Politics Summary: Monday, January 18th

The next generation of Conservative MPs do not share David Cameron’s “professed commitment” to tackling climate change. In a survey of Conservative candidates in the most winnable 141 target seats for ConservativeHome covered in the FT, “Reducing Britain’s carbon footprint” was rated as the lowest priority, out of 19 policies. “Reducing the budget deficit” and “cutting red tape and regulation” were the top two. ConHome Editor Tim Montgomerie told the paper: “This is a hugely controversial issue for the Conservative party … It’s for Cameron to decide how he’s going to get out of this – he’s lost the battle already.”

Labour and Conservative parties will this week focus on family. Ed Balls will unveil measures this week to help families “of all shapes and sizes” – including a “New Dad’s Guide” aimed at encouraging new fathers to get more involved with childbirth and new-borns. In an article for the Mail on Sunday, David Cameron reiterated his support for marriage as an important part of his plans to tackle Britain’s “broken society”. But David Willets warns that the Conservatives must be wary of the “ghost of back to basics” when discussing the party’s marriage policy. Willetts has also said that the post-war generation of “boomers” have been guilty of a “monumental failure” to protect the future of their children. Ed Balls told the Sunday Telegraph, “the idea of trying to socially engineer family life through a tax policy … [is] hugely expensive and unfair.” Meanwhile, the FT reports that George Osborne faces intensifying business lobbying over how a Conservative pledge to cut the headline rates of corporation tax will be funded, amid manufacturers’ concerns that his pre-recession plan to axe certain capital allowances to finance the cuts would be a “disaster”.

The Guardian and Independent follow up on the Sunday Times scoop that Jack Straw privately warned Tony Blair that an invasion of Iraq on grounds of “regime change” was legally dubious. In the run up to Blair’s trip to Crawford to see George Bush in 2002, Straw wrote: “There is at present no majority inside the PLP [parliamentary Labour party] for any military action against Iraq … regime change per se is no justification for military action … [and] the weight of legal advice here is that a fresh [UN] mandate may well be required”. The Times reports that Alastair Campbell was facing demands to reappear before the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war after “clarifying” his evidence on the intelligence dossier used to justify overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Appearances this week include Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair’s head of staff; former Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon; and Mr Straw.

A new report ordered by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has found that immigration from eastern Europe has depressed the wages of the lowest-paid British workers. The research, by the Migration Policy Institute, estimates that about half of the 1.5 million eastern European workers who have come to the UK since 2004 have returned home while their unemployment rates have remained significantly below that of British-born workers during the recession. Meanwhile, a poll for Migration Watch reported in The Times finds that nearly half the respondents in 43 Labour marginals said they were more likely to vote Tory if Cameron backed a 50,000 cap.

The Institute for Government has concluded that there is a “strategic gap” at the heart of the British Government because of long-standing problems of co-ordination between Number 10, the Treasury and the Cabinet Office. The Telegraph misinterprets the report to claim it, “lays bare the full, malign impact of the decade-long feud between Mr Brown and his predecessor, Tony Blair.” The FT reports that the authors insist their report, “is not party political and identifies long-standing problems of co-ordination between Number 10, the Treasury and the Cabinet Office.”

Image hat-tip: Conservative Home

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