Mehdi's Morning Memo: £19bn Of Spending Cuts Or Tax Hikes

The five things you need to know on Thursday 18 July 2013...


Britain needs seven million migrants over the next 50 years to help keep down national debt levels, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The economic forecaster has warned the UK's ageing population was squeezing public finances and said there was "clear evidence" that migrants, who tend to be working age, have a "positive effect on the public sector's debt dynamics".

The OBR has also warned that increasing pensioner numbers and a strained healthcare system means an extra £19 billion of spending cuts or tax hikes are needed to combat an "unsustainable" pressure on the nation's public finances.

Today's Memo is edited by Ned Simons as Mehdi Hasan has melted.


Gay marriage is now legal in England and Wales. The Bill received Royal Assent yesterday afternoon with a low key announcement from John Bercow in the Commons. MPs didn't break into song as they did in New Zealand - but in the Lords there was a lot of 'Hear! Hear!-ing' which is roughly the same thing. As we report the first gay weddings will be able to take place in the summer of 2014. HuffPost UK assumes our invite to Lord Tebbit's marriage to his son is in the post...


David Cameron was widely seen to have had one of his strongest performances at prime minister's questions for some time yesterday. The perfect way for him to end the parliamentary term. The long rumoured reshuffle also appears to have been kicked back - why let sacked ministers or disappointed backbenchers stew over the summer?

Tory lan Liddell-Grainger is also keen that there be no reshuffle at the top of the party. Writing for The Daily Telegraph, The Bridgwater and West Somerset MP says "self-promoters" Michael Gove, Theresa May and Philip Hammond "should be firmly put back in their box".

He writes: "None of those positioning themselves in or out of the Cabinet have any prospect of leading the party. We should stick with who we have. There are only two ministers who have all the qualities to be at the top, but both are getting on with their job and haven't stepped an inch away from total loyalty."

Also he does not like Steve Hilton very much: "All of us are glad to see the back of Steve Hilton, whose sneering disregard for established conservative values was allowed to hijack our agenda."


President Obama and the US Senate have been told to show leadership and sign the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

In a blog post for The Huffington Post UK today; former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, former Labour defence secretary Lord Browne and former UK ambassador to the United Nations, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, say the time has come for US to lead by example.

They write: "Ratifying the treaty is in the national security interests of the United States - not only would it complete work begun by President Eisenhower and continued by President Kennedy, but it would marginalise any country that chooses to remain on such a political trajectory."

"In his 2013 State of the Union speech, President Obama commented that "our ability to influence others depends upon our willingness to lead." The opposite may also be true. When the US refuses to lead, others may feel free or even motivated to stay out.

"By leading through example, President Obama and the Senate would be demonstrating political strength while opening the door for the other remaining states to ratify. In the end, ratification of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty would demonstrate the United States' commitment to global leadership and strategic foresight. Ultimately, ratification would bolster US national security and make its citizens safer."


Culture secretary Maria Miller has raised concerns with BBC chiefs over John Inverdale's comments that Wimbledon winner Marion Bartoli was "never going to be a looker". In a robust letter to director general Lord Hall, the minister attacked sexist sports coverage and called on the corporation to keep her informed about the "further action that is likely to be taken" after more than 600 people complained about the sports presenter.

She was moved to write the letter, published in the Daily Mail, over the "derogatory" way Bartoli was treated during Wimbledon, one of the rare sporting events where women have a high media profile.


@helenlewis Firmly convinced that Kate gave the press an unrealistically early due date and is now chuckling, "Who's Waity now, suckers?"

@David_Cameron After a long parliamentary process gay marriage became law tonight - something I believe we can be proud of as a country.


Tim Bale and Paul Webb in The Daily Telegraph: 'Another coalition after 2015? The Tory grassroots can't bear the thought.'

Steve Richards in The Independent: 'Cameron wants to reform the NHS. But it was his government that handed over the levers.'

Rafael Behr in the New Statesman: 'The Tories think they're winning but it's the coalition that is beating Labour.

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

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