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The Next Left blog has an exclusive that “None of the top ten Conservative bloggers believes the theory that man-made global warming is an established fact“. The report goes on: “The scale of the Tory netroots revolt over climate change is revealed by Next Left’s survey of the climate change views of this year’s top 10 Conservative blogs, as identified by Total Politics magazine’s blog awards poll.”
MPs would be banned from employing their family members in the Commons and from receiving taxpayers’ money to pay the mortgage interest on their second homes under proposals expected to be published next week. Labour MP John Mann said parliament had to accept the recommendations “lock, stock and barrel” if it was to regain its “moral authority.” The Unite union, which represents many parliamentary staff, announced yesterday that it was seeking legal advice on whether the ban on family members is lawful. Dan Whittle, its parliamentary branch chairman, said: “The majority of the public want employment of family members to be transparent and regulated – not banned.” The Telegraph reports that Roger Gale MP has demanded an inquiry into how the details were leaked. Meanwhile, Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin has appealed against a ruling by independent auditor Sir Thomas Legg that he must repay a £63,000 expenses claim, the largest known demand for repayment made to an MP.
The Times reports that Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, has become the first to declare their candidacy for President of Europe. The FT write that he has little chance of succeeding, and that a key moment could come on Wednesday when Nicolas Sarkozy, French president, and Angela Merkel, German chancellor, are expected to discuss Mr Blair’s candidacy over dinner in Paris. The Guardian outline that Blair won the explicit backing of the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner. The Telegraph quote a senior Number 10 official: “We think Merkel will agree [to Blair] if she gets the foreign job [to give to her choice] and Sarkozy will also be after a significant position.”
David Cameron promised yesterday to simplify the country’s benefits system and put an end to the “poverty trap”. But the Government immediately accused Mr Cameron of spin, arguing that the statistics he had cited only referred to “potential scenarios” rather than real households. Philip Collins in the Times questions whether helping the poor is consistent with cutting down the size of government: “As a matter of historical record, pretty much every time that a Conservative Government has left a progressive legacy it has done so by adding to the functions of government rather than by subtracting from them.” Meanwhile, Alastair Campbellattacks George Osborne in a letter to the FT : “If you have a strategic weakness, it seems odd to act systematically to exacerbate it. Yet that appears to be the approach of George Osborne … [who] is more interested in short-term political tactics than he is in long-term economic policy.”
The Independent report that Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and Northern Rock will be broken up and parts of their businesses sold off to create three new banks and more competition in the market. Virgin Money and Tesco are believed to be watching the situation. The Guardian suggest that the Treasury’s planned sell-off of Northern Rock may be stopped so that the ailing bank can be turned into a building society owned by its customers. The Treasury Select Committee have backed such a plan.
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