Monthly Archives: July 2009

Jim Pickard

There’s a widespread idea that Team Cameron are obsessed with the West Wing, just as New Labour types have always been avid observers. Read more

Jim Pickard

David Cameron’s European grouping is criticised in strong language from former Tory MEP Edward McMillan-Scott

Conservative HQ tightens its grip over candidate selection process Read more

Jim Pickard

The man who runs the Local Government Pension Scheme has warned that public sector pensions need radical reform to meet critics who believe there is a growing “pensions apartheid”.

Bob Holloway, who manages the LGPS, is quoted in Public Servant magazine saying radical options must be considered. These could include: Read more

Jim Pickard

Just perused the Tory accounts for 2008, which came out this morning.

There’s nothing to rival the Labour accounts, which showed a surprise £4m windfall for clawed-back VAT (part of a £6bn-plus payout by the government after a test case 18 months ago). Read more

Jim Pickard

David Cameron’s use of the word “tw*t” has certainly generated some debate on a quiet news day.

Not sure it quite rivals the John Spellar incident 10 years ago, however, when the then armed forces minister declared: “These cuts must be stopped”. At least that’s what he meant to say. An erroneous “n” crept in to the word “cuts”, giving an entirely different meaning. As Paul Linford points out, the phrase never made it into Hansard but has still become a Commons legend. Read more

Jim Pickard

David Cameron’s Sex Pistols moment as he uses swearword on live radio

Labour under fire for playing field sell-off Read more

Jim Pickard

The new Speaker has let it be known that he will investigate the fact that MPs can claim the new £25 a day subsistence allowance without receipts. John Bercow will hold a meeting with the members estimate committee next week to raise the issue. “He is conscious of public concern,” says a spokeswoman. Read more

Jim Pickard

MPs have given themselves a new £25 “subsistence rate” for any night spent away from their main residence. This fact had passed most people by until the Telegraph’s splash today.

Most controversial will be the fact that MPs won’t need any receipts for this subsidy, for all the talk in recent weeks of the need for total transparency. Bear in mind that MPs made a big deal about the fact that “all” claims from zero upwards would now need receipts. Read more

Jim Pickard

There has been low-level speculation for ages that George Osborne may not necessarily end up as chancellor of the exchequer, an idea rubbished by senior Tory officials.

It is in the spirit of mischief-making that someone has passed me the fringe agenda for the Tory conference in October. Read more

Jim Pickard

Lord Mandelson recently batted away the prospect of his becoming Labour leader by pointing out that he couldn’t leave the House of Lords. (I am trapped. I believe it is for life.”) . Since then, of course, the legislation has been changed – co-incidentally they say – for peers to become commoners again. Read more

Jim Pickard

The Conservative candidate, Chloe Smith has won 13,591 votes – a concrete majority of 7,348.

The Tories will be more than relieved: delighted in fact. I’m not sure anyone really expected such a thumping victory. Read more

Jim Pickard

It seems likely that a Labour defeat in Norwich North would stimulate renewed talk of a plot against Gordon Brown. No doubt some of the serial Gordon-haters will revive speculation of a leadership challenge.

But if June’s uprising – with numerous ministerial resignations – couldn’t dislodge the prime minister, what would it take? Short of a Lord Mandelson “Brutus” moment it’s hard to picture a successful coup any time soon. Read more