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Newslinks for St George's Day 2012

7.30pm ToryDiary: Conservative vote share at lowest with ICM since the election. Labour's at highest since before the Iraq War

6pm WATCH: Osborne explains IMF decision to the Commons

3pm ToryDiary: Cameron waves the stars and stripes as he makes the case for elected Mayors

Screen shot 2012-04-23 at 13.20.241.45pm WATCH: Nadine Dorries tells the BBC that Cameron and Osborne are "two arrogant posh boys who don't know the price of milk - who show no remorse, no contrition and no passion to want to understand the lives of others".

1.15pm LISTEN: Cameron - "It's been a difficult few months"

12.45pm Local Government: Boris lead down to 2%

Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Romney's healthcare plan may be more revolutionary than Obama's

11am ToryDiary: If a referendum on the Lords, why not one on the EU?

10am Columnist Andrew Lilico: It's not stubborn oppositionalism to oppose fundamentally anti-Conservative long-lasting constitutional changes

ToryDiary: "The British people know I'll get some things right and some things wrong - the key thing is my average doesn't fall too low"

Columnist Bruce Anderson: The attacks on David Cameron's Downing Street operation are a thinly-disguised attack on him

Screen shot 2012-04-23 at 06.56.32On St George's Day, Sunder Katwala writes on Comment: It's time for an English national anthem from England's rugby team

Local Government: Cameron goes to Bristol to campaign for the "exciting democratic change" of city mayors

ThinkTankCentral: According to a new Bow Group report, almost 50% of black students believe that their pathway to government is blocked by discrimination

WATCH: Convicted fraudster LibDem donor Michael Brown is on his way back to the UK

Coming soon: the next stage in the spending scaleback

Screen shot 2012-04-23 at 05.03.28"Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will announce on Monday that he is ordering departments to set aside five per cent of their current budgets in addition to the unprecedented spending cuts already set out. Treasury officials are hoping that the news will reassure investors that the Coalition is keeping a tight grip on Government spending as the economy enters an uncertain period." - Daily Telegraph

Bank of England Governor 1) Osborne pledges transparency on Bank chief - Financial Times (£)

Bank of England Governor 2) Pot calls kettle black: "The Chancellor must clear up the deep confusion at the heart of the bill about who is responsible for what in the run-up to and during a financial crisis." - Ed Balls, Financial Times (£)

IMF encourages Europe's economic suicide - Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

Prime Minister to urge elected Mayors today

"David Cameron is expected to herald the beginning of a new era of local accountability in the UK, suggesting in a speech to activists in Bristol that Britain “stands on the brink of exciting democratic change”, ahead of mayoral referendums on May 3.  With plebiscites to be held in 10 regional cities on whether to introduce executive-style mayors, the prime minister will urge residents to vote “yes”, as a way of making their cities “more prominent, more powerful, more prosperous” – rejecting claims that more elected mayors represent a “trivial restructure”." - Financial Times (£)

  • "Civil servants are throwing their weight around because Cameron has neither the toughness nor the weight to challenge them." - Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
  • Governments need to be seen to be in control - John Redwood's Blog
  • Helena Bonham-Carter says that her friend David Cameron is ‘not a Conservative, actually’ - Daily Mail

> Yesterday: Majority Conservatism - Not Woodwind Conservatism. Not Brass Conservatism. But Full Orchestra Conservatism.

Clegg warns party he won't go to war over Lords reform...

"Nick Clegg has sent a clear warning to his party that he is not prepared to put the Coalition at risk to force through reform of the House of Lords against opposition from Conservative sceptics. In a move that may infuriate Liberal Democrat activists, the Deputy Prime Minister has made it clear that he is not prepared to give David Cameron an ultimatum that Liberal Democrats will withhold support from Tory plans to cut the size of the House of Commons if they do not get their way on Lords reform." - The Independent

...As Tory supporters of change rally

Dan Poulter"Dan Poulter, Tory MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, who sat on the committee considering the proposals, is to write to fellow Conservatives urging them to drop their opposition. Mr Poulter, who will be joined by other supporters of an elected Lords from the 2010 intake of MPs, said: “The House of Lords is undemocratic, lacking transparency and in need of reform.  The Government should not be put off from doing the right thing by a vocal but small minority of MPs.” - The Times (£)

  • "A YouGov poll commissioned by Unlock Democracy found that 69% of voters support a reformed House of Lords. The poll found that just 5% of voters favour the status quo – a fully appointed second chamber." - The Guardian
  • Mark Harper says that peers will get no payoff under reforms - Financial Times (£)
  • Clegg needs to find an exit route from Lords reform - Mary Ann Sieghart, The Independent

> Yesterday:

LibDems will keep convicted fraudster's £2.4m

"Michael Brown, the convicted fraudster who is the Liberal Democrats’ largest donor, was finally facing justice last night after four years on the run. He is expected to be in a British jail within ten days after he was deported to Spain from the Dominican Republic, where he had been living a lavish lifestyle with stolen millions.But last night Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg continued to insist the Lib Dems will not repay the £2.4million of ill-gotten gains Brown gave his party in 2005." - Daily Mail

State should pay for care of the terminally ill so they can die at home, says Burnham - Daily Mail 

Foreign aid law pledge kicked into long grass

"Controversial plans to enshrine in law how much Britain spends on aid will not be included in next month’s Queen’s Speech – even though the legislation has been drawn up. David Cameron promised in the Tory manifesto to make it the law that governments must spend at least 0.7 per cent of Britain’s output on foreign aid." - Daily Mail 

Taxpayers will pay for Straw's legal defence - The Independent

Nick Herbert: The state is a bad parent

Herbert Home Office
"The State is like a bad parent, repeatedly tolerating criminal behaviour, the policing minister is to say today. Nick Herbert says that by failing to set boundaries, the criminal justice system reinforces the poor parenting many offenders have already suffered. Billions are spent on prisons and probation rather than intervening earlier to prevent criminals drifting into a cycle of repeat offending.  Mr Herbert will say in a speech in Washington that the authorities must act immediately someone offends to make them realise that they will be punished." - The Times (£)

  • Theresa May considering new public enquiry into death of Stephen Lawrence - The Guardian
  • Brodie Clark claims that Britain ‘will have to axe full passport checks’ - The Times (£)

Ministers claiming strict curbs on online pornography would breach web users’ civil liberties - Daily Mail

Sarkozy faces defeat as Hollande wins first round

Screen shot 2012-04-23 at 08.00.54"France is on course to return only its second left-wing president in half a century after Nicolas Sarkozy lost yesterday to François Hollande in the first round of the presidential election. The President came second, on about 27.1 per cent of the vote, with nearly all ballots counted. He was more than a point behind Mr Hollande, 57, who styled himself as the calm antithesis to Mr Sarkozy…The most striking outcome was the near 18.2 per cent scored by Marine Le Pen, of the far-Right National Front, the highest vote registered by the anti-immigrant party. Another big protest vote went to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a fiery anti-capitalist who won 11.1 per cent." - The  Times (£)

> Yesterday: International - Prospect of President Hollande and collapse of Dutch government raise new questions about €urozone's future

Welsh voters could be given right to recall AMs and force by-elections - Wales Online

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt lays into Alliance Party - Belfast Telegraph

Weakening passion for the Cross of St George has been blamed on racist thugs for sullying its image - The Sun

Scots take more pride in Billy Connolly than the Queen, says survey - Scotsman

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