Politics Summary: Monday, July 12th

Lord Mandelson reveals the inside story of the post-election negotiations with the Liberal Democrats today, writing that Nick Clegg demanded Gordon Brown's resignation as the price of a Lib-Lab deal - and that Danny Alexander sought a change to the voting system without the need for a referendum.

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Lord Mandelson reveals the inside story of the post-election negotiations with the Liberal Democrats today, writing that Nick Clegg demanded Gordon Brown’s resignation as the price of a Lib-Lab deal – and that Danny Alexander sought a change to the voting system without the need for a referendum. In his memoirs, The Third Man, serialised in The Times, the former business secretary claims the Lib Dem leader told Mr Brown: “Please understand, I have no personal animosity whatsoever. But it is not possible to secure the legitimacy of a coalition and win a referendum unless you move on in a dignified way.”

He adds: “The Commons meeting was held in great secrecy. Mr Brown was accompanied by Lord Mandelson, and Mr Clegg by Danny Alexander, now Treasury chief secretary. Mr Brown and Lord Mandelson walked through the tunnel between No 10 and the Ministry of Defence to avoid being seen, and were picked up by a car there. Mr Brown did not give a clear answer to Mr Clegg at the time, provoking despair among Lib Dems still hoping for an agreement with Labour. But the pressures on him from his own side had been growing. and a conversation with Mr Blair must have played its part… But Gordon could not stay… Tony told him and me that the public would simply not accept Gordon remaining.” The story is also covered by the Telegraph, Guardian and Independendent, which suggests “Mandelson’s vanity came before the party interest”, and that “his mistake was overlooking the possibility of a coalition with the Lib Dems”.

The police are coming under criticism for their handling of the stand-off with fugitive gunman Raoul Moat. The Telegraph reports: “It emerged yesterday that Moat had been seen walking through the village in daylight a few hours before he was found and that police had overlooked a bright orange T-shirt that the fugitive had been wearing but discarded. Moat’s brother, Angus, also claimed that the police refused his offer to act as a mediator during the stand-off and suggested that his brother may have shot himself through an ‘involuntary reaction’ after being hit by Tasers. He likened it to ‘a public execution’… Hours previously, a man now thought to have been Moat was seen in Rothbury High Street — even peering into unoccupied police cars — close to where he was finally cornered. ‘It was like he couldn’t believe he was walking in the middle of Rothbury. He was walking slowly around looking in the windows of the [police cars],’ said a witness.” And The Guardian reports that: “Angus Moat was interviewed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which will consider the offers of help from the family as part of its investigation and will also look at the use of Tasers by police. Moat killed himself with a sawn-off shotgun at 1.15am on Saturday, prompting concern that use of the stun guns may have induced a muscle spasm which caused him to pull the trigger as he held the shotgun to his head. The family said the official postmortem into his death made no mention of the stun guns and said they were considering asking for a second independent examination.”

Serious crimes “may be the price to pay” for cutting the cost of justice, the probation watchdog has warned. Murders and other serious crimes committed by prisoners released early from jail may have to be “accepted” by the public as part of attempts to keep down the cost of the criminal justice system, reports the Telegraph, with Andrew Bridges, chief inspector of probation, questioning whether it was worth keeping thousands of violent and dangerous offenders locked up for longer than the minimum jail term set by a court just to stop a few of them committing new crimes. The report says: “In a foreword to his annual report headed ‘What price public protection?’, Mr Bridges said his aim was to ‘shed some light on this emotionally charged topic’ of the management of prisoners and their possible reoffending. ‘Is the public prepared to accept the ‘cost’ of having more prisoners managed in the community, in terms of a proportionately small amount of reoffending, in order to achieve the ‘benefit’ of substantial financial savings, knowing that people are not being expensively locked up for longer than they need to be? Risks to the public cannot be eliminated and individual incidents [of reoffending] should not necessarily be seen as evidence of the system failing,’ he said.” However Lyn Costello, of the charity Mothers Against Murder and Aggression, said: “I am disgusted. You can never bring finance into dealing with justice. If we are going to become a country that puts money before human life or a safe and peaceful life then I do not want to live here.”

George Osborne’s cap on housing benefits will “drive poor families into ghettos”, housing experts have warned. The Independent reports that, according to charities, the Coalition’s welfare cuts will combine with joblessness and home repossessions to leave thousands homeless: “Thousands of people will be made homeless as public spending is slashed because of a dangerous combination of higher unemployment, increasing repossessions and cuts to housing benefit… The retired, disabled people, carers and working families will be hardest hit and charities predict it will trigger the steepest rise in families living in unsuitable accommodation and individuals sleeping rough since the 1980s. Those in London will be the worst affected, forcing an exodus of poorer people from the centre to outer boroughs, and adding to the financial pressures on local authorities, which are obliged to find homes, school places and social care for the newly arrived families.” Some London households receiving housing benefit will have to find a shortfall of up to £1,548 a month, claim Shelter, with opposition MPs saying this will result in “social cleansing” of poorer tenants from richer areas. Campbell Robb, the chief executive of Shelter, told the Indy: “The consequences have not been thought through by the Government. If this support is ripped out suddenly from under their feet, it will push many households over the edge, triggering a spiral of debt, eviction and homelessness.”

Finally, the story that’s leading all the front and back pages all round the world this morning, Spain’s tika-taka triumph over the Netherlands in the World Cup Final. The Sun’s headlines are “WINiesta” and “El of a triumph“, while Marca screams “¡¡¡Campeones, campeones!!!” and AS revels in “El paraíso del fútbol”; for the vanquished, de Telegraaf reflects on the “Diepe teleurstelling op Museumplein”, where 150,000 Dutch fans had gathered to watch the final. This morning at 10.30, Left Foot Forward has a special report looking at the impact of the World Cup on South Africa – specifically on the country’s poorest communities – and what they have to look forward to, now the vuvuzelas have stopped blaring and the media circus has gone away.

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11 Responses to “Politics Summary: Monday, July 12th”

  1. Left Foot Forward

    Politics Summary: http://bit.ly/bEcS7h – Mandelson: Clegg demanded Brown's resignation as price of Lib-Lab deal

  2. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd Politics Summary: http://bit.ly/bEcS7h – Mandelson: Clegg demanded Brown's resignation as price of Lib-Lab deal

  3. Alex Holland

    RT @leftfootfwd: Politics Summary: http://bit.ly/bEcS7h – Mandelson: Clegg demanded Brown's resignation as price of Lib-Lab deal

  4. Hitchin England

    Politics Summary: http://bit.ly/bEcS7h – Mandelson: Clegg demanded Brown's resignation as price of Lib-Lab deal via @leftfootfwd

  5. Robert

    First of all if somebody said to you your life is in danger unless you do what Mandy told you, what would you do say ah yes I trust him or say I’d rather bloody die, yes I’d rather die.

    The facts are New labour was born Mandy says he was part of it, Mandy, Blair Brown, Campbell, Kinnock, if you life depended on trusting one of these people you’d have a job picking one. One is a war monger who has made a pile of money telling the yanks how he had to fight to take us into a war, the others just went for it, Brown now saying he only knew what he knows now, meaning half the country should have had his job because we all knew the war was wrong, then the battle between brown and Blair and the funding for the war, how many young people died in Iraq because of these two pricks.

    The fact is New labour came it did what it wanted it’s now gone, why the hell should anyone want to vote these money grabbing gents back in beats me.

    New labour old labour both part of the same problem socialist nope Thatcherites yes.

  6. Mr. Sensible

    So now we know that Clegg has only been interested in working with the Tories all along.

    This is the first opportunity I have had to comment on the case of Raoul Mote, so I should begin by giving best wishes to all concerned.

    It is good that we are having the IPCC enquiry, however, I think some of the comments in the media about the police investigation are unhelpful. The usual suspects are saying on radio phone ins ETC about the expense that there would have been if he had ended up in prison, however I am not sure this is the ideal outcome. It would be interesting to see if LFF can get a perspective on this either from 1 of its own writers or a guest.

    Elsewhere, Shamik, there are a couple of interesting things I have found in the Guardian today.

    First, LFF gave some coverage on I think Friday about Lansley wanting to get the food industry more involved in promoting a healthy lifestyle. In a possible sign of this, in the Guardian today they’re reporting that Lansley wants to get rid of the Food Standards Agency.

    Sticking with health, I fail to see the accountability in what Lansley’s proposing with regard to GPs. GPs will want to be treating pacients, not being bogged down in management. And the fact that he wants to bring other groups in is an example of the proposed privatization of bits of tne NHS, as LFF highlighted before the election and as the Lib Dems are now supporting.

    Elsewhere, in a further embarrassing sign for Michael Gove, the Lib Dem deputy leader has reportedly distenced himself from the decision to scrap BSF, saying something to the effect of that it would not be good to spend money earmarked for BSF on these new ‘Free Schools.’

    Shamik, do you honestly think that Gove can survive this? Education Questions this afternoon will be interesting.

    Next, I see that Norman Baker has hinted that bus and rail passengers can expect bad news with regard to our bus and rail networks:

    Public Transport can be protected if we scrapped road widening. I also think we need to have a look at congestion charging. And it is no use Lib Dem ministers talking about how they inherited this, and inherited that, but they supported Labour’s spending plans before the election.

    Finally, I see that in yesterday’s Observer the banking industry warned that Osborne’s proposed reforms could damage the recovery:

    We need to reform the system, but this is not the way to do it. All that the government is doing here is just changing the fernature. If breaking up the banks and having the central bank is so good, why did it fail in the states? Surely it is more important that the different parts of the system know what they’re doing? If anything, these proposals could make that worse.

  7. Laurence Olivier Stone

    @Robert, I think you’re missing the fact that the war on socialism will take away your access to free/cheap and quality healthcare. That’s why socialists like Hugo Chavez would be more popular in Britain than Clameregg – http://bit.ly/chvza

  8. Mr. Sensible

    BTW Shamik, since I mentioned education earlier, what did you make of Cameron’s comments about state schools in I think 1 of the Sundays?

  9. Shamik Das

    The prime minister’s comments on state schools? Extraordinary. Just shows how out of touch he is. He’ll never be able to understand how the rest of us live. Never.

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