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HomePoliticsNewslinks for Thursday 16th May 2024 | Conservative Home

Newslinks for Thursday 16th May 2024 | Conservative Home

Suspected criminals held ahead of court dates could be released on bail to ease jail overcrowding

“Suspected criminals set to be kept in custody until their court date could be released on bail instead to ease jail overcrowding. Ministers yesterday triggered emergency measures delaying cases for some suspects. It means they may have to be released on bail, rather than sent to a remand cell until their trial. But it is not clear how many will be freed under Operation Early Dawn, expected to remain in place for at least a week. The countrywide measures are understood to have only been used so far in London and the North East. Last week prison capacity was at 98.6 per cent, with 1,238 cells free. Meanwhile a scheme allowing some lags to be released early has been extended. In October prisons were told low-level offenders could be freed 18 days early with strict supervision.” – The Sun

  • Sunak criticised as courts delay bail hearings due to prison overcrowding – FT
  • Tory MPs submit letters of no confidence – Daily Express


  • Sunak mocks SNP for demanding he apologise for listing separatism drive as danger to the UK – Daily Mail


  • Prime Minister’s one decent joke lost in field of thorny PM’s questions – Tom Peck, The Times
  • Sunak emerges the winner in this week’s round of silly questions – Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph



Graduate visa route has limited effect on skills base, migration adviser chief admits

“There is limited “compelling” evidence that people who use the UK’s graduate visa route raise the skills level of the domestic workforce, according to the government’s top migration adviser. Professor Brian Bell, Migration Advisory Committee chair, said of the Mac’s review into the scheme: “Had we been asked the question by government, ‘do you think the graduate route is necessary . . . to bring skilled work into the UK?’, the answer would probably have been ‘the arguments are less compelling’.” … Bell’s remarks follow a report released by the committee on Tuesday that recommended the government retain the graduate visa route, which allows overseas students to spend two years working in the UK after graduation.” – FT

  • Migration policy risks undermining university sector, business warns – FT


  • ‘Fury’ as Britain takes back 50 migrants from Ireland despite Sunak’s refusal – Daily Express


  • University finances are in dangerous territory – Stephen Bush, FT
  • Wales shows why Labour can’t be trusted to get a grip on immigration – Andrew RT Davies MS, Daily Express


Mini nuclear reactors will hit your town by early 2030s, Energy Secretary vows

“Mini-nuclear reactors will begin to be rolled out across the country within the next ten years – but there will be no return to fracking anytime soon. Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho says Britain will be “one of the first countries in the world, if not the first” to have a small modulator reactor that can produce power for a million homes. The Secretary of State told The Sun’s Harry Cole on Never Mind the Ballots that she wants to bring “cheap energy to the country”. Coutinho said it’s “the kind of nuclear power plant that you can build in a factory and roll out cheaply across the country”… The Rolls Royce made mini-reactors are a fraction of the size and cost of traditional nuclear plants, with ministers promising they could one day be built in dozens of towns and cities.” – The Sun

  • Axing northern leg of HS2 will stunt UK growth, says official adviser – FT


  • Tories must go further to keep costs down for drivers – The Sun

>Yesterday: Sir John Redwood’s column: Too many councils undermine local democracy by blaming Westminster for their failings

McVey blasts Channel 4 news over supposed LGBT civil service lanyard ‘ban’

“Esther McVey slapped down left-wing Channel 4 news this afternoon, when they doorstepped her on the way into the Cabinet Office. The broadcaster and politician was probed about her big speech yesterday, after which many outlets went on to report that the Government wants to “ban” civil servants from wearing woke LGBT+ lanyards at work. Questions about the supposed ban, Ms McVey turned around and demanded to know whether the reporter had bothered to listen to her speech… Asked about civil servants wearing political lanyards at a speech on Monday, Ms McVey said that while mandarins should wear a “standard design” lanyard, she did not set out any consequences for those who broke the guidance. Backing up her denial, newly published guidance last night did not directly reference any ban on rainbow lanyards.” – Daily Express

  • ‘Common sense minister’ denies plan despite saying earlier this week that lanyards should be a ‘standard design’ – The Guardian

Kids will never again be told they would be happier as trans, vows Keegan

“Schools are to be banned from telling children they could be identifying as the wrong gender, ­Gillian Keegan vows today. Under-nines will also not receive sex ­education classes in future, the Education Secretary says, amid fears children are being taught inappropriate content. Older pupils will be taught about legally protected characteristics such as sexual orientation and gender reassignment in the major clampdown. They will not get lessons in the “contested” subject of gender identity and parents will have the right to see what kids are taught… Rishi Sunak added that it would protect kids from “disturbing” content being shown in class following fears from parents over graphic lessons.” – The Sun

  • We must stop rushing kids into adulthood with harmful sex education – Gillian Keegan MP, The Sun
  • If children don’t learn about sex at school, who will teach them? – Jemima Lewis, Daily Telegraph


  • New government guidance on sex education in schools is sensible and proportionate – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Sex education. Ministers are right to tighten guidance – but they can only do so much.

NHS bosses ‘destroy careers of whistleblowers who stand up to protect patients’ lives’

“NHS managers are destroying the careers of whistleblowers who raise concerns about patient safety, a group of medics warns. More than 50 doctors and nurses have told The Telegraph they have been targeted after raising concerns about upwards of 170 patient deaths and nearly 700 cases of poor care. One consultant described it as “the biggest scandal within our country” and said the true number of avoidable deaths was “astronomical”. Instead of trying to fix the problems, the whistleblowers claim NHS bosses are spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money hiring law firms and private eyes to investigate them instead, leading many medics to quit the profession in despair. In one case, the NHS spent more than £4 million on legal action against a single whistleblower, which included £3.2 million in compensation.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Clarke: I’m still recovering from the birth of my daughter – The Times


  • Covid inquiry costing £300,000 a day – The Times


  • Decaying hospitals highlight government failure to invest in the NHS – Julian Hartley, FT

>Yesterday: Cristina Odone in Comment: Ministers must deliver justice for carers – before they become the new postmasters

Elphicke accused of hypocrisy after about-turn on Labour housing policy

“Natalie Elphicke joined Labour despite warning that EU rules championed by Sir Keir Starmer are one of the “biggest obstacles” to housebuilding. The former Tory MP, who claims Labour’s housing policies were a deciding factor in her crossing the floor of the Commons, previously supported Rishi Sunak’s efforts to repeal “nutrient neutrality” laws which are blocking the construction of 150,000 new homes. She said at the time that the environmental regulations, which were mandated by Brussels, were “fundamentally flawed” and had proved “a complete failure”. No 10’s attempts to axe the rules were scuppered last Autumn when Sir Keir withdrew his support and ordered Labour peers to vote to retain them.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Landlords selling up leaving 2,000 households a month in England facing homelessness – The Guardian

Starmer sets out six pledges ahead of general election

“Sir Keir Starmer will unveil a ­six-point plan for Britain under Labour today with an updated version of Tony Blair’s election-winning pledge card. In an effort to distil Labour’s detailed policies into a “retail offer” to voters, Starmer will set out the “first steps” he will take if he becomes prime minister. The plan echoes the five pledges made by Blair in 1997, which included cutting NHS waiting times, improving education and cracking down on ­antisocial behaviour. Starmer has included a sixth pledge, to tackle illegal migration, in the hope of heading off Conservative claims that his party is soft on dealing with small boat crossings. Although the pledge card gives no specific new policies, strategists said it was designed to make existing plans clearer to voters.” – The Times

  • Campaign material to include pledges on NHS wait times and recruiting teachers – The Guardian
  • Lammy and Healey visit Ukraine to say Labour would keep up UK’s backing – The Guardian


  • A Labour government with no money will be more dangerous than it admits – Madeline Grant, Daily Telegraph

Labour chief claimed £40,000 expenses to rent house next door

“Sir Keir Starmer’s election chief claimed more than £40,000 on expenses for rent on a constituency home despite owning the house next door. Pat McFadden, who as national campaign co-ordinator is one of Labour’s most powerful figures, used the unusual living arrangement for five years. He moved out of his own property in July 2012, a month before expenses rules were changed to bar MPs from claiming for mortgage interest. The revelations sparked accusations he had abused the “spirit of the rules” and prompted calls for change to stop taxpayers subsidising MPs’ property portfolios. A spokesman for Mr McFadden said he had “complied with the IPSA rules at all times” and pointed out that he eventually sold his house for a loss.” – Daily Telegraph

  • ‘Huge’ u-turn as landlord Hunt quietly rejoins ground rent discussions – The Sun
  • Rayner tells Hunt to publish ‘landlord’ advice despite her own housing row secrecy – Daily Telegraph


  • Labour begins candidate selection for Corbyn’s Islington North seat – The Guardian


  • Starmer will struggle to clean up politics – Katy Balls, The Times
  • He needs more than defection fever to win – Eliot Wilson, Daily Express

>Yesterday: Chris Whitehouse in Comment: Illiberalism in the Liberal Democrats should set alarm bells ringing for the party’s future

Slovakian prime minister in serious condition after assassination attempt

“Slovakia’s prime minister Robert Fico was fighting for his life on Wednesday night after being shot several times in an ­assassination attempt. He is believed to have been hit by at least three bullets, one in the abdomen, as he spoke to voters in Handlova, a town 80 miles northeast of the capital Bratislava. He was bundled into a car by his security team and taken to hospital. Robert Kalinak, the defence minister, said that Fico’s condition was “extraordinarily serious”. Video broadcast on news channels around the world soon after the incident showed Fico, 59, falling to the ground after the attacker fired as many as five shots from close range. A 71-year-old man was arrested at the scene. He is believed to come from the town of Levice, southern Slovakia.” – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Rwanda plan exposes false claims about the Irish Sea border – Owen Polley, CapX
  • The Right’s new parties won’t save Britain – Aris Roussinos, UnHerd
  • Will Starmer’s agreement with the unions last? – Freddie Hayward, New Statesman
  • The gambling suicides myth – Christopher Snowdon, The Critic
  • The assassination attempt on Fico will change Slovakia for ever – Dalibor Rohac, The Spectator

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