Published:

6pm John Baron on Comment, the only Conservative MP to oppose the Afghan campaign from the very beginning, calls for direct, immediate and unconditional talks with the Taliban: The politicians risk failing our soldiers in Afghanistan

6pm WATCH: Colombia holds its Barack Obama look-a-like competition

3.30pm ToryDiary: For Team Cameron, Cameron is the message

Osborne & Balls2.30pm WATCH:

1.30pm George Trefgarne on Comment: How did a Conservative Chancellor deliver 7% growth after the 1930s Depression?

12.30pm ToryDiary: What should Osborne do with 50p? What should happen to NHS Bill? Is gay marriage a vote loser?

10am ToryDiary: Is this the most anti-Christian Government in British history?

ToryDiary: Osborne defines the purpose of the Government: The 7am worker

DORRIES ON QTColumnist Nadine Dorries MP: Cutting taxes for the low-paid will do most to stimulate the economy

Max Wind-Cowie on Comment: Those in favour of gay marriage should show tolerance towards those opposed

MPsETC: Tory MP Claire Perry reportedly told Douglas Carswell to "f*** off and join UKIP"

Local government: Why is graffiti more likely to occur on modernist/brutalist rather than traditionalist buildings?

Also:

Osborne is to suspend Sunday trading laws for Olympics… and possibly permanently

Closed"The Chancellor’s speech on Wednesday will outline moves to lift restrictions on Sunday opening hours for two months this summer, with plans for a permanent relaxation if the policy is considered a success. The Budget is also expected to signal the end of the 50p income tax rate and unveil a clutch of other business-friendly moves, including new loans for young entrepreneurs and a further cut in corporation tax." – The Sunday Telegraph

The Sun: "Experts predict stores in London's West End would attract an extra 100,000 customers. And it will spark a shopping bonanza across the country, generating millions of pounds in extra business."

If Osborne gets it right this Wednesday's Budget could be Osborne's "finest hour" -Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

  • Final decision on 50p will be taken on Monday – James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday
  • 50p "is symptomatic of the unreconstructed Leftist desire to make the rich poorer rather than the poor richer" – The Sunday Telegraph
  • "Getting rid of the 50p rate now (and not just a fudged 45p rate) would send a strong signal to the world that Britain is again open to business and enterprise" – The Sunday Times (£)
  • Liam Fox in The Sunday Telegraph: We do not have a deficit because we tax too little but because we spend too much
  • Labour strategists tell Andrew Rawnsley that abolishing 50p is "politically mad" – Observer

Clegg with LD bird70% of Liberal Democrat supporters want 50p rate to staySky

"Clegg's problem is that, after being seen as selling out his party's core policies on student fees, Europe and the NHS reforms, his credibility as the guarantor of an alternative, distinctive liberalism is shot" – John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday

The Sunday Telegraph suggests Osborne much more enthusiastic about cutting 50p than Cameron and Cameron more enthusiastic about marriage tax break.

This one-trick coalition is too cautious to do anything but cut – Heather Stewart in The Observer

Other Budget speculation…

  • George Osborne's Budget this week is expected to reverse cuts to child benefit, but tax credit cuts will affect single mothers – Independent on Sunday
  • Osborne will unveil plans this week to pump £40 billion of cheap loans into small businesses in a desperate effort to boost the economy – Sunday Times (£)
  • "Watch out for a further round of planning reforms, big announcements on infrastructure spending, perhaps a new tax regime to boost North Sea oil exploration and more regional pay bargaining in the public sector." – Martin Ivens in The Sunday Times (£)

What is Labour’s economic policy?

Balls ED QT"It is difficult to tell. Notionally the party accepts the need for deficit reduction, but most of what spokesmen say sounds like a plea for more spending. The signals are continually confusing." – Iain Martin in The Sunday Telegraph

> A ComRes poll overnight (PDF) found that just 15% (-6 since November) of voters trust Ed Balls and Ed Miliband to take the right decisions on the economy. 59% (+9) do not. That contrasts with a 29%/49% split for Cameron and Osborne.

Greening Justine August 2011Justine Greening ready to give green light to 80mph motorway limitThe Sun

Andrew Lansley and Ken Clarke set for chop in Cameron's first reshuffle

The Sunday Telegraph also suggests Nicky Morgan, Harriett Baldwin and Anna Soubry are likely candidates for promotion.

Doctors bid to unseat 50 Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs in revenge over NHS billIndependent on Sunday

70 of the great-and-good write to Cameron, urging defence of countryside from developersSunday Telegraph

Philip Hammond to reverse Liam Fox's decision on aircraft fightersIndependent on Sunday

Davidson Ruth SmilingRuth Davidson will lead Conservative Friends of the Union (CFU) and make defeating independence her "absolute priority"Scotland on Sunday

Tory MPs urge Cameron to choose traditionalist as next Archbishop of CanterburyObserver

  • "The Archbishop of Canterbury will use his last months in office to “wage war” on the government over its vision for British society. Friends of Rowan Williams said he remains deeply concerned by policies introduced by David Cameron which he fears are leaving the country increasingly divided." – The Sunday Times (£)

Three thoughtful pieces from Tory backbenchers in the Sunday press…

  • George Freeman MP sets out a five point industrial strategy for Britain – Observer
  • My fellow MPs need to know what I have learned from working families – Daniel Poulter in The Observer sets out his worries about the complexity of the benefits system and the ways in which firms are targeting poorer families with bad deals.
  • Graduates should help the poor to follow them into university – Sam Gyimah MP for The Sunday Times (£) urges the Government to help graduates to carry on paying into an endowment fund hypothecated to help disadvantaged students, once they've repaid their own student loans.

If Scotland can choose its future, so must EnglandJohn Redwood

The rivalry between the PM and his would-be successor is so intense that Boris Johnson seems more like leader of the opposition than a colleague – Andrew Gimson in The Sunday Times (£)

Scotland Yard confirms it is investigating a break-in at the Labour leader's offices at the Houses of Parliament

Miliband Ed Bookcase"Police were called to Mr Miliband's Westminster base on Friday evening after a member of staff reported that a door had been forced at the suite of offices in Norman Shaw North building… The incident has raised "deep concerns" within the party that the office had been deliberately targeted by someone looking for internal papers – on the eve of one of the most important weeks in the parliamentary calendar." – Independent on Sunday

"The raid follows a spate of robberies and high-profile security blunders at the Commons. Last year there were 40 incidents of theft, including 25 laptops, two desktops, an iPad and three mobile phones" – Sunday Express

The Sun's headline: Ed Miliband's HQ burgled… no policies found

Adverts for cheeseburgers should join sex, violence and bad language and be banned from TV before 9pm, according to the Scottish governmentScotland on Sunday

And finally… The ping-pong table presented to the US President by David Cameron was actually made in China

Screen Shot 2012-03-18 at 07.13.31

"The Prime Minister ­handed over the top-of-the-range £600 table amid great fanfare during his visit to ­Washington last week. It was customised with bats painted in the UK and US flags and bears the ­Dunlop stamp." – Sunday Mirror

Americans' entrepreneurial spirit, not Barack Obama, is powering the US recovery – Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary offered four reflections on Cameron's Washington trip: "David Cameron will probably get away with his gushing words about Barack Obama because it's looking less and less likely that Obama will lose the White House."

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