rebellion

Jim Pickard

When Colonel Gaddafi accused the eastern rebels of Al-Qaeda links there was a presumption that this was merely propaganda from the Libyan dictator.

Now, however, a Nato US commander has suggested that intelligence reports indicate a potential “flicker” of al-Qaeda within the resistance. James Stavridis, Nato’s supreme allied commander for Europe, was speaking during Senate testimony today. Here is the relevant transcript:

“We have seen flickers in the intelligence* of potential Al Qaida, Hezbollah. We’ve seen different things. But at this point I don’t have detail sufficient to say that — that there’s a significant Al Qaida presence or any other terrorist presence in and among these folks. We’ll continue to look at that very closely. It’s part of doing due diligence as we move forward on any kind of relationship.”

The Conservative chair, Baroness Warsi, was asked about this on Sky today; her reply wasn’t exactly reassuring. To quote Politicshome.com:

Baroness Warsi responded to reports that there are “flickers” of Al-Qaeda in the Libyan opposition by saying it was “very concerning” but she is confident that the Interim National Council’s “vision of Libya” is not a “post-Gaddafi Libya that includes Al-Qaeda”. “That is the first I’m hearing

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Jim Pickard

I’m told there is a strong chance of the coalition losing a vote this afternoon in the House of Lords. Not on tuition fees, which will be debated in the evening.

Instead a cross-bench peer, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, has proposed an amendment to stop the coalition scrapping the post of chief coroner in its Public Bodies Bill (otherwise known as the bonfire of the quangos). Labour have a three-line whip on its peers to back Finlay, who also has the sympathy of many other cross-benchers. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

John Pienaar has revealed that a mutiny took place during last night’s weekly meeting of the PLP: Here is his report from Five Live: I will bring you any more details I pick up later in the day.

The decision to suspend and disown expelled MP Phil Woolas, found guilty of lying by a special election court, has provoked what Labour MPs and former ministers are describing as a “mutiny” against the Labour leadership at Westminster.

Today, Mr Woolas is engaged in raising cash for a legal challenge to the court ruling whoich led to his sacking. He told me he had already received pledges of support from “dozens of colleagues” – many of whom had promised to begin fund raising efforts of their own.

Deputy Labour leader, Harriet Harman, faced a backbench revolt at last night’s private meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

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Jim Pickard

I only ask because it was Hughes who first gave a hint two weeks ago that there might be a Lib Dem amendment to the finance bill – only to then retract. A couple of days later Andrew George put forward such an amendment, although in the end only Bob Russell and Mike Hancock voted against their own coalition.*

Now the Lib Dem deputy leader has been on the Politics Show raising questions about the drastic cuts to the Building Schools for the Future programme. Read more >>