According to The Sunday Telegraph David Cameron has over-ruled George Osborne and imposed a three-line whip against Labour plans to base Britain’s first super casino in Manchester. The shadow cabinet – reportedly – had decided to back the plans but two factors appear to have changed the Conservative leader’s mind. First many Tory MPs were prepared to rebel against Tory support for the Government and, secondly, the revelation that Manchester appears to have been chosen because it would provide an ideal setting to test the "social impact" of a super casino. In effect the deprived population of a great British city are intended to be used as guinea pigs.
Click here for Friday’s Today in Parliament programme and to listen to Julie Kirkbride MP perform an excellent demolition job on Labour’s super casino plans.
11.30am update: Whilst on the subject of gambling this leader from Friday’s Daily Mail is worth highlighting:
"One of the great mysteries of modern politics is why this Government – a Labour Government, of all things – should so eagerly promote gambling, when it knows very well the harm that will be inflicted on the weak and vulnerable. A super-casino in Manchester … smaller casinos elsewhere … an evident desire to make Britain the world capital of online betting … in her drive to encourage a freefor- all the egregious Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell seemed unstoppable. But now, in what must be a deep humiliation for this foolish woman, the gambling industry has suffered a devastating blow at the hands of Gordon Brown with a 50 per cent tax on big casinos and 15 per cent on betting websites. The result? Casinos are no longer quite so sure of the profits they can expect from mug punters. Online operators wonder if it is worth their while to move to Britain. Ms Jowell’s balloon has been pricked. For the public – which never wanted a gambling explosion – this is a welcome reprieve. All credit to Mr Brown who, unlike some of his colleagues, hasn’t forgotten the principles for which Labour once stood. The Mail is not overly fond of taxation. But this is one tax we heartily endorse."