News summary: Monday, September 7th

The BBC has defended their decision to invite the BNP to appear on Question Time: “Our audiences – and the electorate – will make up their own minds about the different policies offered by elected politicians.” Unite Against Fascism will protest the outside Broadcasting House this week. John Mann MP, Labour chair of the all-party anti-Semitism group, said: “This is how Hitler came to power.” The Independent reports that Labour is likely to want a party heavyweight, such as a Cabinet Minister, to appear.

A Equality and Human Rights Commission report has found that women working at the top 50 City banks and finance companies are getting bonuses worth 80 per cent less than their male colleagues. The survey, representing a quarter of finance firms, also found that the gap in annual basic pay was 39% – rising to 47% for total earnings taking into account performance-related pay, bonuses and overtime. Recruitment was all about “jobs for the boys” with clients often “entertained” in lap-dancing clubs, hostess bars or at sports such as golf, from which women were excluded.

A You Gov poll for the Telegraph found that nearly two thirds of those questioned were unconvinced about whether there was substance behind Mr Cameron’s words. More than half agreed that it was hard to know what the Tories stood for at the moment. A geographical divide showed that Labour still polled better in the North, with only 33 per cent of voters backing the Tories compared with 35 per cent backing Labour. Meanwhile, Conservative membership fell by a quarter in the first three years of David Cameron’s. In Tony Blair’s first year as Labour leader, his party’s membership rose by over 100,000 to 320,000.

At the G20 meeting in London, the Guardian report that, “Britain and America won a battle to stop ‘unenforceable’ new rules to cap bankers’ bonuses.” Instead, the meeting agreed to a ‘clawback’ scheme to ensure that bonuses are linked to the long-term success of deals and could be forfeited if they fail to deliver over a period of years. The Financial Times interviews EU Trade Commissioner, Catherine Ashton, on the Doha Development trade round: “I think Obama is committed to trade and this round. [US Trade Representative] Ron Kirk is instinctively someone who wants to be involved in this. He’s a realist. He doesn’t underestimate the difficulties and the difficulties are about building domestic support.”

In the U.S., Barack Obama will make a prime-time address to Congress this Wednesday on healthcare reform. New York Times columnists David Brooks and Gail Collins exchange views on who’s to blame for the current impasse.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.