The UKIP Effect 1) Cameron resists pressure to strike a deal with Farage…

CAMERON-PENSIVE“No pacts or deals will be done with Ukip, David Cameron told his backbenchers yesterday. … Nigel Farage’s showing in Thursday’s local elections prompted three Tory MPs to repeat their call for the two parties to come to a national agreement under which candidates would not fight each other at next year’s general election. … But the Prime Minister said: ‘We are the Conservative party. We don’t do pacts and deals. We are fighting all out for an all-out win at the next election.” – Daily Mail

  • “Nearly a quarter of a century ago, I coined the phrase Essex Man to describe those aspirational, hard-working people whose values were championed by Thatcherism. … Today, most natural Tories, and quite a few long-time Labour supporters in Essex, have had enough of their views being ignored. That is why Essex Man is increasingly more likely to vote Ukip.” – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • “…this is what you get when a smug metropolitan elite treat the people with contempt” – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail
  • “The capital fails to see the heartache and pain beyond” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • “Don’t confuse the human touch of local elections with the faceless monster of Europe” – Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph
  • “London is Ukip’s worst nightmare” – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
  • “We might have entered an era of four-party politics” – Andrew Grice, The Independent
  • “The real surprise is that UKIP did not do better” – Steve Richards, The Independent
  • “…the mainstream parties must stand for responsibility and competence. Ukip is at its weakest as a governing proposition, which may be why voters have still not trusted it to run a local council anywhere.” – Financial Times editorial
  • “Resentment has propelled Farage’s party to electoral success. This fuel won’t last as growth spreads out from London” – Independent editorial
  • “A kick in the pants that Westminster so richly deserved” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “David Cameron must now assuage the voters’ rage” – Daily Telegraph editorial

> Today: ToryDiary – Farage casts a big shadow across Westminster. Stepping out from it is Cameron’s new challenge.

> Yesterday:

The UKIP Effect 2) …whilst Farage says that the Tories should ditch Cameron

FARAGE eating“Conservative MPs should ditch David Cameron if they want to win next year’s general election, Nigel Farage has said. … Mr Farage was asked by The Telegraph if Tory MPs should challenge Mr Cameron for the leadership if they wanted to win the election. … Speaking in a pub in Basildon, Essex, the Ukip leader said: ‘If they want to win the next election they have got to get one – but it is none of my business what they do.'” – Daily Telegraph

  • “Nigel Farage today declared that Ukip is ‘re-writing political history’ after making in-roads into Labour, Tory and Lib Dem heartlands. … With the bulk of local election results declared, Ukip has won more than 150 seats, leading Mr Farage to boast: ‘The Ukip fox is in the Westminster hen house.'” – Daily Mail
  • “Money has not been a problem for the election campaign that ended so triumphantly for Ukip this week, because it has an asset that no other small party, not even the Lib Dems, can match – a very rich money man.” – The Independent
  • “Swathes of European citizens living in Britain were turned away from the ballot box in the European elections on Thursday despite registering as voters and having polling cards.” – The Independent
  • “Jane Green, co-director of the British Election Study, said it was ‘increasingly unlikely’ that Ukip would make its long-awaited parliamentary breakthrough next year.” – Financial Times

> Yesterday: WATCH – Farage – “It’s a very good night for UKIP”

The UKIP Effect 3) Labour MPs round on Miliband

Miliband coffee“…Miliband faced murmurings of discontent at all levels of the party, up to the shadow cabinet, amid signs that Labour is struggling to look like an opposition party on the eve of a general election victory. … As part of the fallout, some shadow cabinet members say they were crowded out of a campaign that failed to project Labour as a team that includes strong women such as Harriet Harman and Yvette Cooper. There is also anger that Miliband focused too much on policy rather than projecting an empathy with voters’ sense of alienation from the political class.” – The Guardian

  • “Mr Miliband, the Labour leader, was accused by Graham Stringer, a party MP, of running ‘an unforgivably unprofessional campaign’. John Mann, another Labour MP, accused a ‘metropolitan elite’ in the party of ignoring the Ukip threat.” – Financial Times
  • “Projections from Thursday’s local elections point to a hung parliament in Britain’s 2015 general election with Labour as the biggest party.” – Financial Times
  • “This morning Professor John Curtice said the public did not seem to see Labour as an alternative Government. … ‘If you compare Labour’s performance vote-for-vote with 2010, the advance is just 3 percentage points – 3 per cent on what was the day in which Labour recorded its second worst result,’ he said.” – Daily Mail
  • “An independent mayor in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets was on the verge of a surprising re-election victory on Saturday morning despite an official government inquiry into his handing of the borough’s finances.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “Ed Miliband will not be our next prime minister.” – Matthew Parris, The Times (£)
  • “Labour, the main contender for office, instead of surging ahead, is treading water – an implausible party led by an implausible leader.” – Anthony King, Daily Mail
  • “Labour’s leader now knows Ukip is just as capable of stealing his vote as it is the Tories’.” – Sun editorial (£)

> Yesterday: LeftWatch – How has Labour performed?

The UKIP Effect 4) The Lib Dems’ worst local election results for 30 years

CLEGG Bird“Nick Clegg insisted last night that he would not quit as Liberal Democrat leader after his party suffered its worst local election results in 30 years. … As experts suggested the Lib Dems could lose up to 20 MPs at the general election next year, the party lost control of two key council strongholds: Kingston-upon-Thames to the Conservatives and Portsmouth to no overall control. … By last night, Mr Clegg had lost 283 councillors, with 13 boroughs still to declare, and he is braced for further humiliation tomorrow when the results of the European elections are announced.” – Daily Mail

  • “Nothing Mr Clegg does seems to lift his party’s standing with the electorate. He has tried apologising for the tuition fees U-turn. He’s tried attacking the Conservatives for being mean-spirited and right-wing. He began a weekly radio phone-in. He even agreed to debate with Nigel Farage, with little success. Voters have been unmoved.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “How Nick Clegg led his party towards electoral Armageddon” – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

> Yesterday: Iain Dale’s column – Can we now put signs up all over Britain, saying: “LibDems: losing here”?

The UKIP Effect 5) Lord Ashcroft’s polling features in the papers

ASHCROFT blue shirt“The threat to Mr Cameron’s position had been receding in recent months as improving economic data and a gradual recovery in opinion polls underpinned party unity. However, the results of the very large poll of about 25,000 voters by Lord Ashcroft, the former Tory vice-chairman, are about to darken the party’s mood as MPs prepare to return to the last session of this parliament. … Full details of the survey of next year’s election battleground are to be released at a meeting of the grassroots activist organisation Conservative Home but it is understood to make worrying reading for Mr Cameron.” – The Times (£)

“The poll by former Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft, now a leading pollster, suggested significant numbers of those who voted Ukip this week are already planning to vote for other parties next year. … Only 52 per cent of those who voted Ukip in the European elections say they will probably vote for the party again at the 2015 election. Over a fifth – 21 per cent – already say they will vote Tory, 11 per cent Labour, and 14 per cent say they do not know what they will do.” – Daily Mail

  • “Meet the Cukips. They are the voters who have triggered this week’s political earthquake. They voted Conservative in 2010, but switched to Ukip for this election.” – Peter Kellner, The Times (£)

> Today: Lord Ashcroft on Comment – We don’t yet know how many people voted UKIP in the European elections – but here’s what they think

Will IDS’s benefit reforms ever be completed?

IDS on Marr“The Major Projects Authority (MPA), the quango that assesses how effectively large schemes are being implemented, yesterday concluded that its worst rating was not bad enough to accommodate all the failings associated with Universal Credit. … The fact that the Government published the damning study amid the announcement of local election results led to accusations that ministers were seeking to ‘bury’ bad news.” – Daily Mail

  • “Two aircraft carriers costing taxpayers £6 billion are at risk of being late and over-budget, the Government has admitted.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “The Government’s controversial £50billion high-speed rail project has been given a damning ‘amber-red’ warning – meaning it is at serious risk of failure.” – Daily Mail
  • “Network Rail directors have received about £50,000 each in annual bonuses, weeks after the track operator pledged to scrap future awards and two months after the government called for zero bonuses following rail safety concerns.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “Conviction-based politics is one thing, but conviction-based policy leads to trouble.” – Guardian editorial
  • “Long live borough hall – it is working better than Whitehall” – Tony Travers, Financial Times

The Guardian considers May’s leadership prospects

MAY Theresa menacing“She swats away talk of leadership ambitions, but Westminster insiders are clear that she has begun subtle and not-so-subtle manoeuvres to put herself next in line. A speech a year ago was seen as highly significant – and earned May a rebuke from Michael Gove for disloyalty to Cameron. Though seen as chilly and not particularly clubbable, May is said to have become more active in meeting colleagues and journalists, while careful never to do anything so crude as expressing open ambitions. Cameron himself, indeed, is said by one colleague to ‘adore’ her.” – Esther Addley, The Guardian

  • “The new leader of the embattled Police Federation, ordered by the government to modernise, has been decided by the toss of a coin after the selection committee was evenly split between the two candidates.” – The Guardian

Fallon: Fracking is in the national interest

“Fracking should take place in Tory heartlands of south-east England ‘in the national interest’, energy minister Michael Fallon has said, despite expert warnings that there was not enough oil in the region to spark a ‘huge bonanza’. … A British Geological Survey study of the ‘Weald’ basin revealed that 4.4bn barrels of shale oil was likely to lie in the area, primarily beneath Surrey, Sussex and Kent.” – Daily Telegraph

Alexander attacks the SNP over its childcare promises

Alexander Danny Jan 12“A Scottish government promise to expand free childcare in the event of independence is based on economic analysis that ‘simply doesn’t add up’, the UK Treasury says. … Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘This is typical of the nationalist elite who think they can con voters by inventing mothers that don’t exist and then assume that they will all get back into work. They will say anything, no matter how far-fetched to get their way.'” – Financial Times

  • “The state pension would be less affordable in an independent Scotland unless it could attract almost half a million more immigrants, according to a ‘comprehensive’ Treasury analysis of its prospective finances.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “A report commissioned by the Scottish government has called for a legal limit to be imposed on the amount of land that can be held by a single owner.” – Financial Times

Hospitals in the red

“More NHS foundation trusts have ended the financial year in the red than at any time in NHS history, hospital regulators have said, as a huge nurse recruitment drive to improve care in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire scandal takes its toll on hospital finances. … In further evidence of growing pressure on the NHS, Monitor’s annual report on the performance of England’s 147 foundation trusts found that yet more hospitals are failing to meet Government waiting times targets.” – The Independent

Academy awarded contracts to companies run by its governors

School“An academy school has been ordered to end contracts worth hundreds of thousands of pounds with companies run by its governors. … Durand Academy in Brixton, south London, was told by the Department for Education’s funding arm that the arrangements were clear conflicts of interest and must stop this year.” – The Times (£)

  • “Children in the schools most plagued by illegal drugs are being monitored by security cameras with the permission of the Government, the Daily Telegraph can reveal.” – Daily Telegraph

Another food scandal? Supermarkets say they ignore expiry dates

“The heads of Britain’s largest supermarket chains have admitted that they regularly ignore expiry dates on food in their own homes. … Executives from Tesco, Waitrose, and Marks & Spencer said they overlooked use-by dates, while the bosses of the Co-op, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s said they ignored sell-by and best-before dates.” – The Times (£)

Piketty gets his sums wrong

“The FT found mistakes and unexplained entries in his spreadsheets, similar to those which last year undermined the work on public debt and growth of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. … For example, once the FT cleaned up and simplified the data, the European numbers do not show any tendency towards rising wealth inequality after 1970. An independent specialist in measuring inequality shared the FT’s concerns.” – Financial Times

Janan Ganesh: Why do we celebrate unremarkable politicians?

Janan Ganesh“Eighty years ago, politicians had to be grand and serious enough to command an empire. Now they have to be Just Like Us. The bar we set for our leaders has fallen. It is a kind of psychological survival mechanism: instead of waging a traumatic and unwinnable fight against decline, we embrace it. We make a virtue of the quotidian and the petty. An MP with Rory Stewart’s characteristics – a global habit of mind, a facility for languages, an unwaveringly serious bearing – used to be the model to emulate. In today’s Westminster, this Tory backbencher is exotic and, for some, quixotic.” – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

News in brief

  • US Coast Guard calls off search for missing British sailors – Daily Telegraph
  • Thailand’s former PM detained by ruling junta – The Times (£)
  • Fire rages through the Glasgow School of Art – The Sun (£)
  • British extremist killed in Syria – The Sun (£)
  • Ukrainian separatists threaten Presidential ballot – Financial Times
  • Richard III likely to be buried in Leicester, after conclusion of court case – Financial Times
  • Church of England fears £9m loss from sale of Wonga stake – The Guardian
  • Women dominate shortlist to succeed Lord Patten at BBC – The Guardian
  • BBC spends £1.3 million on business- and first-class flights in one year – Daily Mail

And finally 1) Brits in Brussels

EU FLag“…the British eurocrat faces a special kind of scorn. A breed apart, they are the unloved orphans of eurocracy. Derided at home as pampered, overpaid, rulemaking fanatics, they are the faceless men riding the gravy train (or so the cliché goes). Meanwhile in Brussels they are at best forever apologising for their truculent countrymen or at worst facing suspicion as a perfidious fifth column.” – Financial Times

And finally 2) Downing Street beats

“Now the curse of Cameron is about to strike again after Downing Street revealed that the Prime Minister is now the proud owner of a pair of uber cool ‘Beats’. … The £199 headphones were the only ‘gift’ that Mr Cameron received in the last few months that he decided he would pay money to keep.” – The Independent

And finally 3) Labour’s problems, in summary

“Chuka says the most important thing is to know how much a bacon sandwich costs. … ’70p,’ I say. ‘No, wait. £58?’ … ‘Actually I have no idea either,’ says Chuka.” – Ed Miliband’s week, according to Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)

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