As we are all aware a shocking murder dominated the news this week. Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was killed in a wicked attack as he went about his daily business. It soon became apparent it was a terror attack.
The Prime Minister condemned the attack and said “we will never give into terrorism in any of its forms”. Parties on all sides offered support following this atrocious attack.
The country is still suffering the shock of of this awful attack and our thoughts are of course with his family, loved ones and colleagues at this time. You can read more on the story of those who went to help in the immediate aftermath showing selflessness and compassion for the young soldier, here.
Meanwhile, politically there is trouble for the Prime Minister, “David Cameron isn’t even among friends in his own cabinet now”, said Andrew Rawnsley in his latest piece for the Observer this weekend. Rawnsley described the Prime Minister as “the tattered chieftain of a fractured tribe.” He suffered two revolts in as many weeks first over Europe and then over the gay marriage vote.
However, it is the spending review for the next financial year, which the Chancellor George Osborne is due to announce on 26 June, that is causing significant problems within the party.
The Treasury had been looking to cut spending by another £10bn but exactly where the next round of Whitehall cuts should come from is being met with significant resistance reveals Rawnsley. Even the ‘bluest’ of Tories are not sure where to go next. And Rawnsley writes: “It is an irony that the ministers who are resisting the chancellor most fiercely are nearly all concentrated on the bluest end of the Conservative party: Theresa May, the home secretary, Eric Pickles at communities and local government; Chris Grayling, the justice secretary; and Philip Hammond, the defence secretary. The most right-wing member of the cabinet – Owen Paterson, the environment secretary – is being the most stubborn of all. While none of his colleagues has agreed everything that the Treasury wants, and most have offered far less, they have come up with some cuts. Mr Paterson is point-blank refusing to surrender anything from his budget.”
You can read Andrew Rawnsley’s full article here.
Meanwhile, The Telegraph reported that the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, believes more should be spent on defence and policing and has offered to lop another £3 billion off his department’s annual budget to help in this.
He is understood to have suggested restricting housing benefit for the under-25s, and to limit benefit payments to families with more than two children. So there is set to be more trouble ahead for the Coalition Government, as the Lib Dems have said they will block any further cuts to working age benefits. You can read more on this here.