Conservative backlash at plans to let taxman raid bank accounts

CARSWELL Douglas“David Cameron was hit by a Conservative backlash today over moves to allow HM Revenue and Customs to seize unpaid taxes direct from personal bank accounts… The anger grew after an all-party Commons committee of MPs warned of its “considerable concern” over the plans which were set out in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget. Critics warned that thousands of people would be wrongly targeted because of mistakes by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The Tory MP Douglas Carswell attacked the moves as “un-Conservative and illiberal”.” – The Independent

Boris suggests his job is done as mayor – a big hint he’s ready to stand as an MP

“BORIS Johnson has suggested that his job is done as London mayor in a big hint he is ready to stand as an MP. The mop-haired Tory said he had delivered on his pledge to lead the capital out of recession – clearing the way for his move to Parliament. In 2012 BoJo promised to shun “any other political capacity” until he had fulfilled his mayoral vows. He declared: “I was elected twice on a clear manifesto to deliver jobs and growth and lead the city out of recession and I think we have done that.”” – The Sun (£)

  • Mayor takes humorous swipe at Miliband in charity poem – Daily Telegraph

Cameron 1) He opens to door to a five way election debate including UKIP and the

cameron-thinks“David Cameron yesterday opened the door to a sensational TV clash with Nigel Farage in the run up to next year’s general election. The Prime Minister indicated that he was prepared to take part in a live broadcast debate with smaller parties including Ukip and the Greens… Mr Cameron’s hint appeared to confirm reports that Downing Street is planning three debates, featuring different politicians. “I’m very keen to examine all the different formats we can have,” Mr Cameron said yesterday.” – Daily Express

Cameron 2) Friend ‘spearheading’ AstraZeneca takeover attempt

“A lobbyist friend of David Cameron is at the heart of the hostile bid by American drugs giant Pfizer to take over British rival AstraZeneca, it emerged yesterday. Sir Alan Parker, who once holidayed with Mr Cameron and received a knighthood in the New Year honours list, is spearheading the UK lobbying operation for Pfizer’s controversial £63 billion bid. Mr Cameron has been accused of ‘cheerleading’ for the bid, despite concerns about the impact on British jobs and science.” – Daily Mail

Cameron 3) Government explores thresholds for strike ballots

ballot_box“A future Conservative government would introduce a threshold on union ballots for strikes in essential services, forcing them to secure more than a simple majority of those voting, David Cameron has said. The prime minister pledged to take action if he secures an outright victory in next year’s general election, saying he had been held back from doing so since 2010 because of opposition from Liberal Democrats in the coalition. But Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, accused him of “knee-jerk anti-unionism”.” – Financial Times

Cameron 4) He pledges to review labelling of halal meat

“David Cameron has said that he will review halal food labelling if supermarkets and restaurants fail to improve transparency. The Prime Minister insisted that food retailers can “achieve transparency” without having a “full-on national labelling scheme”. However, he said that he is prepared to “review the situation in a few months’ time” if information is not being given to customers. It came just hours after Downing Street said that Mr Cameron would not support compulsory labelling because it is a matter for retailers.” – Daily Telegraph

  • We Muslims should be appalled by the sale of halal meat by steath – Dr Taj Hargey, Daily Mail
  • There is no good argument against labelling meat by its method of slaughter – Times editorial (£)

Simon Heffer: Migrants would vote for Dave – if only he acted like a Tory

HEFFER Simon“By appealing directly to the values of family, self-improvement and hard work which are shared by these two social groups, the Tories might even be able to cut across the lines of class and culture, and become more widely attractive to everyone. Yet with the exception of Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms, the party refuses to embrace policies — such as for more grammar schools and tax incentives for marriage and small businesses — that would do this. Instead, that opportunity is being seized by Nigel Farage.” – Daily Mail

Miliband government will be ‘relatively unsuccessful’, says one of his own donors

“Ed Miliband has just a 25 per cent chance of winning the next election outright and a future Labour government is likely to be “relatively unsuccessful”, one of the party’s biggest donors has said. John Mills, the entrepreneur who has given millions to Labour, warned that even if Mr Miliband wins the next election he will face “growing Euroscepticism” which could lead to the return of a Conservative government… He warned that if Mr Miliband fails to follow through with his pledge to hold an in/out referendum the public’s faith in politicians will “crack”. – Daily Telegraph

  • Ed is ‘peddling the politics of resentment’ – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Cash-strapped Labour tells candidates to campaign at school gates

MILIBAND Red Ed“Time-pressed parents on the school run who have dodged traffic wardens, puddles and the disparaging looks of other mums face a new obstacle at the schoolgate: rosette-wearing Labour candidates. Ed Miliband’s party has urged wannabe MPs to target mothers outside schools in a bid to woo swing voters ahead of the general election. Senior figures believe face-to-face chats whiling dropping off or picking up children are more effective than relying on more modern techniques like Facebook and Twitter.” – Daily Mail

Ed Balls faces loss of driving licence

“The Labour MP failed to stop after hitting a car as he manoeuvred to leave a parking space last month. Writing on his personal blog, he said police had warned him that Crown Prosecution lawyers are preparing to charge him… Failing to stop after an accident can mean five to 10 penalty points, driving disqualification, a fine of up to £5,000 or a jail sentence. Penalty points could mean he faces a driving ban. Last year he was given three points for driving through a red light.” – Daily Express

Labour mocked over VAT campaign poster

Labour poster VAT“Labour has been accused of making a “seriously embarrassing” blunder with a poster suggesting that the coalition has put up VAT on food… The Tory and Liberal Democrat leaders are depicted as “peas in a pod”, surrounded by images of everyday goods including fruit and vegetables, soft drinks, ketchup and biscuits. Critics were quick to point out that many of the items portrayed are in fact exempt from VAT — and so were not affected when the standard rate rose from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent in 2011. Parody adverts were already circulating on Twitter today with the hashtag #saveedballs.” – The Times (£)

Matthew Paris: If a politician looks you in the eye… he’s lying

“Over the years I have come to a most uncomfortable conclusion. The politicians who sweat, the politicians who hedge, bluster, flannel and obfuscate, who duck, who look embarrassed, who don’t tell you the whole truth… are the honest ones. And the politician who looks you in the eye, doesn’t mince his words but in plain, down-to-earth English with no ifs, no buts, and no let-outs, gives it to you straight… is the liar.” – The Times

Clegg ignored warning that free school meals pledge would entail ‘cuts in teaching and learning’

Curse of Clegg 2“Nick Clegg ignored warnings his flagship free school meals plan would be so expensive that spending cuts on ‘teaching and learning’ could be required, emails revealed yesterday. The Deputy Prime Minister railroaded through a controversial pledge to give free meals to all infant school pupils in the face of opposition from Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove. The Liberal Democrat leader always claimed the scheme was fully funded. But leaked emails show that officials knew that this was ‘not true’.” – Daily Mail

  • Lib Dems accuse Tories of leaking free school meals emails – The Independent

Deputy PM backs all-women shortlists after admitting ‘embarrassment’ at female representation

“Nick Clegg has backed imposing all-women shortlists on the Liberal Democrats if the party fails to boost its proportion of female MPs at next year’s general election. The Deputy Prime Minister acknowledged his embarrassment that just 12 per cent of the Lib Dem MPs elected in 2010 were women, which compares with 16 per cent of Tories… Only three of the seven female Lib Dem MPs are ministers, none of whom is in the Cabinet, prompting David Cameron to tell his Coalition partners publicly that they needed to do more to “pull their weight on that issue”.” – The Independent

  • Clegg ‘unsure’ of number of female Lib Dem candidates for European parliament – Daily Telegraph

Guardian supports Clegg’s opposition to mandatory knife sentencing

Screen shot 2014-05-10 at 08.35.18“Not long ago a disgruntled Liberal Democrat rightwinger, Jeremy Browne, came close to saying that if his party didn’t exist, you wouldn’t invent it… Yet by making a brave stand over knife crime against both of Westminster’s bigger gangs this week, Nick Clegg has shown that there are times when the Lib Dem voice remains as distinct as it is necessary.” – Guardian editorial

Huhne cuts legal bill by a third over driving offence

“Chris Huhne, the disgraced former Lib Dem Cabinet minister, has succeeded in cutting his legal bill after passing speeding points to his ex-wife by a third. Prosecutors had claimed £110,000 in costs from Huhne, who pleaded guilty last February on the first day of his trial after months of denials and protracted attempts to get the case against him thrown out… However, Mr Justice Sweeney yesterday ruled that he should not have to pay costs relating to the investigation into Constance Briscoe, a barrister who lied to police investigating the points scandal.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Molly who? On the eve of the contest, PM doesn’t know who UK’s Eurovision contestant is – Daily Mail
  • Home Office officials sent Falklands post to the ‘Malvinas’ – The Independent
  • UKIP discovers ‘green conscience’ and cancels mass balloon launch – The Guardian
  • London 2016? Secret approach by Olympic bosses over fears about Brazil’s readiness – Evening Standard
  • Landowner erects “high security prison” fencing to enclose right of way – Daily Telegraph

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