Published:

Amber Rudd6.30pm Amber Rudd MP on Comment: Yes, the GDP figures are disappointing, but it’s not all bad news

4.15pm Mohammed Amin on Comment: Paying tax is not a moral issue

3.15pm ToryDiary: My mum should be George Osborne's economic adviser, says Tim Montgomerie

2pm Local Government: Polly Toynbee is wrong to oppose localising Council Tax Benefit

2pm LeftWatch: Surprise, surprise — Lord Oakeshott says that Cable should replace Osborne

Ashcroft1.45pm With the news that Peter Cruddas is suing The Sunday Times for libel over donations-for-access allegations, Lord Ashcroft writes: Should the Conservative Party learn lessons from the treament of Peter Cruddas?

12.30pm WATCH: George Osborne responds to today's GDP figures

12.30pm ThinkTankCentral: The Institute of Directors attacks "glacial speed" of Coalition's supply-side reforms

Noon ToryDiary: Chris Grayling hits back at Left's claims on UK's good job news

9.45am ToryDiary: Terrible news for George Osborne: the economy shrank by 0.7 per cent in Q2

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ToryDiary: The PCS union may have given the government the excuse it needs to reform strike laws

Columnist Jill Kirby: We need optimism, not mean-spirited tax grabs

Edward Davey MP on Comment: The greenest government ever — at an affordable price

Local government:

The Deep End: Hugging the hoodies, hating the state

David Cameron's decision to hire Andy Coulson under question (again)

Coulson"John Whittingdale, the Conservative chairman of the Commons culture select committee, has described the decision to charge the former Downing Street head of communications Andy Coulson in connection with phone hacking as embarrassing for the government." – Guardian

"A senior Conservative MP said: 'This will remind the public that there are issues about David Cameron's judgement in appointing Andy Coulson twice.'" – Independent

  • Andy Coulson charges mark low point for David Cameron – Nicholas Watt, Guardian

> Yesterday

More economic woe expected

New Picture (4)"David Cameron is now receiving daily written updates on the deteriorating situation [in Europe] and was warned earlier this week that a Greek bankruptcy in the next month is now a serious possibility. … Official economic figures to be published today are expected to show that Britain suffered from a third successive quarter of negative economic growth — suggesting that the country is still in recession. If the figures are negative, it will be the longest double-dip recession for more than 50 years." – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • "The bluster and self-deception so characteristic of eurozone politicians is evident once again." – Hamish McRae, Independent
  • First signs that foreign investors are losing trust in Britain – Allister Heath, City AM
  • Hard work and happiness go hand–in-hand – Alice Thomson, The Times (£)
  • "Here’s a question for Cameron from The Sun. … What’s the point of the Coalition these days?" – Sun editorial, via its redesigned website

> Yesterday on Tory Diary: Happiness measures may seem trivial, but…

2 days until the Olympics: Ministers and Conservative MPs target the strikes

Theresa May“Ministers are now considering taking court action over Public and Commercial Services Union leader Mark Serwotka’s decision to call a 24-hour strike by Heathrow staff. … The possibility of an injunction to block the strike came following a letter to the union from Home Secretary Theresa May, describing the planned walkout as ‘opportunist and wholly unjustified’. … And Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has told colleagues other senior figures in the union movement had privately expressed dismay that the PCS was targeting the Olympic transport rush. … [Dominic Raab] said: ‘Mark Serwotka’s vindictive action is the latest in a wave of reckless strikes, led by a few militants who want to sabotage the economy and humiliate the nation. … ‘Too often it is those union bosses shouting the loudest who have the least support from their own members. It is welcome that ministers are looking at reform. But, if the government is going to pick this fight, it must win it decisively.’” – Daily Mail

  • The trade union fat cats who are strangling our country – Matthew Sinclair, Daily Telegraph
  • "…the Mail finds it hard to recall a strike that ran more directly counter to the mood and aspirations of the British people than tomorrow’s planned walkout by Heathrow immigration and passport staff, on the eve of the opening ceremony." – Daily Mail editorial

And in other Olympics news:

  • Ministers (including the Prime Minister) might use the Olympic VIP lanes, although the PM is encouraging them to take public transport – Daily Mail
  • 1,200 extra troops have been drafted in to help with security, and they're being asked to wear tracksuits to appear less "aggressive" – The Sun

> Yesterday:

Various ministers admit to cash in hand payments

Cash in hand"David Cameron and other senior cabinet ministers including Nick Clegg and George Osborne admitted that they had paid traders cash in hand in the past. And an analysis of expenses claims by The Daily Telegraph showed that two other members of the government — Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary and Sir George Young, Leader of the House of Commons — paid suppliers hundreds of pounds in cash, and claimed back the money from the taxpayer." – Daily Telegraph

  • Tradesmen's anger over David Gauke's cash in hand attack – Daily Telegraph
  • Yes, I pay builders in cash. But what’s really immoral is billionaires and firms like Google who avoid tax – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

> Yesterday: LISTEN: David Gauke describes cash in hand payments as "morally wrong" in interview with the Telegraph

Lord Green's "regret" over HSBC money-laundering scandal

"'With regards to the bank’s efforts to address its AML [anti-money laundering] and OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control] compliance issues, HSBC has expressed its regret that there were failures of implementation in these areas, and I share that regret,' he wrote. … He said he was 'proud' to have had a 28-year career at the bank, but that it would not be 'appropriate' for him to 'comment further on the specifics' as talks between the bank and the US authorities are ongoing." – Daily Telegraph

Reaction to yesterday's select committee report on gambling

CAsino"The select committee’s chairman John Whittingdale defended its proposals, which include raising limits on fixed-odds gaming machines. … He described gambling as a normal ‘leisure activity’ that most people enjoyed without developing problems. … ‘There are a very small number who do suffer from gambling and addiction – problem gambling – and they need protection. … But for most people gambling is a leisure activity which brings them entertainment and actually generates quite a lot of income and employment for the economy.’" – Daily Mail

"Mr Miliband said yesterday: 'I’m a casinos sceptic. I’m sceptical about lots more casinos. I was sceptical about supercasinos originally. … Of course there are casinos and nobody is talking about getting rid of those but I always thought there must be other routes to economic development and economic growth than through loads more casinos.'" – The Times (£)

  • "Given the woe gambling addiction causes, one would expect our regulators to do their best to curb rather than encourage it." – Zoe Brennan, Daily Mail

> Yesterday on Local Government: Call from MPs for localism on gambling

Select committee proposes new rules to prevent former ministers from immediately cashing in on their experienceDaily Mail

Liz Truss: Business shouldn't apologise for making a profit

Liz Truss"Of course, there are businesses that need to put their houses in order and be more transparent and accountable to shareholders. But that should not stop the vast majority being unapologetic about their central purpose – generating profit, value and wealth. Too often when business leaders appear in public they talk only about their social contribution or peripheral activities. Business’s key social responsibility is making money, creating jobs and making Britain successful. All of us need to be reminded of that." – Liz Truss, Daily Telegraph

Also in the Daily Telegraph's 'Britain Unleashed' series:

  • The public sector does not serve a higher moral purpose – Andrew Haldenby, Daily Telegraph
  • Interactive charts showing how various indicators moved under the last seven Prime Ministers – Daily Telegraph

Anglo-French defence pact widened to include other allies, which may increase costsFinancial Times (£)

The House of Lords spent nearly £175,000 on art and statues in 2011/12, a ten-fold increase on the year beforeDaily Telegraph

Ed Miliband's entente cordiale with François Hollande

"Labour leader Ed Miliband will join EU centre-left leaders at an autumn summit hosted by French Socialist president François Hollande to discuss measures to create jobs and growth in Europe. … Miliband said Hollande had agreed 'in principle' to the meeting during face-to-face talks on Tuesday morning after the Labour leader became the first senior British politician to be invited for talks at the Elysée Palace since Hollande became France's first leftwing president in 17 years in May." – Guardian

  • Miliband and Hollande have no alternative to offer – Daily Telegraph editorial

Jack Straw: Don't let retail parks kill the high street by stealthThe Times (£)

Romney advisers: Our man would reach out to Britain

Mitt Romney"The two advisers said Mr Romney would seek to reinstate the Churchill bust displayed in the Oval Office by George W. Bush but returned to British diplomats by Mr Obama when he took office in 2009. One said Mr Romney viewed the move as 'symbolically important' while the other said it was 'just for starters', adding: 'He is naturally more Atlanticist'." – Daily Telegraph

  • The United States rightly values age and experience in high political office – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
  • The GOP should reform — not repeal — Obamacare – David Frum, Financial Times (£)

Nearly one-in-eight service personnel admit being violent soon after returning from a war zoneDaily Mail

Ambulance staff, on average, each took four weeks sick leave last yearThe Sun

Attitudes shifting in favour of genetically-modified cropsIndependent

And finally… "the seating plan from hell"

The Queen and her Prime Ministers 24 July 2012

"Political rivalries and intrigues may have been put aside for the day but officials still muttered darkly of a ‘seating plan from hell’. … Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood and Deputy PM Nick Clegg were expediently placed to provide ‘buffer zones’ to limit any tensions across the table. … Gordon Brown, who was making his first visit to Downing Street since leaving office, has had awkward relations with both Mr Blair and Mr Clegg, and was seated between Dame Norma Major and Sir Jeremy." – Daily Mail

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