Telegraph Morning Briefing: See no Evil, 03/03/2015

Tues March 3









This political briefing was sent as an email to Telegraph readers, March 3, 2015


Good morning. Our splash today is: “Jail for those who turn a blind eye to child abuse”. David Cameron will announce today at a Downing Street summit that council workers and other professionals who fail to act upon suspicions of child abuse could face up to five years in jail.

Similar “wiful neglect” legislation is already in place regarding the care of elderly patients. This was introduced by Cameron to protect elderly people in care homes. The policy announced today is an extension of this legislation to protect children. Just how enforceable it is remains to be seen. Proving negligence in the social services and police force will be difficult. Think back to the furore when Andrew Norfolk first broke the story in the Times of Rotherham’s child sex scandal in January 2011. His work led to the government inquiry. But for a long time, those who asked such questions were dismissed as racist by many in authority; it takes more than a law to change culture and attitudes.

The timing of the announcement today is no coincidence. A report on paedophile rings in Oxfordshire by an independent inquiry is released today. It is expected to find that more than 300 children were sexually exploited by gangs in Oxfordshire over 15 years.

The Guardian also splashes the story on its front page. Its lead is “PM: jail those who ignore child abuse”. The article makes a link to Ukip and the general election. “Cameron is aware Ukip leader Nigel Farage has been trying to exploit the evidence of child abuse by members of ethnic minorities to demand tougher action,” Patrick Wintour writes.


Theresa May has bound a future Tory government to a net migration target that spectacularly failed during this parliament. During an interview with the Times, the home secretary stuck by Cameron’s “no ifs, no buts” pledge on reducing the annual net migration figure to 100,000. She has dismissed the concerns of senior Tories and hit back at her colleagues, accusing them of not doing enough. That’s fighting talk, especiallly given than some of the colleagues who take a more relaxed approach to immigration include Boris Johnson and George Osborne, who could just face Mrs May in a future Tory leadership contest. Is immigration going to become the touchstone of the Tories’ open-vs-closed debate about Britain’s place in the 21st century world?


Spending on overseas aid is set to outgrow the defence budget within 15 years, Christopher Hope reports. It is likely to raise eyebrows among Tory backbenchers who want Cameron to commit to spending 2 per cent of the nation’s income on defence after 2015-16. The forecast from the House of Commons library will not be an easy-sell on the doorsteps. Much of the electorate find it difficult to understand how foreign aid remains protected but military spending faces potential budget cuts. Philip Johnston writes in The Daily Telegraph today that defence has become a taboo subject at this election.


The Conservatives have opened up a three-point lead over Labour. But polls come and go, and the averages aren’t really moving. More important in the latest poll from Lord Ashcroft is that three times as many people believe a Labour government would result in more borrowing and debt than if Cameron stayed in No.10. Ben Riley-Smith has the story.


John Bercow has issued a warning that the Palace of Westminster may have to be abandoned within twenty years unless an extensive programme of repairs and modernisation is agreed. Which raises the interesting question of where a temporary parliament would sit? There are various central London sites that would work, but why not leave the capital? OK, it would mean some pretty awful moving costs, but it would certainly rebalance the London-centric UK. Some campaigners have suggested Hull. George Osborne would doubtless prefer Manchester – that really would create a northern powerhouse. And James Kirkup, who’s editing this briefing, would vote for Newcastle, since everyone seems to have forgotten about the north east.


It would seem that it isn’t only Vince Cable who has an issue with the government’s plan to crack-down on hate preachers by forcing universities to ban them. The Times reports that Greg Clark, the universities and skills minister, warned the plan was unworkable during a cabinet meeting last month.


A local paper in Doncaster has helped pour scorn on Ed Miliband after he was voted only the fourth most influential person in his constituency. In the “power list” Miliband came behind One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson, the council’s chief executive Jo Miller and the mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones. Steve Hawkes in the Sun has the story.


It would seem the Tories’ new campaign advert has a certain similarity with an infamous Miley Cyrus music video. Who knew Lynton was such a fan?



@GeneralBoles: Wrecking Balls (h/t @LouiseMensch) Labour Isn’t Twerking (h/t @ArmandDAngour)


From The Telegraph
James Kirkup – Are the Conservatives losing their nerve?
David Elstein – Could the BBC survive without the licence fee?

From elsewhere
Isabel Hardman – Does the Tory housing pledge really help the housing crisis?
James Bloodworth – Was Mohammed Emwazi really ‘radicalised’? Or is he just a sick loser?

1000 Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is appearing before the Treasury select committee
London: Jeremy Hunt, Andy Burnham and Paul Burstow will speak at the Health and Social Care Conference
1230 Gloria De Piero is on Loose Women
A delayed report on the deaths of babies, attributed to maternity units run by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust will be published
Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board’s independent chair Maggie Blyth is to publish a review of local child abuse
David Cameron will host a Downing Street conference on how to tackle grooming gangs
London: ‘Beyond Aid: Labour’s Ambition for a Radical Development Agenda’, Labour’s new international development pamphlet will be launched
Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto begins his three-day state visit of the UK
Moscow: funeral of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov



Main Chamber
1130 Oral Questions: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including Topical Questions
Ten Minute Rule Motion: Housing Ombudsman (Power to Settle Disputes Between Neighbours and Tenants) – Nick de Bois
Debate: Estimates Day (3rd allotted day) – (i) Support for housing costs in the reformed welfare system (Work and Pensions Committee fourth report session 2013-14: HC 720 2013-14) (ii) Children’s and adolescents’ mental health and CAMHS (Health Committee third report session 2014-15: HC 342 2014-15, and the Government response: HC 1036 2014-15) (iii) Department for Communities and Local Government (iv) Ministry of Defence; Supplementary Estimates 2015-16; Estimates Excesses 2013-14; Supplementary Estimates 2014-15; Vote on Account 2015-16
Adjournment: International endangered species – Norman Baker

Select Committee
0930 High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill: High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill. Witness(es): Yarlet School, Roger and Gillian Broadbent, David Cook, Steven Smith, Andrew Wilkinson, Duncan Mackenzie, Jeremy Lefroy MP , Jeremy Lefroy MP and Russell and Jane Maingay, Bill Murray and Dr Dan Mitchell and Denis Howroyd. Location: Room 5
0930 Welsh Affairs: Dairy Farming in Wales. Witness(es): David Handley, Chairman, Farmers For Action, Hazel Wright, Senior Policy Officer, Farmers’ Union of Wales and Aled Jones, Dairy Board Chair, NFU Cymru; George Eustice, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment and Mark Filley Sustainable and Competitive Farming Strategy Team, DEFRA. Location: Room 15, Palace of Westminster
1000 Treasury: Bank of England Foreign Exchange Market Investigation. Witness(es): Dr Mark Carney, Governor, Bank of England and Anthony Habgood, Chairman of the Court of the Bank of England. Location: The Wilson Room, Portcullis House
1000 International Development: DFID’s work in Nepal. Witness(es): Rt Hon Desmond Swayne MP, Minister of State, Department for International Development, Saul Walker, Head of Asia, Caribbean and Overseas Territories Directorate, Department for International Development and Mark Smith, Deputy Head, DFID Nepal. Location: The Grimond Room, Portcullis House
1300 Backbench Business: Proposals for backbench debates. Witness(es): Members of Parliament. Location: Room 15, Palace of Westminster
1400 High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill: High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill. Witness(es): As for morning session, unless already heard. Location: Room 5, Palace of Westminster
1445 Political and Constitutional Reform: The future of devolution after the referendum. Witness(es): Rt Hon. Greg Clark MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science and Cities, Cabinet Office, Rt Hon. David Mundell MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland and Baroness Randerson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales. Location: Room 8, Palace of Westminster
1445 Home Affairs: Police Bail. Witness(es): Paul Gambaccini, Radio presenter and Kate Goold, Bindmans LLP; Chief Constable Chris Eyre QPM, Nottinghamshire Police, National Lead on Criminal Justice; Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions. Location: The Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House

Main Chamber
1430 Royal Assent
Oral Questions:
Findings of the YouGov survey on cycling safety commissioned by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
Advice issued to individual academy schools regarding the £2.5 billion held in reserves
Complaints against police forces in England and Wales as reported by the Independent Police Complaints Commission
Areas with underperforming electoral registration officers
Legislation: Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill – Report stage – Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Short Debate: Access to treatment for patients with rare diseases

Select Committee
1515 Communications: Private meeting. Location: Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster
0330 Economic Affairs: Private meeting. Location: Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster




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