Published:

HAYES JOHN5.15pm MPsETC: "Significant victory" for Robert Halfon MP as new Energy Minister John Hayes promises to investigate oil market practices

4.30pm John Baron MP on Comment: Why is the Prime Minister taking so long to answer our European referendum letter?

4.15pm MPsETC: Cardiff councillor Craig Williams selected as the Conservative candidate for the Cardiff South and Penarth by-election

3.30pm WATCH: Boris Johnson: "I apologised then and I apologise now" for 2004 Spectator editorial blaming fans for Hillsborough disaster

3.15pm MPsETC: Are we entering a new age of MPs leaving Parliament to take up other roles?

Britannia Unchained

12.45pm Chris Skidmore MP, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Dominic Raab MP, and Priti Patel MP on Comment: Britain’s best days are not behind us

ToryDiary: What concessions could the Tories make to the Lib Dems?

Also on ToryDiary: Eric Pickles defends Christian Britain from the European courts – and Nick Clegg

Columnist Stephan Shakespeare: Can a combination of experts and public opinion improve our decision-making processes?

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Barroso's EU "federation" will render Britain's EU membership irrelevant, and British politicians need to catch up with events

HALFON-robertRobert Halfon MP on Comment: Conservatives should believe in good business, not big business – as the oil market shows

Local Government: 

The Deep End: Let’s not be beastly to the Chinese

David Cameron apologises for Hillsborough cover-up

Cameron Hillsborough statement"David Cameron has apologised to the families of 96 people who died in the Hillsborough football stadium disaster and held out the prospect of a fresh inquest after an independent report found the tragedy could have been avoided and that the police had sought to deflect blame for their failure on to victims. After receiving the “deeply distressing” report the prime minister told the House of Commons the country was “profoundly sorry” for the “double injustice” of the deaths and the cover-up." – FT (£)

  • "For a country that has always prided itself on the fundamental probity of its police, yesterday was a day of shock and disillusion." – Daily Mail editorial
  • "We’re deeply ashamed and profoundly sorry" – Sun editor Dominic Mohan

> From yesterday:

Cameron revamps Plan A to boost the economy – "Plan A plus plus plus"

"David Cameron has told colleagues the Government is preparing a 'Plan A plus plus plus' for deficit reduction and growth amid signs of the first significant Coalition tensions over debt targets. … This means no diversion from the original 'Plan A', which focused on deficit reduction, but with an increasing emphasis on pro-growth measures. There is a growing consensus that deeper spending cuts will be required, or the date for meeting the commitment will have to be pushed back." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ToryDiary

Liam Fox calls for tax cuts to boost economy

Fox Liam Apr112"Mr Fox called for capital gains tax to be suspended for three years. He also said employment laws should be reformed to make it easier to hire and fire employees. Although he wants to see a change in economic policy, he said there was not a need for the Conservatives to change their leader. … Mr Fox told the Times [a CGT cut] would "ricochet around the world" – and signal that Britain was open for business." – BBC

  • "Paternity leave and benefits for wealthy pensioners such as free TV licences and winter fuel payments should be in line for the axe, the former Defence Secretary said." – Full interview in the Times (£)

Dominic Raab MP: We need chutzpah as well as cuts to restore British competitiveness

Raab Dom"Without improvements in education, Britain won’t be able to compete at the cutting edge of innovation. But it will take more… Equally, our universities are a hotbed of creative talent, but getting ideas to market has proved tough. We could do worse than learn some Israeli chutzpah. According to a 2008 OECD report, Israel invests more in research and development than any other country. It has the highest number of high-tech start-ups outside the US" – Dominic Raab MP for City AM

Mark Field MP: The City is a bastion of commercial certainty able to attract investment from every corner of the globe

"But one of the reasons that so many recent scandals seem to have their origins in the City of London is simple: the sheer scale of business conducted here. Regardless, the past four years do not obscure the fact that our economy needs the financial and professional services industry – not as a necessary evil to be tolerated but an absolutely fundamental cog in the functioning of our economy." – Mark Field MP for the Daily Telegraph

Sue Cameron: Infighting between George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith could ruin welfare reform

IDS TO CSJ"The relationship between the Chancellor and IDS… is described as “terrible”, with the two regularly shouting at each other… I’m told that Mr Osborne has been “crowing” that it was his reshuffle rather than David Cameron’s. His plan to strengthen his control over Whitehall included replacing IDS with someone more willing to deliver further cuts in the welfare budget. IDS refused to move, but the Treasury is now even more determined to secure its pound of flesh – or its £10 billion worth of extra cuts." – Sue Cameron for the Daily Telegraph

  • The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith must be allowed to introduce a more sophisticated measure of deprivation – Daily Telegraph editorial

Philip Hammond awards contract for Falklands flights to Portguese company, losing British jobsThe Sun

Links between Greg Barker and adviser investigated

BARKER-GREG-PORTRAIT"David Cameron asked the Cabinet Secretary to investigate whether an energy consultant had improperly been given work by the Government because of her previous links to the Climate Change mininster, Greg Barker. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act yesterday revealed that Miriam Maes had introduced Mr Barker to her clients… at the same time as she was carrying out consultancy work for the Department of Energy and Climate Change." – Independent

  • Labour accuse David Cameron of a 'cover-up' over minister's links with adviser – BBC
  • David Cameron rules out an inquiry into his climate change minister and the advisor who lobbies for green energy firm – Daily Mail

SIR Gerald Howarth urges focus on defence, not aid

Howarth-Gerald-in-Commons"A defence minister who lost his job in last week's reshuffle has urged the PM to reverse cuts to the defence budget and stop spending more on overseas aid. Sir Gerald Howarth said he would like to see axed defence programmes revived when economic circumstances allowed. … "I have yet to meet a Conservative who thinks we should be spending more money on overseas aid"" – BBC

Eric Pickles: Religion shaped the modern British state, and this Government is proud to "do God"

PICKLES ERIC NW"The interpretation of human rights laws cuts both ways: just as we have resisted gold-plating made in the name of religion, so we must resist spurious legal challenges against religion. Nor should we allow equality laws to open the door to moral relativism and reduce established religion to the equivalent status of any other belief. We should not be bashful about asserting that the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church have a greater role to play in the public life of our nation than the Church of Elvis or the Church of Scientology." – Eric Pickles MP for the Daily Telegraph

> Today on ToryDiary: Eric Pickles defends Christian Britain from the European courts – and Nick Clegg

Leveson Inquiry gave anyone with a grudge an excuse to kick the Press, says John Whittingdale

Whittingdale"A senior MP has criticised Lord Justice Leveson for inviting a string of witnesses with 'grudges' against  newspapers to his inquiry into press ethics, and 'encouraging' themselves to unburden themselves. John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture select committee, said that instead of concentrating on the real issues, the inquiry has descended into: 'Come and form an orderly queue and kick the Press'." – Daily Mail

Rafael Behr: Cameron’s lack of ideology used to be an asset – now it is a hindrance

"Cameron’s lack of a creed was once an asset. It persuaded many voters that he was a reasonable man, distinct from the fanaticism of old Tory caricature. It flummoxed Labour. But the gap has gone too long unfilled. The path to a governing purpose has been too meandering; no lurches, just a sashaying sequence of tactics to grab and hold power, accompanied with a complacent expectation that the party will tag along." – Rafael Behr for the New Statesman

New minister Matt Hancock 'compares himself to Churchill, Pitt and Disraeli'

Hancock Matthew DP"Asked how he responded to the criticism that the Tory party is full of career politicians who have little experience outside politics and are too young, Mr Hancock replied: “Well, I remind people that Winston Churchill is widely regarded as one of the finest statesmen our country has ever seen. Likewise William Pitt became prime minister in his twenties, and both of these men achieved great heights over their careers.”" – Daily Telegraph

Steve Norris: Expanding Stansted is the least worst option

NORRIS-Steve

"From east of Stratford a 10-kilometre rail tunnel spur emerging at Fairlop Water and following the line of the M11 could link Stansted directly to Central London and take passengers to Heathrow without changing trains. There is the capacity for six trains an hour, more than the Heathrow or Gatwick expresses. Journey time to Tottenham Court Road or Bond Street would be around 40 minutes. And all for around £5 billion." – Steve Norris for the Times (£)

Daniel Hannan MEP: The Left hates Margaret Thatcher because she reminds them they are wrong about everything

Hannan Dan DP"What Lefties (with honourable exceptions) find hard to forgive is the lady’s very success: the fact that she rescued a country that they had dishonoured and impoverished; that she inherited a Britain that was sclerotic, indebted and declining and left it proud, wealthy and free; that she never lost an election to them. Their rage, in truth, can never be assuaged, for she reminds them of their own failure." – Daniel Hannan MEP for the Daily Mail

> Today on Local Government: Labour council leader calls for Thatcher's death

Jeremy Warner: The euro’s demise may be the final chapter of the ERM debacleDaily Telegraph

  • Anti-Europe sentiment rises sharply in Britain - FT (£)

> From yesterday - WATCHMartin Callanan MEP: The only way the €urozone can work is if poorer countries are given cash, not just loans

> Today - Columnist Andrew LilicoBarroso's EU "federation" will render Britain's EU membership irrelevant, and British politicians need to catch up with events

John Bercow expected to give up gold-plated pensionGuardian

  • Public sector pension changes to save UK taxpayers £430billion – Daily Telegraph

Clegg seeks to end gay marriage "bigots" affair

CleggNickDeclaring"Nick Clegg has written to religious leaders in an attempt to draw a line under the controversy in which he was accused of labelling opponents of gay marriage as "bigots". … In his letters to Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, Mr Clegg said: "Those extracts were neither written nor approved by me. They do not represent my views, which is why they were withdrawn."" – Independent

  • Arrogant, intolerant, a man with little love for Britain. YOU are the real bigot, Mr Clegg – Stephen Glover for the Daily Mail
  • Please don’t fight your cultural war on my turf – Matthew Parris for the Times (£)

George Galloway refuses to apologise to constituents over rape commentsGuardian

TUC chief will receive £100,000 'golden goodbye' when he retires later this year – four times the average salaryDaily Mail

Fresh EU doubts for independent Scotland

Scottish-flag1"The prospect of Scotland automatically remaining in the European Union after independence has been thrown into doubt after a leading official indicated that the country may have to re-apply to join. European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly made the claims just days after Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said a region that secedes from a member state would have to renegotiate “within the international legal order”." – Scotsman

Palace of Westminster clock that houses Big Ben renamed ‘Elizabeth Tower’ in honour of Queen’s Diamond JubileeDaily Mail

Hospital deaths tragedy inevitable unless NHS reforms are rewritten, doctors warnTimes (£)

BBC is full of liberals afraid to mock Islam (says veteran of the BBC)Daily Mail

Bus services need better partnerships, MPs sayBBC

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