News digest 27 May 2014

News digest 27 May 2014

27 May 2014

Today’s top reads: Stories to keep an eye out for:

·                Clegg clings on - Mirror

·                Nick Clegg and Lib Dems face wipeout in damning opinion poll verdict - Guardian

·                Pfizer boss hits back over Astra - Telegraph

·                Tax campaign on middle class raises extra £1 billion - Telegraph

The top story in today’s digest remains the recriminations over the European parliamentary elections and the surge for Ukip, the not so strong showing for Labour, the third place for the Tories, and the collapse of Clegg’s Lib Dems to fifth place behind the Greens. Most of the papers are obsessed with the Ukip surge, with the right-wing tabloids revelling in Farage’s victory, and while it was a good result for him, the cracks are already beginning to show especially as he had trouble handling his 13 MEPs, now that he has 24 there’ll be bound to be more problems ahead (probably time to open a book on how quick the first clanger drops). Labour had a better results than is widely reported, capturing one in four votes and 20 MEPs, with a particularly strong showing in London doubling its MEPs to 4 (many papers still say Labour leader Ed Miliband is under pressure although the Mail hits hardest saying ‘elitist’ Ed is heading for disaster). It was bad all over for the Tories who did not win a single region and dropped to third with just 19 MEPs (Cameron is off to Brussels for an informal chat about how to reform the EU – it won’t happen), it was better for the Greens with three MEPs while the Lib Dems collapsed losing 10 seats to be left with just one MEP. And that’s where the pressure lies, as the front page of the Mail pictures Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg along with the lines ‘obliterated in Europe and polls show he will lose his seat at the general election’ it couldn’t happen to a more deserving person…

Away from politics and the top business story is Pfizer finally walking away from its proposed takeover of AstraZeneca. The Telegraph reports that Pfizer boss Ian Read has hit out at the government over the bid saying the rules on takeovers were too complicated, but the main fact is that the bid has been abandoned. Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “Pfizer failed to convince hardly anyone that its bid was good for science and would secure skilled jobs and manufacturing in the UK. There can be no room for complacency though. We expect that there will be renewed pressure on shareholders over the coming months with the likelihood that Pfizer could be back in its attempts to takeover AstraZeneca. The government needs to use this time to intervene and put a public interest test in place for proposed takeovers of this size, just as other government's do.” No argument there.

And finally there is coverage of the fact that the Treasury has managed to collect a record £1 billion more in tax after a crackdown on tax evasion. However, rather than hitting big ticket companies like Amazon that squirrel away funds far from prying eyes, it is the middle classes that have borne the brunt of the crackdown. As ever, the government protects its own, and having had its fill of demonising the working classes it is now targeting the middle classes, HMRC has been naming and shaming people that have avoided paying their fair share, now how about doing the same to the corporates, believe it when you see it…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Vince vows not to nick Clegg’s job (p2)
  • £23 billion tax haul (p2)
  • Takeover loses Pfiz (p2)
  • Election earthquake (p10-11)



  Times (not delivered)


  • Clegg faces fight for survival (p1)
  • Clegg told to stand down (p4-5)
  • Election coverage (p4-9)
  • In the wake of Ukip… - Steve Richards (p13)
  • Nuclear regulator accused of ‘indefensible’ conflict of interest (p51)
  • The figures don’t support real wage growth – David Blanchflower (p53)



  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cameron urges EU leaders to change tack (p1)
  • EU election results (p2-3)
  • Tax deals prove harder to strike (p4)
  • Hinkley Point taps into Chinese know how (p4)
  • Car sales soar (p4)
  • Cameron’s test will be to hold his nerve on Ukip – Janan Ganesh (p9)
  • Pfizer admits defeat on Astra (p13)
  • Construction dispute costs rise (p18)

Comment on this story