Gary Gibbon on Politics

Channel 4 News's political editor gives his take on the latest news and gossip from the corridors of power in Westminster and beyond.

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July 25, 2014 4 Comments

Osborne marks GDP moment

Arriving  in sunny Newcastle for the announcement of GDP figures, the chancellor wasn’t going anywhere near the words Nick Clegg used in his euphoric tweet this morning: “the rescue has worked!”

George Osborne was much more cautious, but then there is a sense in Tory top circles that they think their Lib Dem coalition partners are going through a period of serious panic.

Anyway, the chancellor refused to accept that his deficit reduction was stalling – despite this graph showing public sector net borrowing that suggests just that.

25 garygibbongraphic1 r w Osborne marks GDP moment

I asked him what kind of recovery it was when people didn’t feel it in their pockets and he gently glided off to talk about jobs and the north-east.

But economists you talk to ponder whether this is what recovery feels like in the globalised economy, wages lagging inflation.

25 garygibbongraphic2 r w Osborne marks GDP moment

I asked if RBS profits announced today might bring forward plans for privatisation to help him with his numbers but he ruled that out.

He stuck with his line that sectoral sanctions against Russia should go ahead because the cost of a lawless world was greater than the cost to the City. I asked a couple of times if this was a pretty poor time for the Conservatives to be taking money from Russian oligarchs  (not just the tennis game won at auction but the dinners for rich folk mentioned  in the Times, but reports that some Russians are being wooed to donate to the Tories to fend off a mansion tax).

He said the party was not doing anything illegal, which as he knows is a much lower barrier than the “ask yourself how it would look on the front page of the Daily Mail” test that David Cameron himself unveiled at the height of the MPs’ expenses saga.

George Osborne marked the milestone GDP moment by visiting Northern Rock’s old HQ in Newcastle, now home to Virgin Money.

He wants to do anything possible to remind voters of how the recession started under Labour and, in his view, was to a large extent their fault.

He thinks that message has got through to British voters and is one of the main reasons he still thinks the Tories can win the next election.

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July 22, 2014 6 Comments

Bildt on Ukraine and MH17: Europe woke up today

European Union foreign ministers meet with the prospect of tightening sanctions against Russia – but some still remain divided.

Flight MH17 – Putin tacks to restrain EU

European leaders will gather today for a foreign ministers’ meeting that is expected to be dominated by the issues of Russia and Ukraine. But what will actually be done?

July 21, 2014 No Comments

Russia: EU sanctions inch forward again

Don’t hold your breath for a thunderclap of judgement on Russia tomorrow at the EU foreign ministers’ gathering. You might get some tough rhetoric but you will not see a major

July 16, 2014 2 Comments

The Goves, Ken Clarke and Jean-Claude Juncker

I understand word has gone out to Mrs Gove to stop hitting the tweet button after a series of messages blurted out on Wednesday. They threatened to undermine the coordinated Gove/Cameron operation

July 15, 2014 2 Comments

Making way for ‘girlies’? Cameron’s new government

Men are still overly represented in the post-reshuffle government – but that’s not what it feels like to some grumbling Tory males around Westminster.

Cabinet reshuffle: Gove clipped, women in

Education Secretary Michael Gove is to become the new chief whip in the most wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle of David Cameron’s premiership.

Cabinet reshuffle: William Hague quits

William Hague stands down as foreign secretary and will stay in the cabinet as Leader of the Commons, Downing Street confirms.

July 14, 2014 3 Comments

Ken Clarke may be dispensable – but don’t expect him to go quietly

Kenneth Clarke’s “retirement” from in the latest reshuffle will not have been voluntary. Meanwhile, Mr Cameron is likely to honour a pledge to give women a third of government

Theresa May on Butler-Sloss

If Baroness Butler-Sloss came to the conclusion that her relationship to her brother meant she couldn’t chair the investigation into child abuse, why couldn’t the Home Office see that?

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