Labour won the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election late on Thursday night in a blow to the coalition government in its first electoral test, reports the FT. Debbie Abrahams, the Labour candidate, said voters had “sent a message” to the ruling Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition opposing their “broken promises and unfair cuts”. Labour took 42 per cent of the vote, the Lib Dems got 32 per cent and the Conservatives gained just 13 per cent, half their level in May’s election, as their supporters voted tactically for their coalition partners.
Ed Miliband – who won leadership of the UK’s Labour party on Sunday by a narrow margin – has offered his brother, David, the post of shadow chancellor, in a move that could cause rifts in Labour’s approach to tackling the deficit, reports the FT. David Miliband has insisted Labour should stick to its original policy of halving the deficit in four years, a position that will be repeated on Monday by Alistair Darling in a farewell speech as shadow chancellor. But his brother Ed has said he would be more “cautious” and said on Sunday that Darling’s deficit-cutting plan was only a “starting point”. The FT comments that Ed Miliband must “kill the ‘red Ed’ tag”.
Britain’s Liberal Democrats are now negotiating with the incumbent Labour party, after the UK election failed to produce a government amid fiscal challenges. Analysts quickly raised the chances of a sovereign downgrade on news of the deal, FT Alphaville notes. Read more
From an email doing the rounds in the City of London on Thursday morning:
Or, how one paraphrased quote is making lots of trouble.
Here’s the offending remark: Read more
George Osborne, the prospective Tory chancellor, has failed to win over the City’s top bankers, with the vast majority of senior financial services executives preferring the incumbent, Alistair Darling, an FT survey says. The FT poll of more than two dozen senior bankers revealed deep misgivings about Mr Osborne amid an election campaign that has seen all three main parties attacking big City bonuses.
A clear election victory by either Labour or the Conservatives is needed to sustain the appetite for gilts among the world’s biggest investors, according to an FT survey that highlights market concerns about the increasingly tight opinion polls. Ten leading investment funds, with in total more than $7,000bn (£4,570bn) of assets under management, all told the FT that a hung Parliament, potentially delaying action to tackle the UK’s £167bn deficit, was the biggest threat to the market.
A stockbroking company whose directors included Lord Desai, the Labour peer, was fined £200,000 on Thursday by the financial watchdog over failings in the way it sold cheap shares to the public, reports the FT. Meenaz Mehta, senior director of Hythe Securities and an old friend of Lord Desai, was also sanctioned in the latest case brought by the Financial Services Authority as it tries to improve its enforcement record.
Ken Clarke, shadow business secretary, vowed to defend Britain’s liberal takeover regime on Tuesday as he set out Conservative plans for a laissez faire approach to business based on low taxes, deregulation and less state support. In an interview with the FT, Mr Clarke dismissed as “populist nonsense” Labour plans to impede hostile takeovers and deter hedge fund predators.
Gordon Brown on Monday launched Labour’s manifesto claiming it was “rooted in the day to day concerns of the British people” and would produce “a fairer, greener, more accountable and more prosperous” country once the recovery was secured, the FT says. Key policies for the recovery include the promised new high-speed rail link, a green investment bank, broadband for all, a “new culture” in the City and moves to ensure that the banks pay their fair share to society through an international banking tax.
Labour — they’re the red ones, we think — published their manifesto to remain as the UK’s governing party on Monday, ahead of elections in May.
And surprise, surprise, there’s a bit of bank bashing. Read more