Sunday News Review

Diane gets health gig

Ed Miliband gave defeated Labour leadership rival Diane Abbott a key job as shadow public health minister yesterday. The appointment of Ms Abbott means all the new leader’s challengers have been given posts in his top team – apart from his brother David, who decided not to run for a frontbench job. She will serve under the newly-appointed Shadow Health Secretary John Healey. A source close to Mr Miliband said: “Ed believes Diane Abbott will bring passion, formidable communication skills and combative political abilities to this key role.” Mr Miliband also appointed Kevan Jones and rising star Michael Dugher as shadow defence ministers. – The Mirror

Ed Miliband has recruited failed Labour leadership challenger Diane Abbott to his shadow ministerial ranks.  Ms Abbott, a left-winger, came last in the contest to succeed Gordon Brown and she also lacked the support needed from fellow Labour MPs to be elected to the shadow cabinet. But Mr Miliband, who is still appointing to the lower ranks of his first shadow team, has made her shadow public health minister. – Sky

“We’re all in this together”

David Cameron and George Osborne were the guests of honour at a lavish £25,000 party – just hours before they unveiled savage spending cuts. The Prime Minister and Chancellor joined more than 60 senior Tories at one of Britain’s top restaurants for the exclusive event[…]His guests enjoyed a four-course meal washed down with champagne and up to 24 bottles of Pétrus – dubbed “the most expensive wine in the world”. Just hours earlier Mr Osborne had delivered his “we’re all in this together” message at the Tory conference – announcing his plans to axe child benefit payments to 1.2million families. – The Mirror

Healey warns of risk to NHS

BRITONS are proud of the NHS and Labour has been proud to be its biggest champion.But health will be the biggest battleground in public services between now and the election. What the Government has in store for the NHS is a big risk. At breakneck speed it is set to dismantle the service as we know it and scrap national standards. Patient care should be the priority but staff will be tied up in the biggest NHS reorganisation since it was founded. The estimated £3billion cost would be better spent on patients. – John Healey, The People

The Yorkshire Mafia

Each Thursday night the new Labour leader could in future be joined on the train to his constituency by fellow MPs from Yorkshire and the Humber: Alan Johnson, Hilary Benn, Ed Balls, Caroline Flint, Rosie Winterton, Yvette Cooper, Mary Creagh, Jon Trickett and John Healey…”It just shows what a breadth of talent and experience Yorkshire MPs have,” said Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East, who was yesterday tipped as a junior shadow Defence minister. “It is good for Yorkshire, but in the first meeting of the Shadow Cabinet they are not going to pass a motion to relocate Parliament to Yorkshire, or abolish Lancashire.” – The Independent

Oh Charlie

Charlie Whelan, the former Labour spin doctor, has blamed the party’s election defeat squarely on Lord Mandelson and urged “annoying” David Miliband to “get a life” after his failed leadership battle. Whelan launched a no-holds barred attack on some of the biggest names in the Labour party in the wake of his resignation as political director of the Unite union last month. In an interview with the Times, Whelan described Labour’s latest election campaign as an “unmitigated disaster”, orchestrated by Mandelson. He also revealed how his first vote in the recent Labour leadership contest had gone to old friend Ed Balls, not Ed Miliband. – The Guardian

Vince makes massive U-turn

Vince Cable has placed himself on a collision course with members of his Liberal Democrat party by declaring that the idea of a graduate tax to fund higher education is dead. The business secretary’s admission, in an email to party members on the eve of the publication of the most significant review of university funding in decades, confirms that he has accepted the case for higher tuition fees. Cable – like all Lib Dem MPs – signed a pledge at the recent Lib Dem conference to oppose any increase in fees. – The Guardian

Business Secretary Vince Cable has backed down on his plan to slap a “graduate tax” on students to help pay for their courses. The move comes ahead of the publication this week of a Government review into university funding by ex-BP boss Lord Browne. Lord Browne is expected to recommend that highearning graduates pay higher interest on their student loans. He is also expected to suggest that universities should be allowed to triple annual fees to up to £10,000 a year. Lord Browne looks set to rule out the idea of a graduate tax – a big blow to Lib Dem Business Secretary Mr Cable, who championed the idea. – The Mirror

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