18/11/2013 03:10 GMT | Updated 18/11/2013 03:12 GMT

Mehdi's Morning Memo: Dave's Tax Cut Headache

ISHARA S.KODIKARA via Getty Images
British Prime Minister David Cameron sips water during a press conference held on the second day of the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo on November 16, 2013. Britain's David Cameron put Sri Lanka on notice November 16 to address allegations of war crimes within months or else he would lead a push for action at the United Nations. AFP PHOTO/ Ishara S.KODIKARA (Photo credit should read Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

The five things you need to know on Monday 18 November 2013...


Dave won't be pleased with the Times splash:

"Leading Tory MPs are spoiling for a fight with David Cameron over plans to aim a new round of tax breaks at Britain's poorest people.

"The middle classes must feel the benefit of forthcoming cuts, they said, despite an announcement by Nick Clegg yesterday of a £1 billion plan to raise the level of personal allowance for the fifth time in this Parliament... [Tory backbenchers] are concerned that the public do not see the benefits of such rises as easily as other tax cuts, and fear that the coalition is starting to forget about the ongoing priority to cut the deficit.

"The Free Enterprise Group, an alliance of Tory MPs from the right of the party, dominated by those in the 2010 intake, believe that the personal allowance is not an immediate priority and will set out alternatives today."

Those alternatives are basically cuts, cuts and more cuts: "They would halve Whitehall government departments and enforce public sector pay limits and a three-year freeze on non-pensioner benefits, saving £13 billion per year."

Compassionate conservatism, eh?


The PM won't be pleased with the splash on the front of the Telegraph either:

"The UK Independence Party will receive a multi-million pound boost before next year's European elections after winning support from one of Britain's wealthiest businessmen.

"Paul Sykes, a self-made tycoon and veteran of the campaign to keep the pound 15 years ago, has promised to do "whatever it takes" to help Ukip top the polls in May.

"His move deals a big blow to the Conservatives as they fight to contain Nigel Farage's party.

"Mr Sykes supported the Tories under Margaret Thatcher and Michael Howard, but has backed Ukip in the past, giving the party £1.5million in 2004."

If Ukip is able to overtake the Tories and come first in next May's Euro elections, it will indeed, as the Telegraph puts it, send "shockwaves" through Westminster...


So, Cameron won't be pleased with the Monday-morning splashes in the Times or the Telegraph. But the Mail splash will cheer him up, right?

"Internet search results linked to child abuse are to be blocked across the world in a stunning U-turn by Google.

"The world's biggest media firm has agreed to introduce changes which will prevent depraved images and videos from appearing for more than 100,000 different searches.

"The company's chairman Eric Schmidt, writing in today's Daily Mail ahead of a Downing Street summit on internet pornography, says: 'We've listened.

"... David Cameron, in an interview with this newspaper, said the move represented 'a really significant step forward' but was not enough – and threatened legislation if the firms refuse to do more."


Watch this video of a rather emotional little dog. You know you want to.


The former Tory defence secretary Liam Fox has been suggesting legal action against the Guardian over the NSA/GCHQ spying revelations may be an appropriate course of action. Now, the former Labour lord chancellor Charles Falconer has come to the Guardian's rescue - in an interview with the paper itself.

From the Guardian:

"Britain's intelligence chiefs may have exaggerated the threat posed to national security by the leaking of the NSA files, according to a former lord chancellor who has questioned whether the legal oversight of MI6, MI5 and GCHQ is 'fit for purpose'.

"Lord Falconer of Thoroton said he was sceptical of the claim by the heads of GCHQ, MI6 and MI5 that the leaks represent the most serious blow to their work in a generation, and warned that the NSA files highlighted 'bulk surveillance' by the state.

"Falconer, who also said he deprecated attempts to portray the Guardian as an 'enemy of the state', pointed out that 850,000 people had access to the files leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden."


Yesterday the Mail on Sunday published "explosive leaked emails" in which senior advisers to Ed Miliband refer to Ed Balls' approach to the economy as a "nightmare". But how did the paper get hold of such juicy emails?

The Guardian has the details:

"Labour is blaming a 'fat-finger trade' error for the leaking of an email trail in which a senior official in Ed Miliband's office described the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, as a 'nightmare'.

Torsten Henricson-Bell, a former adviser to Alistair Darling who is now Miliband's chief economic adviser, mistakenly sent the emails to the Conservative MP for Halesowen & Rowley Regis, James Morris, rather than to the Labour pollster of the same name.

The paper continues:

"But Labour sources played down the tensions and dismissed speculation that the emails were deliberately leaked from within the Labour party to cause damage.

"A quick scan of Henricson-Bell's email account showed that he had mistakenly sent them to the Morris. 'It was a fat-finger trade,' one source said, referring to the City slang for a computer error that can cost millions of pounds. The source added that the differences were over messaging and not over substance."

Balls is on ITV1's 'The Agenda' tonight. That'll be fun to watch...


From yesterday's Sunday Times/YouGov poll:

Labour 39

Conservatives 33

Ukip 12

Lib Dems 10

That would give Labour a majority of 78.


@David_Cameron The battle isn't over, but search engines are showing responsibility by accepting my challenge to do more to stop child abuse imagery online

@DMiliband 10K #Syrian refugees have poured into #Lebanon in last 3 days. Thanks to those countries providing safe haven.

@NadineDorriesMP Last year, every single show of @imacelebrity was watched in No10 :)


Boris Johnson, writing in the Telegraph, says: "We should be humbly thanking the super-rich, not bashing them."

Chris Huhne, writing in the Guardian, says: "The damage caused by extreme weather events bring home the need to curb carbon emissions and combat global warming."

Nigel Farage, writing in the Independent, says: "We will never reduce energy bills as long as we are in hock to the green lobby."

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