Monday, 24 November 2014

Crisis? What Crisis?

Theresa May talks to Peter Dominiczak as she prepares to unveil the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill. Among the topics: Britain is at greater risk now than "at any time before or after 9/11" - "Jihadi Attack On UK 'Inevitable" is the Mail's splash - there is a "changing mood within Europe" as far as migration is concerned, and social media websites must take further responsibility for policing online extremism.

But it's the Home Secretary's comments on Conservatives' cap on migration that catch the eye: "Coalition abandons target to reduce migration" is our splash. "We have been blown off course by the rise in European migration," Mrs May admits. That, the Sun declares in its leader "states the bleeding obvious". The failure of these "grand promises" is "undermining confidence in the entire system" says Yvette Cooper.

Yep: that little-discussed topic of immigration is finally being aired. The PM has a big speech coming down the track that will likely focus on denying tax credits to European migrants - Mats Persson makes the case in favour in today's Telegraph - in what's hoped will put the issue to bed so that the Conservatives can get back to their favoured territory of the economy.

Also giving a big speech this week is former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson -"The Eurozone has embarked upon a path that we can never follow", Mr Paterson will say - who will call for the PM to trigger exit negotiations after winning a second term, to better concentrate minds in Brussels in advance of the PM's renegotiation. He's also sat down with Tim Montgomerie for an interview in the Times. "Most Ukip voters want robust and Conservative policies," Mr Paterson declares. (What, like renationalising the railways?)

One suspects that, for all his flat denial of ambitions to further power, Mr Paterson, like Ed Miliband, sees a future Prime Minister when he looks in the mirror. When the speech was planned there was the expectation - the hope, perhaps - that it would be under the backdrop of anxiety around the PM's position and Conservative disquiet over Europe. For all the backdrop of reverses over immigration and another divisive speech to come, David Cameron is on course to end what should have been an awful month on top and on course to overhaul Ed Miliband in the polls. It may well be that Owen Paterson is the only person angrier about Emily Thornberry's tweeting than the Leader of the Opposition.

Adams cartoon November 24, 2014


The cross-party Smith Commission will publish its blueprint for further devolution this week and is expected to recommend handing full control of income tax, as well as sweeping welfare powers, to the Scottish Parliament, Auslan Cramb reports. But the reported deal over tax powers has been thrown into doubt after all three candidates for the leadership of the Scottish Labour party all refused to back the plans, while Alistair Darling has warned that giving Scotland full power over income tax would end in "floods of tears" in an article for the FT. Mr Darling warns that a botched settlement could leave Britain like the Eurozone: "an integrated monetary union without a fiscal union".

The official inquiry into the murder of Lee Rigby will clear the security services of criticism, but the report itself is under fire, with claims that it failed to speak to witnesses, including those from Michael Adebolajo's family, who say that the security services themselves contributed to radicalising Mr Adebolajo. Reclusive MP Keith Vaz says that "these people have to be talked to. It does not have to be in public - it could be private". Sir Malcolm Rifkind says that people were free to write to the inquiry if they so desired, and the onus was on them. "Rigby inquiry 'failed to seek out witnesses'" is the Guardian's splash.

Ed Miliband will pledge to stop large firms using job agencies to avoid paying sick and holiday pay, Jason Beattie reports in the Mirror. The Labour leader will aim to bring an end to an EU regulation - the so-called "Swedish derogation" - that allows agency workers to be paid less than regular employees.

The Indy is doing a series on the Green Party this week, and Nigel Morris sits down with that party's first MP, Caroline Lucas. As well as defending Ms Lucas' Brighton Pavilion seat, the party will also seek to take two seats from the Liberal Democrats - Bristol West and Norwich South - at the next election.

Gordon Brown will "imminently" announce that he is stepping down as an MP, Nicola Harley reports, very probably before Christmas. In other news, Labour's special selections panel will take charge of parliamentary selections from December.

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 33% Labour 33% Liberal Democrats 7% Ukip 15% Green 5% (Ashcroft-Opinium-Populus-YouGov, 17.11.2014-24.11.2014)


Opinium: Conservatives 30% Lab 33% LD 7% Ukpp 19% Green 4%

Populus: Conservatives 33% Labour 36% LD 9% Ukip 14% Green 4%
YouGov(Sun on Sunday): Con 33% Lab 34% LD 8% Ukip 15%

YouGov(Sunday Times): Con 33% Lab 33% LD 7% Ukip 16% Green 6%


@mlpfoster: "I'm sorry Prime Minister. You're trending on Twitter." "Very well, inform Her Majesty. We had a good run, didn't we?"


From the Telegraph

Boris Johnson - Give Ed Miliband a Darwin Award for sacking Emily Thornberry

Dan Hodges - Gordon Brown failed us all. Will anyone miss him?

From elsewhere

Libby Purves -MPs drift away from us like doomed polar bears (Times)

Matthew Elliot - Rochester has killed the politics of triangulation (City AM)


0900 LONDON: Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley launching counter-terrorism awareness week.

1030 LONDON: Owen Paterson speech on Britain and the EU.

1100 LONDON: A legal dispute over letters the Prince of Wales wrote to government ministers reaches the UK's highest court.

1100 LONDON: Theresa May speech on counter-terrorism.

1145 LONDON: Nick Clegg press conference.

1200 LONDON: Boris Johnson to join some of world's best wheelchair tennis players as they demonstrate their skills ahead of the forthcoming NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters.

1630 LONDON: Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie give evidence to Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee.

1800 LONDON: Margaret Hodge speech on reconnecting politics with communities.

2235 LONDON: Grant Shapps, Germaine Greer and the Telegraph's Emma Barnett among the guests on ITV's The Agenda.



Defence Questions.

Recall Bill - report stage and third reading.

A short debate on traffic controls outside schools.


Introduction of Baroness Helic.


Wales Bill - Third reading.

Consumer Rights Bill - Report stage (Day 2).