Far left party wins Greek election

Euro meltdown‘Greece sent shockwaves across Europe last night as a radical left-wing party that has promised to end austerity and refuse to take orders from Berlin and Brussels triumphed in the country’s election. Syriza, founded by ex-communists and led by the firebrand Alexis Tsipras, is the first of a new wave of anti-cutback parties on the Continent to take power since the financial crisis.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Germans bearing gifts

Cameron makes tax cut pitch

‘David Cameron will on Monday commit a future Conservative government to tax cuts, claiming that middle Britain needs to be “rewarded” and suggesting that higher public spending amounts to throwing money “up the wall”. His unashamedly rightwing characterisation of the choice facing voters at the next election reflects a belief that the promise of Tory tax cuts will be popular, particularly with swing voters considering a switch to Ukip.’ – FT

  • Double earner families are better off – Daily Mail
  • Actually it’s all thanks to us, say the Lib Dems – The Times (£)
  • Rise in second jobs – FT
  • What chance for the traditional family? – Daily Mail Leader

Defection 1) Amjad Bashir was ‘de-selected by Respect’, Galloway claims

UKIP logo‘In a further twist last night, Respect MP George Galloway claimed his party de-selected Mr Bashir as a council candidate ahead of the 2012 local elections. The Bradford West MP refused to say what the issues were that led to Mr Bashir’s sacking ‘but they were sufficiently grave to make us realise that he was not a fit and proper person to represent Respect’. He added: ‘Clearly both Ukip and the Tories have lower standards.’’ – Daily Mail


Defection 2) UKIP donor claims Hannan met with him

‘The Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan has held talks with Ukip about defecting, Arron Banks, one of the anti-EU party’s biggest donors, has claimed…Mr Hannan is said to have made clear that he had not ruled out the possibility of switching sides. However, any defection now appears unlikely given his role in poaching a senior Ukip figure for the Tories, and Mr Banks’s response.’ – The Times (£)

  • It’s “wholly untrue” – Daniel Hannan MEP
  • Only the Conservatives can give us a referendum – The Sun Says (£)
  • UKIP would back Tory coalition in return for a 2015 referendum – Daily Telegraph
  • Farage defends bigot comments as ‘banter’ – Daily Mail
  • Do restrictions on foreign citizens extend to Nigel’s wife? – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: WATCH: Farage on UKIP’s NHS policy

Unions urge Labour not to block shale gas

Gas ring‘Two of Britain’s biggest unions are urging Labour MPs not to support a ban on fracking as ministers signalled more concessions to head off a Commons rebellion…In a letter to Labour MPs, the GMB union said: “It would be premature to rule out the prospect of fracking when we don’t know if the industry is viable…” The Unite union has also written to Labour MPs in the same terms.’ – The Times (£)

  • Drill, baby, drill – The Sun Says (£)
  • Chief scientific adviser backs the technology – The Sun (£)
  • Environmental audit committee calls for moratorium – FT
  • SNP and Scottish Labour seek to prevent fracking – FT
  • We should lead the way in this new industry – The Times Leader (£)

Miliband still can’t cost his student fees policy

‘Labour is yet to come up with a way to pay for its plans to cut tuition fees by £3,000 a year, it emerged last night. Ed Miliband is expected to launch the policy during the election campaign in an effort to woo former Lib Dem voters and students. But Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has not yet worked out how to fund the reduction of a third, which is expected to cost £2.5billion a year.’ – Daily Mail

  • Avoidance schemes already being worked out for the mansion tax – The Times (£)
  • How Ed got stuck in a house – The Sun (£)

‘High’ hoax caller gets through to Cameron and GCHQ’s director

Cameron1‘A hoax caller who obtained the phone number of the director of GCHQ before being put through to the prime minister boasted last night of being “wasted” on Class A drugs and alcohol. The man, said to be well-educated and in his twenties, posed as Robert Hannigan, the communications headquarters chief, before tricking Downing Street’s switchboard operators into putting him through to David Cameron.’ – The Times (£)

Sturgeon: We want cabinet jobs

‘The whole of Britain would be better run if Scottish Nationalists sat in the Cabinet with Labour, Nicola Sturgeon claimed today. The SNP leader said the majority of Scots want Labour to have to share power after May’s general election, which she said would lead to ‘more progressive decisions for the whole of the UK’.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: The Deep End: Only a lame-duck can save us from coalition chaos

>Yesterday: WATCH: Sturgeon sets out Westminster plans

Greens 1) It shouldn’t be a crime to join ISIS, says Bennett

green20party (1)‘Belonging to a terror group such as Al Qaeda or Islamic State should not be a criminal offence, the leader of the Green Party said yesterday. Natalie Bennett said members of banned extremist groups should not be punished for what they believe in as she outlined a series of radical proposals.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: A new data-led analysis of the Green threat to Labour

Greens 2) Montgomerie: Downing Street’s plan to split the left is working

‘A Green-coloured surge is under way. This owes little to the brilliance of Caroline Lucas, MP, or her successor as the Green party leader, Natalie Bennett. The Greens’ advance in the polls has been made in Downing Street. In fact I can’t think of a recent ploy by any of the main parties that has had such a dramatic effect…Whether the debates now happen or not, Tory HQ has succeeded in ensuring that every step that Labour’s two Ed-ed leadership takes towards wooing mainstream voters risks losing harder-line, Syriza-inspired voters to the Greens or SNP.’ – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

New scheme to increase GP numbers

NHS_Logo‘A plan to boost the number of family doctors in the UK has been unveiled by health leaders as the government grapples with a crisis in recruitment. Measures include allowing some who wish to retire to work part-time and a national marketing campaign to persuade medical school graduates to opt for general practice.’ – FT

Postal voters would miss the leaders’ debates, warns Downing Street

‘David Cameron is to open a new front in his battle to avoid TV debates by arguing that on present timings some voters would have already cast their postal ballot before the final debate had taken place.’ – The Times (£)

Bercow: Let people vote online

ballot_box‘People should be able to cast their vote online in the 2020 general election, John Bercow has suggested. The Speaker of the House of Commons said that there is now a “growing appetite” for internet voting among the public.’ – Daily Telegraph

News in brief