Telegraph Morning Briefing: Coming and Going, 26/02/2015

Feb 26 v2









This political briefing was sent as an email to Telegraph readers, February 26, 2015

Good morning. Immigration is back on the agenda today. It is not great news for the Conservatives.

Our splash “Britain’s high achievers take flight” details how new research from UCL reveals there is a brain drain of thousands of talented workers leaving the UK for lucrative jobs abroad, while six times as many migrants with low numeracy skills are arriving.

Talented people emigrating are not the issue for David Cameron. Coming and going is part of life, after all. To hold the government responsible for that is unfair. Other countries offer more lucrative lifestyles. Not much can be done about that. The issue, however, is that the PM has failed in his key “no ifs, no but” pledge in 2011 to reduce immigration. He promised to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands” by May 2015. Official immigration statistics announced today will show he will miss that by a mile. Which raises the question: why did he make such an unachievable promise? And will the Conservatives repeat it at this election?

People care about immigration. They also care about politicians who make promises they don’t deliver on. As recently as November the net migration figure was 260,000 – some 16,000 higher than when the Coalition Government was formed. Today is a much-needed gift for Ukip after the battering it has had recently, with falling poll ratings and that TV programme. Still, Nigel Farage is in America, so the Kippers may not fully capitalise on the opportunity. There’s also another horrid Jimmy Savile report out today, the timing of which has some Kippers muttering darkly about burying bad immigration news.

Military spending must be protected, William Hague tells the FT’s George Parker and Kiran Stacey. “I’m totally in favour of maintaining Nato obligations, and I’ve been totally in favour of spending 2 per cent — at least 2 per cent — of our national income on defence in this parliament,” the former Tory leader says. “The world is becoming systematically less stable. That is certainly one of the things I conclude from the experience of being foreign secretary.” This is a big deal. There’s a growing sense in Tory circles that Mr Cameron has to move towards some sort of promise to protect defence spending. Keep watching this one.

Growing up with a surname like Balls clearly creates a healthy sense of humour. Yesterday the shadow chancellor boasted he was a “long, slow burner” in bed on LBC radio after the presenter Iain Dale played out recordings from members of the public rating his sex appeal . The Times has the story.

The BBC licence fee is becoming “anachronistic” and should be scrapped, a cross-party committee of MPs has said. Steven Swinford writes the MPs accuse the corporation’s broadcasting of not being “brave enough” and that the BBC Trust, the body which oversees the corporation, has “failed to meet expectations” and should be abolished in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Westminster is to devolve NHS spending power to Greater Manchester. Ten councils will gain control of £6bn a year of NHS spending. The aim of such decentralisation is to improve the link between NHS services and social care. It is part of the chancellor’s plan to create a “northern powerhouse” that rivals London’s economy. Most of the councils are Labour-dominated. Yet there is conflict in the Labour party about such devolution. In today’s Daily Telegraph James Kirkup explains the policies and politics behind the Chancellor’s plan to empower northern cities.

Ed Miliband has seized control of the contest to choose a candidate to challenge George Galloway’s seat after accusations of vote-rigging, Laura Pitel reports in the Times. An emergency meeting was held to discuss the Bradford West constituency after its chosen candidate stood down just 72 hours after selection, following claims of clan-based politics among local British-Pakistanis.

George Galloway was left red-faced after inviting Twitter users to send him questions using the hashtag #AskGalloway. The Respect MP received a barrage of abuse and refused to answer any questions. “I must say there is nothing like Twitter to remind you of the sea of ignorance, filth, racism, hatred and utter banality that’s out there,” he wrote.

In what can only be described as a rant, John Cleese yesterday likened journalists arguing for self-regulation to murderers wanting to police themselves during a press reform rally. He also accused newspaper editors of being cold-blooded liars who only wanted control to remain fully within the industry so they could be “free to do what they damn well like”. His comments at a Hacked Off event in parliament angered campaigners who were following proceedings on Twitter. Confrontation resulted after Guido Fawkes reporter Alex Wickham was asked to stand up and was then subsequently berated by Hacked Off associate director Evan Harris.

@jamiesont: Even Natalie Bennett and The Greens are sitting home thinking f*** me this is embarrassing #BRITAwards


From The Telegraph

Con Coughlin – Ignoring defence is a mistake, Mr Cameron

Tim Stanley – Publishing Mein Kampf is the best way to undermine Hitler’s poison

From elsewhere

Mick Hume – Hugh Grant: Hero of the fight for press freedom?

David Aaronovitch – These Muslim delusions are a danger to us all

0930 ONS to publish its second estimate of GDP growth in Q4 2014
Ed Miliband is to give a speech at the EEF National Manufacturing Conference
Nigel Farage is to deliver a speech at the US Conservative Political Action Conference
David Cameron and Theresa May are to meet Saudi Arabid’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef
Jeremy Hunt and Andy Burnham are to speak at Nuffield Health Policy Summit
The Royal Bank of Scotland is to publish its full-year results

Main Chamber
0930 Oral Questions: Culture, Media and Sport, including Topical Questions; Women and Equalities
Business Statement: Leader of the House
Statement: Select Committee Statement on the publication of the Fourth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, session 2014-15: Future of the BBC (HC 315 2014-15)
Backbench Business: (i) Equitable life (ii) Epilepsy
Adjournment: Government support for victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham – Sarah Champion

Select Committee
1030: European Scrutiny: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Witness(es): Lord Livingston of Parkhead, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Room 15, Palace of Westminster

Main Chamber
1100 Oral Questions:
Economic impact of the increase in Entrepreneurs’ Relief
Syrian refugees becoming permanent residents
Local Government Association’s report tackling obesity
The increase of court fees and the assessment of the impact of that policy on access to justice
Debate: 4th Report from the Select Committee (Access and the use of facilities by members on leave of absence and disqualified members) (HL Paper 104)
Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill – Committee of the whole House
Orders and Regulations: Scotland Act 1998 (Modification of Schedules 4 and 5 and Transfer of Functions to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 2015
Short Debate: The effect of the EU regulation on British agriculture
Orders and Regulations: Representation of the People (Combination of Polls) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2015
Orders and Regulations: Representation of the People (Ballot Paper) Regulations 2015
Orders and Regulations: Police and Crime Commissioner Elections Order 2015 Lord Wallace of Saltaire to move that the draft Order laid before the House on 15 January be approved.

Select Committee
1005: External Affairs (EU Sub-Committee C). Witness(es): (at 10.05am) evidence will be heard from Mr Edward Barker, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster




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