Having covered cancer and rape to get the PM on the back-foot, Guido is wondering what Ed will scrape from the bottom of the moral barrel this week. As Athens burns thanks to their unions, and the Labour leader suddenly wakes up to the fact that he is on the wrong side of public opinion regarding the strikes here, he’s going to have to pull something pretty special at noon. Famine? Floods? Sick puppies? If he has any sense he will go on the crime revelations in today’s Times. Burglary is up 18%.
Ed may have lost out on the sentencing debacle, failing to land a single blow and remarkably ending up as muddled as Ken Clarke, but all is not lost on the planned outflanking of the Tories on crime. As police budgets are slashed, crime is on the up. Look out for the third-party hitting the airwaves as soon as the PM sits down. If a plan works, stick to it…
UPDATE: Talking of Ed and strikes, Total Politics’ Amber Elliot reports that Grahame Morris, PPS to shadow climage change secretary Meg Hillier is “very close” to quitting over Ed’s stance on the strikes an “pandering to the right of the party.” Apparently they are trying to talk him out of going before midday. Is this what the brothers were expecting when they anointed Ed?
Welsh Labour MP Wayne David asked what seemed like vicious question at PMQs about the Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan:
WD: The Secretary of State for Wales has said that she is prepared to be sacked because of her opposition to Government policy on high-speed rail. Will the Prime Minister take her up on that very kind offer?
PM: I prefer to focus on the fact that in one year as Welsh Secretary, she has secured something that 13 years of Labour Welsh Secretaries never achieved, which is the electrification of the line between Paddington and Cardiff.
On first impression it looks like handbags at Welsh dawn, but when you consider that Guido saw Wayne and Cheryl enjoying a very public drink on the terrace last night, the plot thickens. As the HS2 debate warms up, did Gillan put her Welsh comrade up to remind the Prime Minister of her threat?
With Miliband using all of his questions at PMQs to pin down the Prime Minister on figures from Macmillan Cancer Care that suggest 7,000 patients will be losing out on benefits, the attack was clearly planned in advance. Suspiciously quickly, as in within three minutes after the PM sat down, Mike Hobday from Macmillan was on the Daily Politics defending Miliband’s use of their figures.
Convenient that Hobday was in place outside the Daily Politics and Sky Millbank studios immediately after PMQs…
What a coincidence that he’s a former Labour Party staffer and councillor. He stood for Labour in Welwyn Hatfield at the last election. Miliband denied his attack was a smokescreen, but Hobday just admitted to Sky that he was “pre-warned”. And the rest…
UPDATE: Theo Usherwood, a Press Association political reporter, says Macmillan sent out a statement on Miliband’s questions at 12.10 p.m., unprecedented partisan coordination from a major charity.
“There are 2,493 Pilgrims across the public sector, union officials, paid not to provide the service they represent, but instead do political activities that should be funded by the unions. Without having to pay their staff, the unions can spend the money raised through their subs on other things, like keeping the Labour Party solvent.”
Well there was certainly one happy reader. This is what Aidan Burley had to ask at PMQs:
Mr Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase) (Con): There are currently 2,500 trade union representatives across the public sector paid not to provide the service that they represent but to carry out campaigning activities that should be funded by the unions—and because the unions do not pay their salaries, they can spend their subs on other things, such as subsidising that lot over there. Does the Prime Minister not think it time that that was reformed?
The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend raises an important point. [Hon. Members: “No he doesn’t!”] It is interesting that whenever someone raises a point about union funding they get shouted down by the Labour party, because Labour Members do not want any examination of what trade unions do, or how much money they give to the Labour party. [Interruption.] I think that they protest a little too much
This week, Guido will be exposing another Pilgrim, this time a teacher. In the meantime Guido strongly encourages Aidan and his collegues to sign EDM1799 demanding an end to this obscene loophole.
What We Learned From the Referendum | FT
Scottish Crisis Moves South | Nick Wood
English Democrats Accidentally Celebrate Yes Victory | Pink News
Union In Its Current Form is Dead | Janan Ganesh
Labour Could Be Split in Two | Sun
Ashcroft Poll: Why Scotland Voted No | Buzzfeed
Boris: Change Barnett Formula | Sun
Cameron is Back | Dan Hodges
What Happens Now | James Kirkup
Cairo of the North | Quentin Letts
Labour are the Biggest Losers | Phil Collins
Diane Abbott on the Daily Politics:
“Labour MPs will unite behind Ed Miliband, once we find out what our policies are.”