UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Keith Weir on PMQs wins and losses

Photo
-

Gordon Brown fended off some familiar darts from Conservative leader David Cameron about the recession during prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, says Reuters UK chief correspondent Keith Weir.

Brown also spoke about Afghanistan after the prime minister confirmed on Monday that Britain would send an extra 500 soldiers to Afghanistan, bringing the UK troop level to about 10,000. The U.S. said on Tuesday it will increase its troop levels by 30,000 to about 100,000.

Was there a winner in the Wednesday session?

Watch Weir’s analysis here:

Clouds of change: Buzzwords from conference season

Photo
-

dave1Opposition leader David Cameron has delivered his speech to the Conservative party conference in Manchester.******Cameron told delegates there would be “painful” cuts in public spending, promised to send more troops to Afghanistan and stressed the importance of confronting “Labour’s debt crisis.” He also pledged to modernise the pension system, “break the cycle of welfare dependency” and cut back on bureaucracy to make life easier for entrepreneurs.******Cameron’s speech brings conference season to an end. Leaders of the three main parties — Cameron, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg for the Liberal Democrats — have all laid out their plans for Britain ahead of a general election due by June 2010.******The ‘word clouds’ below have been generated using the complete texts from each of the leaders’ keynote conference speeches, in the order they were given. At first glance there are some striking similarities and fascinating overlaps — but we will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.******How did you think each of the leaders performed? Who did you find the most convincing? Is David Cameron ready to lead the country?******Keywords from Nick Clegg’s speech:******cleggwordcloud2****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ******Keywords from Gordon Brown’s speech:******brownwordcloud3****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ******Keywords from David Cameron’s speech:******cameronwordcloud

Does class matter in politics?

Photo
-

borisThree big speeches have been delivered at the Conservative Party conference so far — by party leader David Cameron, the mayor of London and national bumbler, Boris Johnson, and the party’s spokesman on the economy, George Osborne.

What do all three men have in common apart from their membership of the Conservative Party? They were all educated at elite public schools (Johnson and Cameron at Eton and Osborne at St Paul’s) and all went to Oxford, where they were members of the same dining and social set, the secretive and selective Bullingdon Club.

Live blog: Conservative Party conference

Photo
-

daveThe Conservatives will get a chance to show they are ready for office at their annual conference in Manchester. After 12 years in opposition, the party could be on the verge of returning to power in an election due by next June.

Conservative leader David Cameron has said they will set out plans this week for reducing the country’s gaping budget deficit and unveil a “massive” programme to cut unemployment.

Will the Sun win the election for the Conservatives?

Photo
-

murdoch_newThe Sun trumpeted “It’s the Sun Wot Won It” after the Conservatives won the 1992 general election following the newspaper’s polling day headline “If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights”.

Five years later, Britain’s top-selling daily newspaper switched sides and backed Tony Blair and Labour at the next general election, remaining loyal to the centre-left party at the 2001 and 2005 elections.

UK unions fear future with the “enemy”

Photo
-

cameronAfter more than a decade of railing against a Labour government that they feel has betrayed their shared socialist roots, British trade unions are now starting to fear what a future with a Conservative government will be like.

“They’re going to come after us like rabid dogs,” said Brian Caton, general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association said — dubbing the Conservatives “the enemy”.

Do you love the NHS?

Photo
-

The National Health Service (NHS) has endured a barrage of criticism from opponents of Barack Obama’s plans to push through a healthcare bill that would rein in costs, place constraints on insurance companies and expand health cover to 46 million uninsured Americans.

Stateside critics of the U.S. President’s plans — including former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin — have branded the NHS “evil and Orwellian” and said it allowed “death panels” to decide levels of care for the elderly. They see it as an overly bureaucratic, “socialised” system of healthcare and the proposals have prompted angry scenes at town halls across America.

Is 82 days a fair holiday for MPs?

Photo
-

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is gearing up for his holidays, which he is expected to take mainly in his Kircaldy constituency and the Lake District.

Conservative leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg are travelling overseas for their summer breaks.

Expenses row saps Brown’s authority

Photo
-

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Gordon Brown setting out a plan to overhaul MPs’ unpopular allowances and announcing it on YouTube too.

A week later the plan has unravelled in the face of opposition protest and internal Labour party misgivings. The upshot is more bad press and the feeling that Brown’s authority has been further undermined.

from The Great Debate UK:

Put your questions to David Cameron

OUKTP-UK-BRITAIN-CONSERVATIVES-CAMERON

(UPDATED Dec 18 - This post is now closed for questions)

Conservative Party leader David Cameron will be speaking on the economy and the credit crunch at Thomson Reuters' Canary Wharf office on Monday, followed by a question and answer session.

The Tory leader has argued that two main problems face Britain at present – a recession coupled with a record level of government debt, and that the government is trying to tackle one while ignoring the other.

  •