Spending

Jim Pickard

Liam Fox’s concerns about setting legal targets for increasing overseas aid spending – which were aired in a leaked letter yesterday – are widely shared on the Conservative benches. Many MPs believe the plan is unaffordable at a time of public spending cuts. And plenty are happy to speak out about their concerns.

Philip Davies, an executive member of the backbench 1922 committee, challenged David Cameron on the issue last week. Davies told us: Read more

Sorry to disappoint, but the answer is probably no.**

Using the Coin database, The Guardian spotted a spike in government spending in March and April, which quickly prompted speculation that Labour (and Whitehall) threw money around before the change of government. Read more

The Labour national executive has opted for the long game: the next leader will be anointed on September 25. This is probably bad news for party’s right wing: the longer the campaign, the more pressure there will be to woo the grassroots with promises to protect spending.

It was apparently a “friendly and comradely” meeting. But the stakes were high. Those lobbying for an extended campaign wanted to stop a “coronation” and give all the outsiders  (Burnham, Balls etc) time to grab the spotlight.

But I expect the bigger problem for David Miliband will be the kind of commitments that will have to be made in the leadership race.

This campaign is not only going to straddle the emergency Budget. It will end just weeks before the most austere spending review in living memory. There’s a good chance of a “cuts vs investment” auction. Read more