Tory backbenchers lash out at Boles

BOLES Nick“Tory right-wingers denounced Cameron ally Nick Boles as an ‘alien’ yesterday after the planning minister said the party was out of touch with young people. … Leading Tory traditionalist Stewart Jackson, the MP for Peterborough, said: ‘I see Tory modernisers as an alien tribe.’ … Fellow backbencher Douglas Carswell, the MP for Clacton, accused Mr Boles of peddling the kind of trendy views prevalent in the Westminster village, rather than seeking to win over voters elsewhere.” – Daily Mail

  • “One good policy is worth a thousand makeovers – and the Tories have more good policies than Labour” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “Who really wants liberalism from the Conservative Party?” – Peter Franklin, The Times (£)
  • “Trying to be all nice and liberal won’t save the Tories – it will destroy them” – Max Hastings, Daily Mail
  • “So Nick Boles, have you ever met a voter?” – Rod Liddle, The Sun (£x)
  • “How the Tories lost the North” – Owen Jones, The Independent

> Yesterday:

Cameron wants to cut the green c**p, according to a senior Tory

cameron-face“David Cameron has made a huge U-turn on eco policies by ordering aides to ‘get rid of all the green crap’ pushing up families’ energy costs. … The PM raged that green taxes which add £112 to annual energy bills had to be slashed — in a victory for a Sun campaign. … A senior Tory source said: ‘He is totally focused on it. We used to say, “Vote Blue, Go Green”. Now it’s “Vote Blue, Get Real”.'” – The Sun (£)

“British taxpayers’ money will no longer be used to build coal-fired power stations in developing countries, the energy secretary Ed Davey pledged on Wednesday” – The Guardian

  • “Of course we need to research alternative forms of energy. But, as The Sun has always argued, we have to fill the gap with something economic and efficient in the meantime. … After three and half years as Prime Minister, David Cameron has finally got that message.” – Sun editorial (£)

> Today on ToryDiary: Whether Cameron said “green c**p” or not, he needs to better convey what he truly believes

The Prime Minister orders a couple of probes into the Co-op Bank…

“The first of the two inquiries, to be conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority, is expected to be an enforcement inquiry into the conduct of Flowers and the bank. … The second inquiry is to be ordered by the chancellor, George Osborne, and is likely to be conducted by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). It will look into the wider lessons of the Co-operative Bank’s ill-judged expansion and the failure of the City regulators and the bank’s board to foresee the dangers.” – The Guardian

  • “George Osborne pressed Brussels last year to spare the Co-operative Bank from tougher rules applied to big listed banks, a revelation which complicates Conservative attempts to drag Ed Miliband into the scandal engulfing the bank and its former chairman.” – Financial Times

…as Labour’s relationship with the bank remains in the spotlight

MILIBAND Red Ed“Labour has received more than £18million in ‘soft loans’ from the Co-op Bank – which is to be the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by Chancellor George Osborne. … Documents lodged with the Electoral Commission reveal the Co-op has been propping up the Labour Party for years with a string of generous loans and overdraft facilities at rock-bottom rates.” – Daily Mail

“The scandal surrounding former Co-op Bank chief Paul Flowers deepened last night after it was revealed he quit a drugs charity over allegations of up to £150,000 in false expenses claims.” – Daily Mail

  • “If Mr Miliband really does believe in upholding the highest standards of integrity  and conduct in British political life, shouldn’t he support an inquiry into his own party’s morality, practices and culture without delay?” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “Miliband can’t duck questions on the Co-op” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “Until now Mr Miliband has posed as a saint on banks/the cleanliness of his appointees/standing up to lobby groups. He has called for inquiries with the alacrity of a man hailing taxis. All those positions have been dashed. All thanks to pulpiteer Flowers.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • “It’s no coincidence the MPs found guilty of fiddling are all Labour” – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

The Coalition moves to keep Serco and G4S in Whitehall

“Senior ministers have stepped in to ensure that investigations into Serco and G4S are not too ‘punitive’ amid concerns that the two outsourcing companies could be driven from Whitehall. … The government is determined to press ahead with plans to outsource more public services to the private sector despite a string of problems around some major contracts.” – Financial Times

  • “Britain’s small and medium-sized businesses face the threat of having to return millions of pounds to the Treasury after Brussels alleged on Wednesday that the UK was illegally financing private companies.” – Financial Times

Paterson says that sacrifices must be made for new developments

PATERSON OWEN NW“Woodlands and wetlands must sometimes be sacrificed to make way for new housing developments or roads, the Environment Secretary said last night. … Owen Paterson said that, as a ‘small and heavily-populated’ country, Britain would always face a ‘trade-off’ between protecting natural landscapes and helping the economy and wider society.” – The Times (£)

  • “The conservation group that fought a long-running battle against the coalition’s planning reforms is poised to deliver a fillip to the controversial fracking industry. … The Campaign to Protect Rural England is to announce that it is not opposed to the process just weeks before the government unveils a new tax regime for shale gas in the Autumn Statement.” – Financial Times

Miller hails Hull, the new City of Culture

The decision may have surprised some observers, but Hull yesterday became Britain’s latest City of Culture. … Culture Secretary Maria Miller said the win could ‘produce a wonderful mix of inward investment and civic pride’.” – Daily Mail

Harper seeks to allay fears about Romanian and Bulgarian immigration

“Britain will not face a flood of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria when border controls lapse in the New Year, the immigration minister insisted last night. … Mark Harper played down fears of a mass influx from the Eastern European countries and ruled out extending the restrictions on migrant workers.” – Daily Mail

“Three-quarters of smugglers are dodging justice due to border chaos, a report reveals today.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Britain never voted for large-scale immigration” – Jenni Russell, The Times (£)

Blunt clashes with Grayling over prisoner voting

Prisoner voting“The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, was accused by the former justice minister Crispin Blunt of ‘setting up a crisis’ over human rights in Europe when the two clashed in a Westminster committee over prisoners being allowed to vote. … [The clash] highlights mounting political tension within the party over the UK’s fraught relationship with Europe.” – The Guardian

The Government defeats John Baron’s amendment against army changes

“A mere 11 Tory MPs rebelled against the government by supporting an amendment by John Baron, who served with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers between 1984 and 1988, to delay plans to expand the numbers of reservists to compensate for cuts to the number of regular troops. The Baron amendment was defeated by 306 votes to 252, a government majority of 54.” – The Guardian

  • “The head of a controversial private outsourcing firm accused of presiding over a collapse in Army recruitment has attempted to blame a lack of war for its failure to sign up new soldiers.” – The Independent
  • MPs seek tougher line on Gibraltar – The Times (£)

> Yesterday: John Baron is developing quite the amendment machine – and a reputation to go with it

Brian Binley attacks the banks for how they managed the Royal Mail sell-off

“City banking giants will rake in nearly £17million in fees from the flotation of Royal Mail, despite accusations yesterday of having failed the taxpayer. … Brian Binley said: ‘I just wonder whether the taxpayer has the right to think that, for all the money you are paid, you weren’t very clever at your job.'” – Daily Mail

Clegg’s tax allowance proposals will help the better-off more than the low-paid, claims report

Nick Clegg portrait“The Lib Dems have contrasted their flagship plan to help ‘ordinary workers’ with the Tories’ decision to cut in the top tax rate from 50p to 45p. But analysis by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank shows that under Mr Clegg’s plans, people in the seventh, eighth and ninth of the 10 deciles on the earnings ladder would see a bigger percentage rise in their income than those lower down the scale.” – The Independent

Labour to announce plans for vocational education

“Labour plans to create a new type of technical college to improve vocational training will be announced on Thursday by Tristram Hunt, in his first speech as the party’s education spokesman. … ‘Only colleges with top-quality teaching, strong employer links and high standards in English and maths will gain a licence,’ Mr Hunt will say.” – Financial Times

  • Private school graduates more likely to get top jobs than those educated at state schools – The Independent

And Balls has plans for a new wave of towns

“Ed Balls will commit Labour to building a wave of new towns and to Treasury financial guarantees to provide cheap funding for builders, as part of a commitment to build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020. … The shadow chancellor will also say he wants to look at the revival of development corporations as vehicles to build new towns on the scale of those built after the second world war.” – The Guardian

Lammy says Labour must do more than just represent the chattering classes

“Labour must do more than simply represent the views of the ‘Primrose Hill’ chattering classes, one of its MPs has warned. … In an apparent dig at Ed Miliband, who was born into an intellectual North London family, David Lammy said it was important that the party did not forget the needs or views of working-class voters.” – The Times (£)

New Labour implicated in spying row

Spying“Millions of innocent British citizens may have been spied on by the US after an agreement with Tony Blair’s Government, it was claimed on Wednesday. … Secret memos suggested a deal was approved allowing the American National Security Agency to store and analyse the phone, email and internet records of Britons ‘incidentally’ caught up in surveillance operations.” – Daily Telegraph

The Local Government Association calls for a better funding arrangement for councils

“Local government in England is losing out to the tune of £4bn a year because of an outdated 1970s model for allocating spending across the union, with the cash desperately needed to pay for caring for the elderly, councils claim. … The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, says that with budgets being slashed Whitehall needs to devise a fair and equitable distribution of public money.” – The Guardian

You can’t trust crime figures, says police chief

“One of Britain’s most senior police officers broke ranks yesterday to admit that crime figures cannot be trusted. … Mick Creedon said officers at every level are ‘inadvertently’ manipulating statistics because of the huge pressure to cut crime.” – Daily Mail

  • “Parliament is shocked by evidence that police manipulate crime statistics. It must demand transparency to restore public trust” – The Times (£)
  • “There are indeed far too many cases where meeting politically set targets has taken precedence over meeting the needs of the public.” – Sue Cameron, Daily Telegraph

Four Britons believed to have died fighting alongside Al Qaeda in Syria

“Four British extremists have been killed fighting alongside al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Syria amid fears that jihadists returning from the war are a growing terrorist threat. … Three of the men, all thought to be from London, were killed as their group attacked pro-Assad forces near Aleppo. The fourth was shot two weeks later while trying to ambush an enemy position.” – The Times (£)

  • UK actions in Iraq and Afghanistan were incoherent, claims think-tank – The Guardian

Tim Montgomerie: This Pope is no liberal – he’s a true Catholic

MONTGOMERIE purple background“The Catholic Church, representing half the world’s Christians, needed a compelling figure after the clerical abuse scandals. High hopes are invested in Pope Francis and he has won a hearing. That’s a good start but the hard work still lies ahead.” – The Times (£)

  • “The Church of England pays its top bureaucrat over £10,000 more than the Prime Minister receives despite launching a series of attacks on high executive salaries, it has been disclosed.” – Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • NHS doctors spend 10 hours a week on bureaucracy – Daily Telegraph
  • Britain’s GPs are the best-paid in the Western world, but our nurses aren’t – Daily Mail
  • Abuse of Gift Aid cost the Exchequer £170 million last year – Daily Mail
  • Judge warns children of former Conservative minister to stop fighting over their inheritances – Daily Mail
  • MEPs bid to end the monthly farce whereby their assembly switches between Brussels and Strasbourg – The Sun (£)
  • English A&Es to get an extra £150 million in winter funds – The Guardian
  • The Government is dithering over its liver disease strategy, says charity – The Guardian
  • A parliamentary inquiry is to be held into female genital mutilation – The Times (£)

And finally 1)… Balls’ class-A attack

BALLS Ed looking left“Ed Balls asked David Cameron if he had ever taken cocaine during furious Commons clashes yesterday. … In extraordinary scenes, the shadow chancellor repeatedly goaded the PM over long-standing rumours he used the Class A drug before he became an MP.” – The Sun (£)

And finally 2)… Dromey’s Twitter “mix-up”

“A senior Labour MP was last night under pressure to explain why he twice ‘favourited’ gay porn tweets. … Shadow policing minister Jack Dromey — who is married to Labour Party deputy leader Harriet Harman — blamed the latest incident on a ‘technological mix-up’.” – The Sun (£)

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