Sunday News Review

Cable and Osborne clash on banking reform

An interim report by a five-member banking commission, headed by Sir John Vickers, is expected to recommend a series of measures to protect banks’ key functions at times of crisis. The moves are likely to cost banks an extra £5billion but are set to be supported by George Osborne, the Chancellor. However, the recommendations will be contested by Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers including Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, exposing a clear fault line at the top of the government. Mr Cable has in the past called for the big banks such as HSBC, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland to be completely split up into retail and investment arms- and Sir John’s report does not go as far as this. A senior Lib Dem source attempted to distance his party from the findings ahead of Monday’s publication of the commission’s interim report. – the Telegraph

Will Cameron capitulate and rush a reshuffle?

Calls for a reshuffle will have a willing echo chamber in the media: many a blog, news story, TV piece to camera outside Number 10, radio discussion or commentary can be fashioned from debating the misadventures of hapless minister X and contrasting them with the promising prospects of confident minister Y. For those ministers marked with the black spot, this threatens a very unhappy period until the blade falls on their necks or they find themselves reprieved. For those politicians tipped for ascent, this will be a very nervous period until the call comes through inviting them to Number 10 or the phone fails to ring. Rumours of an imminent cull will be fed by those Conservative and Lib Dem MPs who think that their outstanding talents are not being sufficiently recognised in the current ministerial rankings. Those tantalised by the prospect of promotion will find it hard not to encourage journalists to propagate the case for “fresh faces” to reinvigorate the government. If reshuffle speculation gets intense enough, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The prime minister eventually feels compelled to have a reshuffle for no better reason than fear of looking like a wimp if he doesn’t. – the Observer

News of the World apologises, kind of…

What was News International thinking when it released its statement of its intention to apologise on Friday? Getting an apology out of the News of the World has never been easy. Normally, after weeks of front-page splashes and sensational headlines, a tiny, mealy-mouthed apology appears in what feels like the gardening section. So the surprise announcement by News International that it had “decided to approach some civil litigants with an unreserved apology” raised the question of whether such apologies were also going to be in the usual house style. There are some serious qualifications to this “unreserved apology”. It is limited only to voicemail interception during the years 2004-2006. There is no admission or apology for anybody who believes that they were intercepted before that. To discover the full extent of interception before 2004 and after 2006, the civil actions and the latest Met investigation will have to keep pushing forward. In the excitement of receiving any admission whatsoever from News International, we could overlook just how narrow it is. – Independent

Labour’s top team are bezzie “mates”

In a magazine interview last week that has already achieved notoriety, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, said David Cameron was not a personal friend. Does Mr Miliband regard Mr Balls, recently described by the Prime Minister as “the most annoying person in modern politics “as a “mate”?  “Absolutely. I think he is a brilliant shadow chancellor and our relationship will be a foundation for the next Labour government because we know each other well and we admire each other.” The Labour leader also insists the pair will not be subject to the same damaging psychodrama as their predecessors as Labour opposition leader and shadow chancellor, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. “We had front-row seats at the Blair-Brown movie and we are not about to repeat it.” – the Telegraph

Nurses to warn of cuts danger

Nurse leaders will warn this week that poor morale and job cuts threaten to derail the government’s reform programme of the NHS in England. The issues will be key themes of the Royal College of Nursing’s annual conference in Liverpool. RCN leader Peter Carter has said nurses were being pushed to the limit, working extra hard to keep services going. A Department of Health spokesman said an extra £11.5bn of funding was being ploughed into the NHS. The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, is not expected to give a speech at the conference but will meet delegates. It is understood he is attending the conference as part of the government’s “listening exercise” over its shake-up of the health service. Dr Carter told the BBC he accepted the NHS had to save billions of pounds over the next four years but said it was wrong to cut front line staff. “We are seeing not just nurses, but cleaners, doctors and speech therapists’ posts being cut. That is the reality,” he said. – BBC

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