Daily Archives: June 19, 2012

Stefan Rousseau/PA

David Cameron at the G20 in Los Cabos, June 18 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

David Cameron is taking a break from irritating the Germans. Instead, he has decided to piss off the French.

At the G20 summit, he generously allowed that it might be unfair to blame the entire euro-crisis on one leader, Angela Merkel, and acknowledged that the German chancellor had some difficult decisions to make. (She must still, ultimately, take his advice, however.) But, in separate remarks, Cameron also mocked President Hollande’s decision to increase the top marginal tax-rate in France to 75% – when Britain has just cut its top-rate back to 45%.

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The government was defeated by just four votes yesterday afternoon in the House of Lords despite peers being threatened with the ultimate sanction: the loss of some of their treasured summer recess.

The government has been eaten alive in the Lords,” is how one Tory MP put it to me. “It was extraordinary.”

The topic may sound a bit dry. Ministers wanted to refer part of the financial services bill to a grand committee – while allowing peers to debate the (relatively) exciting bits involving the Bank of England in the upper chamber. Read more