EU referendum

Sky News claims Labour’s Andy Burnham has urged the Prime Minister to bring forward the promised referendum on our membership of the EU.

Andy Burnham has demanded the Prime Minister bring forward the referendum on the European Union to next year.

The MP, seen as a frontrunner in the Labour leadership contest, has warned “it is not going to be in anybody’s interest for this to rumble on through this parliament”.

David Cameron has promised the nationwide vote will take place by 2017, but he is already facing pressure from Tory backbenchers to hold the referendum earlier.

Mr Burnham, the shadow health secretary, told The Observer the issue “is the most fundamental problem facing British business right now” – but stressed that he would be campaigning for the country to stay within the union.

Insisting that a 2016 vote is enshrined in the Queen’s Speech, he also warned the Prime Minister will be “held to account” if his attempts to negotiate over immigration in Brussels are unsuccessful.

“I am passionately pro-European,” Mr Burnham added.

“I cannot see how it could possibly be in the interest of this country to come out of the European Union.

“This is the challenge that the Prime Minister has set himself and he has to deliver.”

His interview followed a frank speech in London where he was joined by the three other Labour leadership candidates – Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Mary Creagh.

And the Telegraph claims that foreigners could be included in the vote

Up to 1.5 million foreigners could be given a decisive vote in the referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union, senior Conservatives fear.

Ministers have been confronted in private by Eurosceptic MPs who are concerned that David Cameron could water down his promise to give the British people a say over the UK’s future in Europe because he wants Britain to stay inside the EU.

The row centres on a decision over which electoral register is used for the referendum which is due to take place by the end of 2017.

The government said it would decide on the franchise for the plebiscite when it publishes the EU Referendum Bill, expected in the coming months.

Tory MPs who oppose Britain’s membership of the EU want the referendum to use the General Election voter register, with the addition of allowing peers in the House of Lords to vote.

However, they fear that the government could be persuaded instead to use the separate electoral register for local council and European Parliament elections. This allows 1.5 million citizens of other EU countries who are living in Britain to vote in local and European elections.

London Mayor

City AM gives a run-down on the candidates and potentials who may join next year’s race.

The election’s over, long live the election.

Now we know who’s running the country, who will be doing the same for London?

The General Election is out of the way, but that means the race is now on for City Hall in 2016 – and we can expect a slew of candidates to start the firing gun on their campaigns.

Now shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has thrown in the towel in the race to become leader of the Labour party, his odds on becoming Mayor of London have been slashed. One bookie has said if he did run, that “he’d almost certainly end up as one of the favourites”.

We’ve had Tooting MP Sadiq Khan and Hackney MP Diane Abbott officially throw their hats into the ring since the Conservative’s came to power.

The two Labour MPs will battle it out with fellow London MPs Tessa Jowell and David Lammy for the party’s nomination while three less headline grabbing names are vying for the Conservative ticket to the top.

Expect that to change in the coming weeks and months of course. Now Boris is in Westminster, he has to leave is seat at the helm of the capital in Southwark’s City Hall and bigger name Conservatives will now be considering their bids.

While none can recreate the beauty of hanging from a zipline, these are the runners and riders for who could be the next Boris.

Budget

The Express reports Chancellor George Osborne’s plans for another budget in the near future.

GEORGE Osborne has taken the highly unusual step of announcing a surprise budget to rush through new Tory pledges in a newspaper before telling MPs.

The Chancellor will now spell out how the newly-elected majority Conservative government will balance the books and reform welfare on July 8.

Osborne revealed that the budget would reward “working people” as the party makes a bid to turn their promises “into a reality”.

Announcing the date in a newspaper ahead of Parliament’s sitting later this month, he said: “On July 8 I am going to take the unusual step of having a second Budget of the year – because I don’t want to wait to turn the promises we made in the election into a reality.”

The last Budget was held in March and included tax cuts for first-time house buyers.

This summer’s Budget is being branded as a “one nation” package to help spread the benefits of economic recovery across the country.

UKIP leadership

The party’s deputy leader Suzanne Evans insists she is loyal to Nigel Farage, says the Express.

DEPUTY Ukip chairwoman Suzanne Evans last night said that “nobody should question” her loyalty to the party or Nigel Farage.

Ms Evans made her declaration of loyalty as the civil war at the top of Ukip intensified with the party’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, publicly calling on Mr Farage to quit.

During the week Ukip’s millionaire donor, Arron Banks, had demanded her resignation, along with Mr Carswell and Patrick O’ Flynn, as he questioned their loyalty to the party’s under-pressure leader.

But last night Ms Evans hit back at his suggestion she had been involved in the attempted coup.

She said: “I absolutely don’t think I have done anything wrong at all.

“I have worked extremely hard for the party over the last two years and particularly over the last few months when I wrote the manifesto.”

She added: “Unfortunately when you get into these situations and the backstabbing starts, it is quite hard to know who is pointing what finger, but nobody should question my loyalty to the party or to Nigel.”

Labour leadership

The Mail claims the Labour leader in Scotland has blamed the unions for forcing his resignation.

Labour was last night plunged into a civil war as Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy quit – and launched a savage attack on Unite boss Len McCluskey.

An enraged Mr Murphy – furious at the union leader’s role in forcing his resignation – said that securing the support of Mr McCluskey was ‘a kiss of death’ rather than ‘a badge of honour’ for a politician.

He said: ‘It is a grotesque insult to our thousands of volunteers, from someone who pays occasional fleeting visits to our great country.

‘Labour’s problem is not the link with trade unions, it is the destructive behaviour of one high-profile trade unionist.

‘I don’t serve at the grace of Len McCluskey and the next leader of the UK Labour Party should not be picked by Len McCluskey.’

The Telegraph has a similar story.

Labour was being ripped apart on Saturday as an epic struggle for the party’s soul threatened to destroy its election hopes for a generation.

Jim Murphy, a respected and moderate Blairite, left his colleagues stunned and distraught by quitting as Scottish Labour leader after a “poisonous” war with the party’s biggest trade union paymasters.

In parting remarks, he warned that it would be “the kiss of death” if Labour caved in to the demands of hard-Left union bosses such as Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, who backed Ed Miliband as Labour leader.

Mr Murphy warned that Mr McCluskey must not be allowed to choose the next leader of the party.

As does the Independent.

Jim Murphy will be stepping down from his post as Scottish Labour leader following his ousting as an MP and Labour’s huge losses to the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the general election.

He said he would step down at a meeting of the national executive in Glasgow next month, when he submits wide-ranging plans to reform the beleaguered party.

Mr Murphy faced repeated calls to resign last week after his party lost 40 seats in Scotland, being wiped out by the SNP in all but one solitary seat.

And in the Westminster Labour leadership race, the Sunday Times claims the unions will also take a role.

LABOUR was pitched into a bitter civil war last night amid claims that unions are trying to “hijack” the leadership election, bulldoze the Blairites out of the way and install their preferred candidate, Andy Burnham.

Jim Murphy quit as Scottish leader with an outspoken attack on Len McCluskey, the general secretary of the Unite union, accusing him of “destructive behaviour” and trying to “pick” Ed Miliband’s successor.

Murphy spoke out as Labour MPs broke cover to denounce the leadership rules as worthy of “a banana republic” and accused union allies in parliament of “bullying” MPs into backing Burnham rather than Blairite contender Liz Kendall.

The claims surfaced as Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary who abandoned his own leadership bid on Friday, warned there can be “no coronation” for Burnham, the shadow health secretary.

The Mirror also covers the story.

As the race to become the new leader of the Labour Party kicks off we spoke to eight ordinary voters who told us what they would like to see from the person who takes over from Ed Miliband.

During the coming weeks our panel will grill potential leaders on the issues that are important to them and give them a clearer picture of what the party needs to do to get back into government.

Siobhan Meade, 31, is registered blind and a benefits claimant from Great Yarmouth. She says:

I would like to see a Labour leader who looks after all people including disabled people. I would like disabled people to be given help to access work and training.

But I would also like people who are not able to work to be looked after and not be afraid of having benefits taken away. I have to pay the Bedroom Tax and it’s very difficult. It should be abolished.

As does the Independent.

Simmering resentment and recrimination over Labour’s worst election defeat in nearly 30 years burst into the open as the contenders vying to succeed Ed Miliband turned on each other at the first hustings of the contest.

With the party still reeling from the abrupt withdrawal of Chuka Umunna from the raceJim Murphy resigned as Labour leader in Scotland despite winning a confidence vote over the party’s near-wipeout at the hands of the SNP. A contest to replace him this summer, along with the race for the party’s mayoral candidate, means Labour faces three simultaneous power struggles.

In central London, clear dividing lines emerged more than Labour’s future, as the five leadership contenders confronted each other over the economy, health and education at a tense and highly charged debate hosted by Progress, which represents the modernising wing of the party.

A picture of fraud?

Breitbart has a picture allegedly showing Labour former council leader Iris Johnston ‘helping’ a member of the public to cast her ballot during the election.

The votes for Thanet District Council took place on the same day as the General Election, when UKIP leader Nigel Farage was attempting to be elected as the Member of Parliament for South Thanet.

Ms. Johnston is pictured with a member of the public, looking over their shoulder as they cast their ballot. Ms. Johnston, a divisive local figure, claims that she had done nothing wrong, and that the staff in the polling station had “nodded her through”.

But guidance from the Electoral Commission is strict when it comes to candidates and polling agents. It is clearly stated that:

“All candidates and election agents have the right to enter and to remain in a polling station but they must not disrupt voting or attempt to canvass voters…

“During polling hours, polling agents in attendance should be placed at a separate table that is close enough to observe and hear the proceedings, but not in a position that would compromise the secrecy of the ballot.”

Mr. Johnston’s proximity to the voter may well qualify as compromising the secrecy of the ballot, something that worried the Conservative Party’s Paul Messenger, who took the photo. He told the BBC, “It concerned me that Iris was actually going into the voting area, right up to the booth, with this lady”.

Ms. Johnston replied, “I did nothing wrong. The presiding officer and the staff nodded me through, and the only comment made was that I shouldn’t mark the papers, and of course I wouldn’t. I have really strict rules for myself and others about this.”

The voter has told the BBC that Ms. Johnston didn’t interfere or affect her vote, however the matter of the secrecy of the ballot is still unanswered.

Labour lost control of Thanet District Council just a day after UKIP leader Nigel Farage was defeated in the parliamentary election in the same area. The council is now controlled by UKIP.

Kent Police recently revealed that they are investigating a report about electoral fraud in South Thanet.

But the Express claims any allegation of election fraud has been investigated and dropped.

A member of the public contacted Kent Police from outside the county on Monday to report suspicions of fraud in the seat which saw Conservative candidate Craig Mackinlay beat Ukip leader Mr Farage to the post by 2,812 votes.

The complaint came as a result of concerns raised on Twitter as the hashtag #thanetrigged.

Some supporters became convinced Mr Farage had failed to win the parliamentary seat – despite Ukip claiming victory in the council’s elections on the same day – was down to foul play.

Allegations of suspicious behaviour were made following a six and a half hour delay in declaring the seat’s result at Margate’s Winter Gardens last Friday.

But Kent Police formally closed the investigation last night.

A force spokesman said: “No evidence of electoral fraud was found so we closed the investigation.

 

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