Politics Summary: Monday, July 26th

The Telegraph‘s front page reports, “Banks told: lend more or lose bonuses”. The Government will today publish two green papers on the banks and financial services. The Treasury will outline measures to strengthen regulation of the banking sector while Vince Cable’s Business Department will pose a “carrot and stick” approach to ensuring that banks maintain lending to struggling enterprises.

Mr Cable said, “What we would question is whether banks should be paying out dividends and bonuses when that money could be used to … support small business lending.” Mr Cable will threaten to impose a new code on all banks rather than opt for a voluntary one applying only to those banks majority-owned by the state. The FT focuses on Cable’s plans to “boost lending to banks” with suggestions to increase lending are the reintroduction of regional stock exchanges, more government loan guarantees and action to create more liquidity in the banking system. Figures from the Bank of England show that lending to businesses has been falling steadily, reaching £25.4 billion from April to June this year.

The Guardian‘s front page details, “Massive leak of secret files exposes true Aghan war”. The paper reports that “a huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.” The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers’ website Wikileaks in “one of the biggest leaks in US military history”. In a statement, the White House strongly condemned the disclosure of the files but said the chaotic picture painted by the logs was the result of “under-resourcing” under Obama’s predecessor, saying: “It is important to note that the time period reflected in the documents is January 2004 to December 2009.”

The Telegraph reports that “Everyone’s invited on PM’s mission to India”. It outlines that, “This week David Cameron, the Prime Minister, will lead one of the largest ever trade and political delegations to India in a bid to forge a new ‘special relationship’ between the UK and India.” George Osborne, William Hague, and Vince Cable are among other Cabinet ministers on the trip, while dozens of chief executives of some of the UK’s largest blue-chip companies including BAE systems, Barclays, and JCB will also fly out. The FT dubs the trip, “the most brazen diplomatic gambit of Mr Cameron’s premiership”. The paper reports that, “Some diplomats are queasy at the idea in the coalition agreement that Britain should seek ‘a new special relationship with India’. They fear India will see such talk as patronising, not least since over the past decade Britain has fallen from India’s fourth most important source of imports to its 18th.” On the eve of the trip, Left Foot Forward reports on the shocking conditions of Indian tea plantation workers who supply tea to UK supermarkets for just 7p an hour.

In his first major newspaper interview since leaving power, Gordon Brown takes the Independent on a tour of his home town of Kirkcaldy. While reluctant to talk about domestic politics, the former Prime Minister talked of his proudest moment in office: “I don’t think people yet understand how near the most sophisticated financial system in the world was to collapse, and I think that I understood what was happening. Look, for most people, the last two years have not been anything like what people portrayed in the 1930s, but the financial collapse was originally as big as the 1930s, and so the fact that we managed to steer the economy, and prevent massive unemployment, and prevent high levels of mortgage repossession, and the fact that we got world-wide action through the G20 to do that, I think when people actually look at it in history.” He sets out that his two priorities will be local politics and more work on international development but warns, “the question is whether, in the light of what I think are the wrong policies of the new government, people will feel [positive] about what’s happening to these great services.”. The full 5,000 word profile is available here.

The papers carry a series of different stories on the Labour leadership race. The Mirror reports that “Bigotgate victim Gillian Duffy backing David Miliband to replace Gordon Brown”. After meeting Mr Miliband she said she was happy to back the shadow foreign secretary to be Labour leader with her union vote. The endorsement came after he went to visit Mrs Duffy at her home for a chat. Mrs Duffy said: “He’s a really nice man and obviously very intelligent but also down to earth. I think he would be a great Prime Minister… I felt David really listened to my points of view and shared my concerns on the issues that matter to working people.” The FT outlines that Ed Miliband’s Labour leadership bid is expected to receive a “big boost” today with an endorsement by the largest trade union, Unite. The paper calls the move a “big disappointment to his rival Ed Balls”. The Guardian outlines that Ed Balls confirmed today that he was “fighting to win” the Labour leadership contest. While the Daily Mail reports that, “Ed Balls rounds on ‘wimpy’ Milibands as he promises to fight on despite union snub”. Mr Balls is quoted saying: “The question in the end that Unite decided was that Ed Miliband was the best person to beat David Miliband. But to be honest this is not about internal factional issues in the Labour Party. The question is: who is the best person to beat David Cameron and Nick Clegg. On judgment and on campaigning and on strength of character I am the person to do that.”

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