Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Get Lucy..

The knives are out for Lucy Powell - Ben Riley-Smith reports that the Shadow Cabinet are said to be "incandescent" over the contents of a leaked report into the Ukip threat, while Ed Miliband yesterday said the report contained "not very well drafted language", while Yvette Cooper went one further on Wato, saying that the report was "wrong", and, what's more, she hadn't seen it. 

That claim is contested, to put it mildly. One member of the Shadow Cabinet told me yesterday that the "I didn't see nuffin guv" line coming from Mr Miliband and Ms Cooper didn't fit the facts. ("Bollocks" was the slightly more pointed response from one Labour staffer.) 

One member of Labour's election team conceded that "there may have been some language in there that I personally would have altered slightly, but the overall thrust was good". Others fear that a good report - one that some Conservative MPs are, privately, looking on with envious eyes - has been cremated after just a day's hostile courage. "We needed to show more bravery today," is their verdict.

It all comes back to the two big faultlines under Ed Miliband's Labour Party: the generational divide between Ed Miliband's younger recruits - the "Shinies" as some call them - and those veterans who either feel passed over ignored. But even more toxic than that is the central division over immigration. Some feel that the party will never get anything other than a hiding if they try to go toe-to-toe with the PM on immigration. Others want a complete rethink of Britain's relationship with the EU, the principle of free movement and a radical alteration on migration and what Labour does about it. What this row tells us is that the rancour caused by those divisions is now sufficiently high for MPs to resort to damaging leaks and negative briefing this close to the election. 


Schools and hospitals will face cuts under Labour, the PM said yesterday. The Eds' financial plans will lead to the national debt growing "every year, forever", Mr Cameron warned, meaning that debt interest will take an increasingly large share of government spending, while Ed Miliband's refusal to cut the welfare budget or spell out where he would make cuts more broadly mean that a double whammy of tax rises and cuts to core services are on their way, the PM continued. Matt Holehouse has the story. 


Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood and Natalie Bennett, the leaders of the SNP, the Plaids and the Greens respectively, pressed their claims for a part in the television debates yesterday, and, Kiran Stacey reports in the FT, laid out their conditions for coalition. Ms Bennett and Ms Sturgeon would both prefer to support a minority administration, while the First Minister reiterated that Trident's future would be a "red line" in SNP-Labour coalition negotiations. 


UKIP's long list of race-rows has just got a little longer, with a picture emerging of Neil Hamilton speaking as the guest of honour to an expatriate club in 1998. "Neil Hamilton and the club that wants 'civilised rule' restored in South Africa" features in both the Indy and the i.  


David Cameron ignored advice from Alistair Darling in the immediate aftermath of the Scottish referendum not to reveal his plans to restrict the voting rights of Scottish MPs. The Guardian reports that Darling warned Cameron that to doing so could allow the SNP a lifeline. Despite the warning, Cameron went ahead with his statement just two hours after the Scottish referendum result, subsequently  reneging on the "vow" issued by the leaders of the three main UK parties, during the Better Together campaign. 


A majority of people do not support George Osborne's plan to continue cutting public spending once he has balanced the nation's books, according to a new poll for the Indy. ComRes finds that some 30% of the of people agree with the chancellor's strategy to reduce spending faster until the deficit is cleared and the budget is in surplus, even if this affects public services, but 66% do not share this view. 


Nigel Farage isn't perfect. Disclosing his "big regret" from a life in politics during a booze-laden interview with Steph and Dom Parker, better known as the "posh couple" on Channel 4's Gogglebox, the UKIP leader opened up about not spending enough time with his daughters. 

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 32% Labour 33% Liberal Democrats 8% Ukip 16% Green 6%  (Ashcroft-Populus-YouGov, 04.12.2014-11.12.2014) 


ComRes: Con 29% Labour 32% LD 12% Ukip 16% Green 5%  

Populus: Con 34% Labour 36% LD 10% Ukip 12% Green 5%

YouGov: Con 32% Lab 34% LD 7% Ukip 16% Green 7% 


@DanHannanMEP: My predictive text just tried to write 'rouble' as 'rubble'. Predictive indeed.


From the Telegraph 

Iain Stewart - We don't know what we're talking about on the Barnett formula
Dan Hodges - Labour's immigration policy is an incoherent shambles

From elsewhere

Kim Sengupta  - 'Lone wolf' attackers like Man Haron Monis will always remain a security nightmare (Indy)

Janan Ganesh - Forget immigration. It's still the economy, stupid(FT) 


0900 LONDON: One-day conference hosted by Kings Fund to discuss the challenges facing urgent and emergency care services. Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director and Professor Keith Willett, Director for Acute Episodes of Care, NHS England will update on NHS England's emergency care review.

0930 LONDON: Inflation figures for November are published by the Office for National Statistics. 

1000 LONDON: Commons Defence Committee takes evidence from former diplomats and military officers on decision making in defence policy.

1100 LONDON: Gemma Arterton and cast of Made in Dagenham photo-call with original Dagenham ladies outside Parliament to mark tabling of motion on equal pay.

1230 LONDON: Steve Webb oral statement to MPs on Post Office card accounts. 

1515 LONDON: Alistair Carmichael gives evidence to the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee on the Smith Commission.

1615 LONDON: Eric Pickles gives evidence to the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee.

1730 LONDON: The Mayor of London Boris Johnson to join members of the Jewish community and other Londoners for the annual celebrations to mark Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights.   

1900: Nick Clegg takes part in the Leaders Live show.    

1900: Call Chuka on LBC.



Justice Questions.

A Ten Minute Rule Motion: Equal Pay (Transparency).

Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill - Committee of the whole House (Day 3).

A motion to approve a money resolution relating to the Local Government (Religious etc. Observances) Bill.

A short debate on the commemoration of the centenary of the bombardment of the Hartlepools.

Westminster Hall

0930: Human right abuses in the overseas supply chains of UK companies.

1100: Tax relief on UK film investment.

1430: Funding for Kew Gardens.

1600: Future of the Barnett Formula.

1630: Level of the National Minimum Wage.



Mutuals' Redeemable and Deferred Shares Bill [HL] - Third reading.

Pension Schemes Bill - Second reading.

Taxation of Pensions Bill - All stages