UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Abandon Northern towns for the prosperous South?


mersey.jpgEven the report’s authors say the idea may sound barmy.

But the Policy Exchange, a right-wing thinktank, says it was serious when it called on the government to stop spending money trying to regenerate struggling northern cities and use the cash instead to help their residents relocate to the southeast.

Its report says it is unrealistic to expect cities like Liverpool, Hull and Sunderland to ever regenerate properly. 

They are too isolated and the source of their original wealth — ship-building, ports and other heavy industry– have disappeared.

It would be better to help people to move to places like London, Oxford and Cambridge, the report says.

Does Glasgow spell the end of Gordon Brown?


gordon.jpgGordon Brown has woken to some unhappy headlines during his year as prime minister but the verdicts on newspaper websites following Labour’s shock defeat in the Glasgow East by-election were probably the worst he has faced.

“Disaster” was the description of the Daily Mail and The Independent after one of Labour’s safest seats fell to the Scottish National Party. The Daily Telegraph called it “Humiliation for Brown” while “Catastrophe for Labour” was The Guardian’s verdict.

Iron Chancellor to leaden Prime Minister


** For full coverage of UK politics click here **

brownjune.jpgOne of Gordon Brown’s favourite speech writers is leaving Number 10 to return to the Treasury. That gives Brown the perfect opportunity to draft in someone who has the ability to coin the kind of phrases that chime with the electorate and stick in people’s minds.

To date, that is something Brown, whose dismal year in office was underlined on Friday with a humiliating fifth place by-election finish for Labour, has signally failed to do. Sure, Brown wanted to move away from the accusations of endless spin that soured the public mood towards his slick predecessor Tony Blair.

David Davis – what the papers say


david.jpg Leader writers applauded the shock value of David Davis’ resignation but were divided over his motives and predicted the potentially shambolic by-election to come would damage the Conservative party.

With the LibDems already having said they will not field a candidate on July 10 and Labour still mulling the options, the papers raised the spectre of Davis campaigning alone against fringe parties like the Monster Raving Loonies and a motley crew of publicity-seekers.

Brown and out?


crewe.jpgAs much as stunned Labour MPs wander around like Corporal Jones telling each other not to panic after the dreadful result for them in Crewe, many of the newspapers believe Gordon Brown’s days are now numbered.

The Guardian, under the headline “Brown faces meltdown,” says he is facing the gravest crisis of his premiership in the run-up to the Autumn party conference. Like many other newspapers it says the decision to dress Labour activists in top hats and deride the Conservative candidate as a “toff” was a fundamental mistake, albeit one endorsed by Brown.

MPs and the “John Lewis” list


bigben2.jpgHow much should MPs be allowed to keep confidential?

The High Court has ruled that Members of Parliament must disclose details of expenses claimed for second homes and the location of those properties.

House of Commons authorities had sought to block the publication of second-home expense claims for 14 current and former MPs — including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown — requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

Wednesday’s front pages: Taxed to the limit


motorists.jpgThe ever increasing tax burden and Gordon Brown’s woes dominate the front pages today.

The Daily Telegraph reports research has shown that the average motorist is paying more than £600 a year extra in tax under Labour. Story here

The Great Clunking Fist needs to say it better


brownportrait.jpgHearing Gordon Brown say he’d made mistakes yesterday almost made me jump. Could the Great Clunking Fist really be admitting he’d got something wrong?

I’ve been covering Brown for more than ten years — both at the Treasury and now at No 10. And in all the interviews, international trips and news conferences I have never heard him say sorry.

Brown’s tax U-turn: new beginning or beginning of end?


brown1.jpgGordon Brown on Wednesday made what the British media and opposition parties widely judged to be the most humiliating and embarrassing policy change of his short career as Prime Minister: a climbdown over concessions to those made worse off by his scrapping of the lowest, 10 pence income tax rate.

Conservative leader David Cameron, hoping to oust Brown and Labour in the next election, branded Brown a “pathetic” figure. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg called him “increasingly pointless”.

Brown fights fires at home while on U.S. trip


brown.jpgFor Gordon Brown on his U.S. trip it has been a case of when the cat is away the mice will play. While Brown was at the White House working to shore up the “special relationship” with President George W. Bush, rebellion broke out in Labour ranks at home.

First, Labour peer Lord Desai launched an extraordinary attack on Brown, telling the Evening Standard: “Gordon Brown was put on earth to remind people how good Tony Blair was.”