Cameron heralds the “great British revival”

CAMERON POINTING“David Cameron has said the economy is enjoying a “great British revival” as he launched the Conservatives’ local election campaign. Speaking in Staffordshire, the prime minister said the UK’s fortunes had turned around since 2010 and his party wanted to “finish the job”. He also promised to “make sure” UK voters get a referendum on whether to leave the European Union.” – BBC

  • “Mr Cameron, launching the Conservatives’ local election campaign, said: ‘I don’t need to discredit UKIP – they do a good enough job themselves.’ He has recently sought to avoid direct criticism of UKIP, which appears on course to top the poll in elections to the European Parliament later this month. But he spoke out after a series of controversies involving UKIP candidates and donors accused of sexism, racism and homophobia.” – Daily Mail
  • “After launching his campaign, the prime minister took time out to meet the teenager with incurable cancer who has raised more than £3 million for charity. Mr Cameron visited 19-year-old Stephen Sutton, who is being treated for multiple tumours at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Mr Sutton was later discharged. During the visit, lasting about 15 minutes, Mr Sutton, whose fundraising for the Teenage Cancer Trust has won backing from people around the world, posed for pictures alongside the prime minister, his mother, Jane, and the consultant treating him. Afterwards Mr Cameron said: “He’s amazing, just an inspiration.” – The Times(£)

Gove’s tribute to his teachers

“It was Mike Duncan who stood out for me, and I know for many others. While I was at school, indeed while Mike was my form teacher, my dad’s small business collapsed…It was Mike who ensured I was able to win a scholarship, which enabled me to stay at Gordon’s, complete my exams and then, unbelievably for my family, become not just the first to go to University, but to go to Oxford.” – Michael Gove Daily Mail

> Today: Tory Diary: Gove should broaden he Tories school choice offer

Heseltine calls for powers to stop takeovers

HESELTINE, green sweater“Conservative peer Lord Heseltine has said the government should have greater powers to intervene when British companies are the target of takeover bids by foreign businesses. The former deputy prime minister told the BBC takeovers “could be very helpful”, but the UK should do more to protect its national interests. This week, American drugs giant Pfizer announced it was bidding for British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The firm has 6,700 employees in the UK.” – BBC

  • “If a US or French company were facing a similarly hostile takeover to AstraZeneca, politicians would be scrutinising the deal for even the faintest sign it was not in the national interest. Our own ministers, by contrast, seem to be cheerleading for Pfizer and, worryingly, even appear to have put the Cabinet Secretary, Jeremy Heywood, in charge of helping to broker the transaction. With so much at stake, they need to stop their meddling and order a truly independent inquiry into the merits or otherwise of the deal.” – Leader Daily Mail
  • Britain benefits from foreign money. Economic nativism is as daft as any other – Douglas Carswell Daily Telegraph

Boris “looking for seat in the north”

“Boris Johnson is considering standing in a seat in the north of England at the next election to underline his credentials as a leadership candidate capable of widening Conservative appeal, according to friends. Mr Johnson is braced for political attack if, as expected, he announces that he is to seek to combine his job as London mayor with that of a Conservative MP after next year’s poll and before his term ends in 2016.” – The Times(£)

 Parris attacks UKIP’s “dangerous populism”

PARRIS Mathhew“There’s nothing like reading an untruth about yourself for bringing its brazenness home with copper-bottomed certainty. When I read (in a UKIP attack on this newspaper) that I was “privately educated” there was no need to fact-check the five government schools I remember attending before, at 15, being sent to a “private” non-apartheid school. And Mr Farage presumably does know that he himself went to a top public school, and does remember that he set up the Farage Family Educational Trust in an offshore tax haven — to confer (one supposes) similar privileges on future Farages.” – Matthew Parris The Times(£)

Miliband confronted over NHS failings in Labour-run Wales

“Ed Miliband was confronted by an angry campaigner yesterday who said his elderly mother had died after suffering neglect under the Labour-run NHS in Wales. Gareth Williams told the Labour leader, on the first week of his campaign trail, that his party’s stewardship of the Health Service was a ‘national disgrace’ and patients were dying needlessly. His mother Lillian Williams died in 2012 aged 82 at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, where her family claim she was left without water, not helped to take her medication, and was withheld treatment for pneumonia without their consent.” – Daily Mail

Clegg furious at leaks over his opposition to new knife crime penalties…

Nick Clegg portrait“The bitter coalition row over knife crime intensified yesterday as the Liberal Democrats claimed that automatic jail sentences for offenders would turn them into ‘hardened criminals’. Nick Clegg was said to be ‘bouncing off the walls’ after secret Cabinet correspondence was leaked to yesterday’s Daily Mail, revealing how senior Lib Dems are resisting Tory plans to toughen punishments for those caught twice with a blade.” – Daily Mail

  • “A senior Lib Dem source said the Tories should “examine their own conscience” for engaging in political games in the aftermath of the fatal stabbing of the teacher Ann Maguire in Leeds.” – The Guardian

…as there are copycat fears with two girls held over plot to murder teacher

timesmurder“Two schoolgirls have been arrested on suspicion of plotting to murder their teacher, amid fears of copycat attacks after the killing of Ann Maguire. The girls, aged 14 and 15, were found with a knife at a comprehensive school four days after Mrs Maguire, 61, was fatally stabbed at a Catholic secondary school in Leeds. A 15-year-old male pupil has been charged with murder. In the latest case, at least one of the girls was allegedly overheard discussing plans to kill a maths teacher at the 1,000-pupil Cwmcarn High School near Newport shortly before midday on Thursday.” – The Times(£)

  • “A police source said: “The two pupils were overheard in class talking about what they were thinking about doing. “A teacher was informed and the pupils were challenged. Police were called as a result. “It was resolved by the time the police arrived at the school. No weapon was seen in the open but a check on a schoolbag discovered a knife which was taken away.” – Daily Express

McGuinness threatens police over arrest of Adams

“The Northern Ireland peace process was plunged into crisis yesterday as Gerry Adams was held for a third night over the notorious murder of a mother 42 years ago. In a highly inflammatory outburst, his deputy Martin McGuinness threatened to withdraw republican support for the police if the Sinn Fein president is charged with ordering the abduction and killing of Jean McConville in 1972. The move would have devastating consequences for security and stability in the province, where police officers were routinely shot by IRA terrorists before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.” – Daily Mail

  • “Government figures showed at least 365 royal pardons have been issued in Northern Ireland over the past 35 years, including for convicted terrorists.” – Daily Telegraph

Islamist threat to schools outside Birmingham

telegraphislamist“Schools across Britain are likely to have been targeted in an alleged Islamist plot to take over classrooms, head teachers have warned. The National Association of Head Teachers said it had found “concerted efforts” to infiltrate at least six schools in Birmingham. But the union also said that the scandal had “connections” to other large cities. The Telegraph understands that there are growing concerns about the
possible infiltration of schools in Bradford, Manchester and parts of east London.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “A UKIP local election candidate who tweeted “Islam is evil” and that homosexuality was an “abomination before God” faces suspension from the party. UKIP said it had started disciplinary proceedings against Harry Perry, who is standing for election in Stockport. A UKIP spokesman said the party did not condone or share his “crackpot” views.” – BBC

Hancock “too ill for court” but out campaigning

“An MP facing a high court claim of sexual assault has failed in a bid to suspend proceedings on the grounds that he is mentally unfit to instruct lawyers after it emerged he is campaigning to be a councillor in next month’s local elections. Mike Hancock – the MP for Portsmouth South who was a Liberal Democrat until he had the whip suspended over these allegation in February – wanted to suspend the case in which a vulnerable constituent claims he assaulted her, saying he “lacks capacity” to instruct a legal team.” – The Guardian

Shapps welcomes group to teaching immigrants English

grantshapps“Health Lottery owner Richard Desmond and Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps have staff at the Number 1 Hatfield Community Resource Centre. The centre hosts arts and craft clubs, knitting classes and provides internet access to people living in the neighbourhood. As Hatfield has a large immigrant population there are conversational groups for people who do not speak English as their first language. The project has been awarded £47,507 from the People’s Health Trust using money raised by HealthCourage through The Health Lottery. Mr Desmond, owner of Express Newspapers and Mr Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield, joined a crochet class and were given a tour of the premises to see the work done there.” – Daily Express

Scotland given power to reinstate the spare room subsidy

“The UK government has moved to neutralise the impact of the bedroom tax on the Scottish independence referendum by handing powers to the Scottish government that will allow it to mitigate the measure. The Scotland Office has informed the Scottish government that it will transfer the power to set the cap on discretionary housing payments (DHP) to help people on housing benefit who need extra help. The change will mean the Scottish government will, in effect, be able to end the bedroom tax in Scotland. Holyrood will not receive any extra resources from London and will have to fund any changes from its budget.” – The Guardian

  • “David Cameron is to play a major role in the Scottish independence referendum campaign – despite the Tories’ unpopularity north of the border. Plans are being drawn up for the PM to attend a series of high-profile events in Scotland in the run-up to the September 18 poll. They include the Commonwealth Games, Armed Forces Day and the launch of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier.” – The Sun(£)

Moore: Replace Paxo with a polite woman

charlesmoore“Aren’t current affairs better covered in broadcasting that is short, clear, fairly neutral, and presented by firm but polite women who see themselves as the servants of the public rather than their would-be idols? I much prefer Paxo when he does programmes about the Victorians or the First World War – a sadder and a wiser man, and therefore more interesting to watch.” – Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Constance Briscoe jailed for lying to police in Huhne case – BBC
  • Max Clifford jailed for eight years – BBC
  • BBC undecided about firing Clarkson – The Guardian
  • Blair denies having £100 million – The Sun(£)
  • Labour claim Conservative councils have highest Council Tax increases – The Guardian
  • Tory MP Sir John Stanley is a consultant to a Royal Mail investor – The Independent
  • RBS profits double to £1.6 billion – Daily Telegraph


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