In a surprise move, peers passed an amendment to the Defamation Bill to introduce a cheap arbitration service between newspapers and people who feel wronged by the press – one of Lord Justice Leveson’s key recommendations.
The amendment raises the possibility that some of Lord Justice Leveson’s most controversial proposals could become law by the backdoor.
It means the Prime Minister will now have to persuade MPs to overturn the planned legislation in the House of Commons or accept the Lords amendment.
Category Archives: David Cameron
The Prime Minister was issued with the explanation by the UK Statistics Authority, after he claimed in a Conservative Party political broadcast that “we are paying down Britain’s debts.”
Labour wrote to the statistics body objecting to Mr Cameron’s use of the phrase, as the Treasury has only been reducing the country’s deficit. The national debt is still rising and will continue to do so until 2016 at the earliest, although the deficit has been cut by around a quarter.
Andrew Dilnot, chairman of the Authority, wrote back confirming that national debt has risen from £811 billion to £1,111 billion at the end of 2012. He copied the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff in Downing Street into his letter.
“It is clearly important for all parties to public debate in this area to understand the relevant statistical definitions and to distinguish changes in the level of debt outstanding from changes in borrowing per period, and to reflect these in their communication of the statistical trends involved,” he wrote.
13 January: The Telegraph reports that Steve Hilton, once a key adviser to David Cameron, has revealed his frustrations over working at Number 10, claiming that the Prime Minister often only found out about coalition policies from reading the newspapers.
Hilton, who quit in May 2012, said it was “horrific” that the coalition spent so much of its time on areas not in their manifestos, such as reforming the EU.
The policy guru, famous for striding around No10 in his stockinged feet, said: “Very often you’ll wake up in the morning and hear on the radio or in the news or see something in the newspapers about something the government is doing.
“And you think, well, just hang on a second – it’s not just that we didn’t know it was happening, but we don’t even agree with it.”
12 January: The Mirror is reporting that a poll in tomorrow’s Sunday People will show that UKIP have edged ahead of the Conservatives – according to voting intentions for the European Elections.
The poll puts Labour ahead on 35%, UKIP on 23%, the Tories on 22% with their coalition partners the Lib Dems on 8%.
The news comes as David Cameron tries to appease the Eurosceptics in his own party by making tough noises about EU reform, which have alarmed business leaders and even some of his coalition partners.
Labour leader Ed Miliband is adamant Britain should stay in the EU.
“Some cabinet ministers in this Government now openly say we would be better off outside the EU,” he said. “I will not allow our country to sleepwalk toward exit because it would be a betrayal of our national interest.”
11 January: The Guardian reports that David Cameron faces humiliation over the EU as Germany chances its stance on treaty renegotiation that the PM sees as crucial to Britain’s continued membership.
It comes as opposition MPs and even some of his senior coalition partners question the wisdom of Cameron’s stance, and call into question the words of George Osborne who earlier this week said that Europe must change if Britain was to remain a member – which caused an ally of Chancellor Merkel to accuse the UK of “blackmailing” Europe.
The leader of the Conservative MEPs warned that strident Euroscepticism was in danger of giving the impression of Britain “snarling like a pitbull across the Channel”. Richard Ashworth told a seminar organised by the Business for New Europe group and the European parliament: “We’re raising the tempo so that expectations are becoming too great.” He warned that Britain was making itself “pretty unattractive and difficult to work with”.
Vince Cable was equally critical:
Vince Cable, the business secretary, showed Liberal Democrat unease about the prime minister’s plans which he described as a “massive disruption”. He said: “I have to say that this whole issue of raising again in a fundamental way British membership and the terms of membership is a massive disruption and deeply unhelpful in my job. I have to spend my time talking to business people, British and international, trying to have the confidence to invest here and create employment and the recent uncertainly is just deeply uncomfortable for the country. I think the warning shot across the bows yesterday from the United States was actually quite helpful as well as very timely.”
10 January: The Daily Mail reports that budgets for training nursery staff and childminders is to be cut by 40% after David Cameron and Nick Clegg failed to agree a deal on funding.
Labour used Freedom of Information laws to reveal how much councils have spent on training for the early years workforce and supporting childcare providers to employ well-qualified staff.
In 2010-11 almost 140 councils in England spent £93.3million but a year later the budget had been cut by 40 per cent to £56million.
Mr Twigg adds: ‘The Government has slashed the budget for training for nursery staff, putting quality at risk. In four areas – Redcar, Enfield, Solihull and Lewisham, there is now no money available for councils to provide nursery staff training.’
Just 15 councils increased their spending year-on-year.
8th January: The Telegraph reports that the Coalition held off publishing a damning report that showed it had missed around 70 election pledges. Its existence only came to light when one of David Cameron’s advisers was photographed holding a document which discussed the pros and cons of releasing it.
Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg held a press conference on Monday to review the coalition’s performance, but feared that releasing this document would overshadow the “favourable coverage” gained, and highlight “problematic areas” and “broken pledges”.
An analysis of the Coalition’s pledges suggest that in 76 areas, action or announcements are “overdue”. The worst-performing department is the Ministry of Justice, which has failed to implement 15.1 per cent of planned policies.
Earlier this week, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg pledged to introduce reforms in six areas that would form the centrepiece of the Coalition’s work before the next election. However, many were policies that should already have been introduced.
4th January: The Daily Mail reports that David Cameron has admitted having a meeting at Christmas with former News International editor Rebekah Brooks, who quit in disgrace following the phone hacking scandal.
The PM is a near neighbour of Brooks and their relationship caused a stir when it was revealed that they had shared “country suppers” and exchanged numerous texts, with Cameron signing off “LOL” before finding out it did not in fact stand for “lots of love”.
Brooks faces criminal charges for phone hacking and conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office, which she denies, but by maintaining such a close friendship Cameron risks having his judgement called into question.