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— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) July 17, 2014
Looks like the only thing anyone was drinking at breakfast was awkward juice…
— Bruno Waterfield (@BrunoBrussels) July 17, 2014
David Cameron is to announce plans that threaten to pull Britain out of the European Court of Human Rights, Guido understands. Axed Home Office minister Damian Green wrote a paper preparing the government for a move towards withdrawal prior to him losing his job at this week’s reshuffle. Guido is told that the departure of Dominic Grieve as Attorney General paves the way for the government to toughen its stance on the ECHR. Nick Robinson was apparently the desired conduit…
Harriet Harman has bitten, writing to David Cameron accusing him of lying about her tax rise comments on LBC:
Dear Prime Minister,
You claimed at Prime Minister’s Questions today that “yesterday Labour announced – in an important announcement – that it is now their policy to put up taxes on middle income people”. This is not true. It is a lie.
In fact, as you surely know, since your own party circulated a transcript later, I had made a straightforward defence of our system of progressive taxation – the idea that people on higher incomes should – and do – pay more in tax overall than people on lower incomes. The full quote is here:
“But I would say Henry one of the things that I would argue that might, should probably make a really big difference to you is having a really good health service. Because you don’t want to have to pay for health insurance. You don’t want to have to pay to go private to get really good healthcare system. And I think that is not just for working class people it’s for middle class people as well. And the same with education, you know, really good school system that helps people from lower income families and middle income families as well so I think that actually the idea that there are some things that help people on low incomes and other that help people on middle incomes. Yes I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes. But actually they need those public services like the transport system.”
Harriet Harman, LBC, 14 July 2014
It is utterly clear that this is not a call for higher taxes, but a defence of a system which has previously commanded wide support, in which people on middle incomes contribute more than people on lower incomes.
While the principle of progressive taxation has been undermined in recent years, by your Government’s decision to raise VAT and to cut the top rate of tax for the highest earners, even you had not seriously questioned it until today.
Our politics, and the quality of public debate, requires that all participants, however much they may disagree, take part in good faith.
Harriet Harman MP
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
Does anyone seriously believe Labour won’t raise taxes?
For some reason Harman left this part of the transcript out of her letter, presumably because it included another uncosted spending pledge:
“Well I think that is a very interesting point actually Henry because sometimes people feel that they pay in a lot over a long period of time working hard but when they suddenly need unemployment benefit if they lose their job that actually it is nowhere near enough to actually make them feel that it was worth it for them to contribute. And one of the things that we are talking about is making a higher rate the longer you’ve worked to recognise the contributions you’ve paid in if you lose your job.”
How are they going to pay for that, another bankers’ bonus tax?
David Cameron – Prime Minister
Nick Clegg – Deputy Prime Minister
William Hague – First Secretary of State, Leader of the House of Commons
George Osborne – Chancellor of the Exchequer
Danny Alexander – Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Theresa May – Secretary of State for the Home Department
Michael Fallon – Secretary of State for Defence
Vince Cable – Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
Iain Duncan Smith – Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Chris Grayling – Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
Nicky Morgan – Secretary of State for Education, Women & Equalities Min.
Eric Pickles – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Jeremy Hunt – Secretary of State for Health
Elizabeth Truss – Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Justine Greening – Secretary of State for International Development
Alistair Carmichael – Secretary of State for Scotland
Edward Davey – Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Patrick McLoughlin – Secretary of State for Transport
Sajid Javid – Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Theresa Villiers – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Stephen Crabb – Secretary of State for Wales
Philip Hammond – Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Also attending Cabinet
Michael Gove – Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
Francis Maude – Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General
Matt Hancock – Minister of State for BIS, DECC and Portsmouth
Esther McVey - Minister of State for Employment
Oliver Letwin – Minister for Government Policy, Lord Privy Seal
David Laws – Minister of State for Cabinet Office, Schools
Grant Shapps - Minister Without Portfolio
Baroness Warsi – Senior Minister of State, Faith and Communities
Greg Clark – Minister of State for Universities and Science
Jeremy Wright – Attorney General
Baroness Stowell - Leader of the House of Lords
The PM left his Lobby summer drinks party early last night to hammer out an agreement with rowing ministers over new emergency snooping legislation. This morning Cameron and Clegg announced that fast-track laws would be rushed through to allow spooks to keep snooping on our communications, after it was made illegal in the European courts. Civil liberties campaigners Big Brother Watch have condemned the move:
“It is a basic principle of a free society that you don’t monitor people who are not under suspicion. Considering the Snoopers Charter has already been rejected by the public as well as by the highest court in Europe, it is essential that the Government does not rush head first into creating new legislation.
The EU’s data retention laws privatised snooping, meaning companies were paid by governments to record what citizens were doing and retain that information for a year. We need to get back to a point where the police monitor people who are actually suspected of wrong doing and rather than wasting millions every year requiring data to be stored on an indiscriminate basis.”
Open Rights Group adds:
“The government knows that since the CJEU ruling, there is no legal basis for making internet service providers retain our data so it is using the threat of terrorism as an excuse for getting this law passed. The Government has had since April to address the CJEU ruling but it is only now that organisations such as ORG are threatening legal action that this has become an ‘emergency’.
Not only will the proposed legislation infringe our right to privacy, it will also set a dangerous precedent where the government simply re-legislates every time it disagrees with a decision by the CJEU. The ruling still stands and these new plans may actually increase the amount of our personal data that is retained by ISPs, further infringing on our right to privacy. Blanket surveillance needs to end.”
No. 10 says the legislation will make life harder for terrorists, crooks and paedos. But it gives the state the power to access the phone and email data of everyone…
When Nick Clegg went on Desert Island Discs after the election, he told the tale that when he was considering joining David Cameron in a coalition government, he texted a mutual friend and asked him, “Can I trust this guy?”
As Guido revealed for the first time in the Sun on Sunday yesterday, the friend who told him “yes” was Tim Luke. The Old Etonian who vouched for David Cameron is in a way responsible for bringing this coalition government together. Luke’s previous claim to fame was hitting the headlines for walking in front of the camera while James Corden was presenting the Brit Awards.
The PM later appointed him to No.10’s policy unit. Could Tim’s leaving party next week – he’s off back to Barclays investment bank – be a sign the coalition is beginning to prepare for the end?
The reshuffle speculation level has been raised from ‘fevered’ to ‘panicked’. Guido hears that Downing Street have instructed departments not to schedule anything for a week today. This, however, could be anything from an elaborate bluff, to an unintentional display of competence. The latest chatter still says it’s going to be ladies night and whilst plenty of women MPs are expected to rise up the ranks, vivacious and pushy Esther McVey – tipped for the cabinet by many – is in fact still in the PM’s doghouse after her spectacularly unhelpful comments during the Maria Miller scandal. Penny Mordaunt, who has impressed recently, is tipped to replace Andrew Murrison at Defence.
Whilst previously Cameron has preferred tinkering reshuffles, there are some whispers of a big upheaval that could even see a job swap between Iain Duncan-Smith at Defence and Phil Hammond at Work and Pensions. Hammond is not hugely popular with the top brass, and could deploy his famed safe pair of hands at DWP, while IDS, a former military man, would be unlikely to accept any other job. Speculation about the future of Grant Shapps at CCHQ has all but died out, while Ken Clarke seems resigned to his fate. This is all rumour mill though…
Any government reshuffle will indicate that the new EU commissioner has been decided, which would point to a delay. Andrew Lansley is said to be out, Willetts has let it be known he speaks French and German, while others say Michael Howard is still worth an outside bet. Lord Howard has certainly not ruled himself out of one last big job, and the PM owes him one after Dave’s then boss delayed the 2005 leadership election to let his favoured successor get their campaign in gear. It would also avoid a messy by-election.
Some in No. 10 are anticipating that in all likelihood No. 10’s first option for Commissioner will be ‘Junck-ed’ in petty retaliation. While in the past, Downing Street have allowed reshuffle rumours to last for months, cunningly keeping everyone on best behaviour, they’re running out of time to bed in new ministers in well before the election. It’s hardly like they’re going to be legislating much, mind.
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) July 7, 2014
There is growing concern this morning over Google removing articles from their search results in order to comply with a European court ruling giving individuals with embarrassing pasts a so-called “right to be forgotten”. Talking of awkward things disappearing from the internet, the House of Commons Library last night decided to remove a blogpost on its website laying into Cameron for being generous with his figures at PMQs this week. Commenting on the PM’s boast about improving hospital waiting times, the Library originally judged that the data “did not support” Dave’s claim, accusing him of a “simplistic reading” of the facts. Labour were naturally very pleased that parliament’s impartial research service had gone after the PM so strongly.
Now the blog has been deleted by the Library:
Though they aren’t taking back the criticism made in the original post…
It has been two years since Guido applied the ‘Red Princes‘ neologism to Labour’s nepotistic sons, who are seeking to inherit power from their political parents. Sorry Bercow, but someone has been reading…
“We’ve got son of Blair, son of Straw, son of Prescott, son of Dromey. When you take out the Red Princes, you’ll find that 80% of their candidates are union sponsored. They bought the candidates, they bought the policies, they bought the leader, we must never let them near the country.”
Is Joe Dromey going to get his mum to complain again?
PC Worries Prevent Police Protecting Young Girls | Jill Kirby
Miliband Should Win Rochester | Martin Kettle
Thatcher Minister Sir John Nott ‘Voted for UKIP’ | Times
Time to Listen to Drugs Experts | Guardian
Drug Laws Don’t Work | Times
Our Moral Duty to Cut Taxes | David Cameron
Greens Ahead of LibDems | Guardian
Channel 4 to Spoof UKIP Election Win | Guardian
The Threat to Press Freedom | Paul Dacre
White House Scoop Strategy | Post
Labour Council Retweets BNP Endorsement | HandF Forum
David Cameron drug policy reformer and leadership contender in 2005…
“Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades.”