Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The banality of EVEL..

Party like it's 1999! The Conservatives are becalmed on a third of the vote and William Hague is talking about English votes for English laws. (Chris Hope and Steven Swinford set out the various forms this could take here.)

It would be inappropriate to call the plan's a "a dog's breakfast", Sir Gerald Kaufman fumed in the House yesterday, " because any sensible dog would turn up its nose at it". ("Zoologists have long observed that dogs display an instinctive hostility to legislation that threatens the interests of the Labour Party," Michael Deacon quips.) 

It certainly threatens to put the Opposition on the wrong side of public opinion, at least according to a ComRes poll for ITV, which finds that 53% of people would support barring Scottish MPs from voting on issues that do not impact on Scotland. (It doesn't ask how much they care. I suspect the Labour MP yesterday who said that their constituents "don't give a chuff" about the issue was close to the mark. Or at least, I think they said "chuff".)

But here's the question that no Labour MP thought to ask yesterday: why don't the Government's plans extend to the DUP? Could it be because no party wants to rule about being able to call on the votes of Irish MPs to get their business through the Commons after the next election? I wonder.  

Taken in a vacuum, the Conservatives certainly have right on their side, and public support, however lukewarm and disinterested that support might be. But as well as putting Labour in a jam, it plays to the SNP's preferred narrative of Westminster as something that England does and the Union as a historical curiosity rather than a living affair. That might be good for the Conservative and Unionist Party in the short term. It certainly isn't much good for conservative or unionist principles. 

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Politicians were unable to hold generals to account over strategy in Afghanistan due to their ignorance of military affairs, according to reports.  Ministers were 'deluded' over Afghanistan writes Ben Farmer. 


Draft reports of the official inquiry into the Iraq war have caused a stir throughout Whitehall, with key figures attempting to play down or even delete the criticism contained within them. Extracts from the much delayed report by Sir John Chilcot  have been sent in recent weeks to those criticised for their conduct in order to give them a chance to respond before the final draft is published. "Whitehall shockwaves over Chilcot draft report" leads the Times.


David Cameron says he is fed up with onshore wind -farms and that the country does not need any more subsidised turbines on land now that the energy source is able to provide 10% of UK energy. Patrick Wintour writes in the Guardian.  


Nick Clegg refused yesterday to pledge to scrap university tuition fees, saying that he had "learned his lesson" about making promises on the subject in the past. "My tuition fees policy was a pipe dream, admits Clegg" is the i's take after the deputy prime minister told the audience of last night's Bite the Ballot Leaders Live series that reneging on one of the Lib Dem's flagship policies was a result of inevitable compromise, given that the party only held 9% of the MPs in the Commons. Clegg conceded that he "probably should have realised that, with hindsight."   


The Russian Rouble fell to a record low yesterday, as the country's economic crisis deepened. "Russia rocked by 'full blown crisis'" is the Mail's splash, as Vladimir Putin faces the most difficult point of his tenure.  


Kerry Smith, who resigned as Ukip's candidate for South Basildon earlier this week following a series of offensive comments he made about gay and poor people, has defended his choice words as no worse than what you would hear from Del Boy. Don't worry, this time next year, he'll be a millionaire.  

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.  



 YouGov: Con 32% Lab 34% LD 6% Ukip 16% Green 7% 


Political dynasties are the Pitts. 


From the Telegraph 

Edward Lucas -Putin's lies over Russia have been dangerously exposed

From elsewhere

Alice Thomson - Preserve the Union. Give the Scots home rule (The Times)


0815 LONDON: Al Sweady inquiry due to report. The Chairman of the Al-Sweady Public Inquiry, Sir Thayne Forbes, will publish his report and make a public statement on findings at 1100. The report will be available on the inquiry website and the statement will be transmitted live through a pool facility.

0930 LONDON: Education minister Nick Gibb gives evidence on sex and relationship education to Commons Education Committee. 

0930 LONDON: Unemployment figures. Latest unemployment figures published by the Office for National Statistics. 

1000 LONDON: Report of House of Commons Governance Committee published. 

1245 LONDON: PM to visit a small business in London. Prime Minister will visit a small business in London. The PM will have a tour of the site and meet employees. 

1405 LONDON: Bosses of air traffic control company Nats and the Civil Aviation Authority appear before House of Commons Transport Committee over last week's flight chaos.

1430 LONDON: Defence Secretary Michael Fallon gives evidence on Future Force 2020 to the Commons Defence Committee. 

1445 LONDON: George Osborne gives evidence on Autumn Statement and UK contributions to EU budget to Commons Treasury Committee. 

1500 LONDON: Campaigners call for the Prime Minister to demand the release of the last British resident being held in Guantanamo Bay. MPs Caroline Lucas and John McDonnell, human rights activist Peter Tatchell and We Stand With Shaker campaigners deliver giant birthday card for Shaker Aamer. Mr Aamer's 48th birthday is on December 21 and campaigners hope David Cameron will use the card to welcome him back to the UK. 

1745 LONDON: Annual RUSI lecture by the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton. 



International Development Questions.

Prime Minister's Questions.

A Ten Minute Rule Motion: Women's Refuges (Provision and Eligibility).

Two Opposition day debates: i) The immediate abolition of the bedroom tax ii) Subject to be announced.

A short debate on the 1100th anniversary of the town of Warwick.

Westminster Hall

0930: Tax treatment of BMI pension fund compensation.

1100: Under-occupancy penalty.

1430: Post Office mediation scheme.

1600: International money transfer charges.

1630: Greyhound welfare.



Recall of MPs Bill - Second reading.

A motion relating to the Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014.

A motion relating to the Draft Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2014.

At the end of business, the House of Lords will rise for the Christmas recess and will next meet on Tuesday, January 6.