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26 Apr 2011 08:53:34

Newslinks for Tuesday 26th April 2011

Graeme Archer 8.15pm Gazette: ConHome's Graeme Archer now short-listed for the Orwell Prize for blogging

7.15pm WATCH: William Hague says Britain will urge sanctions against Syrian leaders if they continue to use violence against protesters

6.30pm Parliament: Labour MPs defeat Dominic Raab's attempt to ban certain workers from striking without majority workforce support

5pm Parliament: William Hague tells the Commons that all British action in Libya remains defined by UN Security Council resolutions

4.30pm Local government: The battle for North Warwickshire

St George's England flag3pm Gazette: MPs mark St George's Day as they renew calls for it to be a bank holiday

12.30pm Owen Polley on Comment: How the Conservatives in Northern Ireland are building from the grassroots

10.45am Alex Deane on Comment: The hypocrisy of Andrew Marr over superinjunctions

ToryDiary: Conservatives can win the poverty debate but not if the Big Society is our message

ThinkTankCentral: What is fairness? What is poverty? Policy Exchange asks the voters...

Jesse Norman MP on Comment: Why plans for replacing the House of Lords with an elected Senate should not be a priority

Also on Comment, Lee Rotherham: Controversies From Brussels and Closer to Home

Local Government: The battle for York

WATCH: Annabel Goldie invites voters to judge her and the Scottish Tories on their record of helping deliver for Scotland at Holyrood

Tories are excluding us, claim Lib Dems...

"Liberal Democrats say they are being sidelined in parts of Whitehall by senior Conservatives intent on stifling the influence of the junior coalition partners. As the public war of words becomes increasingly acrimonious in the ten days before elections and the referendum on voting reform, fresh evidence has emerged from sources on both sides of the Government about the Lib Dems’ struggle to stay on top of coalition policy and push their own ideas... A landmark agreement struck last year and seen by The Times promising Lib Dem backbenchers access to papers and early sight of statements is being blocked in some departments by Cabinet ministers who say it is improper and breaks government rules." - The Times (£) Tory MP tells Lib Dems to "stop whingeing"...

Mark Pritchard "Mark Pritchard, secretary of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, said: ‘Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne should stop their whingeing. With each of them presiding over major government departments they’ve never had it so good. ‘Their personal and political sacrifices are infinitesimal compared to those made by the hundreds of public sector workers losing their jobs each week and many Conservative colleagues who gave up ministerial office for the sake of  the Coalition’." - Daily Mail

...and the idea of an early general election is the subject of speculation

"It seems far-fetched, but there would be a lot of attractions. The Tories have plenty of money, unlike Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The Government's spending cuts have not yet sunk in and the Tories remain steady in the polls. Labour is plainly not ready for an election. It is blamed by the public for the deficit. Ed Miliband has not had time to establish himself and his policies are a "blank sheet". - Andrew Grice in The Independent

Cabinet meets today for the first time since Tory-Lib Dem tensions reached boiling point - Press Association

Is this coalition in-fighting a phoney war? - Bagehot on The Economist blog

> Yesterday on ConHome:

Elections watchdog will not act on Lib Dem demand to investigate No2AV ‘lies’...

"Britain’s elections watchdog has said it is powerless to investigate claims made by opponents of the alternative vote (AV) system branded as “dishonest” by senior Liberal Democrats." - The Times (£) Menzies Campbell accuses David Cameron of stoking row over AV to soothe Tory backbenchers...

Menzies Campbell Daily Politics "Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Lib Dem leader, suggested the Prime Minister was taking advantage of the increasingly heated debate ahead of next week’s poll on adopting the Alternative Vote system to highlight differences between the two parties." - Daily Telegraph

...and it emerges that the same company has been printing ballot papers and Yes campaign propaganda

"Documents seen by The Spectator clearly show that Electoral Reform Services will administer postal votes for the elections next month. Given their role last year, I suspect ERSL will print upwards of 1.9 million, but they won’t tell me precisely how many. And, remarkably, ERSL have also been employed by the Yes campaign to print their campaign literature...  Since the Electoral Reform Services only has one printing room in The Election Centre (it doesn't normally do leaflet printing), this means that the Yes leaflets will be coming out of the same printing press as the official ballots used in the election." - Ed Howker on the Spectator's Coffee House blog

Lord Mandelson says vote Yes to AV to hurt Cameron...

Mandelson talking "Labour shouldn't ignore this chance to defeat the Tories on 5 May," he said. "Labour supporters need to use their noddle and ask themselves why Cameron is fighting so hard for a No vote. He's fighting for his party's interests but also to protect his own leadership. Labour has a chance to inflict damage on both. Cameron has been forced to intervene, to turn it into an intra-Coalition partisan scrap in order to mobilise Tory support and Tory-supporting newspapers." - Lord Mandelson quoted in The Independent

"Alan Johnson, the former home secretary, told the Guardian that the debate was "bigger than the Liberal Democrats" and appealed to Labour voters to back the alternative vote, claiming that a vote against reform was in effect a vote for the Conservatives." - The Guardian Margaret Beckett rallies support for a No vote

"Ms Beckett said it was "more important than ever that we put aside party differences for the good of the country and that everyone comes out to vote against the unfair and expensive AV system". "I strongly urge people to look at the two voting systems... our current system is simple, fair and decisive. AV is an expensive and complicated political fudge," she said." - BBC

  • FT gives AV its backing - FT (£)
  • AV arguments show the honeymoon is over - Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£)
  • Clobbering Nick Clegg is too harsh a punishment for his mistakes - Mary Riddell in the Daily Telegraph

> Melanchthon on Comment yesterday: Let's just focus on two things: are the Yes2AV campaign's claims straightforward facts; and are the No campaign's claims lies?

> Comment from Sunday: Top 10 misleading claims show Yes2AV do not want to talk about the Alternative Vote

Liam Fox heads to Washington for discussions on Libya

Liam Fox 2011 "Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox will use a visit to the Pentagon in Washington today to explain what the British, French and Italians hope to achieve by providing military advisers to rebels in Libya. Dr Fox, who will be accompanied by the Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards, will also discuss with US military chiefs how Nato can achieve greater precision in bombing pro-Gaddafi targets." - Sky News

  • 'Give up now or we’ll kill you,' Liam Fox warns Gaddafi - Daily Mail

New Tory MPs hit back at whips' demands for evening votes

"The fabled Conservative whips – who provided the inspiration for the murderous Francis Urquhart in The House of Cards – are facing a rebellion they are finding hard to control: the modern world. They are under attack from their new MPs who make up almost half the parliamentary party and cannot understand for need for the cast-iron discipline and subservience to the whips' office that their predecessors took for granted... Research by The Independent – prompted by complaints from disgruntled backbenchers – into voting margins in the first three months of this year has highlighted 14 occasions when the Government had a whopping majority of over 300 MPs against Bills where there was next to no opposition." - The Independent

Dominic Raab MP: Out-of-touch unions need a majority rule

Dominic Raab 2010 "Tube strikes in July 2002 and June 2009 were supported by a mere third of RMT members: the former cost London £60 million, the latter disrupted at least a million commuters. A strike by the Public and Commercial Services Union in February 2010, over redundancy pay, was backed by 20 per cent of members... So today I am introducing a Bill in the Commons that will require a majority of union members to support strike action for it to be lawful in the emergency services and transport sector, where scope for disruption is high." - Dominic Raab MP in The Times (£)

Human rights law costs £9 billion a year

"The hated European human rights act is costing the UK more than £9 billion a year, experts said last night... ECHR expert Dr Lee Rotherham, who calculated the enormous sums, said: "The cash we pay out is like a mountain. It's monstrous. Those most to blame are the ones who abuse the courts to pursue their particular agenda." - The Sun

Heavy Lib Dem losses in local elections could put MPs at risk of losing their seats...

Tim Farron "The loss of Liberal Democrat councillors in next week’s local elections could cost many of the party’s MPs their seats, academics and senior party figures have warned... Tim Farron, the Lib Dem party president, said he would pursue a “back to basics” policy after the election, in which the party is expected to lose more than 1,000 council seats, and focus on rebuilding their base. “I think these elections are a bit of a watershed in one way or another,” said Mr Farron. “I don’t expect us to do brilliantly, but it will be catharsis to go through it.”  - The Times (£) UKIP sets its sights on local gains

"There are signs UKIP is starting to pick up the sort of protest votes that traditionally go to the Liberal Democrats - as well as benefiting from a slump in support for the British National Party... UKIP is fighting under the campaign banner "We the people". Its unique selling point, a spokesman told the BBC, is that unlike members of other parties UKIP councillors are free to speak their minds and "really represent the concerns of local people". - BBC

Other news in brief

  • William Hague says Britons should leave Syria - BBC
  • Pressure mounts on Liam Fox over defence cuts - The Scotsman
  • Ken Livingstone and Lee Jasper to be reunited - Andrew Gilligan of the Daily Telegraph
  • A third of candidates will be rejected as record number apply for university - The Times (£)
  • Asylum backlog fears as 25,000 cases stuck in system - Daily Telegraph
  • Gagging orders are out of control, says Andrew Marr as he abandons injunction over affair - Daily Mail
  • Former leading Ulster Unionist, William Craig, has died - The Guardian

And finally... The Courts and Tribunals Service wants those who cannot read or write English to sit on juries

Picture 2 "The opening of juries to people with limited English was confirmed by the new agency set up to run the court system, HM Courts and Tribunals Service. The 200,000 people a year called for jury service are now all summoned with letters printed in seven languages as well as English to ‘encourage’ non-English speakers, it said... Douglas Carswell, Tory MP for Clacton, said: ‘The jury system is founded on the idea that we are all tried by our peers. If your peers cannot speak English, or read or write it properly, how can you have confidence you will get justice?’" - Daily Mail


25 Apr 2011 08:57:56

Newslinks for Easter Monday 2011

8pm WATCH: WWII veteran Ralph says he wants AV because his vote has never, ever counted under First Past The Post

7pm LeftWatch: A record of all the anti-Tory things said by Lib Dems in recent days

3.30pm ToryDiary: Tory MP tells Clegg to stop "whinging"

1pm Local government: Free schools planned for Wokingham, Haringey, Greenwich, Bedfordshire, Lewisham, Peterborough..

12.30pm Melanchthon on Comment: Let's just focus on two things: are the Yes2AV campaign's claims straightforward facts; and are the No campaign's claims lies?

Noon: ConservativeHome USA examines the decision of Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty to walk away from the Ryan Plan on Medicare: "Paul Ryan has shown he is courageous enough to put solutions before politics. Pawlenty and Gingrich, with their statements, are moving in the opposite direction."


ToryDiary: David Cameron needs to be ready for an early General Election

Loanna Morrison on Comment: Labour no longer has a monopoly on the co-operative concept

Local government:

Gazette: Six years ago The Times reported the launch of ConservativeHome

The result of the AV referendum will probably not be known until 24 hours after the polls close at 10pm on May 5th - Times (£)

Clegg begins all out attempt to rescue Yes campaign...

"Nick Clegg has authorised a bare-knuckle political fight to try to rescue the faltering Yes campaign for the alternative vote, in a strategy that risks inflaming tensions in the coalition ahead of next week’s referendum. The deputy prime minister hopes to mobilise key Labour supporters to back electoral reform by stepping up attacks on his Tory coalition partners, whom he claimed were part of a “nasty” No campaign that was pedalling “lies”." - The Financial Times (£)

Digby Jones backs AV but most businesses support FPTP - FT (£)

> Yesterday's NO2AV campaign press release: Top 10 misleading claims show 'Yes2AV' do not want to talk about the Alternative Vote

...but his rhetoric and anger threatens coalition stability...

"Doubts were expressed about whether the Coalition would last as planned until 2015 after Nick Clegg launched his strongest attack on the Tory-led No campaign and did not exempt David Cameron from criticism. Officially, both parties insisted it will be "business as usual" inside the Government after the 5 May referendum. But insiders believe the scars from the referendum battle will mean that the relationship between the Coalition partners will never be the same again." - The Independent

HUHNE BBC INTERVIEW "A Liberal Democrat cabinet minister [Chris Huhne] has widened an increasingly damaging rift inside the coalition by warning that the prime minister and other senior Conservatives could face legal action over the manner in which they have campaigned for a no vote in next week's referendum on a change to the voting system." - The Guardian

  • The Sun Says: "It must be hard after so many decades as also-rans but the Lib Dems must grow up and remember where they are: in Government."
  • "A general election this year? It's no longer impossible" - Jackie Ashley, in The Guardian

> Tim Montgomerie on ToryDiary yesterday: Clegg rages against Cameron's "lies"

The Liberal Democrats plan to assert identity on the NHS, Lords and crime

"Nick Clegg is to rewrite the Liberal Democrat role in the coalition as he seeks to put clear water between himself and David Cameron on key issues. The Deputy Prime Minister plans to respond to the lambasting he has received on the campaign trail by seeking to assert more openly his party’s policy differences with the Conservatives. Lib Dem ministers will be encouraged to have policy rows with Tory colleagues in public. The decision paves the way for a series of spats over plans for the NHS, an elected House of Lords and crime policy." - The Times (£)

  • Nick Clegg: I'm not David Cameron's mate - The Metro
  • "The Liberal Democrats face the prospect of having no female MPs after the next election if their current poll ratings continue, the Fabian Society says." - Guardian

New wave of European immigrants expected, lured by end of benefit restrictions


"Britain faces a new influx of migrants who could claim benefits of up to £250 a week within weeks of arriving. From next Sunday, rules that ban Eastern Europeans from claiming unemployment, housing and council tax benefits until they have worked in the UK for 12 months are being lifted. Critics are concerned about the risk of ‘benefits tourism’ by immigrants from the eight former Communist countries affected." - Daily Mail

"However much he tells us he understands our frustration, Mr Cameron can do nothing – either to stop EU citizens coming here or to block their access to our welfare system. The Home Office says it does not know how many more people will come here, or choose to stay, because of the change. Many will be hard working with the skills we can use. But not all will. One thing that is certain is that when the bills roll in, the PM will find himself under growing pressure once again to make common cause with the people of Britain, this time as they demand in ever greater numbers that we leave the EU so that we can make our own rules once again." - The Daily Express

GOVE MICHAEL NW The NASUWT teachers' union annual conference has passed a motion saying it has "no confidence" in government policies for education in England - BBC

"The resolution said that the Government's plans were opening up education to the private sector, and that this, and increasing the autonomy of head teachers and governors, was leading to "inequality of educational entitlement, lack of public accountability and abuse of the system''." - Telegraph

Private schools must join up with the new state system of academies and free schools - Anthony Seldon in The Telegraph

Private companies to be involved in university reform

"Private companies are to step in to run failing universities as the Government abandons direct help for colleges in financial trouble. Unprofitable courses will be scrapped and running costs drastically cut back under the plan, which will prompt vice-chancellors to pay private providers to take day-to-day control under contracts lasting ten years or more." - The Times (£) 

GDP figures expected to show growth

OSBORNE GEORGE NW "George Osborne faces a key test of his austerity policies this week when official data will demonstrate whether Britain's economy has returned to growth after the shock 0.5% contraction at the end of last year. Such is the level of interest in the GDP numbers for the first three months of 2011 that the Office for National Statistics is taking the unusual step of holding a live briefing. The last time the ONS made such a move was in January 2010, when Britain's recession was deemed to have ended." - The Guardian

The Sun backs NHS reforms

The Sun Says: "The Government has to reform the NHS - and the basic premise is simple: Cut the extravagant spending on managers which exploded under Labour and pour the £5billion savings into frontline services."

Gordon Brown earns thousands from speeches and writing - The Daily Telegraph

...but he's warned that Mrs Darling is helping her husband with his memoirs and it will be "fireworks" for Mr Brown - Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail

Mrs Thatcher's handbag to be auctioned for charity

Article-1239285-07B88B46000005DC-136_306x600_popup "Margaret Thatcher's handbag – the weapon she reputedly deployed to enforce cabinet solidarity – is being auctioned for charity. The black Asprey bag, wielded on state occasions and at international summits, is being donated by the former prime minister to a sale of celebrity items at Christie's in June. The term "handbagging" entered the political lexicon as a reference to her manner of disciplining errant Tory backbenchers and ministers during her years in Downing Street. An estimate of £100,000 is understood to have been placed on the leather bag she carried during meetings with the US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev." - The Guardian

Rugby Legend, Gavin Hastings, launches Scottish Conservative sports manifesto - The Scotsman

Cameron attacks "El Presidente"

"Mr Cameron accused him of acting like "El Presidente Salmondo" and treating the Holyrood race like a presidential election. He said the SNP leader was trying to make the forthcoming election out to be one for First Minister." - The Rutherglen Reformer

47% of Scots ready to vote 'No2AV', 40% ready to vote yes - Scotsman

And finally...

"Nick Clegg will be portrayed as a tragic hero with hip hop swagger in a new musical play. The Deputy Prime Minister is the main character in Nicked, which opens on April 29. Using a book with some 18 rap and urban music songs, it charts the creation of the coalition Government after the 2010 general election up to the referendum on the Alternative Vote. The play's artistic director, Steven Atkinson, 26, said: "There's almost something Hamlet-esque about Nick Clegg, he's trapped in an impossible situation and that makes for great drama." Atkinson said hip hop tunes are a good way to tell the coalition's story because the verbal sparring of rappers is similar to Prime Minister's Questions." - The Daily Express


24 Apr 2011 08:43:31

Newslinks for Easter Sunday 2011

1pm Top 10 misleading claims show #Yes2AV do not want to talk about the Alternative Vote

6a00d83451b31c69e2015431eb2285970c 12.15pm WATCH:


ToryDiary: Clegg rages against Cameron's "lies"

Rupert Myers on Comment: A tale that explodes the myth that AV is a "fairer" voting system


LeftWatch: Not inviting Brown and Blair to the Royal Wedding will be interpreted as an anti-Labour decision by a royal family that should be a source of unity for the whole country.

Local government: New leader for Cambridgeshire

Yesterday evening's Gazette: Easter teaches us about "charity, compassion, responsibility, and forgiveness" says David Cameron

David Cameron is considering plans to create a "multi-faith" House of Lords where Muslim imams could sit alongside Anglican and Catholic bishops

"Mr Clegg wants to abolish the 26 bishops or "Lords Spiritual". They are all drawn from the established Church of England, and Mr Clegg will argue that they are an anomaly in a modern, democratic chamber. The Conservatives hope to counter that by proposing that the Lords Spiritual become multi-faith. That would mean a range of Christian denominations, including Roman Catholics and black Pentecostal leaders, sitting on a bench of "spiritual peers", whose numbers might also include representatives of other religions such as Islam." - The Sunday Telegraph

Cameron to hold Downing Street party for Christian leaders and celebrities

The Sunday Times (£) reports that guests will include... "David Suchet, the actor best known for his television role as Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s detective, and Alan Titchmarsh, the broadcaster and gardener, will join the heads of the Anglican and Catholic churches in England and others at the No 10 reception. Aled Jones, the singer and television presenter, and Graham Kendrick, a Christian singer-songwriter, are also expected to attend."

> Last June Paul Goodman wrote: Why David Cameron should throw a party for the churches

Mandelson: A Yes vote could shatter Cameron's leadership

Mandelson Peter 2 "A yes vote would greatly undermine Cameron and spark a rupture in his party. The strains are already starting to show and we need to understand what's going on. Cameron is fighting to retain the long-term advantage of a split between the progressive parties. But at the same time he is fighting to retain the unity of his party and his job. That's why we have seen his more rightwing crowd-pleasing interventions of late. If he lost the referendum, a sin the Tory right would not forgive, it could fatally weaken and shatter his leadership." - Lord Mandelson in The Observer

Peter Hain urges Labour voters to support AV despite their contempt for Clegg - Observer

Peter Hitchens attacks Cameron for rermarks about Labour's 1997 victory

HITCHENS PETER "David Cameron said on Friday that it was a good thing Labour won the 1997 General Election, something that a remotely awake media would have blazoned across the sky in vast headlines, but which they buried instead. His words, spoken in Bedford, were: ‘I think we know in 1997 the country needed change.’
Do we know that? Did it ‘need’ the ‘change’ it got – 13 years of political correctness, stupid wars, tax and spending? I hardly think so. Generally, the Prime Minister pretends at voting time that he didn’t like the Blair-Brown junta. But if it turned out that he’d voted Labour in 1997 and 2001, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised." - Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday

James Forsyth sees the Royal Wedding morning suit affair as a product of Cameron's nervousness about his privileged background - Mail on Sunday

One year on, the prime minister's boldness remains his strongest suit - Gaby Hinsliff in The Observer

A new survey shows that despite years of propaganda from the Left, Britons retain a deep-seated sense of fairness and individual responsibility - Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph

Labour may gain 1,300 council seats next month

Miliband Ed Yes 2 "The survey of local by-elections across the country each week puts Labour on 38% — up 12 points compared with the last time the seats up for grabs on May 5 were contested in 2007. The Tories have 35% — down five points in four years. The Lib Dems continue to perform better in elections than in the polls, but their rating of 17% is seven points down on 2007 and is their lowest recorded local election score for more than 20 years. If these figures are reflected in votes cast next month, Labour could gain as many as 1,300 seats, with the Tories down by nearly 1,000. The Lib Dems would lose about 400 seats, but could do even worse if caught in a pincer movement by their two rivals." - The Sunday Times (£)

...but Labour trailing SNP in Scotland - Scotland on Sunday

The National Union of Teachers has voted to ballot its members for a one-day strike in the summer - BBC

And finally...

"Gaffe prone Lib Dem rebel Vince Cable has blown £2,800 of taxpayers' money on learning how to avoid putting his foot in it. The Business Secretary has splashed out on a crash course in media training - including tuittion on body language, tone of voice and how to avoid cock-ups." - News of the World (£)


23 Apr 2011 08:59:21

Newslinks for St George's Day 2011

10pm The PM's Easter message on Gazette: Easter teaches us about "charity, compassion, responsibility, and forgiveness" says David Cameron

5.45pm WATCH: Nick Clegg insists that the best internships shouldn't go to people with the best connections, but to the people with the greatest potential

3.30pm ToryDiary: The Camerons go for The Killing


ToryDiary: 92% of Tory members REJECT more concessions to the Liberal Democrats

Harriett Baldwin MP on Comment: This St George's Day, it is high time we resolved the "English Question"

David T Breaker on Comment: Threats to freedom this St George's Day

Local government: Councils facing elections next month are using reserves

Also on Local government: Who said this... "Most councils have achievved cuts in posts by deleting vacant posts and accepting volunteers for early retirements and redundancy"? Answer here.

A great cause for St George's Day: Cameron backs Help for Heroes' 1H4H campaign

Screen shot 2011-04-23 at 07.43.39The Sun Says: "As Brits enjoy an Easter egg-melting Bank Holiday heat wave, it might be easy to overlook that it's St George's Day today. But what better occasion to give a boost to one of the nation's favourite causes - Help for Heroes. PM David Cameron is donating an hour of his pay to the Forces charity in a new campaign called 1H4H. He joins the England football team who have already donated their international match fees. You don't have to be on skipper John Terry's £890 an hour wages - all donations help. So, spare an hour - and wave a flag for our Patron Saint while you're at it."

Find out about the campaign here.

Cameron/LibDem Clash (1): Cameron appears to undermine Nick Clegg's position on interns

"In an interview published in The Telegraph, the Prime Minister said he would continue helping friends by offering their children internships, saying he was “very relaxed” about the situation. He even disclosed that he had invited a neighbour in for a work placement at his office. The comments undermined his deputy, the Liberal Democrat leader, who recently said internships for the well-connected were one of the major forces preventing social mobility in Britain."

"A source close to Mr Clegg said they were surprised at the comments and pointed out that from next year the coalition had agreed that all civil service internships would be available through an open and transparent process." - BBC

Cameron/LibDem Clash (2): Clegg unhappy at Cameron campaigning against 'broken promises'

"On Monday, Mr Cameron invoked the "broken promises" argument. "The more people see a clear link between the pledges in a manifesto and the action taken in government, the greater the sense of accountability," he said. "And the real, unavoidable truth about AV is that it would damage that chain of accountability because it makes coalitions much, much more likely." Not necessarily, according to independent academics, since AV would normally give the Liberal Democrats only a modest boost. Mr Clegg believes the Cameron speech breached their understanding and was rich, since he agreed to raise tuition fees only because the Tories were so determined to. It seems that one man's broken promise is another man's compromise." - Andrew Grice in The Independent

  • Lib Dem President Tim Farron says a House of Lords elected by proportional representation would have more legitimacy than a House of Commons elected by First-Past-The-Post - Times (£)
  • Daily Mail attacks Clegg's claim that AV will clean up politics: "Is there anything more pathetic than the claim by a desperate Nick Clegg that the devilishly complicated system would have prevented the expenses scandal, by reducing the number of MPs with safe seats? ...In reality, many of the most egregious expenses offenders – including Jacqui Smith with her porn films – represented marginal constituencies."

Cameron/LibDem Clash (3): Vote for AV to end Tory dominance says Cable

Cable plot #2

"Vince Cable today calls for a "progressive majority" of Labour and Liberal Democrat voters to join together and say yes to the alternative vote to prevent the next century being like the last one and "dominated by Tory governments"." - Guardian

> Yesterday evening's ToryDiary: "[Cable's rebellions] are now arriving every 72 hours. No senior Tory has attacked Mr Cable for his acts of disloyalty but the tantrums continue. When he fails to get a response this small man escalates his rhetoric, constantly daring Cameron to act against him."

Green businesses and campaigners attack Coalition's environmental record - Guardian

'Overseas aid is not just from Britain — it’s for Britain' - The Times (£) interviews Andrew Mitchell

Best quote from the interview: "Does Mr Mitchell feel closer to some Lib Dems than some Tories? “Of course not. Conservatives are family. The Lib Dems are like a new girlfriend.”"

Councils facing tough elections on spending their reserves

"Councils across the country are spending £200m of the £2.6bn they collectively hold in spare cash. But analysis by the FT reveals that councils facing the strongest ballot box pressure on May 5 are planning to spend the spare cash at more than three times the rate of those with no election." - FT (£)

Could Theresa May be the next Tory leader?

MAY-THERESA "The Home Office is tackling the overdue task of police reform (challenging controversial bonus and overtime payments) with determination. On the challenge of reducing immigration, she is taking a hard line and attempting to fight off her Lib Dem colleagues. Rightly, May is pushing for a much tougher (and more traditional Tory) line than David Cameron’s, insisting on real cuts in annual immigration to ‘tens of thousands’. Indeed, there are reminders of a certain steely Margaret Thatcher, a woman who despaired of her weaker male colleagues and eventually decided that the only solution was to take the helm herself." - Iain Martin in the Daily Mail which he also examines David Cameron's Eurosceptic credentials.

Poll suggests even Labour's leader in Scotland may be defeated - Scotsman

Brown and the IMF

"A former head of the World Bank has accused David Cameron of being “bitter” after the Prime Minister suggested he would block Gordon Brown from getting a top international job. James Wolfensohn, who led the financial institution for more than a decade, also said there was “no-one better” for the post." - Herald

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Gordon Brown appointed to World Economic Forum role

Would a nose job really help Ed Miliband's chance of becoming PM? - Bryony Gordon in The Telegraph

BNP faces meltdown at local polls after defections and infighting - Guardian

'Now even the church admits faith schools are unfair' - Polly Toynbee in The Guardian leaps on Bishop of Oxford's intervention

"Roman Catholic schools have pledged to defend their right to select pupils on the basis of faith after secularists and teaching unions welcomed moves by the Church of England to limit the practice of selecting on religious grounds." - Times (£)

70% think monarchy has been a good thing for Britain, just 14% disagree - Daily Mail

The Queen said Turkey should be kept out of the EU, according to Joan Smith, the girlfriend of former Europe minister Denis MacShane - Telegraph

Lord Ashcroft on plans for Hyde Park memorial for the heroes of RAF bomber command

RAF Bomber Command air crews deserve their place in history among the bravest of the brave. It is quite wrong that, until now, their sacrifice has not been marked with a memorial... Half of Bomber Command casualties have no known grave. Now an injustice is being corrected and their bravery will be publicly recognised." - The Sun

And finally... The Express has a photograph of David Cameron mixing with tourists on the beach in Cornwall.


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