Wednesday News Review

Speculation over Hague’s future

WILLIAM HAGUE has achieved the impossible – he’s more ­incompetent than Michael Gove. The blundering Just William in the Foreign Office is a bigger joke than even the dunce at the Education ­Department. Hague’s aides frantically ringing anyone who’ll listen to insist Willie’s not lost his Mojo means they know he’s sinking fast in the quick sands of Libya. Cameron’s Con-servative deputy’s a proud man, as we witnessed when he quit as Tory leader on the dawn of the party’s 2001 thumping. Willie enjoys telling the jokes – not squirming as the butt of merciless jibes. Yet his future ended with the botched SAS expedition to Libya, Hague a bumbling Private Pike when what’s needed is a smart Andy McNab. Critics are queuing up to kick sand in his face. MPs last night openly speculated in the Commons about when not if he’ll quit. – the Mirror

On Tuesday Mr Hague was forced to defend himself against questions about his commitment to his job and his handling of the crisis in the Middle East. He insisted that he intended to stay in place “for an extended period”, but failed to quell speculation in Westminster about his future. Mr Hague has faced repeated criticism over his handling of the crisis in Libya. This week he has come under fire for the botched SAS and MI6 mission to contact groups in eastern Libya rebelling against the rule of Col Muammar Gaddafi. He was also criticised for mistakenly suggesting last month that the Libyan dictator had fled the country. Allies of Mr Hague have told The Daily Telegraph they believe that criticism of him is being privately encouraged by other Cabinet ministers. A senior Foreign Office source said: “The root of the problem for William Hague is that he sits in a Cabinet where several other ministers think they could do his job better than he could.” – the Telegraph

William Hague has has sparked renewed speculation about his commitment to his job as foreign secretary with a convoluted explanation about having to shoulder responsibilities for an “extended period of time” during the historic events in the Arab world. Amid Tory fears that Hague is losing the will to fight after a row last year about sharing a hotel room with his special adviser, the foreign secretary was on Tuesday forced to deny that he is considering whether to resign after the failure of an SAS mission in eastern Libya. Hague, who faced Labour accusations in the commons on Monday of “serial bungling” in response to the Libyan crisis, found himself under pressure when Sir Menzies Campbell questioned his commitment to his job. “I am not sure just how enthusiastic he is about this business,” Campbell told BBC2’s Newsnight on Monday night. “It is very, very hard. It is a very, very demanding job.” The intervention by the former Liberal Democrat leader prompted a tortuous response from Hague when he was challenged about his position during a press conference with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. – the Guardian

Welfare reform bill will be a disaster for cancer patients

The coalition’s radical plans to reform the benefits system has come under attack from an unprecedented alliance of 30 cancer charities, who warn that the welfare reform bill will leave tens of thousands of people with cancer worse off and risks “pushing some into poverty”. The charities have written to Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, urging him to rethink plans in the bill that will mean a “significant number of people with cancer will be left without vital financial support at a time when they need it the most”. The bill is due to receive its second reading in the Commons on Wednesday. The warning came as Labour backbenchers put pressure on Ed Miliband to vote against the entire bill, a move the leadership fears would send a signal that the party is opposed to welfare reform. There are signs that support for the bill’s principles is beginning to fray due to opposition to specific elements of it. The shadow work and welfare secretary, Liam Byrne, endured a difficult meeting of the parliamentary Labour party on Monday night, with some MPs demanding outright opposition. The shadow cabinet agreed that the party should table a highly critical amendment, and then abstain on second reading, a tactic that could lead to rank-and-file Labour MPs voting against it in one of the first rebellions of Miliband’s leadership. – the Guardian

In a letter to Iain Duncan Smith, the organisations said they feared the planned overhaul could push people with the disease into poverty and heavy debt. The warning comes as the Work and Pensions Secretary’s Welfare Reform Bill enters its Second Reading in the Commons – the first opportunity for MPs to vote on the changes. The signatories, which include Cancer Research, Macmillan Cancer Support and Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “We agree that the welfare system needs reform and welcome proposals to simplify a system that is currently confusing and bureaucratic. “However, we are extremely concerned that changes to disability benefits will mean that a significant number of people with cancer will be left without vital financial support at a time when they need it the most. We would like to work with you to make sure this Government’s welfare reforms do not have the very undesirable consequence of pushing some people with cancer into poverty.” – PA

A British bill of rights?

A commission will be set up within days to consider whether the Government should bring in a “British Bill of Rights” following mounting controversy over rulings by the European Court of Human Rights. The move will delight Conservative MPs, many of whom want Britain to curb the power of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) after it ordered the Government to grant prisoners the vote at general elections. The Liberal Democrats will back the creation of the commission but do not want to dilute the Human Rights Act, which incorporated the ECHR into British law. The commission will try to find a compromise acceptable to the Coalition partners but ministers in both parties admit the divide between them may be too wide to be bridged. The commission will have an independent chairman and will include a wide range of experts on human rights laws and the constitution. It will be announced jointly by Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister. – the Independent

One Response to “Wednesday News Review”

  1. DearEngland says:

    Not only will the new welfare bill affect cancer patients it will harm all those who claim.

    I am shocked and disgusted that the labour party have not condemned this whole bill, mind you much of the bill is what they would have implemented anyway.

    The whole of the labour party should vote against this bill, have politicians forgot what morals are all about?

    Labour and the coalition are as guilty as each other for targetting the sick and disabled just to try and score points with the right wing media, shame on all of them…

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