May Day 1) Baker quits as Home Office Minister

independentbaker“Norman Baker, the crime prevention minister, is stepping down after a year of internal battles within the Home Office with his Conservative boss. In a scathing verdict on Ms May’s leadership, Mr Baker warned that support for “rational evidence-based policy” was in short supply at the top of her department. The Lib Dem has publicly clashed with Ms May on issues including drugs policy and immigration.” – The Independent

  • “Last night, Mr Clegg described Mr Baker as a “brilliant” minister who had always been “determined to deliver a more liberal agenda for Britain”.” – The Times(£)

May Day 2) Home Secretary apologises for second abuse inquiry resignation

“Home Secretary Theresa May has said she is “sorry” that the inquiry into historical child abuse has no chairman, following two resignations. Fiona Woolf resigned on Friday, saying victims did not have confidence in her. She had faced pressure to quit over her social links to ex-Home Secretary Lord Brittan, whose handling of abuse claims in the 1980s has been questioned.” – BBC

  • “In a message to victims, the Home Secretary said: “I am determined as you are to get to the truth. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something that is hugely important. Together, we can expose what has gone wrong in the past.” – The Sun(£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Theresa May has her worst week as Home Secretary…yet is back as Party members’ top choice for next leader

Ashcroft poll shows support for Miliband at new low

Opinion Poll graphic“Labour has slumped to the same level of support that saw Gordon Brown ousted from Number 10. The party, under Ed Miliband leadership, is back at 29 per cent in the polls, trailing the Conservatives on 30 per cent, according to a survey released by Lord Ashcroft. In a further blow, more than a third of Labour voters would now prefer to see David Cameron as Prime Minister than Mr Miliband after the next election. Lord Ashcroft said Labour were ‘continuing their slow but unmistakeable decline from highs of 36 per cent in July and 35 per cent in early September’. He added: ‘This is the first week in which Labour have dropped below 30 per cent in my poll, and the second time the two leading parties have scored less than 60 per cent between them.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Labour drop behind in my weekly poll

Osborne: EU is “not working for Britain”…

“The European Union is ‘not working for Britain’, George Osborne warned last night. The Chancellor said the EU was ‘causing problems for us’ – and warned the continent was ‘pricing itself out of the world economy’. The stark assessment came as the European Commission confirmed the UK would be charged interest payments if it refuses to pay a disputed £1.7billion surcharge levied last month.” – Daily Mail

  • Brussels “to offer compromise” over £1.7bn bill – The Times(£)
  • David Cameron’s “dangerous game” – Leader The Guardian

>Yesterday: George Osborne MP on Comment: How Conservatives are leading a revival in the North – with more jobs, rail, and public health

….as it proposes to charge us 52 per cent interest

EU Exit“The European Union will hit Britain with punitive fines of almost £70 million a month next year if David Cameron refuses to pay a £1.7 billion bill from Brussels. Mr Cameron said last month that he would not pay the “completely unacceptable” bill and warned that it would reduce the chances of Britain staying in the EU. Brussels is now threatening to charge Britain an annual interest rate of 52 per cent, equivalent to £823 million, if it refuses to pay the full amount by Dec 1.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Redwood tells Cameron to “do a Maggie” – The Sun(£)

Government to introduce “virtual IDs”

“Every Briton is to be offered a government-backed virtual ID to store personal data online, file tax returns and apply for driving licences through a single portal. Within a year, more than half a million people are expected to start using the new “Verify” scheme to prove their identity, under a radical expansion of public services available online. The move has prompted privacy concerns. Government aides insist that, far from bringing in identity cards by the back door, the new voluntary scheme makes any attempt to reintroduce a compulsory document much less likely. “This removes once and for all the need for an identity card because it will be possible to prove your identity securely without one,” a source said.” – The Times(£)

Save the bees – don’t mow your lawn, pleads Truss

s216_Elizabeth-Truss“Gardeners should give up their lawnmowers and let their grass go rogue to protect daisies and lavender, which provide vital pollen for bees and other pollinators, Liz Truss will suggest. Calling for people to do more to help pollinators in their gardens and local parks, Truss will say, echoing the folksong An English Country Garden: “Oxeye daisies, lavender, primroses, cyclamen – they are just a few of the common flowers that are bee-friendly. “I have to confess that not mowing your lawn so often is one piece of advice that I have no problem following.” – The Guardian

Paterson says the 40p tax threshold must be lifted further and faster

“The Tories must ‘rediscover the virtues of low taxation’ and offer bigger and faster tax breaks for millions of middle-class taxpayers, a former Cabinet minister says today. Owen Paterson, sacked by David Cameron in this summer’s Government reshuffle, said the threshold for the 40p higher income tax rate would now stand at more than £75,000 if it had risen in line with wages.” – Daily Mail

MPs want votes on each of the EU justice measures

“MPs should be given a vote on each of the 35 EU justice measures the government wants to rejoin, a Commons committee has said. The European Scrutiny Committee also said the government had not explained the “detriment” caused to Britons by the European Arrest Warrant. The UK has opted out of all 133 EU justice laws and ministers want to rejoin 35, including the EU warrant. The Home Office said it would “carefully consider” the report.” – BBC

Proposal to stop migrants claiming welfare

expressbenefits“A major overhaul is needed to stop the “perverse incentives” that have turned Britain into a magnet for welfare tourism, a pamphlet from a leading think tank urges. The call came amid a growing row between Britain and Germany over David Cameron’s plan to curb EU freedom-of-movement rules. And in a sign that the Government is responding to pressure at last, Chancellor George Osborne signalled that EU migrants could be blocked from coming to the UK to live unless they have a job offer. Acknowledging there was “a lot of public unhappiness” about new arrivals getting access to the welfare system, he said: “This is creating a huge pressure on public services, the British public want this addressed.” – Daily Express

  • White Dee backs welfare reform – The Sun(£)
  • “Benefit claimants live a “very, very comfortable” life and would be “perfectly happy if the Government said they were entitled to a bit less”. Which right-wing Tory brute uttered this heartless remark? Actually, it was Benefits Street star White Dee. And she should know” – The Sun Says
  • Rachel Reeves demands apology from IDS – Daily Telegraph

Macshane welcomes shredding of records of MPs expenses claims…

John Bercow“Former Labour minister Denis Macshane, who was jailed for fiddling his expenses, has welcomed news that thousands of pieces of paperwork relating to the MPs expenses scandal have been shredded. The ex-MP, who served six weeks of a six-month sentence for fraudulently claiming £13,000, said he was ‘so glad’ that records of claims made before 2010 had been destroyed so that other politicians ‘won’t face difficulties’. The disposal of the documents led to accusations the Parliamentary authorities, and the Speaker, John Bercow, are trying to avoid any further scrutiny of the claims.” – Daily Mail

  • “Parliament’s expenses watchdog has heaped pressure on John Bercow by revealing that it keeps records of claims for seven years. The Commons Speaker has come under fire after it emerged that he presided over the destruction of thousands of expenses claims under the old regime that existed until 2010.” – The Times(£)

…as “data protection” excuse is rebuffed

“The Commons said they were “obliged” to destroy the records under the Data Protection Act, which is policed by the ICO, the information watchdog. ICO guidance says personal records can simply be kept in secure archives for safekeeping, and a spokesman insisted the Act sets out no specific maximum or minimum retention times. “If there is a reason for keeping the information it can be held as long as necessary,” a spokesman said.” – Daily Telegraph

Khan accused of dangerous driving

220px-Sadiq_Khan“A former Labour transport minister has been reported to police after he was accused of using his mobile phone while driving towards Parliament. The party’s justice spokesman Sadiq Khan, an award-winning road safety campaigner, allegedly looked down at his phone while at the wheel. A picture sent to the police appeared to show the 44-year-old MP for Tooting, who is expected to seek nomination as Labour’s London mayoral candidate, with his phone in his hand as he drove a grey Volkswagen car yesterday morning.” – Daily Mail

Republicans “edge ahead” in race for the Senate

“American voters go to the polls today for the final time in the Obama era in an election that Republicans have managed to turn into a judgment on the president’s leadership. With control of the US Senate at stake, the latest polls showed that Republicans had edged ahead of Democrats in a number of crucial states. President Obama’s personal unpopularity has been a drag on Democrats in tight races. The so-called Six-Year-Itch, which typically sees dissatisifed voters turn away from a president halfway through his second term, looks set to strike him just as it did Ronald Reagan and George W Bush.” – The Times(£)

Isaby: Now we know how the money is spent, get ready for the Taxpayers Revolt

Jonathan-Isaby-Political-Director“Anyone earning £60,000 might be shocked to see that they pay £4,471 on welfare, £3,442 on health, £2,399 on education, £1,277 on National Debt interest and £210 on overseas aid. This is a welcome initiative which is long overdue — for it should transform taxpayers into informed consumers of State expenditure. Equipped with this information, they will become armchair auditors of public services, forcing the State to become more accountable. Crucially, taxpayers will be able to assess themselves if they are getting value for money.” – Jonathan Isaby Daily Mail

  • A “divisive, highly partisan account of Whitehall spending” – Leader The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: From a ConHome blog to your door mat: Ben Gummer’s tax statements become reality

News in brief

  • Nominations close for Scottish Labour leader – BBC
  • “Scandalous” rise in asthma deaths – The Times(£)
  • Lord Barnett has died – BBC
  • Development aid going to tax havens – The Guardian
  • Schoolboy who murdered teacher is named – Daily Telegraph
  • GCGQ head warns tech giants are helping terrorists – The Guardian

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