Telegraph Morning Briefing: Major intervention, 06/03/2015Posted: March 8, 2015
This political briefing was sent as an email to Telegraph readers, March 6, 2015
Good morning. Our splash today is “Major: Labour must say no to SNP”.
Sir John Major has told Ed Miliband he must “summon the courage” and rule out any post-election deal with the SNP, in order to ensure the nationalists can’t “prise the UK apart”.
The polls suggest that, with neither Labour nor Tories likely to win a majority in May, Labour and the rampant SNP could have the numbers to form a new coalition in May. This, Sir John warns, would be disastrous for the UK as the SNP’s “overriding aim” would be “to break up the United Kingdom”.
His intervention is carefully timed. Mr Miliband today heads to Glasgow to address Scottish Labour’s spring conference. To say that’s a tough gig is putting it mildly. Labour is in deep, perhaps existential trouble in Scotland, and Mr Miliband’s personal ratings among Scots are worse than those of David Cameron. For a Labour leader to be beaten in Scotland by an Old Etonian English Tory is quite something. As for the Nats, Lord Ashcroft’s latest poll suggests they could win 50 of the 59 seats in Scotland.
There is no single reason for this huge shift in Scottish politics. But, as Philip Collins notes in his Times column today, “‘Westminster’ has become in Scottish politics what ‘Washington’ means in American politics – the citadel beyond the border of reason where ‘they’ conspire against ‘our’ best interests.”
If the SNP does as well as the polls suggest, they most likely will regard this as a more “accurate” referendum, and any coalition invitation would, as our leader points out today, “nobble the Union for good”. Sir John is surely right. Mr Miliband must put his country first and say No to the SNP.
Unsurprisingly, the topic of debates is still high on the news agenda today. The Mirror describes Cameron’s refusal of a one-on-one showdown with Miliband as an “affront to democracy”. While the Guardian leads with “PM told: stop cowering over TV debates” and reports that, “exasperated broadcasters desperately suggested” they might replace Cameron with an empty chair – although this is fraught with legal issues. Steven Swinford writes in The Daily Telegraph that “broadcasters are preparing to accept that there should only be a single television election debate.” As always, Michael Deacon’s sketch on the issue is perfect.
CAM PUTIN THE BOOT IN
Britain will take sanctions against Russia to “whole different level” if Putin intensifies Russian aggression in Ukraine, Cameron declares in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The PM added the West must be prepared to “settle in for a long and determined position” against Russia.
NEW MPs EXPENSE RULES
In a new crackdown on MPs’ expenses, there will be a ban on claims for dinners, television licences and pre-11pm taxis after the general election, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has said. Steven Swinford has the story.
DEFENCE SPURS TORY REBELS
Whitehall sources are warning there is a growing Tory rebellion over the Treasury’s plan to freeze defence spending after the general election. More than 30 MPs will stage a Commons showdown next week in protest. “Defence spending freeze stirs new Tory rebellion” is the Times headline.
MAY TOPS POLL
Theresa May is seen by future Conservative MPs as a more likely party leader than Boris Johnson, according to a survey of Tory candidates in winnable seats. The pollster Populus also found that Andy Burnham was the most popular choice of future Labour leader among potential Labour MPs. George Parker has the story.
Plain-packaging of cigarettes is expected to become law next week without a Commons debate. The controversial ban will be considered by a cross party committee of MPs on Monday and then – if the MPs agree – there will be a free vote without a debate on Wednesday. It is expected that as many as 100 Tory MPs will vote against the plans.
There is an interesting investigation in today’s Sun about IRA kingpins who stand to make millions from the change in law after building a secret network of illegal cigarette factories. Its leader describes plain-packs legislation as a “gift for criminals”.
SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH
Rosa Prince’s lovely series on departing MPs continues today with Tim Yeo
TOO MANY TWEETS…
@sammacrory: If the debates really sucked the life out of the campaign in 2010, then what are the debates about the debates doing? And it’s only March…
From The Telegraph
Sir John Major – Why Miliband must say no to an SNP alliance
Fraser Nelson – The Tories can win – but they have to be prepared to gamble
The Economist – A reputation at risk
Sebastian Payne – Five things I learnt after going behind the scenes with Ukip
0930 Bank of England’s quarterly Inflation Attitudes Survey will be published
0930 Weekly figures on A&E attendances and admissions for hospitals in England will be released
Liverpool: Green party spring conference
Caernarfon: Plaid Cymru spring conference
Brussels: EU environment ministers convene
TODAY IN PARLIAMENT
HOUSE OF COMMONS
Legislation: Mutuals’ Redeemable and Deferred Shares Bill [HL] – Report stage – Jonathan Evans
Legislation: House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Bill [HL] – Report stage (Day 2) – Sir George Young
Legislation: Wind Farm Subsidies (Abolition) Bill – Second reading – Mr Peter Bone
Legislation: Foreign National Offenders (Exclusion from the United Kingdom) Bill – Second reading – Mr Peter Bone
Legislation: Recall of Elected Representatives Bill – Second reading – Zac Goldsmith
Legislation: Affordable Housing Contributions (Ten Unit Threshold) Bill – Second reading – Tim Farron
Legislation: Blood Donation (Equality) Bill – Second reading – Michael Fabricant
Legislation: National Health Service and Care Sector Workers (Credit Union and High Cost Credit) Bill – Second reading – Mr Gareth Thomas
Legislation: Overseas Voters (15 Year Rule) Bill – Second reading – Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
Legislation: Planning Consent Applications (Contracts): Bill – Second reading – Mr Nigel Evans
Legislation: Apprenticeships (Child Benefit and Tax Credit Entitlement) (Research) Bill – Second reading – Jesse Norman
Legislation: General Practitioner Surgeries (Rural Areas) Bill – Second reading – Tim Farron
Legislation: Internet Communications (Regulation) Bill – Second reading – Sir Alan Duncan
Legislation: Mobile Phones and Other Devices Capable of Connection to the Internet (Distribution of Sexually Explicit Images and Manufacturers’ Anti-Pornography Default Setting) Bill – Second reading – Geraint Davies
Legislation: Alcohol Labelling (Pregnancy): Bill – Second reading – Bill Esterson
Legislation: International Trade Agreements (Scrutiny) Bill – Second reading – Geraint Davies
Legislation: Carers Bedroom Entitlement (Social Housing Sector) Bill – Second reading – Barbara Keeley
Legislation: Dogs (Registration) Bill – Second reading – Julie Hilling
Legislation: Railways (Public Sector Operators) Bill – Second reading – Andy Sawford
Legislation: Employment Rights Bill – Second reading – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Local Government (Planning Permission and Referendums) Bill – Second reading – Martin Vickers
Legislation: Fixed-Term Parliaments (Repeal) Bill – Second reading – Sir Alan Duncan
Legislation: Protective Headgear for Cyclists Aged Fourteen Years and Under (Research) Bill – Second reading – Annette Brooke
Legislation: Under-occupancy Penalty (Exemptions) Bill – Second reading – Yvonne Fovargue
Legislation: Road Fuel Pricing (Equalisation) Bill – Second reading – Mark Garnier
Legislation: Political Party Policy Costings (Office for Budget Responsibility) Bill – Second reading – Alison McGovern
Legislation: Onshore Wind Turbine Subsidies (Abolition) Bill – Second reading – Nigel Adams
Legislation: Household Safety (Carbon Monoxide Detectors) Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Andrew Bingham
Legislation: Women’s Refuges (Provision and Eligibility) Bill – Second reading – Norman Baker
Legislation: Private Rented Sector (Decent Homes Standard) Bill – Second reading – Laura Sandys
Legislation: Right to Buy and Right to Acquire Schemes (Research) Bill – Second reading – Tim Farron
Legislation: Public Sector Efficiency (Employee Participation) Bill – Second reading – John Pugh
Legislation: Job Creation Powers (Scotland) Bill – Second reading – Ian Murray
Legislation: Fracking (Measurement and Regulation of Impacts) (Air, Water and Greenhouse Gas Emissions) Bill – Second reading – Geraint Davies
Legislation: Nature Bill – Second reading – Sir John Randall
Legislation: Medical Innovation Bill [HL] – Second reading – Michael Ellis
Legislation: Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Jobs Guarantee Scheme (Research) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Terms and Conditions (Migrant Workers) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (Betting Shops) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: High Cost Credit Services (Retail Premises) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 (Repeal) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Firearm and Shotgun Licensing (Domestic Violence) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Working Time Directive (Limitation) Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Bat Habitats Regulation Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Defence Expenditure (NATO Target) Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Convicted Prisoners Voting Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Benefit Entitlement (Restriction) Bill – Second reading – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Road Traffic Regulation (Temporary Closure for Filming) Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Iain Stewart
Legislation: Illegal Immigrants (Criminal Sanctions) Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: House of Lords (Maximum Membership) Bill – Second reading – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: EU Membership (Audit of Costs and Benefits) Bill – Second reading – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Wild Animals in Circuses Bill – Second reading – Jim Fitzpatrick MP
Adjournment: Housing association transfer ballots – Jim Fitzpatrick