In the next four months Britain will be inundated with opinion polls. As the Leave and Remain camps gear up for Britain’s first referendum on its relationship with Europe for four decades, the stakes are high.
But this time last year the nation also pored over an array of polls during the general election campaign, and yet those polls proved unreliable. Read more
David Cameron is facing MPs for the first time since securing a package of reforms in Brussels to present his case for the UK remaining in the European Union. The prime minister’s appearance in the House of Commons follows a tumultuous weekend after his return from talks with European leaders on Friday, which has seen six of his cabinet ministers and Boris Johnson, the London mayor, back the “out” campaign.
Cameron presents what he calls a “new settlement” for Britain after almost two days of talks in Brussels
The reforms cover migration, protections for the City of London and an exemption for Britain from “ever closer union”
A quarter of the cabinet is at odds with the PM over Europe, including his close friend Michael Gove, the justice secretary.
The Conservatives are facing a damaging split with as many as 150 MPs, almost half the parliamentary party, expected to back Brexit
The opposition Labour Party is backing the campaign to remain in the EU, along with business leaders and trade unions
By Mark Odell and Jim Pickard
Campaign website 38 Degrees has become the bane of many MPs’ lives for the vast tide of correspondence its 3m members generate. But its founder David Babbs hopes it will come to be seen as a benefit to British democracy. Here he discusses with FT political correspondent Kate Allen how the site came about, its greatest victories to date – and how he’s now turning his members’ fire on the corporate world …
More than 26,000 British farmers have not yet received annual European subsidy payments and many are facing financial difficulties as a result, a committee of MPs has been told.
Britain is facing £180m fines a year over the failure by the Rural Payments Agency to distribute the cash because of overruns on a big IT project. Read more
Ed Miliband delivers a speech on the economy.
Today has been something of a post-mortem into the 2015 general election. First, the inquiry into what went wrong with the opinion polls has released its initial conclusions — sampling too many Labour voters was primarily to blame. Second, former deputy Labour leader Margaret Beckett has released a report on why her party lost the election. The four reasons are: Read more
Can the Britain Stronger In Europe campaign keep its promise to not run another “Project Fear”? The lead group campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU has promised not to repeat what Better Together did during the Scottish referendum, but the signs so far suggest fear will be a core component of its message after all.
Take Stronger In’s new mail shot for example. This leaflet entitled “Europe & You” will be sent out to 10m households this week: Read more
Junior doctors on the picket line outside the Royal London Hospital in east London, as a doctors go on strike for 24 hours in a dispute with the government over new contracts. PRESS ASSOCIATION
Today’s junior doctor’s strike differs from other industrial disputes for a simple reason: people like doctors. In recent times, the government has managed to paint Tube drivers as dinosaurs who are standing in the way of technological progress. But it’s much harder to do that with doctors, so the public is firmly behind the strikers. Read more
When will Eurosceptic ministers be allowed to speak their minds? Not for a while, according to a letter David Cameron has sent to his Cabinet today. The Prime Minister has set out four rules for ministers who plan to campaign for Brexit — some of which have caused concern among Eurosceptics in his party.
The Prime Minister has demanded that ministers will “say or do nothing that will undermine the government’s negotiating position”, but he has also said there will be restrictions on what they can say after the new deal has been struck: Read more
One of the highlights from Jeremy Corbyn’s reshuffle this week was the resignation of Stephen Doughty. The former shadow foreign affairs minister decided he’d had enough after the sacking of his colleague Pat McFadden and quit live on the BBC’s Daily Politics. It was a principled position and a straightforward scoop — but not apparently in the era of the so-called “New Politics”.
Mr Corbyn’s supporters are proclaiming this was a stich-up by the state broadcaster. This notion came from a blog published on the BBC’s website (which has since been removed). One of the producers on the Daily Politics explained that Laura Kuenssberg, the corporation’s political editor, “sealed the deal” for Mr Doughty to quit on the Daily Politics after he told her that he was contemplating walking. Read more
The House of Commons has voted to extend air strikes against Isis from Iraq into Syria following a debate that lasted more than 10 hours. Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn opposed the motion, but more than 60 of his MPs sided with the government given it a majority of 174. The RAF has been conducting airstrikes over Iraq for over a year, as part of a broad US-led coalition.
397 MPs backed the motion authorising the UK to launch air strikes in Syria; 223 voted against:
The amendment to block air strikes was defeated by a majority of 179; 211 For vs 390 Against
Air strikes by the RAF in Syria could follow within hours; extra jets will be dispatched to the British base in Cyprus
More than 60 MPs look to have defied party leadership to back motion in a free vote
Hilary Benn, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary delivers impassioned speech in favour of air strikes
By Mark Odell, Josh Noble and John Murray Brown
UK Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his Autumn statement to the House of Commons.
Tax credits: Controversial changes ditched altogether. Extra borrowing will make up the shortfall in the first few years of the parliament
Housing: Stamp duty increased 3% for buy-to-let and second home buyers; 400,000 new affordable homes in England by 2020; new Help to Buy scheme just for London
Police: no cuts to budget
New tax to pay for social care, to be levied by local authorities as a 2% council tax precept
Departmental spending cuts: Transport -37%, Business -17%, Defra -15%, Energy -22%, Culture, Media and Sport -22% (but free museum entry will stay)
Budget surplus: target of £10bn by 2020 maintained
Local governments will be allowed to keep all cash generated from asset sales
Apprenticeship levy set at 0.5% of payroll, with £15,000 allowance to exempt small businesses
OBR forecasts: UK growth outlook remains broadly unchanged from July
Small business rate relief extended for 12 months to April 2017
Science funding protected in real terms for rest of Parliament
By Ferdinando Giugliano, Jonathan Eley and Mark Odell
Recent appointments by Jeremy Corbyn have shown a Labour leader in no mood to compromise with his internal critics: they include John McDonnell, Seumas Milne and Andrew Fisher.
The latest possible name in the frame to join the leader’s office is equally controversial: Karie Murphy. Read more
Chancellor George Osborne has been freed from the shackles of coalition government to deliver his seventh Budget but the first purely Conservative Budget in almost two decades.
Although dark clouds are gathering in the eurozone, Britain’s economic recovery continues at a steady pace and the public finances are slowly improving, giving him the opportunity to shape the economy, public finances and tax system for the next five years.
Mark Odell, Elizabeth Paton, Jonathan Eley and Ferdinando Giugliano
George Osborne is encouraging new Conservative MPs to join a Treasury “support committee” as the chancellor looks to cultivate loyalists among the new 2015 intake in preparation for a leadership bid as early as this parliament.
The chancellor held a sandwich lunch with new MPs where he told the new 74-strong new Tory intake his department was “where the action is” as he pointed to protégés – Sajid Javid, business secretary, Amber Rudd, energy secretary, Greg Hands, chief whip – who had risen through his Treasury team. Read more
In The Unfinished Revolution, his account of New Labour’s rise to power, Philip Gould wrote that the paradox of 20th century politics in Britain was “that the party of conservatism held power because of ceaseless modernisation” whereas “the party of radical change lost power because of its conservatism”. Far more so than the US Democrats or centre-left parties in north-western Europe, Labour has strong nostalgic tendencies, the pollster argued, stemming from its roots in Fabianism, religion, trade unions, and the cultural conservatism of the English working class.
Such attitudes were fostered by the break with Liberalism, which made more difficult the sort of left-wing coalitions found elsewhere in the rich world. In the century that gave rise to the mass franchise and the welfare state, the Conservative party was in government for two-thirds of the time; the Labour party was in government for less than a quarter of it (23 years). For Gould, this was due to Labour’s resistance to what he called “modernisation” and the embrace of ideological purity over pragmatism. Read more
After a month of silence from the Bank of England as a result of the pre-election purdah for public bodies, Governor Mark Carney today presented the central bank’s quarterly inflation report.
By John Aglionby and Emily Cadman
Where now for this weary union? After the general election triumphs of the Scottish National party and the Conservatives, voices in both parties are calling for the UK government to find a new constitutional settlement. But what might this mean?
I think there are four possible – but not equally possible – options for what might happen in the short-term, roughly taken to mean the next year, before the 2016 elections to the Scottish parliament in Holyrood. They are not necessarily exclusive. Read more
Welcome to our live election coverage, bringing you the latest reaction to the Tories winning an unexpected majority – taking 331 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.
Labour’s Ed Miliband, the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg and the UK Independence party’s Nigel Farage have all resigned as leaders of their respective parties. Clegg, deputy PM for the last five years, hung on to his seat but his party lost all but eight of its MPs. Farage failed to win the seat he was contesting.
The Scottish National party also had a triumphant night, trouncing Labour north of the border. (Photo FT/Charlie Bibby)
Mr Cameron made four Cabinet announcements, reappointing George Osborne chancellor of the exchequer – and promoting him to first secretary of state; Theresa May home secretary; Philip Hammond foreign secretary and Michael Fallon defence secretary. The rest of the Cabinet is expected on Monday.
A summary of today’s events
Polling day. Follow our live coverage of the results from 9pm here.
Labour strategists are blaming the likely loss of at least 30 seats in Scotland for projections suggesting that the party could get only a handful more MPs than it did in 2010 under the leadership of Gordon Brown.
For decades Labour has been able to outperform the Tories with the same proportion of the total votes because of an imbalance in the electoral system. Read more