Daily Archives: September 14, 2011

Jim Pickard

Over at the Daily Mail’s new political blog Kirsty Walker speculated this evening about who may be bumped out of the shadow cabinet in a reshuffle widely expected within weeks.

As Kirsty writes, the knives are already out for Meg Hillier, energy spokesperson, and Ann McKechin, shadow Scotland secretary. Neither are judged to have made an enormous impact over the last year. I’m told that Hillier, who has a young family, would not be entirely unhappy about the prospect.

My understanding is that there will also be movement in the House of Lords, where Ed Miliband wants Lord Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor, to replace Baroness Royall. Falconer, who was heavily involved in the epic filibustering over boundary reforms back in the spring, is seen as an impressive political bruiser. He is also a Blairite, indeed a former flatmate of Tony Blair. 

Jim Pickard

Senior ministers insist they will not budge on planning reform, and that they are a key part of their economic policy. But there are clear signs of unease across the government with some ministers admitting that they could pay a political price* with rural voters for their unashamedly pro-development agenda. (David Cameron told PMQs today that he would make no apologies for wanting more affordable homes).

I’ve been forwarded a recent email from a senior figure at the DCLG (communities department) urging outside groups to come out in public and back its changes to the planning system. The email (replete with spelling errors) doesn’t quite smack of 

Kiran Stacey

Today’s unemployment figures gave Ed Miliband another opportunity to go after David Cameron at PMQs over the economy. Last week, he clearly felt blunted by the publication of Alistair Darling’s book, which said his own pre-budget report in 2009, the broad outline of which Labour still follows, lacked credibility.

This week, the attack worked reasonably well – Cameron only mentioned Darling once, and it didn’t elicit much of a response.

But Miliband’s wider problem is that while he is trying to create a narrative of a Tory prime minister out of touch with the country and indifferent to people losing their jobs, support for the cuts, while falling, remains positive. David Cameron’s response that the government had no option but to cut public spending to pay down the deficit still chimes with most people. 

Kiran Stacey

The storm might be starting to calm down – but make no mistake, Monday’s boundary review has got MPs really riled.

The consensus is that the commission was far more radical than anyone expected. County boundaries have been crossed, rivers run through the middle of seats and MPs may have to travel for up to an hour to cross constituencies.