Henry Hill is a British Conservative and Unionist activist and writer.
Lib Dems take the fight to nationalists: Clegg claims Plaid are a threat to the UK recovery…
The Liberal Democrat leader has warned that post-election “mayhem” could see Labour and the Conservatives turn to a “rag tag mob” of ‘Other’ MPs to keep themselves in office in May – with terrible consequences for the economy.
Making the case that his was the only rag tag mob anyone needed, Clegg argued that: “Ukip, the SNP, the Greens and Plaid all, in their own way, threaten our recovery. They all pedal their own brand of divisive populism based on grievance, blame and fear.
“They won’t act in the national interest. They all want to put their narrow claims above the needs of the country”, he continued.
Plaid only holds three Westminster seats at present, and has gradually lost ground in the Welsh Assembly since the 1990s. However it has high hopes of capturing Ceredigion, whose Assembly counterpart it holds, from the Liberal Democrats.
…as he pledges to defeat “arrogant” Salmond in Gordon
SNP leader Alex Salmond is seeking nothing less than an “elected coronation” as he attempts to return to Westminster, according to Clegg.
The seat is one of the eleven held by the Liberal Democrats in Scotland. Retiring incumbent Sir Malcolm Bruce won a majority of almost seven thousand in 2010, but since then the party’s poll rankings have plummeted. Some polls even suggest the Lib Dems could lose all their seats on the Scottish mainland, with only Orkney and Shetland holding out.
Despite the challenging facing the party’s new candidate Christine Jardine, she will be heartened to hear that she seems to be the beneficiary of some lingering Better Together camaraderie. According to the Scotsman Labour and Tory supporters in the constituency are rallying around her as the most plausible “stop Salmond” candidate.
UUP express grave concern over newly-minted deal
The Ulster Unionists have expressed severe reservations about the latest political deal thrashed out to keep Northern Ireland’s devolved government on the rails.
According to a statement from the party leadership the UUP is deeply concerned about the potential financial outworkings of the Stormont House Agreement, negotiated by the local parties to end a long-running stand-off between London and Sinn Fein over the implementation of the Coalition’s welfare reforms.
After claiming that the deal was really “between Sinn Fein, the DUP, and the Government” UUP leader Mike Nesbitt argued that the borrowing powers included in the agreement did not mask the fact that further deep cuts were anticipated in the 2015-16 fiscal year.
UKIP MLA David McNarry has claimed that the Northern Ireland Executive might have to tell NI Water and Translink, the province’s state-run public transport company, as part of the £2bn deal.
Despite being the source of the blockage with its long-running campaign against welfare reform, Sinn Fein are thus far the only Northern Irish party to have secured strong backing for the deal from its national executive.
Murphy’s deputy leader has “no qualms” about working with the SNP
Kezia Dugdale, deputy leader of Scottish Labour and running mate of new leader Jim Murphy, has told the media that she would have no problem partnering up with the SNP in the aftermath of an election.
She claims that this is the result of a “lack of tribalism” on her part, and suggests that comparatively few members or supporters of the Labour Party are “tribal in that sense”.
Dugdale, who leads for Labour in the Scottish Parliament whilst Murphy remains at Westminster, has come under fire for undermining Labour’s future negotiating position.
This latest move comes as Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson warns that the SNP and Ed Miliband are preparing to strike a deal to put the latter into Number 10 if, as predicted, a strong Nationalist performance north of the border leaves in short of the finishing line in May.
For her part, SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says that she isn’t keen on coalitions, and that in her experience there is much to be said for minority government.
Miliband, meanwhile, is talking up the suggestion of a lower-cost nuclear deterrent in a move that some see as an attempt to woo the Nationalists. The SNP have set the removal of Trident from Scotland as a red line in their initial negotiating position.
Northern Irish Conservatives select East Belfast candidate
The Conservatives have announced that Neil Wilson will be the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Belfast East in May.
This seat became briefly famous as one of the most high-profile scalps of 2010, when the Alliance Party’s Naomi Long unseated Democratic Unionist leader and First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson.
Former rugby star Trevor Ringland fought the seat for the Conservative-Ulster Unionist alliance and took 7,305 votes. Wilson, formerly a local councillor on the mainland, will be hard-pressed to match such a score.