Published:

7.15pm WATCH: ‪Britain's Ambassador to the U.N: Argentina's militarisation of the Falklands accusations "absurd"

1.45pm Nick de Bois MP on Comment: Why the Government must not retreat on the health bill

12.45pm Local Government: Downhills School confirmed as failing? What will Lammy do now?

11.30am ToryDiary: A belt-and-braces solution to councils' Christian prayer problems

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ToryDiary: Jeremy Hunt should become Health Secretary as soon as possible

Columnist Nadine Dorries MP: We must stop anti-religious groups from removing the Christian fabric of our society

Karl McCartney MP on Comment: Network Rail is too complex, unaccountable and untouchable – it must change

Local government: 

WATCH: Ed Miliband: "I'm not going to say there'll be billions of pounds to spend or billions of pounds for tax cuts"

David Cameron ready to force through NHS reforms…

Cameron-and-NHS"David Cameron is said to be willing to endure three final months of political controversy to push the health bill through parliament, but is convinced there is no serious dissent in his cabinet, parliamentary party or in the country at large. No 10 argues that if the coalition did suddenly drop the bill, as some ministers are privately suggesting, the Conservatives would still be unable to avoid the political blame for closures and job losses likely to happen anyway due to long-term financial pressures on the NHS." – Guardian

  • Rocky three months ahead over health Bill, warns No 10 – Daily Telegraph
  • Andrew Grice: Cameron could live to regret his reluctance to kill the Bill - Independent

> From yesterday:

…But "half the Cabinet" is "in despair"

Lansley2"Half the Cabinet is ‘in despair’ at Government plans to reform the NHS, sources claimed last night. … But last night a dozen members of his top team were in private revolt – hopeful that the Bill or its creator, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, will ‘go away’." - Daily Mail

  • Lansley rejects calls to resign as Tory mutiny threatens health Bill - Independent
  • "Mr Clegg has spent months trying to persuade his party to support the health reforms, but he believes coalition unity could be undone" – FT (£)
  • Matthew Parris: Sure-footed bore required to replace Lansley – The Times (£)
  • "For the six years since he took over the Tory party, Mr Cameron has sidestepped political clarity. The stresses are starting to show, and the fiasco over the NHS is only the most toxic sign of them. It is time for the Prime Minister to demonstrate real leadership and give his Government a clear sense of direction. He does not have long." – Independent editorial
  • "Other ministers and MPs were against any full-scale retreat. It’s too late, they said, to abandon the reforms. But I couldn’t find a single person who was enthusiastic about the Bill. No one who would defend the Bill with gusto and no one had anything but scorn for the whole way that the saga had been handled." – Tim Montgomerie for the Times (£)

A new mission statement for the Coalition to be released this summer

"Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers and advisers are discussing a proposal to update the Coalition Agreement to highlight its proposals for the second half of its planned five-year term. The exercise has been dubbed "Coalition 2.0". Senior Liberal Democrats insisted that the move would not distract from Nick Clegg's determination to highlight differences with the Tories on issues such as a wealth tax to show that his party had not lost its separate identity. "We can do both," one said." - Independent

Cameron decides against criticising Barclays' bonuses

"The prime minister has agreed to wave through awards amounting to hundreds of millions of pounds to staff at state-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland and has chosen not to criticise Barclays publicly after it announced on Friday that it would pay out £1.5bn of bonuses to its investment bankers. Mr Cameron has been urged by City figures and business leaders – as well as many Conservative MPs – to take a lead in stopping what George Osborne, the chancellor, has called an “anti-business culture”." – FT (£)

  • Ed Miliband plans tax on bank bonuses – Independent

Cameron to hold talks with Alex Salmond over independence referendum

Salmond-alex-politics-show"The summit has been called in an attempt to diffuse an ongoing constitutional crisis, with Westminster insisting the SNP administration at Holyrood does not have the legal power to hold a referendum. Mr Cameron is expected to take a tough line with Mr Salmond over plans for the referendum. The Prime Minister will insist there should only one yes or no question on Scottish independence, while Mr Salmond has flirted with offering voters a say on whether the country should gain greater powers of devolution, known as ‘devo max’." – Daily Mail

Britain to send body armour, laptops and satellite phones to Syrian rebels

"The Government wants to help the bitter fight to topple tyrannical President Bashar al-Assad with "non-lethal aid", it emerged yesterday. The equipment would be used to help coordinate attacks on regime forces. Communications technology will also help the rebels bring down greater international pressure on isolated al-Assad by exposing his slaughter." – The Sun

  • Syria is not Iraq. And it is not always wrong to intervene - Jonathan Freedland for the Guardian
  • Surface to air weapons sold to al-Qaeda and Taliban after Libyan regime collapsed - The Sun

> From yesterday - WATCH: Philip Hammond: Taking action against Syria would risk "a very major military conflict"

Local councils have right to say their prayers, says Eric Pickles

Pickles"A high court ruling that councils have no statutory rights to hold prayers at meetings has been strongly criticised by the communities secretary, Eric Pickles. He said the judgment was "surprising and disappointing" and he believed that under the Localism Act councils ought to be allowed to say prayers. Local authorities across the country will have to review their practice of holding prayers during formal meetings after the National Secular Society argued successfully against it." – Guardian

  • Government tells councils to carry on praying despite High Court ban – Daily Telegraph
  • George Carey: time to say that Christians have rights too – Daily Telegraph
  • Councils must appeal against the ban on prayers before meetings – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • Your rights are trumped by gay equality, B&B owners who refused to let couple share a room are told – Daily Mail

> From yesterday:

Fury over moves to hold more court cases in secret, which will 'sweep away centuries of fair trial protections'Daily Mail

> From yesterday - Columnist Bruce Anderson: It may have been based on British law, but the ECHR is now preventing Britain from protecting her interests

A primary school which resisted Michael Gove’s academies programme is facing forced conversion

Gove on Daily Politics 2"Downhills Primary School in Haringey, North London, threatened legal action against the Department for Education after being told it had to become an academy because it was underperforming. Ministers had agreed to wait for the results of an emergency Ofsted inspection before acting, but the school said last night that inspectors had found too little progress and it had been placed in special measures – a move granting ministers the power to dismiss teachers and governors and, if necessary, close the school." – Daily Telegraph

  • Ex-minister Ed Balls was yesterday accused of leaving a generation of kids to scramble for too few primary places – The Sun
  • Labour cuts blamed for crowded classrooms following influx of pupils after baby-boom – Daily Mail
  • There’s no place for dreaming spires in Professor Les Ebdon’s world – Charles Moore

Pension relief for high paid must be cut, says Danny Alexander

Alexander Danny"Mr Alexander said that the pensions for higher-rate taxpayers gave an unfair advantage to the rich, and called for tax relief on the schemes to be halved from 40 per cent to 20 per cent. … Mr Alexander also set out plans for workers on the minimum wage to pay no income tax. Nick Clegg has already campaigned for the tax-free allowance to be raised to £10,000 as soon as possible, but Mr Alexander said that the threshold should be as high as £12,500." – The Times (£)

  • Danny Alexander: there's nothing wrong with being rich – Daily Telegraph

Graeme Archer: Transferable tax allowances would help more women succeed than quotas

"If the Prime Minister really wants to help my work/family-juggling friend, to encourage her to break the ceiling’s glass – of which she’s eminently capable – then he should give the quota stuff a rest, face down Nick Clegg, and reintroduce the married couples’ transferable allowance. Because the biggest issue facing any couple with an alpha worker who wants to shoot for the top is this: how are we going to afford the childcare?" – Graeme Archer for the Daily Telegraph

  • Some families to lose £4,000 a year in 'unfair' tax credit changes, says Labour – Guardian

CAMERONinAFGHANISTANBritain is militarising the Falklands, Argentina tells the UNGuardian

  • Is it time to disinvite the Argentinians from the Olympics? - Abhijit Pandya
  • Argentina accuses the UK of deploying nuclear weapons near the Falkland Islands – Guardian

MPs’ sniping at mandarins ‘drives away best talent’The Times (£)

MPs call for probe into PM's families tsar who pocketed £8.6m in one year - Daily Mail

David Cameron's father-in-law calls for tougher regulations on basement extensions - Daily Telegraph

And finally… Ed Mili-hand: Why Labour leader's gestures are a flop… but David Cameron's get the thumbs up

"A leading body language expert has delivered yet more bad news for embattled Labour leader Ed Miliband, saying his 'floppy forearm' makes him look weak and undermines his authority. But an analysis of Prime Minister David Cameron's performances resulted  in a more positive reaction, according to consultant Robert Phipp. He claims that when the Prime Minister splays his fingers he is actually taking charge of the debate." – Daily Mail

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