9.30pm ToryDiary: UKIP surges to a record 20% in an opinion poll as Cameron languishes

5pm MPsETC: Tory MEPs' Leader Richard Ashworth and ex-UKIP defector Marta Andreasen deselected

4.30pm ToryDiary: Update Lord Feldman says he didn't say it. But the Telegraph stands by its story.

4pm ToryDiary: Party Chairman Lord Feldman denies calling Party members “mad, swivel-eyed loons”

2.15pm Steve Barclay MP on Comment: The action on derelict buildings that would drive local growth

Screen shot 2013-05-18 at 08.04.09Tory Diary:
If the Conservative Party is in decline, whose fault is that?

Energy Minister Greg Barker MP on Comment: How this Government is cutting energy bills

Bad news: Prime Minister’s
ally – our party activists are “mad, swivel-eyed loons”

“Tory activists are 'mad, swivel-eyed loons', according to one of David Cameron’s closest  allies. The incendiary comment made at a private dinner this week is likely to plunge relations between the Prime Minister and his party to a new low. It offers a rare insight into the disregard and irritation felt by the Prime Minister’s inner circle towards Conservative Party members up and down the country. The senior figure, who has strong social connections to the Prime Minister and close links to the party machine, blamed grassroots members for the rebellion by MPs on Europe this week. Asked about Wednesday’s vote in which 116 Conservative MPs voted against the Queen’s Speech, the figure said: 'It’s fine. There’s really no problem. The MPs just have to do it because the associations tell them to, and the associations are all mad, swivel-eyed loons.' The remarks will worsen the rift between Mr Cameron and his party amid pressure from the Tory Right, who bounced the Prime Minister into publishing a draft referendum Bill on EU membership last week." The Times (£)

> Today: Tory Diary – If the Conservative Party is in decline, whose fault is that?

> Yesterday:

Better News 1) Boost for Osborne
as FTSE hits highest level since start of financial crisis

OSBORNE GEORGE smiling“The stock
market last night rose to its highest level since the financial crisis,
providing a timely boost for Chancellor George Osborne. The FTSE 100 index of
Britain’s biggest blue chip companies ended the day above 6,700 points for the
first time since October 2007 – the month after the run on Northern Rock. It comes after
Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King on Wednesday predicted a ‘modest but
sustained’ recovery but warned inflation will remain ‘stubbornly high’”

Better News 2) Green shoots
for the Tories?

“Wallowing in
the mid-term doldrums, bickering over Europe, lacking any sense of vision or
direction… by all the normal rules of politics, this should be a time of deep
unpopularity for the Tories. Yet remarkably, a poll this week shows the party
up two points – lagging only three behind Labour, which has slumped from 38 to
34 per cent”
Mail Comment

Downing Street rebukes Philip Hammond amid
leadership bid concern

Hammond P Jan 2012“Philip
Hammond was rebuked by Downing Street on Friday over his criticism of gay
marriage, amid concern that the defence secretary could be positioning for a
leadership bid. A senior government official said Number 10 was ‘dismayed’ by
Mr Hammond’s performance on the BBC’s Question Time, when he suggested that
David Cameron was wasting parliamentary time and causing public anger by
backing same sex marriages” – Financial Times

> Yesterday:

Hammond: "The grey man who
could be David Cameron’s nemesis"

“You may not
have heard of Philip Hammond — there’s little reason why you should. After all,
the Defence Secretary is not the most charismatic politician…However, behind Mr
Hammond’s bank-manager-style exterior lies a man of considerable
accomplishment…Some of his friends say that, keenly aware of his own abilities,
he harbours a quiet determination to lead his party — which is reason enough to
pay particular attention to his public pronouncements at a time when the Tories
are facing something close to civil war over Europe. His announcement last
weekend that he would vote to leave the EU were a referendum held now was
remarkable” – Simon Heffer, Daily

Charles Moore leans one way: "David Cameron isn’t a disaster, yet I long for a radical new

Screen shot 2013-05-18 at 09.04.19“I find myself in the odd position of longing for a new leader
(I don’t much mind from which party) who can propose – à la Thatcher,
Roosevelt, de Gaulle – a quite different way ahead, and yet also feeling that
Mr Cameron is not at all a disaster. If only he would bring…clarity to the
subject of Europe…He seems to regard the issue as a migraine-inducing matter of
party opinion-management rather than for what it is – the main constitutional,
strategic and economic question which this country faces. On the subject of
Europe, Cameron the great moderniser is painfully 20th century” – Charles
Moore, Daily

…And Matthew Parris the other: "If Dave cuts a
deal with UKIP I’m outta here"

“Along with millions (I believe) of liberal Tory
supporters, and millions more still undecided, I will never vote for any
Conservative candidates who pay UKIP protection money by signing up to their
policies in return for being given a clear run. We must expose any such deals
and punish at the ballot box those who connive in them. It’s simple. A vote for
a Tory- UKIP collaborator is a vote for UKIP…This week it began to appear that
to cut any ice in Tory politics, you have to cut up rough and treat your party
like a bar-room brawl. Well, here it is in bar-room language: cut a deal with
UKIP, and I’m outta here. And (the Tories would find) outta here too would be
millions more” – Matthew Parris, The

  •  UKIP, Britain’s newest political tribe – John Harris, the Guardian
  • Women who wear trousers “deliberately
    making themselves unattractive” says UKIP donor – Daily

and Farage clash over anti-UKIP protest

Farage Nigel Purple“Alex
Salmond, Scottish first minister, has mocked complaints from Nigel Farage over
his barracking by protesters at an Edinburgh pub, saying Scotland does not need
the UK Independence party. In a testy BBC Scotland radio interview, Mr Farage
condemned the protesters who surrounded him at a press event on Thursday as
‘fascist scum’ showing an ‘ugly face’ of Scottish nationalism.” – Financial

Conservatives float two-tier benefits system in private survey
in Labour marginals

“The proposal for a two-tier benefits system is one of a number
of Conservative policy ideas in a survey sent to members of the public in
marginal seats held by Labour. The five page survey, obtained by Tribune
magazine, contains 35 questions grouped under headings such as ‘helping with
the cost of living’ and ‘making our welfare and benefits system fair’” – Daily

“Bedroom tax” causes huge leap in hardship payments

“The extent of the
suffering inflicted by the “bedroom tax” can be revealed for the first time today
as figures show a 338 per cent leap in the number of people applying for
emergency handouts in the month since it was imposed. In April, more than
25,000 people resorted to applying for discretionary housing payments (DHP) to
help cover their rent, according to an analysis of 51 councils by the
Independent. There were only 5,700 such claimants in the same month last year”

  • Cameron accused of “scaremongering” over
    health tourism – Daily
  • Only 200 pensioners returned
    winter fuel payment – Sun
  • Ed Miliband to risk wrath of
    Left by embracing limit on welfare – The Times

News in brief

  • Cameron’s EU plan raises
    Paris-Berlin tensions – Financial
  • EU to ban olive
    oil jugs from restaurants – Daily
  • Ministers urged to clarify
    nuclear power cost overruns – Daily Telegraph
  • Stoke City launch
    investigation after pig’s head found in locker – Independent
  • MPs accused of “demonizing” US
    multinationals over tax – Financial
  • Litvinenko widow accuses
    Hague of inquest cover-up – Guardian
  • Lib Dem backs plain cigarette
    packs – Guardian
  • How an adopted
    child fell victim to Oxford sex gang – The Times
  • Britons too
    sceptical to win Eurovision song contest – Financial


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

2 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 18th May 2013