Mehdi's Morning Memo: 'Appalling' Ukip Found Out, Says David Cameron

Mehdi's Morning Memo: 'Appalling' Ukip Found Out, Says Cameron

Here are the five things you need to know on Tuesday 20 May 2014...


David Cameron has urged voters not to be "tempted" by Ukip, saying the eurosceptic party is being "found out" by a succession of rows over unpalatable views. The prime minister accused Ukip leader Nigel Farage of making "appalling" remarks about Romanian immigration but declined to join Labour MPs in branding him racist.

With just two days to go until European elections which Ukip is widely expected to win and push the Tories into third place, Cameron told the Daily Mail his party could deliver what some Ukip backers wanted. It came as Farage mounted a staunch defence of his warnings about the dangers posed to the UK of unrestricted immigration from Romania, which he said was "in the grip of organised crime".

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning, Cameron said he thought his promise of an in/out referendum would have "greatest relevance at the time of the next election" rather than at this week's European elections.

Today's Memo is edited by Ned Simons as Mehdi Hasan is outside enjoying the sunny weather.


Tory Eurosceptics are planning to stand by David Cameron even if the party performs poorly in the European elections, as the right keeps its powder dry for a battle over Europe after the general election, The Guardian reports.

"One senior figure said that the 'wagons are beginning to circle' protectively around the prime minister as rightwing Eurosceptics acknowledge that the Conservatives need to unite in the runup to May 2015. But the right is preparing for a battle over Europe before the prime minister's planned referendum on EU membership in 2017, amid warnings from insiders that it could lead to a Tory split as epic as the divisions over the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846."


Home Secretary Theresa May has welcomed the conviction of radical cleric Abu Hamza on terrorism charges. The north London preacher, who was tried under the name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, could face life in prison after a federal court in New York found him guilty of supporting terrorist organisations, including aiding the taking of hostages in Yemen and seeking to set up an al Qaida training camp in the US.

May said: "I am pleased that Abu Hamza has finally faced justice. He used every opportunity, over many years, to frustrate and delay the extradition process. His conviction was facilitated by this government's tireless work to successfully remove him from the UK to face trial in October 2012."

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Labour was handed a boost by an opinion poll giving the party a six-point lead. A week ago, the first in a new series of weekly telephone polls carried out for Tory peer Lord Ashcroft suggested the Conservatives had inched ahead.

It was the first such lead since March 2012 and was followed by other surveys showing little to separate the biggest parties a year before the general election.

But in the latest Ashcroft poll, Labour gained three points while the Tories plunged five, leaving Ed Miliband's Opposition ahead by 35% to 29%. Ukip slipped a point to 14% while the Liberal Democrats were unchanged on 9%


Ed Miliband has insisted that he can tackle concerns over the cost of living in Britain as it was suggested that he had under-estimated his family's weekly food shopping bill.

The Labour leader said the cost-of-living crisis was the biggest issue facing the country - and insisted that, in spite of his "relatively comfortably off" position, he was qualified to tackle the problem.

Asked on ITV's Good Morning Britain about the average weekly household grocery bill, Miliband responded: "It depends on how much you are spending."

Pressed on his own family's bill, Miliband said: "We probably spend £70, £80 a week on groceries at least, probably more than that. The point is that different families will have different costs that they face but what I am clear about is that there is a crisis facing so many people." He was told on the programme that the average weekly bill for a family of four is more than £100 - so he would be spending "significantly more" than £70 to £80.


Rachel Sylvester in The Times: Now Ed is under pressure from left and right.

Charlie Brooker in The Guardian: Among a crowd of political automatons, Nigel Farage is like a wacky neighbour in a sitcom.

Jeremy Warner in The Daily Telegraph: The overwhelming victor at the European election will be indifference

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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