Local council elections
Following Thursday’s local council elections, many of the papers carry analyses of the results.
The Sunday Express reports that George Osborne is to target voters in the North of England.
Bullish George Osborne last night vowed to make the Conservative Party the “real alternative” in the North as he issued a battle cry to the party faithful.
The Chancellor said the Tories now need to capitalise on Labour losses in its traditional heartland following Thursday’s council elections.
The Chancellor also paid respect to the voters who had abandoned Tories in favour of Ukip and pledged the Conservative Party would not take them for granted, saying: “We’re listening. There are too many people who share our values but did not feel able to vote for us on Thursday.”
The Sunday Telegraph reports that David Cameron is drawing up immigration laws in an attempt to foil UKIP following Thursday’s election results.
The first details are expected in a Bill to be announced in the Queen’s Speech next week, a senior government source said.
Even stronger measures to block Europeans from poor countries coming to Britain for work are likely to be included in the Conservative manifesto for the general election next year.
The plans represent a concerted attempt to combat the rising popularity of the UK Independence Party which threatens to derail the Tories’ hopes of winning an outright parliamentary majority.
Measures under discussion include a law to discourage British-based companies from employing cheaper foreign workers, deporting unemployed Europeans after six months and a new “wealth test” to prevent vast numbers coming to Britain from the poorest EU countries.
News of the proposals emerged as senior Tories called for action on immigration after Ukip’s surge in last week’s local elections.
Nigel Farage’s party may also top the popular vote when the European election results are announced tonight.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, promised yesterday to “listen” and “respond” to public concern over the issue.
The Guardian claims UKIP has drawn up a ‘hitlist’ of 20 key seats it intends to win at next year’s General Election
Nigel Farage‘s Ukip is to target at least 20 parliamentary seats at the next general election, using his party’s success in Thursday’s council elections as the launch pad for an all-out assault on the House of Commons, party officials have revealed.
Ukip sources said the first task after the Newark by-election on 5 June would be to ensure that Farage himself wins a Commons seat next May. Mainstream parties have publicly doubted Ukip’s capacity to break into parliament, but Thursday’s results have convinced the party that, with the right focus, it can deliver a Ukip caucus.
“We don’t want Nigel to be the only one,” said the source. “The key is to focus ruthlessly on 20-30 target seats. This is the way for a smaller party to crack the first past the post system in parliamentary elections, as the Lib Dems did.”
The Independent reports Lib Dem leader is likely to face a leadership challenge after ‘disastrous’ election results last Thursday.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, faces a showdown with Liberal Democrat MPs who are demanding that he consider his position as party leader in the wake of the disastrous European and local election results.
A block of unnamed MPs are poised to demand his resignation, according to party sources, paving the way for the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, a possible “unity candidate”, to take over in a “coronation” before next year’s general election. Some are considering going public within days over their demands before the state opening of Parliament on 4 June.
They would be adding their voices to a swelling number of parliamentary candidates, councillors, activists and former MPs who have signed a petition calling on the Deputy PM to step down. They fear that under his leadership the Lib Dems could lose more than 20 of their 57 seats next year.
In its comment column, the Mail on Sunday claims UKIP rebels ‘could destroy Tory dreams’.
Nigel Farage himself says he hopes to destroy the Tory Party, a near-impossible task in a country where politics has for centuries been based on tight tribal loyalty
Tonight, the Tories, Labour and the Liberal Democrats expect to be served a second large portion of the humblest sort of pie in the Euro Elections.
A similarly deep dish will be set before the BBC and many in the media who thought that the repeated cry of ‘racist!’ would be a sort of magic incantation guaranteed to ward off Nigel Farage.
Their only achievement was to make large numbers of decent people angry that their reasonable discontents were being loftily dismissed as bigotry by an insulated and snobbish political class.
And in elections away from the UK, the Independent reports that polling booths in the east of Ukraine are deserted.
In separatist-controlled regions, election day brings empty streets and locked voting stations
“Elections?” said an elderly woman at what was supposed to be a polling station yesterday. “I’m not sure about that.”
Searching for a functioning polling station in Donetsk on the eve of Ukraine’s presidential elections proved a frustrating task yesterday. Instead of voting booths, ballot boxes and electoral lists the city’s designated polling stations contained fear, confusion and occasional denials that a vote was taking place at all.