Review of the Papers, Monday 24 September


  • Executives at high-profile companies cannot rely on being bailed out of emergencies by the government - in spite of the precedent set by the state's help for Northern Rock savers - Alistair Darling warned on Sunday. "No government should ever be in the business of protecting executives who make the wrong call or bad decisions," the chancellor told the opening day of the Labour party conference. The remarks will be seen as a warning to the embattled Northern Rock board that ministers will not shield it from shareholders seeking retribution by removing directors from their posts. But Mr Darling's comments are understood to have been intended more broadly to signal that the state will not act as some form of safety net for private sector companies, in spite of the unlimited government guarantee given for Northern Rock deposits. Proposals to improve significantly the deposit protection scheme in the wake of the Northern Rock crisis - increasing the upper limit to about £100,000 and introducing a US-style insurance system to allow fast payouts - would "strengthen protection for ordinary savers", Mr Darling said.
  • Gordon Brown will set out his vision of another decade of Labour government today and leave the door wide open to an autumn general election. With election fever gripping the Labour Party at its Bournemouth conference, Mr Brown and his closest supporters have been deliberately keeping the prospect of an early poll hanging over this week's gathering and next week's Conservative conference. Labour MPs in marginal seats are said to be telling the whips that Mr Brown should capitalise on his strong standing and go for broke. The speculation was fuelled further last night as an Ipsos-MORI poll for The Sun gave Labour an eight-point lead with a rating of 42 per cent, equalling the highest in any poll since Mr Brown became leader. The Conservatives were on 34 per cent and Liberal Democrats on 14 per cent. David Cameron has put the Tories on alert for an election even though some strategists think that Mr Brown's natural caution will stand in the way.
  • Gordon Brown yesterday promised a deep clean of NHS hospitals, modelled on US experience, as part of a new drive to rid hospitals of MRSA and win back voters and patients disillusioned with the health service. He also promised that the initial findings of Lord Darzi's review of the NHS will be published shortly, promising a more personalised service and longer GP opening hours.,,2175639,00.html


  • David Cameron will trigger a revolt with his party activists by imposing "A-list" candidates on constituencies that have not already chosen should Gordon Brown call an election next month, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.Dozens of associations have yet to selected their candidates - including some in key marginal seats which the Conservatives have to win to deprive Labour of an overall majority, such as Rochester in Kent. Local associations jealously guard their independence and will resist any move by Conservative Central Office to impose candidates from Mr Cameron's A-list which was devised to help more women, ethnic minority, and gay candidates secure winnable seats. However, The Daily Telegraph understands that if the Prime Minister goes to the country within the next fortnight, those constituencies without a candidate will have one from the A-list imposed upon them. One senior party strategist said: "Our strategy is to try to stop Brown calling an early election. We are throwing everything into that. If it comes we will be ready. We will parachute A-list candidates into some of the seats. There will be a bit of a row with the voluntary party, but time will be of the essence."