A “Dirty tricks” campaign against Labour staff? – Media and blog round up: February 6th 2013

6th February, 2013 10:25 am

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Did News International launch “dirty tricks” campaign against Labour staff?

“News International is accused of having engaged in systematic political dirty tricks against the former Labour government by hacking the phones of party workers inside key offices. The publisher has recently settled a hacking claim with Amanda Ramsay, who was targeted at a time she worked in the office of Labour whip Graham Stringer MP. The agreement follows other settlements with other Labour party workers Hilary Perrin, the former regional organiser for London, and Joan Hammell, who was targeted while working as a special adviser to John Prescott.” – The Independent

Mid Staffordshire NHS report due – and Cameron will lead the attack

“Hundreds of hospital patients died in the biggest NHS scandal in living memory because of a box-ticking culture and a failure of compassion, a damning official report will say today. David Cameron is appalled by the findings of a long-awaited report into the deaths of up to 1,200 people between 2005 and 2008 because of poor care in hospitals run by the Mid Staffordshire trust. It is expected to blame managers who cut costs and reduced staffing levels in an attempt to hit Labour’s ‘efficiency’ targets and win foundation status.” – Daily Mail

“David Cameron is to deliver the government’s response in the House of Commons on Wednesday to the Francis inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal. In a sign of the gravity of the inquiry, Downing Street confirmed that the prime minister would take the rare step of delivering the government’s statement after briefing the cabinet about the report on Tuesday. The relevant secretary of state would usually make such a statement. But the prime minister occasionally delivers the government’s response to major inquiries, as he did on the Bloody Sunday inquiry and in the Pat Finucane case, when he believes it is important to acknowledge the gravity of the issue.” – The Guardian

“That leaves Andy Burnham, the former health secretary and Mr Hunt’s shadow, open to attack from Mr Cameron. If the PM is spoiling for a political scrap over the Francis report, he may be disappointed in an opponent who holds Mr Cameron in some regard. As a Catholic whose decision to back Mr Miliband on gay marriage was not lightly taken, he is said to admire Mr Cameron’s courage on that issue as well as expecting the PM’s “regard for people” to be reflected in his Francis response. Mr Burnham is also thought to believe Labour will have lessons to learn over the target culture and the market reforms driven through by Tony Blair and Alan Milburn.” – Mary Riddell, Telegraph

Other highlights

  • Lords Speaker urges Cameron to slash number of peers – The Times(£)
  • UK could face Human Rights court over rendition – Guardian
  • “Shambolic” privatisation of translation services slammed – The Guardian
  • Can Cameron heal his divided party? – ConHome
  • Cameron sells access to Justin Bieber (this not not a joke, sadly) – The Sun 
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