The five things you need to know on Wednesday October 28, 2015...
This morning's Waugh Zone is edited by Ned Simons. Paul is away. We are holding a rapid review into when he will be back as he has a "decisive role" in approving my expenses
1) HONEY HONEY, HOW HE THRILLS ME
David Cameron will get off the fence, for a bit, and make a markedly pro-European Union speech today, as he steps up his engagement in his upcoming referendum campaign.
His speech will be made in Iceland, a country that decided not to join the EU. The prime minister will reportedly rubbish the so-called "Norwegian option" advocated by some of the 'Out' campaign. Despite not being in the EU, he will say, Norway, still has to abide by the bloc's rules and has no seat at the table to change them.
The Daily Telegraph reports Cameron will also warn UK voters that life outside the EU would not be a "a land of milk and honey".
It is a bit of a odd phrase. And is actually recycled from August, when Theresa May warned migrants that Britain was already not "a land of milk and honey".
Which all begs the question, where actually can I get some milk. And also. Some honey. Maybe Cameron will tell us at PMQs today.
2) CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS DAY 3
Back in London, Cameron has set up a review charged with giving the Commons a "decisive role" over the Lords when it comes to financial matters - in the wake of the government's defeat over cuts to tax credits.
John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, did not think the Lords vote against tax credit cuts was out of line. He told MPs this yesterday. And Labour has accused the prime minister and chancellor of "manufacturing a phoney constitutional crisis" and of a "massive over-reaction".
But changes, or revenge, are in the works. Downing Street said its review will be led by Thomas Galloway Dunlop du Roy de Blicquy Galbraith, 2nd Baron Strathclyde (Lord Strathclyde for short) and will be supported by a "small panel of experts". If the government is looking for experts in how to deploy the power of the House of Lords, the Labour Whips office probably would be a good place to call - as those scamps nearly inflicted of a second defeat on the government in under 24-hours.
Early yesterday evening peers almost knocked backed the government on plans to introduce individual electoral registration. If losing one vote was a constitutional crisis. Losing two would presumably have been constitutional chaos. And it's not over yet. Opposition peers are also trying to hand 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in the EU referendum against the government's wishes. Constitutional carnage.
Constitutional catastrophe aside, the chancellor still has to deal with the tax credits policy itself. The Guardian reports today that George Osborne will use the "wriggle room" in his deficit reduction plan to allow him to mitigate the impact of the cuts as demanded by the Lords vote. He is due to announce what measures will be taken to soften the impact on people set to lose their tax credits on November 25.
- William Hague, who will be joining the House of Lords next month, has written a column in the Daily Telegraph on Lords reform. He has has a pop at the Lib Dems. Over a hundred of which he says are "stalking the corridors, like ghosts of a ruined civilisation still wandering the catacombs".
3) ABBOTT WARNING
Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has been in London this week. And in a speech at London's Guildhall, the ousted Aussie leader warned Europe to shut its borders to migrants. "The Australian experience proves that the only way to dissuade people seeking to come from afar is not to let them in," he said. Abbott said the West's Christian "love your neighbour" approach was "leading much of Europe into catastrophic error".
The Huffington Post Australia, which knows Abbott well, points out some Bible verses their former prime minister forgot about when it come to refugees.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR... Tory MP: 'F*** off, you don't know what you're talking about'
4) CSI: WESTMINSTER
A Baroness. In the Lords. With a motion to annul. Oh actually, not that again this time.
As mentioned above, George Osborne will deliver his Autumn Statement in November. In the Lords yesterday (everything seems to be happening down the red end this week) one minister became a bit unstuck when she revealed she had no idea what the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), which sets departmental budgets, was. Baroness Shields, the new minister for Internet safety and security, appeared to confuse the CSR With CSI - the American TV show with lots of dead people.
5) CLINTON SURGE?
Over in the United States, is Hillary Clinton really surging in Iowa? Two new polls show her rapidly outpacing Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, but most others give her a far more modest edge, HuffPost polling reports.
Clinton holds an overwhelming lead over Vermont Sen. Sanders (I) in two new surveys of the Iowa caucus, results that either stand out as significant outliers or mark a dramatic surge. Clinton leads Sanders by 41 points in Monmouth University's first survey of Iowa's Democrats. She leads by 38 points in a Loras College poll also released Tuesday, up from the 25-point lead she held in Loras' August survey.
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