Politics summary: Thursday, September 10th

Andrew Lansley has, for the first time, shifted the Conservative commitment to increase health spending year on year in real terms. Speaking in Birmingham, Mr Lansley said, “Even with small increases, NHS services everywhere will have to tighten their belts just to meet demand.” Michael Fallon MP, the Conservative Deputy Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, has written in the Telegraph that, “[The Conservative] party has made an uncomfortably long list of pledges, and vested interests such as legal aid or the NHS drugs bill seem to be regarded as outside the spending rules.”

Writing in the Mail on Afghanistan, William Hague says, “It would be a serious mistake to think that fraudulent results on a large scale can simply be accepted … A second round of the election [should not] be ruled out.” Meanwhile, 53 per cent of people questioned by ICM Research for the National Army Museum oppose British troops presence in the region.

Upon releasing Michael Shields, Jack Straw said, “I am clear, even with expert advice, that a quasi-judicial role such as this is not a suitable function for the executive. I shall therefore be exploring alternative options for dealing with any future cases which arise.” The FT reports that Lord Phillips, head of the Supreme Court, wants the retirement age of judges raised from 70 to 75 to save talent.

Royal Mail has become the largest organisation to join the 10:10 campaign. Among other initiatives they intend to roll out more double-decker delivery trucks.

An editorial in the New York Times states that after months of “being far too passive,” Barack Obama has, “finally found his voice” as he confidently outlined his healthcare plans last night to a joint session of Congress. Amid audible and unprecedented heckling from Republicans, Obama directly addressed his critics and asserted that “the time for bickering is over.

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