Polling data for marginal seats is like gold dust for psephologists: it is expensive to obtain but is crucial for understanding how an election might turn out.
On a new survey of Britain’s marginals by YouGov for Channel 4 the Tories would take only 95 seats – much less than the 117 they need to form a majority.
It’s like the French revolution revisited: not.
MPs have just voted by 206 to 90 votes to alter the terminology which describes the person who heads a select committee: after a two-hour debate on the Chair (Terminology) issue.
To be fair, MPs will now vote on a handful of other less trivial motions including letting MPs elect the chairs of their select committees – thus reducing the power of the whips. Even so, how much does the public really care?
Here are the main reforms which backbenchers are holding up as a small but important victory:
Andy Burnham’s policy that NHS organisations are now the health service’s “preferred provider” is proving something of a running sore.
Given the [still small] amount of care that the NHS already buys from the private and voluntary sector, and the way that has expanded over recent years, at least some competition and procurement lawyers believe that rowing back to a preferred provider approach may well breach EU competition law.
As I wrote earlier today, the commission have made their decision. Here is a link.
The commission has rejected the complaint by Labour MP John Mann which had claimed that Bearwood was in breach of electoral law because it was not trading in Britain when it donated money.
They haven’t yet confirmed it but Labour member Gordon Prentice – a longstanding Ashcroft enemy – has revealed it on his blog. The inquiry takes place on March 18.
Here is an interview with William Hague on Newsnight, 2 June 2009:
My favourite Paxman question: “You seem surprisingly uncurious about such an important matter?”
Jeremy Paxman: Just one final point, in the current climate of suspicion about politics your deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft, a man whose peerage you lobbied for, saying that he would become resident in Britain for tax purposes, can you just tell us, is he resident in Britain for tax purposes now?
The row over Lord Ashcroft’s tax status deepend last night as William Hague admitted he had not known about the non-dom tax status of the Tory party’s deputy chairman until some months ago.
If you missed The World Tonight here is the full conversation.
Speakers: William Hague
RL: William Hague I need to ask you just one question about Michael Ashcroft. When did you learn that he had renegotiated the undertaking he gave to you about his tax status from permanent residency in the UK to long term residency in the UK?
WH: Well look David Cameron dealt with these issues yesterday. There were two things that people wanted to know about Michael Ashcroft, what undertaking he gave and what his tax status is now. And it’s high time the BBC now moved on to the real funding issue in Britain which is how come three quarters of the funding of then Labour party comes from trade unions, the huge power of the Unite union and these are now the issues that we need to get onto.