Published:

5.30pm Martin Parsons on Comment: Does Trevor Phillips really believe in tolerating diversity?

5pm Today's Teatime newslinks include the all-smiles Cameron/ Sarkozy press conference and news that Theresa May is heading to Jordan to resolve the Qatada affair

3.30pm WATCH: Cameron – French nuclear deal will create 1500 jobs

1.30pm ToryDiary: Clever Trevor, stupid Phillips. The first spots the real target of Warsi's Vatican speech. The second hasn't grasped that human rights include religious ones.

Screen shot 2012-02-17 at 13.08.5012.30pm ToryDiary: Ken Clarke attacks ConHome as that "blasted website"

11.45am ConHomeUSA newslinks: The truth about Obama's stimulus

10.30am Local Government:

ToryDiary: It's Day Two of Maude's axe-swinging exploits (as the Mail questions his claims on Day One)

Columnist Bruce Anderson: David Cameron's speech yesterday was the best he has yet delivered. The Unionist fightback has begun.

PPC Richard HarringtonRichard Harrington MP on Comment: Aid to India is in everyone's interests

Also on Comment: Lord Ashcroft – We should all join the Queen in saluting the achievements of 24 year old Chris Preddie OBE

Majority Conservatism: The fourth part in our "Building A Majority" series – Take the NHS off the table. Again.

Local Government:

ThinkTankCentral: Chris Nicholson: Including student migrants in the drive to cut immigration is harming economic growth

WATCH: U.N Assembly calls on Assad to go

Au revoir or adieu? Cameron in last pre-French election Sarkozy summit

"Britain will today sign the first concrete order for parts for a new generation of nuclear power plants, amid growing concern that the project could be scuppered if François Hollande wins the French presidential election. David Cameron will travel to Paris for his last summit with President Sarkozy before the election, where they will focus on increased energy and defence co-operation as well as calls for tougher action on Syria." – The Times (£)

Greece news:

  • Athens faces tough bail-out terms – Financial Times (£)
  • Fears of army coup in Greece – Daily Express
  • Is Government line on Greece shifting?  Lord Howell, Foreign Office Minister, says that "uncertainty in Greece must be brought to an end… without utterly destroying that noble country" – Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ConservativeHome: MPsETC – Leader of Tory MEPs, Martin Callanan, leads calls for Greece to be put out of its €uro misery

Trevor Phillips tells Christians: You’re no different to Muslims who want sharia law

Trevor Philips" “To me there’s nothing different in principle with a Catholic adoption agency, or indeed Methodist adoption agency, saying the rules in our community are different and therefore the law shouldn’t apply to us. Why not then say sharia can be applied to different parts of the country? It doesn’t work.' [Phillips] added that religious groups should be free to follow their own rules within their own settings but not outside. “Once you start to provide public services that have to be run under public rules, for example child protection, then it has to go with public law" – Daily Telegraph

Hague after U.N Assembly Syria vote: Assad must go

"Following the vote, British foreign secretary, William Hague said the resolution "sent a clear signal of the international community's condemnation of the Syrian regime's actions and intention to hold to account those responsible for the ongoing atrocities." He added: "The message is unambiguous. The violence must stop immediately. President Assad and the Syrian regime must heed the call of the international community and allow a peaceful political transition to resolve the crisis." – The Guardian 

Cameron post-Scotland speech Salmond meeting is – unsurprisingly – deadlocked…

"David Cameron opened the way for years of bitter wrangling over Scotland’s future after a tense meeting with Alex Salmond ended in recrimination yesterday. The Prime Minister went to Edinburgh to offer Scotland more powers if it voted to remain in the United Kingdom. But the talks with Scotland’s First Minister about the shape of the referendum broke up sourly with Mr Salmond demanding proper details of the offer and Mr Cameron’s aides saying that he had found the meeting frustrating as Mr Salmond resorted to flannel." – Daily Mail 

…as Tories fret over devo-max

FORSYTH MICHAEL"Former Cabinet minister Lord Forsyth said: ‘Devo max would mean creating an English Parliament and a federal government. ‘If the Prime Minister is saying that Scotland could get more powers, that’s certainly not something the Government should do without consulting the people in England.’  Tory MP Philip Davies voiced the fears of many Tories that handing further powers to Scotland would leave English voters with an even worse deal." – Daily Mail

Scotland Comment:

> Yesterday on Conservative Home:

Huhne and Pryce only eight feet apart in the dock – but don't glance at each other once – during court hearing on perverting the course of justice claims

"Pryce, a respected economist, spent an anxious 15 minutes waiting for the hearing to start. Dressed in a brown jacket, a green velvet scarf and a black dress, she was visibly nervous, crossing and uncrossing her arms in a seat in front of the dock. Her ex-husband, in a dark suit and red tie, swept in with an entourage just a second before the 10am start of proceedings, striding past Pryce and ignoring her completely. He sat three seats away, turning his back to his former wife and staring in the opposite direction." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ConservativeHome: WATCH – Chris Huhne appears in court for speeding case

Maude says Whitehall savings will reach £5bn by April…

MAUDE B:W
"More than £5 billion of efficiency savings will be made across Whitehall by this April through cutting spending on property, IT and consultancy, ministers will announce today. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, will disclose that during the first eight months of the year, the Government has found £3.25 billion of savings. Combined with work carried out to reduce waste in fraud, error and debt, projected savings for the full year are now anticipated to be about £5 billion." – The Times (£)

…But the Mail queries his reduced headcount claims

"A claim by a Cabinet minister that the Whitehall headcount is lower than it has been since the Second World War was called into question yesterday. For while it is true that civil service numbers – those working directly for government departments – have fallen in recent years, the numbers working for quangos and national agencies has mushroomed." – Daily Mail

"Let's have real localism: local government needs a Magna Carta"

"How would we all respond if local government were truly set free from the clutches of Whitehall? That is the challenge currently opened up by Parliament's Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, which is asking if we need to create a new and real financial and legislative autonomy for localities which can never, ever be rescinded by central government…This proposal is already gaining cross-party support: it offers a real economic and legislative basis not just for localism but for independence." – Philip Blond and Graham Allen MP – The Independent

Daily Telegraph takes same side as Brian Binley in Ebdon appointment rowEditorial

Nothing's too good for the workers (1): Brown makes £1m since leaving No 10The Independent

Nothing's too good for the workers (2): Arthur Scargill launches fight to claim £50,000 from former unionDaily Mail

Labour Councillor exposed for "liking" IRA bombings of Conservative conferences by CrashBangWallace (and then suspended)The Times (£)

How to write about bankers responsibly: "We can’t move on until we expose the causes of the financial crash – and shame the culprits" – David Ruffley MP, Daily Telegraph

How to speak about bankers irresponsibly: "Hang a banker a week" – Ken Livingstone quoted in The Sun

Caroline Spelman's son wins extension to High Court injunction blocking "sensitive personal" storyDaily Mail

And finally…Win a free ConHome T-shirt for guessing which publication Ken Clarke described on yesterday's Question Time as a "blasted website?"*

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