Osborne tries to buy off tax rebels…

OSBORNE builder“George Osborne launched an offensive this weekend to kill off criticism over his cuts to tax credits as he faces a cabinet split coupled with a Conservative backbench rebellion. The chancellor has called in rebel MPs and asked them what he can do to help their constituencies in a bid to buy off his critics as three unnamed cabinet ministers have privately expressed concerns over his handling of the reforms, fearing they may prove as unpopular as the poll tax” – Sunday Times (£)

…but Davidson joins the rebellion

“George Osborne last night suffered a new blow on the eve of a House of Lords bid to stop his tax credits cuts when the Tory Party’s leader in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, backed the growing Conservative revolt. Rising star Ms Davidson said it was wrong for low-paid workers to lose out. Using emotive language that piles pressure on the Chancellor, she said no one should ‘fall off a cliff’ when the tax credits are axed in April” – Interview with Simon Walters, Mail on Sunday

Halfon: Why I back the Chancellor’s reforms

HALFON-robert“The revival of white van conservatism has been a personal mission of mine… Now, as a minister in the Government, it’s why I am strongly backing the new deal the Chancellor has offered to working families. We have to move away from the high welfare, high tax, low wage economy ‎that Labour created to one that offers the opposite: lower welfare, lower taxes and higher wages for all” – Robert Halfon, Sunday Telegraph

Boulton: Osborne’s integrity is under examination

“Not satisfied with eliminating the budget deficit, Osborne is bent on re-engineering Britain as a high-pay, low-welfare, low-tax economy. To this end, he is calling the shots on cutting tax credits. As a result the new government faces the biggest crisis of its short life… It is not just Osborne’s judgment that is in question; his integrity is also under examination, because he insists the government has an election mandate for tax credit cuts, even though they were not mentioned in the 2015 Tory manifesto” – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)

  • Why “King George” is happy to reign over tax credit cuts – Anne McElvoy, Mail on Sunday
  • Cameron and Osborne forgot the first law of holes – Andrew Rawnsley, Observer
  • Has Osborne reached his peak? – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday

Willetts: the Conservatives are failing young people

Willetts David DP“The government stands accused by a leading Tory thinker of creating a ‘country for older generations’ in which pensioners benefit from constantly rising incomes while the young, their families and children pay the price of punishing policy decisions, including cuts to their tax credits. In a hard-hitting intervention… former Conservative minister and prominent party intellectual David Willetts says the current policy mix is manifestly unfair and breaks the supposed ‘social contract’ between generations” – Observer

  • Pensioners prosper, the young suffer, Britain’s social contract is breaking – David Willetts, Observer

Cameron aide dismisses idea of second EU referendum

“David Cameron has taken a sideswipe at Boris Johnson over the EU referendum by pouring scorn on claims by ‘Out’ campaigners that there could be a second vote on Britain’s links with Brussels. In a provocative move, a senior aide to the Prime Minister yesterday said a suggestion there could be two polls showed the ‘Out’ campaigners were scared of losing. It was an attempt to ‘muddy the waters’ because they ‘lacked confidence’ in winning the referendum, due before the end of 2017”- Mail on Sunday


Hunt accused of replacing junior doctors with migrants

HUNT Doctor Carla Millar“The row over junior doctors’ pay will leave the NHS more reliant on foreign medics, a leading doctor has warned. Ministers risk creating a ‘revolving door’ with large numbers of emigrating British doctors having to be replaced by doctors from overseas, consultant surgeon J. Meirion Thomas said. Up to 50,000 junior doctors are just 11 days away from voting to strike over changes to their pay and conditions, which Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has vowed to push through” – Mail on Sunday

Firms will have to reveal what they pay men and women

“David Cameron is to introduce laws forcing companies, charities, hospitals, schools and universities to reveal for the first time the gap between men’s and women’s pay in a drive to end wage inequality… In an announcement today with Nicky Morgan, the minister for women and equalities, Cameron said: ‘You can’t have true opportunity without equality. There is no place for a pay gap in today’s society’” – Sunday Times (£)

Father of bullied Tory demands police investigation

Police shield“The father of the Tory activist who killed himself after being bullied by an Election aide to David Cameron last night demanded a Metropolitan Police investigation into the scandal. Businessman Ray Johnson, whose son Elliott, 21, was found dead next to a railway track last month, accused Tory chairman Lord Feldman of using an internal inquiry as a cover-up attempt. In an open letter to the peer, Mr Johnson claimed young activists preyed on by sex pest and bully Matt Clarke – who led the Tories’ Road Trip 2015 campaign – were used as ‘election fodder’ by party chiefs” – Mail on Sunday

Labour MPs join Tory rebellion against “tampon tax”

“David Cameron will face a fresh headache over Europe tomorrow when Tory MPs join forces with Labour to fight a ‘tampon tax’ levied by the EU. The rebel Tories have picked the fight over a five per cent VAT rate on female sanitary products, which is enforced by the EU, as an example of the powers they think the Prime Minister should negotiate back from Europe. More than 50 Labour MPs are supporting a motion to insert a clause in the Finance Bill to remove the VAT charged on sanitary products”  –  Mail on Sunday

Amis is extremely nasty about Corbyn

CORBYN Jeremy“Martin Amis, the leading British novelist of his generation, has dismissed Jeremy Corbyn as ‘undereducated’, ‘slow-minded’ and ‘humourless’, warning that he will leave the Labour party ‘undeserving of a single vote’. In an article for The Sunday Times, Amis — a leading figure on the British left for three decades — condemns the Labour leader for lacking ‘the slightest grasp of the national character’ and parroting ‘pallidly third-hand’ views” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Corbyn’s CV gives an impression of slow-minded rigidity – Martin Amis, Sunday Times (£)
  • Danczuk offers to be Corbyn stalking horse – Mail on Sunday
  • My meeting this week with the decent but naïve Corbyn – Simon Danczuk, Mail on Sunday
  • Homeless niece tells how Corbyn helped her – Sun on Sunday
  • Lord Warner explains why he left the Labour Party – Sunday Times (£)
  • Emily Benn wants Labour to expel Corbyn’s new policy chief – Observer
  • Corbyn employs Tower Hamlets Trotskyite – Andrew Gilligan, Sunday Telegraph
  • Corbyn’s crew don’t want to win elections: they want to discredit them – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

Blair issues a partial apology for the Iraq War

“Tony Blair has finally said sorry for the Iraq War – and admitted he could be partly to blame for the rise of Islamic State… Blair makes his dramatic ‘mea culpa’ during a TV interview about the ‘hell’ caused by his and George Bush’s decision to oust Saddam Hussein. In the exchange, Blair repeatedly says sorry for his conduct and even refers to claims that the invasion was a war ‘crime’ – while denying he committed one” – Mail on Sunday

Reform of our Dickensian electoral register is urgent

ballot_box“The way in which elections are run in Britain is a mess and a disgrace. Not only is it largely Dickensian and inefficient, but it is also an open invitation to fraud, especially in local government elections in urban areas. This scandal is now coming to the boil in a Liberal Democrat challenge to the government in the House of Lords on Tuesday… there were a staggering 15 million errors in the registers at the general election, possibly more” – Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, Sunday Times (£)

News in brief