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5.30pm Parliament: Senior Tory peers line up to sound sceptical notes about Nick Clegg's proposals for an elected second chamber

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5.15pm WATCH: Tracey Crouch's football agony – why she's barred from playing for the Parliamentary football team now that she's an MP ("You don't need to be big and burly to play football well.")

5pm Local Government: Christchurch Borough Council becomes Lib Dem free zone

3pm Ed Hall on Comment argues that a Big Beast is needed to fight for the Government on the airwaves.  The lost art of spinning

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2pm John Baron MP on Comment: A £2.2million reprieve for the BBC World Service does not reverse short-sighted cuts to our soft power capability

Screen shot 2011-06-22 at 14.00.40 1.15pm ToryDiary: At PMQs, Miliband is finding a gambit that works

Noon ConHomeUSA: Today's Republican and American political news

11.30am Local Government: Cornish nationalist defects to Conservatives

11am ToryDiary: Oops! FCO website announces "Massive U-Turn" on World Service funding

10.30am Steve Baker MP on Comment: It's time for flat taxes

ToryDiary: Telegraph campaigns for U-turn on defence spending

Comment: David Rutley MP: One year on – Why the Emergency Budget will be remembered as a “game changer”

Also on Comment: Robert Halfon MP: Today marks the first step towards giving apprentices similar rights and benefits to students

Local Government: Labour election candidate avoids Party label

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Parliament: The Government can't say how many non-British EU nationals claim benefits here – or even define what makes them eligible to claim them in the first place

WATCH: Riots rage in Northern Ireland

Callanan defies Cameron over greenhouse gas targets

Screen shot 2011-06-22 at 05.25.49 "Tomorrow the European parliament will vote on whether to toughen the EU's emissions-cutting target from 20% reductions by 2020, compared with 1990 levels, to a 30% cut. The commitment to a 30% cut is in the coalition agreement, and has won support from other member states.  But British Conservative MEPs said they would vote to oppose the 30% cut. The leader of the UK Conservative delegation, Martin Callanan, said: "Conservative MEPs have always been sceptical of the EU unilaterally increasing its target to 30% without a worldwide agreement … European companies will be unable to compete if the reduction targets are set too high." – The Guardian

Does anyone listen to Nick Clegg any more?

1) He presents himself as the man who can persuade the unions not to strike…

"The Deputy Prime Minister said he will act as a “peacemaker” to try to stop Britain grinding to a halt in a wave of national strikes due to start next week.  The comments, made during a trade visit to Brazil, are likely to increase the tension between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats….Asked if he was worried that Conservative members of the Coalition were being too aggressive over the talks with the unions, Mr Clegg suggested some were “bristling for a fight”." – Daily Telegraph 

2) …But has failed to talk Labour peers round to his plans for reform

"Nick Clegg's plans to create an elected House of Lords suffered a big setback last night when Labour vowed to oppose the shake-up and peers from all parties lined up to attack it.  Labour was accused of playing politics as it rejected Liberal Democrat pleas to set aside the differences between the two parties to force through Mr Clegg's proposal for the first elected peers to be chosen in 2015." – The Independent 

3) And Clarke's original prison plans?  They were "not our policy"…

"The deputy Prime Minister also disclosed how he had taken personal charge of the policy about-turn by agreeing it with David Cameron on two meetings over the weekend and on Monday.  Sources close to the Liberal Democrat leader said the party had never backed the policy: "It was not in the manifesto, it was not in the coalition agreement. It was not our policy – it was badly sold from the beginning"." – Daily Telegraph 

4) …But some LibDem MPs think that they should be

"Mr Clarke, the Government’s most experienced minister, was fighting for political survival last night, with crime victims calling for his dismissal from the Cabinet.  He denied conducting an about-turn, saying he had been “impressed” by proposals to cut sentences for those pleading guilty early, but that the scheme was not workable.  Within hours of the announcement, senior Liberal Democrats were expressing their opposition, with a justice minister saying judges should be left to exercise “discretion”." – Daily Telegraph 

As Cameron proclaims that willingness to change policy is a sign of strength, Clarke's new crime plans get an enthusiastic reception from the Mail and Express

Screen shot 2011-06-22 at 05.29.33 "At a rare No 10 press conference, he fended off suggestions that his government was looking weak due to repeated policy U-turns. He argued that a willingness to listen and change policy was a sign of strength, an assertion backed by Downing Street's own polling.  Cameron went out of his way to praise Clarke's stewardship of the Ministry of Justice and Clarke brushed aside questions about his future, saying: "I have been on probation for the last few decades, and I am just about getting the hang of it." – The Guardian

"They will now be allowed to use reasonable force if they perceive a threat to their property. Previously they could act only when they feared for their lives.  The surprise proposal is a response to public outrage over cases such as that of Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who shot a burglar dead, and Munir Hussain, who chased and beat a man who had held his family at knifepoint." – Daily Mail 

…But the Sun says the jury's still out on Clarke's proposals

"Take knife crime. It's welcome to learn that those threatening someone with a knife will be jailed.  But in the Tory manifesto we were promised that anyone even carrying a knife would go inside. What happened to that pledge? – The Sun

Screen shot 2011-06-22 at 05.29.20 "Cameron gets the same effect with U-turns. Every time he changes his mind – on the NHS, forestry, waste collections, and yesterday on sentencing policy – he gets stronger." – Simon Hoggart, The Guardian

> Yesterday's ConservativeHome Cameron-and-Clarke U-turn coverage:

May's borrowing is less than last year's, but record deficit for year to date

"Public sector borrowing, stripping out the effects of bailing out the banks, came in at £17.4bn for May, £1.1bn less than that seen 12 months earlier, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  However, the fall in borrowing could not fully offset the impact of the disappointing April, leaving the deficit for the financial year to date at £27.4bn, a record for the period as the Government borrowed £1.5bn more than a year ago." – Daily Telegraph

"So far this year, spending is still rising, the deficit is increasing and the national debt is soaring. The good news is that this miserable situation will probably start to improve over the next few months. But until we actually see better numbers, it will remain too early to declare Britain back on the path to fiscal sanity." – Allister Heath, City A.M

Another day, another brass hat: Chief of General Staff suggests Afghanistan timetable could slip

"Just 24 hours after the Prime Minister rebuked military chiefs for publicly criticising the Government,General Sir Peter Wall, the Chief of the General Staff, suggests in a television programme that Mr Cameron’s 2015 “deadline” to end combat operations could slip.  Mr Cameron had angrily told RAF and Navy chiefs who questioned the mission in Libya: “You do the fighting, I’ll do the talking.” – Daily Telegraph

Arab League Chairman says he has second thoughts about Libya campaign – Daily Telegraph 

Dave Spart, sorry Prentis, lashes Cameron's fascist junta

Screen shot 2011-06-22 at 07.54.17"Prentis accused David Cameron of defending the interests of "fat cat bankers" and sacrificing low-paid public-sector workers. But he also fiercely attacked the Labour party, threatening to withdraw support unless the party backed the union campaign.  He said of the government's action on public services: "They're cutting further now than Thatcher dared. For them it's unfinished business. They've declared war on our public services – with Tory donors, City firms, hedge funders back in the heart of government." – The Guardian

Yesterday LeftWatch: Introducing… the Arthur Scargill of 2011… Dave Prentis of Unison

Boost for "Big Society" care reform

"David Cameron's "Big Society" welfare reforms have been given a boost from a major survey of social care users.  The new poll of 2,000 people either receiving care, or family looking after them, showed the vast majority supported the scheme where local authorities give cash direct to users to choose their own care services, rather than having the local authority decide for them." – Press Association

Gove fury over "unacceptable" exam blunders

"The Education Secretary ordered the qualifications watchdog to intervene after tens of thousands of pupils taking Latin, maths and physics papers were presented with impossible questions or printing mistakes.  It is believed at least nine tests have now been affected by errors this summer, sparking claims from head teachers that the credibility of the exams system is under threat…On Tuesday, one board at the centre of a series of blunders issued a fresh apology and pledged to sack staff responsible." – Daily Telegraph

GCSE target is unrealistic – Anne Widdecombe, Daily Express 

Dominic Raab Government urged to renegotiate extradition deals with US and EUThe Guardian

Stop condemning Britons to sham justice abroad – Dominic Raab MP, The Times (£)

Quango chiefs take payoffs of up to £275,000

Thousands of bureaucrats made redundant as part of the ‘bonfire of the quangos’ are walking away with tax-free payoffs of almost £26,500 each, a Daily Mail investigation has found.  Nine have already been handed payments of more than £200,000 and one has been given £275,400.  The closure of dozens of public bodies has already cost taxpayers almost £70million in redundancy payments." – Daily Mail

What became of that bonfire of the quangos? – Daily Mail Comment 

Cable launches stock markets reviewFinancial Times (£) 

Coalition and Political News in Brief

  • Billions in overseas aid 'puts people off giving cash to charity' – Daily Mail
  • Warsi and the Archbishop of Canterbury meet the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Conference – Pakistan Times
  • Essex teenager linked to wave of global hacking – The Times (£)
  • Benefits of new high-speed rail "uncertain", MPs are told – The Independent
  • Photographer shot in Belfast riot – Belfast Telegraph

Greek Prime Minister wins vote of confidence

"Mr Papandreou reshuffled his team on Friday to fend off a revolt by a growing number of MPs from within his ruling Socialist group and after opposition parties rejected a call for a national unity government. He scraped through with a majority of 12 and has two weeks to pass the austerity package demanded by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. All the Socialist MPs backed the Cabinet." – The Times (£)

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German tabloid Bild lashes out over Greek banner calling Merkel and Sarkozy "Nazis": "We pay – still we are abused!" The Guardian

Greece comment

  • Why Britain won't have to cough up to fund Greece through the ESFM – Wintour and Watt, The Guardian
  • The eurozone must help Greece, not ditch it – Alistair Darling, The Times (£)
  • Bring down the curtain on this Greek tragedy – Andrew Alexander, Daily Mail
  • Time for common sense on Greece – Martin Woolf, Financial Times (£)
  • Greeks bearing debts – Graeme Archer, New Statesman

> Yesterday: Parliament – Conservative MPs urge Greece to leave the €uro but Treasury minister Mark Hoban declines to agree

Europe braced for MEPs' expenses storm

"The European Parliament will today back down and order the release of a secret report detailing the widespread abuse of expenses by MEPs, The Independent has learnt.  A meeting of senior MEPs is expected to accept a European Court of Justice ruling that there is an "overriding public interest in disclosure".  The decision could have far-reaching consequences for transparency within the European Parliament and wider European Union institutions." – The Independent

Miliband moves to reassure business with tax pledge…

"Ed Miliband has attempted to reassure British industry that he will not abandon new Labour’s pro-business stance, pledging that there would be no return to “the penal tax rates of the 1970s” under a future Labour government.  In his first major attempt to win over the business world, the Labour leader said that he wanted to “celebrate wealth creation” in Britain. He had previously sought to distance himself from Lord Mandelson’s observation that he was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”." – The Times (£)

…After Balls moved on VAT cut without consulting the Shadow Cabinet

"Tensions emerged in the shadow cabinet on Tuesday as senior Labour MPs expressed annoyance that they were not informed last week before Ed Balls announced party support for a temporary reversal in January’s rise in value added tax…Tessa Jowell, shadow Olympics minister, pointedly asked during a four-hour meeting of the shadow cabinet why its members had not been consulted about the announcement." – Financial Times (£)

A message to you from Clacton

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Today's Must-Read: Get ready for George V Boris

"There are plenty around who think he is in a hurry, that he may be tempted to put on a show but settle for defeat next year, all the quicker to get back to the Commons. He would be on hand to pick up the pieces if Mr Cameron is defeated in 2015.  But his friends point out that if he wins, he will be top of the premier league of British politics.  With a candour that will unnerve the Chancellor in particular, they then sketch out how, after a successful run as mayor, he might find himself “the obvious choice to succeed David Cameron”.  What’s more, they are confident that they can make a convincing case that it is Boris rather than the Chancellor…Boris is coming for George." – Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph

Other Comment

And finally…The Daily Express says: Take note how it's done, Cherie

"The Queen and Prince Philip had lunch at Downing Street yesterday – and received a very different reception to their last visit.  They were met by David Cameron, who honoured the Queen with a deep and respectful bow, and his wife, Samantha, who performed a perfect courtly curtsey.  It was such a change from 2002, when the Queen went to No 10 for a dinner to mark her Golden Jubilee…Cherie pointedly refused to curtsey to the Queen, as she did at royal events throughout her husband’s premiership." – Daily Express

"Historic day with Queen and Prince Philip visiting Downing Street, Steve Hilton wore a suit AND shoes". – Guido Fawkes reports the Prime Minister's jokes from yesterday evening's Policy Exchange Party

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38 comments for: Newslinks for Wednesday 22nd June 2011

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