A Good Week for Nick Herbert, Another Bad Week for Ken Clarke
By Tim Montgomerie
Good frontbencher of the week: Nick Herbert. His crime maps really caught the public imagination this week with five million hits an hour at one stage. Over time they'll become an important tool via which the public will be able to hold the police to account. Watch him explain the policy.
Bad frontbencher of the week: Ken Clarke. The Justice Secretary and his weak approach to crime are big vulnerabilities for the Coalition. The Sun called for him to be sacked yesterday. Today they paint him as being less than honest on knife crime. The newspaper is going to pursue the Justice Secretary until he is moved or sacked.
Backbenchers of the week: David Davis and Dominic Raab. The former Shadow Home Secretary was the first prominent Tory to say that Parliament should say 'no' to the European courts who wanted Britain to give votes to prisoners. The Government first proposed that prisoners should have voting rights unless they'd been sentenced to four years or less but are now giving backbenchers (and PPS's) a free vote. Mr Davis recommends that the Coalition stands up to the Whitehall lawyers who are always ready to agree to European instructions. Dom Raab MP made similar arguments in a superb piece for yesterday's Telegraph. The Mail described the whole episode as "a line in the sand". "Tory MPs," it said, "are to be given the green light to assert the supremacy of Parliament in a defining battle with the European courts."
Good rebels of the week. The twenty Tory MPs who voted for an in/out referendum on the EU. They are listed here. Their time will come.
Naughty rebels of the week: The three Conservative MPs who voted with Labour against sale of forestry lands. For the reasons I outlined here Tories shouldn't assume private ownership is bad and public ownership is good.
Non-rebellion of the week: The NHS Bill. Not a single Tory MP (or Lib Dem) voted against the government's NHS plans.
Cameron moment of the week: The PM's robust BBC interview defending the NHS reforms - proving (again) that he's best with his back against the wall.
Mindreader of the week: Ed Balls. Mervyn King may have said, re the deficit reduction plan, that ‘The right course has been set and it is important to maintain it’ but the Shadow Chancellor told Andrew Marr that the Governor of the Bank of England didn't really believe it.
Tweet of the week: Since 2005, Britain's economy has grown by 2%, the eurozone's by 4%, Brazil's by 25%, India's by 47% and China's by 69% http://j.mp/fPfE18 ...from @plegrain.
Opinion poll finding of the week: Ed Miliband is seen as more left-wing than Brown.
Photograph of the week: Sally Bercow in that bedsheet. If she really doesn't want to be seen as a bimbo ("A woman regarded as vacuous or as having an exaggerated interest in her sexual appeal") she really shouldn't act like one.
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