Sunday News Review

Tory revolt over Oldham & Saddleworth

David Cameron faced a revolt from rebel Tory MPs last night over claims that he is secretly backing so-called ‘purple plotters’ who want a merger with the Liberal Democrats. Leading Conservative MP Mark Pritchard challenged the Prime Minister to make it clear that he will not allow Tory ‘zealots’ to form a new ‘Frankenstein’ party with Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems at any time, locally or nationally. Unless the plan is stopped in its tracks, the Tory faithful could refuse to campaign for the party in future elections, warned Mr Pritchard, secretary of the influential backbench Conservative 1922 Committee. His threat comes after a growing number of senior Tories, including former Prime Minister Sir John Major, have promoted the idea of maintaining the Tory-Lib Dem alliance after the next Election. – Daily Mail

I know that we are into a new and different sort of politics, what with two parties forming the government and all that, but the bigger of those two parties really is taking the mick in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election. Both parties deserve to be punished as a result. It takes a fair bit for me to feel sorry for a Tory, but it is hard not to feel some sympathy with the Tory candidate, Kashif Ali, who has effectively been thrown to the scavenging Lib Dem wolves. From David Cameron down, the message is clear – we will say we are pulling out the stops for poor old Kashif, but we’re not really, and for heaven’s sake don’t do anything that looks remotely like an organised campaign. International development minister Andrew Mitchell seems to have gone further, saying they will do all they can to help the Lib Dems. – Alastair Campbell

Ed’s 100 days

Failure is half-acknowledged in the setting up of a sweeping policy review. But before that process is complete there must be an interim reckoning with New Labour’s legacy. The party needs to know what it is campaigning to preserve as well as what to change. Mr Miliband will himself spend his 100th day in the job campaigning to help Labour retain the marginal seat of Oldham and Saddleworth in a byelection. Inevitably, the contest is being held up as a test of progress against the coalition. Labour’s eviction from power is too recent to expect the party to start looking like a fresh alternative government. That is a long-haul project. But it starts with a clear account of what was right and what went wrong under New Labour. It requires also an account of the leader’s governing principles. After 100 days, Ed Miliband has not yet properly explained to the country as a whole who he is and what he believes. He shouldn’t waste any more time. – Observer

All in this together

Chancellor George Osborne, who defied austerity Britain by taking a luxury break at Prince Charles’s favourite ski resort, Klosters. Ironically, it was Mr Osborne who coined the phrase ‘we’re all in this together’ when calling for massive cuts to get the country out of the red at the 2009 Tory Party Conference. Meanwhile tycoon MP Zac Goldsmith was reportedly sunning himself at a £8,000-a-week villa in the Caribbean over the New Year – in contrast to David Cameron, who scrapped plans for an expensive holiday in Thailand for fear of sending the wrong message to voters. – Daily Mail

Cameron vs Tory right

Conservative backbenchers are preparing to ambush the controversial European Union Bill which goes before the Commons when MPs return from their Christmas break. Eurosceptic Tories will table radical changes to the legislation, which they claim does not deliver on its promise of a referendum on future transfers of powers to the European Union. If the changes strengthening the legislation are not accepted by the Government, some Conservatives said they might even vote down the entire Bill. Last night Labour sources signalled that Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, will order his MPs to oppose the legislation too. The prospect of a pincer movement of Labour MPs and Tory rebels is acutely worrying for Mr Cameron, whose Coalition majority of 76 would be overturned if just over half that number of Tories joined forces with Labour. – Telegraph

More broken NHS promises from Lansley

Promises to improve mental health care for millions of people a year are at risk of being broken as the Government scraps plans to invest money in high-quality research. The coalition’s new mental health strategy, expected to be published shortly, fails to recognise the importance of research in reducing the huge burden of mental illness. This flies in the face of its own promises and of compelling evidence, experts warn. Mental illness is the country’s leading cause of personal suffering, economic loss and social problems, costing England alone more than £105bn in 2009. Those with mental health problems are more likely to get cancer or have a heart attack, for reasons that are little understood. Less than £75m of public money is spent each year on relevant research, a fraction of the sums spent on cancer and heart disease. – Independent

One Response to “Sunday News Review”

  1. Rob Marchant says:

    Hmm. We think someone at the Observer reads The Centre Left…a very odd similarity.

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