POLITICS

Mehdi's Morning Memo: You Can't Out-Farage Farage

09/05/2013 08:35 BST | Updated 09/05/2013 08:38 BST
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File photo dated 26/11/12 of Nadine Dorries who has had the Conservative whip restored after apologising for taking part without permission in ITV gameshow I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!

The ten things you need to know on Thursday 9 May 2013...

1) YOU CAN’T OUT-FARAGE FARAGE

Best gag of yesterday’s Queen’s Speech? Ed Miliband’s crack at the Tory change of heart over how to treat Ukip. "They used to call them clowns. Now they want to join the circus," The Labour leader said. He added: "The lesson for the prime minister is you can’t out-Farage Farage. Banging on about Europe won’t convince the public.”

Right, now let’s bang on about Europe a bit.

2) BACK FROM THE WILDERNESS

David Davis is holding a champagne reception in his parliamentary office for Nadine Dorries on Monday – to welcome the exiled MP back into the Tory fold. As The Spectator first reported, the Conservative leadership, reluctantly we assume, decided to hand Dorries back the Tory whip last night. The fear she would defect to Ukip perhaps underlining how much David Cameron and George Osborne worry about the insurgent eurosceptic party. Although whether Nigel Farage would have wanted Dorries stealing his limelight is debatable. The Tory Whips office will be keeping an eye on how many turn up to the welcome back party – attendees may want to check their wine glasses for poison.

Today's Memo is edited by Ned Simons as Mehdi Hasan is picking out his outfit for the 'welcome back Nadine' party this evening.

3) PORTILLO POUNCES

The pages of The Times comment section continue to land Big Beast blows on Downing Street. On Tuesday it was Lord Lawson. Today it is Michael Portillo. “Nigel Lawson says that he would vote in a referendum for Britain to leave the European Union. So would I,” the former Tory cabinet minister writes. And he is also thoroughly unimpressed with the prime minister’s EU referendum pledge. “You could not imagine Margaret Thatcher approaching the issue in such an insincere and political way.”

The Times also reports that Boris Johnson has said, “we should be prepared to leave if we cannot get what we want” out of the negotiations.

4) COALITION CHILDCARE CLASH

Newsnight reported last night that Nick Clegg will veto Tory plans to allow child minders to look after six two-year-olds instead of four. According to the BBC it will cause the coalition’s child care policy to collapse. Clegg's spokesman told Newsnight: "The delivery of good quality, affordable childcare is one of Nick Clegg's biggest priorities in government.

"He has looked very closely at proposals to increase the number of children each adult can look after - and at the very serious concerns raised by parents and childcare providers in the recent government consultation.

"Nick remains to be persuaded that this is the right thing to do for very young children. Or, crucially, to be persuaded that this would actually help families with high childcare costs. This continues to be discussed in government."

Labour has said it will table an Urgent Question in the Commons today to try and get more information about the coalition spat made public.

5) RECALL THIS PLEDGE?

Zac Goldsmith tells HuffPost UK he is “gravely disappointed” in the government for failing to mention a Recall Bill in the Queen’s Speech. Just as he was last year when the government failed to mention it. Goldsmith says: "In terms of the proposed political reforms, Recall was really the only one that would have empowered voters in any meaningful sense, and because it would also ensure greater accountability for MPs, it would bolster their position, provide an implied mandate, and strengthen our democracy as a whole."

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR...

A Liberal Democrat MEP has accused Ukip of giving British holidaymakers "the shits."

6) OFFENDER MANAGEMENT

Every offender leaving prison must serve a minimum of 12 months under supervision in the community, the Justice Secretary announced today.

Chris Grayling said all offenders who enter prison, even for just a few days, will be subject to the new supervision and be given support into housing, employment, training and substance abuse programmes. The changes form part of the government's so-called "rehabilitation revolution", which will see a greater role for private and voluntary sector organisations, who will be paid by results to reduce re-offending.

Grayling said: "Tackling our stubbornly high re-offending rates has dogged successive governments for decades. These reforms represent a golden opportunity to finally turn the tide and put a stopper in the revolving door of the justice system.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Grayling describes the current system as “mad”.

“I’m under no illusions about the scale of this challenge and what we are trying to achieve, but I’m determined to drive these plans forward by 2015,” he says. “Last year around 600,000 offences were committed by those who had broken the law before. We absolutely have to do something different to stop the merry-go-round of reoffending by a persistent group of offenders who leave behind them a trail of victims, misery and damage to our communities.”

7) WHITE HOUSE TRIP

Barack Obama will host David Cameron at the White House on Monday; with Syria, terrorism and the global economy set to top the agenda.

From HuffPost UK: The meeting was confirmed by president Obama's press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday evening, who said it would "highlight the fundamental importance of the US-UK relationship".

"The president looks forward to discussing these issues with the prime minister, to include Syria, trade and economic cooperation, countering terrorism, and priorities for the upcoming G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland," he said.

"The prime minister’s visit underscores the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom that has been crucial in advancing our shared security and prosperity, and the tremendous strategic importance we place on broadening and strengthening our collaboration on global challenges."

8) ACTION MAN ED

Ed Miliband ran into the middle of the road – just like “an action hero” – to aid a cyclist who had crashed off her bike in Kentish Town. The Camden New Journal reports: “Ella Phillips, 29, thought she had suffered concussion when the Labour Party leader’s face suddenly appeared in front of her after she had flipped over her handlebars near the underground station in Kentish Town Road on Thursday. He whisked her onto the pavement and away from traffic.

“She said: ‘He mysteriously appeared out of nowhere, a bit like an action hero. ‘There was a bike in front of me which suddenly stopped so I had to make an emergency brake. The back wheel flipped over, and the next thing I knew my face was hurtling towards the ground. There must have been a fault with the brakes or the chain.

‘Then, there was Ed Miliband’s face looking very concerned at me. I started to wonder how badly I’d banged my head. My first thought was that I was seeing things because I was still in quite a daze.’”

9) FLIPPING HECK

The Press Association reports that MPs have agreed to hand back hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of profits from taxpayer-funded homes.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) will today publish details of repayments by 70 politicians. The watchdog moved to ban the use of Commons expenses to pay mortgage interest in May 2010, in the wake of public fury over "flipping" and other abuses. Repayment deals are now thought to have been struck with 70 of the MPs, with only one case still to be settled. Treasury minister David Gauke is already said to have returned £40,000, while former minister Jim Paice is believed to be repaying £9,000. Ipsa is expected to release details of how much each politician owes and their repayment timetable alongside the latest tranche of expenses claims this morning.

10) BENGHAZI HEARING REVEALS INCOMPETENCE, NO COVER UP

WASHINGTON -- Months-long wrangling over the attacks at an American outpost in Benghazi, Libya, was given a new platform Wednesday when House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) convened a hearing for State Department "whistleblowers" to offer additional insight into what exactly transpired at the U.S. mission there on Sept. 11, 2012.

But despite accusations by Republicans on the committee that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her inner circle had engaged in a "cover-up," Wednesday's nearly six-hour affair fell short of proving a conspiracy or answering the central remaining Benghazi question: Did Clinton, or anyone in the State Department, alter talking points read by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice that the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were the result of a demonstration over an anti-Islam video?

140 CHARACTERS OR LESS

@NadineDorriesMP David Davis is hosting a 'return of the prodigal daughter party' on Monday. whips only allowed if accompanied by responsible adult.

‏@hugorifkind ten o'clock live. Galloway has dyed his beard. Like, really really dyed his beard. I have never seen a more dyed beard.

And before people in the Midlands start throwing out their copies of his books….

@HuffPostBiz Correction: That's John Maynard Keynes MT @HuffPostBiz: Niall Ferguson has made comments about Milton Keynes before http://huff.to/16T5h1g

900 WORDS OR MORE

Michael Portillo in The Times: "Cameron’s promise of renegotiation is just an insincere ploy. Let’s hope the voters have more guts than their leaders."

Peter Oborne in The Daily Telegraph: "This Queen’s Speech proves that the Coalition is still going strong."

Steve Richards in The Times: "Cameron should have formed a minority administration in 2010 and fought a second election that autumn."

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