Sunday News Review

Chris Hunhe’s dishonourable conduct

Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne’s Cabinet future was in doubt last night after sensational details were revealed of a phone call he made to the person he allegedly persuaded to take his speeding points so he could avoid a driving ban. The phone call, which is corroborated by taped evidence, flies in the face of the Liberal Democrat MP’s repeated public denials of the allegations. It suggests that in private the Energy Secretary is involved in a desperate attempt to cover up the truth to save his political career. In the phone call, which took place in recent weeks before The Mail on Sunday revealed the allegation last week, Mr Huhne warned the person who took the penalty points not to let ‘the genie’ out of the bottle by revealing what really happened. – Mail on Sunday

Mr Huhne’s political career is in the balance following the allegations made last week by Vicky Pryce, whom he left after 26 years marriage for a bisexual Liberal Democrat activist. Senior Conservatives have already questioned whether he wants to remain in his post after he launched a “theatrical” outburst against David Cameron and George Osborne in a Cabinet meeting over their refusal to denounce tactics used by the No campaign in the AV referendum. The claims made by Mrs Pryce, a respected economist, who accused the Energy and Climate Change Secretary of persuading “someone close to him” to accept penalty points for a speeding offence on his behalf are potentially far more damaging. The identity of the person is unclear. A source close to Mr Huhne said he had no desire to pick a fight with his ex-wife in public but would seek to persuade her to desist making further allegations for the sake of their children. – Sunday Telegraph

‘No mercy’ for the NHS

A senior adviser to David Cameron says the NHS could be improved by charging patients and will be transformed into a “state insurance provider, not a state deliverer” of care. Mark Britnell, who was appointed to a “kitchen cabinet” advising the prime minister on reforming the NHS, told a conference of executives from the private sector that future reforms would show “no mercy” to the NHS and offer a “big opportunity” to the for-profit sector. The revelations come on the eve of an important speech by the prime minister on the future of the NHS, during which he is expected to try to allay widespread fears that the reforms proposed in health secretaryAndrew Lansley‘s health and social care bill would lead to privatisation. It has been suggested that Cameron may even announce an extension to the “pause” in the progress of the bill until after the party conference season, amid growing tensions on the issue within the coalition government. – the Observer

Mark Britnell, who has been advising the PM on reforms, revealed that the NHS could turn into a US-style insurance system. The former Department of Health bureaucrat said he believed the NHS would leave operations and other procedures to the private sector, with the taxpayer picking up the bill. Mr Britnell, head of health at accountants KPMG, visited Downing Street last week to advise on NHS policy. Speaking to bosses of private health firms, Mr Britnell said: “In future, the NHS will be a state insurance provider, not a deliverer.” He added that a boom time for private health companies was around the corner once the NHS had to compete for services and added: “The NHS will be shown no mercy and the time to take advantage will be the next couple of years.” Labour claimed Mr Britnell’s comments exposed the government’s true intentions. – Sunday Mirror
Glasman undermines Blue Labour project with personal attacks

Maurice Glasman and Ed Miliband do not think as one. But Miliband’s Favourite Thinker™ is an undoubted influence on the Labour party — and, as such, it’s worth tuning into his ideas from time to time, if you have a tolerance for such things. Glasman’s“Blue Labour” philosophy has already enjoyed heavy exposure this year, and he has an interview in today’s Times to explain it even further. If you’re not minded to buy, borrow or steal a copy of the Thunderer, then here are a few observations. First, it’s striking just how much Glasman dwells on the personal. “If you want to know everything that was wrong about Scottish Labour and Labour,” he urges, “then just look at the career of Gordon Brown. He was completely cynical in his calculations, then he dressed it up as the moral high ground.” And Glasman’s brand of armchair psychology even stretches the current Labour leader, whom he suggests “still feels completely guilty” about defeating his brother to the throne. He adds that MiliE has “a real mixture of gentleness, of spirit and stubborness, that is perfect for this moment.” – the Spectator

Ed Miliband’s political guru sparked controversy yesterday by claiming the Labour leader is still racked with guilt after defeating older brother David in the race to succeed Gordon Brown. And Labour peer Lord Glasman poured salt into David Miliband’s wounds, saying he deserved to lose because of his cold, ‘unrelational’ personality. The comments by Lord Glasman, who devised Ed Miliband’s ‘Blue Labour’ initiative aimed at persuading working-class voters to return to the party, provoked an angry Labour backlash. A friend of former Foreign Secretary David Miliband said: ‘Lord Glasman must be the only person who thinks Ed has more charisma than David. He’s warm and witty – and unlike Ed does not sound like a robot with flu.’ The peer, an eccentric Jewish academic who smokes roll-ups, does not eat vegetables and lives above a second-hand clothes shop in East London, told the Times newspaper that ‘gentle’ Ed could win the next Election but must stop fretting about beating his brother. ‘What he has not come to terms with is that he had to do that. He still feels completely guilty. He hasn’t yet had his Man of Destiny moment,’ Lord Glasman said. – Mail on Sunday

Clegg and Osborne unlikely bedfellows on Lords reforms

George Osborne is to become an unlikely ally of Nick Clegg in the battle to reform the House of Lords, as the coalition prepares to steamroller plans through before the next election. Despite Tory/Lib Dem relations souring in recent weeks, the Chancellor is prepared to support the Deputy Prime Minister’s reform plans. Mr Clegg will use the Parliament Act to deliver one of the coalition’s most far-reaching policies. The developments come after pleas by Lib Dem members of the Cabinet to David Cameron to force Mr Osborne to be more consensual – although some close to Mr Clegg may view it as mere tactics. This week Mr Clegg will present a draft Bill to Parliament on replacing the House of Lords. However, in the wake of his defeat in the referendum on the voting system, the Lib Dem leader is anxious to avoid seeming obsessed with constitutional matters at a time of deep spending cuts. Instead, two Tory ministers – Mark Harper and Lord Strathclyde – will take to the airwaves to sell the policy. – the Independent

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2 Responses to “Sunday News Review”

  1. Gez Kirby says:

    Why on earth do we need to be told that Glasman is Jewish? No similar reference to the Milibands’ or others’ backgrounds. Surely unnecessary?

  2. I always thought David Cameron was vile, but Mark Brintell’s comments,confirm my darkest fears!

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