Posts Tagged ‘poll lead’

Wednesday News Review

01/06/2011, 06:28:39 AM

Another inquiry for Huhne

Chris Huhne is facing a second potentially damaging inquiry after the elections watchdog announced it was reviewing all his expenses from the general election in response to allegations he broke the rules. The electoral commission has launched a case review into the energy secretary’s election expenses after receiving detailed claims that he failed to declare all his spending. The matter, which could be referred to the police, comes as Essex police prepares to conclude its inquiry into allegations that Huhne broke the law by asking his wife to take points he incurred for speeding. Last week, the electoral commission rejected a complaint due to insufficient evidence from two Liberal Democrat councillors in Huhne’s Eastleigh constituency that he made false declarations in his election expenses. But on Tuesday an official case review was launched after more detailed allegations were made by the Sunlight Centre for Open Democracy, which is run by Paul Staines and Harry Cole, who also writes for the rightwing Guido Fawkes blog. – the Guardian

Beleaguered Energy Secretary Chris Huhne was under fresh pressure last night after an investigation was launched into allegations that he broke strict spending rules in last year’s general election. The Electoral Commission said it was beginning an inquiry into claims that the Lib Dem Cabinet minister failed to declare spending on leaflets that would have taken him over the limit allowed for candidates in a general election. The complaint is also likely to be referred to the police. The Sunlight Centre for Open Politics, which lodged the complaint, said it had found evidence of a potential overspend. The Electoral Commission said an initial examination of the complaint suggested the ‘possibility of an offence under Representation of the People Act 1983’.  It will now hold a full case review. – Daily Mail

The allegation, which refers to hundreds of pounds in printing and staffing costs and the development of a website, will be reviewed before the commission decides whether to undertake a full inquiry. It is separate from a complaint made about the Energy Secretary’s election expenses by two Liberal Democrat councillors, which was rejected on Friday. A spokesman for the commission said: “The commission received an allegation regarding Chris Huhne MP’s 2010 general election expenses on 25 May. “Following an initial assessment of the information, we have now started a case review into the matter. The review will look to establish the facts of the case, firstly for the purposes of transparency and also for possible future guidance.” Last night, Mr Huhne said: “I have full confidence that my agent has declared my election expenses correctly and I look forward to this complaint being rejected as roundly as the last one.” – Daily Telegraph

What happened to defending the NHS Dave?

Hundreds of hospital beds are being axed, despite David Cameron’s vow to defend the National Health Service. A leaked memo from a health trust boss revealed some of England’s biggest hospitals are cutting up to 10% of beds as they make £20billion of savings. Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is to shed about 200, while Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust loses 80. In London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust expects to cut up to 160 – or 10% – of beds as it saves £70million. The dramatic scale of the cuts was revealed in a memo from Trust boss Claire Perry. Christina McAnea, of Unison, said: “The myth that the NHS is protected from cuts needs to be exposed.” Two weeks ago the PM said there were no cuts. – Daily Mirror

Peers prepare for the long haul

Four-fifths of peers are opposed to a wholly or mainly elected upper House, a poll has suggested. Deep-seated opposition to the reforms, seen as a key objective for the Liberal Democrats, will worry senior figures in the coalition government as they assess the difficulties of pushing change through parliament. The research was carried out by the Times newspaper. Only 310 of the Lords’ 789 members responded but the newspaper said the proportions were roughly accurate with the political make-up of the second chamber. Eighty-one per cent of peers are happy with the Lords as it is at present. Lib Dem peers are divided on the issue. Nearly two-thirds believe the Lords functions effectively in its current form, but a majority support a large elected element. The government could use the Parliament Act to override a rejection of the reforms in the Lords – but nearly three-quarters of peers believe taking this step would be unconstitutional. –

Labour loses it’s lead for the first time in seven months

Labour has lost its lead over the Tories for the first time in seven months as Ed Miliband struggles to make an impact with the public, according to ComRes’s poll for The Independent. It shows the parties running neck and neck following a turbulent political month in which Labour was trounced in elections to the Scottish Parliament and recorded a mixed performance in contests for English councils. The poll finds that Labour support has dropped two points since the last ComRes survey to 37 per cent, putting the party level with the Tories, whose support has fallen by one point. Liberal Democrats will be relieved that their recent dramatic collapse in popularity appears to have ended, with their party’s backing recovering by one point to 12 per cent. Support for other parties, including the SNP, Ukip and the Greens, is up by two points to 14 per cent. Labour’s lead rose to a high of nine points after the Chancellor, George Osborne, set out plans for spending cuts in the autumn, but has dropped away since then. Its continuing failure to break through will dismay party strategists and could raise questions about Mr Miliband’s leadership. – the Independent

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