Tory Eurosceptics urge Cameron to toughen stance on EU

EU Exit“Eurosceptic Tory MPs are pressing David Cameron to toughen his position on the EU and immigration in order to neutralise the threat from Ukip. The Prime Minister has already promised to set out more details of his proposal to renegotiate looser ties with Brussels. But he could ‘take the legs’ out of Nigel Farage’s party by campaigning for an ‘out’ vote in a referendum on EU membership if he fails to claw back significant powers, say MPs.” – Daily Mail

  • “Backbenchers want the Prime Minister to use a major speech about immigration – expected as early as next week – to unveil plans for introducing immediate restrictions on migrants from the European Union. Speaking in the wake of Ukip’s victory in Rochester and Strood, former Tory Cabinet Minister Peter Lilley said: “It would be absolutely right to have emergency measures.” And fellow backbencher Andrew Bridgen called for Mr Cameron to make clear that Britain will quit the EU unless significant powers can be won back from Brussels including more control over immigration policy.” – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Ed West on Comment: Tim Montgomerie has ten reasons for not voting for UKIP. Here are ten of mine for doing so.

UKIP will become a “major force in Parliament” predicts Farage…

UKIP logo“Nigel Farage has said UKIP can become a major force in Parliament at next year’s election after its victory in the Rochester and Strood by-election. UKIP’s leader said Mark Reckless’s win made him think the party could take twice as many seats as it had thought.” – BBC

  • The key to UKIP’s victory? We listened to people – Nigel Farage The Independent
  • “UKIP will target at least 20 seats it believes it can win at next May’s general election in an attempt to hold the balance of power in another hung parliament.” – The Independent


… but Tories “absolutely determined” to win back Rochester and Strood

“Prime Minister David Cameron says he is “absolutely determined” to win back Rochester and Strood, after UKIP’s victory in the by-election. The PM said the result was closer than predicted and voters could be won back to the Conservatives. He warned that supporting UKIP risked a Labour victory at the general election” – BBC

  • Rochester result “anti politics” sentiment says Douglas Alexander – BBC

Will Hollobone defect?

hollobone“A Conservative MP who is close friends with Mark Reckless has been named as the favourite to become the next Tory backbencher to join the UK Independence Party. Philip Hollobone, who attended Dulwich College at the same time as Nigel Farage, was the subject of mounting speculation after he introduced Mr Reckless to the House of Commons as he was sworn in as a Ukip MP following his defection from the Tories and by-election victory in Rochester and Strood. Mr Hollobone only added to that speculation by voting against the Government in favour of Labour’s private member’s Bill on the NHS.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The result will make Tory MPs think twice about defecting – The Indepedent

The Daily Mail calls for a UKIP/Conservative pact…

“The Mail implacably believes that Mr Cameron is best placed to secure the economic recovery. But, if he is to stay in office, he must urgently change strategy. Rather than just talking about the EU and immigration, he must take decisive action to regain control of Britain’s borders….He must appeal to the Ukip defectors by advancing the date of the promised EU referendum to six months after the election— and show the rest of the continent that the prospect of a British exit is real unless meaningful reforms are effected. Most crucially of all, he must stop sneering at Ukip supporters and try to form an electoral pact with Nigel Farage’s party, before it is too late.” – Leader Daily Mail

  • A deal is the only way to stop Miliband becoming PM – Simon Heffer Daily Mail
  • “Chasing Ukip on immigration is a fool’s errand. That means getting back to the questions on which they can make a difference, namely economic policy. The Rochester & Strood by-election is the last major political event before the general election starts. British politics may never quite return to business as usual but it is the task of the main parties now to turn to the serious questions of government.” – Leader The Times(£)

…while the Daily Telegraph calls for tax cuts

cut taxes“Today, prices are high and many wages are still depressed. But Mr Cameron could offer concrete pledges on reducing taxes – financed by sensible, targeted savings to the annual budget. Combined with laying out clear promises on everything from EU negotiations to empowering NHS users, the Tories can show that their practical approach to government is in fact no less ambitious than Mrs Thatcher’s – that they aspire to build a Britain of individuals and families who live with dignity and the freedom to better decide how to spend their own money.” – Leader Daily Telegraph

Miliband claims to respect white van man…

mailsnob“Ed Miliband tried to end Labour’s disastrous ‘elitism’ row yesterday by insisting he admires the working classes. UKIP’s second poll victory over the Tories had been eclipsed by a Labour frontbencher apparently sneering at a white van driver whose modest home is decked with England flags. Mr Miliband bizarrely declared he felt ‘respect’ on seeing a white van and insisted it was right for Emily Thornberry to resign over her tweet.” – Daily Mail

  • “The Labour Party was founded as the party of working people. We are the party of working people. And we will always remain the party of working people.” – Ed Miliband The Mirror
  • “Despite a storm of protest, the shadow attorney-general told the Labour leader that she had done nothing wrong when he first called to confront her, and had to be instructed to apologise, senior sources said.” – The Times(£)
  • Dan the White Van Man hits streets of Islington – The Times(£)
  • Ed’s snooty elite hates patriotism – Jason Cowley Daily Mail
  • Champagne socialist’s property empire: How one £2.9m north London home is just not enough for sacked ‘snob’ MP- Daily Mail
  • Labour aristocrats who can’t connect with white van man – Ross Clark The Times(£)
  • Cameron says Labour is sneering at patriotic Britons – Daily Telegraph
  • How Miliband turned defeat into disaster – Mary Riddell Daily Telegraph

..but Simon Danczuk says there is a fight for Labour’s soul

“As soon as I saw the tweet my blood ran cold. ‘We’re not going to win here but look at these oiks voting for Ukip,’ it screamed. You could almost hear distant mocking laughter coming from an Islington dinner party. In years gone by this would never have been a story. When Labour’s front bench was filled with the likes of John Prescott, David Blunkett, Mo Mowlam and Alan Johnson people knew the party understood the realities of working people. Now they’re not so sure. Too much bland Metropolitan smoothness and not enough grit is confusing voters.” – Simon Danczuk MP The Sun(£)

  • “Ian Austin, the MP for Dudley North, said the tweet was “unbelieveably unhelpful”. He said: “I don’t see what is remarkable about hard-working people driving white vans. There’s lots of people like that in Dudley. I don’t see what is remarkable about flying your flag for your country. I mean I do that. It gave the impression that people like her are sneering at ordinary people.”- The Sun(£)
  • “Graham Stringer, the Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton, said that the situation highlighted that there are not enough “authentic working class voices in the shadow cabinet”.” – Daily Telegraph
  • The beliefs of UKIP are soaked in left wing populism – Owen Jones The Guardian
  • US culture wars have come to Britain- Jonathan Freedland The Guardian


Gove takes on Mair

GOVE, Michael blue sky“Michael Gove today accused the BBC of ‘political game-playing’ after he was repeatedly asked about the Prime Minister’s failure at the ballot box. In a hostile exchange on Radio 4’s PM, the Chief Whip told presenter Eddie Mair he was playing a game of ‘political snakes and ladders’ rather than asking about issues of substance.” – Daily Mail

  • “Mair asks whether Cameron’s reported comments about Mark Reckless’s “fat arse” were appropriate (the PM reportedly said that volunteers had “knocked on doors, stuffed envelopes, licked stamps to get his fat arse on the Commons benches, and this is how he repays them”). Cameron spoke with “pungency and passion”, Gove says ; lot of Tory MPs are angry at the lack of loyalty shown by Reckless and fellow defector Douglas Carswell.” – The Guardian
  • Audio of the interview – AudioBoom

Electrifying the Swansea-London mainline will have a “huge impact” says PM

“A deal to electrify railway lines in the south Wales valleys will have a “huge” impact, the prime minister says. The UK government will fund the upgrade of the Swansea-London mainline by 2018, and will pay almost half an estimated £500m to electrify the Valley lines. The Welsh government expects to meet its share from cost savings and increased revenue. The agreement settles a bitter dispute between Westminster and Cardiff Bay over who should foot the bill.” – BBC

More benefit fraud being reported

HARPER Mark white background“BENEFITS cheats are being shopped to the authorities at the rate of one every minute. Some 600 calls are made to a special fraud hotline every working day, new stats show. The flood of tip-offs led to nearly 60,000 fraud probes being launched in the last year. Work and Pensions Minister Mark Harper said: “Hard-working taxpayers have had enough of fraudsters taking money which is meant for genuine claimants, which is why we’re seeing so many people taking action by calling the hotline.” – The Sun(£)

Record numbers in A&E

“Record numbers of patients are being admitted to hospital wards from A&E, in further evidence of an overcrowding crisis. Last week there were 108,301 emergency admissions – mostly elderly – from A&E. This was the most since figures were first collected four years ago. Data also showed 6,587 of them had to wait on trolleys for between four and 12 hours – twice as many as in the same week last year.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Thomas Cawston on Comment: The Efford Bill would increase complexity in the Health Service

Parris says that the “right wing” tag is a liability

PARRIS Mathhew“I’ve come to believe that the trademark “right-wing” is a liability in this country. “The right” is damaged goods. I don’t know why. Arguably it’s unfair. Arguably what we could call the right in Britain has made an immensely positive contribution in modern history. So why does “he/she is on the right/a rightwinger” induce a slight shudder in so many? Why do you know in your bones that the media headline “Tories lurch to the right” is not an election winner?…We tend to think of leftwingers as more fools than knaves, often well-meaning but misguided. We are readier to see rightwingers as bad people personally: people whose own motives, as well as political ideologies, are suspect.” – Matthew Parris The Times(£)

News in brief

  • Public borrowing at £7.7bn in October – BBC
  • Coulson freed – The Times(£)
  • Nicola Sturgeon announces new Cabinet – The Guardian
  • India to overtake China in population – The Times(£)
  • The unlikely friendship of Geldof and Mitchell – Daily Telegraph
  • Balls calls for banking fines to go to the NHS – BBC
  • Pension mis-selling scandal hits 100,000 savers a year – Daily Telegraph