News digest 1 March 2013

News digest 1 March 2013

01 March 2013

It’s bye bye Benedict as the pope formally resigned yesterday, he will now be known as the pope emiritus, and talking of resignation the pressure’s on for the Con-Dem coalition after the Eastleigh byelection turned out to be rather beastly for the Tories. After former leadership challenger David Davis said the David Cameron’s leadership would be in crisis if the party came third in the byelection the result early this morning was a resounding third for the Tory candidate as Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems shrugged off the scandal over Lord Grope and the fact that Huhne resigned after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Lib Dem Mike Thornton won the seat with a 1,771 majority over Ukip candidate Diane James - expect Ukip leader Nigel Farage to be kicking himself for not standing - while the Tory candidate Maria Hutchings has gone to ground after her defeat, not that she turned up for much when she was standing. Labour’s John O’Farrell increased the party’s share of the vote, but trailed in fourth.

Immigration was the main issue on the agenda, but many of the papers today report that immigration levels have actually come down a third in the past year. Expect Ukip to continue to hit the Tory right wing, forcing Cameron ever further rightwards. The Telegraph reports that Cameron says the tax system is too complicated and praised a flat rate on income, could he be trying to tack right to ensure that he does not remain a one-term prime minister? In reality the ball is in chancellor’s court with Fraser Nelson saying he needs to act radical – but sound dull – to ‘save the economy’, we know Osborne can do the latter, the worry is he’ll do the former and engineer even more cuts that would plunge the economy even deeper into a  prolonged downturn.

Sadly Osborne’s priority seems to be stopping London’s Tory mayor Boris Johnson from getting all the credit for attacking a cap on bankers bonuses, the Con-Dems are against the idea saying it is an EU threat to competitiveness, in reality like the cut in the top rate of tax it’s just the Tories helping the rich line their pockets letting senior bankers earn in a day what some people take home in a whole year.

And on the subject of home, today is the TUC’s work your proper hours day so make sure you leave work on time and don’t take work home with you. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady is quoted in the Morning Star saying: “While most staff don’t mind doing a few extra hours, working time needs to be properly managed or excessive hours can become a drag.” No argument there, but it could get even worse as the Mail has a startling piece on human robots at Amazon, the future is not bright, but dictated by constant orders from mini computers, be afraid, very afraid...

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror




 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Bankers face bonus cap (p/61)
  • NHS chief keeps his job (p4)
  • Migration down a third (p9)
  • Six women ring Rennard hotline (p11)
  • Walsh defends Spanish deal despite €1 billion losses (p43)
  • No stopping BAT (p45)
  • RBS has return to private sector in its sights (p47)
  • Tunnel takes strain as passengers spurn ferries (p49)
  • Inquiry into Heinz trading extended (p53)




 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Osborne scrambles to weaken bonus cap (p1)
  • RBS reprivatisation a step closer (p1)
  • Hospitals plan sweeping changes to staff terms (p2)
  • Eastleigh decides (p4)
  • Labour attacks Osborne on bank shake-up (p4)
  • Lloyds hopes new mis-selling hit is final (p18)
  • IAG falls to €997 million loss (p21)
  • Direct Line sees premiums fall (p22)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers