The Co-op: a crisis for Labour’s funding…

Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 08.29.49 “At least a third of the £850,000 annual donation given to Ed Miliband’s MPs is to be cut, with one senior Labour figure admitting that he believed all funding from the mutual could soon be stopped. Such a move would be a major blow for Miliband in the runup to the general election, as it comes after the GMB union’s decision to cut their £1m a year funding to Labour by 90%. It is feared that other affiliated unions could make similar announcements before 2015.” – The Observer

  • The hedge funds taking over the Co-op will have little sympathy for Labour – Sunday Telegraph

…as Miliband cries: smears!

“Last night the war of words between the parties over the scandal escalated, with Grant Shapps, the Conservative party chairman, accusing Miliband of making a “pathetic attempt to evade the serious issues” by accusing the Tories of smearing Labour. The Co-operative Group gave £880,000 in political donations last year, including sponsorship for 32 MPs who sit on a joint Labour and Co-operative party ticket. They include Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, whose office received £50,000 to fund a researcher.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Miliband: we’re being smeared by the wicked Tories and monster Crosby – Independent on Sunday
  • Crosby’s election strategy – contrast Cameron, the “strong leader” with a “long-term plan” with Miliband, a “weak leader” reliant on”opportunism”- James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday
  • Flowers planned to set up trade union for clergy – Sunday Express
  • Flowers’s sex and drugs texts – Mail on Sunday
  • Crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford “more popular” than Obama and U.S. Congress – Mail on Sunday

And the Sunday Times asks: What about the role of the Chancellor?

OSBORNE blue tie“The buck stops with George Osborne. Though the chancellor has begun an inquiry into how the Rev Flowers was deemed suitable to chair the bank (the Co-op launched its inquiry into the bank’s near-collapse some weeks ago), Mr Osborne’s own conduct deserves scrutiny. In an intervention that recalled Harold Wilson’s failed shake-up of the motor industry in the 1960s, or Gordon Brown’s efforts in drawing Lloyds Bank and HBOS together, the chancellor was a cheerleader for the Co-op.” – Sunday Times Editorial (£)

  • Labour, the Conservatives, the Methodist Church, Bradford City Council, the City Regulator, charities…all have questions to answer, and there are now seven inquiries under way – The Observer
  • Inheritance tax to snare more under Osborne – Sunday Times (£)
  • RBS ‘kills off good firms for profit’  – Sunday Times (£)

Matthew D’Ancona: The Conservatives have ended the eight-year truce on the use of drugs in politics. Is that wise?

“The question which faces the Tories is how savage, and how personal, to make this attack on Miliband’s credibility. It is one thing to question the competence and judgment of a prospective PM; quite another to insinuate that his morals, or (as in this case) the morals of his close associates, are seriously adrift. To which the Conservative response is, not unreasonably, that, for eight years, they have put up with sneering references to the Bullingdon, “Notting Hill Tories”, the “Chipping Norton set” and the supposedly sybaritic elite that runs the Conservative Party. Now it is Labour’s turn.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • FLOWERS RevThe entire Labour Party is pink with embarrassment at how close such a person got to the centre of its power structures – Mail on Sunday Editorial
  • The Co-op and the mutuals have failed us almost as badly as the banks – Observer Editorial
  • The Co-op scandal reflects lax standards at building societies – Iain Dey, Sunday Times (£)
  • The real tragedy of the Co-op Bank affair is that we have never been in greater need of mutuals – Maurice Glasman, Observer
  • Mud is flying everywhere but only Ed is spattered – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – Three reasons for the Conservatives to be careful with their Co-op campaigning

Other news from the Left:

  • Miliband says on Desert Island discus that his ‘really tough’ rift with brother David ‘hasn’t fully healed’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Emma Reynolds MP: Labour will build five new towns – The Observer
  • Murdoch has cut off relations with Tony Blair after the latter’s “frequent meetings” with the former’s ex-wife, Wendy Deng – Mail on Sunday
  • Alastair Campbell is a Mystic Meg who does not think Labour will win a majority – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • Slaves were snared in “Marxist group” – Sunday Times (£)

Is Cameron getting ready to cut benefit access for Romanians and Bulgarians – and a fight with the European Commission?

Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 08.57.46“The prime minister is ready to defy Brussels by extending dramatically the length of time that new arrivals have to stay in the country before qualifying for state hand-outs. Under one option being seriously considered, incomers will have to prove that they have been resident in this country for a whole year — four times the current period — before they can claim benefits. The move would be almost certain to prompt a bitter court battle with the European Commission, which bans member states from discriminating between their own citizens and other Europeans in eligibility for benefits.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Tories may be on the up but immigration will derail them – Louise Mensch, Sun on Sunday

Grieve apologises for Pakistani-origin “corruption” remarks

“In a statement Mr Grieve said: “If I gave the impression that there is a particular problem in the Pakistani community, I was wrong. It is not my view. I believe the Pakistani community has enriched this country a great deal as I know full well from my extensive contact with the community over a number of years. I’m sorry if I have caused any offence. In the interview, Mr Grieve had praised the integration of minorities into British life, and pointed out that corruption can also be found in the “white Anglo-Saxon” community.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Pakistani-origin British politicians rush to attack Attorney-General – The Observer

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – In defence of Dominic Grieve

I’m proud of the British people’s response to the Phillipines disaster, says Justine Greening

Greening Justine Feb 2012“Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Express before flying out, she said: “I think it has been a phenomenal ­response from the British public. No other country has done more. “It tells you a lot about the British people. As hard as things are in the UK people have looked at the suffering in the Philippines and wanted to do something to help, and they have in large numbers.” Emergency planning began before Haiyan struck between the Disasters Emergency Committee, the Department for International Development, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence.” – Sunday Express

Truss: We’re fixing Labour’s childcare mess

“The tragedy is that because of Labour’s failure children were entering school not ready to learn. By the age of five youngsters from the poorest fifth of homes are on average 19 months behind those from the richest homes in their use of vocabulary…Our solution is simple: give parents a better choice by providing more affordable childcare and more great childcare.  This means putting tougher requirements on early years teachers to guarantee good quality. Everyone qualifying in early years education will require a minimum standard in GCSE English and maths. It means offering more respect and better pay.” – Sunday Express

Miller hails Gibraltar football win

MILLER Maria white Marr“Culture Secretary Maria Miller taunted Spain by hailing a ‘historic’ match played by Gibraltar’s football team last week, after they were accepted by Uefa, European football’s governing body, and given the chance to compete in an international tournament for the first time. Ms Miller’s provocative intervention comes after the Spanish mounted a doomed attempt to stop the friendly match against Slovakia – which ended in a 0-0 draw – by arguing the Rock was not a sovereign state.” – Mail on Sunday

McLoughlin: HS2 to launch in four months

“Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who will launch the planning process in the Commons, predicts the 250mph north-south line will be the biggest revolution in British travel since motorways. In an interview with The Sun on Sunday, he vowed to face down opponents out to derail his plan for a “new, stronger backbone of Britain”. Mr McLoughlin declared: “HS2 is the most ambitious and important infrastructure project since we built the M25 30 years ago. In the next 30 years, it will be just as integral a part of the nation’s prosperity.” – Sun on Sunday

Hammond strips top military officers of Parliamentary passes

Philip Hammond looking left“Top officers from the Army, Navy and RAF are being stripped of their Parliament passes, The Sun on Sunday can reveal. The passes granted them access to keep MPs up to date on military activity. They are being replaced with a single military contact, while other chiefs will need permission to visit Parliament. Ministry of Defence sources said the crackdown was to stop suggestions of inappropriate “lobbying” by officers.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • John Baron claims that reservist troops are ‘twice as costly’ for the Treasury – Sunday Express

Dominic Lawson: Why’s the NHS so popular? Because a lot of people aren’t paying for it.

“The latest annual survey of social attitudes by the King’s Fund health charity revealed that “satisfaction with the way the NHS runs now stands at 61%, the third highest level since the survey began in 1983”…[But] if a supermarket treated its customers as badly as the NHS does many of its patients — the CQC said last week that 18% of hospitals failed to reach “basic standards” — it would go out of business. Obviously, the NHS is a monopoly; but that might be expected to increase, not diminish, public anger. So there must be another reason; and the clue can be found in the story in last week’s Sunday Times about who pays net tax and who doesn’t.” – Sunday Times (£)

Iran nuclear deal complete

ROUHANI black coat“The agreement between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia was nailed down after more than four days of negotiations in the Swiss city of Geneva. The accord was designed as a package of confidence-building steps to ease decades of tensions and confrontation over Tehran’s nuclear aspirations…But Israel’s intelligence minister, Yuval Steinitz, who is responsible for monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, said the deal was based on “Iranian deception and self-delusion” and there was no reason for the world to be celebrating.” – Observer

News in Brief

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