Quarter of a million NHS patients too afraid to complain

NHS‘Hundreds of thousands of patients are still too afraid to speak out about poor NHS care, experts warned yesterday. They estimate that a quarter of a million incidents a year are never reported because patients and relatives think it will only make matters worse…Today a report commissioned by the Government is expected to warn that NHS staff who dare criticise standards of care are routinely being suspended or bullied out of their jobs. It has been chaired by Robert Francis, the barrister who oversaw an inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal, who has sought evidence from hundreds of doctors, nurses and other employees.’ – Daily Mail

  • Francis warns that the system crushes whistleblowers – Daily Telegraph
  • Don’t trust Labour with the Health Service, warn Mid Staffs campaigners – Daily Telegraph
  • Ofsted failed to look for abuse in Rotherham – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The price of accountability in healthcare

Universal Credit to go nationwide next week

‘Universal credit, the government’s welfare programme, will be accelerated next week as the Tories ramp up their attack on Labour’s record. Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, is to announce plans to extend the scheme nationwide at the rate of 15 new job centres a week from next Monday.’ – The Times (£)

Election 1) Cameron orders the Cabinet back to work

Cameron1‘David Cameron has warned cabinet ministers to clear a mounting backlog of government work amid fears that Whitehall is starting to grind to a halt before the general election. The prime minister, already irritated by claims of a “zombie parliament”, made clear his frustration at the slowing pace of government in cabinet.’ – The Times (£)

  • Are the Tories giving up on Rochester and Strood? – The Times (£)
  • MPs propose training for ministers – The Guardian
  • University urges the Prime Minister to stop appointing Peers – FT
  • Downsize the House of Lords – FT Leader
  • DUP mulls coalition options – The Guardian

>Yesterday: MPsETC: A CCHQ cock-up leaks the names of 101 “non-target” seats

Election 2) Donors abandon Labour

‘Donations to Labour from individuals have slumped to less than half of their level during the last parliament, highlighting the party’s difficulty in appealing to wealthy business figures. The opposition party received just £8.7m from private donors in the current legislative session, compared to £20.7m in the same period of the last parliament.’ – FT

>Today: From Reggie to Dessie: Crocodile skin and velvet at the Black and White Ball. And that was just the men.

Election 3) Miliband snubs business gathering

Miliband Odd and Red‘Ed Miliband’s relationship with business hit a new low last night after he snubbed a major gathering of company executives. The Labour leader, who is struggling to persuade business leaders that he is on their side, stunned organisers of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) annual conference by telling them he was too busy to attend. BCC director general John Longworth described Mr Miliband’s absence as ‘disappointing’, while critics said it showed he had ‘nothing to say’ to business.’ – Daily Mail

  • Labour will demonise you, Cameron warns the BCC audience – The Guardian
  • Opposition’s new donor opposes the energy price freeze – The Sun (£)
  • Axelrod declares himself ‘done’ with campaigning – The Sun (£)
  • No-one has faith in Ed – The Sun Says (£)
  • Mansion tax will hit Bishops’ palaces – The Times (£)
  • SNP claim there’s an alternative to austerity – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: The business case

Election 4) Harman drives into trouble with pink van to target women voters

‘Labour’s latest election stunt was mocked yesterday after it launched its women’s campaign — with a pink battlebus. Staunch feminist Harriet Harman was accused of patronising females after unveiling her “16-seater woman mobile”. It will take campaigners on a “Woman to Woman” tour.’ – The Sun (£)

Boris calls for an early EU referendum

EU Exit‘Boris Johnson has urged David Cameron to bring forward his EU referendum by declaring: “Let’s get it done.” Speculation is growing that the in-out vote could take place next year rather than 2017 if the Tory leader is re-elected PM. Speaking during a visit to New York, the London Mayor said: “I very much welcome the idea of bringing forward the renegotiation and the referendum, let’s get it done.’ – The Sun (£)



Ministers deny knowing about HSBC leaks

‘HMRC bosses knew about the HSBC tax scandal eight months before the bank’s chairman was appointed as a Government minister, it emerged last night. The agency received a copy of the list of clients with millions stashed away in Switzerland before Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint was brought in to government in January 2011…Sajid Javid told Channel 4 News there was ‘no evidence of any conspiracy’. The culture secretary insisted that HMRC is ‘independent of day-to-day government’.’ – Daily Mail

  • Lord Green was the boss of the Swiss unit – The Times (£)
  • Only one person prosecuted in scandal – Daily Mail
  • Capita accused of driving small firms out of business – The Independent

Prince Charles lobbies the Saudi King over Raif Badawi case

Prince Charles‘Prince Charles has raised the plight of jailed blogger Raif Badawi with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman…A source said: “It is understood the issue was raised by the prince during his meeting with King Salman. The reaction from the king was not unfriendly.”’

>Today: The Deep End: What happens when terrorists start using drones against us?

Sandbrook: We learned nothing from the 1930s…and Putin knows it

‘Although we in the West love to congratulate ourselves on our parents’ and grandparents’ victories over Nazism and Communism, it is now horribly clear we have learned nothing from the history of the 1930s. For as Mr Putin has proved, we are simply too self-interested, too spoiled and too weak to stand up to aggression. The last few days alone could hardly have made for a more depressing spectacle.’ – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail

40 years ago today, Thatcher was elected Conservative leader

THATCHER Che‘The Thatcher premiership was so revolutionary, so in contrast with the paternalistic consensus that preceded it, that it can be hard to recapture the shock of that first revolution: that the Tories, of all parties, had chosen a woman as leader. An excellent Twitter account, @thatchersrise, has been using material from this newspaper and others to remedy that, and give a flavour of the contemporary mood. Tory MPs knew, as they cast their ballots, that they were on the verge of making history. But they could not imagine quite how much history their decision would make.’ – Daily Telegraph Leader

Tower Hamlets vote study finds up to one in four written by the same hand

‘A quarter of the postal votes in a single Tower Hamlets ward may have been completed by the same hand, according to evidence prepared for the voterigging trial involving Lutfur Rahman, the borough mayor. A scientist who has spent nearly four decades examining ballot papers said that he had never seen such a high proportion of similar Xs.’ – The Times (£)

News in brief

  • Girls accidentally swapped at birth win compensation two decades on – Daily Mail
  • MPs earn £200,000 in BBC fees – The Sun (£)
  • £250 million cost of public sector pay-offs – WalesOnline
  • New ‘charm school’ for diplomats – The Times (£)
  • Cable considers scrapping Holocaust compensation scheme – Daily Telegraph
  • Driverless cars hit the roads – Daily Mail
  • The latest Eurovision competitor is…Australia – The Times (£)
  • MPs seek to force protections for the press into law – The Sun (£)
  • Our prisons are a disgrace – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph
  • Wolf Hall used £200,000 of candles – The Scotsman