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7.30pm WATCH: Fraser Nelson and Polly Toynbee debate the tax changes that come into effect today

5.45pm John Bradley on Comment: What academics think about the Coalition so far

3.45pm WATCH: Nick Harvey, Defence Minister, and David Davis debate the defence review

Screen shot 2011-04-06 at 12.39.07 12.30pm Nick de Bois MP on Comment: NHS reform – let's press on and do the right thing

Noon: WATCH: Balls – some of these tax changes today were Labour changes

11.30am Two new Comment pieces:

10.30am ToryDiary: Cameron is right about Kashmir

ToryDiary: At the slightest of opportunities, the Telegraph, Mail, Sun and Express will kick Cameron

Ed Hall on Comment: Raising the income tax threshold is an assault on democracy

Local Government: Boris drives London forward
Screen shot 2011-04-06 at 05.23.59
On International, Tim Montgomerie asks if Paul Ryan's budget plan is the most ambitious ever conservative plan or a massive gamble that Republicans will live to regret.

Parliament: Whatever happened to justice for England? (Resumed)

ThinkTankCentral: Big Brother Watch condemns "truly shocking" local council bailiff figures

WATCH: The battle over proposals for a Camberley mosque 

Over Pakistan and interns, the Telegraph, Mail, Sun and Express turn their fire on the Government

1) Pakistan: Cameron attacks Pakistan's weak governance…

"David Cameron has made a sternly worded attack on the Pakistan government's performance, complaining that Islamabad lacks capacity, is responsible for too much waste, collects too little tax, and needs to tackle corruption.  The remarks came during Mr Cameron's first, and controversially brief, visit to Pakistan as Prime Minister. He was expected to spend at least two days in Islamabad, but reduced his visit to a mere 12 hours after a visit to Afghanistan." – The Independent

…But the Telegraph spashes on his claim that Britain's responsible for many world problems…

Screen shot 2011-04-06 at 06.25.22 His remarks came on a visit to Pakistan, when he was asked how Britain could help to end the row over Kashmir.  He insisted that it was not his place to intervene in the dispute, saying: “I don’t want to try to insert Britain in some leading role where, as with so many of the world’s problems, we are responsible for the issue in the first place.” – Daily Telegraph

…And the Sun and Express slam him for committing £650 million to Pakistan

"David Cameron has committed £650 million to educating Pakistani children, claiming that it is vital to Britain’s future.  He told his hosts that they would feel the anger of cash-strapped Britons unless they fought corruption, paid more tax and increased their education budget.  The size of his aid gift, making it Britain’s largest overseas education programme, was the centrepiece of a one-day visit to Pakistan to mark an “unbreakable” relationship." – The Times (£)

  • "But with living costs going up so sharply, expecting millions of working people to get by with less take-home pay is asking a lot.  So to hear that the Government has been able to find another £650million in aid for Pakistan adds insult to injury." – Daily Express Editorial
  • "When funds are so tight, the Prime Minister should put Britain's military first." – Sun Editorial

Other Pakistan visit news and comment –

  • NAO slams overseas aid corruption – Daily Express
  • Pakistani-origin community in Britain supports "20% of Pakistan's economy" – Frontier Post

2) Social mobility: Clegg is embarrassed…

Screen shot 2011-04-06 at 06.25.41 "As he unveiled a drive to improve social mobility, it emerged his millionaire father had secured him the internship that launched his career and a titled family friend helped get him his first proper job.  The LibDem leader was also forced to make a humiliating apology for employing unpaid interns in his own office, while criticising the practice in public." – Daily Mail

  • Clegg's unpaid intern says pay reform long overdue – BBC

…Conservative MPs complain…

"Conservative MPs turned on Nick Clegg last night after his plan to stop wealthy families securing plum internships for their children backfired…One Tory MP said: “This is a soft and silly policy that most will find immensely patronising coming from an upper-middle-class man.”  Another said: “Cameron and Clegg have had a long time in Opposition to think about doing something on social mobility. Does their thinking really amount to ordering their MPs to stop giving opportunities to interns?” " – The Times (£)

…And a media hunt for unpaid interns begins

 "Eight coalition MPs and three constituency parties were advertising for unpaid interns as Clegg announced the policy.  The website working4anMP currently lists unpaid intern vacancies with the Conservative MPs Aidan Burley, David Davis, David Amess, Mark Menzies and Dominic Raab, and the West Thurrock constituency Conservative party. Lib Dem MPs advertising for an unpaid intern included David Ward and John Leech, along with the Bristol and Lewes constituency Lib Dem parties." – The Guardian

Screen shot 2011-04-06 at 06.26.24 Intern comment –

Lord Young opposes Clegg on paternity leave – Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday's ConHome coverage:

Clegg enters Letwin Sheffield cheap holidays row

"Nick Clegg issued a stark warning to David Cameron’s top policy guru over his apparent remarks that the government should do nothing to help ordinary people in Sheffield take holidays.  The Deputy Prime Minister, who is MP for Sheffield Hallam, spoke out after Mr Letwin reportedly told Boris Johnson about not wanting more families in the city to be able to afford cheap holidays.  'I suggest to him that he probably wants to tread with care when he comes to visit a city that I love,' Mr Clegg told Sky News." – Daily Mail

LETWIN OLIVER 2 "Oliver Letwin is said to have made the remarks in a row with London Mayor Boris Johnson about new airports, and the increase in airport taxes.Mr Letwin, the Prime Minister’s key policy adviser, allegedly told Mr Johnson: “We don’t want more people from Sheffield flying away on cheap holidays.”  Mr Johnson, who has been pushing for a new airport in the Thames estuary, said he was shocked by the remark but declined to identify the minister when he recounted what had happened at the meeting last month." – Daily Telegraph

Yesterday: WATCH – Oliver Letwin is doorstepped over claims that he said people from Sheffield shouldn't fly abroad for cheap holidays

Returned from Pakistan, Prime Minister to launch NHS review today with Clegg…

"David Cameron and Nick Clegg will [today] launch a two-month review of the coalition’s health reforms, a process that could lead to a “substantive” rewrite of the plans and new controls on the private sector’s involvement in the NHS.  Mr Clegg, deputy prime minister, said there were “legitimate concerns” about the role of the private sector under the shake-up and admitted that key elements might not be ready to roll out in April 2013 as planned." – Financial Times (£)

…Who said yesterday that the Government will tear up the 2013 PCT deadline (Does Lansley agree?)

"The Deputy Prime Minister would only say that he agreed with the “basic ideas” of the unpopular Health and Social Care Bill and added that the Government must now “get the details right”…He also said there should be “nothing doctrinaire” about the point at which GP groups start commissioning, and that those not ready by April 2013 would not be given the new powers. This point has been made by the chief executive of the NHS, Sir David Nicholson." – Daily Telegraph

  • The five changes the Liberal Democrats want to Andrew Lansley's health bill – Andrew Grice, The Independent

Mark Harper "disappointed" by AV Yes campaign leaflet

Screen shot 2011-04-06 at 07.59.59 "A leaflet urging the public to vote Yes in next month’s referendum on electoral reform has been criticised as misleading by the minister who took the legislation through Parliament.  As a poll suggested the campaign against a shift to the alternative vote has taken a lead, Cabinet Office minister Mark Harper attacked a ‘Yes to Fairer Votes’ mailshot.  But many voters think the mailshot is actually an official document inviting them to apply for a postal ballot." – Daily Mail

Pickles warns that councils risk health hazards by charging to tip rubbish

"At least one waste authority, Somerset Waste Partnership, has already begun charging to use its tips, demanding £1.20 a time to visit local dumps…Mr Pickles warned that those authorities which did introduce charges at tips may be breaching the law. He said: “These tip taxes are utterly counterproductive. “Charging for using the local dump will create perverse incentives for fly-tipping, harming the local environment and diverting taxpayers’ money to clean up the mess." – Daily Telegraph

Coalition and Political News in Brief

Huhne says petrol prices need "a reality check"…

HuhneSnarl "Petrol prices returned to record highs yesterday, less than two weeks after the Government pledged to alleviate the pain of motorists and cut fuel duty.  Motoring organisations called for a global meeting of energy ministers to address a surge on international oil markets which took the sterling price of crude to its highest ever level.  Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said that market prices had lost sight of the real world." – The Times (£)

…As UK nuclear plans on hold after Fukushima

"The government's plans to build a new programme of nuclear power stations in England will be delayed by at least three months so that lessons can be learned from the accident at Fukushima in Japan.  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA), which are jointly assessing the safety of proposed reactor designs, have said this year's deadline for completing the assessments will now not be met." – The Guardian

Universities that charge top fees may lose places

"Universities that set tuition fees at or near £9,000 will be threatened with cuts in their student numbers today…Vince Cable will tell university principals he is ready to strip them of future allocations of student places if they are unable to fill courses next year.  Surplus places are likely to be offered to popular universities with heavily oversubscribed courses or with lower fees, or to private universities and further education colleges that teach degrees at a more competitive price." – The Times

The Times's recommendations for a Cabinet reshuffle

Screen shot 2011-04-06 at 08.57.05 "Andrew Lansley has lost the political argument at Health. Since he was caught speaking out of turn, Vince Cable’s future at Business has been in doubt; a move to Health could suit him well…Nick Herbert is proving impressive as Minister of State at the Home Office, as is Greg Clark at Communities…Distinguished politicians such as Stephen Dorrell, Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon and Sir Malcolm Rifkind still have a lot to offer." – Times Editorial

Other Comment

  • We may have a Tory PM – but Lefties and luvvies still run Britain – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Cameron should listen to Vernon Bogdanor on the constitution – Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph
  • What my husband is reading – Sarah Vine, (aka. Mrs Michael Gove) The Times (£)

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78 comments for: Newslinks for Wednesday 6th April 2011

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