Politics Summary: Monday, October 12th

The first report of the Committee on Climate Change, chaired by Lord Turner, is covered in all the papers. The FT says, “liberalisation of the UK’s energy market should be reversed, with ministers taking more control of decisions such as building new renewable energy generation.” For the Telegraph, “Road pricing ‘should be used to help meet carbon targets’.” While the Guardian are more general outlining that, “the recession is threatening the vast investment needed in green housing, power and transport.” In today’s Times, Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband writes that David Cameron’s rejection of Government is, “the wrong approach to meet the challenges of 21st-century energy policy.” Meanwhile more than 20 Greenpeace campaigners are protesting on the roof of the Palace of Westminster with a 12-point manifesto calling for zero carbon emissions by 2030, a stop to airport expansion, more wind power and new pollution taxes.

Gordon Brown will use a meeting with business leaders today to itemise a list of assets worth £16 billion for the government to sell off, such as the student loan book and the betting company Tote. Brown will say: “A vital contributor to sustainable public finances is growth. Restoring public finance sustainability must be done in a way that supports growth not destroys it. The failure to do so is the real risk of a lost decade of austerity.”

Writing for Comment is Free, Peter Hain – the Welsh secretary, has criticised the BBC’s decision to invite Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time as “showcasing the BNP … as an equally legitimate, respectable, democratic political party, when it is nothing of the kind.” He also criticised an interview by Radio 1 Newsbeat with two anonymous BNP members, claiming it casts serious doubt over “the corporation’s shaky handling of reporting.” The two men were introduced as “Mark and Joey” but it emerged that they are Mark Collett, 28, BNP publicity director, and Joseph Barber, 24, who runs the BNP record label, Great White Records.

Britain’s stock of nuclear warheads could be reduced from 160 to about 120 if proposals being considered in Downing Street get the go-ahead. Whitehall officials say a decision early next year to reduce the number of Trident submarines from four to three would mean Mr Brown could also make a comparable 25 per cent reduction in the number of operational warheads that the UK needs. Pressure on the UK to make reductions is growing because the US and Russia look increasingly likely to agree on nuclear arms reductions at the end of this year.

As part of her current trip to the UK, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with leaders in Northern Ireland today to encourage the completion of the Good Friday agreement. The Washington Post reports that Clinton also made a joint statement with Foreign Secretary David Miliband showing confidence that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were secure. This followed yesterday’s alarming insurgent attack on the country’s army headquarters.

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