Oakeshott quits the Lib Dems, leaving Cable facing questions

CABLE Dr Evil“Lord Oakeshott, Mr Cable’s closest ally and holiday partner, warned that the party is ‘heading for disaster’ under Mr Clegg. And he claimed Mr Cable knew all about secret polling he commissioned in Lib Dem seats to show they would do better without Mr Clegg as leader. … In a final damaging blow, he accused the Lib Dems of being involved in an unexposed ‘cash for peerages’ scandal … More activists are today expected to add their names to hundreds who have publicly called on Mr Clegg to quit.” – Daily Mail

“In a day of chaos for the Lib Dems, Cable strongly denied being involved in attempts by his friend, Lord Oakeshott, to get rid of Clegg, insisting he was strongly behind his leader. However, the business secretary was forced to admit he had known about some of his ally’s damaging polls that suggested voters would prefer Cable as party leader.” – The Guardian

  • “Lord Oakeshott released another poll on Wednesday, showing that the seat of Danny Alexander, the Treasury chief secretary, could also be under threat. It put him in third place, behind the Scottish National party and Labour.” – Financial Times
  • “Nick Clegg should put his leadership to a vote of Liberal Democrat members, according to leading activists. … In a letter to The Times today, the Social Liberal Forum, which represents left-leaning supporters, calls for a ‘leadership . . . that people listen to’.” – The Times (£)
  • “A man told yesterday how he was molested as an 11-year-old by Cyril Smith in a bedroom at the National Liberal Club.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Oakeshott is right. The Lib Dems must ditch Nick Clegg” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)
  • “Why no one’s ready to oust Nick Clegg (except the Tories, of course)” – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • “Welcome to the mad, toxic, treacherous world of the Liberal Democrats.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • “It was the most vicious and menacing resignation speech since Geoffrey Howe accused Mrs Thatcher of sending her opening batsmen to the crease with ‘broken bats’.” – James Slack, Daily Mail
  • “Liberal Democrat discipline is gone, and the convulsions will deepen” – Steve Richards, The Guardian
  • Twelve ways to fix politics – Suzanne Moore, The Guardian
  • “…this squalid saga is a clarion warning to the electorate of the dangers of coalition governments” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “As entertaining as it is watching the Lib Dems implode, we’ll admit to some sympathy for Nick Clegg.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “It’s only a matter of time for Clegg” – Scotsman editorial

> Yesterday:

Clegg tries to shift everyone’s attention to the Queen’s Speech

Curse of Clegg 2“David Cameron has ditched his promise to enshrine into law how much Britain should spend on foreign aid, Nick Clegg has revealed. … The PM had pledged in the 2010 Tory manifesto – and the Coalition Agreement – to make it the law for governments to spend at least 0.7 per cent of Britain’s output on overseas help. … But Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg said it would not be in next week’s Queen’s Speech – the last chance for plans to become law before the 2015 general election.” – The Sun (£)

  • “David Cameron is right to scrap plans to force Britain by law to give away a set percentage of our income in aid. … But it is crazy we still stick to an arbitrary figure of 0.7 per cent regardless of our economic health.” – Sun editorial (£)

Cabinet row over EU immigration…

CAMERON EU fence“A Tory cabinet row is growing over whether to enforce dramatic new limits on EU immigrants, The Sun can reveal. … Home Secretary Theresa May is leading internal demands to issue a pledge to halt the spiralling influx of workers from poorer European countries. … But Foreign Secretary William Hague opposes the move as diplomats insist it is ‘undeliverable’ – and he is backed by the PM’s powerful pro-EU Chief of Staff Ed Llewelyn. … And the PM has been left as piggy in the middle, unsure which way to turn.” – The Sun (£)

  • “French authorities have bulldozed three makeshift migrant camps that had been sheltering hundreds of refugees at the port of Calais, citing health concerns following an outbreak of scabies and increasing violence.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “Despite ceaseless  immigration, the British are not more racist – whatever the blathering Left and BBC might say” – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • “Racism is still with us – let’s stop lying to ourselves” – Lola Okolosie, The Guardian
  • “Worrying about immigration is, according to Tone, ‘reactionary and regressive’. … There, that’s you told.” – Rod Liddle, The Sun (£)
  • “Are we all racist now?” – Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – Hague joins his colleagues in the intensive battle to hold Newark against UKIP

> Yesterday: MPsETC – Names for the reshuffle. McVey, Fox, Truss, Maynard – and others

…as Cameron receives support in Europe

“European Union leaders have backed David Cameron’s effort to stop a veteran Luxembourg politician from getting the top job in Brussels amid fears that he would hinder reform. … Jean Claude Juncker, prime minister of the tiny landlocked state for 19 years, believed that he could seal the endorsement of sufficient EU leaders at a dinner on Tuesday to gain the presidency of the European Commission. … However, Sweden and Hungary refused to endorse his candidacy at the pre-summit meeting, and Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, joined Mr Cameron in expressing doubts during the dinner.” – The Times (£)

  • “The European Commission has today been accused of ‘raiding the pockets of voters’ after demanding an extra £500 million from British taxpayers to meet Brussels spending bills” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Some of the world’s most popular perfumes – including Chanel No 5 – are under threat from EU regulations branded ‘absurd’ by manufacturers.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • FARAGE Nigel official“… if Mr Cameron is remotely serious about his mission to defend Britain’s sovereignty, he should not be opting into the EAW – or a raft of other EU home affairs and justice measures. … This is the first big test of Mr Cameron’s new-found Eurosceptic backbone.” – Nigel Farage, Daily Telegraph
  • “Only our PM can lead the fight for a new-look European Union” – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
  • “Cameron played well with Europe, but he’s not winning this game” – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • “Ukip aren’t going away – and David Cameron has no idea what to do” – Douglas Murray, The Spectator

Gove accused of “sitting on” warnings about Birmingham’s schools

“Education Secretary Michael Gove was accused yesterday of ‘sitting on’ four-year-old warnings that Muslim hardliners were attempting to take over Birmingham schools. … Headteacher Tim Boyes said he cautioned the Department for Education (DfE) in 2010 about governors with a ‘disproportionate impact’ wanting to replace one sitting city head with a Muslim.” – Daily Mail

Change afoot in the Maths and English GCSEs

School“Teenagers must spend more time studying and face ‘real world’ numeracy problems in new toughened up maths GCSEs, it was revealed yesterday. … OCR, one of the country’s largest exam boards, has described the overhaul as ‘nothing short of a quantum leap’ for teachers due to an almost doubling in content.” – Daily Mail

“British authors including J.B.Priestley and Meera Syal dominate a new English Literature GCSE amid the dropping of classic American fiction. … OCR has blamed the decision on Education Secretary Michael Gove’s desire for English Literature to be ‘more focused on tradition’ and fewer opportunities to include such texts on the British dominated syllabus.” – Daily Mail

  • “Hundreds of children have criminal records for abusing, bullying and harassing on the internet, it was revealed last night.” – Daily Mail
  • “Grammar schools contribute to social inequality and lead to a widening of the income gap between rich and poor, according to new research.” – The Independent
  • “Watching films and playing computer games can have a positive impact on children’s vocabulary, according to a study.” – Daily Telegraph

Whittingdale wades into the One Direction row

“Today senior MPs and anti-racism campaigners warned that the language used in the video encouraged hate among young people. … John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, called on the disgraced band members to say sorry. … ‘They are adored by many people and they have a responsibility to set an example,’ the Conservative MP said.” – Daily Mail

  • “…in our digitally connected age, where everyone is walking about with a camera crew in their pocket, the barrier between private lives and public image has been ripped down.” – Tony Parsons, The Sun (£)

Boris backs Lord Coe to take over at the BBC Trust

BORIS at rally“Mr Johnson said: ‘I think it’s fantastic news for the BBC and British broadcasting. Seb Coe is a great leader, I’ve worked with him a lot over the last few years and I think he’ll demand very high standards of the BBC. … I think he’ll be exactly in the right  tradition of British broadcasting.’ … Yesterday Lord Coe, 57, did not deny he was linked to the role, saying only that he was ‘very flattered’ to be considered a contender.” – Daily Mail

  • “Lord Coe has told the Telegraph said that he is ‘flattered’ to be named as the front-runner to be the next chairman of the BBC Trust.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “A former British diplomat and one of the creators of Innocent smoothies will join ex-newspaper executives taking up positions on the tough new Press regulator.” – Daily Mail
  • “Boris Johnson shows how to get a head in politics as he dons a turban during a visit to a Hindu temple.” – The Sun (£)

And comment:

  • “We’d like Seb Coe in charge at the Beeb.” – Sun editorial (£)

Labour plans pension measures for the low-paid

“More than 1.5m people would be enrolled into workplace pensions under proposals from Labour that prompted warnings from business groups of an increase in red tape. … Rachel Reeves, the shadow work and pensions secretary, will announce the plans in a speech on Thursday, saying that the proposals would help low-income workers currently excluded from automatic enrolment.” – Financial Times

  • “Business groups last night protested at Labour moves to extend pensions to an additional 1.5 million lower-paid workers.” – The Times (£)

Abbott urges her party not to edge towards UKIP

UKIP glass“Labour MP Diane Abbott has urged Ed Miliband not to chase voters who yearn to see fewer ‘black, brown or foreign-looking people’ on British streets, after he pointed out how a growing West African community had changed the nature of Thurrock in Essex. … She said people did not join Labour to see the leader ‘sounding like a milk-and-water version of Nigel Farage’ and Labour risked losing Scottish votes to Alex Salmond if it was seen as ‘edging towards Ukip’.” – The Guardian

Read Diane Abbott’s Guardian article in full

  • “Let’s calm down. Ukip’s popularity won’t last” – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • “Miliband has lost momentum to the Ukip insurgents but he’s fighting back by turning blue” – George Eaton, New Statesman
  • “Labour has proved that it speaks for London – and nowhere else” – Rod Liddle, The Spectator

And news:

  • “Ukip has sacked one of its newly-elected councillors days after sweeping to big gains in the local elections amid claims that he posted racist and homophobic remarks on social media.” – The Guardian
  • “A Ukip branch chairman has suggested that parts of London are being ‘ethnically cleansed’ of white people.” – The Independent
  • “Has Ukip’s success in the European elections proved that democracy is a flawed way to choose a government?” – The Independent

> Today: Professor Tim Bale on Comment – UKIP shouldn’t be an option for any true conservative

> Yesterday: 

Mandelson: Miliband needs more policies and less promises

“Douglas Alexander, the party’s election chief, said: ‘Labour can win the general election if we take the right steps between now and a year’s time.’ The ‘if’ has to include fewer crowd-pleasing cost-of-living promises and more counter-intuitive policies.” – Peter Mandelson, The Spectator

Salmond clashes with Westminster over the cost of independence

SALMOND on Marr “Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister who is leading the campaign for independence, said on Wednesday that each household would receive an annual ‘independence bonus’ of £2,000 – or each individual £1,000 – within the next 15 years if the country votes to leave the UK. … The UK government, in contrast, claimed that if Scots rejected independence each person would receive a ‘UK dividend of £1,400 . . . for the next 20 years’.” – Financial Times

  • “Alex Salmond was yesterday forced to ditch the oil revenue forecasts that underpinned his blueprint for independence and admit that a separate Scotland could find itself deeper in the red than the rest of the UK.” – The Times (£)
  • “The First Minister said he wanted to increase Scotland’s net migration to around 24,000 a year, a population increase the equivalent of a city the size of Edinburgh every 20 years.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “The financial question is likely to be the biggest single issue in the remaining four months of the campaign.” – Guardian editorial
  • “More than money binds the union” – Financial Times editorial
  • “…there is everything to be said for treating the claims of both camps yesterday with caution.” – Bill Jamieson, The Scotsman
  • “Meet Alex Salmond’s secret weapon: the England football team” – Freddy Gray, The Spectator

> Today: Brian Monteith’s column – UKIP’s new MEP in Scotland is a blow for Salmond, and a chance for the Tories

> Yesterday: Ruth Davidson MSP on Comment – How we held our Euro-seat and grew our vote in Scotland

Monetary Policy Committee member: Let’s raise rates sooner rather than later

UK notes and coins“Britain needs to start raising interest rates sooner rather than later if it wants to avoid sharp and painful increases in the future, a member of the Bank of England’s rate-setting committee has warned. … In an interview with the Financial Times, Martin Weale, an external member of the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee, said he thought even a ‘gradual’ rise in interest rates could see borrowing costs rise by up to one percentage point a year – faster than markets are expecting.” – Financial Times

  • “Rising property prices will kill off the middle classes within 30 years and create a vast ‘impoverished’ proletariat, a government adviser has warned” – Daily Mail
  • “People aged in their 40s are the least likely to have felt the benefits of the economic recovery in recent months, research suggests.” – Daily Mail
  • “An average trade union member earns £4,000-a-year more than non-unionised workers, many of whom have suffered wage freezes or pay cuts in the last year, a government report suggests.” – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Caroline Nokes MP on Comment – Too many children remain in poverty, despite the return to economic growth

UK comes third in European obesity league table

Bronze medal“The UK has higher levels of obesity and overweight people than anywhere in western Europe except for Iceland and Malta, according to an authoritative global study that raises fresh concerns about the likely health consequences. … In the UK, 67% of men and 57% of women are either overweight or obese, according to the Global Burden of Disease study, published in the Lancet medical journal. More than a quarter of children are also overweight or obese – 26% of boys and 29% of girls.” – The Guardian

  • “Celebrity activism and public education have failed to stop the British eating too much” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Tackling such complicated, incredibly human factors requires a cultural shift rather than bureaucrats offering a well-meaning but hamfisted intervention.” – Daily Telegraph editorial

Doctor warns about the over-prescription of anti-depressants

“Overall the numbers of prescribed pills have more than trebled since 1998 – from 15million to 50million. … But this varies in different areas, ranging from 71 items per 1,000 patients in Brent, North London, to 331 per 1,000 in Blackpool. … Dr Des Spence, a senior GP who writes for the British Medical Journal, said: ‘We do over-prescribe.’” – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Maya Angelou dies… – BBC
  • …and so does Malcolm Glazer, owner of Manchester United – Daily Mail
  • Obama indicates a shift towards soft power diplomacy – The Guardian
  • Sisi set for crushing victory in Egypt, according to provisional results – The Guardian
  • Serco awarded contract to run Caledonian Sleeper railway line – The Independent
  • Hit Russia harder with sanctions, says newly-elected President of Ukraine – The Independent
  • Political unrest in Abkhazia creates challenge for Russia – Financial Times

And finally: MPs’ bar bill

Champagne“Details released under the Freedom of Information Act show that £1.43 million worth of alcohol was purchased by the parliamentary authorities for sale in the House in 2012 and 2013. The bill, equivalent to an annual spending of £1,100 per MP, covers the two years after David Cameron ordered officials to draw up plans for a minimum price per unit of alcohol to curb the rest of the nation’s drinkers.” – The Times (£)

  • “The clock is ticking for the traditional elite” – Sue Cameron, Daily Telegraph

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