Davidson announces Tory plan to build 100,000 new homes
The Evening Times reports that the Scottish Conservatives have called for a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in housebuilding ahead of the upcoming Scottish elections.
Ruth Davidson described expanding home ownership as a “cornerstone” of her party’s offer to voters, and outlined a set of measures the Scottish Government could take to improve construction levels which could deliver 109,000 extra homes by 2021.
She further outlined her strategy in an interview with a Labour supporter published on politics.co.uk, and described herself as a “John Major Conservative”.
Davies savages Plaid over failed pact talks
Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives has claimed in an online piece that the Nationalists have “given up all hope, before a vote has even been cast”.
According to Adrian Masters of ITV Wales, Plaid Cymru had been in discussions with the Liberal Democrats and the Greens over an electoral pact which, according to some, might have delivered a combined 22 seats in the 60-member Assembly.
Davies focuses his criticism on Plaid’s willingness to stand aside in some parts of the country – claiming the Tories are “the real ‘Party of Wales’” and will fight everywhere - and to collude with the Greens, who have “never held a single Assembly seat”.
Labour back SNP in devolution confrontation…
Kezia Dugdale has said her party fully supports the Nationalists in their stand-off with the Government over the current devolution talks, according to the Herald.
She is quoted as saying that: “There is now broad agreement amongst the parties here that the Barnett Formula – the calculation that determines how much money we have to spend on our public services – is a good thing that benefits Scotland and anything that puts it at risk should be resisted.”
The point of contention being, as set out in this excellent blog by Kevin Hague, that:”the Barnett Formula is – under current demographic trends – objectively unfair to the rest of the UK.” He continues:
“It’s therefore impossible to find a fair solution that both gives Scotland the upside of replacing Barnett money with direct control/retention of more of our own taxes whilst at the same time keeping the protection from demographic trends that Barnett affords us.”
Writing in the Spectator, Alex Massie claims that the Government will have to back down – as Brian Wilson points out in the Scotsman, the SNP have every reason to cast a constitutional shadow over the upcoming Holyrood election.
Backing the Nationalists on this, whilst attacking them on their domestic policy record, illustrates the positional tightrope Labour are trying to walk.
…as their Northern Irish branch is snubbed by Momentum
Labour activists in Ulster have criticised the Corbynite pressure group Momentum for refusing to establish a branch in the province, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
Apparently the local branch has seen membership surge from 300 to 1,700 since the Jeremy Corbyn became leader, swelled by many who joined to vote for him, and NI Labour claims to now be one of the largest party memberships in Northern Ireland.
Activists criticised the fact that Momentum – despite claiming to be independent of the Party – claimed that they were following the National Executive Committee line on organising in Ulster.
Plaid demands US-level coverage for Assembly election
Wales Online reports that Leanne Wood, the left-wing leader of the Welsh nationalists, has demanded that the upcoming Assembly election receive BBC coverage equal to that given to the American Presidential race.
She argued that as a public service broadcaster the Corporation had a duty to provide devolved elections with equivalent coverage.
A BBC spokesman clarified that it would cover the elections “appropriately to give audiences clear, impartial information about the choices they have”.
Far-left Findlay faces disciplinary action for calling Sturgeon ‘liar’ at FMQs
Neil Findlay, the left-wing MSP who ran against Jim Murphy for the Scottish Labour leadership, may be disciplined by the Scottish Parliament, according to STV News.
He is accused of using “unparliamentary language” after he called the Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, a liar during a “heated” First Minister’s Questions session.
She was alleging that the tax hike Labour have put at the centre of their election campaign would hit people on very low incomes.