Published:

73 comments

8.15pm WATCH: Ed Miliband accuses the Government of taking the "N" out of the NHS

4.45pm WATCH: William Hague warns Libya, Yemen and Bahrain that the world will not ignore violence against demonstrators

Picture 13.15pm Parliament: Phillip Hollobone seeks assurances about the retention of traditional red pillar boxes

1.30pm WATCH: NO2AV's launch ad: 250 million reasons why the country can't afford the Alternative Vote

1.15pm Gazette: Ballot papers for National Conservative Convention election to be re-issued

11am Raheem Kassam on Comment: If you want to see what a Conservative conference should really look like, you should have been in Washington last week

ToryDiary: Andrew Lansley leads the way in showing that nudging trumps nannying

Marshall470
George Marshall in Comment: The Coalition may be "in the national interest" but one-party governments are far more accountable

Also in Comment: Andrea Leadsom MP: The benefits of onshore wind farms have been hugely exaggerated

Seats and Candidates: John Bell to fight Alyn and Deeside at the Welsh Assembly election

Local Government:

WATCH: Daniel Hannan MEP and Lord Falconer disagree over whether the UK should withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights

Cameron insists that taking opposite sides on AV referendum will not tear the Coalition apart…

Picture 6 "The Prime Minister and his Lib Dem Deputy, Nick Clegg, yesterday made back to back speeches from contrary points of view ahead of the forthcoming referendum on whether to adopt the alternative vote system for Westminster elections. It was the first time that the two party leaders had disagreed publicly on a major political issue since their parties went into Coalition together following the general election in May." – Daily Telegraph

…as doubt creeps in when voters are told what adopting AV will mean

"When voters are given an explanation of what the change will mean, which is not included in the question they will face in May, they are far less inclined to support the switch… In this case, 43 per cent say they prefer the existing system and 29 per cent say they want the change. This suggests that there is all to play for in the referendum campaign because asking the ballot question without any context or explanation appears misleading at this stage." – New Populus poll reported in The Times (£)

  • The Coalition will struggle to survive a 'No' vote – Andrew Grice in The Independent
  • Rival AV campaigns pledge to disclose their donors before referendum day – The Guardian
  • Questions over how Yes campaign's largest donor could cash in overhaul of system – Daily Mail

> Yesterday in ToryDiary: David Cameron warns that under AV Gordon Brown might still be Prime Minister today

> WATCH: Nick Clegg and David Cameron argue for and against changing the electoral system

Iain Duncan Smith talks to The Times about his welfare reform mission…

Iain Duncan Smith "The only reason I’m here right now is because I want to do these reforms,” he says. “I’ve passed the point where I am interested in being a Secretary of State. That has absolutely no cachet or thrill for me. But what has bothered me for years is that there is a growing group of people who don’t seem to play any part in society.” – Iain Duncan Smith interview in The Times (£)

…as Ken Clarke tells the FT about how he is helping cut the deficit with relish

“I enjoy being back,” he says. “First, I am contributing to cutting the deficit, about which I’m very keen. I’m totally supportive of George Osborne’s economic policy and was constantly urging it upon him before and after the election. We are trying to take 23 per cent out of the budget. I don’t recall any government that’s ever tried to make any spending reductions on law and order – let alone 23 per cent." – Ken Clarke interviewed in the FT (£)

  • Clarke nails colours to war on bribery – FT (£)

Councils have good reason to fear Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles cheerful "Mr Pickles knows exactly how to expose the fantasy world of local government, having been a council leader himself. He has, for example, declared war on the "town hall Pravda printing presses" that are destroying genuine local newspapers – thereby conveniently exempting local authorities from independent criticism… Mr Pickles has the inside knowledge to investigate. If that provokes more accusations of top-down interference, then so be it: most of the money spent by local government comes from the centre, and it is high time that Parliament interfered with the process of dribbling it away." – Daily Telegraph editorial

Even UKIP outspent the Tories in Oldham East and Saddleworth

"The Conservative's spent less than £40,000 on their campaign in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election last month, less than half as much as either Labour or the Liberal Democrats. Spending figures released by Oldham council support accusations that the Conservatives ran a low key campaign in the by-election in order to help their Lib Dem coalition colleagues." – Michael Crick of the BBC

"These figures show just how absurd it was for the Tories to claim that they were fighting a normal style by-election campaign." – James Forsyth of The Spectator

> Last night in Seats and Candidates: Conservatives spent £39,432 in Oldham, less than Lab £97,085, LDs £94,540, UKIP £43,855

Hague urges renewed Middle East talks

"Foreign Secretary William Hague has called on Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table after the US vetoed a draft United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the building of settlements on occupied land." – Press Association

Cameron's new backroom team aims to move story on from U-turns and cuts

Picture 19 "In the biggest shakeup of the No 10 operation since the general election, designed in part to move the government out of the "prism of cuts", two senior figures from the political and corporate worlds are being appointed to key roles. Andrew Cooper (pictured), a Tory arch-moderniser who was one of the first figures to persuade David Cameron of the need to "decontaminate" the Conservative brand a decade ago, will become head of political strategy. Paul Kirby, a partner at KPMG who was seconded to the Tories before the election to audit some of their plans for government, will be the civil service head of policy development at No 10." – The Guardian

> Last night's Gazette: Downing Street confirms Andrew Cooper as Director of Political Strategy

The Independent attacks Cameron for "populism" over attacks on ECHR

'If Mr Cameron doesn't like laws passed by our elected representatives, he should attempt to repeal them, rather than pick fights with judges.In using the ECHR as a means of expressing solidarity with his recalcitrant backbenchers and the populist press, Mr Cameron is elevating low politics above justice" – Independent editorial

  • If we want our human rights, then bring them back home – Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph

Chris Patten to be new BBC chairman

"Lord Patten of Barnes, the Tory grandee and last governor of Hong Kong, is to be appointed the new chairman of the BBC. A former chairman of the Conservative party, he has got the vital backing from David Cameron to take over from Sir Michael Lyons as head of the BBC Trust… Mr Cameron is likely to announce his backing for Mr Patten next week." – Daily Telegraph

Labour discuss an In/Out referendum on Europe

EU-FLAG "Labour will consider calling for a referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union, in its wide-ranging policy review. An "in or out" vote has traditionally been demanded by Conservative Eurosceptics, But some pro-Europe Labour figures, who believe the public would vote to stay in, are promoting the idea as a way of settling the question for a generation." – The Independent

Miliband claims protests over NHS cuts will dwarf outrage over forests

"Protests over the proposed reforms of the NHS will dwarf those which led the Government to perform a rapid about-turn over the sell-off of the forests, Ed Miliband, the Labour Leader, will say today." – Daily Telegraph

Other political news in brief

  • Gove to announce new mixed-race adoption guidelines – BBC
  • Osborne will open UK to scrutiny in effort to get G20 deal – Bloomberg
  • Fuel duty will be cut in remote rural areas – The Sun
  • MPs wasting taxpayers’ money bombarding expenses watchdog with ‘vexatious’ questions – Daily Telegraph
  • Tory Welsh Assembly Member denies starting campaign for leadership challenge – Western Mail
  • Cable's Murdoch gaffe cost the taxpayer £300,000 in departmental rejig – The Independent
  • Labour cheated pensioners out of £80 billion – Daily Express
  • Sam Cam, the anatomy of a model ambassador – The Times (£)
  • Sarah Brown gives pre-book serialisation interview – Daily Mail

And finally… Political bruiser Ken Clarke explains how he got his black eye

Picture 18 "He explained that he fell over while getting out of his car at Speakers Corner in the grounds of Parliament and hit his forehead on a step. The former chancellor, who has been an MP since 1970, said that his bruising was getting worse. "It's sort of spreading. It wasn't a black eye it was a lump on my forehead, but with blood seeping down or something… It's like a lot of these daft things, it was not a serious injury but it's turned into a lovely black eye in the course of the morning." – Daily Express

Email_subscribe Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit PoliticsHome.com for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

73 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 19th February 2011

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.