Published:

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10.30pm ToryDiary: Rolling blog on Steve Hilton departure Updated: "The majority of secondary schools will be independently run, almost all police constabularies will be answerable to an elected official, a handful of cities will have their own mayors, and more government data will be published than in almost any other country…It is hard to believe that such a rapid dispersal of power would have taken place without Mr Hilton and the force of his personality." The Economist's Janan Ganesh honours Hilton's work:

7.30pm WATCH: Cameron: I admit it!  I come clean!  I DID ride that horse!  P.S: "I'm sorry to hear that Raisa is no longer with us."

6.15pm ToryDiary: Rolling blog on Steve Hilton departure

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4.45pm ToryDiary: Steve Hilton to leave Downing Street: Has the raven left the Tower?

3pm Ruth Porter on Comment: "Being from Yorkshire I can share something of the pain when people lament the decline of cutlery manufacture in Sheffield, or the dormancy of other areas where intense industrial activity previously thrived." But Innovation and flexibility – not nostalgia and mourning – will revive the regions

2.45pm Local Government:

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12.45pm ToryDiary: Inviting you to jump in to The Deep End

Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Senate Dems kills Republican religious conscience amendment

11.30am Christopher Howarth on Comment: What will the next Conservative manifesto say on Europe?

ToryDiary: It's time to end the Tory war on multiculturalism (reprise)

Columnist Bruce Anderson: There must be an easier way of appeasing Clegg's vanity than destroying the Upper House

Screen shot 2012-03-02 at 07.46.24Lord Norton on Comment: How to reform the Lords – cap its numbers and make it more independent

Also on Comment: Gary Streeter MP – Christians are disadvantaged when the rights of others trump theirs

Local Government:

WATCH: Should the 50p rate go?

Cameron growth plan snubbed as EU summit opens…

"EU bureaucrats came under fire from the Prime Minister last night for failing to back British plans to boost European economic growth. An angry David Cameron said his proposals to solve Europe’s crippling debt crisis, backed by 11 countries including Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands, had been ignored. He had written to the European Council with plans to cut red tape, boosting the private sector and a timetable for action over the debt. But his ideas were snubbed in favour of rival proposals from France and Germany." – Daily Express

> Yesterday: MPsETC – Conservative backbenchers slate Fiscal Union treaty and urge Greek exit from the €uro

…But he has put adoption reform at the front of the queue for the Queen's Speech

"Changes to adoption rules will take a prominent place in the Queen’s Speech as the Government announces measures to cut the time children spend in council care. David Cameron has given the issue priority in a legislative agenda that will be unveiled on May 9 for a session of Parliament that will be dominated by House of Lords reform. Yesterday, ministers offered concessions on legal aid as they tried to clear the decks and prevent the current marathon session from over-running." – The Times (£)

Cameron "probably" rode retired police horse loaned to Rebekah Brooks – Daily Express

Salmond accused of leaking independence referendum date to Rupert Murdoch

SALMOND ALEX"Alex Salmond’s links to Rupert Murdoch were under scrutiny yesterday when the First Minister was accused of being behind the leak of the independence referendum date to the media tycoon’s new Sunday newspaper. The day after Mr Salmond met with Mr Murdoch at the First Minister’s Bute House residence, his relationship with the News International boss was criticised at First Minister’s Questions." – Scotsman

  • Douglas Alexander embraces devo-plus – The Guardian
  • How can a shattered Scottish Labour Party effectively lead the campaign to save the Union and head off independence? – The Times (£)

Argy-bargy 1) Argentina backtracks on Falklands flight banFinancial Times (£)

Argy-bargy 2) It is totally crazy for Britain to give aid to ArgentinaDaily Express

Theresa May considers judicial review over News of the World links to suspects in axe murder case

"Theresa May could launch a judicial inquiry into the unsolved axe murder of a private investigator 25 years ago after claims that the News of the World ‘intimidated’ detectives overseeing the case. Five inquiries failed to find Daniel Morgan’s murderer after he was killed in a Sydenham pub car park in 1987 amid claims he was preparing to expose police corruption." – Daily Mail

Expenses news 1) Labour MP Adrian Bailey claims £2.25 for "tea and cake" Daily Mail

Expenses news 2) Justine Greening claims 10p for bus fare (but it was on behalf of an intern)The Sun

An army of teenage volunteers "can mend our broken society"

HURD NICK"Children in Britain are increasingly failing to mix with those from different backgrounds, the Government has warned. Young people no longer socialise with peers from other social and ethnic groups, leading to a ‘fragmented’ society, Cabinet Office minister Nick Hurd said. His words come as the Government unveils ambitious plans for a national volunteering scheme which it hopes will restore traditional values among the younger generation." – Daily Mail

Defence news 1) Philip Hammond in Tashkent during visit to four central Asian statesThe Independent

Defence news 2) Navy aircraft carrier plans hit by further delaysDaily Telegraph

Lansley: Attacks on the health bill are "partisan"

"Andrew Lansley has blamed opposition to his NHS reforms on “politicisation” among the professional royal colleges and said that changes during its parliamentary passage had produced a “much better bill”. The health secretary indicated that the traditionally non-partisan royal colleges had been drawn into a “political operation” led by the Labour party, trade unions and the British Medical Association." – Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday: WATCH -  Andrew Lansley: NHS Bill is "better as a result of the Coalition coming together to shape it"

Even the special lawyers concerned oppose secret courtsDaily Mail

Whitehall is fighting back against elected Mayors, Heseltine claims

HESELTINE MICHAEL"A 'huge battle' is taking place between government ministers over how much extra power should be granted to directly elected mayors, Lord Heseltine has said. Heseltine, the chairman of the Regional Growth Fund and an informal adviser to David Cameron, indicated he was choosing his words with care and could not disclose too much, but said: "Central government is not enormously inclined to giving away power. There is a huge battle going on." – The Guardian

That 50p tax rate campaign: Osborne is behind it, claim senior LibDems

Osborne accused of egging on 50p rebels: He's 'whipping up' tax rate opponents say LibDems
"Senior Liberal Democrats accused the Chancellor of ‘whipping up’ opposition to the 50p tax rate yesterday as business leaders warned it is causing ‘real economic damage’. The row erupted after George Osborne was accused of encouraging 500 businessmen to sign a letter calling for the abolition of the top rate. LibDems said there was no prospect of ditching the 50p rate unless the Tories replace it with a mansion tax." – Daily Mail

That 50p tax rate campaign: Osborne will ignore it, says the Financial Times

"George Osborne is to defy calls for the removal of the 50p upper rate on income tax and will instead instigate a clampdown on wealthy homeowners in an attempt to demonstrate that the rich cannot avoid Britain’s austerity programme. The chancellor will target people who avoid paying stamp duty when buying a home and is considering a more extensive tax raid on wealthy owners of central London homes." – Financial Times (£)

That 50p tax rate: Osborne should axe it, writes Fraser Nelson

Nelson Fraser pink shirt"A Treasury study currently underway still has too little data to draw any proper conclusions, but anecdotal evidence is flooding in. London is full of leaving parties for people heading to Dubai or Asia. A recent survey of millionaires by Skandia, a financial consultancy, found that just over half say they may emigrate. Of those thinking of leaving, high tax was the biggest factor.  For a Government that collects £14 billion in tax from 14,000 millionaires, this is something of a concern."  – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

  • Norman Lamb delays review of workers' rights until after coming Liberal Democrat conference – Financial Times (£)
  • Cable begs U.S bosses not to shut UK car plant – The Independent
  • Petrol hits an all-time high. Osborne under pressure over fuel tax – Daily Mail
  • Osborne set to fall short on infrastructure – Financial Times (£)
  • Ministers burden firms with £50m of extra red tape after all the pledges to cut it – Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

Why reform of House of Lords is a botch

"This proposal is a muddle. The mixture of appointed and elected representatives means that the source of its legitimacy – competence or election – would be confused. Furthermore, it would be a less competent revising chamber, since it would consist overwhelmingly of political placemen and placewomen, rather than those of exceptional eminence. Finally, its legitimacy would rival that of the House of Commons, making its right merely to slow legislation anomalous. Over time, the reformed house would surely claim an equal status to that of the House of Commons." – Martin Woolf, Financial Times (£)

  • Each party should gain seats in the Lords in exact proportion to the share of the voters' support at a general election – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Multiculturalism 1) If Conservatives cannot woo black and Asian voters, they may never win majorities again
 - Bagehot, The Economist (£)

Multiculturalism 2) Stormy by-election expected in ethnically mixed Bradford West after Marsha Singh retirement announcementThe Times (£)

Evans NigelNigel Evans MP says that high car insurance is forcing young people out of the jobs marketDaily Express

Immigration news 1) Secret EU deal forces Britain to take in 12,000 Indian workers despite soaring unemploymentDaily Mail

Immigration news 2) Vow to slash immigration will be derailed by a migration "bounce"The Sun

Peter Bone: Gay marriage is completely nutsThe Independent

Eric Joyce accused of affair with intern schoolgirl, 17Daily Express

Andrew Breitbart, in memoriam David Frum

Is Samantha Cameron too thin? Panic at the Daily Mail

And finally…Bicycling Monarchy: The Queen gives Boris a steer

"The monarch maintained, however, his tradition of bons mots. Speaking to Boris Johnson, the Queen said: “At least I didn’t have to come down here today on one of your bikes.” Taken aback, the Mayor of London said of the bicycle sharing scheme: “Oh, gosh, don’t you like my bikes?” She replied: “Oh, yes, I think they’re lovely. In fact, I notice the bike racks are often empty.” – Daily Telegraph

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