7.45pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: The EU's new foreign minister is British… and creates another vacancy
6.45pm Paul Goodman MP on CentreRight: "If only two Labour backbenchers can be bothered to turn up to defend
their own Government's programme – as happened today – what does that say about their faith
in it – and the current state of the Commons?"
12.30pm WATCH: Guido Fawkes dissects last night's Labour broadcast
- What relationship should a council have with trade unions?
- Lewis Robinson: Southwark as the cultural heart of London
WATCH Three highlights from yesterday's Queen's Speech debate:
- David Cameron challenges Gordon Brown on why the Kelly recommendations weren't included in the Queen's Speech
- David Cameron mocks Gordon Brown over the departure of so many of his GOATS from Government
- David Cameron tells Gordon Brown to get on with calling the general election
David Cameron challenges the Government over failure to include Kelly proposals in Queen's Speech
"David Cameron has launched a stinging attack on Gordon Brown over the Queen’s Speech, saying it proves that Labour has “run out of courage.” Mr Cameron was speaking in the Commons after the Queen delivered the Government-written speech lasting barely seven minutes and consisting of only 736 words. Criticising Mr Brown for the limited scope of his last programme before the general election, Mr Cameron also accused the Prime Minister of omitting two significant issues from the Speech: MPs’ expenses and the NHS. Sir Christopher Kelly, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, earlier this month published a raft of changes he says are needed to clean up the Commons allowances system. Several of his changes, such as setting MPs pay and pensions independently, will require new laws to be passed. Mr Cameron said Mr Brown had failed to include those changes in the speech or give them parliamentary time before the next election." – Daily Telegraph
"Downing Street has denied it is standing in the way of MP expenses reform, after the head of the review of allowances said he was "disappointed" by Gordon Brown's failure to include legislation in the Queen's Speech to implement his proposals. Downing Street insisted the Prime Minister was not seeking to block Sir Christopher Kelly's reforms. But in an apparent concession to Mr Kelly, Number 10 added that the PM was ready to bring forward any legislation needed to complete his reforms "on a cross-party basis as required". The move drew accusations of a U-turn from Conservatives, who pointed out that Mr Brown had brushed aside an earlier offer from David Cameron of Tory help to rush the measures on to the statute book." – Press Association
> Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Has Gordon Brown done another sneaky deal with the DUP and Sinn Fein?
What the Queen really wanted to say
"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, I know this speech is a complete waste of my time – and yours. I will have to return in 26 weeks' time (although I know many of you in the Commons will not) when my new government will at least have a mandate to introduce a programme for a full Parliament – backed by the authority of my people. Nevertheless, this fag-end Government has made me read out what the Leader of my loyal Opposition has already described as a 'Labour press release written on palace parchment'. While my present Government's top priority is to try to win the next general election, I suspect that with less than 70 sitting days available to you, few of these measures will actually receive my Royal Assent." – Michael Brown in The Independent
Benedict Brogan: David Cameron now needs to step up his political arguments for change
"The Tory leader's analysis of Mr Brown's myriad weaknesses was devastating, but his reply fell short of a big Parliamentary moment. He offered neither last rites for a dying administration, nor a magisterial vision of what awaits us if we survive the next six months and return a Conservative government. Having derided the crass politicking of Mr Brown, he produced neither memorable politics nor compelling statesmanship. Yet we know he is capable of both. His challenge now is to seize the opportunity to extend and deepen his preparations behind the scenes, where radical work is being undertaken on the shape and role of government, and also to step up the political argument for the changes that will be necessary." – Benedict Brogan writing in the Daily Telegraph
Jeremy Hunt urges overhaul of UK media
"The Conservatives are to call for "massive reform" of the UK's media industry to boost local news and help struggling commercial broadcasters. Shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt will give a speech later criticising "outdated" rules which stop firms owning different media in one area. The government says its newly launched Digital Economy Bill contains "plans to sustain our creative industries". But Mr Hunt calls the bill a "colossal disappointment" with no new solutions." – BBC
David Cameron urges military surge in Afghanistan…
"Tory leader David Cameron urged a military surge in Afghanistan saying "we cannot go on as we are" alternately taking and losing ground. In the Commons debate following the Queen's Speech, Mr Cameron urged "a military surge to protect the populated areas and increase the rate at which we train up the Afghans, combined, vitally, with a proper political strategy". He also called for a "strong international figure" to drive forward coalition policy in Afghanistan." – BBC
…as David Davis concludes that Afghanistan will be "Gordon brown's bitterest legacy"
"Afghanistan will be an issue in the General Election, as Iraq was in the last one. Indeed, with its daily death toll, it may be even more salient than Iraq was. I would be unsurprised if by May the Liberals had moved their position to one favouring rapid withdrawal. This will put an incoming Conservative government in a hideous position. Virtually all the decisions that affect the outcome by November will have been made by May, entirely outside the Conservatives' control. If we are not witnessing a change in our military fortunes by November, decisions in Washington may leave the new government with no choice but British withdrawal from the Helmand mission as almost its first act on the international stage. In all the grim inheritance that he leaves us, this will be Gordon Brown's bitterest legacy of all." – David Davis writing in The Independent
Afghan president Hamid Karzai sworn in for second term – The Guardian
Tory peer among six parliamentarians reportedly facing fraud charges
"Six MPs and peers may soon face criminal charges of fraud following investigations by Scotland Yard into the abuse of the Parliamentary expenses system. The Daily Telegraph understands that detectives will imminently pass files on Labour MPs Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, and peers Baroness Uddin, Lord Hanningfield and Lord Clarke of Hampstead to the Crown Prosecution Service. Keir Starmer, the country’s top prosecutor, is expected to make a decision on whether to prosecute the politicians as early as January, before a General Election." – Daily Telegraph
Tories are told to come clean on Scots tax
"David Cameron's Conservatives were last night under pressure to outline their position on devolution, after Labour used the Queen's Speech to pledge greater powers for Holyrood ahead of the next Scottish Parliament elections. The government committed to "take forward" as many of the Calman Commission proposals as possible before 2011, saying its plans would be published in a white paper over the next two weeks. The Conservatives have refused to declare which Calman proposals they would adopt and which they would reject." – The Scotsman
Stephen Glover is unconvinced by David Cameron's claims of localism when it comes to candidate selection
"Evidently localism is a good thing when the locals do what is expected of them. But it is bad thing if they ignore the wishes of their betters in London, who know what is right. I am afraid the Tory leader's contingent attitude towards localism suggests he is not obviously a man of principle. It is perfectly reasonable not to be in favour of localism, but if you insist that you are, as Mr Cameron has on many occasions, you should not override the wishes of local people when they show they can think for themselves – and reach their own judgments." – Stephen Glover writing in the Daily Mail
Europe minister claims Tory opposition to "President Blair" is damaging Britain
"The Conservatives are so “obsessed” with stopping Tony Blair from becoming EU President, they are acting against Britain’s interests, Europe Minister Chris Bryant said yesterday. The Rhondda MP said the Tories had in effect backed Mr Blair’s rival, Belgian Herman Van Rompuy – who favours the European integration approach the Conservatives oppose and has suggested that the European Parliament should be given tax-levying powers." – Western Mail
European Union to seek special status at United Nations – The Times
Conservative candidate selected at Open Primary in Brighton Pavilion
"Charlotte Vere has been selected as the new Conservative candidate for Brighton Pavilion at the next general election. Big White Wall chief executive Mrs Vere was selected tonight from six finalists in an “open primary” staged by the Brighton Pavilion Conservative Association. Each of the contenders faced 20 minutes of questioning from the 80 association members and members of the public who had gathered at The Grand hotel, in King’s Road, Brighton, before a series of elimination votes were held… Two votes had to be held to separate Charlotte Vere and insurance broker Mary Weale after the first produced a dead heat." – Brighton Argus
Ex-MP Archie Norman appointed ITV chairman – FT
Mandelson hints at post-election tax rises – Daily Telegraph
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