Floods: Cameron row with Environment Agency over job cuts

Screen shot 2014-02-15 at 08.56.30Flooding will continue into March in some parts of Britain, the Environment Agency has warned, as the country braces itself for yet another Atlantic storm on Saturday…Meanwhile the Environment Agency became embroiled in a political row with David Cameron after the Prime Minister said 550 jobs that were due to be cut from the agency were safe, only for the Agency to say the redundancies might go ahead once the flooding crisis was over.” – Daily Telegraph

Charles Moore: Those who blame humanity for natural disasters are driven by politics – not science

‘I do not know what is going to happen to our climate by the end of the century (and nor does Sir Nicholas). I strongly suspect that, like almost all prophecies for such distant dates, it cannot be known. There are too many imponderables. But I think I do recognise the style of thinking that lies behind his warnings and those of his fellow “warmists”. It is a political mode of thought, rather than a scientific one. The idea is that the industrialised West is essentially bad – greedy, dirty, unequal, violent, crude, domineering, racist, exploitative. Its attitude to the environment is like that of a rapist to a woman: it gratifies its immediate urges while showing hatred or at best indifference to its victim.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Government has to act now on climate change – Lord Deben, The Guardian
  • A sink or swim test for Cameron – Alastair Campbell, Financial Times
  • Jonathan Freedland: These floods have washed away the founding logic of Cameron’s Government – The Guardian
  • Ed Davey is as dim as an eco-friendly lightbulb – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Wythenshawe 1) Local Association Chairman slams Party’s campaign

Blue rosette“Stephen Woods told The Times: “I kept telling them that we got 4,500 votes in Wythenshawe in 2010 but they didn’t listen.” Mr Woods, who is the deputy chairman and takes over the chairmanship tomorrow, admitted being at “loggerheads” with Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ). He says that he was overruled when the party imposed a 26-year-old vicar with “zero political experience” as the candidate and was “embarrassed” by the Conservative campaign’s failure to address voters’ national concerns, including crime and immigration.” – The Times (£)

  • David Skelton of Renewal says that Party must change image – The Independent
  • Why do the Tories do so badly in the north? – The Guardian

Wythenshawe 2) Cameron concedes that the Conservatives were never going to win

“Mr Cameron claimed the result did not add up to a “breakthrough” for Ukip. He said: “Obviously, the Wythenshawe by-election was in a very safe Labour seat and there was never much doubt about the result. “When people know that there is a by-election they know that the Government isn’t going to change, but obviously messages are sent and signals are sent and protests are made. “Obviously, one would prefer to come second rather than third, but I don’t think that this is a particularly surprising result.” – Daily Express

  • Cameron hails Jaguar Land Rover as a ‘great British success story’ – Birmingham Post
  • “Wythenshawe and Sale East therefore exhibited the movement of the two tectonic plates of British politics. The political Left has been united by default while the political Right is divided” – Times Editorial (£)
  • Lack of trust – Sun Editorial

> Today: ToryDiary – How Cameron is striving to by-pass the national papers

> Yesterday: Local Government – Council by-election result from yesterday

Wythenshawe 3) Farage cries “foul”, Labour dismisses him

Nigel Farage“Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, protested at the way in which postal ballots had been sent out within three days of the election being called. He said: “I have been on benders for longer than the opening of the nominations and the start of the postal ballots. This has been a farce.” Lucy Powell, the Labour MP for Manchester Central, accused him of sour grapes, saying that Farage had “predicted they might win 30% of the vote and they are very disappointed that Labour has increased its share of the vote.” – The Guardian

  • UKIP leader says that ‘no-one has done more to help women’ – Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

Is Andrew RT Davies’ position as Welsh Conservative leader under threat after sackings?

DAVIES Andrew“Mr Davies’ position as leader has come under increasing pressure after senior party sources told the Western Mail a management board meeting called to discuss the crisis had seen “unanimous” opposition to how he had handled a rebellion by senior members of his cabinet. Nick Ramsay, Antoinette Sandbach, Janet Finch-Saunders and Mohammad Asghar were all shuffled out of the Shadow Cabinet after refusing to vote with the whip on a Plaid Cymru amendment in a debate on the Draft Wales Bill, which criticised elements of the UK Government’s proposed model for Welsh income tax powers.” – Wales Online

Cameron “disgraceful”. Clegg “useless”. Zac Goldsmith fury over power of recall.

“David Cameron was accused by one of his own backbenchers on Friday night of acting in an “utterly disgraceful way” over his decision to drop legislation that would allow voters to get rid of errant MPs. Zac Goldsmith, who has campaigned to give voters “recall” powers where 20 per cent of constituency electors sign a petition, said the Tories had “covered themselves in shame” over the issue. He also accused the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, of failing to properly support the measure and of introducing “watered down” and “useless” legislation that could never get support in the Commons.” – The Independent

Arrested LibDem donor visited Clegg in Chevening

“Chevening, a 17th century 115-room mansion in Kent, is thought to be the model for Rosings Park in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It is also where Nick Clegg played host to guests in 2012 including Sudhir Choudhrie, a generous Liberal Democrat donor whose name has previously been put forward by the party for a peerage…India-born Mr Choudhrie was again rubbing shoulders with the Westminster establishment in March, this time at a grand hotel where Theresa May, the Conservative home secretary, handed him the gong “for lifetime achievement” at the 16th annual Asian Business Awards.” – Financial Times

Miliband vetoes Burnham’s social care plan

“Ed Miliband is to veto a policy by his shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham to hand over control of billions of pounds of NHS funding to local councils, The Independent has learnt. Mr Burnham outlined proposals last year that would have committed a future Labour government to transfer around £60 billion of NHS money to local authorities to create an integrated health and social-care budget. The move would have radically reshaped the NHS and healthcare in England – with elected politicians rather than doctors having the final say on where money was spent.” – The Independent

In Scotland, experts divide over Osborne sterling response

Scottish flag“The Fiscal Commission Working Group said keeping sterling as the currency in an independent Scotland would be “sensible” and an attractive choice for the rest of the UK. However, yesterday members of the commission told The Scotsman that alternatives to a sterling zone with the rest of the UK should be considered, after the three main unionist parties said they would block it. The group of experts is divided on what Plan B ministers could examine after Chancellor George Osborne said the SNP’s plan would “not work” and “was not going to happen”. – Scotsman

Nichols assails IDS’s policies

“Cardinal-designate Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, said that while the need to reduce spending on benefits is widely accepted, the Government’s reforms have now destroyed even the “basic safety net”. Archbishop Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said the welfare system had also become increasingly “punitive”, often leaving people with nothing for days on end if they fail even to fill a form in correctly. He said it was “a disgrace” that this was possible in a country as rich as Britain.” – Daily Telegraph

  • DWP spend taxpayers’ cash on boosting Twitter followers – The Sun (£)
  • Plans to change child poverty measures hit Treasury-DWP impasse – The Guardian

Matthew Parris: Our trust in the police is dying

Police helmet“Something precious has been leaching away in this century. To safeguard trust in the police we need to do more than slip in to clichés about “bad apples” and “lessons to be learnt” whenever things go wrong…In the regard in which our police in England and Wales are held, something is dying. The collapse is neither sudden, nor dramatic, nor complete. But it is steady. If we are still a long way from Mozambique — and we are — then there’s still time to turn things round. I wish I could imagine a politician in any party who thought this worth writing across the sky.” – The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • Divide in middle class living standards opens wider – Financial Times
  • Public school funding for military cadet forces diverted to state sector – Daily Telegraph
  • British Gas and EDF vow to refund direct debit overpayments – The Sun
  • Watchdog slammed for lack of action over annuities – The Independent
  • Renzi set to be Italy’s youngest Prime Minister – The Guardian
  • British suicide bomber’s last words: ‘Sorry, I don’t really speak Arabic’ – The Times (£)
  • Piers Morgan interviewed under caution – Daily Mail
  • Sir Tom Finney dies – Daily Express

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