Morning Report: Finally – we get our Quiet Bat People moment

9th January, 2013 8:47 am

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Ladies and Gentlemen, the Thick of It must have been a documentary, because today we finally got our Quiet Bat People moment. A Senior Aide to the Prime Minister was “long lensed” by the Telegraph carrying a document discussing the merits of releasing an “annex” to the coalition’s mid-term review that would reveal 70 broken government pledges. Awkward. But it makes you wonder why the briefcase has gone out of fashion. Interestingly Downing Street plan to release the document this afternoon, which would be after the first PMQs of 2013. How hugely convenient.

That first PMQs of the year is expected to be dominated by debate over welfare and benefits, with the “Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill” passing last night. Ed Miliband attacks the bill as part of a Tory “divide and rule” strategy in an interview today with the Mirror (we’ve pulled out 5 key quotes from the interview). It will be interesting to see if Ed and other Labour MPs are as strident in their attacks on Cameron today as they were yesterday during the debate on the bill…

It was notable last night though that the much discussed Lib Dem rebellion was rather…niche. Only 4 Lib Dems voted rebelled, all of whom are – astonishingly – from seats on Labour’s target seat list.

Something else Miliband might want to raise today at PMQs is that the Omnishambles (The Thick of It strikes again) has continued into the New Year. After a Cabinet resignation on the day of the big relaunch (and an odd choice of replacement), a second Tory minister resigned yesterday. They’re all enjoying government so much they’re off to spend more time with their bank balances business interests. That’s the power of public service for you.

And finally – if you thought that the Tory attack on benefits ended with screwing the poorest in society, you’re wrong. Seemingly the old are in the Tory headlights too. The Times reports that Ministers are pressing Cameron to cut benefits to some pensioners. That certainly sounds like divide and rule to me…

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