Honeyball’s weekly round up

Jeremy Hunt

Four in ten regret voting Lib Dem. This survey, by pollsters ComRes, exclusively for the Sunday Mirror is without doubt a damming blow for Nick Clegg, as their first party conference kicks off since they formed a coalition government he can expect to face the wrath of many activists unhappy at his new alliance. The Sunday Mirror claims that this latest set of statistics is the worst result of any ComRes poll completed since the election. You can read the full article  here in the Sunday Mirror. 


It will be a difficult time for Clegg as he will undoubtedly be faced with questions from disgruntled party faithful who could never have envisaged their party forming such a close alliance with the Tories. He has an enormous task ahead of him, and that is to appeal to his members to support the coalition government which will, he claims be a “great, great, reforming government.”  The Observer’s political editor has a big piece in today’s paper which you can read here. 

President Sarkozy found himself in hot water once again this week following his decision to deport Roma gypsies from France despite the European Parliament demanding an end to the policy. But there were harsh words between The French President who was angry over comments made by EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding who appeared to compare France’s actions to persecutions in Nazi-occupied France. 

He said of her words: “The disgusting and shameful words that were used – World War II, the evocation of the Jews – was something that shocked us deeply.” I did a blog on it earlier in the week which you can read here and you can read the BBC report here

I was disappointed to read in today’s paper that Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has given a civil service post to the daughter of a business associate who, the paper claims, is also a Tory party donor. The move has ‘raised eyebrows’ in Whitehall. She was made his parliamentary assistant in his private office two years ago but in May was given a job within the Department for Culture Media and Sport on a fixed term civil service contract. You can read the full article here in today’s Observer. 


Andrew McIntosh

Labour Party

It is with some trepidation that I write about Andrew McIntosh, Labour peer and member of the Greater London Council, who died at the end of August.  He achieved much during his time in public life and will, I believe, be remembered as a leading light in London Labour politics.

 One of his less remembered but important contributions was his work on the 2005 Gambling Act in his capacity as a Minister in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

 John Carr, one of Andrew’s GLC colleagues,  writes about this in today’s Guardian. Andrew was, in fact, very successful in this matter. Since the legislation became operative, children’s organisations are not aware of a single instance where a child has managed to evade the system.     

 I first met Andrew when I worked at County Hall in the late 1970s. I remember him as a friendly and approachable GLC Member, even though at the time we were in different Labour Party camps.  Then, as now, I was on the side of Ken Livingstone and supported Ken on the London Labour Party Executive where I was a member for much of the 1980s.     

 After Ken Livingstone became Leader of the Greater London in 1981, Andrew went on to serve in the House of Lords for nearly 30 years. He was Labour frontbench spokesperson variously on education, industry and the environment, rising to be deputy leader of the opposition in the Lords (1992-97). After 1997 Andrew became deputy chief whip in the Lords, speaking for those many departments with no Lords minister of their own until, in 2005, he gained ministerial office in the DCMS.

 Of particular interest to me as an MEP is the fact that Andrew was a member of the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly from 2005 and chair of its education and media subcommittee from 2008 until his death. He was very well regarded, a formidable chair, and in January 2007 the Council appointed him its rapporteur on media freedom. He also worked to advance the Bologna Process, designed to ease the movement of university students and staff around Europe, something I deal with in my role on the European Parliament Culture and Education Committee.

He was, in addition, an honorary associate of the National Secular Society, a distinguished supporter of the British Humanist Association and a vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary humanist group.