POLITICS

Mehdi's Morning Memo: Bursting Farage's Bubble?

03/06/2014 08:49 BST | Updated 03/06/2014 08:59 BST

Here are the five things you need to know on Tuesday 3 June 2014...

1) BURSTING FARAGE'S BUBBLE?

The polls are in and it turns out Ukip isn't going to win the Newark by-election after all. Ok so not the actual election result, that is on Thursday. But the latest opinion polls give the Conservative candidate a great big lead. The numbers aren't hugely surprising given the 16,000 Tory majority in the constituency, but a failure to win the seat will, if not burst, slightly deflate Nigel Farage's bubble.

The Conservative parliamentary party has moved en masse to the Nottinghamshire seat this week in order to ensure a Tory victory. There is of course a reshuffle approaching and from the number of MPs love-bombing Newark you would think that David Cameron will be handing out cabinet posts based on the number of leaflets backbenchers and ministers have managed to stuff down the necks of confused and slightly annoyed locals.

Today's Memo is edited by Ned Simons as Mehdi Hasan is, presumably, in Newark along with everyone else.

2) *SOUND OF KEN CLARKE SAYING THINGS*

Speaking of reshuffles. Ken Clarke is rumoured to be on his way out, in part for his unhelpful habit of saying nice things about the European Union. He obviously did not get the memo. Not this memo. The one from the prime minister about being tough on Brussels and tough on the causes of Brussels. Hi Ken.

The cabinet minister without portfolio endeared himself to No.10 even more last night when he popped up on Channel 4 News and told everyone that "real people" have "not yet felt any sense of recovery" from the economy. Asked about his chances of surviving the reshuffle he said: "I've been in the cabinet for a very long time. I am surprised to be in the cabinet at my age."

Strangely addictive Vine of the day. Ed Balls: "Are you buying fish?"

3)EU TELLS UK TO RAISE TAXES

The European Commission has called on Britain to raise taxes on higher value properties, build more houses, and consider "adjusting" the Help to Buy scheme. The European Union's executive body urged the Government to reform the "regressive" council tax system as taxes are relatively higher on low value homes than high value ones.

Setting out its 2014 economic policy recommendations for the UK, the commission also urged the coalition to bring more people into paying tax to aid deficit reduction which has so far been "heavily skewed" to spending cuts. The recommendations may rankle with some in the wake of Eurosceptic Ukip's victory in the European elections and David Cameron's assessment of the EU as "too big, too bossy, too interfering".

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR... And Now, A Bunch Of Adorable Animals With The Hiccups

4) THERESA MAY-NIA

Theresa May has taken a commanding lead among Tory activists in the post-David Cameron leadership race. A Conservative Home survey gives the home secretary a 12-point lead over Boris Johnson. Last month, the Mayor of London’s support was on 23 per cent, and May was on 20 per cent. Editor Paul Goodman says: "I can think of no other reason for the Home Secretary’s rampaging advance than her impressive speech to the Police Federation."

5) STOP BEING SO WEIRD

Two years ago some union leaders wanted the Blairite pressure group Progress outlawed from the Labour Party. Ed Miliband was not exactly too keen and blocked the move. How are relations between the right and the left of the party going? As one former general secretary told one union leader on Saturday in a public spat: "people do think you’re weird." So, well then.

Looking at the bigger picture, Labour's chances of winning next year's general election have improved, according to a poll which showed the Opposition gaining support over the last week. Lord Ashcroft's poll put Miliband's party on 34%, up three points on last week, with the Tories down four points on 25%. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats were down two points on just 6%, with Ukip firmly entrenched in third place, up two points to 19%

900 WORDS OR MORE

Hugo Rifkind in The Times: Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight

John Harris in The Guardian: Labour's fake folksiness and empty slogans speak of snobbery and stupidity

Steve Richards in The Independent: The public thinks MPs are on another planet – so why stop John Bercow trying to bring them back to earth?

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