Politics Summary: Monday, November 2nd

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Two members of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs have resigned in protest at Alan Johnson’s treatment of Professor David Nutt. Another member told the Guardian that the experts were “planning collective action” against Johnson. Criticism of the Home Secretary is widespread. Lord Winston, the Labour peer and scientist, said he was “very surprised and disappointed.” Professor Ian Stolerman of King’s College London, told the Times: “All scientists who work without pay to advise the Government must surely be considering their positions.” Speaking on the Today programme, Professor Colin Blakemore, former head of the Medical Research Council, said: “This is not just an issue about drugs: the Government depends very widely on advice from experts who give their time freely.” But Sir Liam Donaldson, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer, told Andrew Marr yesterday: “These things are best sorted out behind the scenes.” Meanwhile, Government Minister Lord Drayson tweeted: “1.asking why I was not informed. 2. Getting facts 3. Finding a solution”

Three British banks are likely to be broken up in a move which could cost £40 billion of taxpayers’ money. RBS could receive as much as £26bn as the taxpayers’ stake rises from 70 per cent to closer to 85 per cent. Lloyds Banking Group will need up to £7bn so that the government can maintain its 43 per cent stake if more shares are issued. Northern Rock is to be loaned an extra £8bn so that it can be split in two and become an active mortgage lender again. Details of the break ups are covered in the Times. The merits of the policy were covered 10 days ago on Left Foot Forward.

Harriet Harman has suggested that expenses reforms could be watered down with existing spouses allowed to carry on working for MPs. The FT quote a Government insider saying that Gordon Brown, “will tell Sir Christopher that politics must never be allowed to become the preserve of the independently wealthy and that ordinary people with families must always be able to become MPs.” Meanwhile the Telegraph report that the heads of the new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority will have to be approved by a committee of MPs who have a questionable record over expenses.

The papers are split on David Miliband’s trip to Moscow. The Guardian say there are “strong indications that the Kremlin was willing to improve relations with the UK” while the Times suggest he is “expecting little progress from frosty Moscow trip.” Meanwhile Harriet Harman said Miliband could not be spared for the post of EU High Representative. But the Telegraph quote senior German MEP Martin Schulz: “I have had several very positive discussions regarding the matter with Miliband.”

The Washington Post report deep divisions among the Democrats and strong opposition from the Republicans to the Senate’s “cap-and-trade” climate bill which is debated in committee this week. Senate leaders are aiming to sweeten the deal by adding provisions to build nuclear power plants. Meanwhile the Independent report that developing countries want up to £245 billion in aid to reduce their carbon emissions while the EU thinks it should cost them as little as £20 billion.

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