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Daily Political Media Summary: 12 March 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 12 March 2010

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All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.

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Transport 

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Trams: Two MSPS have called for an independent audit into Edinburgh\’s crisis-hit tram scheme, amid allegations that project chiefs were mishandling the construction contract. (Scotsman page 4) 

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High speed rail: Business leaders have urged that a high-speed rail line proposed by the UK government yesterday must include a commitment from the outset to reach Scotland. The call came after Transport Secretary Lord Adonis published proposals for a line from London to Birmingham in 2026. Lord Adonis also gave his backing for a cross-Border extension, but, as expected, set out details only for the initial section. (Scotsman page 4, Liz Cameron in Scotsman page 32, Herald page 2, FT page 4, Courier page 11, Daily Express page 6, BBC, STV) 

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Health

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Pill: Taking the contraceptive pill can help women live longer and reduce their risk of serious diseases, according to a major new study by Scottish researchers. Researchers examined the health of 46,000 women over 39 years and found those who took the contraceptive pill were less likely to die from any cause, including all types of cancer and heart disease. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 11, Telegraph page 10, press and Journal page 8, Daily Record page 12, Daily Express page 1, BBC, STV) 

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Dentistry: SNP ministers were accused of attempting to “cook the books” with plans to allow patients to register permanently with dentists. Conservative leader Annabel Goldie joined dentists’ leaders yesterday when she claimed “continuous registration” could undermine regular check-ups and even lead to an increase in undetected mouth cancers. First Minister Alex Salmond defended the change, saying it will prevent patients being taken off the books of an NHS dentist. (Press and Journal page 8, Courier page 3) 

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Education

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Swedish system: Plans for Scotland to examine the Swedish model of running schools were criticised by MSPs as education minister Michael Russell prepares for a fact-finding mission. He is making the trip to Sweden and Finland after publicly declaring he would welcome suggestions from Scotland\’s local authorities on alternative ways to run schools. (Scotsman page 18, Telegraph page 2, Alan Cochrane page 8) 

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Politics

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MP expenses: Three Labour MPs and a Conservative peer told a judge yesterday that they will use a 320-year-old law to argue they should not be prosecuted over the expenses scandal. MPs Jim Devine, David Chaytor and Elliot Morley, along with Lord Hanningfield, will insist their case should not be tried by a jury and instead be dealt with by House of Commons authorities. In a hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates\’ Court, all four Parliamentarians said they would plead not guilty to charges of expenses fraud. (Scotsman page 7, Times page 3, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 1, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 7, Daily Mirror page 9, Daily Mail page 12, Sun page 7) 

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Hung parliament: Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has laid out the conditions for a deal with either Labour or the Conservatives in the event of a hung parliament. The four conditions will not include a Cabinet place, although this is believed to be another demand, but are meant to be a "roadmap" for a fairer Britain. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 6, Times page 4) 

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“State of Scotland” debates: MPs will be able to scrutinise Alex Salmond’s administration during special ‘state of Scotland’ debates at the Commons, under new proposals to improve relations between Westminster and Holyrood. (Telegraph) 

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Budget: Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman on the UK Budget and how Alistair Darling could adopt a ten-step plan to wrest ‘certain’ victory from the Conservatives. (Scotsman page 31) 

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Public sector bonuses: Scotland’s senior civil servants are on course to receive an average bonus of more than £7,600, despite the economic crisis. Opposition parties condemned the handouts as lavish and inappropriate as other workers face pay freezes and companies shed workers to survive the credit crunch. The projected payout comes after it emerged 226 senior civil servants shared a bonus jackpot of £1,302,214 between April and December last year. (Herald page 1, Times page 18, Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 5, Courier page 7, Daily Express page 4)