Cameron threatens to ditch HS2 without Labour’s support

timeshs2“The HS2 rail project will be abandoned if Labour withdraws its support, David Cameron has warned. In an intervention that raises serious questions over the project’s future and piles pressure on the Opposition, the Prime Minister said it would be impossible to secure the necessary private investment for the £43 billion line without all-party backing.” – The Times (£)

  • “Asked about wavering Labour backing for HS2, Mr Cameron said: “This is an important project, it does have all-party support. We supported it in opposition when Labour were in government. Labour support it today, as I understand it, now we are in government. The Liberal Democrat party support it as well, and that is all to the good because these multi-year multi-Parliament infrastructure projects can’t go ahead without all-party support. You won’t get the investment, you can’t have the consistency…If Labour are to run away from this, they will be letting down the Midlands, they will be letting down the North.” – The Independent

Fastest economic growth for three years

“UK economic output rose by 0.8% between July and September, official GDP figures show. The Office for National Statistics said there had been a “fairly strong” performance across all sectors. The data builds on a 0.7% GDP rise in the April-June period and is the best quarterly performance since 2010.” – BBC

  • “Stronger growth will boost tax revenues and lower spending, helping the Chancellor bring borrowing under control earlier than currently forecast. Michael Saunders, UK economist at Citi, predicted that the Office for
    Budget Responsibility (OBR), the Government’s independent forecaster, will lower its deficit projections by £11bn this year, £19bn in 2014, and £25bn in 2015 when its latest UK outlook is published on December 4 to coincide with the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Mr Osborne has promised action on a number of fronts, including cutting energy and water bills, reducing the cost of housing, cutting the fees paid for everyday financial services and bearing down on travel costs. Ministers are looking to cut fuel bills by reducing social levies, including a £1.3bn energy-efficiency scheme that adds £47 to a typical annual fuel bill.” – Financial Times
  • “Remarkably, Britain is now among the fastest expanding of the G7 nations, easily outpacing rivals such as Germany and France. The main driving force behind surging output is the service sector, which comprises 75 per cent of the economy. That has now moved ahead of where it was at the peak of Gordon Brown’s boom in 2008.” – Daily Mail

> Yesterday: ToryDiary: A day to acknowledge the good work of George Osborne

IDS headshotIDS hits back at Major…

“Asked about Sir John’s comments, Mr Duncan Smith said “Well, as I say, I never really get too fussed about what people think about their own intellects. “I’m always happy to be in awe of someone whose own intellect delivered us the cones hotline, I must say.” – BBC

…but Matthew Parris praises him

“Majorism, though, feels just as relevant to 2013 as it was to 1990. In a single sentence it is the belief that to survive as a modern mass national party, the Tories must shake off their association with a hidebound, class-bound and reactionary past, and become (and be seen as) a party of the common people. Who instituted the National Lottery? Who called in Ian McKellen and first reduced the age of homosexual consent? Who ended the divide between polytechnics and universities and expanded the number of young people in further education? This was Majorism.” – Matthew Parris The Times (£)

Cameron defends British spies

“David Cameron condemned ‘lah-dih-dah, airy-fairy’ criticism of the British and American intelligence services last night. The Prime Minister said his fellow EU leaders should stop complaining about snooping by GCHQ and the NSA because British spies have saved their citizens from terrorist attack. And in a clear assault on the Guardian, he accused whistleblower Edward Snowden and ‘newspapers helping him’, of giving assistance to terrorists ‘who want to blow up our families’.” – Daily Mail

Delay in disability payments switch

“The government’s welfare changes for disabled people in England, Scotland and Wales have been delayed. People will move from Disability Living Allowance to the Personal Independence Payment next week in only certain areas instead of the whole of Great Britain. Work and pensions minister Mike Penning said the process of reassessing people was “taking longer than expected”.” – BBC

Grangemouth to stay open

“Operator Ineos had announced on Wednesday that the plant was to shut, with the loss of 800 jobs, after union members rejected a survival plan. But the decision was reversed after the union agreed to Ineos’s conditions. Ineos founder and chairman Jim Ratcliffe said it was “a victory for common sense”.” – BBC

  • “The saving of Grangemouth will expose just how much power Unite has over Labour” – Eric Joyce Coffee House
  • “A settlement in which the bosses have humiliated the union, dismantled pensions and frozen pay for years on end leaves a bitter taste.” Leader The Guardian
  • “The rejection by Len McCluskey’s union of the rescue plan for the loss-making refinery was suicidal insanity. It would have destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of Unite members, including the 50 per cent who voted against the leadership. Staring into the abyss, Unite finally did the right thing and caved in. Fantastic news for Grangemouth’s workers after a week of hell. But they should never have been put through it.” – The Sun Says

Barroso “backs Cameron” on limiting EU red tape

“David Cameron has won the backing of EU chief Jose Manuel Barroso for his push to limit the number of new regulations coming out of Brussels.” – BBC

  • “David Cameron yesterday pledged to slash the red tape that is plaguing fracking after a grilling by The Sun. The PM vowed to “take action across the board” after we revealed how UK mining firms face a staggering 16 legal obstacles.” – The Sun

Salary bill for SPADS rises by £1 million a year

“The salary bill for ministers’ special advisers has risen by £1m in the last year, according to official figures. So-called “Spads” are appointed by ministers to provide political advice over and above the impartial work carried out by civil servants. The Cabinet Office put the increase down to the “unusual” pressures caused by coalition government.” – BBC

GREEN Damian seriousDamian Green says police should wear cameras

“Police officers should be issued with body cameras to help to tackle domestic violence and abuse, according to the Policing Minister. Damian Green said that equipping officers in England and Wales with video cameras would also protect them from people who make false allegations. He said it would ensure that the police record of what happened at an incident was absolutely accurate.” – The Times(£)

Gove to cut A-level coursework…

“Coursework at A-level is set to be cut back in an effort to toughen up the exams and prevent cheating. In future, the qualifications should include coursework only if a particular skill cannot be assessed by exam, such as in geography fieldwork or art, exam regulator Ofqual said.” – Daily Mail

…and is accused to free school “cover up”

“More than £80,000 was misused at a free school previously lauded by David Cameron, with false invoices submitted to Whitehall and taxpayers’ money used to hold parties, buy furniture for staff and pay for first-class rail travel, according to a Department for Education report.” – The Independent

Paterson angers Morris dancers

“He has already incurred the wrath of badger lovers, environmentalists and opponents of GM foods. However, Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, discovered that he has a new enemy – Morris dancers.” – Daily Telegraph

Graeme Archer says there was an immigration conspiracy of silence

“Mass immigration happened for the obvious, boring reasons: business likes cheap labour, and Labour likes new votes. There’s no organised, malign conspiracy controlling society; no shadowy puppet-masters. No one planned that Islamist vigilantes would attempt to make east London a “gay-free zone”. But there is a conspiracy of sorts, none the less. It’s the conspiracy of silence, which we wished into being, all by ourselves.” – Graeme Archer Daily Telegraph

Charles Moore wonders why those we elect are the last people we trust

charlesmoore“The Conservative Party in the country, so distant, nowadays, from its leadership, had no muscle to defend a beleaguered individual. And the leadership itself, neurotic about the accusations of being too posh that were raised by the mega-word “pleb”, had the vapours. So one big libel from the people paid to guard him was enough to do for a senior minister.” – Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

Ed Davey will “fight like a tiger” to defend Green taxes

“Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, has promised to “fight like a tiger” against Conservative attempts to cut green levies on gas and electricity bills.” – The Guardian

Straw to quit as MP at next election

“Jack Straw is to stand down as MP for Blackburn at the next general election. The former Labour home and foreign secretary, 67, was elected in Blackburn in 1979 and has stood in eight general elections in the constituency.” – BBC

News in brief

  • US “have not bugged Cameron’s phone calls” – BBC
  • Alastair Campbell urges Ed Miliband to learn from Albania – The Guardian
  • Respect councillors resign – BBC
  • Women to be jailed closer to their homes – The Sun
  • Ticket firm earns £350,000 a year from tour of Parliament – BBC
  • Serco chief executive stands down – BBC

And finally…a Peter Lilley joke

“Peter Lilley was told that despite being Shadow Chancellor, only 2 per cent of the public recognised a picture of him. He replied: “Well that’s more than the number of members of the public I recognise.” – Lord Finkelstein The Times (£)


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