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Cameron’s bombshell: He rules out a third term as Prime Minister and names potential successors

Screen shot 2015-03-24 at 09.25.36“David Cameron risked undermining his prime ministerial authority last night by ruling out a third term in power. If re-elected in May, Mr Cameron said he would serve a full five years but then quit Number 10. He suggested Boris Johnson, Theresa May and George Osborne as possible successors. The bombshell move, which stunned senior colleagues, could kick off a leadership contest that would dominate any second term.” – Daily Mail

Cameron Reaction:

Screen shot 2015-03-24 at 09.30.37
  • Conservatives 1): Ministers scurry to agree a line – The Guardian
  • Conservatives 2): Gove is sent onto Newsnight, and says: What’s all the fuss about? – Huffington Post UK
  • Labour: It accuses Cameron of being ‘presumptuous’ – The Independent
  • Third term comments spark accusations of arrogance – Daily Mail 
  • Unguarded comment puts PM on the chopping block – Francis Elliot, The Times (£)
  • Surprise move – as Cameron was not under pressure to name the date – STV

Rachel Sylvester: Prepare for the great leadership bloodbath

“Whatever the Tory leader says about not serving a third term, if he loses power he will have to go and he knows it. He has always made clear that politics is not the be all and end all for him and, with Samantha keen to pursue her own career, he would not be stubborn in the face of humiliation. If he stays in No 10, but fails to secure an outright majority, his critics will still be sharpening their knives. As the leader of another coalition or a minority Conservative government, Mr Cameron would be the man who had failed to beat two of the least popular leaders in Labour’s history, even against a backdrop of economic recovery.” – The Times (£)

>Today:

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Cameron says he won’t serve for a third term as Prime Minister. Suggests Osborne, May and Boris as possible successors.

May calls for powers to close down extremist mosques…

MAY Home Office“British authorities will be given powers to close down mosques where extremists gather under a future Conservative government, Theresa May has announced. The Home Secretary also pledged to review how Shari’a law is used in England and create new “extremism officer” roles in prisons to stop radicalism spreading among criminals… It came as Mrs May revealed the Government’s new counter-extremism strategy and said that only a Conservative majority could guarantee the package of proposals would be implemented.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Jonathan Russell in Comment: May is taking counter-extremism strategy in the right direction

Morgan under fire over ‘snub’ to teaching union

“Nicky Morgan has suffered a fierce backlash from teachers who yesterday branded her ‘misguided’ for snubbing a major union conference. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers said she had been ‘repeatedly’ invited to speak at the event but had ‘chosen not to attend’. The union also accused her of ‘cynicism’ over her rhetoric on teachers’ workload and said it was now clear this was ‘just a major PR exercise’.” – Daily Mail

Committees 1) Stewart leads calls for UK to rebuild defences in light of Russian threat

STEWART, Rory headshot“Tory MP Rory Stewart, chairman of the committee, said: ‘It is vital to rethink the fundamental assumptions of our defence planning, if we are to help arrest the descent into chaos which threatens to spread from the western Mediterranean to the Black Sea.’ The report said the recent appearance of Russian submarines in UK coastal waters had exposed the ‘crucial gap’ in maritime patrol capabilities after the scrapping of the RAF’s £4billion fleet of Nimrod surveillance aircraft in 2010.” – Daily Mail

Committees 2) MPs rebuke Sir Jeremy over row with May advisors

“Sir Jeremy Heywood was given a humiliating rebuke by MPs yesterday for clearing taxpayer-funded advisers to take part in political campaigning. Westminster’s Public Administration Committee said the country’s top mandarin had been ‘wrong in law’ during a row over two of Theresa May’s Special Advisers.” – Daily Mail

>Today: MPs Etc: The Party should apologise to Timothy and Parkinson – and put them both back on the Candidates’ List

Committees 3) Peers express concern at rushed devolution plan

UNION FLAG torn“The House of Lords Constitution Committee expressed “astonishment” in its report that the government in London did not appear to have considered the wider implications of the proposals for the UK. Parliament and Holyrood had both been “excluded from the decision-making process”, the committee said. “The committee does not believe that there was adequate time for engagement and consultation with the public or the Scottish and UK parliaments, or indeed sufficient time for the consideration necessary for such significant constitutional changes.”” – Financial Times

Committees 4) Hodge calls for reform to non-domiciled status

“MPs took a swipe at “non-dom” rules on Monday, saying the tax privileges available to foreigners living in Britain allow “people of extreme wealth” to avoid equal treatment under the tax law. Margaret Hodge, chair of a cross-party committee, said there was a need to change the rules, shortly after revealing that she might herself be eligible to be a non-dom – a status offering tax advantages to those whose permanent home is outside Britain.” – Financial Times

Poll puts Tories ahead with LGBT voters for first time

LGBTory“The Tories are narrowly ahead of Labour among gay voters for the first time since polling began, it has emerged. PinkNews put the Conservatives’ support among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people on 26.3%, versus Labour on 25.9%… Polls have been taken by PinkNews for 10 years. The PM’s personal support for pushing through same sex marriage is thought to have shifted gay voters in his favour.” – The Sun (£)

>Today: Sunder Katwala in Comment: The Conservatives are breaking Labour’s monopoly on ethnic diversity in Parliament

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: Labour and the Conservatives are neck and neck in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll

Swire caught cracking jokes about welfare at Black and White Ball

“Tory minister Hugo Swire has been filmed cracking jokes about benefit claimants at a glamorous party fundraiser. The foreign office minister hosted an auction at the dinner at which donors bid for high-value items – and suggested even those living on welfare could afford to pay £60,000.” – Daily Mail

Janan Ganesh: The UK is not withdrawing from global affairs under Cameron

World-shield“In politics, when people accuse a leader of lacking a strategy, they tend to mean that they dislike the strategy he has. When they implore him to “engage” with something, they want him to engage on terms that please them. There is a lofty tier of British public life that dislikes Mr Cameron’s mercantilist take on the world and his desire to revise the terms of EU membership. They regard the first as vulgar, like winning a hand of poker at their members’ club without putting the money back into the coffers, and the second as foolish.” – Financial Times

>Today: The Deep End: Western foreign policy should be about stability not change

Sky audience puts Balls on the defensive…

“Voters called on Ed Balls to come clean about Labour’s plans for higher taxes yesterday. Members of the public rounded on the Shadow Chancellor on live TV as he suggested Britain’s budget deficit could be filled by taxes on the rich – and refused to apologise for the economic crash. Mr Balls – who will today rule out a rise in VAT – was accused of ‘tinkering round the edges’ when he suggested that Britain’s problems could be solved by reinstating the 50p tax for top earners and bringing in a Mansion Tax.” – Daily Mail

Sketches:

  • Was ‘Ask the Chancellors’ boring? There’s no debate about that – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Ed and George make heavy weather of it – Ann Treneman, The Times (£)
  • Who can self-flagellate their way to Number 11? Both of them – Donald Macintyre, The Independent

…as Leslie offers donor influence over party’s manifesto

money“A senior Labour front-bencher offered a potential donor and hedge fund founder the chance to influence the party’s manifesto for General Election. Chris Leslie, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, met Paul Wilmott who had told the party he was considering making a large donation. Mr Wilmott put forward his views on the merits of a Financial Transaction Tax, which would hit the City. Mr Leslie said in an email to Mr Wilmott after the meeting that he had “made some good points ahead of our manifesto”. He said he would “appreciate any updates you have along the way”.” – Daily Telegraph

Danczuk claims Miliband is seen as more of a toff than Cameron

“Ed Miliband is seen by voters as ‘being more of a toff than David Cameron’ and is costing his party votes on the doorstep, a Labour MP has said. Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale, said that Labour MPs who claim that Mr Miliband is popular on the doorstep are “telling lies”. He said that voters he meets on the doorstep do not want Ed Miliband as Prime Minister because they think he’s “aloof”.” – Daily Telegraph

Fresh polling suggests Labour could slump to just two seats in Scotland…

LABOUR holes“Labour would lose 29 of the 41 seats won in 2010, making it all but impossible for the party to win a majority. But a detailed analysis of the poll numbers suggests Labour’s position could be even worse. Leading psephologist Professor John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, said the SNP have advanced by a staggering 31 per cent in Labour seats. He concluded Labour could be wiped out in all but two seats.” – Daily Mail

  • We’ll never accept a deal with the SNP, says Miliband – The Times (£)
  • Labour leader attacks “unholy alliance” of SNP and Tories – The Guardian
  • Labour distances itself from Salmond’s boasts about budgets – Financial Times
  • Desperate Ed ‘running scared’ in Scottish heartland – The Sun (£)
  • Miliband moves to quash speculation over Nationalist pact – Financial Times

Analysis:

  • Leap in SNP support result not of referendum but long-term Labour neglect – The Guardian
  • Labour fight to minimise Nationalist earthquake – Severin Carrell, The Guardian
  • Ed is having to look both ways at the SNP – Hamish Macdonnell, The Times (£)

…as Paul Goodman’s declaration that Cameron should prepare to deal with Salmond is followed up

“Any Tory-SNP deal would, for sure, be a risky choice for the SNP but it’s not, no matter what they say now, an impossibility. There are Tories – Paul Goodman for instance – who can see their way to such an accommodation. Each would gain something from such an arrangement. The SNP would get something closer to full fiscal autonomy; the Tories would, to a considerable degree, get rid of Scotland.” – Alex Massie, Coffee House

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Cameron should be ready to negotiate with Salmond

Poll finds Alexander 29 points behind the SNP

LibDemDead“The poll was just one of many demonstrating the rise of the SNP since last year’s independence referendum, despite the defeat of the Yes camp, and of the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote. More recent national surveys put the Lib Dems’ support across Scotland as low as 4 per cent – suggesting they could lose all but one of their 11 Scottish seats at Westminster.” – Financial Times

  • Liberal Democrats throw weak MPs to the wolves – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph

UKIP 1) O’Flynn calls for migration cut to boost prosperity

“Cutting the number of unskilled migrants coming to Britain would boost the economy, a senior Ukip figure said yesterday. atrick O’Flynn said restricting entry to highly skilled professionals would be a “large and unarguable net economic positive” for the UK. The move could improve wages and living standards for millions of households and reduce the growing pressure on the welfare system, he said.” – Daily Express

UKIP 2) Atkinson and senior aide expelled

UKIP logo“A high-profile Ukip MEP has been expelled from the party after her chief of staff was filmed allegedly attempting to make fraudulent expense claims. Ukip last night said Janice Atkinson and her assistant Christine Hewitt had been kicked out for ‘bringing the party into disrepute’. A disciplinary hearing was held yesterday following allegations that Miss Hewitt had obtained a £3,150 invoice for a drinks party that cost £950 in a bid to ‘repatriate’ extra money from the EU.” – Daily Mail

UKIP 3) Manifesto architect takes Cameron’s position on Europe

“The UK Independence Party policy chief who is writing the party’s general election manifesto has admitted she agrees with David Cameron’s position on Europe, The Telegraph can disclose. Suzanne Evans, the party’s deputy chairman, said she would campaign to keep Britain within a reformed European Union if there was an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Queen guitarist might back UKIP candidates at election – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Democratic Unionists reveal £1bn price tag for hung parliament

DUP logo“The Democratic Unionist Party will seek up to a billion pounds more funding for Northern Ireland as the price of keeping a Tory or Labour government in power, according to one of its leading MPs. Ian Paisley, son of the party’s founder, told The Independent he would be open to a deal with either main party in return for “hundreds of millions” extra for the province.” – The Independent

  • Strike a deal fast or the money runs out, warns the Treasury – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Expert claims mocking the overweight should be illegal – Daily Mail
  • Firms named and shamed for not paying minimum wage – Daily Telegraph
  • Property sale saves taxpayer £1.4bn – The Times (£)
  • Whitehall plan to recruit business high flyers – Financial Times
  • Frankie Boyle to host ‘outrageous’ BBC Election Autopsy – The Independent

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