9pm MPsETC: Labour MP and former Minister Malcolm Wicks dies

Screen shot 2012-09-29 at 17.01.405pm WATCH: Today's Ulster Covenant march and sectarian tensions

2.30pm LeftWatch: How to read the Labour Conference

1pm Mohammed Amin on Comment: Blasphemy should remain decriminalised

Two EU referendum items lead ConHome this morning:

Also on Comment: Martin Sewell – Megan Stammers was abused, just as the Rochdale girls were abused. The age of consent is worth defending.

Local Government: Brandon Lewis MP, now a new CLG Minister, says that he wants to make himself obsolete

As Labour gathers for its conference, two out of three party voters want Ed Miliband replaced by…you've guessed it…

David Miliband"Two out of three Labour voters want to ditch party leader Ed Miliband in favour of his brother David, a poll revealed last night. The news comes as Mr Miliband today tries to regain Labour’s economic credibility at the party’s annual conference after Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls vowed to review every item of public expenditure if Labour wins the next election." – Daily Mail

  • It's Sir Winston Miliband! He will call today for "the spirit of World War Two" – The Sun

…But the Labour leader is closing his poll disadvantage

"Labour have closed the gap with the Tories in areas such as welfare, crime and steering the economy through difficult times but, broadly, six out of ten voters still cannot see Ed Miliband as Prime Minister, according to a Populus poll for The Times. However, his rating has improved and he is more highly rated than at any time of his leadership…59 per cent of voters “find it difficult to imagine Ed Miliband running the country as Prime Minister”, down from 61 per cent in 2011. Asked to rate Mr Miliband out of 100 they gave him 42.2, up from 39.2 in April and behind Mr Cameron on 43.4, but ahead of Nick Clegg on 35.8." – The Times (£)

Rubbish policy rushed out to grab conference headlines 1) Labour "will cap pension charges"

"Labour would change the law to cap ‘rip-off’ pension charges, Ed Miliband pledges today. The Labour leader told the Daily Mail on the eve of his party’s annual conference that the move would be part of an ‘all out attack’ on vested corporate interests in favour of ordinary voters. The Manchester conference is on the theme of ‘Rebuilding Britain’ as Mr Miliband attempts to convince voters his party can be trusted with the economy." – Daily Mail

  • Food prices are one of the biggest issues in British politics – Daily Express

Rubbish policy rushed out to grab conference headlines 2) Labour "launches drive to cut electricity bills for thousands of families"

"The party to encourage consumers to club together to negotiate lower tariffs – and is promising to target poorer families that would otherwise be hard to reach. The Government has been promoting the concept of "collective switching", but Labour will become the first British political party to launch an initiative to enable people to bulk-purchase electricity. It aims to roll out the programme nationally next year." – The Independent

Rubbish policy rushed out to grab conference headlines 3) Labour turns to BBC stars ("Miriam O'Reilly, the former Countryfile presenter, and Arlene Phillips, the former Strictly Come Dancing judge") in new fight for rights of older womenThe Independent 

Shadow Scottish Secretary says that Scottish Labour's benefits review is not a betrayal of the party's valuesHerald Scotland 

Labour's Holyrood chief whip yesterday claimed that his party’s controversial review of universal services would “redistribute” money from the rich to the poorScotsman

Oh no! Not wall-to-wall conference interviews…

  • Screen shot 2012-09-29 at 08.20.34Yvette Cooper pitches for women's vote – Interview, The Guardian
  • Harriet Harman is unofficial leader of Labour's hardline tendency which does not want to play footsie with the third party – Interview, The Independent
  • Chuka Umunna says Labour will celebrate companies that pay loads and loads and loads of tax – Financial Times (£)
  • Yet another Guardian interview with a Labour front-bencher, this time Stephen Twigg, who "wants to get back to the old mantra of standards not structures" – Interview, The Guardian
  • Douglas Alexander says that ‘The challenge for Ed Miliband this week is not to pile on the policy’ – Interview, The Times (£)


  • Labour’s blank page needs filling – Financial Times Editorial (£)
  • Deluded Ed – Sun Editorial
  • Red Ed’s on a high, but he’s doomed if he doesn’t win over the striving classes – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • Now's the time for Miliband to show what he's made of – Andrew Grice, The Independent
  • Labour is ahead in the polls but miles off power – Patrick O'Flynn, Daily Express
  • The speech Miliband should make – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
  • The party conferences this year ought to be dominated by the scale of
    the economic challenge facing Britain – Times Editorial (£)

Screen shot 2012-09-29 at 08.25.07
Lord Owen says that Tony Blair is afflicted by what "could legitimately be deemed to constitute a medically recognised syndrome"Daily Mail  

Blair could have halted war in Iraq, says Kofi AnnanThe Times (£) 

Labour MP Gloria de Piero finds out why people hate politiciansThe Sun

Labour talks up Boris threatThe Independent 

> Yesterday:


Boris claims Cameron knew what Magna Carta means, but doesn't know himself who scored 1966 World Cup Final hat-trickDaily Mail

Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance? Cruddas hints at a Labour EU referendum pledge

"Ed Miliband’s policy director said the Opposition would consider “in depth”
whether the public should be given a vote as the party drafts its next
manifesto The intervention from Jon Cruddas, the influential MP chairing Labour’s policy
review, will add to pressure on David Cameron who is already facing demands
from Conservatives to give the public a say over Britain’s relationship with
Europe." – Daily Telegraph

Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance? Cameron hints at a Conservative EU referendum pledge (yet again)…

Cameron Union Flag + EU

"The Prime Minister insisted voters will get a “new settlement” and a “fresh consent” if he wins the next election in 2015. His latest intervention fuels expectations that he plans to hold a referendum on new terms of EU membership and not the in‑or‑out vote being widely sought. He also said Britain would opt out of a series of European Union laws on crime and policing. Speaking on the final day of his trip to Brazil, where he has been promoting Britain’s business interests and visited a youth sport centre, Mr Cameron said: “In the next parliament I think there will be opportunities for a fresh settlement.” – Daily Express

  • David Cameron needs his own day of atonement for an EU referendum
    pledge that he knew would mislead – Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph

…But Clegg wants to retain the European arrest warrant

"David Cameron and Nick Clegg were at odds over the EU on Friday night after the deputy prime minister warned of the dangers of abandoning British involvement in the European arrest warrant. Hours after the prime minister said Britain would opt out of a series of EU law and order measures, the deputy prime minister said the value of the warrant was highlighted by the arrest in France of the teacher Jeremy Forrest." – The Guardian 

France unveils 'harshest budget in 30 years' – The Guardian 

> Today

> Yesterday:

Political correctness mustn't halt the pursuit of child grooming, says Deputy Prime MinisterThe Times (£)

> Today: Martin Sewell on Comment -  Megan Stammers was abused, just as the Rochdale girls were abused. The age of consent is worth defending.

Cameron-Clegg texts may be disclosed under FOI rulesDaily Telegraph 

Mitchell may have to skip Tory conference

Mitchell Andrew Feb 2011"Tory chiefs now fear that their party conference in Birmingham, beginning next weekend, is in danger of descending into a media bunfight should Mr Mitchell appear. No final decision has yet been taken and the Tory high command will assess matters while Labour holds its conference in Manchester, starting tomorrow. But unless the media appetite has died down, it is understood that Mr Mitchell will be advised to stay away or at least limit himself to a token appearance." – The Times (£)

  • Chief Whip tells his side of the story to his local paper:  “I hope my constituents will not recognise the hideous caricature that has been portrayed in some of the tabloid press." – Hold The Front Page
  • Latin lessons for latter-day plebs – Harry Mount, Financial Times (£)

Justine Greening expected to reverse Mitchell's decision and freeze aid to RwandaDaily Express 

Gove drops FoI Act challengeFinancial Times (£) 

Guardian reporting targets Jeremy Hunt over his views on abortionThe Guardian

Charles Moore savages J.K.Rowling's attack on the middle class

Screen shot 2012-09-29 at 08.41.48"JK Rowling, though very po-faced, is not artistically serious. Her plot is not well-grounded. Her morality tale has all the improbability of magic, but none of its allure.  This is sad, because it is in our provincial life that our great culture has flourished…Left-wing she may be, but what she is really saying to the poor old provincial England that made her is, like Harry Enfield’s famous creation, “I am considerably richer than yow!” – Daily Telegraph

  • We experts know nothing about politics – Matthew Parris, The Times (£)

Parties come together to celebrate Ulster covenantNewsletter 

Economy 1) Could Britain finally be  witnessing a break in the storm clouds that first gathered over our economy in 2008?Daily Mail Editorial 

Economy 2) Forget Silicon Roundabout – try Tech Margate for economic growth – Damian Collins MP, Daily Telegraph 

Economy 3) Britain now producing more cars than Germany: How the UK has become the car production capital of Europe Daily Mail

"Father of disgraced David Laws says the Lib Dem deserves to be in jail over expenses*Daily Mail (*He doesn't, actually: he says that Laws "was damn lucky that further action wasn’t taken against him")


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