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10.30pm THE STORY OF THE AV CAMPAIGN

7.30pm Donal Blaney on Comment: Put Matthew Elliott in the Lords

5.15pm ToryDiary: CCHQ releases official "Red Ed" fightback poster

5pm WATCH: Cable: I will work with "ruthless" Tories

1pm Paul Goodman in Comment: I name Britain's "progressive majority"

11am Andrew Lilico in Comment: Two reflections on the AV result

ToryDiary: Cameron proves he's a winner

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David Davis in Comment: What the Coalition should do next

Local Government:

WATCH: Cameron – AV result is clear 

Britain buries AV in a landslide.  Every region votes No.  The Liberal Democrats' reform dream dies.  Whatever happened to the "progressive majority"?

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"Britain has delivered a  humiliating ‘No’ vote to Nick Clegg’s dreams of tearing up the traditional electoral system.  Voters rejected a change to the Alternative Vote by an emphatic 70 per cent to 30 per cent.  As the results flooded in last night, the ‘No’ votes swept past the 12 million mark and it became clear that a mere handful of the 440 counts polled had returned a majority in favour of the switch to AV." – Daily Mail

"The Electoral Commission said a total of 19.1m votes were cast across Great Britain, giving a provisional turnout of 42%, higher than many had predicted. Only a few voting areas came out with a majority for a yes vote, including Cambridge, Glasgow Kelvin, and the London boroughs of Camden, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth and Southwark.  London, as predicted, had a relatively low turnout in a year where there were no other elections." – The Guardian 

Number 10 claims credit for turning the campaign round

"At this point the Conservative Party launched a hostile takeover of the “no” campaign. Stephen Gilbert, one of the Tories’ master tacticians, took effective control.  As a special adviser in Downing Street he is barred from participating in political campaigns, yet Tory insiders nevertheless credit him with turning around the campaign. The Conservative press machine was engaged, while Lord Feldman, Mr Cameron’s longtime friend and co-chair of the party, mobilised party donors." – The Times (£)

"Voters have given a clear & resounding answer" – David Cameron statement

The Yes campaign blames Clegg for AV defeat…

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 05.20.52 "Yes campaigners said the higher than expected turnout of more than 40 per cent was due to people coming out to "kick Clegg".  One prominent figure in the pro-reform movement said: "The flaw in our campaign was that it was Nick Clegg's referendum.  "It's clear now that people were never going to give him what he wanted [AV]. The only thing that really made a difference in the campaign was when the No camp put out a picture of Nick Clegg on its literature. We underestimated the unpopularity of the Lib Dems." – Andy Grice, The Independent

…And LibDems blame him for local election losses

"Furious Lib Dems gave beleaguered leader Nick Clegg an ultimatum last night after a double poll disaster: Stand up to the Tories – or you're out.  The party suffered a wipe-out in the local elections, losing almost 700 councillors and nine councils – nearly half the 22 up for grabs." – The Sun

"Gary Long, the ousted leader of the Lib Dems on Nottingham city council, who lost all their six seats, called on Clegg to step aside. "I'm in favour of the coalition, but I think he's run it very badly and in my view he should resign immediately," he said." – The Guardian

His team asks: what next?…

"One Clegg aide said: "We are not going to behave like an opposition in the government, but we will have greater latitude to talk about when we disagree, as we already have over multiculturalism. That set the template. We are not going suddenly to Defcon 2 [a reference to the US armed forces expression for a defence-ready condition], or have poisonous rubbish briefed into the papers." – The Guardian

Vince Cable at home – Financial Times (£)

…Not Lords reform, Cameron answers (or so it's claimed)…

CAMERON DAVID official "Nick Clegg's hopes of resurrecting his constitutional reform agenda in the wake of yesterday's disastrous AV defeat will be scuppered by his Conservative coalition partners.  Senior Tory figures have told The Independent that David Cameron will not support Mr Clegg to force through Liberal Democrat plans to create an elected House of Lords – despite a commitment to reform in the Coalition agreement." – The Independent

…As Number Ten takes control of the Department of Health

"The crisis over NHS changes has already forced David Cameron to “pause” the reforms.  Now the Prime Minister has agreed that a civil service press adviser and his closest health special adviser will transfer from No10 to the Department of Health from Monday.  Much of the criticism of the health reforms from within the Coalition has concentrated on Mr Lansley’s inability to “sell” the reorganisation of services that includes the handing over of £80 billion to GP to provide services directly, stripping out Primary Care Trusts." – Daily Telegraph

Conservative vote overtakes Labour's in local elections

"The Conservatives confounded both expert forecasts and precedent for governing parties by more than holding their own. With most votes for English councils counted, they had made gains in the South East and South West with an overall share of the vote larger than Labour." – The Times (£)

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 08.19.58 Tories forecast to win bigger share of vote than Labour in local English elections – Daily Telegraph

"The Tories emerged as the decisive winners in the local elections on Friday after the party astonished pollsters – and themselves – by recording net gains in English councils despite warning activists to hunker down for losses of 1,000 seats or more.  Activists said they were delighted with the results as the party held key Labour target councils such as Dover, Dartford and Medway, and even averted an expected collapse in support in the north." – Financial Times (£)

"But the key story in the south was the way in which the Conservatives were in many places able to win seats from the Liberal Democrats. In Chelmsford, the Tories gained 10 seats and the Lib Dems lost 11, while in Eastbourne there was a shift of five seats from the Lib Dems to the Conservatives. There were similar results in places such as Elmbridge, New Forest, Wealden, Shepway, Teignbridge, Mendip and West Devon – and many more." – Tony Travers, The Guardian

Murmurings about Miliband in Labour's ranks

"The murmurings about Miliband have been prompted by what is described as Labour's "total disaster" in Scotland. Senior Labour figures are aghast at the SNP's success in achieving something that eluded Labour even when it dominated the landscape in Scotland – winning an overall majority at Holyrood." – Wintour and Watt, The Guardian

The SNP's victory in Scotland has huge implications for the constitution

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"The Scottish National Party are preparing for a second term in government in Edinburgh, but this time with an overall majority.SNP leader Alex Salmond said his party's majority win at Holyrood was "a victory for a society and a nation".  The party is expected to hold a referendum on Scottish independence towards the end of its term.  With all results in, the SNP had 69 seats, Labour 37, the Tories 15, the Lib Dems five, and others three." – BBC

"The Prime Minister said he would oppose any move to make Scotland independent.  “If they want to hold a referendum, I will campaign to keep our United Kingdom together with every single fibre that I have,” Mr Cameron said. Some of Mr Cameron’s advisers are now considering plans for him to travel to Scotland and make a major speech in defence of the Union." – Daily Telegraph

AV referendum: David Cameron has seen off AV – but now he must see off Alex Salmond – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

In Wales, the Conservatives make progress and help to deny Labour a majority, but lose Nick Bourne

BOURNE NICK "Carwyn Jones' party comprehensively beat their rivals, winning 30 of the Senedd's 60 seats.  But it was unable to get to the ''magic figure'' of 31, which would result in Labour being able to form a majority government.  Today's poll result saw Labour increase its AMs from the 2007 local election by four and former coalition partners Plaid Cymru slip into third place after shedding four seats.  The Conservatives endured a "bitter-sweet" morning, managing to increase their number of Assembly Members by two but losing leader Nick Bourne after he was defeated in the Mid and West Wales region." – Daily Telegraph

DUP and Sinn Fein consolidate their positions in Northern Ireland

"With just 39 of Northern Ireland's 108 MLAs elected, the DUP and Sinn Fein look set to remain the biggest parties in the new Assembly.  As counting centres close for the night, the DUP currently has 16 seats, SF 14, SDLP 3, UUP 3, Alliance 3." – BBC Northern Ireland

The Editorials' view…

…and the commentators'

  • Now will Cameron seize this chance to show he's a true Tory? – Iain Martin, Daily Mail
  • It was in Clegg's moment of triumph that the seeds of disaster were sown – Steve Richards, The Independent
  • Is this the start of a long Conservative hegemony? – Polly Toynbee in agony in The Guardian
  • Calm down, dears. Nothing much has changed – Matthew Parris, The Times (£)

In the meanwhile, Europe hasn't gone away: Default fears fuel rumours Greece may abandon euro

"Top EU officials were in emergency meetings last night amid rumours that Greece will be forced to default on its debts — or even quit the euro.  A report in a German magazine said that Athens had threatened to abandon the single currency and reintroduce the drachma as part of the discussions over its unsustainable debt.  Such a move would have dire repercussions for the country, triggering the collapse of its banking system and an economic crash." – The Times (£)

The 7/7 inquest concludes

"Families of the victims of the 7 July attacks have called on the government to overhaul Britain's security services after the inquest coroner yesterday described their handling of a critical piece of intelligence as "dreadful" and suggested another failure could have had "dire consequences".  Returning verdicts of unlawful killing on each of the 52 victims of the attacks, Lady Justice Hallett also expressed concerns about MI5's recordkeeping and about "confusion" in its system of assessing targets at the time of the attacks." – The Guardian

Osama bin Laden death: Al-Qaida vows to carry out revenge attacks on US – The Guardian

Row over Government reading lists for five-year-olds

GOVE MICHAEL NW "Set texts for five- to 11-year-olds may be introduced as part of a sweeping review of the National Curriculum to ensure all pupils are given access to a wide range of books.  The move would bring English primary schools in line with secondaries, where pupils are already told to study a series of specified authors and playwrights, including Shakespeare.  It is not yet known which books will be named on the proposed list." – Daily Telegtaph

Students "to study English and maths up to 18" – Daily Telegraph

Coalition and Political News in Brief

  • Porritt attacks Cameron's green record – The Independent
  • Cameron and Sarkozy restate Libya 'determination' – BBC
  • US jobs rise eases fears on economy – Financial Times (£)
  • Special investigation: Inside the migrant maternity ward where the NHS is struggling to cope – Daily Mail
  • Assad tightens his iron grip on Syria’s capital – The Times (£)
  • Sir Paul McCartney set to marry for a third time – Daily Telegraph

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114 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 7th May 2011

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