Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 7 January 2014
All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is highlighted and underlined.
Labour voters: In a speech in St Andrews yesterday Nicola Sturgeon appealed to “traditional Labour” supporters to back independence, saying that independence was in the “home-rule traditions” of Labour voters. (Scotsman page 8, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 6, Courier page 15, P&J page 13)
TV Debates: David Cameron is the only one of the three main party leaders who has reportedly not yet signed up for a repeat of the 2010 TV debates. David Cameron says that he could be persuaded to sign up to the debates if they had a different format. (The Herald page 6)
Ban on babies in the Commons: Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat equalities minister, has called for babies to be allowed to be taken into the House of Commons when voting. (The Herald page 10, Mail page 13)
Immigration: The Cabinet is reportedly split over David Cameron’s pledge to cut net immigration to less than 100,000 by May next year and an opinion poll reveals that three quarters of British voters want the number of immigrants arriving in Britain to be cut. (The Times page 8)
Lord Robertson: Writing in the Washington Post, Lord Robertson has commented that Scottish independence would pout the UK on the “road to disintegration” and could trigger the “re-Balkanisation” or Europe. (Telegraph page 9)
EU: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments on the importance of the elections to the European Parliament, due to take place in May this year.
Positive no: Henry McLeish in the Scotsman argues that the Better Together campaign needs a positive message, and this needs to be championed by the Labour Party.
Cuts: Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to cut £25 billion in spending after the next general election, including a £12bn cut in the welfare budget and suggestions that under-25s and those earning over £65,000 per year should not be able to claim housing benefit. (Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 6, Daily Record page 1, Financial Times page 10, The Times page 1, Gregor Gall in the Scotsman, David Maddox in the Scotsman, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 10, Guardian page 1, Courier page 14, P&J page 11)
Defence cutbacks: A report published by the Commons Defence Committee has criticised the coalitions 2010 defence review for making cuts, where “tens of thousand of soldiers where made redundant”, without properly considering military requirements. (The Herald page 6)
Legal aid: Proposals aimed at making defendants contribute in advance towards their legal costs have reportedly been put on hold following a threat by lawyers to drop clients who fail to pay up front. Proposed new legislation would see defendants paying lawyers directly, instead of legal firms collecting money from the state. (Scotsman page 1)
Rise in Crime: There has been a rise in crime in Edinburgh since the formation of a single police force. (The Herald page 5)
Free Primary School Meals: There will be a Holyrood debate this afternoon on whether all pupils will be provided with a free school meal in their first three years of primary school. There has reportedly been growing pressure on the Scottish Government following the policy being agreed by the UK government, for English schools. (The Herald page 1)
Borders Railway: Lord Steel has commented that if politicians had worked together to save the northern half of the Waverley line in 1969, the £300 million expenditure on the current Borders Railway project could have been avoided. (Scotsman page 14, The Herald page 10, The Times page 9)
Children and Young People Bill: Children and Young people to have the right to be looked after until 21 and guaranteed support until 26 following efforts by charities to amend the bill. (The Herald page 1, Mail page 19)