Politics Summary: Monday, September 28th

Labour is to renew its focus on bankers’ bonuses. The Independent report that legislation will be published within weeks to outlaw exorbitant handouts and penalise financial institutions that attempt to pay them. The Guardian say that regulators will have the power to force individual banks to build their capital base if they continue to pay excessive bonuses. The Times write that new bonuses will have to be deferred over a period so that they can be clawed back if they are not warranted by long-term performance.

Opinion polls also make the headlines with a ComRes survey for the Independent showing the Conservatives on 38 per cent, Labour and the Liberal Democrats on 23 per cent, and others on 16 per cent. While ComRes found that Labour would do better under eight alternative leaders, 49 per cent agree that the Government’s actions have stopped Britain’s recession turning into a longer term depression. A separate Populus poll in the Times suggests Labour will lose 143 seats at the election.

The BBC has received an informal complaint from the Labour party after Andrew Marr asked the Prime Minister whether he had been prescribed “prescription painkillers and pills.” Until Marr’s intervention, the unsubstantiated rumours had been reported mainly on blogs like Guido Fawkes. Other bloggers are split on Marr’s question. Iain Dale says “The PM’s state of health is a legitimate matter for concern” while Stephen Tall of Liberal Democrat Voice thinks it’s “wrong, wrong, wrong.” Marr’s wife Jackie Ashley seeks to make amends writing, “For the first time in months [Gordon Brown] has sounded more like a leader … the time to rally round has arrived.”

The Times report that Nick Griffin has warned that the BNP is on the verge of collapse and is appealing to activists for money. Griffin accused Operation Black Vote, which campaigns for ethnic minority candidates, of trying “to flood the party in order to take over and destroy it.” Meanwhile Labour has announced that Jack Straw will take on Griffin on BBC1’s Question Time. Straw told the BBC, “wherever we have had BNP problems in my area and when we have fought them hard, we’ve pulled back and won the seats back.”

Angela Merkel has won the German election. She will govern with the liberal Free Democrats bringing to an end the four year “grand coalition.” The SPD suffered its worst result for 60 years while the Greens and Linke (Left) party’s share of the vote went up. Merkel says her priority in office will be to return prosperity to Europe’s largest economy.

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