Published:

7.30pm LeftWatch: The union that bankrolls Labour wants to disrupt the London Olympics

Screen Shot 2012-02-28 at 17.52.386pm WATCH: Nadine Dorries MP says only childless and wealthy women tend to prosper in politics

4.30pm MPsETC: Could Irish voters say FU to the Merkozy plan to save the €uro?

4pm Local government:

3.15pm Oliver Colvile MP on Comment: The critics of windfarms are wrong. Renewable energy provides good value for money.

2.30pm Local government: Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh says Government plans for Business Rates too complicated and unclear to work

Noon George Eustice MP on Comment says it's time to transform CAP: "The Common Agricultural Policy takes up 40 percent of the EU budget and has long been regarded by the public as a symbol of bureaucracy gone mad."

Noon ConHomeUSA: Romney pivots from social message, back to economy

Screen Shot 2012-02-28 at 11.07.5111.15am WATCH:

10am: Robert Halfon MP on Comment: Taxpayers should be allowed to tour Big Ben for free

ToryDiary: Owen Paterson wants Belfast to have the same low corporation tax as Dublin

Columnist Stephan Shakespeare: Who will frame the political debate in favour of the wealth creators?

Screen Shot 2012-02-28 at 08.03.26

Michael Dobbs on Comment: The Lords is currently a great advisory chamber but elect us and we'll become a very different beast

Ryan Bourne on ThinkTankCentral: The CPS share scheme idea is still the least bad alternative, as taxpayers, for disposing of our stake in RBS

MPsETC: Bercow corrects Michael Gove's "Cymryphobia" as "welshed" joins the list of unparliamentary language

Local government: 306 councils agree to freeze or cut Council Tax

Local government update: Number of Tory councils upping council tax increases to FIFTEEN

George Osborne rushes through retrospective legislation to stop Barclays avoiding £500 million of taxGuardian

Screen Shot 2012-02-28 at 07.43.14"The Treasury moved after a lender, which The Times understands to be Barclays, used legal loopholes to reduce its tax bill. The Government did not name the company involved but said that it was taking action to ensure the payment of more than half a billion pounds of tax, with billions of pounds of future revenue also protected. One of the tax schemes involved the bank buying back its own debt and making a profit on the transaction while not paying corporation tax. The other involved investment funds trying to benefit from tax credits." – Times (£)

  • "The untold story is that large firms are in the aggregate paying far more tax than ever. We are in danger of forgetting just how much we need them" – Allister Heath in City AM

Tory MPs' fury as Nick Clegg goes public with his concerns about NHS Bill

  • "Tory MP Priti Patel said: “It’s disgraceful. He should be working alongside his Cabinet colleagues in order to improve the NHS.” Another Tory said: “It is extraordinary for a Cabinet minister to agree a bill and vote for it and then call for it to be changed. He should either support Government policy or resign.” – Express
  • "Tory MP Philip Davies said: "Once again, we are caving in to Nick Clegg's petulant tantrums. The Prime Minister would do well to remember he is in coalition with Conservatives as well."" – Sun

Downing Street in knots as it plays down Nick Clegg's NHS concessions – Nick Watt for The Guardian

"There is at first sight something rather puzzling about the deputy prime minister writing a letter calling for his own government's legislation to be amended…" – Nick Robinson

Telegraph leader: "In campaigning against change, the opponents of competition have no convincing alternative. They are simply making the health service’s problems that much harder to address."

Foreigners are to be offered free treatment for HIV on the NHS for the first time under controversial plans backed by ministers – Telegraph

Clegg in feisty form at hearing on Lords reform

Clegg Nick July 2011"Nick Clegg tried to isolate opponents of Lords reforms on Monday by claiming that protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo would not understand how Britain in the 21st century still had an unelected legislature. He also sent out a briefing to his party pointing out that only 15 countries predominantly use appointments for selecting its upper house "putting Britain in the same league as Jordan, Belize and Burkina Faso." – Guardian

There should be no Lords reform until question of Scottish independence has been addressed – Jesse Norman MP in The Times (£)

At least 50 Tory MPs are expected to rebel against an elected Lords – Times (£)

The Independent says Nick Clegg must be supported in his chance-in-a-generation attempt to modernise the Lords but the FT's leader-writers warn that Clegg hasn't answered fundamental questions about how Lords/Commons relationship will be affected by election.

> Yesterday's ConHome features on Lords reform:

Screen Shot 2012-02-28 at 07.55.43Radical MPs urge George Osborne to shut Whitehall departments, slash red tape and cut business taxTelegraph

  • David Ruffley MP suggests closing Vince Cable's BIS Department, saving £1 billion, and possibly the Culture Department too – Daily Mail 
  • "Kwasi Kwarteng, a member of the transport committee, urged ministers to put tolls on the five biggest motorways while increasing compensation for residents affected by big transport schemes to help push big infrastructure projects through." – FT (£)
  • Sajid Javid, Osborne's PPS, questions whether Lib Dems will match Tory deficit target at next election – Spectator
  • "Public spending last year accounted for nearly half of the British economy: 49.8 per cent of GDP. In the previous two years it was just over half. Mr Osborne’s total planned cuts amount to reducing spending by just 5.3 per cent over six years. Far from taking an axe, Mr Osborne has barely begun to prune the public sector." – Stephen Pollard in The Express

Opinion poll sends conflicting Budget messages

A ComRes poll simultaneously says public want tax cuts for low income workers, want tax cuts targeted on business, not individuals and doesn't want tax cuts at all but more deficit reduction!

  • By 60% to 34% voters back higher wealth taxes to cut income taxes – Independent

The Centre for Economics and Business Research says CUTTING fuel duty would RAISE cash for the Government

"Its report is a direct challenge to Chancellor George Osborne, who has indicated he will end his fuel duty freeze in the coming Budget. It comes as a Sun poll revealed fuel tax is the one most people want to see cut." – The Sun

  • British motorists are shouldering the heaviest tax burden in the EU at the pumps – Daily Mail

Cameron is taking power back to Number 10 as he attempts to oversee and craft a government-wide mission – Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£)

Welsh Conservatives replace annual conference with election rallyBBC

"Devo-plus" campaign launched to ensure a "no-to-independence" vote in Scottish referendum leads to more devolutionScotsman

> "Devo-plus" was the fifth part of ConservativeHome's Majority Manifesto

Brown-and-wood-door

Gordon Brown faces growing calls to be part of a “dream team” leading the anti-independence campaign in the run-up to the referendum – Scotsman

Nick Clegg remains loyal to the Coalition but Lib Dem activists are pulling away – Mary Riddell in The Telegraph

Austin Mitchell MP: The Lib Dems are helping the Tories to entrench power

"First, the reduction of the Commons to 600 required a total redistribution. That will cost Labour more seats than the Tories (and incidentally the Lib Dems proportionately more than either). Second, Wales and Scotland, fiefdoms of the left, lost more seats than England. Next individual enrolment will disenfranchise sections of the population likely to vote Labour. The final stage is Scottish devolution. Whatever the outcome of the Scottish referendum, home rule or devo max, it will entail either a reduction in Scottish representation at Westminster or a restriction of the ability of Scottish MPs to vote on "English" issues." – Austin Mitchell MP, letter to The Guardian

Grammar schools are better for able pupils than comprehensivesJohn Redwood

Middle-class liberals should try a spell of unemployment before they criticise workfare – John Bird in The Times (£)

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