leavers are being rejected by universities
this year. As many as 70,000 good applicants will miss out amid intense
competition. A surge in mature and foreign candidates, combined with
new applications from the backlog of those created an unprecedented
squeeze on degree places." – The Times (£)

Up to a quarter of a million could miss out on university places  – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Vince Cable floats a dubious case for a graduate tax

George Osborne to give MPs veto over choice of OBR boss…

George Osborne on Marr 2 "George Osborne tried to deflect intense criticism about the way the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has operated by announcing yesterday that the Treasury select committee would have power of veto over the chairman of the new body. The Chancellor said he was advertising for a new permanent head of the OBR after it emerged recently that the interim its leader, Sir Alan Budd, is to retire this summer. Mr Osborne said the new appointment would be made by "mid-August". – The Independent

> Yesterday in Parliament: Osborne's OBR pledge proves the new power of Select Committees

…as he rules out further changes to CGT

"Fund managers and estate agents expect to see increased investor activity following yesterday’s confirmation from George Osborne, chancellor, that the rates of capital gains tax (CGT) announced in last month’s emergency Budget will remain in place for the length of the parliament. In the Budget, the chancellor introduced a new higher CGT rate of 28 per cent for those paying higher-rate income tax, with immediate effect – but tax experts pointed out that a Treasury document said rates for 2011-12 would be “fixed” by the chancellor at the 2011 Budget." – FT (£)

Tories backbenchers rebel over insurance tax rise…

"In a fresh ambush by backbenchers, MPs warned that tax increase outlined in the Budget will lead to higher costs that will deter young motorists from getting cover. Former minister Christopher Chope, a leading light in the Tory 1922 Committee, said the rise in Insurance Premium Tax from 5 to 6 per cent could also result in fewer people taking out health insurance, increasing the burden on the NHS." – Daily Mail

…and the plan to delay an election if the Coalition collapses

"The Government faces a second Tory backbench revolt over plans to change the rules to delay a general election if the Liberal-Conservative coalition collapses. Senior Conservative MPs oppose a plan to give David Cameron or another senior politician 14 days to form a new administration if the Government is defeated in a Commons vote of confidence. They say the proposed breathing space would weaken the powers of the Queen and they want her to retain the right to decide when to call an election." – The Independent 

Zac Goldsmith insists his election expenses are entirely in order

Goldsmith-Zac-on-Sunday-AM "The Electoral Commission is considering allegations that
millionaire Tory MP Zac Goldsmith breached election spending rules when
he won his Commons seat in May… According to Channel 4 News, Mr
Goldsmith reduced the real cost of spending on campaign materials –
including 200 blue "I back Zac" jackets for his supporters – so that
his official returns remained below the legal limit of £11,003 in the
23 days up to polling day." – The Independent

"The returns that my agent submitted to the Electoral Commission are
scrupulous. Every single detail of them is correct. I have absolute
confidence in my agent." – Zac Goldsmith MP quoted by Sky News 

Crime is at its lowest since 1981, says survey

"Crime in England and Wales fell by 9% last year to its lowest level since comparable records began in 1981, according to official figures published today. The results of the 2010 British Crime Survey, which has estimated crime levels based on the experience of 45,000 households since 1981, showed it dipped below 10m offences. The continuing fall in crime in the 12 months to April this year, from a peak in 1995, is confirmed by figures showing crimes recorded by the police, which fell by 8% to 4.3m." – The Guardian

"Tory traditionalists said the latest crime figures were a vindication of the “prison works” approach, undermining Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke’s call for fewer offenders to be incarcerated." – Daily Express

Police could get power to do spot checks on homes of men convicted of domestic violence

Theresa May Home Secretary "Police could be given wide powers to carry out spot checks on the homes of men convicted of beating their partners, the Home Secretary revealed yesterday. Theresa May said she was looking to introduce a scheme tried in New York which has significantly reduced the incidence of domestic violence in the city.The threat of random visits by the police saw domestic violence murders fall by 64 per cent in five years because it gives abusers a sense of being watched." – Daily Mail

Cameron's battle with Facebook over Moat page ends, but war continues

"Downing Street was certainly delighted after David Cameron chatted by videolink to Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the social networking site Facebook… But the link-up with the pioneering site turned sour this week after the Prime Minister joined protests over the controversial Facebook page set up in tribute to the killer Raoul Moat." – The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameron's attack on Facebook was part of his nudge strategy

You may have to wait an extra five years for your free bus pass

"Millions of pensioners will have to wait an extra five years for a free bus pass under secret plans to cut their perks. Transport ministers plan to save money by quickly raising the age at which older people get free travel from 60 to 65. The Mail has learned that plans to bring in the change during the next couple of years will be submitted to the Treasury today as part of the Government's effort to make savings of up to 40 per cent in departmental spending." – Daily Mail

Hague: British diplomacy will prioritise business

William Hague square serious "William Hague said Thursday that the new coalition government would prioritise boosting British business through a diplomatic drive, and called for closer ties with Japan. "Our new government believes that British foreign policy needs to support the UK economy to a greater degree if we are to ensure our recovery and long-term growth," Hague said in a speech at the British embassy in Tokyo." – AFP

William Hague insists EU-US relationship is strong The Times (£)

Nick Clegg offers Labour deal on voting reform

"Nick Clegg yesterday reached out to Labour critics of plans to equalise the size of parliamentary constituencies when he announced measures to relax the rules governing the registration of voters." – The Guardian

Widow of murdered Garry Newlove takes seat in House of Lords

"Helen Newlove, who has been a forceful campaigner against anti-social behaviour since her husband's death in August 2007, wore the traditional ermine as she was introduced to the Upper House in a short ceremony." – Daily Telegraph

> WATCH: Garry Newlove's widow, Helen, takes her seat in the Lords as Conservative peer

Boris Johnson "embroiled in paternity riddle"

"Boris Johnson is at the centre of a riddle surrounding the paternity of a wealthy socialite's baby daughter. Helen Macintyre, 36, split from her long-term partner shortly after the baby was born last November when he discovered through a DNA test that he was not the father… The 36-year-old first met Mr Johnson when she was a student and he was a journalist. Their friendship was rekindled when he became Mayor and he invited her to be an unpaid fundraising adviser to the Olympics." – Daily Mail

NHS sets £1.7bn aside for reform

"The NHS in England has set aside nearly £1.7bn this year for reorganisation – more than seven times what it aims to save on management, the BBC has learnt. The fund – held back from the front line – will help pave the way for GPs to take over budgets from managers." – BBC

Isaac Getz: How to liberate the NHSWall Street Journal

Tessa Jowell offered place on board running Olympic GamesBBC

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31 comments for: Weblinks for Friday 16th July 2010

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