Gordon Brown

Several of the media report former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is about to announce his retirement from politics.

Sky News claims his announcement is imminent.

Gordon Brown is poised to announce that he is to quit as an MP at the next election after 32 years in the Commons, Sky sources have revealed.

One close colleague predicted he may write to Labour Party members in his Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency as early as the next few days and make a formal announcement before Christmas.

“Gordon always holds a function for his party members at Christmas and if I were a betting man, I would bet that he will make an announcement then,” the source told Sky News.

Mr Brown is holding a Christmas party for local councillors and party officials in Kirkcaldy on Monday, 1 December, and he is tipped to reveal the news then.

Another senior source told Sky News: “I’m reliably informed he will make an announcement in the coming weeks.”

The Independent claims Mr Brown will then work in the charity sector.

The former prime minister Gordon Brown will step down as an MP at next year’s general election, it was reported in the Sunday Mirror last night.

Mr Brown, who entered the Commons in 1983, was said by a close ally to be looking to “go out on a high” after he was credited with helping to rescue the Scottish independence referendum when support for a “yes” vote surged late in the campaign.

A senior Scottish Labour MP told The Independent on Sundaylast night: “I suspect he will look to do charity work. He won’t be looking to do a Tony Blair and enter the City.”

Mr Brown was Mr Blair’s chancellor for 10 years. Their relationship was scarred as Mr Brown badly coveted Mr Blair’s position as prime minister, but lost the 2010 general election in the wake of the financial crisis.

Mr Brown has a 23,009 majority for the seat of Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath.

The Mail reports the announcement will be made before Christmas.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is set to announce he will quit as an MP at the next General Election.

He is expected to formally reveal his plans to stand down ‘within days’ after 32 years in the Commons, sources have claimed.

One close colleague predicted he may write to Labour Party members in his Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency in the next few days and make a formal announcement before Christmas.

Sources claim Mr Brown is eager to bow out ‘on a high’ after he was widely credited for helping keep Britain together with a passionate ‘war cry’ in Glasgow the day before votes were cast.

A close ally of the former Labour PM disclosed to the Sunday Mirror: ‘Gordon has confirmed to friends that he will stand down at the election in May.

‘He wants to go out on a high after effectively salvaging the campaign to keep the UK together in September. He will focus on his charity work.’

Winter fuel payments

A LibDem minister wants to stop winter fuel payments to those OAPs who don’t need it in order to fund cheaper bus fares for young people, says the Mail.

Wealthy pensioners should be stripped of their winter fuel allowance to fund cheaper bus fares for young people, a Liberal Democrat Minister claimed yesterday.

Business Minister Jo Swinson said subsidising rich pensioners’ energy bills with payments of up to £300 each was hard to justify in times of austerity.

She said the cash should be used instead to help young people get to work or college with discounted bus tickets.

Ms Swinson added that the plan was likely to be included in the Lib Dems’ Election manifesto.

Speaking at her party’s Scottish conference, she said the Lib Dems were suggesting that the winter fuel allowance ‘should not be going to all pensioners and all wealthy pensioners.

‘That is something which is very difficult to justify when there are so many other difficult decisions being made.’

The plan would be to give ‘two-thirds discount to young people in terms of bus travel, and to pay for that partly by the winter fuel payments actually being taken away from wealthy pensioners who can afford it,’ Ms Swinson said.

UKIP

The Guardian suggests UKIP should be taken seriously – but it may not like the experience.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage needs to face the kind of robust interrogation other party chiefs have to undergo.

In politics, as sometimes in life, there can be nothing more disappointing than a dream that comes true. It was the decades-long yearning of Lib Dems that Britain’s traditional two-horse race would give way to a pluralistic, multi-party politics. The grip on power of the big two would be broken and supplanted by a rainbow of choices. Now that Lib Dem wish appears to be close to fulfilment. The old blue-red duopoly is fragmenting under the multiple and interwoven pressures of austerity, insecurity, anger with traditional politics and questions of identity. The combined polling share of Labour and the Tories has rarely been so low. The Nationalists are on a roll in Scotland. The Greens are enjoying a surge. Ukip has just bagged its second byelection victory. Multi-party politics has arrived with a bang. And who is that lying on the floor? Why, it is the Lib Dems. We’ve got the multi-party politics they dreamt of, but it has come in a form that is nightmarish for them.

The past masters of the sensational byelection upset have just suffered the worst ever byelection result for a major party. If “major party” is still an appropriate description for the Lib Dems when they now languish in fifth place in some national polls. They achieved less than 1% of the vote in Rochester and Strood and suffered their 11th lost deposit of this parliament.

The Mirror reports UKIP leader Nigel Farage saying more Tory MPs are now considering defecting to his party.

The Ukip leader says he expects Tory MPs now considering defecting to his party to wait until after Christmas before doing so.

He told the Sunday People in an exclusive interview: “If they’re thinking about coming over they will want to give it some proper thought.

“And the best time to do that will be over the Christmas and New Year period when they can talk to their family and friends about it.”

Mr Farage says it would not be in the best interests of the country to then hold a by-election so near to May’s General Election.

“I really do wonder what the point would be in having a by-election in January or February,” he added.

“Of course if there was a by-election and we won it that would be fantastic.

“But I’m not sure that would be seen as the right thing to do.”

And so he suspects the next big electoral contest for Ukip will be the General Election itself.

His party will keep its powder dry and prepare the ground for an onslaught on both the Tories and Labour in May.

Mr Farage, 50, now has enough donations pouring into Ukip coffers to fight 500 seats.

And he will concentrate on 30 targets where he believes he is most likely to get Ukip MPs elected.

The Express reports on UKIP’s plan to woo young voters.

UKIP LEADERS are planning to unleash a “purple revolution” with the launch of a new youth movement in a bold bid to broaden its appeal to voters.

The party has already almost doubled its membership among the under-30s in the past nine months, writes Caroline Wheeler.

Now it is launching its own youth movement, known as the Purple Revolution, to attract even more young members.

In what might be mistaken for a bizarre political alliance, Ukip has adopted the quirky lettering which appears on the cover of comedian Russell Brand’s new

book Revolution for its own logo.

Ukip’s new recruitment bid, being bankrolled by millionaire donor Arron Banks, has its own website and offers those who sign up to its newsletter a free Purple Revolution Nigel Farage T-shirt.

Under the slogan “Love Britain Again” the website has a section entitled “Farage Gold” featuring some of the leader’s most famous speeches and exchanges. It even features the party’s new signature “victory” hand gesture, made famous by Winston Churchill.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express Mr Banks, the former Tory donor who defected to Ukip last month, said: “One of the things I have been concentrating on is the youth side of the party.

Immigration

The Sunday Times reports that in an effort to counter some of UKIP’s policies, Prime Minister David Cameron will try and ban benefits being given to migrants from the EU.

David Cameron will launch a counterattack on Ukip this week with a fresh crackdown on immigration and the start of a six-month campaign to depict Nigel Farage as a threat to the economic recovery.

The prime minister is expected to use a long-awaited speech on immigration to call for a ban on EU migrants claiming in-work benefits such as tax credits when they first move to Britain.

‘White van man’ tweet

The Independent claims the tweet by Emily Thornberry MP and her subsequent resignation from the Shadow government will make Labour MPs’ task of winning more difficult.

Ed Miliband’s decision to sack Emily Thornberry over her tweeting of a white van and England flags had made it harder for candidates and activists to campaign on the doorstep, senior Labour figures said yesterday, as one MP said the party was trapped in an “endless cycle of f***wittery”.

The Labour leader forced his close political ally’s resignation as shadow Attorney General on Friday – after her tweet and comments that the house in Rochester and Strood was “remarkable” – because he feared the row would become “toxic” for his party, aides said.

Yet Mr Miliband, already weakened by a leadership wobble earlier this month, faced a backlash from his own MPs who said the party leader had made the situation all the worse by making an example of Ms Thornberry and forcing her departure. Ms Thornberry continued to be attacked by her former Shadow Cabinet colleagues yesterday, including Ed Balls, who said her actions had shown she was on “another planet”.

Some Labour MPs pointed the finger at Lucy Powell, Mr Miliband’s close aide and newly appointed shadow Cabinet Office minister, for having a hand in the decision to force Ms Thornberry out. Ms Powell, who has long argued that the party needs to reach out and appeal to readers of the Daily Mail, is highly regarded by the Labour leader for having a surer touch with “ordinary” voters, but some in the party regard her as a ruthless operator who wrongly advised Mr Miliband to sack Ms Thornberry.

General Election

The Express reports on a speech by Mark Reckless, UKIP’s newest MP, who has said the Conservatives will not win next year’s General Election outright.

MARK Reckless has shunned the idea that the Conservatives will win by a majority in the next general election, while giving his first speech since becoming a Ukip MP.

Mr Reckless, who successfully defended his Rochester and Strood seat this week after defecting, said the Tories would need help from Ukip MPs to deliver an in-out referendum on EU membership.

He said the idea that the Tories were going to secure a majority in the next general election was something that David Cameron and his cabinet had to show to believe, but added: “I haven’t thought that was a serious prospect since the Conservative Party went into coalition with the Liberal Democrats.”

He added: “How David Cameron and the Conservative-led government have governed over the last four and a half years has also tended, to put it mildly, to reduce the prospects of the Conservative Party being successfully returned at the next election.”

While speaking at an event held by Eurosceptic Bruges Group earlier today, he admitted the damage inflicted by his new party on the Tories next May would be “small if any”.

But he boasted Ukip was able to defeat Labour in its traditional heartlands.

He said the Heywood and Middleton by-election – where the party missed out by just 600 votes – showed the effect on Labour could be much more significant.

The Telegraph has a similar story

It is “incredibly unlikely” that David Cameron will win the general election outright and he will need Ukip MPs to deliver an in-out referendum on EU membership, Mark Reckless has insisted.

Mr Reckless, who successfully defended his Rochester and Strood seat this week after defecting, said the damage inflicted by his new party on the Tories next May would be “small if any”.

But only Ukip was able to defeat Labour in its traditional heartlands, he added. The comments came as Mr Reckless addressed the Eurosceptic Bruges Group in the wake of his victory.

He said there was no “serious prospect” that the Prime Minister would secure a Commons majority.

“I think it is something of a conceit, that I understand the Conservative leadership has to maintain but I am not sure that necessarily all Conservative backbench MPs need to, that somehow it is a realistic prospect that the Conservative Party under David Cameron is going to get an overall majority at the next election,” he said.

“I haven’t thought that was a serious prospect since the Conservative Party went into coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

“And that is largely because that decision led to unity on the left and a significant increase in the Labour vote due to departing Lib Dems.

“How David Cameron and the Conservative-led government have governed over the last four and a half years has also tended, to put it mildly, to reduce the prospects of the Conservative Party being successfully returned at the next election.”

Scotland

The Independent claims Scotland may be allowed to become independent after all.

Scotland will have the power to change its voting system and alter the length of its parliaments, under devolution proposals to be unveiled this week.

It is understood that the Smith Commission report, which is expected to be published on Thursday, will recommend that the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh, is given control of its own electoral system.

David Cameron asked Lord Smith of Kelvin, a former governor of the BBC, to look into the granting of more powers to Scotland, following the close referendum vote in September. The major political parties in Westminster pledged a significant, but vaguely defined, package of devolution in a successful effort to see off a late surge in support for independence.

Holyrood was set up in 1999 with four-year, fixed-term parliaments. However, it was the coalition government in Westminster that decided to delay the 2015 vote by a year so that Scottish elections did not clash with the general election, a move criticised by the Scottish National Party.

Under Lord Smith’s proposals, such interference could not happen again. Similarly, should future Scottish governments choose to ditch the semi-proportional added member system used north of the border, they could do so. A senior Scottish politician said Holyrood would have “control of its own elections, select a different period of time [between elections] and choose whatever system it wants, such as the Single Transferable Vote”.

The source added that a “substantial” set of tax-raising and welfare powers would be handed to Holyrood. However, the SNP is expected to fight hard on the tax recommendations if these offer anything less than full autonomy for Holyrood on all levies and responsibility for all domestic expenditure that is not shared with the rest of the UK.

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