Monday, 10 November 2014

Keep your Ed..

Labour are seeking to get back on the front foot after a disastrous few days. The heavyweight will be rolled out in support of Ed Miliband while the man himself will attempt to put the pressure back on the PM with a speech to the CBI stressing the dangers of an In-Out referendum - "Big Guns Aim For Ed Rebels" is the Mirror's take.
One big gun, that man Chuka Umunna - who, the Mail helpfully reminds us this morning, would double the Labour lead according to Survation - was on Today this morning flying the flag for Mr Miliband. The Leader of the Opposition is seen as on people's side, and Labour is "within touching distance" of victory next May, Mr Umunna says. "a serious prospect" for government after a heavy defeat. 
The risk of this approach is that it can create more bad headlines than good ones. Lucy Powell's "put up or shut up" message to the dissidents on Pienaar's Politics provides such an example. "Labour admits Miliband crisis may cost it election" is our take. "Close Miliband ally admits Labour leader is battling to convince voters" is the i's, "Miliband has lost public confidence, aide admits" says the Times. 
The reality is that the danger to Mr Miliband - as much as it ever existed - has passed. Without a candidate or any real unity between the conspirators, the coup was never going to get very far, while any ambitious frontbenchers have been reminded of the grassroots' dislike of division, and the likely costs to their own careers. (One wavering MP logged into Facebook to find LabourList's call for unityall over their timeline - which dampened their ardour somewhat.) 
Just one question remains. A traumatic fortnight still lies ahead for the Conservative Party - rebellion over the European Arrest Warrant tonight and heavy defeat in Rochester on Thursday week - but there's a sense in that party that they will hit rock bottom on the 20th with plenty of time to turn it around. Mr Umunna was able to describe Labour as "within touching distance" of power this morning, a "serious prospect" for government. It's worth remembering that even the narrow Tory lead - 34% to 33% - in our poll of polls would likely still put Mr Miliband in Downing Street. But if Labour's position gets worse, further outbreaks from nervous backbenchers could end up with Ms Powell's "worst of all worlds": a wounded leader, firmly in place, heading towards defeat. 
The three party leaders will set out their case to the CBI today, with the PM pledging "the biggest, boldest and most far-reaching improvement programme" in 40 years to Britain's roads, Peter Dominczak reports for 40 years, Peter Dominiczak reports. The Chancellor will announce plans for improvements to the A303 to the South West, the A1 north of Newcastle to Scotland, the A1 Newcastle-Gateshead western bypass, the Trans-Pennine roads in the north of England, and the A27 road in the Autumn Statement on December 3rd. It's a "pre-election con trick," thunders attack dog turned Shadow Transport Secretary Michael Dugher, the announcement "includes no additional money and people won't fall for it."
Ed Miliband will put the European Union at the heart of his appeal to the CBI,  pledging to "never risk your playing political games with our membership of the EU", Nick Watt and Vikram Dodd report in the Guardian. The speech will attempt to knit together Labour's anti-referendum message with Mr Miliband's plans to reform capitalism - he will say that only increasing wages and living standards will stem the tide of anti-EU and anti-immigrant sentiment. 
"Osborne faces doubling austerity cuts to £48bn a year to hit targets"is the FT's splash. According to the FT's analysis, the Chancellor will have to cut deeper into budgets of the army, the police and the courts as less than half of the cuts have been made while the job-rich, earnings-poor recovery is hitting tax revenues. It comes as General Sir Nick Houghton promised to "fix my bayonet and fight to the last" against further reductions in the number of British soldiers, Ben Riley-Smith reports. Speaking on the Marr Show, Sir Nick suggested that the PM is privately opposed to further Army redundancies. 
Labour's planned mansion tax will "have a serious knock-on effect" for charities, Labour peer and geneticist Lord Winston warns. The ability to defer the tax until after death for those earning under £40,000 will make people reluctant to leave legacies to charities - a key way that many health charities raise funds, Michael Savage explains in the Times
Gordon Aikman, the Director of Research at Better Together, who has Motor Neurone Disease, is the subject of Owen Jones' column in the Guardian today. You can read Olivia Goldhill's interview with Mr Aikman here, and donate to MND research here
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 34% Labour 33% Liberal Democrats 8% Ukip 17% (Ashcroft-Opinium-Populus-Survation-YouGov, 03.11.2014-10.11.2014)
Opinium: Conservatives 29% Labour 32% Liberal Democrat 9% Ukip 19%
Populus: Conservatives 33% Labour 35% Liberal Democrat 9% Ukip 14%
Survation: Conservatives 29%, Labour 34%, Liberal Democrats 6%, Ukip 23%
YouGov: Conservatives 33%, Labour 33%, Liberal Democrats 7%, Ukip 16% Green 6%
@Kennyf1283: Alexis Sanchez must feel like David Axelrod does in Labour Party strategy meetings.
From the Telegraph
From elsewhere
Kevin Maguire - Now's no time for party to lose its Ed (Mirror)
0900: Nigel Farage phone-in on LBC. 
1315 EDINBURGH: Scottish Secretary visits various research projects.
1615 LONDON: The Chief Inspector of Prisons will appear before the Commons Justice select committee.
1630 LONDON: Dame Julie Mellor, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman will appear before the public administration committee.
2235: George Osborne appears on ITV's The Agenda.
Communities and Local Government Questions.
A motion to approve the Draft Criminal Justice and Data Protection (Protocol No. 36) Regulations.
A short debate on the death of David Efemena.
Introduction of Baroness Janke.
Criminal Justice and Courts Bill - Third reading.

Infrastructure Bill [HL] - Report stage (Day 3).