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The Sun
#1
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A tabloid paper, The Sun is the UK's most read newspaper. It largely has a conservative leaning, but said John Smith would be the best Prime Minister during the 1997 election campaign.
Josh
Media | Home Office
Infrastructure, Energy & Environment | Chief Whips

When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans. -Jean Chrétien
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#2
1997 election endorsement: No party, but endorsed John Smith as best Prime Minister

2002 election endorsement: Conservative
Josh
Media | Home Office
Infrastructure, Energy & Environment | Chief Whips

When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans. -Jean Chrétien
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#3
IT'S WAR: ANONYMOUS LABOUR SOURCES SLAM MAULTY LEADERSHIP PLATFORM

For the first time in decades, the Labour leadership job is one worth having. As the race heats up, The Sun has received comment from an anonymous Labour source on the leadership election platform of Ben Maulty.

Quote:Ben Maulty has – whether intentionally or not – made pledges that ditch or contradict John Smith’s election manifesto or government policy.

This includes taking effective control of the minimum wage away from trade unions and business on the low pay commission and setting an arbitrary target in 2005. It also appears to ditch John Smith’s New Deal for the unemployed funded by a windfall tax on the privatised utilities, which has radically reduced long-term unemployment, and replaces it with an untested and unclear alternative.

The promise to “cut billions in waste” from public spending sounds like it comes straight from a Tory playbook and risks dividing the Labour movement for no good reason? Unless he defines waste and points to specifics it just sounds like job cuts and gutting vital public services.

More fundamentally, why does Labour need a ‘New Vision’ when it was emphatically elected to deliver its current one only three years ago? The priority of any Labour Leader has to be to implement the 1997 manifesto and to build on that and on John Smith’s legacy, not ditching it at the first opportunity.

When reached for comment, Maulty said "Well clearly this "anonymous source" hasn't read the manifesto we were elected on three years ago. On tax, the manifesto said no increase in the basic or top rate of tax - we pledge the same but with extended protection for those in the middle income bracket. On increasing employment, it says that Labour will get 250,000 young unemployed into work - our "Into Work Scheme" does the same but aims to benefit companies as well as workers. On income, it says to enforce a minimum standard of treatment of workers, including a minimum wage - our pledges offer repealing select union law and increasing the minimum wage to an all time record. Our platform is continuity with a willingness to offer change where it will improve public services and create a fairer and richer nation. Leadership is about being willing to change and doing so when it is needed. It is up to Labour members to choose whether that is the path they want to take, not some anonymous backroom source stirring up trouble."

It's early days yet, but it seems that the Labour leadership race may be set to expose rifts in the government that the late John Smith was able to paper over relatively seamlessly. This also may be an indication of the current state of the race: Maulty may be stronger than what was initially thought, and those wanting continuity are now scrambling to protect the status quo.
Josh
Media | Home Office
Infrastructure, Energy & Environment | Chief Whips

When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans. -Jean Chrétien
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#4
Manning Pushes for a 'Respectable' Socialism

We endorsed John Smith because we felt that he may have led a party stuck in the past, but he was a moral and respectable man with the vision and talent to almost singlehandedly guide Britain through many crises, and we feel history has proven us right in that assessment: with Smith effectively balancing the need for strong public services and prudent finances Britain came into the millennium prosperously, with its head held high and a strong sense of purpose. 

Flash forward after Tanner's period in government: the economy might still be strong, but there is a potent sense that Britain is damaged. Fuel protests caused mass panic, culminating with a completely different new year to 2000's forward looking one. Instead, we were greeted with chaos on the streets of London, the return of measles and the murder of children on our streets as the government stood on the wayside and did little to nothing.

It seems the government has come back to take concrete actions, thanks to the man who holds the pursestrings: Sean Manning. We are relieved to see that action has already been taken to ease some of these crises: £200 million on railway repairs following Hatfield, more police on the streets following Damilola Taylor's murder, £50 million on a public health campaign on measles are all good starts. But are they enough?

The most crucial priorities are ensuring that the Chancellor has followed in the spirit of John Smith's moderate and tempered 1997 manifesto: to not return to tax and spend. Has he done this? It's debatable, and Manning's new approach can be summarised with a return to socialism, but in a respectable sort of way. For that reason, The Sun can admit the budget is far from satisfactory - it's worrying, even - but it has our hesitant approval.

On tax the Chancellor has taken some strong steps The Sun supports: the (six months too late) cuts to fuel duty and raising of personal allowance to let hard workers keep more of the money they earn is a strong start, as are the cuts to corporation tax which ensure business in Britain is still open. 

But there are worrying turn of events. Labour seems to slowly be scaling back to its desire to punish aspiration by increasing the taxes of those that earn £28,000 or more as well as punitive taxes to oil that could have negative unintended consequences for Brits, and totally undermine the aforementioned fuel duty cut. The hefty increase on a packet of fags is also not appreciated. Labour seems to be turning to its old taxing habits, and during a time of surplus too.

And for what? For vast level of spending. £6 billion for health, £5 billion for education and a whole £7 billion for welfare. Compare this to Home Office and Foreign Office levels of spending, which reach around a billion each. It shows the government has misguided priorities and is straying from levels of spending that The Sun finds sensible. There is a clear case for public services being given more cash, but Manning almost breaks dangerously from Labour's manifesto assertion that spending does not always translate to efficiency: in fact, without important and crucial steps for public service reform on which the government have shown silence, they may be creating the opportunity for a black hole of waste. This is particularly true on foreign aid, which the Chancellor has given lots of cash to where he could have used that opportunity to keep the tax burden that bit lower on hard working Britons, or to keep the surplus in a more healthy position - because if the Chancellor carries on at the rate he is, the stable finances he so champions could be under threat.

But this spending splurge does have its benefits: namely pension increases for those who have worked hard all their lives to get that extra bit of help in retirement as well as more police and firemen out there to keep Britain safe and a well deserved, comfortable pay rise for them and for our brave soldiers. 

For now, it's clear that Labour may still have the economic competence mantle - Sir Harold definitely didn't seem to know what he was talking about in his Newsnight interview - but the Chancellor seems to be wanting to be moving Britain in a dangerously socialist direction. So long as he keeps it respectable, he could retain our endorsement. 
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#5
GOVERNMENT MISFIRE ON AN ELECTED SENATE

In the last election, the Sun endorsed no political party but said that John Smith would be the best man to be Prime Minister. Two unelected Prime Ministers later, it's clear we made a mistake even coming close to endorsing the Labour Party. We assure Prime Minister Finch and his cabinet of radicals that we won't make the same mistake twice. To be clear: whenever the next election comes, it is time to sweep this government out of office.

John Smith did not commit the Labour Party to an elected senate, something that has come out of the most recent Queen's Speech. There were no rumblings of this happening. No conversations that we're aware of. No, instead Prime Minister Finch and the rest of the loonies in the cabinet decided to whinge on about democracy and decide that the House of Lords must go, and in its place an elected Senate. Here's the reality: Prime Minister Finch is creating a constitutional crisis in waiting. With two elected chambers, questions of dominance come into play. Who gets the final say? And what happens when the new Senate overrides the House of Commons?

Of course, the irony in all of this is that the government will talk a good game about democracy -- how voters can have a better say with an elected senate. But that leads us to this point: Labour has given the United Kingdom two unelected Prime Ministers in Elizabeth Tanner and Callum Finch. And so, if Labour wants to improve the democratic deficit in this country, they ought to spend less time tinkering with Parliament and more time asking Her Majesty to dissolve the House and call an election. Mr. Finch has no mandate for this -- he must seek one or abandon his disastrous plan.

Labour has often fought off accusations of being radical. It seemed John Smith had tempered that view; with this wrong-headed move, Callum Finch has shown us that his Labour Party is the most radical it has ever been. And it's the country that will suffer if they continue in office any further.
Josh
Media | Home Office
Infrastructure, Energy & Environment | Chief Whips

When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans. -Jean Chrétien
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#6
Labour – The Nasty Party
By Elizabeth Atwood, MP for Beverley and Holderness and Shadow Chancellor. 

All crime is abhorrent, but I am sure many readers will agree with me that trafficking children and forcing them into a life of crime is one of the greatest evils we see in society today.
 
Human trafficking is a problem, usually linked to serious and organised crime that does not stop at borders, and has come to be a multi-million pound industry in the criminal underworld. We have heard the horrific tales of survivors – usually women and children - who have told tales of rape, sexual abuse and drugs. It is one of the fastest growing global criminal activities in the world, with studies suggesting that around 4 million people are trafficked every year.
 
The time for action is now. This week, the Conservative Party brought forward new proposals for tough sentences for criminal gangs who traffick humans – including life sentences for those who traffick and exploit children. I called for the widest possible consensus in Parliament to get this bill passed, asking people to back victims and send a clear, united message to wrongdoers that they will feel the full force of the law.
 
We also wanted to empower courts to, where appropriate, compensate victims by confiscating the money and assets of the criminal committing the human trafficking offence. Victims of human trafficking often see their entire lives destroyed and are robbed of the freedom and opportunities to build the life they desire. We must use every power available to us to support victims and help them overcome the tragedy they endure, including confiscating assets of the wrongdoer to help a victim rebuild their life. 
 
This should not be a difficult choice for any politician. Supporting this legislation sends a clear message that we, as a society, will not tolerate this crime and will deliver justice to victims both in imposing prison sentences appropriate for the severity of the crime, but also by taking the ill-gotten gains from human trafficking and turning it to good use in helping victims recover their freedom.
 
But today Labour have signalled they will not support the bill. The Conservatives have tried, at every stage, to achieve a consensus to get this legislation passed so human traffickers, and those who exploit children, are put behind bars. 
 
We argued for tough sentences. Labour argued for weaker sentences and complex new provisions which would see it almost impossible to prosecute wrongdoers. 
 
We said we back sweeping compensation powers so the court has the discretionary power to confiscate the assets it deems appropriate to compensate a victim. Labour rejected this, calling on victims to be put through the further indignity of requiring a court to carry out a proportionality test on the price tag that can be put on human suffering.
 
Labour have shown not only that they are weak on crime, but that they are not prepared to act in deterring what is one of the most evil crimes we see committed against children today. 
 
When faced with the option of backing tough sentences for those guilty of trafficking and exploiting children, they chose to stand on the side of the wrongdoer. 
 
When faced with the option of compensation for victims, they decided to try and restrict this power which would serve to only preserve the assets of the wrongdoer and put the victim through further suffering during the court procedure.
 
Labour have got this wrong, and the Labour government has shown its true face in this debate: it is the nasty party of British politics which is prepared to put the criminal above the victim.
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#7
Police Federation Endorse Government's Criminal Justice Act

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As MPs debate the government's Criminal Justice Act, the government have found themselves a key cheerleader: the Police Federation. The organisation, which serves as the statutory staff association for Constables, Sergeants and Inspectors, today called the act a 'strong step forward' for public safety in Britain and for police officers.

Jan Berry, the Chair of the Police Federation, said: "For too long police officers have made it clear that they do not have the legal resources to properly clamp down on drunken or disorderly behaviour. The public have noticed this and have expressed their own concerns, and there has long been consensus across the political spectrum that for too long alcohol fuelled crime has been left unchecked. This represents a really positive step forward from the government in dealing with the issue."

She said that the bill had 'widespread approval' across the police force. "Police forces across the country have personally expressed their approval for this bill to me, and expressed concern over their inability to tackle disorderly behaviour in the past. They believe the government's gives them the necessary powers to effectively clamp down on disorderly and drunken behaviour, making not just them but the wider public more secure. We're glad the Home Secretary has listened to our concerns and has done a stellar job in responding to them - we hope her actions have widespread support across all parties and is approved in Parliament."

(Note: this is a Labour reward).
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#8
The Sun Says: We're Watching

If you thought we were ready to recommend how you should vote in this election, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. The fact is that we're not quite ready to make our recommendation to our readers. 

In 1997 we endorsed John Smith and stand by that. But on many levels this government has been a disappointment: more tax, more spend, more nanny state regulation. And their promises are hardly inspirational. Lower sentences for thugs? More for welfare without cracking down on abuse? Billions more in aid? This is not John Smith's Labour Party. And yet Labour have managed the economy well, and have done good and vital work on the NHS and schools.

And it's not clear yet if Harold Saxon is ready. We agreed with him on many of the issues in the past two years, but we have lingering doubts. And the reasons this paper abandoned the Conservatives in 1997 still stand: our public services need more cash, our economy needs stability.

So here is our challenge and promise. We will make our mind up, just like every voter has to. But our challenge to the parties is to prove to us why you deserve our vote. Labour: show us you are still the party of John Smith. Tories: show us you are ready for Government.
Steve
Will be doing things soon
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#9
A NEW HOPE - THE SUN SAYS VOTE SAXON

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Steve
Will be doing things soon
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