Politics Summary: Wednesday, October 14th

MPs’ backlash over Sir Thomas Legg’s expenses enquiry dominates the front pages with the first sitting MP, Bill Etherington, outlining that he may not pay back what is demanded. Gordon Brown and David Cameron have both said that MPs must accept the findings. Nick Clegg, writing in the Telegraph, says the review must, “expose every single one of those MPs who ‘flipped’ their second homes.” But some Ministers and MPs are blaming Gordon Brown for setting up the enquiry in the first place. Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that a petition is circulating in Jacqui Smith’s Redditch constituency demanding her immediate resignation and a pledge from Downing Street that she will not be given a peerage.

The blogosphere played a critical role in helping overturn an injunction imposed by law firm Carter-Ruck on The Guardian’s reporting of a parliamentary question about the actions of Trafigura, a Swiss-based company alleged to have dumped toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. Several blogs published Paul Farrelly MP’s question in full while thousands of users of twitter, the microblogging site, shared information about the case. By lunchtime, half of the ten most popular words used on Twitter related to the case. The injunction was lifted shortly afterward although the Guardian are still restricted giving details about the Minton report, which covers the allegations against Trafigura. The Minton report can be downloaded here.

The FT covers warnings from the Office of National Statistics that the UK could face a “double dip” recession. The Consumer Prices Index has fallen to 1.1 per cent, the lowest level in five years, while the pound fell to a five-month low against the dollar and a six-month low against the euro. Meanwhile, at a meeting today with 11 of the biggest banks, Paul Myners, the City Minister, will demand that bonuses are spread over three years and “clawed back” if performance turns sour in subsequent years. Banks are expected to report third quarter profits and, according to some estimates, the bonus pool for Goldman could reach $22 billion by the end of the year.

Emergency talks will take place with postal workers today to avert a national strike. The Independent estimate that it would halt deliveries of 75 million letters while the FT report that Royal Mail could lose up to £62.9 million of letter business before Christmas. Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, said, “It would be a suicidal act – turning more hard-pressed consumers and businesses away from using mail.” Dave Ward, the Communication Workers Union’s deputy general secretary, said, “Postal workers do not want to take strike action but neither are they prepared to put up with continuing attacks from a management which is failing.”

The Guardian report that thousands of university places could be left unfilled because foreign students are being blocked from starting degrees under a new visa system. Professor Steve Smith, president of Universities UK, said: “We are very concerned that significant numbers of students from Pakistan may not receive their visas in time to start their studies in the UK this year.”

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