By-election 1) UKIP gain Rochester and Strood…

recklessresult“The UK Independence Party has its second elected MP at Westminster after Mark Reckless won the Rochester and Strood by-election by 2,920 votes. Mr Reckless received 16,867 votes to the Conservative candidate Kelly Tolhurst’s 13,947, with Labour’s Naushabah Khan third on 6,713. Turnout was 50.67% in the contest, which was triggered by Mr Reckless’s defection to UKIP from the Tories. ” – BBC

  • “Mr Reckless said… ‘If you believe in freedom, if you believe in low taxes, if you believe in clean government, if you believe in localism, if you believe in people power.’If you believe that the world is bigger than Europe, if you believe in an independent Britain, then come with us and we will give you back your country.’ ” – Daily Mail
  • “As for the Lib Dems, not only were they again overhauled by the Greens but they secured a derisory 349 votes – their lowest total ever.” – Norman Smith BBC
  • Labour could lose ten seats due to UKIP – The Sun(£)
  • UKIP quietly removing embarrassing candidates – The Times(£)
  • I remain a Tory but UKIP is a good thing – Peter Bone The Guardian


>Yesterday: WATCH: Mark Reckless votes in the Rochester by-election

By-election 2) Shapps says the seat can be won back

grantshappsConservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said…the narrower-than-predicted margin of victory for Ukip meant Tory candidate Kelly Tolhurst was well placed to wrest back the seat on May 7. “Over the course of this campaign the gap has closed. They have ended up with about a 7 per cent lead for Mark Reckless. They were predicting something over twice that level. So 2,900 is not a big majority now to try to win back in 170 days time,” he said…He told the BBC: “The future of this country … wasn’t on the ballot paper yesterday. It will be in 170 days’ time. And that means that we really need to emphasise to people the risk of doing anything other than voting Conservative.” – The Times(£)

By-election 3) Reaction to the result

  • “Elections expert Prof John Curtice, from Strathclyde University, said UKIP still faced a challenge to convert its by-election success into seats at the general election.” – BBC
  • “Nigel Farage, speaking to reporters he said: “(David Cameron) put his own personal reputation on the line to fight this by-election and lost, so there you go.”- The Times(£)
  • UKIP has started a class war and is winning – Tim Stanley Daily Telegraph
  • Politicians should stop pandering to these views – Hugh Muir The Guardian
  • Six things the Tories must learn from this defeat – Daily Telegraph
  • Are all bets off? – Nick Robinson BBC
  • Labour is the real loser – New Statesman

Thornberry quits after snobbish tweet..

sunthornberry“A RICH Labour MP caused fury yesterday by seeming to sneer at a White Van Man’s England flags. Emily Thornberry quit last night as Shadow Attorney General after tweeting a snap of car dealer Dan Ware’s home decked with three St George crosses. She wrote: “Image from #Rochester” — where Ukip were last night set to win a key by-election.” – The Sun(£)

  • “Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: ‘Whatever one’s class, colour or creed, the St George’s flag is a unifying symbol for our nation.Don’t knock it – let’s fly the English flag with pride.’ “- Daily Mail
  • “Mrs Thornberry, who lives in a £3 million home in Islington, North London, told The Telegraph said that she thought that the image was “remarkable” because she had never seen a house “completely covered in flags before”.” – Daily Telegraph
  • She was the first to back Ed Miliband for leader – Daily Mail
  • Spectator Podcast Special – Coffee House

…but did she let Labour’s mask slip?

“EMILY Thornberry gave Labour’s game away. In one sneering tweet, Ed Miliband’s friend accidentally exposed the ugly, snobbish prejudice of the party’s ruling elite against the working class it purports to represent. The St George flag flies on every council estate and in every ordinary street in England. Yet Ms Thornberry, until last night Shadow Attorney General, has never clapped eyes on such a phenomenon.” – The Sun Says(£)

  • “Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, suggested it was “derogatory and dismissive of the people”.” – The Guardian
  • “Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi tweeted: “Disgraceful that Emily Thornberry thinks flying the flag of St George or owning a van is somehow bad. She should apologise.” – Daily Express
  • With one tweet Emily Thornberry has turned the fire on to Labour – Anne Perkins The Guardian

Osborne abandons challenge to EU cap on bankers bonuses

OSBORNE ConHome“In a surprise move, the UK government has withdrawn its legal challenge to EU legislation that caps the level of bankers’ bonuses. Chancellor George Osborne said he had recognised the challenge was “now unlikely to succeed”. The move comes after an adviser to the European Court of Justice rejected the UK’s legal arguments against the plan. The cap restricts bonuses to 100% of banker’s pay or 200% with shareholder approval.” – BBC

  • The EU is the top threat to the economy – Allister Heath Daily Telegraph
  • Tax relief scheme “cost £2bn more than expected” – BBC

Cameron says English MPs should have a veto on English laws…

“English MPs should as a matter of principle be given a veto over legislation affecting only England, David Cameron has said. The prime minister also revealed he expected Northern Ireland to be given powers to set its own corporation tax probably through an announcement in the autumn statement next month. He ruled out changes to the Barnett formula that distributes cash to Scotland, but said the mechanism’s importance will diminish as Holyrood is given more tax raising and borrowing powers.” – The Guardian

EU FLag…and seeks “emergency break on EU immigration”

“David Cameron is trying to overcome a string of obstacles so that he can announce a temporary limit or “emergency brake” on EU migration. The prime minister’s immigration speech, which could be made next week, is regarded as another “essay crisis” moment for Mr Cameron. While the focus shifted last month to examine curbing salary subsidies received by low-paid migrants, sources say even this week the prime minister has been insisting on investigating controversial measures to reduce the number of new entrants to Britain.” – The Times(£)

  • Dave’s Big Society has become the Big Lie – Philip Collins The Times(£)

Boris faces US tax bill

Boris Johnson event“Boris Johnson has revealed that he is refusing to pay a tax demand issued to him by US authorities – despite previously lambasting the US embassy in London over its failure to pay the congestion charge. The mayor of London, who was born in New York and holds a US passport as well as a British one, visited the country last week to promote his book and said during an interview with NPR (National Public Radio) that he had been hit with a demand for capital gains tax. He said the US demand related to his first home in the UK, which was not subject to capital gains tax in England.” – The Guardian

May gives police powers to force terror suspects to move

“Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is to give police and the security services the power to force terror suspects to move to towns far away from their homes as she restores a key element of control orders. The ability to relocate suspects to other areas was abandoned when control orders were replaced by the weaker terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims) following a series of court rulings.” – Daily Telegraph

Parliament repair bill set at £3 billion

Commons“Taxpayers may have to spend more than £3bn to stop Parliament turning into an unusable “ruin”, Newsnight understands. The Palace of Westminster has seen fire and floods, some stonework is badly damaged and much of the infrastructure has not been updated since the 1950s. Restoring it will be “embarrassing, expensive and difficult”, a senior insider said. No final decisions have been taken, but an option under consideration is moving MPs and peers out for five years.” – BBC

Special measures for Anglican school over Islamic extremism

“A leading Church of England school will fail an inspection today because it did not protect pupils from Islamic extremism. Sir John Cass Foundation and Red Coat School in Tower Hamlets, east London, was rated outstanding by Ofstedbut will be placed in special measures by the education regulator. Its head teacher transformed the school from one of the worst in the country.” – The Times(£)

News in brief

  • Lib Dems peer protects “cash for peerages” names – The Times(£)
  • Hospitals to make legal threats to evict elderly bed blockers – Daily Mail
  • Conservatives retain one point lead – YouGov
  • Watson condemns central control of Labour candidate selection – The Guardian
  • Sturgeon reshuffles Cabinet – BBC
  • Davey suggests fracking may never happen – The Sun(£)
  • MPs to debate NHS “privatisation” – BBC
  • Government “employs 1,500 spin doctors” – The Times(£)

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