15/11/2012 03:21 GMT

Mehdi's Morning Memo: Osborne 'Undermining' Green Commitments

The ten things you need to know on Thursday 16th November...


George Osborne is masterminding an effort to undermine the coalition's commitment to be the greenest government ever, a senior Tories including his father-in-law Lord Howell have claimed. In footage secretly filmed by Greenpeace, Howell, said of the campaign against wind farms: “the Prime Minister is not familiar with these issues, doesn’t understand them… Osborne is of course getting this message and is putting pressure on.”

In other footage obtained by HuffPost, veteran Tory Peter Lilley says the chancellor "privately regrets all the [green] commitments that have been made". He adds: "Basically I think Osborne wanted to get people into key positions who could begin to get the government off the hook from commitments they made very foolishly," Lilley says.


In other sections of the film, Lilley is quite mean about Tory energy minister Greg Barker who he describes as "barking" and "a nutter". While Tory Chris Heaton-Harris says of Barker: "he's away with the fairies but he is very close to David Cameron. He's a best mate type. Cameron is nothing other than loyal to his mates. Greg Barker was one of the first two or three that helped him when he was starting his leadership campaign."

Today's Memo is edited by Ned Simons (@nedsimons) as Mehdi Hasan has decided to stand to be a police and crime commissioner in Surrey and is putting in some last minute campaigning.


Polls have opened in the Corby by-election as candidates battle to replace Louise Mensch in parliament. Labour held the seat before 2010 when it was captured by Mesnch for the Tories. With Labour ahead in the polls Ed Miliband will hope to re-capture the seat with his candidate Andy Sawford. He was reticent to criticise Mensch when talking to HuffPost, but said voters wanted an MP "who will take what they say seriously and who will be a full time MP".

The first ever elections for police and crime commissioners are also taking place in 41 forces across the country. Ministers will be crossing their fingers that turnout is higher than the embarrassing 15% that has been predicted in some cases.


Israel has killed the leader of the Hamas military wing in a surgical missile strike in Gaza that could result in a fresh war in the region. Ahmed Jabri, 46, the head of the Islamist group's military arm, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, died as he travelled by car with another senior Hamas leader in the Palestinian city. Three Palestinians were killed in another Israeli strike on Thursday morning.

Hamas has said that Israel will "pay a high price" for the attack, according to the New York Times, while Izz ad-Din al-Qassam posted a message on its Twitter profile warning that the strike had opened the gates of hell.


Xi Jinping became China's new leader Thursday, assuming the top posts in the Communist Party and the powerful military in a political transition unbowed by scandals, a slower economy and public demands for reforms.

Xi was introduced as the new party general secretary at Beijing's Great Hall of the People a day after the close of a weeklong party congress that underlined the communists' determination to remain firmly in power. He and the six other men who will form China's new collective leadership, all dressed in dark suits, walked in line onto the red-carpeted stage.

Xi's appointment as chairman of the military commission, announced by the state Xinhua News Agency, marked a break from the recent tradition of retiring leaders holding onto the post for a transitional period to extend their influence. It meant outgoing leader Hu Jintao would relinquish all positions of power, giving Xi broader leeway to consolidate his authority.


Watch the best goal this year. Sweden's Ibrahimovic stuns England during their 4-2 win.


The former Conservative politician who was wrongly linked to a child sex abuse as a result of a Newsnight investigation is in the process of agreeing a settlement package with the BBC, his solicitor has said.

Lawyers for Lord McAlpine indicated they were taking legal action after the programme led to the peer being mistakenly implicated in a paedophile ring that targeted children at a care home in Wrexham in north Wales. Lord McAlpine has said the agreement will be "tempered" as he realises ultimately it is licence payers who will be paying out.


A Conservative MP had rocks and tomatoes hurled at him after he was ambushed by around 50 "violent thugs" ahead of a talk on squatting, he said last night.

Mike Weatherley, MP for Hove in East Sussex, had to seek refuge in a room as shouting protesters gathered outside at the University of Sussex near Brighton. He had been invited to talk about his involvement in changing the law to criminalise squatting.

Sussex is no stranger to activism and protest. Your editor, himself a Sussex graduate, recalls the time when Coca-Cola was banned from campus in a protest against capitalism. Everyone had to drink Pepsi.


Despite having even less chance of being president now than he did a couple of weeks ago, Mitt Romney is still able to create internet memes. Romney has told top donors that President Barack Obama won re-election because of the "gifts" he had already provided to blacks, Hispanics and young voters and because of the president's effort to paint Romney as anti-immigrant.


Blonde coloured, hoppy with a citrus finish. That would be the 'Mad Nad' ale, not Nadine Dorries herself. In honour of their MP's appearance on reality TV show 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here', local Bedfordhsire brewery Banks & Taylor have produced a special bitter (4.1%).


The Daily Telegraph is outraged by the BBC. Not for that whole 'shoddy journalism' thing but for the whole 'shoddy dressing' thing. "To wear a suit and tie means readiness to do business, not to drift off on a picnic," the paper's leader column says today. Suitably shamed your editor is currently wearing two ties. One bow. One, normal. Just to be sure.


@bryony_gordon Secret State is quite bad, isn't it? The foreign secretary tweeting abuse about the PM... AS IF. Wonder what Chris Mullin thinks.

‏@philipjcowley Since I've been old enough to understand what an election was, I don't think I've ever woken up on election day so unenthused.

@eyespymp Someone stole Liz Kendall's lunch & they'd do it again [PICTURE] http://twitpic.com/bd4ovs


Martin Kettle in The Guardian: "Austerity is here to stay, and we'd better get used to it: We think we know all about the rise of Asia and the decline of the west. But we've barely begun to grasp what it really means."

James Delingpole in The Daily Telegraph: "The orgy of greed spoiling our countryside: why I campaigned in Corby"

John Prescott in the Daily Mirror: "Let’s cut crime, not cops: Why YOU need to vote in today's police commissioner elections"

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