Mehdi's Morning Memo: Don't Mess With Nick

Mehdi's Morning Memo: Don't Mess With Nick

Here are the five things you need to know on Friday 16 May 2014...


Liberal by name, not so liberal by nature - apparently. From the Daily Mail:

"Nick Clegg was accused of an 'imbalance of mind' last night after he allegedly tried to have one of Education Secretary Michael Gove's closest allies arrested. The Deputy Prime Minister is said to believe a series of damaging leaks about his party's free school meals plan may be in breach of the Official Secrets Act. According to a Government source, Mr Clegg says Dominic Cummings, a former senior aide to the Education Secretary, is responsible for undermining the programme. 'Nick Clegg is trying to have Dominic arrested for a breach of the Official Secrets Act,' the source claimed. 'He seems to have an imbalance of mind.' The claims reveal how feuding within the Coalition has escalated.


Wow - from the Mirror:

"A shocking culture of bullying, booze-fuelled aggression and murky finances inside the Police Federation is exposed today in a report. MPs demanded urgent reform of the body which represents rank-and-file police officers as they condemned its "guerrilla" attacks on politicians during the Plebgate scandal. Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said: 'We were shocked by the scale of bullying. It rivals any soap opera.' Bosses were "hounded out" by colleagues and official business dealt with "aggressively" after boozing sessions. A draft letter from outgoing chairman Steve Williams said: 'I've continually " been criticised, ridiculed and verbally attacked. 've felt gratuitously and cruelly bullied and humiliated.' Predecessor Paul McKeever, who died while in office, suffered similar treatment, the report suggests."


From the Guardian:

"A proposal for a party leaders' 2015 election debate to be staged on the internet is being launched by a unique alliance of YouTube, the Guardian, and the Telegraph... The proposal, using the hashtag #onlinedebate, has been in preparation for months and was sent to the main party leaders on Thursday following informal talks with politicians. The cross-platform collaboration would put an online debate before the vast majority of the UK's 55 million internet users, and would be aimed at engaging a younger and more interactive audience... The consortium of YouTube, which is owned by Google, the Guardian and the Telegraph, combining the left and right in UK politics, has given a commitment that the moderator in any debate would be a woman. All three moderators in 2010 on the traditional TV channels were men – Adam Boulton, Alastair Stewart and David Dimbleby."

They were also all white. Yesterday, shadow justice minister Sadiq Khan told HuffPost UK's Ned Simons that there needs to be an ethnic minority presenter, too, in the TV debates:

"There has been a lot of discussion about the Leaders TV debates recently. About who should be involved, what the format should be and how many debates we should have. Not a single debate host was black or minority ethnic in 2010. It would be disgraceful if this was the same in 2015. How great would it be to see the debates hosted by an ethnic minority presenter in 2015? To see [BBC presenter] Mishal Husain, [Ch4 News presenter] Krishnan Guru-Murthy, [Independent editor] Amol Rajan or even [Operation Black Vote co-founder] Simon Woolley lead the questioning of our leaders."


Watch this incredible video of a cat rescuing a little boy from a violent dog.


"The Conservatives are funnelling hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of donations to the party through a secretive dining club that allows donors to keep their identity hidden. New figures... reveal that in the last four months alone the Tories have been given £140,000 by an organisation called the United and Cecil Club to fund election campaigns in their most marginal seats. The money was given by donors at lunches and dinners attended by senior Conservative figures, including at least five cabinet ministers, and threatens to embroil the party in an embarrassing new row over cash for access."


It's been five years and still no sign of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. Tory MP Bernard Jenkin isn't happy - from the BBC:

"Delays to the publication of the official inquiry into the Iraq war have become 'very serious', the head of an influential Commons committee has said. Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin said the report was 'at least four years overdue' and an explanation was needed. Mr Jenkin, who chairs the Public Administration Committee, urged ministers to 'sort this out'."


From today's Sun/YouGov poll:

Labour 36

Conservatives 34

Ukip 13

Lib Dems 8

That would give Labour a majority of 18.

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

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