Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 08.21.316.45pm ToryDiary: Updated – with a link to the story of "the UKIP candidate who supports sharia law". UKIP's people are less flawed than its policies

6.15pm LeftWatch: "I've picked out the four tweeting MPs above for a reason. As well as
dutifully obeying the orders of the day, they have something else in
common – each is a Labour & Co-operative Party MP…Perhaps before calling for the contracts to be banned, they might start by boycotting their own campaign donor?
" Labour Co-Op MPs slam zero hours contracts…while their own donor uses them

5.45pm WATCH: Osborne – This childcare plan will help working families – and we want to help all families

5.30pm Local Government: "The good news is that while the Labour Party peddle their alarmist and
misleading claims we are seeing housing officers in councils and housing
associations around the country are rising to that challenge."
Spare Room Subsidy: Again Labour ignore scope for swapping with the overcrowded

Hancock5.15pm Skills Minister Matthew Hancock MP on Comment leads a Conservative counter-attack: Why Labour has zero credibility on living standards. And what Conservatives are doing to raise them.

1.45pm ToryDiary: "It was bad enough for these former tourist resorts and fishing towns to see the rise of the package holiday and the devastation brought by the EU's Common Fisheries Policy. But those were the beginning, not the end, of the coast's problems. Today's report explores the way in which poverty attracts further poverty." The wave of poverty sweeping Britain's coastal towns requires urgent action

1.15pm ToryDiary: Two years after the riots: The Government, not David Lammy, are learning the lessons

10am WATCH: Childcare voucher scheme to help 2.5 million households

ToryDiary: UKIP's people are less flawed than its policies

On ToryDiary, we ask the question for the third day running: Why can't we be told how many members the Conservative Party has?

Elsewhere in features, our writers look abroad – to Australia, where an election looms, and America:

Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 08.32.53International: Christian Kerr asks Is Labor's Kevin Rudd on the verge of one of the greatest political comebacks in history?

Columnist Jesse Norman MP on The lessons that British Tories should learn from Burke – as they gaze upon the ruin of American conservatism

Sunder Katawala  on Comment: To know more about the First World War is also to know more about Britain today

Local Government:Sandwell Council's Children's Services is inadequate – but so is Ofsted

The Deep End:The new era of low growth will change our politics forever

TimesrecoveryLarge boost in economic optimism

"Confidence in the health of the economy has seen its biggest monthly leap in this Parliament, according to a poll. In a YouGov survey for The Times, 32 per cent predicted that they would be “satisfied” with the economy in 12 months’ time — up from 21 per cent in June. Twenty-six per cent said that they were satisfied with the strength of the economy now, up from 14 per cent in June. The optimism will be welcomed by the Tories, but Labour is to seize on the belief among voters that they are getting a disproportionately small bite of the apple, as the party begins a week of attacks over the cost of living. Overall, 68 per cent remain dissatisfied with the state of the economy." – The Times (£)

  • "The economic tealeaves are good news for the convalescing economy and for the Chancellor. The unchanging interest rate is not good news for savers but they may take some comfort from the rest of these optimistic forecasts. Britain does indeed seem to be getting back to business." Leader Daily Express
  • "Labour will this week attempt to shift the political focus to its claim that the start of an economic recovery will bypass most of the population by saying that working people are on average £1,350 worse off in real terms under David Cameron. It has also published findings from a specially commissioned poll showing 70% believe recent improvements in the economy have not benefited middle and lower income families, with just 10% saying they have." – The Guardian

MailosborneOsborne under attack over childcare plans

"Plans to give childcare vouchers to families with two working parents were branded ‘deeply insulting’ to stay-at-home mothers last night. George Osborne will today unveil a scheme to hand up to £1,200 of taxpayer-funded childcare per child to families where both parents have a job, in a bid to encourage women back into the workplace. But the Chancellor was accused of ‘stigmatising’ mothers who stay at home to care for their children, and of ‘discriminating against’ traditional families. One critic said it was a ‘further example of how out of touch he is’." – Daily Mail

  • "Ministers hope to assuage critics of the government's plan for childcare vouchers by extending the £1,200 tax-free scheme to parents who stay at home because they are carers, and to parents on maternity or paternity leave." – The Guardian
  • "It would seem, therefore, that ministers’ desire to push mothers into the workplace is so overwhelming that this effaces their other aim to soak the better off. Yet beyond the metropolitan commentariat, this obsession is not widely shared. Much, if not most, of the rise in the number of mothers working is not because they all want to do so. On the contrary, if they have young children, they often do not want to go out to work — but find there is no alternative if the household bills are to be paid. That’s partly because of the financial discrimination against single-earner families of which the childcare voucher is but the latest example. Surely, policy should be even-handed towards those who want to work and those who want to care for children at home." – Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail

TelegraphfrackingNick Herbert warns of "fear of the unknown" over fracking

"Nick Herbert, who resigned from his job in the Ministry of Justice in last September's reshuffle, said a “fear of the unknown” was fuelling the concern. He has raised the alarm about possible shale oil and gas fracking in his Arundel and South Downs constituency. The technique, which involves fracturing rocks deep underground with water and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas, has dramatically cut energy bills in the USA." – Daily Telegraph

  • "Lib Dem Tim Farron said he was ‘greatly worried’ by the dash for gas. ‘I am afraid the Government has seen flashing pound signs, and has not considered the long-term threats fracking poses to the countryside,’ he said. ‘I think this is a very short-sighted policy, and we will all be left to live with the consequences.’ Mr Farron, whose constituency is in the Lake District, added: ‘The green movement were pro-wind farms and countryside groups were against. With fracking you are already seeing powerful alliances forming between those two groups, so opposition could become very strong. This technology can lead to earth tremors and I’m particularly worried that buried nuclear waste in my part of the country could be affected." – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Shale gas is too important to abandon the debate to its scaremongering opponents

TebbitTebbit says he will help fight UKIP – on his own terms…

"Lord Tebbit has warned that he will play no part in “mudslinging” at UKIP, amid determination among the Conservative leadership to confront the party…Lord Tebbit said that former Tory voters would be given “great encouragement” if a figure from the party’s Right were handed a role in helping to draw up policy. “I would be very happy to help in the fight against UKIP,” he said. “All that is necessary is for me to have a say on policy on Europe and a number of other things — policies that would be popular across the board. UKIP would disappear overnight." – The Times (£)

…while Lynton Crosby says Ken Clarke's attack on UKIP was "stupid"…

"Lynton Crosby, the Australian running Mr Cameron’s 2015 election operation, said Ken Clarke had been “stupid” after the Minister without Portfolio dismissed Ukip voters as closet racists earlier this year. Mr Crosby believes that Mr Clarke’s open attack played into Mr Farage’s hands and said that the intervention was not authorised by Downing Street." – Daily Telegraph

…and a UKIP candidate calls for sharia law

"A UKIP candidate was last night facing calls to stand down after claiming sharia law could cut crime in Britain. Builder Dean Perks backed the strict Islamic moral code, telling a rally: “Sharia law works as a prevention. If you are going to get your hand chopped off for pinching something, you won’t do it.” He is the UKIP parliamentary candidate for Halesowen in the West Midlands." – The Sun

Lobbying clampdown "would break EU rules"

"David Cameron has been warned that his planned clampdown on political lobbying risks falling foul of EU law. Proposals published last month would require lobbyists to sign up to an official register and to provide quarterly reports on their clients. Now legal advice from a leading QC has warned that the reforms could breach EU law by unfairly forcing only certain types of lobbyists to sign up." – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Cameron Penny on Comment: Why this isn't the lobbying bill we need

GibhagueHague says Gibraltar row will be resolved through diplomacy

"Differences between Spain and the UK over Gibraltar will be resolved by political means not "disproportionate" measures, the Foreign Office has said. The statement comes after Spanish authorities increased border checks causing delays last weekend. And on Sunday, Spain said it was considering a new 50 euro (£43) fee to cross its border with Gibraltar." – BBC

Zimbabwe election "flawed", says Foreign Secretary

"The US and UK have expressed concern after official results from
Zimbabwe's elections gave President Robert Mugabe a seventh term in
office amid claims of electoral fraud. US Secretary of State John Kerry
said the results did not "represent a credible expression of the
people". But the regional power South Africa has congratulated Mr Mugabe
on his victory…MDC party leader Morgan Tsvangirai called the election
''fraudulent and stolen''. British Foreign Minister William Hague urged
a thorough investigation of all allegations of violations." – BBC

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter says transparency can drive down NHS costs

"The Government will immediately begin work with some of the top NHS suppliers to strike new deals for some of the more commonplace items in our health service.And we are introducing a market comparison site of our own, by mandating in the NHS contract that for the first time that hospitals must publish what they pay for contracts, supplies, goods and services." – Dan Poulter Daily Telegraph

IndependentspareLabour attack "big lie" of spare room subsidy cut

"The Government’s justification for its controversial “bedroom tax” has been debunked by new figures showing that up to 96 per cent of those affected have, in effect, nowhere to move…This is shown by figures provided by councils in response to Freedom of Information requests by the Labour Party. For the 38 councils that provided full data, 99,079 families are expected to be affected by the bedroom tax, but only 3,803 one and two-bedroom social housing properties are available…Liam Byrne, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “The big lie behind this Government’s spiteful bedroom tax is now plain for all to see." – The Independent

Miliband warned losing union funding could bankrupt party

"Ed Miliband has been pressed to hold urgent talks with union bosses amid fears that his sweeping reforms to party funding will bankrupt Labour…Ian Lavery, the MP for Wansbeck and a former president of the National Union of Mineworkers, said that Labour could lose as much as £9 million. “This is the biggest political gamble in the history of the Labour Party,” he said. “People are not queuing to join Labour, quite the opposite.” – The Times (£)

TimmontgomerieTim Montgomerie warns some Tory MPs might prefer opposition to another coalition with the Lib Dems

"The greatest threat to another Tory-Lib Dem coalition will come from Tory MPs and members. There is deep dissatisfaction among a decisive number of Tory MPs about the coalition’s achievements…They won’t behave as meekly as they did during the coalition negotiations of 2010. They will demand much more from a second coalition agreement and those demands might repel Lib Dems and increase the likelihood of a Lib-Lab pact. There’s only one way that Mr Cameron can be sure of staying in No 10. He needs to win a majority." – The Times (£)

BorisBoris cycles through Surrey

"For all of us on that race yesterday, it felt like a dream come true: to cycle on the roads with a carefree confidence that is normally impossible. My eyes were opened to enormous support for cycling, since we could have filled the marathon with would-be entrants many times over. But above all it opened my eyes to the astonishing beauty of countryside that is only a few miles from London. It’s called Surrey! I mean to say: Surrey! Forgive me, please, all you rural Surrey-dwellers, but hitherto the word has generally conjured up an image of handsome semi-detached houses, and stockbroker Tudor, and Joan Hunter Dunn and the pine-y smell of Betjemanesque suburbia. All I can say is that I now know that Surrey is also wild and heart-breakingly lovely." – Boris Johnson Daily Telegraph

RaabDominic Raab says Cameron can learn from Netanyahu's offer of referendum on peace deal

"Last week, a modernising centre-Right prime minister, forced to govern in coalition, promised his people a referendum on an issue of existential national importance. In doing so, he bolstered his leverage in negotiations, kept the Right at bay, and stood up against creeping supranational control over his country’s sovereignty. The leader in question was not Britain’s David Cameron, but Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, as he began his latest round of diplomatic poker with the Palestinians. But his actions show how effective playing the referendum joker can be – so long as those wielding it are ready to have their bluff called." – Dominic Rabb Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • "More than a million" on zero hours contracts – BBC 
  • Labour MP Graham Stringer attacks "slumbering" Shadow Cabinet – Independent
  • Nick Clegg tells new fathers to take a month off work – Daily Mail 
  • Lord Guthrie attacks army cuts – The Sun (£)
  • Lib Dems "set to relax" anti nuclear stance – Independent
  • More disabled people find work – The Sun (£)
  • MPs demand clampdown on "secondary ticketing" – Independent
  • 76% says politicians "don't seem to have any principles any more" – ComRes


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