Tag Archives: conservative party

12 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Stuart’s failure to call out racist Hester comments “jaw-dropping”
  • 1,197 suspected drug deaths in 2023
  • Firefighters face risks as government fails to deliver RAAC register
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for more support for childcare sector in Wales
  • Care leavers shouldn’t be forced to “bear burden of proof” when it comes to accessing housing support
  • Blackie calls on Susan Hall to disown racist Frank Hester remarks

Stuart’s failure to call out racist Hester comments “jaw-dropping”

Responding to Graham Stuarts’ comments this morning on Times Radio where he refused to say Frank Hester’s alleged comments were racist and refused to say the money should be returned, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Graham Stuart’s refusal to call out these racist comments was simply jaw-dropping.

The Conservative Party has flat out refused to return these donations despite these comments being inexcusable. How low can you go?

Rishi Sunak can bunker down and hide in Downing Street as long as he wants but every day he doesn’t return this money is another damning blow to the Conservative Party’s credibility.

1,197 suspected drug deaths in 2023

Responding to new Police Scotland figures showing that there were 1,197 suspected drug deaths between January and December 2023, which is a 10% increase compared to 2022, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

When 100 people a month are dying in Scotland’s drugs deaths emergency, we need to be open to anything that will save them. Each represents a life cut short and a family torn apart by grief.

These numbers are already going in the wrong direction and with the SNP and Greens having pushed through a budget that delivers a real-terms cut to drug services, I am extremely concerned that problems will simply get worse.

Every tool at our disposal needs to be used to reduce harm and save lives. That includes protecting the drug and alcohol budget, integrated drug checking facilities and preparing now for a network of safe consumption rooms because help can’t just be limited to Glasgow.

Well-meaning words won’t stop people dying. Humza Yousaf and his government must deliver swift change and ensure they never take their eye off the ball again.

Firefighters face risks as government fails to deliver RAAC register

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today urged the Scottish Government to compile a complete list of buildings where the dangerous bubbly concrete known as RAAC is present, as a minister conceded that the presence of the material could present safety implications for firefighters responding to incidents.

In response to a parliamentary question from Mr Cole-Hamilton, community safety minister Siobhian Brown admitting that “Where the material is in poor condition there could be greater risk of weakness or collapse”.

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Lee Anderson defects to Reform UK – Liberal Democrats respond

Whilst you should never be surprised by anything that happens to the Conservative Party these days, this was perhaps one of the more readily predicted events. And, naturally, because you’d have to have a heart of stone not to get some amusement from this, there have been a number of Liberal Democrat responses to the news that Reform UK Ltd has its first MP.

The official response first though…

Wera Hobhouse was quick to point …

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27 February 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems table motion calling on Parliament to rebuke Lee Anderson’s Islamophobic comments
  • Cancer survival rates: Lib Dems will put giving UK among best cancer survival rates at heart of priorities
  • Tory support in freefall – Rob offers London liberal choice
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for action against child health inequality in Wales

Lib Dems table motion calling on Parliament to rebuke Lee Anderson’s Islamophobic comments

The Liberal Democrats have tabled a censure motion, calling on Parliament to rebuke Lee Anderson’s Islamophobic remarks and calling for him to come to the House and apologise.

The party is calling on Conservative MPs and the government to back the motion, adding that the Conservative party must “show that Islamophobia is not tolerated in Parliament”.

It comes as Anderson said that he would not apologise for his Islamophobic remarks as to do so would be “a sign of weakness”.

The motion tabled by the Lib Dems, if adopted by the government and passed by the House, would be an unprecedented rebuke of the Ashfield MP’s remarks. It would show that Parliament found the remarks unacceptable and Islamophobic and that Anderson should apologise in the House.

Liberal Democrat Women and Equalities spokesperson, Christine Jardine MP said:

Lee Anderson’s remarks were damaging, divisive and need to be called out for what they are – Islamophobic. He should apologise immediately.

British Muslims across the country deserve so much better than this. There is no place in our society for hatred like this.

If the government is too weak to call out this behaviour, the House – including Conservative MPs – must take matters into its own hands and show that Islamophobia is not tolerated in Parliament. Not go completely silent on the issue or look for a way to excuse the inexcusable.

This latest scandal proves once again that the Conservative party is not fit for purpose and is certainly not fit for office.

Cancer survival rates: Lib Dems will put giving UK among best cancer survival rates at heart of priorities

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LIb Dems demand that Sunak removes the Whip from Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson has spent most of the past 2 years saying horrible things to excite the Tory right. From telling anyone unhappy with how the UK treats migrants could “f**k off back to France” to saying that people should be able to feed themselves for 30p per day, giving him his “30p Lee” nickname, to horribly transphobic comments about Eddie Izzard, he has been one of the commanders of the Tory culture wars.

Last night, talking to GB News, he took it all a step further by being unambiguously racist and islamophobic about London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan.

From the BBC:

He told GB News Islamists had “got control” of Mr Khan and he had “given our capital city away to his mates”.

His words, which follow pro-Palestinian protests outside Parliament, have also been condemned by Tories.

Not condemned enough by Tories as the same article reports a Conservative source trying to play down what he had said. The fact that he still had the Tory whip 5 minutes after making these comments is an absolute disgrace. As the hours drag on, this looks increasingly like Rishi Sunak is either too weak to discipline Anderson or he agrees with him.

Anyone with an ounce of decency has called on Rishi Sunak to remove the Conservative whip from Anderson for these comments, including Labour’s Annaliese Dodds and Theresa May’s former Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell. Here’s what Lib Dem MPs have been saying.

Daisy Cooper said:

These comments from a Conservative MP are despicable. Rishi Sunak should remove the Conservative whip. There should be no space for this in our country, let alone in our Parliament.

Tim Farron:

This isn’t dog whistle, it’s fog horn. Sunak will remove the whip for this if he has an ounce of either decency or strength.

Munira Wilson:

Utterly disgusted by Lee Anderson’s racist comments. Stirring up hatred and tension in our great capital city in this way is downright dangerous. If Sunak has an ounce of decency and courage, he will kick Anderson out of the Tory party.

Alistair Carmichael:

This is entirely wrong and harmful from Lee Anderson, and comes after a similarly malign attack by the Conservatives in recent weeks. Criticise Sadiq Khan all you like on policy but these dog whistle arguments about his character have no basis and no justification.

Beyond Westminster, Lib Dem AM Caroline Pidgeon:

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5 February 2024 – today’s press releases

  • NHS waiting lists: Sunak must reverse cuts to spending
  • OECD Report: UK set for highest inflation levels in G7
  • PopCon event: Blue Wall voters will look on with horror
  • Sunak’s broken promise: NHS waiting lists won’t fall back to pre-pandemic levels until 2030
  • Keegan gives government “good” Ofsted while children taught in crumbling classrooms

NHS waiting lists: Sunak must reverse cuts to spending

Responding to Piers Morgan’s interview with Rishi Sunak, where he admits he has failed to cut NHS waiting lists, the Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

Finally Rishi Sunak has admitted he has failed to cut NHS waiting lists, leaving millions of

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Following the ‘five families’ of the Conservative Right

As the Tories continue to tear themselves apart, have you checked whether any of your local Conservative MPs belong to any of the factions of the Tory Right, scheming and plotting so actively that moderate Tories have dubbed them after the mafia families of southern Italy?

 There’s no point in putting on leaflets that many Tory MPs have lost touch with reality.  But it’s very useful to do some quick research on which groups particular Tories belong to, what they stand for (and against), and what they’ve said about key issues.  Even the right-wing press has concluded that that ‘plenty on the government benches are living in a dream world’, as Harry Cole commented in the Sun.  The Times parliamentary sketch on a December Commons debate Rwanda protested that ‘many of the contributions to the debate were fantastically unhinged.’  Peter Lilley, a member of the ‘Common Sense Group’, insisted in the Lords the other week that Britain is being run, and ruined, by a liberal conspiracy of which our party – together with the BBC, the universities, lefty lawyers and the like – is an active component.  He believes that passionately; he shouted it across the chamber at us.

The European Research Group is the oldest of these factions: the Brexit dinosaurs, still fighting to cut further links to Europe.  Mark Francois is now its chair, Jacob Rees Mogg, Steve Baker and Suella Braverman having gone into (and out of) government. Francois was nicknamed ‘Corporal Francois’ when a junior defence minister; it was not meant kindly.  Since the Referendum the ERG has campaigned for the hardest possible Brexit. Nine of the 40+ MP subscribers to its shared research team were appointed to Liz Truss’s Cabinet. Six were retained in Sunak’s Cabinet, although Braverman has since resigned; Chris Heaton-Harris, who opposed the Northern Ireland Protocol, now struggles as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to reconcile conflicting pressures.  The group condemns ‘foreign courts’, and demands that we leave the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Northern Research Group – deliberately modelled on the ERG, with funds for research support – is larger, and has the most practical agenda: to strengthen the voice of the large number of northern MPs in the southern-dominated Tory Party, and in particular to support Boris Johnson’s Levelling-Up promises.  Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale, was its chair and driving force until briefly made a minister in Liz Truss’s government, when John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, became chair.  54 MPs signed a letter in support of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ in 2021. But its influence has shrunk; Levelling Up was never funded, northern infrastructure continues to deteriorate, the Conservative Government is still run from southern England.

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Divided and confused Tories need a rest and we need a rest from them

If I was the editor of Conservative Home, I would be embarrassed to publish its annual poll of the most popular Tory MP. Lee Anderson, the MP for Ashfield won.

If you are struggling to remember who Anderson is, think of cooking 30p meals, a challenge a reporter from the Nottingham Post found impossible. Anderson is the former Labour councillor turned Tory MP who said people going to food banks can’t cook or budget. I wonder what he had for Christmas dinner. Maybe an out of date wet lettuce reduced at the supermarket checkout. He is a fully paid up member of the nasty party and infamously can’t cope with hecklers, telling one: “If you smartened yourself up, you’d make a good tramp.” And he faked a doorstep interview but didn’t have the sense to turn off a microphone while arranging the stunt.

Perhaps it was this this nastiness and lack of integrity that led to him being voted Backbencher of the Year by Conservative Home’s panel of readers. How representative those readers are of Conservatives at large is unknown. Anderson gained a mere 54 of 553 total votes. You don’t have to have a degree in statistics to recognise that is less than 10% of votes. What a dismal showing. Although Conservative Home voters could select their own candidates, it is clear there nowhere near a consensus among dedicated Tories.

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2 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance
  • Welsh Government Must Do More to Combat Fuel Poverty
  • Matt Hancock should resign and trigger by-election
  • Welsh Conservatives Dysfunctional, Divided and Ineffective
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats – Welsh Government Must Change Their Mind on COVID Inquiry

Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance

Responding to the news that Rishi Sunak will now be attending COP, Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said:

This whole debacle has shown the environment is simply not a priority for Rishi Sunak. He’s only going after being embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance.

We need action rather than just attendance from the Prime Minister. Building more renewables, the cheapest and most popular form of energy, and insulating our cold and draughty homes will accelerate progress towards net-zero, cut energy bills and increase the UK’s energy security.

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Welcome to my day: 31 October 2022 – whatever happened to Grigori Zinoviev, anyway?…

Historians amongst our readers might recall the “Zinoviev letter”, published on 25 October 1924, just four days before the General Election of that year, in which the Daily Mail suggested that the normalisation of UK relations with the Soviet Union under a Labour government would radicalise the British working class and put the Communist Party of Great Britain in a favourable position to pursue a Bolshevik-style revolution. It was, of course, a hoax but did its job, leading to a huge Conservative win and, in the process, the crushing of the Liberals.

The notion that Labour might be the opportunity that the Soviet Union needed was sufficiently credible to allow the hoax to work.

And here we are, nearly one hundred years later, in a situation where the Russian Government has infiltrated a British political party at the highest level. You wouldn’t have predicted that a decade ago, would you? And, whilst there is no suggestion that the Conservative Party is acting for the Putin regime, it is a mystery that Conservative and other right-wing politicians have been so welcoming towards Russian influence.

The receipt of significant sums of money from Russian donors, the welcome mat put down for Russian oligarchs, the willingness to be seen in public with said oligarchs, the appointment of one of their number to the House of Lords, all of these would have been unthinkable for the anti-communist warriors of the Conservative Party in the eighties.

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Johnson: Imperious, impervious and delusional

Our prime minister is beleaguered, only he doesn’t know it. He told the press pack in Rwanda that he intended to remain as prime minister until the mid-2030s. With members of his cabinet scheming against him and negative approval ratings in opinion polls, that looks unlikely.

Both Johnson and some Conservative MPs are in denial about the message sent by the government by the public in Thursday’s twin by-election defeats. At least two of Tory MPs have blamed the Tiverton and Honiton defeat on the “girls” (MPs to you and me) that shopped Neil Parish for his tractor porn antics in the chamber. Another said they didn’t see the defeat coming because “people were lying on the doorsteps”. How out of touch can the Tories be?

Other MPs recognised that the bond of trust has been broken between the prime minister, the Conservative party and the voters: “People think he’s a liar and a shady bugger.”

As Richard Foord said on Thursday: “It’s time for Boris Johnson to go. And go now.” The departure of the “shady bugger” is long overdue.

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How to beat Johnson’s government on economics

Might election campaigns have the foundations of attractive ideas, emotional appeal and a plausible previous record?

This government has/had strong emotional appeal, especially through its leader. Its ideas have the benefit of being based on the currently dominant economic theory of Neo-liberalism. It is supported, directly and indirectly by the mainstream media which, mostly, bolsters the performance of HM Government.

Opposition parties lack the theatrical style of Mr. Johnson. Therefore attack his language techniques. Ratios of jokes to facts? Ditto facts to inaccuracies. Ditto future tenses to past tenses. Which speech has the most metaphors etc.?

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Daily View 2×2: 5 May 2020

There’s almost too much going on at the moment. Certainly, there’s too much going on for the Government to cope with, given its evident bandwidth problems…

2 big stories

Buzzfeed News is claiming an exclusive insight into the Goverment’s proposed ideas in terms of relaxing the current restrictions and, on the face of it, they look fairly sensible. But, as I commented yesterday, are the British public willing to return to the ‘old normal’ so soon? My sense is that they generally aren’t, but the Government needs to change that mindset if their desire to taper down the level of support …

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Why the Conservative Party can no longer be considered the natural party of business

Our market economy is certainly far from fair but as a result of a series of poor Government decisions, it is going to get a whole lot worse, for businesses and private citizens. The Conservative Party has often been considered the natural party of business, but a raft of policy outcomes on the horizon means this may no longer be the case.

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19 November 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Johnson offers failed knife crime policies
  • Lib Dems respond to Farage comments on local Tory and Brexit Party deals
  • Swinson: ITV debate proves people at home deserve so much better
  • CCHQ’s Twitter factchecking ploy is straight of Putin’s playbook

Johnson offers failed knife crime policies

Responding to Boris Johnson’s announcement on knife crime, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey said:

The UK is in the grip of an epidemic of serious violence, and we urgently need real solutions. Instead, all the Tories can offer are the same old failed policies.

These Conservative policies are all about seeming tough on crime, but they won’t actually do anything

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7-8 September 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

Swinson: Rudd resignation another blow to Boris Johnson

Responding to the news that Amber Rudd has quit both the cabinet and the Conservative Party, Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said:

Amber Rudd’s resignation is yet another blow to Boris Johnson and his reckless plans to crash the country out of Europe without a deal. His disregard for the country’s interest and those who are meant to be his colleagues is symbolic of how broken our politics has become.

As this Government continues to decay, the need and urgency to stop Brexit cannot be clearer – we need a people’s vote with the option

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Rory Stewart: you were honest with the Tory Party about Brexit, now it’s time you were honest with yourself

Dear Rory, 

As the only person standing for the leadership of the Tory Party (“Conservative” must now surely be considered an oxymoron) who recognises how much damage Brexit will cause our country, I was saddened to see you knocked out of the contest yesterday. 

I will not go as far as saying I would vote for you; fundamentally I only vote for people who will stop Brexit and address the real problems in this country through root and branch reform of our own broken political system. However, I did very much respect your open and honest approach with Brexit supporters and the clear way in which you explained the fundamental problems that are yet to be addressed by this failing government.

Sadly your Party appears to have chosen to “believe in the bin” and are duly committing themselves to the trashcan of history. 

However, although I admire the honesty of your campaign, I also think you have been naïve. Although, you have recognised and communicated the problems of ‘no deal’ Brexit, the only solution you were able to offer was to ratify May’s Withdrawal Agreement.

Like many others, I don’t see the DUP, Labour, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Lib Dems, Greens or ERG suddenly shifting position because of a People’s Assembly. However, even if you managed to get the deal through Parliament and avert ‘no deal’ in October, I believe this would only be a very short-lived stay of execution. Any such agreement would become the new rallying point of the Faragists and we would just face another battle to try to save a weaker agreement in which we are already relegated to being a rule-taker.

Fundamentally, I believe this is an attempt to appease the unappeasable. Such efforts actually only serve to undermine our work to crystallise support for a People’s Vote and rally opposition against the media-dominant isolationist agenda. 

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Reflections on the Tory Party Revolution – part two

Conservative Party logo
Part 2: from the 1940’s generational change to the growing hostility to Europe
Reading Alan Clark’s history of the Tories 1922-1997 (Phoenix/Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1999), and Alan Sked and Chris Cooks “Post-War Britain” (Penguin, London, 4th. ed., 1993), you see how in 1940-51, while party leader Churchill was concentrating on foreign affairs (winning a war until ’45, then uniting Europe in his “interlocking circles”: Europe, the Commonwealth, and NATO), the other parts of the Tory party reacted to more domestic modernising trends and proposals. (See about Churchill’s priorities: Clark, Tories, p. 321-22; Sked & Cook, Post-War, p. 77-78).

Alongside the “Post-War Problems Central Committee” (PWPCC) formed at Tory party HQ in 1941 under Education Secretary “Rab” Butler, there emerged a progressive “Tory Reform Group” (TRG) of “Young Turks”. Clark says Food minister Lord Woolton (Tory from 1945) was the only Cabinet minister caring about “Post-War Problems”.

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Reflections on the Tory Party Revolution – part one

Conservative Party logoPart 1: From the 2019 Constituency Revolt to the 1846 Corn Law Split, and back

In its April 22th coverage of the Tory Constituency Party leaders’ revolt in demanding an “Extraordinary General Meeting” to shake May’s throne, the BBC inserted the link to its article from August 2018 about how, between the Chequers Cabinet Brexit Agreement and May’s disastrous Tory 2018 Autumn Conference, a Hard Brexit revolt started brewing in the Tory grassroots.

That 2018 article, by BBC researcher Georgia Roberts, referred to the Tory party Conference revolt of 1950, right after the general election that slashed Labours massive majority, when the Tory grassroots “educated the platform” by pushing through the “build 300.000 houses a year”-target for its 1951 election manifesto (whereas the Tory front bench had reacted to Attlee’s nationalization drive by retreating from state direction). That promise turned out to be extremely popular, election-winning (for Churchill, and later Macmillan), and long remembered. Previewing the 2018 Tory Autumn Conference, Roberts wonders if it will see a similar “educating” Brexiteer uprising; it halfway did.

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So it looks like there might be a Tory leadership contest after all…..

The rumours have been circulating all evening, but if Kuenssberg and Peston are now saying it, there has to be some plausibility to the story:

Our Layla got a bit over-excited:

How very unlike the Conservative Party to embroil itself in its own self-indulgent civil war at a time of national crisis.

Of course, even if the ERG has managed to get itself sufficiently together to submit the letters and settle on a chosen candidate, maybe even one who has had a haircut recently, getting the letters in is only the first part of the job. They then have to persuade a majority of their Tory colleagues to back them to force a leadership contest. Apparently there was a huge amount of cheering coming from their meeting last night, and we can probably assume that it wasn’t because they were happy that Joe Sugg had got to the final of Strictly.

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LIVE THREAD: Davis (and Johnson) quit, takes junior ministers with him…

23:59 A fascinating day comes to an end. We hope that you’ve enjoyed our coverage, and do continue the debate via the comments section. Goodnight from all at LDV!

21:34 And I think that that’s it as far as the Cabinet and major posts go, as Geoffrey Cox becomes the new Attorney General.

No women, very little new blood, but it looks as though the Brexit/Remain balance has been broadly maintained.

It does feel like an administration limping from one crisis to the next, but like the grey skies over mid-Suffolk this evening, you can’t rule out thunderstorms. And who’s that coming over …

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Is this why there is no rush to make Boris Johnson Prime Minister?

Theresa v Boris: How May became PM is highly recommended viewing. It’s available for the next ten days on BBC iPlayer. Made for BBC2, it is an attractive mix of key player interviews, contemporaneous news footage and dramatised scenes.

Theresa May is played very well indeed by Jacqueline King (who I might gratuitously point out is well known to the legions of Lib Dem Doctor Who fans!) and Boris is captured brilliantly by Will Barton, even though his hair and nose make him look more like Michael Fabricant.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg – Brexit is proving that the Tories are no longer the party of business

Writing in the Evening Standard, Nick Clegg argues that the Conservative party poses a serious threat to the long-term health of the British economy:

May’s party is now poised to inflict more damage on the British economy in one Parliament than John McDonnell could manage in a decade.

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Emma Nicholson rejoins Conservatives

Over the Summer Emma Nicholson was one of two Liberal Democrat peers who resigned the party’s whip.

Many readers will be sad to see the news today that she has rejoined the Conservative Party, and will be surprised by her reasons, reported in the Guardian:

Her education speech last week showed she leads a party with a real commitment to delivering for the next generation and building a country that works for everyone.

“We in the Conservative party have a great history of diversity, optimism in our people’s creativity and success.

“My greatest strengths are the Conservative strengths and I will be

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Hopefully this will be the last stunning day in British politics for a while

Well, well, well. Yet another stunning day in British politics.

There we were expecting two months of two candidates touring constituency Conservative parties. And then suddenly we hear that we’ll have a new Prime Minister on Wednesday evening.

Our Prime Minister exits the stage humming a bar of the West Wing ending theme tune.

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Read my lips: No seat reduction

I just got back from two days at the Conference in Bournemouth. The absence of discussion of strategy was deafening. However, no less than three people either said to me or mentioned from the dais the reduction of seats from 650 to 600 “which the Tories are going to do”.

I have bemoaned the lack of psephological nous in the party before but, really, some members seem to like to wallow in misery and fantasy.

It is true that the seat reduction as proposed was set to disadvantage us and Labour at the Tory benefit. That is a given. However time and events have moved on.

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“Tories running dirty tricks call campaign against Lib Dems”

Tessa Munt photo by Keith EdkinsThat’s the headline in today’s Mirror newspaper:

The Tories have launched a nasty dirty tricks campaign in a knife-edge constituency ahead of the next election. Conservative activists are ringing voters in marginal Wells and pretending to be calling on behalf of the respected local Lib-Dem MP Tessa Munt. They then ask the voters if they wanted to see David Cameron or Ed Miliband as Prime Minister at the next election. The calls were all made from a number in Southend, Essex. The Mirror has confirmed that

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David Cameron’s speech: meh, bah and hmm.

David Cameron - head in handsI missed David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative party conference today. Or, rather, I didn’t see or hear it, which isn’t quite the same thing as missing it.

Meh

But it sounds like, by missing it, I didn’t miss much. There were no dramatic announcements, no new initiatives. Yes, there was talk of the need to “nag and push and guide” young people to either “earn or learn” – the Department of Work and Pensions reports over a million people between the ages of 16 and 24 are …

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Take a good coalition environmental move and Owen Paterson will undermine it

Paterson in Carrier BagPutting an acknowledged environmental sceptic in charge of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was always going to be bad news. Shropshire MP Owen Paterson’s sympathies lie with industrial scale farming and fracked landscapes. He hates windfarms and is a global warming sceptic. Now he’s trying to restrict the scope of the carrier bag charge.

It’s no surprise then that he is reluctant to introduce a charge on supermarket carrier bags. Previously, Defra sat on its heels. Its ministers claimed it needed better evidence about the impact of a charge. That’s an ironic position to take given that Defra has launched a badger cull against the scientific evidence of the Krebs trails.

It is true that under the former Labour government, Defra became obsessed with carbon emissions at the expense of the contribution of the environment to wellbeing and biodiversity – as did much of the environmental movement. It fretted that a one use paper bag used more carbon than a well-used plastic bag. Everyone but CPRE and few other charities ignored the impact of plastic bags on landfill, the landscape, our streets and the seas.

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Cameron plans second coalition, or does he?

The Daily Telegraph is reporting today that David Cameron is planning for a second coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

The Prime Minister has held private talks with Cabinet ministers over new Conservative Party rules which would make it easier to strike another deal.

This is all very sensible. In the absolute monarchy mitigated by occasional regicide that is the Conservative Party, tighter rules to clamp down on the backbench naysayers to a coalition would be very prudent, just in case.

Under the plans, backbench Tories would be consulted on the new power-sharing agreement with the final text being put to

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Page 3 and the Tories: showing their modern, enlightened face

page 3 news in briefsPoliticsHome’s Paul Waugh reports the Tory distress at the axing of one of their favourite parts of The Sun:

the long-running News In Briefs section of Page 3 of the Sun (it’s been going since 2003) is, I can report, no more.

The section was missing from today’s paper, now under a new editor, and I understand there are no plans to resurrect it.

Several Tory MPs are already in mourning. The party’s popular ‘Breakfast Club’ of MPs (which numbers ministers as well as backbenchers) has a tradition whereby

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