It’s a case of ‘he said, she said’ in the Natasha Bolter and Roger Bird melodrama, with the latter producing a series of demonstrative text messages in a bid to clear his name. “Ukip's sex scandal: party chief reveals ‘love texts’” is our take.
Mr Bird has been suspended as general secretary pending an investigation, but insists that he and Ms Bolter were in a consensual sexual relationship and much like a teenager in the schoolyard, has the texts to prove it. “There are plenty of emails and text messages between us which shows how it was a consensual relationship with interest on both sides,” he says.
Ms Bolter’s not having any of it though, and says in the Indy that the messages were simply her being “friendly.” “I love u bird and wish u let me look after u. Hope u feel better xx,” said one.
Who to believe? The recruitment of Ms Bolter - a woman from a minority background and a Labour supporter to boot - was a coup for Nigel Farage's party because it appeared to address various fears around Ukip. The question of Ms Boulter versus Mr Bird - and what Ukip does about it all, one way or another, will either go some way to allaying or confirming those same fears.
I STILL WANT EU
The PM has confirmed his continuing support for Turkey’s EU membership bid, saying that the EU will be “stronger, not weaker” if Turkey’s membership is granted. and saying the UK and Turkey would work “hand in glove” to share vital intelligence regarding anyone involved in terrorism – “Turkey Jihadi No-Go Deal” is The Sun’s splash.
HELP FOR HEROES
The PM has pledged an extra £30 million to support British veterans, Tom Newton Dunn reveals in the Sun. £20 million will go to childcare facilities and the remainder will be used to expand a centre for wounded, traumatised and homeless veterans.
Further details of the Luxembourg tax scandal have come to light in today's Guardian, with Disney, Skype and the Koch brothers among those named. It's increasing the pressure on Jean-Claude Juncker, with his 2005 comments on "the favourable fiscal environment we've created here in Luxembourg" ageing particularly badly.
WHEN GOVE IS GONE
Improvements to English schools have "stalled", Sir Michael Wilshaw will warn today as he presents Ofsted's annual report, which is expected to report that 29% of schools are rated as "requiring improvement" or inadequate. Graeme Paton has the story.
ANOTHER FINE MESSINA YOU'VE GOT US INTO
"If you are not on this," Jim Messina told a Conservative MPs while holding his iPhone aloft, "You're not in the game." "He swept me off my feet," one MP tells Elizabeth Rigby, who profiles Mr Messina in the FT. Labour are less pleased with their guru, that man David Axelrod, Jim Pickard reports. "We haven't seen hide or hair of him since the summer," one Shadow Cabinet minister sighs.
COOKING UP CONTROVERSY
Labour’s head of strategy, Greg Cook, concedes that the party would be "highly unlikely" to hold on to power if it tried to form a minority government and would probably be forced into a second general election very quickly unless Labour fromed a coalition, Sam Coates reports in the Times. It puts Mr Cook at odds with those in his party, particularly the trade unions, who are opposed to a coalition with other parties.NAFFED? IS THAT A THING?
Chuka Umunna says he is "not naffed" where David Cameron went to school, that our politics is "too adversarial" and that it was a mistake to ever consider joining the Euro. He'd "never sanction"that now. He made the remarks in conversation with John Rentoul - the full recording is here.
WILL NO-ONE RID ME OF THIS TURBULENT UNION?
Rowan Williams has added his name to the list of supporters of the UK’s EU membership, warning that withdrawal from the international body could leave the UK “dangerously dependent” on the City. The former Archbishop of Canterbury says that leaving the EU would be a “deeply regressive” step and that Britain would struggle to offer anything “distinctive” outside of the financial sector.
HARMAN'S HALF HOUR
"The Tories are a party of men for men," Harriet Harman tells the Guardian, who will face Nick Clegg at the battle of the stand-in leaders this afternoon. Labour, however, are "women and men".
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.
HOW HAVE THE POLLS MOVED IN THE LAST MONTH?
Conservatives 32% Labour 33% Liberal Democrats 8% Ukip 16% Green 6% (Ashcroft-Populus-YouGov, 03.12.2014-10.12.2014)
YouGov: Con 32% Lab 32% LD 8% Ukip 15% Green 7%
TOO MANY TWEETS...
@EdBallsMP: Errr.. Hang on.. Pots? Kettles? RT @SarahVine: @agendaitv How did Ed Balls ever bag Yvette? That is the real question of the night
From the Telegraph
Mary Riddell - The future looks brutal, but where are the howls of protest?
James Kirkup - Nigel Farage knows exactly what he's doing
Tim Bale - As far as immigration goes, it's time for the Tories to stop following and start leading (Bright Blue)
Rafael Behr - Why Cameron and Miliband fear the smaller parties(Guardian)
0915 LONDON: Global summit to tackle online child sexual exploitation. The Home Secretary, director general of the National Crime Agency (NCA), Keith Bristow, the Prime Minister's digital economy advisor Joanna Shields and the secretary general of Interpol, Jurgen Stock, will address the summit.
0930 LONDON: Launch of Ofsted's 2013/14 annual report.
0930 LONDON: Tibet and Freedom of Expression to be debated in UK Parliament. The debate will be opened by Fabian Hamilton MP. This is the first debate to be had on Tibet since December 2011.
1000 LONDON: Office for Budget Responsibility gives evidence to MPs on Autumn Statement. Chairman Robert Chote appearing before Treasury Select Committee.
1200: Nick Clegg standing in for David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions.
1230 LONDON: Lord Mandelson speech on Europe. Former Cabinet minister addresses IPPR conference on European Commission policy priorities.
1415 LONDON: MPs take evidence on Universal Credit progress.
TODAY IN PARLIAMENT
Northern Ireland Questions.
Prime Minister's Questions.
A Ten Minute Rule Motion: Planning Consent Applications (Contracts).
Stamp Duty Land Tax Bill - Second reading.
A short debate on work-related stress and prison officers.
0930: Tibet and freedom of expression.
1100: Sickle cell anaemia.
1430: Accountability of Ofsted.
1600: Mental health and the Cambridgeshire health economy.
1630: Energy policy and living standards.
Modern Slavery Bill - committee of the whole House (Day 4).
A short debate on the report of the Communications Committee on media plurality.