Cameron and other Tory MPs move to crush Afriyie’s EU amendement

EU FLag“David Cameron moved last night to crush a bid to hold a referendum on British membership of the EU next year as the Tories were pitched into fresh turmoil on Europe. … Senior Tories accused Mr Afriyie of seeking to ‘destabilise’ the Prime Minister ‘at any cost’ and branded him a ‘fantasist’ with ‘little grip on reality’. … Home Secretary Theresa May warned that Mr Afriyie had ‘got it wrong’.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour MPs to join Tory rebels in push for EU vote – Financial Times
  • Tories’ EU referendum plans are “flawed and bound to unravel”, says Nick Clegg – The Independent

> Yesterday:

Chloe Smith and John Randall quit the Government ahead of Cameron’s “flat cap” reshuffle

John Randall“John Randall dramatically quit as deputy chief whip, only days after files were given to the Crown Prosecution Service about his former boss, Mr Mitchell. … His departure came ahead of a so-called ‘flat cap’ reshuffle expected today or tomorrow, in which David Cameron will promote northern and working-class MPs. … Chloe Smith, the constitutional affairs minister, also resigned from the Government last night.” – Daily Mail

  • “Why do so few black and Asian Britons vote Tory?” – Yasmin Alibhai Brown, The Independent

> Today on ToryDiary: Chloe Smith and John Randall depart Government – but will that Government really have a new face?

Osborne and Davey do battle over green subsidies (again)

“Chancellor George Osborne wants to use his autumn budget statement to raid the power giant’s energy tariffs. … But he is facing a battle with Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey, who does not believe there is any justification in tearing up previously agreed targets.” – Daily Mail

  • “Household energy bills are to be cut using a ‘tax bonanza’ from fracking to strip out green levies, under Conservative plans.” – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Osborne to cut green taxes in response to Miliband’s energy proposal – but why wasn’t this Tory policy all along?

The Chancellor lays the European groundwork for splitting RBS

RBS logo“George Osborne has sought clearance from Brussels to split Royal Bank of Scotland, should he decide to give the green light to the creation of a good and bad bank. The pre-emptive step aims to avoid stricter EU conditions on state support to banks and a £471,000 cap on executive pay.” – Financial Times

  • “In his efforts to generate a pre-election feel-good boom, Mr Osborne isn’t only worsening some of [the country’s economic] problems. He also risks squandering his opportunity to be remembered as a genuine reformer.” – Ed Conway, The Times (£)

Will there be enough Royal Mail shares to go around?

“City banks and hedge funds have the right to buy 70 per cent of them, and are predicted to make a killing because the company may have been severely undervalued. … Small investors have been left scrabbling around for the remaining 30 per cent. The deadline for applications is tomorrow at midnight and the sale is predicted to be hugely oversubscribed, prompting fears there will simply not be enough shares to go around.” – Daily Mail

  • “Having propped up Royal Mail for generations, ordinary taxpayers deserve the chance to share fully in this privatisation bonanza. The Government must insist that more shares are made available to them.” – Daily Mail editorial

May acts against foreign-born criminals, as Britain’s FBI is launched

Theresa May Warhol“Up to one in four organised criminals targeting Britain is from overseas, according to a damning Government assessment. … Home Secretary Theresa May will today announce plans to expand a London scheme nationwide to eject thousands more crooks from Britain. … The crackdown comes as the National Crime Agency (NCA), described as Britain’s FBI, is launched today.” – Daily Mail

  • May also targets health tourism… – The Sun (£)
  • …and warns that Syria and Somalia are becoming training grounds for UK terrorists – The Sun (£)
  • New National Crime Agency chief urges May to stick with Europol – The Guardian

> Today, by James Brokenshire MP on Comment: Countering the threat of cyber crime

McLoughlin continues the Tory response to Miliband’s “cost of living” directives

“The Tories will seek to recast themselves as the friend of cash strapped voters this week when Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announces plans on Wednesday to help hard-pressed train commuters. … The Tories are also examining plans to do more to tackle soaring water bills in a bid to win the initiative back from Labour.” – Daily Mail

  • “Cutting prices to raise living standards is just a waste of energy” – Roger Bootle, Daily Telegraph

Boris has his own idea for easing the strain on commuters

borisfringe“To see what I mean, take a customer who buys an annual bus pass for £784. At present, he or she buys that season ticket after paying tax. Under the tax relief scheme, the employer would buy the season ticket and deduct the cost from his or her pay packet – and only then would the employee be assessed for tax. With their taxable pay reduced, the employee would save £251 in tax and National Insurance, and the employer would save £108.” – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Hammond to argue that an independent Scotland would struggle to set-up its armed forces

“An analysis paper being published by Philip Hammond, the defence secretary on Tuesday will claim that a Scottish Defence Force (SDF) would be under-funded, under-equipped and badly structured with the £2.5bn annual budget being proposed by Alex Salmond, the first minister.” – The Guardian

  • Scotland should remain part of the UK, says Opec head – Daily Telegraph
  • Ministry of Defence holds 66,000 files in breach of 30-year rule – The Guardian

Grieve prepares to explain decision not to prosecute over gender-based abortions

“Dominic Grieve, the attorney general, will face questions from Tory MPs who want the Government to tighten up the 1967 Abortion Act in the wake of the scandal. … The comments come as Britain’s most senior prosecutor prepares to release a paper justifying his decision not to prosecute two doctors over an abortion scandal.” – Daily Telegraph

Fox (or, rather, Fox’s office) claims 3p in travel expenses

Pennies“Senior Tory Dr Liam Fox claimed three pence from the taxpayer to drive 100 yards in his constituency. … The former Cabinet minister submitted 16 expense claims for less than £1 each in travel costs in the last financial year. … Dr Fox said: ‘I don’t do my expenses, my office does them.’ He did not return the Mail’s call about the expenses claims.” – Daily Mail

The Daily Mail mess lost the Conservatives a lot of publicity, writes Brian Monteith

“Having put all their efforts into making their own conference as media-friendly as possible, Labour would normally have provided little more than soundbite rebuttals and be happy to get a mention. Instead, even after David Cameron’s speech on Wednesday, the Daily Mail versus Miliband spat was still running third or fourth on news broadcasts…” – Brian Monteith, The Scotsman

Chris Huhne: The Cabinet knew nothing about GCHQ’s spying programmes

“When it comes to the secret world of GCHQ and the US National Security Agency (NSA), the depth of my ‘privileged information’ has been dwarfed by the information provided by Edward Snowden to the Guardian. The cabinet was told nothing about GCHQ’s Tempora or the NSA’s Prism, or about their extraordinary capability to vacuum up and store personal emails, voice contact, social networking activity and even internet searches.” – Chris Huhne, The Guardian

Miliband spearheads Labour’s attack on the Tories and the energy companies

MILIBAND Red Ed“In an interview with The Independent, the Labour leader accused ministers of being too close to the Big Six energy companies. Analysis reveals that ministers from the Department of Energy and Climate Change have met representatives from the energy giants on 128 occasions since the Coalition was formed in 2010, yet have held talks with the main groups representing energy consumers only 26 times during the same period.” – The Independent

Read Ed Miliband’s interview with the Independent in full

  • “Ed Miliband isn’t offering socialism – but the Tories are still terrified” – Owen Jones, The Independent
  • “Labour’s big new idea is ‘brand Miliband’. A shame that the public just aren’t buying it” – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph

One of Miliband’s biggest donors wants a bigger say (and it ain’t Unite)

“Miliband also has to keep sweet Andrew Rosenfeld, one of the party’s richest benefactors, who has pledged to hand over up to £2 million by the next election. … ‘He wants a seat in the engine room of the campaign,’ says a Labour source. The party leadership is aghast at the way Rosenfeld is flexing his muscles.”  Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

Dominic Lawson asks: Where does the BBC find such partisan audiences?

“…whatever the future assortment of politicians on the panels of the two Dimbleby shows, and whatever the electoral fortunes of the main parties, one thing seems certain to persist. … They will always have audiences whose knees jerk to the Left — and noisily so. That is unless those on the other side of the argument are a little braver in raising their own voices.” – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

Tim Mongtomerie: The era of big government really is over

Tim Montgomerie“…what some would see as the Tea Party’s hardline concern about the cost of the American Government is not fundamentally out of step with a big, historical shift in American public opinion. Fifty years ago, 73 per cent of Americans trusted the Government in Washington ‘just about always’ or ‘most of the time’. At the start of this year that had declined to 26 per cent.” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

The state, not Wonga, should lend to the poor, says Peter Franklin

“There is one institution that already has a direct financial relationship with people who rely on sub-prime credit: the State, as the provider of benefits. So why not allow recipients to borrow against their entitlements, with loans repaid from future transfers?” – Peter Franklin, The Times (£)

Politicians must be able to insult each other, says Peter McKay

“Our courts won’t be able to cope if politicians begin suing each other over alleged lies and cover-ups. … The normal procedure would be for Burnham to deny what Hunt says, lay out his own account of the NHS failings involved, and say what he did in response. … Doing this would be good enough for voters who are not attracted to the Conservatives and their Health Secretary. Others are not going to believe Burnham even if he won a libel case against Hunt.” – Peter McKay, Daily Mail

  • “Dads killed by the NHS are the real scandal, not Ralph Miliband” – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun (£)
  • “NHS England is finally taking expert advice – from the patients” – Jackie Ashley, The Guardian

News in brief

  • Director of the Institute of Directors calls for a flat tax, as some middle-class families are hit by a 73 per cent marginal rate – Daily Mail
  • Jimmy Savile’s victims could receive as little as £1,500 each in compensation from the BBC – Daily Mail
  • It is “astonishing” that children shown Blackadder to teach them about the First World War, says Jeremy Paxman – Daily Mail
  • Teachers’ union criticises schools’ use of teaching assistants and support staff – Daily Mail
  • 17 per cent of NHS patients get the wrong diagnosis by checking themselves online – Daily Mail
  • Elderly people are suffering because of short home care visits, warns charity – The Times (£)
  • 1,200 people killed by “high-risk” mental health patients in the past decade – The Sun (£)
  • 2,208 interns went unpaid at the Department for Work and Pensions in the past year – The Sun (£)
  • “Only a return to sustained growth will end the drought of opportunity in Britain’s labour market.” – Financial Times editorial
  • Help to Buy will reduce the average deposit needed to buy a property in England from £44,000 to £11,000, say researchers – Financial Times
  • Unite calls for emergency summit to avert strikes at Scottish oil refinery – The Guardian
  • Lifting ban on cocaine plant can help millions of lives, MPs told – The Independent

And finally: Love and sex – the Daily Mail serialises Aitken’s book on Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher B&W“Years later, witnessing one of her Europe-bashing interventions at a summit, a certain young reporter named Boris Johnson was taken by her ‘distinctly sexy’ look, ‘with a flush about her cheeks as though she was up to something rather naughty’.” – Jonathan Aitken, Daily Mail

  • “One of Margaret Thatcher’s leading Cabinet ministers hinted that he loved her in his resignation letter. … Former Defence Secretary Sir John Nott penned the emotional personal note in addition to his formal written notice in 1983.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Cecil Parkinson’s love child may have cost him a chance to try for the Tory leadership, newly released files from the Margaret Thatcher archives have revealed.” – Daily Mail
  • “Margaret Thatcher may have been aware that Alan Clark was having an affair when she appointed him as a minister, newly-released papers reveal.” – Daily Mail

> Today by Priti Patel MP on Comment: We must rediscover Thatcher’s understanding of small business

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