While Labour supports working people, the Tories prioritise the privileged few

Cameron and Osborne are more concerned with defending bumper bonuses for bankers than measures to tackle the cost of living crisis.

Over the last 24 hours we've seen the priorities of David Cameron's government exposed once again. While Labour has been setting out concrete policies to tackle the cost of living crisis facing ordinary families, George Osborne has decided to become the champion of bankers' bonuses.
 
At our conference in Brighton, Labour unveiled a number of policies, including measures to tackle low pay, expanding free childcare to support working parents, and a pledge to cut business rates for small businesses, all with the aim of helping struggling families and businesses in these tough times.
 
And, as Ed Miliband announced on Tuesday, the next Labour government will reset our energy market so it works for Britain’s families and businesses, with a new tough regulator to stop overcharging. While we put that in place, the next Labour government will freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017. This will save a typical household £120 and an average business £1,800.
 
But David Cameron and the Tories have different priorities. They are determined to stand up for the privileged few. Earlier this year, they cut the top rate of income tax – giving 13,000 millionaires an average tax cut of £100,000. Bonuses soared by 82% in April as bankers deferred their payments to take advantage of the tax cut.
 
And this week they’ve outdone themselves again. Yesterday, George Osborne launched a legal challenge to defend bankers’ bonuses from an EU cap, which would limit the size of their bonus to one year's salary - or two years' with shareholder approval.
 
This move tells you everything you need to know about the priorities of David Cameron and George Osborne. Since they took office, prices have risen faster than wages in all but one month. Yet they have prioritised defending bumper bonuses for bankers over measures to tackle the cost of living crisis facing ordinary families. By contrast, Labour would tax bank bonuses to fund a compulsory jobs guarantee get young people back to work. With youth unemployment at almost a million, this should be the government’s priority.
 
The lesson for the public this week is clear. Labour will stand up for what working people need to deal with the cost of living crisis. David Cameron and George Osborne will stand up for bankers’ bonuses.
 
Chris Leslie is shadow financial secretary to the Treasury 
 

Chris Leslie is chair of Labour’s backbench Treasury Committee and was shadow Chancellor in 2015. 

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Theresa May could live to regret not putting Article 50 to a vote sooner

Today's Morning Call.

Theresa May will reveal her plan to Parliament, Downing Street has confirmed. They will seek to amend Labour's motion on Article 50 adding a note of support for the principle of triggering Article 50 by March 2017, in a bid to flush out the diehard Remainers.

Has the PM retreated under heavy fire or pulled off a clever gambit to take the wind out of Labour's sails while keeping her Brexit deal close to her chest? 

Well, as ever, you pays your money and you makes your choice. "May forced to reveal Brexit plan to head off Tory revolt" is the Guardian's splash. "PM caves in on plans for Brexit" is the i's take. "May goes into battle for Brexit" is the Telegraph's, while Ukip's Pravda aka the Express goes for "MPs to vote on EU exit today".

Who's right? Well, it's a bit of both. That the government has only conceded to reveal "a plan" might mean further banalities on a par with the PM's one-liner yesterday that she was seeking a "red white and blue Brexit" ie a special British deal. And they've been aided by a rare error by Labour's new star signing Keir Starmer. Hindsight is 20:20, but if he'd demanded a full-blown white paper the government would be in a trickier spot now. 

But make no mistake: the PM didn't want to be here. It's worth noting that if she had submitted Article 50 to a parliamentary vote at the start of the parliamentary year, when Labour's frontbench was still cobbled together from scotch-tape and Paul Flynn and the only opposition MP seemed to be Nicky Morgan, she'd have passed it by now - or, better still for the Tory party, she'd be in possession of a perfect excuse to reestablish the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. May's caution made her PM while her more reckless colleagues detonated - but she may have cause to regret her caution over the coming months and years.

PANNICK! AT THE SUPREME COURT

David Pannick, Gina Miller's barrister, has told the Supreme Court that it would be "quite extraordinary" if the government's case were upheld, as it would mean ministers could use prerogative powers to reduce a swathe of rights without parliamentary appeal. The case hinges on the question of whether or not triggering Article 50 represents a loss of rights, something only the legislature can do.  Jane Croft has the details in the FT 

SOMETHING OF A GAMBLE

Ministers are contemplating doing a deal with Nicola Sturgeon that would allow her to hold a second independence referendum, but only after Brexit is completed, Lindsay McIntosh reports in the Times. The right to hold a referendum is a reserved power. 

A BURKISH MOVE

Angela Merkel told a cheering crowd at the CDU conference that, where possible, the full-face veil should be banned in Germany. Although the remarks are being widely reported in the British press as a "U-Turn", Merkel has previously said the face veil is incompatible with integration and has called from them to be banned "where possible". In a boost for the Chancellor, Merkel was re-elected as party chairman with 89.5 per cent of the vote. Stefan Wagstyl has the story in the FT.

SOMEWHERE A CLOCK IS TICKING

Michael Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, has reminded the United Kingdom that they will have just 15 to 18 months to negotiate the terms of exit when Article 50 is triggered, as the remaining time will be needed for the deal to secure legislative appeal.

LEN'S LAST STAND?

Len McCluskey has quit as general secretary of Unite in order to run for a third term, triggering a power struggle with big consequences for the Labour party. Though he starts as the frontrunner, he is more vulnerable now than he was in 2013. I write on his chances and possible opposition here.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

Emad asks if One Night Stand provides the most compelling account of sex and relationships in video games yet.

MUST READS

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Liv Constable-Maxwell on what the Supreme Court protesters want

Theresa May risks becoming an accidental Europe wrecker, says Rafael Behr

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Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.