- Referendum must be held before 31 December 2017.
- The question that is to appear on the ballot papers is— “Do you think that the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union?”
You’re either in front of Guido, or you’re behind…
You’re either in front of Guido, or you’re behind…
The two Eds will have been following Alistair Darling’s Lobby lunch very closely this afternoon. Darling laid down the gauntlet to Balls, showing a fair amount of leg about a possible return: “At the moment I’m totally focused on the referendum. After that I’ll see where I stand. I will maintain an interest in wider affairs.”
Some choice words for Miliband too. Darling says Ed “needs to do more to argue case for staying in the EU”, but at least apparently he’s “doing better than people give him credit for” and there is “no need for line by line manifesto” with two years to go. He was coy on Gordon: “I have never provided a running commentary on any conversations I may or may not have had”, but was willing to jokingly flirt with another foe: “there are times I have been tempted to join UKIP”. The tease…
It’s official: 71% of Scots say the Prime Mentalist is a liability. Readers of the Scotsman say Gordon’s attempt to take on the freedom fighters will do his cause more harm than good. It would be some Jonah curse…
The date in the diaries of the remaining Tory MPs without some form of junior job is the 17th of July, so says Allegra Stratton. That is reportedly the current working date for Dave’s junior ministerial reshuffle, to be followed by the real thing in September.
Make a note…
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have actually put out something interesting for a change. Over the last thirty years, Labour supporters’ attitudes to welfare have hardened considerably. In the late eighties 41% believed social injustice was the main cause of poverty, now that figure is just 27%. This can be explained in part by the number that blame laziness amongst those on benefits, up from 13% to 22%. 31% of Labour backers see welfare recipients as undeserving, compared to just 21% thirty years ago. The biggest jump: 46% now believe the welfare state encourages dependency, up from just 16% in 1987. You can see how attitudes have changed among Labour supporters by clicking on the interactive chart above. Ed may want to lead the party of welfare, but his voters are not with him.
Talking of headaches for Dave, last night’s ICM/Guardian poll has UKIP on 18%, their highest ever rating and double their ICM rating for a month ago. Labour, the Tories and the LibDems all lost four points each, with Labour falling below Ed’s fabled 35% target. UKIP are up nine points. What was that about a referendum?
So that Obama endorsement Dave was smiling about last night went well then. The PM is getting savaged this morning after jumping on his backbenchers’ bandwagon, only to be told by his new masters that his draft bill is not enough. For all the talk of parliamentary graffiti and time wasting, there is one small silver lining for the Tories; despite the short term pain there is a dividing line here. The LibDems look likely to vote against their 2010 manifesto, yet again, and Miliband is going to have to actually make a decision for once.
It’s not going to wash for Labour abstain or refuse to make a decision either way. They can let off steam today and are right to point out the ridiculous predicament Cameron is in, but it’s make your mind up time for Ed…
Race row peer Lord Ahmed has resigned from the Labour Party this evening. Guido has his resignation letter:
Dear Mr Wilson (National Constitution Committee of the Labour Party Secretary)
I have been considering my position over the weekend and have concluded that I should resign from the membership of the party forthwith and so I do. However, I wish to set out briefly reasons for
I am being held to account following a publication in the Times of an interview alleged to have been given by me some two years ago to a Pakistani Anchor based in Pakistan. I do not recall when this interview was held where this interview was held and nor the person who carried out this interview. All I know is what has been reported in the Times. I reject the core story that emerges out of the alleged interview. It is noteworthy that the only evidence before the National Constitution Committee against me is the Times’ reporting and the translation of the purported transcript of the film. With regard to the offending film I submit NEC of the Labour Party has expressly admitted and I quote “it did not have the firm or video of the interview, reported by the Times and other media”.my decision to resign which I have taken with heavy heart:
In the premises, my solicitor, Steve Smith requested the Times to give disclosure of the footage of the film which is the only evidence against me to enable me to get it forensically tested. In response, my solicitor has one email from the Times promising that this would be disclosed to us. My solicitor indicated to the Times that we wished to have the film forensically examined and had indeed made arrangements for this to be carried out, then the Times backed out and declined to give disclosure of the film. One would then ask “if the film was accurate in its contents and nothing was taken out of context why would the Times be reluctant to disclose it to me.
I believe that justice of the case demands that the film of the interview should be subjected to forensic test in order to search for the truth of the matter. This has been denied to me.It is also quite plain that the Party has not made any independent inquiry before suspending me or even fixing the disciplinary hearing on 15th May 2013.Then the next evidence NEC is relying upon at the proposed disciplinary hearing is the translation of the purported transcript of the alleged interview. I and my solicitor, Mr. Smith has examined it. My solicitor has pointed out to NEC that the said translation has many gaps [inaudible] which put its credibility in issue. I believe it will be against the rules of natural justice to decide my political career in the Labour Party on the basis of the flawed evidence.
Moreover, there is extrinsic evidence which suggests that the translation could not truly be representative of what I have ever said and believe. My past record sufficiently bears this out. I was misquoted by the Daily Telegraph. However, following investigation by the Press Commission my position was vindicated by a finding in my favour. Only very recently my photograph was published in a Pakistani newspaper in which I was alleged to have been greeted by a certain politician there with whom I have had no contact whatsoever for the last 3 years. I was not even in Pakistan at the time and date when it was ascribed to me.
It is somewhat sinister that because of my pursuit of the inquiry of a murder of a Pakistani politician in the streets of London, there are elements in Pakistan who bears grudge against me and might it be the brain child of such elements to temper with the footage of the alleged interview. It is my honest belief that only by deliberate editing of the film unscrupulously such a story has been created and attributed to me to malign me as a member of the Labour Party and member of the House of Lords.
I therefore believe that in the absence of the forensic evidence of the offending video, a fair minded person having known of all the facts of this case would observe that I will not get a fair hearing of the complaint against me. Yet, I am at pains to point out that NEC is going ahead with the disciplinary hearing on 15th May 2013 solely on the basis of the reporting in the Times and the flawed translation of the transcript of the alleged interview.
I may add that much has been made of my “apology” which was published in the Huffington Post. I have made it quite clear previously and do so again that the apology was made without prejudice to my primary position as stated above and to assuage any feelings of antagonism that may been created against me that if at any time I may have said anything inadvertently I wanted to apologise for that. Needless to say that I have many Jewish friends and I felt it was important and necessary to do this.
I am most concerned that the Party which has freedom and justice as it core value and which I endear for decades is content to proceed against me on the basis of incredible and untested evidence. That in deed leads me to believe that the decision might have already been made. In the circumstances I seem to have no alternative but to resign from the Labour P\arty. I do not wish to unnecessarily provide bad press for the Party and/or do anything that would alienate voters from the Party having been a loyal supporter and servant of it for decades.
I will conclude by saying my thanks to the Labour Party – the Party I have served for nearly four decades. I wish it well in the forthcoming elections and whilst I may be resigning my heart will always be with the Party.
I will remain,
Yours very sincerely,
Lord Nazir Ahmed.
Attorney General Warns Press Over Rebekah & Andy | Media Guido
UKIP Pros and Cons | Allister Heath
“The Double Income No Kids Existence” | Alex Deane
David Nicholson to Quit NHS Next Year | HSJ
We Don’t Have Gatsby-esque Inequality | Tim Worstall
Dave Will Still Win in 2015 | Toby Young
Activists Should Ignore the Sneerers | Jacob Rees-Mogg
NHS Can Kill Tories | James Kirkup
Dave Lets Labour Take Credit For Gay Marriage | FT
UKIP Set to Out-Poll Tories | Telegraph
UKIP Spokesperson Slaps Down BBC | The Commentator
Ai Weiwei in China fighting the taxman…
“Under totalitarian rule, no one is protected by law. We will all be the same helpless victims. When a country insists on its lies, it’s time for an artist to bring forth change.”