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CAMERON SPEAKING 9pm ToryDiary: If Cameron can convince on the NHS and crime he is on the road to a majority, says mega poll of 10,000 voters

5.15pm Sarah Ingham on Comment: Is writing the military covenant into law a mistake?

12.15pm WATCH: Daniel Hannan: Bailout madness

ToryDiary: Why the Government is missing deadlines

Kevin Davis, who fought David Laws at the last election, asks on Comment: When will the voters get to judge David Laws?

Local Government: Another free school planned for Newham

WATCH: Gaddafi vows to fight on

Military covenant to be made law

Cameron-and-troops
"David Cameron will unveil the move next week in an attempt to defuse anger over the treatment of Britain’s soldiers, sailors and airmen.  It had been feared that the Prime Minister was backing away from a pledge to give the Armed Forces “a new military covenant that’s written into the law of the land”. However, a defence minister told The Daily Telegraph that the Government’s plans, to be announced in the House of Commons on Monday, would put the covenant “on a statutory basis for the first time”." – Daily Telegraph

Osborne and Clegg clash on benefit cap

"Nick Clegg and George Osborne are locked in a battle over whether to set a £26,000 cap for the total benefits that can be paid to each family, igniting fresh tensions in the coalition.  The deputy prime minister supports the government’s welfare shake-up but fears the cap could have a heavy impact on large families, particularly those living in expensive areas such as London.    But Mr Osborne, chancellor, insists that the cap is needed to protect the taxpayer from excessive welfare payments and has no intention of backing down." – Financial Times (£)

Climate watchdog’s emission targets to be rejected by ministers

"The Government is planning to reject recommendations on cutting carbon emissions in a move that will infuriate environmentalists.  It will be the first time that advice on emissions targets from the Committee on Climate Change, a government watchdog, has been rejected since it was established three years ago.  The decision will undermine David Cameron’s pledge to lead the “greenest government ever”, made a year ago today." – The Times (£)

Has David Cameron the eco-warrior lost his way? – Geoffrey Lean, Daily Telegraph

Pickles flies in the face of EU flag rule…

Eric Pickles and Queen
"The EU will come under renewed attack today from the Government for forcing public buildings in Britain to fly the European flag.  The edict reveals “a deep sense of insecurity” in Brussels, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will say.  He will also announce a review of the red tape and cost involved in getting permission to fly certain flags in Britain…Mr Pickles’s department has been required to fly the blue and gold European flag during the past seven days to mark Europe Week." – Daily Express

…And today's Rally against Debt will fight Eurozone aid

"A national petition against using British taxpayers’ money to bail out eurozone countries will be launched today.  It will be unveiled at a Rally Against Debt being held at Westminster and comes as hopes rose that British taxpayers will not be dragged into a new Greek rescue package.  Chancellor George Osborne has said he cannot extract Britain from an EU-wide mechanism set up to support countries like Portugal until 2013 because Alistair Darling signed up to it last May in his final act as Labour Chancellor." – Daily Express

Germany powers eurozone growthFinancial Times (£)

EU and Europe Comment:

Academies to offer teachers private medical care

Gove pointing "Teachers at academies are being given private medical care and the chance to enrol on courses at Oxford and Harvard universities, the education secretary said today. Speaking at an education conference in Berkshire, Michael Gove listed the perks that some academies offer in a bid to win more teachers, and to entice more state and private schools to turn into academies. The conference, held at Wellington College independent school, is for schools that want to work with academies and academies themselves." – The Guardian

Review chief brands Lansley plans unworkable

"The senior doctor called in by David Cameron to review the government's health reforms has dismissed them as unworkable and "destabilising" in provisional conclusions that could fatally undermine the plans. Prof Steve Field, chairman of the NHS Future Forum – set up last month to undertake the coalition's "listening exercise" – flatly rejects the health secretary's plan to compel hospitals to compete for patients and income, which he says could "destroy key services". – The Guardian

Hague condemns Pakistan terror attack

"William Hague, the foreign secretary, also pledged support for Islamabad after the blasts in Shabqadar, northwest Pakistan, which killed at least 80 people and injured 140, the deadliest attack since the death of the al-Qaeda leader. "These attacks were cowardly and indiscriminate, killing many innocent bystanders and targeting those who serve to protect Pakistan," he said. "They prove once again that such extremist groups have no regard for the value of human life." – Daily Telegraph

Cameron accused of meddling in Madeleine McCann investigation

"David Cameron was yesterday accused of meddling in police operations after he asked Scotland Yard to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.  Labour peer Toby Harris, a senior member of the Metropolitan Police Authority – the body which governs Britain’s biggest force – accused the Prime Minister of undermining the operational independence of police.  He said Mr Cameron’s intervention ‘drives a coach and horses’ through rules meant to protect police from political interference." – Daily Mail

Coalition and Political News in Brief

  • Arms plot sparks alert over Queen’s Ireland visit – The Times (£)
  • Delayed aircraft carrier will lack jets for three years – The Guardian
  • Royal Mail set for new taxpayer cash injection – Daily Telegraph
  • Mystery of the helicopter that landed at scene of Dr Kelly's death after his body was found – Daily Mail
  • Appeal court orders search of Galloway's charity papers – The Independent
  • Henry Kissinger interview – The Times (£)
  • Super summer to last for months – Daily Express

Miliband clash with Scottish Labour MPs over new Holyrood leader

Screen shot 2010-09-30 at 08.47.01 "Labour leader Ed Miliband has been warned his Scottish MPs should have no say in who becomes the party’s new leader at Holyrood.  The brewing clash between the London leadership and Scotland arose after former First Minister Jack McConnell and Scottish Politician of the Year Hugh Henry both criticised the electoral system which aided Iain Gray’s appointment and which, because of their numbers, gives MPs more influence than MSPs." – Herald Scotland

Let Scotland go, and good riddance – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Next election is ours, says Miliband's "Blue Labour" guruThe Times (£)

Big shots call for "new Labour army"The Independent

Released Illsley says he's scapegoat for expenses scandal

"A former Labour MP jailed for one year over the expenses scandal was back home yesterday after serving just three months…Yesterday he was unapologetic, saying many other MPs had abused the expenses system with little or no punishment.   He said: ‘I’ve done no different from a lot of other MPs who are simply keeping their heads down and carrying on with their careers and are quite happy to see me be a scapegoat…nobody is going to say a dickie bird about their situation.’ – Daily Mail

"When Illsley was banged up for a year, taxpayers thought he got what he deserved.  Yet he's served only weeks inside. It's farcical.  Still, if Ken Clarke had his way, Illsley would probably NEVER have gone to jail." – Sun Editorial

Government to sell off vintage wine

"Vintage wines in Britain's state cellars are to be sold off to raise cash.  The fine tipples – some worth £10,000 a bottle – have been set aside for foreign diplomats at official functions for decades.  But a review of the Foreign Office-run cellar ordered that no extra money be spent on wine during this Parliament.  New bottles will be paid for by a "targeted sale of high-value stock" – set to raise £50,000 a year." – The Sun

A year on, The Times speaks to new MPs about their experience of WestminsterThe Times (£)

National Union of Mineworkers takes legal action to evict Arthur Scargill from his £1.5m luxury apartment which costs them £34,000 per year

SCARGILL "The retired union chief, who was defeated by Margaret Thatcher in the miners’ strike of 1984 and 1985, claims his members have to fund his pied a terre until he dies.   But the union disagrees and is taking legal action to remove the perk.  The spacious three-bedroom flat, in the fashionable Barbican centre, costs the NUM £34,000 a year in rent and bills, and was first provided for Mr Scargill, 73, in 1982, when he regularly had to visit the capital." – Daily Mail

What started as a better way to pay for universities is now a mess

"In the heat of battle, the Government seems to have forgotten the point of what it is doing. The original Tory idea would have been enthusiastically backed by the good universities. It would have sold itself as providing freedom, higher quality and a secure financial future. Now that argument is not being made. Instead, because of Liberal Democrat sensitivities, loans are being presented as a tax on the rich to pay for social mobility. Everyone, whatever their politics, can see that this is not a good way of achieving the desired effects. So absolutely everyone is cross." – Chales Moore, Daily Telegraph

Other Comment

  • Falling despot doesn’t mean rising democracy – Matthew Parris, The Times (£)
  • Ten reasons Boris Johnson and David Cameron don't agree – The Guardian
  • Progressive majority may find its voice despite AV disaster – Andrew Grice, The Independent
  • Is a political blog with 60 authors an attractive proposition? – Financial Times (£)

And finally…A nose for avoiding restrictions?  Miliband, "surgery for snoring", a deviated septum and sleep apnoea.

"Ed Miliband was keen to make clear that his forthcoming nose operation would be carried out on the NHS, but it has raised eyebrows among his fellow north London residents.  They point out that the Labour leader’s local health authority introduced restrictions on so-called “low-priority treatments” earlier this year.  Blacklisted treatments include “surgery for snoring” and “correcting deviated septum”.  Miliband announced last month that he had been diagnosed with “sleep apnoea made worse by a deviated septum”…Miliband’s spokesman insists that the new restrictions do not affect him because the operation is to cure his sleep apnoea, which is “always treatable on the NHS”." – Daily Telegraph

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93 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 14th May 2011

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