Daily Archives: May 12, 2010

Jim Pickard

You might think so, given this comment at a Compass event this evening. Note the dig about not having a “coronation”. Hat-tip LabourList. (Although one theory remains that he could join forces with David Miliband in a left-right internal alliance).

Asked whether he would stand, Cruddas said: 

Jim Pickard

Apologies for the slight delay. It’s a long walk back from the steps of St Stephen’s entrance through the corridors of the Commons and back to my desk.

So, David Miliband will stand for the Labour leadership. It’s official.

Surrounded by a phalanx of 14 MPs*, including former ministers Gareth Thomas and Jim Fitzpatrick, whip Mark Tami and several newcomers – three women were noticeably at the forefront – he made his pitch**. The actual launch won’t come until next week, in his constituency of South Shields. Here’s the text of the speech.

Miliband said it was an exciting time in politics (er, obviously) and with the new coalition there was an opportunity for Labour to dominate the left and centre-left – ie at the expense of the Lib Dems. He promised the contest would be “warm, generous, comradely” (will Ed Balls make the same vow?) and soon disappeared back into the building. No mention of his brother.

The little group lost momentum as they walked back past Westminster Hall and stood, slightly depleted, in the central lobby. One of the followers, a new MP by my estimate, seemed a bit lost. “Come with me,” said Miliband. “You can come with me.” 

From the FT’s Brussels blog:

As you’d expect, European Union leaders were quick to congratulate David Cameron on his appointment as British prime minister.  But for all the warm words, they will be watching his first moves on the European stage like hawks. 

Jim Pickard

I realise all eyes are on the new government, with the Clegg-Cameron first joint press conference just minutes away.

But things are also on the move within Labour, with David Miliband expected to make a statement of intent at about 3.30pm – as Labour MPs come out of their PLP gathering (which starts at 2.30pm). Can’t imagine what it might be about. 

Kiran Stacey

This post should update automatically every few minutes, although it may take longer if read on a mobile.

3.49pm: We’ll be closing this blog down now and starting a new one if anything particularly interesting happens during David Miliband’s statement. If not, we’ll bring it to you in a single summary post.

3.32pm: The parliamentary Labour party has been meeting and are soon to come out. Meanwhile, I’ll tell you about an interview John Sopel just did on the BBC with Bill Cash, the fiercely Eurosceptic Tory MP. Cash approved of the coalition, in spite of Mr Clegg’s Europhilia – but only just. He was much more aggressive than Cameron had been towards his coalition partners, telling Sopel:

It is clear that the centre of ground has shifted to the Conservatives on Europe.

He added warnings that the Lib Dems would have to “understand and respect” Tory red lines on Europe and immigration. So far they have, with the agreement ruling out the Euro, insisting on a referendum for any future EU treaty and implementing a cap on non-EU immigration. But can this truce last? Cash says:

I believe it can and very much hope it will.

He doesn’t sound unequivocal to me. 

Jim Pickard

Vince Cable has just been made business secretary. Here is the quote from six years ago when he promised to scrap the DTI; it doesn’t require much comment:

“Our proposal to abolish the DTI is not just about saving money but because we understand the frustration business has with a meddling, centralising, over regulating government. Its abolition is the largest act of deregulation.” 

From Gideon Rachman’s blog

In theory, I should know Britain’s new chancellor of the exchequer, really quite well. George Osborne grew up in the same street as me in London. We went to the same school. He used to be called Gideon, before changing his name to George. I once interviewed him for a job. But the odd thing is, I hardly know the guy.

The reason for this is rather humiliating. The chancellor, as I will have to learn to call him, is much younger than me. Eight years younger, to be precise; he has only just turned 39. So the first time I really met George Osborne was when I interviewed him for a job at The Economist in 1997. 

1) Will there be collective responsibility? William Hague seemed to suggest there would be.

2) Will there be a joint whips’ office? 

Apologies. My information was wrong. The coalition document does protect health spending in real terms for each year of the parliament.

“The parties agree that funding for the NHS should increase in real terms in each year of the next parliament, while recognising the impact that this decision would have on other departments.

My piece was based on a draft of the agreement. Not sure what the “recognising the impact on other departments means. But Cameron’s promise stands.

The coalition document is yet to be published. But I’ve been told that the ring-fence on NHS funding has been lifted. The exact wording is: 

The graphic shows the new ministers’ backgrounds and their likely priorities in office. It will be updated throughout the day as more cabinet positions are made public. View it in full at www.ft.com/cabinet

Jim Pickard

One of the Lib Dems’ main broadsides against the Tories during the election campaign was their premise that a Conservative government would have to put up VAT. How will the new “Con-Dem” government raise revenues in the coming months now that it has effectively closed off the National Insurance route? Answers on a postcard please.

Vince Cable is expected to be in charge of “business and banks”. Talks are ongoing about exactly what the portfolio will cover. Not sure how they’re going to carve-up responsibility for macro-prudential supervision, lending and the sales of the bank stakes with the Treasury. But the City should brace itself for a much tougher line on pay.

We once dubbed him “Vince the bonus snatcher” on this blog. It seemed fair enough, given the pre-election pledges he made: