Tuesday News Review

Libya summit in London

Around 40 different international delegations are meeting today in London for a conference on military action in Libya. David Cameron has said he hopes the meeting will ensure “maximum political and diplomatic unity” between nations.The meeting comes as a poll for the Independent finds seven out of ten voters fear Libya will turn into a drawn-out conflict like Iraq. There are also concerns over defence cuts affecting the mission, with the Telegraph reporting there may not be enough pilots to man RAF planes flying over Libya. President Obama last night said the USA had to act on Libya due to the “violence on a horrific scale”, but warned that US forces would not be bogged down trying to remove Colonel Gaddafi from power. – Politics Home

Refounding Labour

Members of the public will be given a formal role in the choice of Labour’s policies, candidates and future leaders under far-reaching reforms to be unveiled today. Ed Miliband will offer ordinary people the chance to become “registered supporters” free of charge without paying Labour’s £41-a-year subscription fee. He will also invite pressure groups such as “green” bodies and non-governmental organisations to become “registered bodies”. The aim of the “Refounding Labour” project is to combat the decline in membership, which has afflicted all political parties, and to transform Labour into an outward-looking party for the internet age. Labour sources deny that the real goal is to dilute the influence of the trade unions, who have half the votes at the party’s annual conference and a third of the votes in the electoral college which chooses the Labour leader. However, that could be one side-effect of the drive to broaden Labour’s base, since some of the voting power enjoyed by ordinary members and unions could be reduced to hand a share to the new registered supporters and bodies. – the Independent

Experienced police to be given the chop

More than 2,000 of the country’s most experienced police officers could be forced to retire by 2015 as forces try to cut costs, according to Labour. Although police officers cannot be made redundant, officers with 30 or more years’ experience can be made to retire early under existing regulations. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said it was “deeply worrying” 13 forces had decided to use them in some form. Ministers have said savings can be made without affecting front-line policing. Police budgets are being cut by 20% over the next four years, with a 4% cut in the first year and 5% the year after. But ministers insist these savings are achievable by cutting bureaucracy and more efficient use of resources, including forces sharing some back-office functions. Fully sworn police officers are servants of the Crown, not employees, so they cannot be made redundant under existing laws. However, forces are able to get permission to use a regulation known as A19 to make officers with 30 years’ experience or more retire early. – BBC

Ed to speak at “yes” event

Changing the voting system will benefit Britain’s “progressive majority”, Ed Miliband will say as he campaigns alongside senior Liberal Democrats for a “yes” vote in the May 5 referendum. The Labour leader will share the stage with other supporters of a switch to the Alternative Vote (AV) system, including ex-Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. There will be no place though for Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, with whom Mr Miliband has refused to appear publicly, calling him a liability to the campaign and advising him to “lie low”. A planned event which would have brought the Labour leader and Mr Kennedy together was cancelled earlier this month amid reports of behind-the-scenes disagreements over the line-up. Mr Miliband will use the event to say that the first-past-the-post system had allowed theConservatives too often to take power because the political left was “divided”. – Press Association

Coalition split on mansion tax

Research compiled by ministers has shown that rich households could be hit with bills of more than £7,500 a year if the policy was introduced. The system would cost more than £260million to administer, making it an inefficient way of raising revenue, senior Conservatives have warned. Over the weekend, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, both gave interviews in which they speculated that a new tax could be introduced on expensive properties to replace the 50p higher rate of income tax. The Liberal Democrats previously backed a ”mansion tax’’ on properties worth more than £1million. The scheme would require a revaluation of all homes in England. Last night, a senior Government source said: “This is not going to happen – it is an academic discussion. ”The Coalition agreement rules out a council tax revaluation and this is a red line.” … Yesterday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister sought to play down speculation that a ”mansion tax’’ would be introduced. – the Telegraph

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