Sir Eric Pickles: We’re ignoring electoral fraud as we once did child abuse

PICKLES Eric 2009“The problems go deep – despite years of warnings of misconduct in Tower Hamlets, the state watchdogs gave the borough’s electoral system a gold-star rating for integrity in inspection reports. We still have a series of tick-box inspections of town hall returning officers that are as ineffectual and useless as those once practised by the now-abolished Audit Commission. As a minister, I found within Whitehall a complete reluctance by officials to take action on the warnings from local councillors and journalists of systematic corruption in the Tower Hamlets mayoral administration. Yet when I subsequently sent forensic investigators into Tower Hamlets, they quickly found shocking financial irregularities. These were only the tip of the iceberg…” – Daily Telegraph

Rudd reveals details of fast-track fracking programme

“Bids to drill for shale gas could be taken over by ministers and fast-tracked under new rules announced today. The powers are a clear sign of government frustration with delays in giving fracking projects the go-ahead across the country. Critics accused the government of ‘bulldozing’ through new fracking sites against the wishes of local people and riding ‘rough shod over democracy’. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd complained applications for fracking were being ‘dragged out’ for months and years by the planning system. Under the new rules, ministers can ‘call in’ any application for shale development and rule on appeals when councils have rejected the plans.” – Daily Mail

Tomlinson blames rising unemployment on Labour’s election campaign

Work & Prosperity (Deep End)“Jobless numbers unexpectedly rose for the second month in a row by 25,000 to 1.85 million, the Office for National Statistics announced on Wednesday morning. DWP minister Justin Tomlinson took to Sky News to downplay the rise and argued that the bad economic news was the fault of the opposition parties and not the Government. “What we are seeing is that during that election period – and I know as a former businessperson myself – it’s not unreasonable when you’ve got an SNP-Labour anti-business agenda ahead in the polls that businesses pause,” he said.” – The Independent

Vaizey suggests permanent end to FM radio signal

“FM radio could be switched off permanently in the next few years after Ed Vaizey, the Culture Minister, said yesterday its future was ‘under review’. Listeners instead will have to tune into Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) radio to catch their favourite stations in future. Mr Vaizey re-opened the controversy around the switchover by suggesting that the Government was close to its target of getting listeners to switch to digital radio. He declined to commit to a deadline, but told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘When we reach a certain target of listening on digital, and we are very close to that target at the moment, we will take a view on what the appropriate next steps should be.’” – Daily Mail

Tim Montgomerie: The Tories need to decide where they go next

UnionJack arrows angled“When their batteries are recharged from summer holidays and after they have stopped laughing at the Labour party, the Tory leadership will need to decide how to respond to this changed landscape. One camp will urge caution. It will argue that the primary duty of the Conservative party will be to stop the post-Blair Labour party from getting close to office and that the best way of achieving that end will be to plod rather than plot; to reassure rather than radicalise. The Tory radicals, in contrast, will say this is the moment to plot a path to destinations that wouldn’t be possible against a stronger opposition.” – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Special survey: Should Cameron remain as Tory leader for the 2020 election?

Labour forced to extend leadership voter registration after site overwhelmed…

“Labour has been forced to extend the deadline for people to sign up for a vote in its leadership election after its website crashed under the weight of people trying to register. Would-be voters found the site returning a “502 Bad Gateway” error message for more than an hour earlier this morning, although the site did start working again later. The party said that it was extending the noon deadline for three hours to give all those who wanted to register to vote the chance to do so. After earlier apologising for the “technical issue”, the party tweeted: “If you are trying to register as a supporter and are experiencing difficulties, the deadline has been extended to 3pm if you want to vote.”” – The Times (£)

  • Left wing comic Mark Steele latest to be barred from voting – The Independent
  • Labour identifies Green candidates trying to sign up – The Guardian
  • Surge of late voters boosts Corbyn’s chances – Financial Times
  • Contest to go ahead despite the turmoil – The Times (£)
  • All three rival campagns raise concerns over how contest is being run – Daily Telegraph

…as Corbyn supporters accused of acting like cybernats…

Miliband Labour Left“Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters have been condemned for launching online personal attacks on his rivals for the Labour leadership, and accused of adopting the bullying tactics of the “cybernats” during the Scottish referendum campaign. Writing in The Independent, Alastair Campbell, who was Tony Blair’s communications director, said: “Corbyn himself is a nice guy, but I am not so sure about some of his friends. There is a real cybernat feel to some of his supporters and their zealous belief that even to suggest he is not the man to lead us back into power is a form of treason.”” – The Independent

  • Cybernystas’ abuse just widens invitation to join the Tories – John Rentoul, The Independent

…and MP claims there’s a plot to oust him on day one

“A plot to oust Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour leadership could be launched the moment he wins the contest, a Labour MP has said. With the left-wing backbencher surging into a surprise lead in the race to replace Ed Miliband, Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale, said that there could well be moves to topple Mr Corbyn as soon as the result comes out. He said that many MPs would not put up with some of his ideas, which he called “crazy left-wing policies”. Senior Labour figures have already privately said they would back the idea of holding an emergency meeting of the party’s MPs in the event of a Corbyn victory. It could lead to a swift attempt to call another leadership contest by some of the unhappiest figures.” – The Times (£)

Tony Blair: Don’t push Labour off a cliff edge – even if you hate me

BLAIR demon eyes“Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t offer anything new. This is literally the most laughable of all the propositions advanced by his camp. Those of us who lived through the turmoil of the 80s know every line of this script. These are policies from the past that were rejected not because they were too principled, but because a majority of the British people thought they didn’t work. And by the way, they were rejected by electorates round the world for the same reasons. Even more so today, they do not think their challenges can be met by old-fashioned state control as the way to personal or social empowerment; they do not think breaking up Nato unilaterally is sensible; and they realise that a party without a serious deficit-reduction plan is not in these times a serious contender to govern them.” – The Guardian

  • The £100bn hole in Corbyn’s tax plans – Daily Telegraph
  • Syriza’s Greece: a canary in the mine for Corbyn? – The Guardian
  • We’ve never been so out of touch, Cruddas warns party – The Times (£)
  • Corbyn victory party already planned – Daily Telegraph
  • Bookmakers fear losses as far left candidate breaks betting records – Financial Times
  • Co-operatives UK chair warns Kendall policies could see back-door privatisation – The Independent


  • Call me a Tory if you want, but real Tories want Corbyn to win – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
  • Five reasons to vote for anyone but Corbyn – Alistair Campbell, The Independent


Khan pledges £10 living wage for London if he’s Mayor

“The living wage in London would be raised to £10 an hour next year if Sadiq Khan becomes the city’s Mayor in next May’s election. Mr Khan, who is seeking the nomination as Labour’s candidate, has pledged to turn London into a “living wage city” that would be a trail-blazer for other cities in this country and around the world. As Mayor, he would ensure a pay rise for workers employed by the Greater London Authority (GLA), public bodies such as Transport for London and private firms winning contracts for these organisations.” – The Independent

  • Jowell would ban ‘sexist’ adverts from public transport – Daily Telegraph

Clegg snubbed as Laws nomination to the peerage rejected

LibDemDead“Now Mr Laws, a Liberal Democrat who lost his seat at the election having been brought back into ministerial office only two years after his fall from grace, has been subjected to the ultimate humiliation… The seven-strong commission, chaired by the Independent peer Lord Kakkar, a distinguished hospital surgeon, blocked the honour because of his expenses. The verdict of the commission, whose members include former Tory leader Michael Howard, as well as a prominent Labour peer and a Lib Dem peer, is a major embarrassment for Nick Clegg, the former leader of the Lib Dems.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Call for smoking ban outside pubs – Daily Mail
  • Families claim Chilcot delay is unlawful – The Times (£)
  • Former Archbishop of Canterbury defends assisted dying as ‘profoundly Christian’ – Daily Telegraph
  • The £4m bill for politicians’ expensive dishes – The Sun (£)
  • Migrants in modern slavery trap – Financial Times
  • Dozens feared dead in Chinese port explosion – The Guardian
  • Tube strike starts to unravel but Night Tube may be delayed – Daily Mail