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6.45pm ToryDiary: High Speed Rail route set to cause constituency headaches for ministers

2.45pm LeftWatch: Labour's Shadow Justice Secretary accuses David Cameron of "writing propaganda for the English Defence League"

2pm LeftWatch: Ed Miliband sets the world record for the fastest U-turn (or rather the fastest admission of a blatant lie)

12.15pm Carl Thomson on Comment: Apologists for Saakashvili are doing more to undermine democracy in Georgia than Russia could ever hope to achieve

Picture 811.45pm WATCH: David Cameron attacks the failed "doctrine of state multiculturalism" at the Munich Security Conference

ToryDiary: David Cameron sends a message to Westminster and Whitehall: treat extremists like racists.  Now he must make it happen.

Comment:

Seats and Candidates: Dan Boucher selected to fight Swansea East at the Welsh Assembly election

Parliament: Anna Soubry calls for the anonymity of anyone arrested for a crime to be protected

Local Government:

WATCH: William Hague says changing the Egyptian constitution is more important than simply saying "Mubarak must go"

How the papers are previewing David Cameron's speech on extremism and multiculturalism

"David Cameron launches a devastating attack today on 30 years of multiculturalism in Britain, warning it is fostering extremist ideology and directly contributing to home-grown Islamic terrorism." – The Independent

"His landmark speech, the first of his premiership on extremism, marks a significant shift in the Government’s dealings with Muslim groups and is guaranteed to spark controversy." – The Times (£)

"David Cameron will today signal a sea-change in the government fight against home-grown terrorism, saying the state must confront, and not consort with, the non-violent Muslim groups that are ambiguous about British values." – The Guardian

"The true boldness of Mr Cameron’s message lies in his view that non-violent extremism is an entry-chamber for terrorism itself." – Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph

Cameron urges backbenchers to oppose votes for prisoners next week

Prisoners votes "David Cameron last night urged backbench MPs to vote against the Government’s controversial plan to let prisoners vote in Westminster elections. In a highly unusual move, the Prime Minister said a huge Commons backlash would send a firm message to European judges about the depth of anger in ­Britain. Mr Cameron also said he was “waterboarding” Government lawyers to come up with proposals to ensure “the minimum possible” number of prisoners got the vote. But he admitted he and other Government ministers would abstain in the vote on a motion opposing the move on Thursday." – Daily Express

> Thursday in Parliament: Tory PPSs will get a free vote on votes for prisoners next week

Tory ministers on charm offensive to prevent MP mutiny

"Tory ministers are being ordered to listen to their MPs more as David Cameron tries to prevent rising backbench discontent from turning into a mutiny. Amid fears that the Prime Minister has lost touch with his grass roots over issues such as the sell-off of forests, Downing Street has told ministers to leave their Whitehall desks and appear regularly before committees of Tory MPs… Mr Cameron’s aides insist that he is aware of backbench grumblings, but is responding. He had dinner on Thursday in Downing Street with eight MPs, the latest in a series of sessions to reach out to backbenchers. He has also increased his casual availability to Tory MPs by making more visits to the tea room in the Commons." – The Times (£)

William Hague reveals that the Foreign Office has come under cyber-attack

William Hague 2011 "Foreign Secretary William Hague has appealed for governments to come together to agree a set of rules amid growing fears of "cyber war" between states. Addressing the Munich Security Conference, Mr Hague disclosed that as recently as last month the UK had come under attack from a "hostile state intelligence agency" seeking to penetrate the Foreign Office IT system. He offered to host an international conference in Britain later this year to discuss "norms of acceptable behaviour" in cyberspace, backed by mechanisms that would give them "real political and diplomatic weight". – Press Association

George Osborne hits back in row over petrol prices

"Chancellor George Osborne has refused to take the blame for rising petrol prices – rejecting claims by world oil producers that taxes were responsible. Mr Osborne said drivers in the UK were "paying the price" for mounting oil prices and Downing Street said "non-tax factors" were mostly driving the cost at the pump." – The Independent

Government set to make vetting scheme less draconian

"An anti-paedophile vetting scheme that would have involved nine million adults will be ripped up next week in a major reworking of how background checks are conducted, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. Labour’s much criticised Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) will no longer go ahead, with the vetting of individuals “very significantly” curtailed. Only those in sensitive posts or who have intensive contact with children or vulnerable people will need to be cleared and undergo criminal record checks." – Daily Telegraph

Tax rise? The middle class won't notice it, says Clegg

Nick Clegg 2011 "Nick Clegg has invited the wrath of 3million middle-class families being forced into the higher-rate tax band. He claimed yesterday that they would ‘barely notice’ the impact on their living standards. The Deputy Prime Minister admitted that to pay for Liberal Democrat manifesto promises to the low-paid, millions more workers will be pushed into paying 40 per cent income tax over the life of this parliament." – Daily Mail

David Cameron reprimands Baroness Ashton at EU summit over Egypt

"David Cameron has reprimanded Baroness Ashton at a European Union summit, saying she was too soft on "state-sponsored violence" against Egyptian protesters. The dressing down in front of a room filled with Europe's leaders was the Prime Minister's first open criticism of Lady Ashton since the Labour peer became EU foreign minister just over a year ago." – Daily Telegraph

  • Britain's foreign policy needs to be made clear on Egypt – Telegraph editorial

Timothy Kirkhope raises security fears after raid at European Parliament

KIRKHOPE-Timothy "Two men staged an armed raid at the European Parliament just a few hundred yards from the Brussels summit venue where David Cameron was holding talks with other EU leaders on Friday… Timothy Kirkhope, a senior Conservative MEP, complained at the raid and getaway at an institution with an annual budget of £1 billion and hundreds of security guards. "We have become increasingly concerned about people in the parliament just wandering around. We have no idea who they are and what they are here for," he said. "It's about time something was done. This time is was a hold-up but how long before someone walks in with a bomb?" – Daily Telegraph

House of Lords set for new clash over AV Bill

"The government is heading for a renewed confrontation with Labour in the House of Lords next week amid signs that ministers will reject a fresh compromise on a key constitutional reform bill. Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the former lord chancellor, told the Guardian tonight that Labour was prepared to jeopardise the planned referendum on electoral reform by holding up the bill." – The Guardian

Cerebral palsy sufferer Paul Maynard reveals that Labour MPs have mocked him about his disability

Paul Maynard Commons "In an interview with The Times, Paul Maynard, the Conservative MP for Blackpool North & Cleveleys, described an incident in which some Labour MPs made faces, stretching their cheeks up and down as he spoke. It appeared to be an attempt to mimic him… A Labour MP who was present at the debate, on the abolition of the Child Trust Fund, confirmed that the abuse had taken place. Speaking on condition of anonymity, she described a “handful” of colleagues mocking Mr Maynard by making faces, adding that it was “utterly unacceptable” and that many politicians on the Labour benches were muttering in disgust." – The Times (£)

Other Coalition news in brief

  • Ministers consider ditching May Day for an autumn bank holiday – The Sun
  • Lord Wei: How my government job left me almost penniless and unable to support my family – Yesterday's Evening Standard
  • More ministers benefiting from blind trusts – The Guardian
  • Authors hold library "read-ins" over cuts – Daily Express

Peter Oborne: The Big Society agenda has lost momentum. If it collapses, Cameron does too

OBORNE "Is David Cameron’s signature plan to build the Big Society on the verge of collapse less than a year after he has taken power? If so, it would be a crushing blow to the Conservative Prime Minister. It could even signal the beginning of the end of his premiership. This is because Cameron’s Big Society goes right to the heart of everything he believes about government. It defines him as a man and a politician. Without the Big Society, he is rudderless… The big problem with Cameron’s idea is that it requires time. It means changing the culture of schools, hospitals, local government and the British people themselves. This will not take place overnight. The Big Society could not truly take root for a generation." – Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph

Other Comment

  • The Big Society will never be built on the cheap – Independent editorial
  • Matthew Parris: Your guide to fighting those wicked Tory cuts – The Times (£)
  • John Redwood MP: Why cuts can be expensive – John Redwood's Diary
  • Quentin Letts: Is there a bigger hypocrite than Peter Mandelson? – Daily Mail

Four years after near-meltdown of banking system, Ed Miliband finally says sorry for Labour's role in the crisis

Ed Miliband on Marr "Ed Miliband finally apologised yesterday for Labour’s failure to regulate the banks properly ahead of the financial crash. The new leader – who worked closely with Gordon Brown at the Treasury for years – said he was sorry for the loss of jobs, the near- collapse of Northern Rock and nationalisation of the bank. The move will put pressure on his Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls to do the same, particularly as he worked alongside Mr Brown on regulation first as an adviser and then as a Treasury minister ahead of the near-meltdown of the banking system." – Daily Mail

The Tory fundraiser being kept hush hush

"Even though all the Tory members of the Cabinet are expected to attend the Conservative Black & White Party on Monday with the party’s richest benefactors and a smattering of celebrities, there is not a word about it on the party website. Wary of accusations that such an expensive knees-up will look bad when the rest of the country is suffering deep government cuts, and that it contradicts ministers’ claims that ‘we are all in this together’, they fear any publicity could be very damaging." – Daily Mail

And finally…  Boris had to be rescued by boat after being swept to sea last year

Johnson Boris Ruffling Hair "Boris Johnson was left humiliated after he had to be rescued while swimming in the sea at a luxury resort. The gaffe-prone Tory was taking a morning dip with wife Marina when he was swept away by powerful currents off a private island near Tanzania. Worried staff were so concerned they sent out a boat to fetch him… Mayor of London Boris went to the island retreat for the family holiday at the Lazy Lagoon in the Zanzibar channel last year." – Daily Mirror

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71 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 5th February 2011

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