Published:

6.30pm WATCH: Hunt at Leveson –

4pm ToryDiary: Overheard in the Treasury: Part Three...

3.45pm Local Government: Less red tape for housing associations selling vacant properties

3.30pm ToryDiary: Overheard in the Treasury: Part Two…

3pm ToryDiary: Overheard in the Treasury: Part One

1.15pm WATCH: Hunt at Leveson: I was sympathetic to the BSkyB bid – but I didn't support it

ToryDiary: Increasingly pessimistic Tory grassroots think Labour government is likeliest outcome of next election

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Whether Scotland stays in the Union is not purely up to the Scots

HOWELL JOHNJohn Howell MP on Comment: Labour always fails when it comes to economic responsibility, as the IMF's 1976 report shows

Local Government: Michael Mates seeks nomination for Hampshire police commissioner

The Deep End: The German banker's cunning plan

WATCH: 

Osborne to launch £500m in business loans

Osborne on Marr AM"The government will on Thursday invite bids to manage a further 500 million pounds of credit easing funds, the second tranche of business loans aimed at easing the flow of finance to cash-strapped companies, the Treasury said on Wednesday." – Reuters

  • "Mr Osborne will today pledge to stand by another £500million of cheap loans to struggling businesses. It follows £700million offered up in March’s Budget." - The Sun
  • IEA: Cut Chancellor's pay if he fails to balance Budget – Daily Telegraph
  • Osborne warned of fly-tipping chaos as 'skip tax' gets messy - Independent
  • Brussels launches own plan for growth as leaders argue – Scotsman
  • Illiterate school-leavers and workless households are destabilising UK economy, says European Commission – Daily Mail

Paul Goodman: An in/out referendum promise would be Osborne's biggest gamble yet

Eu_flag"Such a gambit would disrupt the UK Independence party, which is committed to an in-out poll; outmanoeuvre Ed Miliband, who is mulling the same option; and spike the guns of the London Mayor, who is flaunting his eurosceptic views before the Tory faithful like a medieval jester parading his livery. Such a course would carry risks to the party’s unity, to put it mildly, not to mention Britain’s future. But then this chancellor is in the risk business. A renegotiation referendum would be his biggest gamble of all." – Paul Goodman for the FT (£)

> From yesterday - WATCH: Channel 4 News report on ConservativeHome poll showing Tory members want an in/out referendum pledge in the next manifesto

Cameron: I rely on the Queen's Great British common sense

Queen's-Speech-procession"The Prime Minister says the Queen is able to “cut through the fuss and see what really matters” when they discuss domestic and world events in their hour-long conversations. Mr Cameron, the 12th prime minister of the Queen’s reign, says that her “time-tested wisdom” has been invaluable during his two years in office, when he has faced the pressure of keeping a Coalition together as well as running the country." - Daily Telegraph

  • 'Our common sense Queen', by the Prime Minister: Cameron pays tribute in book chronicling Her Majesty's six decades – Daily Mail

Jeremy Hunt's ministerial career in balance as he goes before Leveson

Hunt Jeremy red tie"Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, will set out his version of events to the Leveson inquiry on Thursday as he fights to save his ministerial career amid a weight of allegations casting doubt on his handling of the BSkyB takeover bid. … Hunt is expected to make a day-long appearance and be grilled on evidence revealed over the past five weeks suggesting that his office set up a private back channel to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation" – Guardian

  • Leveson inquiry questions Jeremy Hunt is likely to face – Guardian
  • Hunt aide told News Corp of licence fee deal - FT (£)

More Leveson coverage

  • Andy Coulson arrested and charged with perjury - Daily Telegraph
  • Top civil servant ‘exposed Cameron to Leveson risks’ – The Times (£)
  • Andy Coulson charge shows how David Cameron's past overshadows his future – Guardian
  • Britain needs a free, aggressive, irreverant press, Ken Clarke tells Leveson Inquiry - Daily Mail
  • Ken Clarke says journalists entitled to bribe in extreme cases - Guardian
  • News Corp made veiled threats, says Cable – Guardian
  • Michael Gove breezed in and said the whole inquiry was fundamentally flawed. No wonder Leveson was irritated! – Melanie Phillips for the Daily Mail

> From yesterday - WATCH: Vince Cable: Lib Dems were threatened with being "done over" in the News International press if I didn't make the "right" decision on Sky takeover

Damian Green says genuine students don't need to fear crackdown on overseas recruitment

GREEN DAMIAN BLUE BACKGROUND"The immigration minister yesterday insisted genuine foreign students have nothing to fear from a crackdown on overseas recruitment. … However Mr Green said: ‘There is no limit on the number of genuine students who can come to the UK and our reforms are not stopping them. But we are determined to prevent the abuse of student visas as part of our plans to get net migration down. Students coming to the UK for over a year are not visitors – numbers affect communities, public services and infrastructure.’" – Daily Mail

Justine Greening: Retailers may be forced to pass on price cuts

"Transport Secretary Justine Greening has said she will consider legislation to force petrol retailers to pass on cuts in the wholesale price of fuel. The Department for Transport says pump prices paid by motorists have fallen by just 7p despite a 10p fall in wholesale prices since April. Ms Greening told the BBC she would consider taking further action to ensure motorists "get a better deal"." – BBC

1922 Committee Secretary Nick de Bois warns Government not to make too many u-turns, or risk reputation for competence

Nick de Bois Commons"Nick de Bois has warned that the continuing U-turns by the government are "frustrating" and "irritating" to Tory Backbenchers, suggesting that any more policy reversals could start to seriously damage the coalition's credibility. … "Eventually there will come a point when competency can become an issue… When it goes from a question of being a listening and responding government, it is quite possible that it becomes a government which has its competency challenged."" – Huffington Post

Sue Cameron: How Whitehall views Cameron's potential successors

10-downing-street"William Hague, the Foreign Secretary. Able and talented, he’s seen to be doing a good job at the Foreign Office … Michael Gove would be another serious contender. Courteous, he’s a man of steel but a “dreaded choice” for many civil servants … Philip Hammond … a safe pair of hands – always high praise in Whitehall terms … Theresa May is given credit simply for surviving for two years in the notoriously treacherous job of Home Secretary … Boris Johnson … Despite his buffoonery, he has the kind of winning streak that civil servants always like" – Sue Cameron for the Daily Telegraph

Douglas Carswell to allow online voters to decide an idea for a private member's bill

"Irritated that he came bottom in a ballot of 20 MPs, Douglas Carswell has decided to let voters decide which of his five ideas for a new law he should attempt to guide through parliament. Without Government support, a private member's bill stands little chance of becoming law, but Mr Carswell hopes one of his ideas might take off and persuade ministers to back it."- Daily Telegraph

Tory donor withdraws funding over tax relief cap

"Venture capitalist Jon Moulton, who has given more than £300,000 to the Conservatives since 2004, has also expressed his disagreement with George Osborne's economic strategy. In a newspaper interview, Mr Moulton called for a swift about-turn on the decision to include charitable gifts in a cap on tax breaks announced in the Budget." – Daily Telegraph

David Cameron to discuss Chagos Islands sovereignty with MauritiusGuardian

Alex Salmond's £46 billion green 'gamble' with Scotland's economy

SALMOND ALEX"Alex Salmond is gambling with Scotland’s economy by placing a £46 billion “fantasy” bet on green energy despite its “catastrophic” record of making money, one of the world’s leading banks has told MSPs." – Daily Telegraph

  • The tension between developers of wind farms and new housing and Nimbys is sure to grow – but something has to give – Bruce Anderson for the Daily Telegraph
  • "The taxman has confirmed he is under no obligation to collect any new levies introduced by SNP ministers in Scotland if they differ too much from the UK system" – Daily Telegraph

MSPs vote to keep Queen as head of state if Scotland splits from UK

"An attempt to reject the Queen as the head of state in an independent Scotland was overwhelmingly rejected by MSPs in a debate held at the Scottish Parliament to mark the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee." – Scotsman

  • "The Scottish Parliament is to formally to endorse plans for independence, in a vote by MSPs." – BBC

Independent front page 21st May 12Doctors vote to go on strike on 21st June Independent

  • "The BMA decision to call for industrial action over pensions is not justified. A strike by doctors will hinder the NHS" – The Times (£) editorial
  • "What part of “Britain is broke” do doctors not understand?" – The Sun Says
  • The shameful self-interest of doctors – Independent editorial
  • Shabby, disreputable and just plain wrong – Daily Mail editorial
  • Doctors should know it’s the same bitter pill for all – Daily Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Andrew Lansley is right to reform doctors' pensions

Civil servants in charge of policy delivery failures to be named and shamed Daily Telegraph

Number of A&E patients waiting more than four hours is highest since 2004Guardian

It may seem painless, but drone war in Afghanistan is destroying the West's reputation – Peter Oborne for the Daily Telegraph

The people of Syria wonder why the West will not help. Twenty years ago, jihadis stepped into the breach in Bosnia - David Aaronovitch for the Times (£)

  • "International troops could be forced to intervene in Syria if the collapse of President Bashar al-Assad's regime were to leave stockpiles of his chemical weapons vulnerable to terrorists" – Daily Telegraph

The Queen is Defender of all Britain’s FaithsJonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi, for the Times (£)

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