Liam Fox’s concerns about setting legal targets for increasing overseas aid spending – which were aired in a leaked letter yesterday – are widely shared on the Conservative benches. Many MPs believe the plan is unaffordable at a time of public spending cuts. And plenty are happy to speak out about their concerns.
Philip Davies, an executive member of the backbench 1922 committee, challenged David Cameron on the issue last week. Davies told us: Read more
Nick Clegg cut a rather solitary figure on the government’s front bench yesterday afternoon as he announced his plans for reform of the House of Lords. There was outright laughter and smirking from many MPs behind him. And as Roland Watson points out this morning, more than a dozen Lib Dem peers are urging the DPM to back off.
But this belies the fact that some of the biggest Tory beasts in Cabinet are full square behind the deputy prime minister on this issue. They include George Osborne, David Cameron, Theresa May and Liam Fox. Fox and May spoke out particularly strongly at cabinet yesterday in support of revamping the Lords – and getting on with it in time for some senate elections in 2015. Read more
Ladbrokes were offering 4:1 yesterday on Dominique Strauss-Kahn becoming the next French president. The odds have now moved out to 6:1, which still puts the IMF chief at fourth favourite to replace Nicolas Sarkozy. FT Westminster will be passing on this one.