European Union

Hannah Kuchler

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has arrived. His invitation to dinner with Rupert Murdoch on Tuesday was almost as much of a sign of his growing political influence as the eurosceptic party’s strong showing in the Eastleigh by-election last week.

Farage has confirmed he did indeed dine with the media mogul at Murdoch’s London flat but has refused to give any clues about what was said. However, the Daily Telegraph writes he suggested he would form an electoral pact with the Conservatives if Cameron stepped down. Read more

Kiran Stacey

Douglas Alexander was touring television studios this morning explaining why he thought holding a referendum on Britain’s EU membership was a bad idea. After months of toying with the idea of copying the Tories in promising an in/out referendum in the next parliament, Labour seems to have finally decided that would be a bad idea.

This uncharacteristic decisiveness gave Ed Miliband a platform from which to attack David Cameron in today’s PMQs, and the Labour leader made the most of it. His first question was meant to embarrass the PM and amuse his own party, and it worked: Read more

Jim Pickard

George Parker wrote an insightful article a few weeks ago about splits at the top of government over the coalition’s plans for a cap on immigration. The reason the story was revelatory was that it was Tory ministers such as David Willetts and Michael Gove who were expressing concerns about the policy – not the Lib Dems.

Ed Davey, Lib Dem business minister, told me over a fish lunch last week that he was pressing hard to fight a new Brussels directive which could impose – in his view – £2.4bn of costs on business. A vote on this “pregnant workers directive” has just been deferred until the autumn, partly (I’m told by one EU contact) because of this British lobbying. Read more