Merkel ready to let UK exit EU over migration rule changes
It has been claimed that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel would rather see the UK leave the European Union than end the right to free movement of labour within the EU.Merkel reportedly warned David Cameron that he is approaching a “point of no return” if he continues to push for migration reform that requires fundamental changes to EU principles. Cameron wants to renegotiate the terms of the UK’s EU membership before holding an in-out referendum. He has said that the freedom of movement of workers would be at the “very heart” of his renegotiation strategy. But a German government source said: “Should Cameron persist, Chancellor Angela Merkel would abandon her efforts to keep Britain in the EU. With that, a point of no return would be reached. That would be it then.” A Downing Street spokesman said Cameron would make a speech on immigration before Christmas and stressed “You can be sure he will always put Britain first”.
Norman Baker resigns with stinging attack on Theresa May
The Liberal Democrat Norman Baker will step down as crime prevention minister today, after likening his experience at the Home Office to “walking through mud”. He took a parting shot at Home Secretary Theresa May, warning that “rational evidence-based policy” was in short supply at the top of her department. In an interview with The Independent, he claims his plans had been thwarted by May and her advisers, who looked upon the Home Office as a Conservative department rather than a coalition one. The Independent says his resignation is further evidence that relations are “rapidly deteriorating” within the coalition ahead of next year’s general election. Baker, the MP for Lewes, said he was proud of his part in tackling female genital mutilation, promoting alternatives to animal experiments, bringing in a new approach to combating anti-social behaviour and championing an “evidence-based” approach to drugs policy.
Could Red Ed be facing more pressure to quit if by-election doesn’t succeed?
Critics of Ed Miliband say he will face further pressure to step down as Labour leader if the party fails to put in a credible performance in the Rochester and Strood by-election later this month. As he launched a pledge to win the general election “street by street”, one party source said a poor performance in an area held by Labour under Tony Blair would raise questions about Miliband’s ability to win over centre-ground voters. The Labour leader wrote in a post on his Facebook page that he would fight the election on a “radical alternative programme for government” drawn up and costed over the past four years. Miliband wrote: “Labour will fight and win this election street by street, house by house, taking our case to the people on every issue … As we enter the last lap before the general election, Labour will show in towns and cities across Britain that we have a plan to answer the deep problems faced by so many families. Over the past four years we have built a radical alternative programme for government which is clear, costed, and concrete.” Patrick Diamond, a former Downing Street adviser who helped write the 2010 Labour general election manifesto with Miliband, said the party must reach out to voters in middle Britain. Diamond told the Guardian: “Endless speculation about the leadership is utterly self-defeating. Labour has to refocus on how it can win the next election. What Labour needs is a message and policies that chime with a broad coalition of voters, one reason why it is essential the party performs well in the Rochester and Strood by-election later this month. The leader should initiate a ‘road to the manifesto’ process (…)Voters don’t just want to be ‘listened’ to, they want to know Labour has credible and economically responsible policies that can make a difference to their lives and offer them hope.”
By Gloria Ganda