Mehdi's Morning Memo: I Punched A Gay Guy To Prove I'm Not A Homophobe

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The ten things you need to know on Tuesday 11th December 2012...

1) TORIES GAY DIVORCE EACH OTHER OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

After suggesting most parents would not want their kids to be gay, Tory MP David Davies insisted he was not a bigot because he once had a boxing match with a gay man. The government will unveil its plans for gay marriage today, leading to many other anti-gay marriage Tories insisting they are not homophobic just because they are opposed.

To prove it the 100-or-so backbench Tories who plan to vote against the legislation will take a leaf out of Davies’ book, tool up, and go on a violent vigilante rampage through Soho.

Similarly Maria Millar and pro-gay marriage Tories will go out of their way to prove to religious Tories that they are not hell bent on changing the meaning of the word ‘marriage’ so much that dictionaries will in future all come in pink with glittery writing. HuffPost suggests the all give the Pope a Twitter #FF as a sign of good faith.

The culture secretary will give a statement to the Commons at 12.30 when she is likely to confirm the government will allow churches to conduct gay weddings if they want, but those that do not will not be forced to.

Gay Marriage Statement Bingo: Look out for: ‘Polygamy’, ‘Normal marriages’, and ‘what next? Monkey tennis?’

Today’s Memo is edited by Ned Simons as Mehdi Hasan is preparing for a battle with a bisexual ninja.

2) CLEGG THREATENS TO KILL ‘SNOOPING’ BILL

Government plans to give the police and security services new powers to monitor all emails, web visits and phone calls must undergo a "fundamental rethink", Nick Clegg has warned.

The deputy prime minister said ministers needed to "go back to the drawing board" after a committee of MPs and peers found measures supposed to enable investigators to keep pace with technological developments went far further than necessary and amounted to overkill.

The committee, set up to examine the draft Communications Bill, accused the Government of using "fanciful and misleading" figures to support its case for the legislation. Clegg said ministers must take account of the committee's findings and that the Bill - dubbed a "snooper's charter" by critics - could not proceed in its current form.

3) HUNTING LORD JUSTICE LEVESON

Labour unveiled its plans for press regulation yesterday, which would hand the chief justice a role in overseeing the press. One of the leading contenders to be the next chief justice? Lord Justice Leveson. That will go down well with editors.

The current chair of the much derided Press Complaints Commission, Lord Hunt, will be grilled by MPs on the Commons culture, media and sport committee at 10.30am. Joining him will be Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger. Not in attendance, will be Lord Justice Leveson, who is yet to have responded to the committee’s request that he appear. To be fair to him he is a bit busy on a speaking tour of Australia at the moment.

4) LESS THAN DANGEROUS LIAISON

At 4pm today David Cameron will be in front of the Commons liaison committee. Political journalistic tradition mandates that the prime minister be “grilled” by the MPs (see point 3). However the nature of the committee, made up of the chairs of the individual select committees, means that prime ministers usually saunter through the gentle questioning.

Sir George Young, who once served on the committee, has described the sessions as "turgid" and lacking “box office” appeal. “We never laid a glove on Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's appearances were heavy weather,” he said in June 2010. So, err, be sure to check HuffPost later for our report.

5) KAMA SUTR-URGHHH

The prime minister on frustrating Tory eurosceptics by delaying a speech on a EU referendum: "This is a tantric approach to policy-making. It'll be even better when it does eventually come." Enjoy your breakfast

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR...

WATCH: Penguin falls over. All it’s friends make cute noises in anguish, then joy, when he gets back to his feet.

6) I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO AGREE WITH NICK

David Cameron has been accused of "running scared" after signalling that he wants to see changes to the format of the televised debates with other party leaders introduced in the 2010 general election if he is to take part again in 2015.

Cameron told a Westminster lunch he was in favour of the debates in principle, but felt that in 2010 they sucked the life out of the rest of the campaign.

The prime minister said he had not yet decided whether to sign up for another round of TV clashes and indicated that if they did go ahead, he would favour a less formal format for the debates."I think TV debates are good. I enjoyed them last time - particularly the last one," he said.

"We have a fixed-term parliament now, so we can think about it in a slightly different way. I haven't made my mind up exactly what we should do but I am in favour of these debates.

7) OH THAT MEXICAN DRUG MONEY

HSBC is due to admit it broke US law designed to stop money laundering on Tuesday. The Guardian reports that the British banking giant will settle a allegations that it ran money for Mexican drug king-pins for £1.2bn.

The admission is likely to put pressure on the bank’s former chairman, Lord Green, who is now a Tory trade minister. The scandal cost the bank’s head of compliance David Bagley his job. But Green escaped largely unscathed despite having been in charge of the bank at the time the transgressions are said to have taken place.

8) GARETH GATES-GATE

David Cameron revealed yesterday he has only voted in a reality TV programme once, when he plumped for Will Young over Gareth Gates. "I think I did vote for Will Young once in X Factor" - actually, it was Pop Idol - "because my daughter made me," he told journalists at a lunch in Westminster on Monday.

The only problem with that anecdote? Young won Pop Idol in 2002. Nancy, the prime minister's daughter, was born in 2004. Those less inclined to conspiracy might suggest it was his wife Samantha who told him to vote for Young, rather than his unborn child.

9) ‘MORE SUPPORT IS NEEDED’

The family of a nurse who apparently committed suicide after she was duped by a hoax call made to the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge "miss her every moment of every day," MP Keith Vaz has said.

Flanked by Jacintha Saldanha's husband Benedict Barboza and her two teenage children, Lisha, 14, and son Junal, 16, on Monday, the politician said they had been left "devastated" by the loss of a "loving mother and a loving wife".

He told BBC Radio 4's The World At One: "The hospital has sent them a letter, which I have seen, but I'm surprised that nobody has made the journey to Bristol to sit with them and offer them the counselling that I think they need." The MP added: "More support in my view needs to be given."

10) IS SANTA A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT?

Maybe Santa Claus should consider a blue suit this Christmas. Forty-four percent of American voters think Santa is a Democrat, while just 28 percent think he's a Republican, according to Public Policy Polling. Another 28 percent wisely abstained from judgment.

QUOTE UNQUOTE

John Thurso MP (speaking on behalf of Commons authorities): “The House of Commons does not sell foie gras or foie gras derivatives in any of its restaurants and has no plans to do so.”

140 CHARACTERS OR LESS

@IainDale Honestly can't believe people are having a go at Ed Miliband for giving Labour MPs a free vote on gay marriage. Surely a sign of confidence!

@oflynnexpress Tory high command predicts 60-40 party division on gay marriage. So Cam's not quite achieved a perfect "split down the middle". But nearly.

@fivethirtyeight My sh*t doesn't work in the fantasy football playoffs.

900 WORDS OR MORE

Steve Richards in the Independent: "Gay marriage: Osborne and Cameron have reached the right decision - for the wrong reason. The Prime Minister and Chancellor deserve credit for embracing a policy that promotes equality. But history shows that acting for strategic reasons only can backfire."

Polly Toynbee in The Guardian: "Britain could end these tax scams by hitting the big four The spiders spinning the web of avoidance are the major accountancy firms who make billions from the public purse."

Daily Telegraph leader: "The three TV debates galvanised the 2010 campaign, giving voters for the first time the chance to see party leaders subjected to protracted and detailed scrutiny. Mr Cameron was right in his initial assessment – they are good for democracy."

Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Mehdi Hasan (mehdi.hasan@huffingtonpost.com) or Ned Simons (ned.simons@huffingtonpost.com). You can also follow us on Twitter: @mehdirhasan, @nedsimons and @huffpostukpol