After the election

Many of the papers are reporting on what the new Conservative government will do following last week’s General Election.

The Telegraph says one of Cameron’s first appointments was Michael Gove as Justice Secretary.

Former Education Secretary will oversee Conservative plans to abolish the Human Rights Act, while Nicky Morgan will remain in her post and Chris Grayling will become Leader of the House of Commons

Michael Gove is making a dramatic return to front-line political combat asDavid Cameron puts him in charge of Conservative plans to abolish the Human Rights Act.

In the latest moves in the Cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister appointed Mr Gove to the post of Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, which is set to be one of the highest profile positions in the new government.

Mr Gove was demoted to Conservative Chief Whip – a back-room role – last year after antagonising teachers with his radical reforms to schools during his time as Education Secretary.

He fell out of favour with Mr Cameron after causing a major row with Theresa May, the Home Secretary, over slow progress in dealing with Muslim extremism, and was also said to have irritated the Prime Minister by suggesting there were too many old Etonians in the Cabinet.

Sky News has the same story.

Michael Gove has been brought back to a frontline Cabinet role to oversee Conservative plans to scrap the Human Rights Act.

The former Chief Whip has been appointed as Justice Secretary. His government department will be where plans will be drawn up to replace the European legislation with a British Bill of Rights.

Mr Gove replaces Chris Grayling, who goes into a new role as leader of the House.

The Sunday Times claims the Prime Minister will launch a blitz on Europe.

DAVID CAMERON will launch a 100-day policy offensive to kick-start his second term, accelerating his plans for a new deal with Brussels, cementing Tory control of the House of Commons and pushing through abolition of the Human Rights Act.

The prime minister will take advantage of the honeymoon after his unexpected victory in the general election to drive through radical changes before the summer recess.

With a working majority of 15, Cameron has decided to move fast to redraw constituency boundaries to make the electoral system fairer to the Tories — a move likely to boost the number of Conservative MPs at the next election by 20 but which was blocked by the Liberal Democrats during the coalition government.

And the Mirror claims he will call for a return of foxhunting and change the constituency boundaries, among other matters.

David Cameron will reignite the row over fox-hunting with a bill to bring back the blood sport, but his other plans are also set to cause controversy.

Meddling with constituency boundaries to lock Labour out of power for a generation is one of the PM’s top priorities.

Senior Tories want the shake-up introduced at the 2020 general election in a move to boost the number of Tory MPs by about 20.

Tories say the current boundaries are unfair and favour Labour. The changes would cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600.

The Mirror also claims there will be ‘carnage’ as he tells his chancellor to slash the welfare bill.

George Osborne is preparing to drastically speed up the pace of £12billion in brutal spending cuts.

Before the election, Tories feared proposals to slash cash from the welfare bill would have to be watered down under any coalition deal.

But now the party has a majority, the Chancellor plans to race ahead with his austerity cuts to meet his pledge of ­eliminating the deficit by 2018.

Senior Tories revealed how ­ministers would try to push through the majority of the welfare cuts within two years instead of the original three-year timescale.

But Prime Minister David Cameron hopes to kick it off with a 100-day policy blitz.

One senior party source admitted: “When it comes to cuts, we want the pain to be out of the way long before the next general election.

“Without the restraint of the Lib Dems, it means we can go further and faster when it comes to controlling the welfare bill.”

The new Conservative ­Government is due to present its programme of ­legislation to Parliament through the Queen’s Speech on May 27.

Labour

Where does the Labour Party go from here?  Former Prime Minister Tony Blair offers advice in Sky News.

Tony Blair has said Labour must reclaim the political centre ground if the party is to recover from its crushing General Election defeat.

The former prime minister, who led Labour to three consecutive election victories, praised Ed Miliband – who announced his resignation within hours of accepting defeat – for the way he put “his heart and soul into the fight”.

But he made clear that a change of direction was needed if the party was to stand a chance of regaining power at the next election.

Writing in the Observer, Mr Blair wrote: “The route to the summit lies through the centre ground. Labour has to be for ambition and aspiration as well as compassion and care.

And the Telegraph warns the party is in crisis.

Labour has been plunged deeper into crisis as some of the party’s most senior figures warned that they would be out of power until at least 2025.

As the search began for a new leader, former Cabinet ministers joined members of Ed Miliband’s front-bench team to call on the party to “skip a generation” and pick a candidate who is untainted by the failures of the past.

In its worst election night for 30 years, Labour finished with just 232 MPs – 99 behind the Conservatives and 26 fewer seats than Gordon Brown won in 2010.

Blame quickly fell on a series of strategic blunders, including “gimmicks” such as Mr Miliband’s courtship of Russell Brand, the comedian, and his decision to engrave his manifesto pledges into an 8ft slab of limestone.

Mr Miliband’s own standing as leader was also seen as “a personal drag” on the party’s prospects which candidates had to overcome on the doorstep, shadow cabinet ministers said.

But in a display of public recriminations, some of the party’s most prominent MPs clashed openly over whether Labour’s “old-school, socialist” anti-business agenda had put voters off – or whether the party had not been Left-wing enough to win.

The Express claims the fight between the Miliband brothers cost Labour the election.

ED Miliband’s leadership was doomed from the moment he knifed his brother in the back to seize the Labour crown, a leading political analyst says.

Yet the seeds of his demise were sown five years before when he took on his brother David, who was the hot favourite in the 2010 Labour leadership contest, according to Professor John Gaffney.

The academic, who teaches politics at Aston University, has spent the past five years studying Ed Miliband’s leadership and will shortly publish a book on the Labour Party from 2010 to 2015.

He puts the party’s heavy electoral defeat, with Labour seeing its number of seats reduced by 26 to 232, down to four reasons.

“It all started to go wrong from day one when he narrowly beat the favourite in the contest, his own brother David, with the support of the trade unions,” Professor Gaffney said.

“That set in motion a kind of family psychodrama that not only shattered the family but also had a divisive effect on the party with Ed immediately needing to assert his own status and standing within the party.

“He didn’t do too badly at his attempts to try and unite the party at first and deal with the plots and rumours that surrounded him, but he spent too much time and energy on it and that distracted him from his main role of leading the party.”

SNP

The Telegraph reports the Scottish Nationalists have started a new push for independence.

David Cameron started a dramatic battle to save the United Kingdom from break-up on Saturday night as Scottish nationalists prepared the ground for a new referendum on independence.

Fresh from a landslide election result, Alex Salmond declared that Scotland was closer than ever to separating from the UK.

After winning 56 out of 59 seats north of the border, Mr Salmond, who is now an MP, said the SNP’s near clean sweep was a “staging post” towards full independence.

It was the first time that the SNP had suggested it would use its total domination at the polls to press ahead with its plan to split Scotland from the rest of Britain.

Until now, the party leadership has always promised that it would not use the general election results to re-open the debate about independence.

Mr Salmond’s claim immediately provoked outrage from Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, who accused the SNP of misleading voters with pre-election promises that turned out to be “a sham”.

Mr Cameron fought back himself, using his Cabinet reshuffle to promote one of his most determined pro-union ministers to oversee plans to devolve unprecedented powers to the government of Scotland.

UKIP

The Express claims the prospect of a EU referendum could lure Nigel Farage back into the party leadership.

NIGEL Farage has told how he intends to take a break from politics and spend the next weeks walking, fishing and travelling.

However, he would not rule out a return as Ukip party leader and warned that the EU referendum “is really nagging at the back of my head”.

Mr Farage was back in Thanet yesterday, where had failed to win election as an MP. There was better news this time for his party, which gained control of its first council after gaining 33 seats.

Farage’s resignation speech as party leader was taken as terse by some supporters, and his decision to walk off the podium before other candidates had finished giving their speeches as uncharacteristically ungentlemanly. He defended the walkout, saying that Ukip had been subject to “dirty tricks” by Labour and he did not wish to share a stage with Labour’s candidate.

Onlookers compared him to Richard Nixon who, losing the race for California Governor in 1962, declared: “You don’t have me to kick around any more.”

Nixon returned to become President, however, and Farage has been inundated by requests to rethink and run for party leader again, in September. Ukip millionaire donor Aaron Banks said:” Nigel may take the decision that he has had enough but I hope not. It will be less of a party without him.”

Last night Farage said: “There’s a huge amount of pressure being put on me to stand for leader again, but I won’t be swayed by any of it

“I’ve been doing this for twenty years. It has totally taken over my life.

“I couldn’t take a single holiday. Honestly, it was crisis after crisis, attempting to professionalise a party while being surrounded much of the time by people who just were not of sufficient calibre.

“Since 2010 I’ve found some very good people and they are in place. Still, it needed me to drive it, issue after issue.

“I need time. I want a break from it, to think very hard about the next step.”

The Election system

The Telegraph analyses second place results.

The results of the general election pushed the Conservatives just far enough over the line to form a majority government, but in many seats the race was neck and neck until the end.

We have taken at look at who the runners up were in every constituency.

The map shows in raw terms the extent of the SNP’s brutal defeat of the Labour party, with a huge proportion of Scots still choosing to vote Labour.

Ukip’s increasing power across England and Wales is also abundantly clear, with 125 seats voting Ukip for second place.

Meanwhile things don’t look so bleak for the Liberal Democrats on this reimagined map, with 66 constituencies voting Lib Dem for second place.

Click on the tabs to see which party were the winners and which came second place in each constituency.

And the Mail also comments on our first-past-the-post system.

The general election result has triggered fresh calls to change the voting system after Ukip won 3.8million votes but just one MP.

Nigel Farage said first-past-the-post is ‘now totally bankrupt’ after his party came third in the total number of votes cast, but got a fraction of the 56 seats of the SNP or even the eight MPs secured by the Lib Dems.

The Green party and democracy campaigners also demanded a move to a proportional voting system so the number of MPs in the Commons better reflects how the nation voted.

David Cameron secured a surprise victory in the election after winning an overall majority in the Commons.

The 331 Conservative MPs make up 50.9 per cent of the 650 in Parliament, but the Tories won only 36.9 per cent of all votes cast.

Labour slumped to its worst result for three decades, winning 232 MPs, 35.7 per cent of the total after securing 30.4 per cent of the vote.

Similarly, the SNP won more seats than their national vote share suggests, picking up 56 MPs (8.6 per cent) while having only 4.7 per cent of all votes cast in the UK.

By contrast, Ukip got just one MP – 0.2 per cent of Commons seats – despite winning 12.6 per cent of the vote.

The Greens got 3.8 per cent of the vote, just behind the SNP, but only one MP.

The Lib Dems got 2.4million votes and the Democratic Unionist Party won just 184,000, but both ended up with 8 seats in Parliament.

Breitbart opines that the election result was an injustice.

 “Destroy Farage!” it often seemed was the single most important objective of their entire election strategy. Senior Tory after senior Tory was ordered into South Thanet to marshal the troops. Tame newspaper proprietors – who didn’t necessarily love Cameron but loathed and feared Miliband – co-operated by smearing UKIP with every desperate non-story they could trawl up and by dutifully trotting out the Lynton-Crosby-endorsed line that a vote for Farage was a vote for Miliband.

If Farage had been a weird lefty wonk or a rabid kilted nationalist or an eco-fascist loon this concerted campaign would have been understandable. But he’s not. As he’s shown time and again throughout his heroic campaign, he is a brave, decent, funny, likeable bloke who speaks his mind, has a good sense of humour and the common touch, and the kind of robust political principles – see the UKIP manifesto – with which the vast majority of Conservatives would agree wholeheartedly.

And still the Conservatives shafted him: far more viciously and determinedly, in fact, than they sought to shaft any of their true ideological enemies, whether Nicola Sturgeon, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband or Natalie Bennett. Why?

 

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