Hunt prepares for a two-tier shake-up of A&E care

HUNT Doctor Carla Millar“A huge shake-up of health care provision was heralded last night by the NHS’s top doctor. … The three key planks of his reforms will set up distinction between super A&Es and standard A&Es, ask GPs to provide more same-day appointments as well as opening surgeries in the evenings and at weekends and bolster the 111 helpline with more doctors, nurses and pharmacists answering the phone. … Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the Commons yesterday that the Government would not shy away from making ‘difficult decisions’.” – Daily Mail

  • “The plan for restructuring A&E services is eminently sensible – but is it realistic?” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “How many more times must it be said that, until ministers renegotiate Labour’s disastrous GP contracts, Britain will remain a very worrying place to fall ill out of hours.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “The coalition is showing all the signs of being in a complete spin about a winter crisis in emergency care in the NHS…” – Guardian editorial
  • “The real issues behind the A&E shakeup” – Sarah Boseley, The Guardian
  • “It’s a good report but we need a firm strategy for A&E too” – Nigel Edwards, The Independent
  • “NHS faces ruin and it will take brave decisions to save it” – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Doctors’ contracts and an “NHS crisis”

Osborne: We’re on the path to prosperity, but let’s not get carried away

“George Osborne has said Britain is ‘on the path to prosperity’ as he painted an optimistic view of the economy at the Telegraph Festival of Business. … The Government has ‘an economic plan that has delivered stability’, Mr Osborne added, but cautioned that risks remain, notably from the eurozone.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “If the economy really is picking up, the challenge is to use growth wisely” – Hamish McRae, The Independent

> Today on the Deep End: It was a supply shock, not a lack of demand, that crippled the British economy

Cameron wants a formal meeting with Sri Lanka’s president

CAMERON flag“David Cameron is pressing for a formal meeting with Sri Lanka’s president to bring up allegations of war crimes and abductions by government forces, as he prepares to visit the country for the Commonwealth summit on Friday. … Sources said the UK had made it very clear that Cameron wanted a substantive meeting with Rajapaksa, and officials are confident that he will get one, but the Sri Lankan side had not agreed to it.” – The Guardian

  • “David Cameron should cut the foreign jaunts and focus on the 2015 election” – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • “Britain should do more about human rights abuses in Commonwealth member states” – Roger Boyes, The Times (£)

And he also wants to sell more jet fighters

“David Cameron has launched an aggressive lobbying campaign to sell Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighters to the UAE raising British hopes that BAE Systems could pinch a $10bn deal from its French rival. … ‘It’s looking good for us. The question is whether it can be signed at Dubai or whether there will need to be a last-minute push there to get us over the line,’ said one senior Conservative.” – Financial Times

Lord Ashcroft is to co-author a biography of Cameron

ASHCROFT Krieg“Lord Ashcroft said: ‘As well as being an authoritative biography of Cameron, the book will discuss the politics of the current parliament, the challenges facing the parties in the context of public opinion, and in particular the campaign leading up to the 2015 election.’ … The book will be co-authored by Isabel Oakeshott, the political editor of The Sunday Times.” – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday, by Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Twenty minutes of Miliband

Major was right, says Gove – Britain is run by a privately-educated elite

“Downing Street rejected [Sir John Major’s] criticism, insisting policies to help people get on were more important than the background of politicians. … But Mr Gove, who was adopted at just four months, insisted Sir John was ‘right’. … He told BBC Radio 4: ‘It’s an inescapable fact. … It’s also why we’re reforming the schools system so that the opportunities that wealthy children have are more equally spread.'” – Daily Mail

  • “Companies could improve our schools – and drive the bad ones out of business” – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday, by Peter Saunders on Comment: Wrong, Sir John. Social mobility is the norm in Britain, not the exception

Grayling continues his fight against Brussels and its directives

“Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has fired a broadside at Brussels after a top judge warned that dozens of new ‘human rights’ had been smuggled into Britain by the back door. … Last night, Mr Grayling said: ‘Labour duped us when it signed the Lisbon Treaty and promised this kind of ruling wouldn’t happen. We cannot go on seeing crucial decisions about our society and our system of justice and government being taken by unaccountable European courts.’” – Daily Mail

  • “Burka bunker Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed was freed on bail three times by soft judges — despite the fanatic breaching strict restrictions 20 times. … Tory Michael Ellis MP dubbed the new shambles “extraordinary” and said: ‘He played the legal system.'” – The Sun (£)

And comment:

  • “Would the courts in any other country bend over so far to help foreign criminals guilty of even the foulest crimes?” – Sun editorial (£)

Immigrants should learn English to become a part of the community, says Pickles

PICKLES Eric smiling“Immigrants living in ‘a community of broken English’ are living in ‘no community at all’ Mr Pickles has said. … In an article for announcing a £6 million scheme funding community language teaching for immigrants the Communities Secretary attacked councils for translating documents into dozens of languages.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “Wealthy regular travellers to Britain from the old ‘white Commonwealth states’ will be sped through immigration and customs under plans announced today.” – The Times (£)
  • “An Australian woman facing deportation after spending nine years in Britain working with vulnerable children for the NHS has become an online pin-up for the shambolic state of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) after sharing her experiences online.” – The Independent

> Yesterday, by Sir Andrew Green on Comment: Cameron must hold the line on controlling immigration

Greening joins the battle against Scottish independence

“An independent Scotland could not expect to keep the hundreds of jobs currently based at the UK’s overseas aid headquarters in Lanarkshire, the coalition’s International Development Secretary has said. … Justine Greening said that the staff would not transfer to a new state, despite her Scottish equivalent telling the same committee that such a step would be ‘up for negotiation’ after a Yes vote.” – The Times (£)

  • “An SNP minister has provoked fury in Scottish academia after she complained about an historian expressing his opposition to independence.” – The Times (£)

Charlotte Leslie voices her concerns about a new breastfeeding scheme

Charlotte Leslie“A controversial scheme to get women to breastfeed in return for store vouchers amounts to ‘bribery’, critics have warned. … Tory MP Charlotte Leslie said: ‘This just doesn’t seem like a sensible use of public resources. The reasons why women don’t breastfeed are far more complex than this gives credit for – bribing women doesn’t tackle that, it just encourages them to take the money.’” – Daily Mail

  • “Vouchers for breastfeeding are an insult to mums” – Deidre Sanders, The Sun (£)
  • “The worst breastfeeding initiative I’ve ever come across” – Joanna Moorhead, The Guardian
  • “Offering poorer mothers £200 to breastfeed is barmy, middle-class lactivism” – Grace Dent, The Independent

Mark Pritchard won’t be investigated over his business dealings

“A senior Conservative MP will not be investigated by the Parliamentary authorities over his business dealings in Albania. … Kathryn Hudson, the Standards Commissioner, said today that she would not investigate Mark Pritchard, because there was ‘insufficient evidence’.” – Daily Telegraph

Cost of living 1) Inflation falls to its lowest level for a year

“The consumer prices index fell from 2.7 per cent to 2.2 per cent between September and October – the lowest rate for 13 months, the Office for National Statistics revealed yesterday. … The Prime Minister hailed the ‘significant drop’ – driven by decreases in the cost of fuel and the smaller-than-expected impact of higher university tuition fees – as ‘encouraging news for hard-working people’.” – Daily Mail

  • “The fake cost of living crisis” – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail

Cost of living 2) Energy bills are going to keep on rising


“Energy and water bills are set to rise faster than inflation and wages for the next 17 years, the National Audit Office warns today. … It says major infrastructure projects, such as the switch to green energy, building nuclear power stations and new sewers, will cost the nation £310billion by 2030. … Almost £208billion – 67 per cent of the total – will have to be funded by families through their bills, according to government plans.” – Daily Mail

  • “Energy giant EDF has shamed its ‘big six’ rivals by capping its winter bills price rise at 3.9 per cent.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Want an energy revolution? Think beyond the big six” – Zoe Williams, The Guardian

Cost of living 3) And so are house prices

“The average cost of a home in Britain will hit £300,000 in 2020, a report predicted yesterday. … Accountants Pricewaterhouse Coopers said it expected house prices – currently at an average of £225,000 – to rise by around 4 per cent every year for the next seven years.” – Daily Mail

  • “One in three families in Britain would survive for less than a week if they lost their job, a damning study reveals today.” – Daily Mail

Cost of living 4) Clegg puts up a fight

Nick Clegg portrait“Nick Clegg will today launch a fightback against Ed Miliband’s successful campaign on the ‘cost of living crisis’, claiming that a Labour  government would wreck the economic recovery. … His tough language reflects Lib Dem concerns that the Conservatives have not mounted an effective counter-attack after Mr Miliband pledged to freeze energy prices for 20 months if Labour wins power.” – The Independent

Farron joins Labour MPs in voting against the “bedroom tax “/”spare room subsidy”

“The Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron, and one other Lib Dem MP joined Labour in voting against the bedroom tax in a Labour-inspired Commons debate on Tuesday that sparked rare passion including a claim by one Tory MP that feckless fathers should be chained and forced to work. … The Labour motion calling for the abolition was defeated by 252 to 226, a substantial cut in the coalition majority. A handful of Lib Dem MPs abstained.” – The Guardian

“Feckless absent fathers should be put to work ‘in chains’ to repay the State for the cost of bringing up their children, a Conservative MP said yesterday. … David Davies told MPs that it was ‘outrageous’ that some young men got women pregnant before leaving them to bring up their babies on their own on benefits.” – Daily Mail

  • “Hyperbole reached dangerous levels, so much so that in the Commons press gallery we needed those face masks favoured by pedestrians in Tokyo. It was the only way not to be asphyxiated by outrage.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by Iain Duncan Smith MP on Comment: The public agree that cutting the spare room subsidy is fair

Labour and Falkirk 1) The “special agreement” over the recruitment of new party members

MILIBAND Red Ed“Labour’s most senior official struck a special agreement with Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, about how to handle the mass recruitment of new party members in Falkirk, leaked e-mails indicate. … In an e-mail on January 21, [Karie] Murphy told her team that they had received dispensation from Ian McNicol, Labour’s general secretary, to use a recruitment method causing unease among other Labour Party staff.” – The Times (£)

Labour and Falkirk 2) Watson blasts Miliband over the scandal

“Labour MP Tom Watson has launched a bitter attack on Ed Miliband over the Falkirk scandal – branding him “embarrassed” and insisting he got it “so wrong”. … The party’s former election chief slammed vote rigging allegations now being probed by police as “total bull****”. … Mr Miliband should not have reported his office manager Karie Murphy and another party official to the cops, he added, insisting: ‘An injustice was done to those people’.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Trade union bosses are doing their members a disservice” – Independent editorial

But Alastair Campbell has praise for the Labour leader

“Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former media chief, will on Wednesday praise Ed Miliband for taking on the journalistic “cancer” created by the Daily Mail and Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper stable. … Mr Campbell will say he urged Mr Blair to stand up to the newspapers and that the two men “fell out” over the issue, with the former prime minister fearing that it would hinder efforts to get his message across.” – Financial Times

Labour candidate urges union bosses to use new press regulations to their advantage

“A Labour candidate has urged union bosses to use new Press regulations to launch class action complaints against newspapers who criticise them. .. Clive Lewis – who is a member of three unions – criticised the Daily Mail’s exposure of bullying by Unite thugs.” – Daily Mail

New Labour and immigration 1) Straw admits that his party “messed up”

Jack Straw“Jack Straw has admitted that throwing open Britain’s borders to Eastern European migrants was a ‘spectacular mistake’. … The former Home Secretary said Labour’s 2004 decision to hand immediate working rights to Poles and migrants from other new EU states was a ‘well-intentioned policy we messed up’.” – Daily Mail

  • “The question for David Cameron is whether, by ignoring sensible calls to keep the existing controls on Romanians and Bulgarians in place, he is about to make a ‘spectacular mistake’ of his own.” – Daily Mail editorial

New Labour and immigration 2) Blunkett warns that Romanian immigration could spark protests

“The former Home Secretary said ‘frictions’ with local people could lead racial tensions to ‘explode’ in a repeat of the riots that rocked Northern towns in the summer of 2001. … Mr Blunkett called on Roma migrants from Slovakia to ‘change their culture’ because their dumping of rubbish and refusal to send their children to school had caused ‘understandable tensions’ with residents in his home city of Sheffield.” – Daily Mail

Tell us where you stand on a referendum, Labour urged by its EU allies

“Senior Labour party figures are under pressure from the UK’s most important European allies to say whether or not the party will hold a referendum on Britain’s EU membership. … In a sign of growing European worries over a possible British exit from the union, diplomats from the biggest continental embassies, have been holding meetings with Labour MPs and peers as they try to flesh out what the party will do if it wins the next election.” – Financial Times

  • “Tory Eurosceptics won’t be quiet for long” – Isabel Hardman, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Most voters in the north of England are against HS2, according to YouGov poll – The Times (£)
  • Government rejects proposal to publicly identify the members of parole boards – The Times (£)
  • Prince Charles claims that supermarkets are exploiting Britain’s farmers – Daily Mail
  • BBC uses licence fee money to pay the legal bills of human resources boss suing for libel – Daily Mail
  • Mark Carney has held Irish citizenship since 1988 – Financial Times
  • Former Downing Street adviser wants various institutions – including the House of Lords and the British Museum – to have a presence in the North – Financial Times
  • Bercow writes to the court of appeal about forthcoming libel case involving Lord Triesman – The Guardian
  • Nearly a million under-25s still unemployed despite growth – The Independent

And finally 1)… Blair and the big bucks

tony-blair“Tony Blair took his earning power to astonishing new heights yesterday when he pocketed £150,000 for just an hour’s work. … The former Prime Minister, who is said to have amassed a £50 million fortune since leaving office, was paid the staggering sum for conducting two 30-minute events in Dubai.” – Daily Mail

  • “The civil servant [Jeremy Heywood[ who was Tony Blair’s closest adviser on the 2003 Iraq invasion must have no say in whether to publish discussions between Mr Blair and President George W. Bush about the war, a former Foreign Secretary [Lord Owen] has said.” – The Times (£)

And finally 2)… Paxman gets inked

“Last night, Jeremy Paxman found a new way of signing off… with a tattoo tribute to broadcaster David Dimbleby – who this week revealed he’d had a scorpion inking on his back. … Paxman displayed his knuckles to reveal the words ‘Good Nite’ in gothic black letters.” – Daily Mail

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