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Monthly Archives: November 2009
Some bemusement around here about the new figure of 10,000 British troops in Afghanistan.
The old figure was 9,000, and we are sending another 500. Now Gordon Brown feels the need to reveal the fact that 500 special operatives are at work in the mountain state. The prime minister told the Commons that it was unusual to talk about the activities (of the SAS etc) but he wanted to show the nation’s appreciation.
I’ve just been pointed to the website for the Richmond Park Tories which lays out recent Conservative policies. Such as….
The Cabinet Office white paper on “Smarter Government” has been leaked by the Tories over the weekend. It is full of promises to make efficiency savings, move more civil servants out of London, sell public assets and the usual stuff.
Fascinating account in the Sunday Times today of tensions between Gordon Brown and his defence secretary, who last week seemed to criticise President Barack Obama for his delay in sending more troops to Afghanistan.
I’ve just emerged from a stuffy Westminster room where Philip Hammond gave another of his “Doing More With Less”-type speeches.
Edward Leigh, chair of the public accounts committee, has written an angry letter to the Chancellor demanding to know why the £61bn loans to HBOS and RBS have only just been made public.
Alex suggested yesterday that the timing of the announcement could be related to an NAO report – out tomorrow imminently – which would have revealed the loan. Leigh has asked Alistair Darling to clarify if this is the case.
Here is the letter
Committee of Public Accounts
25 November 2009
Rt. Hon Alistair Darling MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Thank you for your letter of 23 November informing me that the Treasury granted the Bank an indemnity in October 2008 against losses it might incur in providing emergency support to RBS and HBOS. I followed this up with you in the House today and I must say that I cannot regard your answer as a full and sufficient explanation. I shall therefore await your further advice before deciding how to properly discharge my responsibilities in this situation.