POLITICS

Mehdi's Morning Memo: Oh Lord!

02/06/2013 10:07 BST | Updated 02/06/2013 10:29 BST
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth delivers her speech during the State Opening of Parliament at the House of Lords, alongside Prince Philip in London May 8, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT)

The five things you need to know on Sunday 2 June 2013...

1) OH LORD!

The lobbying scandal has widened with claims three peers were caught offering to ask parliamentary questions and lobby ministers in return for cash. The Sunday Times said it had recorded peers expressing willingness to breach parliamentary rules by seeking to profit from their position by offering "parliamentary advice or services" to a paying client. The paper filmed Lord Cunningham, Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate and Lord Laird as they "revealed their readiness to wield their influence in the halls of power to paying clients". Lord Laird has also been accused by The Daily Telegraph of offering to arrange parliamentary questions to be asked in return for a fee of £2,000 a month. All three deny wrongdoing.

The allegations has intensified pressure for tougher rules on lobbying. The Independent reports that Nick Clegg will demand the government honours its commitment to establish an official register of lobbyists. And Justine Greening told Sky News this morning: "we need to look how we can go further to address lobbying".

But is it a lobbying scandal? Or a politicians scandal? The head on one lobbying firm argues that no actual lobbying firm has been implicated and when he was approached by undercover reporters "their clumsy approach rang alarm bells".

Over in the Commons, the Patrick Mercer allegations have also reignited demands that the government bring forward the right to recall MPs. Another political reform promised in the coalition agreement that has yet to see the light of day.

2) WHO ARE THE '30'

At least 30 Conservative MPs have signed letters calling for a vote of no confidence in David Cameron's leadership, a leading backbench rebel has said. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the MP - who is believed to have signed one of those letters - told The Huffington Post UK that the number of signers is "into the 30s now". Some 46 letters would need to be signed for a no confidence vote to be held.

The senior Conservative backbencher told HuffPost UK that the number could reach 46 and force a no confidence vote if "post the party conference [in October], we are still [polling] in the 20s." But the Tory rebel also added a disclaimer: "We are talking about MPs here. Labour MPs walked wide-eyed into defeat with Gordon Brown."

Today's Sunday Memo is edited by Ned Simons as Mehdi Hasan is booking a holiday to Fiji.

3) NO.10 'SEX SCANDAL'

The Mail on Sunday sensationally reports on an affair that could have "significant political implications" for David Cameron and "blow out of the water" his political agenda. According to the report, the prime minister was "stunned" when told of the allegations and has held crisis talks in Downing Street. For legal reasons the newspaper has not named the people involved. Much to many people's frustration. Thee paper claims the revelations if made public could place a further strain on Cameron’s leadership.

4) BLAIR'S 'PROBLEM WITH ISLAM'

Tony Blair has warned there is a problem "within Islam" and described the ideology behind the murder of soldier Lee Rigby as "profound and dangerous".

The former prime minister said "the seeds of future fanaticism and terror" were being sown, so children in the UK and abroad must be educated about the place of religion in society. In a Mail on Sunday column, Blair wrote: "There is not a problem with Muslims in general. Most in Britain will be horrified at Lee Rigby's murder. But there is a problem within Islam - from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. And we have to put it on the table and be honest about it."

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5) LABOUR REFERENDUM PRESSURE

Ed Miliband has come under pressure from his own MPs to commit to a referendum on the EU. A new group, made up of 20 backbenchers, will be launched this week. The Guardian reports that The Labour for a Referendum campaign is being bankrolled by Labour donor John Mills - who last week attacked Miliband for being "policy light".

An Observer/Opinium poll out today shows Ukip have climbed to 21% - hot on the heels of the Tories who are on 26%. The survey puts Labour in the lead on 37% and the Lib Dems a dismal fourth on 6%.

140 CHARACTERS OR LESS

@ShippersUnbound Never heard of Lord Laird? It takes a special person to feature in two newspaper sting operations in the same week...

@annemcelvoy Secret No 10 affair would *blow Cameron's political agenda out of the water.* If only they could find one.

@IanDunt That fascist day of action in full: Zero protesters in Exeter, five in Bristol, 20 in Leeds #jogonboys

900 WORDS OR MORE

Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer: Too many MPs are wrapped in the tentacles of the lobbyists.

Liam Fox in the Daily Mail: Yes, the Tories CAN win in 2015... if we 'emotionally' connect with voters - as Thatcher did.

Adam Boulton in The Sunday Times: Keep bashing Ed and he might seem a contender.

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