Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Careless hands..

 The Government managed to turn victory into disaster last night with what James Kirkup dubs "the first postmodern vote in Commons history". The House was expected to vote on the European Arrest Warrant, with a rebellion around the 30 to 40 mark. Theresa May had attracted plaudits for a charm offensive that whittled down the planned rebellion from a possible 100 to a die-hard core. 
Instead, MPs found themselves voting on a secondary piece of legislation, known as a statutory instrument, covering only 10 of the 15 measures, not including the Warrant. As Ann Treneman puts in it in the Times: "It was about a clutch of regulations but not the one thing that everyone wanted to talk about, rebel over, shout out loud about". 
No matter, the Home Secretary announced. The Government would treat the vote as a vote on the treaty. Nuh-uh, replied John Bercow (I paraphrase). Then things went to pot. The Opposition refused to back the Government's motion to extend the debate to 10pm and then, Yvette Cooper tried to delay the vote for a day in order to have all 35 measures debated before the House. After a last-minute scramble by Government whips and a cross-town dash by the PM from a dinner at Mansion House, the Opposition's motion was defeated by a majority of 43, allowing the final vote to go through comfortably by 464 votes to 38. (Confused? Steven Swinford has a handy explainer of the mess) And we haven't heard the last of it: Labour will force a vote on the 19th of November, right before the Rochester by-election. All in all, a bad day at the office for the Government. 
"Chaos in House over EU Arrest Warrant" is our take. "MPs fury as May ducks vote on Europe" is the i's splash. That dreaded C-word again on the frontpage of the Times: "Chaos as rebels take Cameron to the brink".  "A dispiriting spectacle" is our leader's verdict. "With Labour on the ropes, the Tories contrived to detonate a bomb under their own record for competence," the Sun thunders in its leader
Who's to blame? It's a tricky question: fingers are being pointed in every direction. It's the Home Office's fault for promising a vote. It's William Hague's fault for being "too clever by half" with the motion before the House. It's Michael Gove and his deputy Greg Hands who are to blame for losing control. It's the Speaker who did the Government over. Who's the winner? That's an easier one: Nigel Farage. 
Alan Johnson has ruled out standing as a candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party, not now, not ever, in an article for the Guardian. "I have never stood for the leadership of my party, and for the avoidance of doubt, regardless of the circumstances, I never will," the former Home Secretary writes. It leaves Labour's discontents without a clear alternative and probably wraps it up for the rebels. The Labour leader will seek to regroup with a major speech on Thursday.  
Jean-Claude Juncker is facing growing calls to resign as President of the European Commission, Georgia Graham reports. It comes as M Juncker faces allegations that, as Prime Minister, he presided over potentially illegal tax breaks for multinational companies operating in Luxembourg. Margaret Hodge says that the President must "come clean" about the affair. “How can we know he’s working in the interest of Europe when as prime minister in Luxembourg he has exploited populations in every European country and elsewhere for decades?" Ms Hodge asked. 
"Whitehall told to find hit list for £30bn cuts" is the Guardian's splash. The Treasury has ordered civil servants to identify an extra £25-30 billion worth of cuts for the year after the general election. Elsewhere, Jim Pickard reports in the FT that local authorities have set aside £2.3 billion in reserves in expectation of further cuts to councils. That Britain's route back to the black is only half-finished is  "an open wound", Jeremy Warner says in his column today, and, with the picture in the Continent getting worse, there could be worse to come for the public finances. 
Pupils who focus exclusively on the arts and humanities risk restricting their future career paths, Nicky Morgan warned. Academic all-rounders have tended to do arts subjects as they are seen as more useful for "all kinds of jobs", Ms Morgan said, but "this couldn't be further from the truth". Figures published last year showed an 80% increase in the number of students taking degrees in humanities, business, creative arts or design between 2002 and 2012, Graeme Paton reports
Just one in four low earners has managed to escape permanently from low-paid work in the last decade, Andy Grice reports in the Indy.  in according to a new study published by the Resolution Foundation today. The report has been written for the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, and will be unveiled by the Commission's chief, Alan Milburn at an event this evening. 
Retiring Labour heavyweight David Blunkett is losing patience with The Archers, Hannah Furness reportsMelodramatic storylines and the disappearance of key characters are undermining the long-running show, Mr Blunkett, who first started listening to the programme on his mother's knee, says. "[Producers of] Coronation Street and EastEnders must be rubbing their hands," the former Home Secretary writes in the Radio Times.
There was a flurry of polls over the weekend, one of which I added twice yesterday morning, and another not at all. This led to both the Labour and the Tory share being higher than they should have been (Labour to 33.2% and the Tories to 33.8%). That put the Conservatives ahead in the rolling poll.  I am really sorry. I've tweaked the way I input new polls to prevent it happening again.
You can get in touch with me by pressing "reply" or on Twitter. Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams - a gallery of his work is available here.  
Conservatives 31% Labour 33% Liberal Democrats 8% Ukip 17% Green 5%  (Ashcroft-ICM-Opinium-Populus-Survation-YouGov, 04.11.2014-11.11.2014)
Ashcroft: Conservatives 30% Labour 29% Liberal Democrat 10% Ukip 16% Green 7%
ICM: Conservatives 31% Labour 32% Liberal Democrat 11% Ukip 14% Green 6%
Populus: Conservatives 34% Labour 36% Liberal Democrat 8% Ukip 13% Green 3%
YouGov: Conservatives 32%, Labour 33%, Liberal Democrats 6%, Ukip 17% Green 6%
@BathAlex: Whatever your political stance, you have to want the party in government to at least be able to run a government.
From the Telegraph
James Kirkup - Ukip's northward march isn't just a Labour problem
Phil Johnston - The Ukip bandwagon rolls on in Rochester
Dan Hodges - Labour and Ed Miliband are going down together
From elsewhere

Steve Richards - Miliband must recover the spirit of 2010 (Independent)

0930: Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) releases its lending trends figures for September. CML 020 7438 8923.

0945 LONDON: Justine Greening will appear before the International Development committee to discuss Ebola.
1030 LONDON: Final poppy to be planted at the Tower of London to mark Armistice Day. The final ceramic poppy will be planted in the moat of the Tower of London forming the culmination of the art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.
1400 LONDON: The Northern Ireland Affairs committee to take evidence on "on-the-runs".
1445 LONDON: Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe gives evidence to Commons Home Affairs Committee on Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa).
1730 LONDON: Resolution Foundation launches report on low pay, with speech by Alan Miliburn.
1830 LONDON: Rachel Reeves at Progress "in conversation" event. The shadow work and pensions secretary will be in conversation with Stephen Bush of the Daily Telegraph.
2030 LONDON: Nick Clegg speech to Chambers of Commerce/Asian Business Association. 
Justice Questions.
A Ten Minute Rule Motion: National Defence Medal.
National Insurance Contributions Bill - Report stage and third reading.
A backbench business debate on the medium-term financial plan for the House of Commons and draft estimates for 2015/16.
A short debate on improving rail services to the Portsmouth Harbour area.

Westminster Hall
1430: Acorn Finance Mortgages.
1600: Improvements to the Great Eastern Main Line.
1630: Effect of welfare reform in the Welsh Valleys.

Wales Bill - Report stage.