Published:

Midnight MPsETC: Fourteen Tory MPs defy Cameron on press regulation

7pm MPsETC: A shackled Parliament debates shackling the press

6pm MPsETC: Support for Cameron's "non-statutory statutory regulation" from J Alfred Prufrock MP

5pm ToryDiary: This cautious Chancellor has no money and is constrained by the Lib Dems. What tax cuts could he still offer?

Chowarth4.30pm Christopher Howarth: The Cyprus deal. Unjust. Unfair. State robbery. But the Euro will live to see another day

1.30pm WATCH: Maria Miller and Harriet Harman debate who won over Leveson

12.15pm LeftWatch: Would the press regulator's requirement for "accuracy and the need to avoid misrepresentation" apply to the Labour Party website?

8.45am ToryDiary:  Leveson Live Blog

ToryDiary: The budget. A chance to boost capital spending, cut NICs & freeze fuel duty. And tear a strip off the LibDems

Also on ToryDiary: Hague and Cameron are right to consider arming Syria's rebels but the region's wealthy oil states need to deliver more life-saving aid. And quickly

BaronColumnist John Baron MP: Ten years on from the invasion of Iraq, the British electorate does not want war

Robert Buckland MP on Comment: Leveson – the final countdown 

MajorityConservatism: David Skelton says Conservatives have a once in a generation chance of winning a good segment of the working class vote

Local government: Cllr Philippa Roe, leader of Westminster Council tells the Chancellor: Give councils the tools and we can help the Chancellor fix Britain’s ills: Six steps to true localism and kick-starting the economy and the party’s fortunes

The Deep End: Here’s a real challenge for Theresa May: End slavery in Britain


GuardianpressPress regulation deal struck says Harman…

"A deal has been struck between the three main political parties on
measures to regulate the press, Labour's Harriet Harman says." – BBC

  • "A senior Labour source said: "After five and a half hours of talks in Ed Miliband's office which ended at 2.30am, we are confident we have the basis of an agreement around our royal charter entrenched in statute." The Conservatives were represented at the meeting by Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin – who has been the key figure for the party in months of Leveson talks – and they were also attended by the Labour leader, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman." – Press Association
  • "In a sign that the Tory leadership may be moving away from its hardline stance, the chancellor said that the government was "not about grandstanding on this". Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, Osborne said he remained hopeful of a late deal to tighten press regulation while guaranteeing the freedom of the press." – The Guardian
  • "Tory sources said that Labour had made up to 20 new demands last week after pressure from Hacked Off, a campaign group calling for statutory press regulation. Labour denied the suggestion." – The Times (£)

Yesterday: WATCH: Hugh Grant claims Cameron has sold out to "his masters in the press"

…but newspapers threaten to boycott if Labour plan is agreed…

"The renewed political discussions came as three of Britain's largest newspaper groups, including the owners of the Sun and the Daily Mail, ramped up the pressure by signalling that they were prepared to boycott the proposed press watchdog and set up their own body if Labour and the Lib Dems succeed in creating a statutory underpinning of the new royal charter." – The Guardian


Sunchurchill….and warn of the threat to press freedom….

"Opponents of statutory regulation argue that in future, newspaper campaigns that expose major scandals would be much harder to carry out under the Labour and Lib Dem model for regulation. Freddie Astbury, president of Thalidomide UK and a victim of the side-effects of the morning sickness drug, said: “With thalidomide we learned the lesson that it’s very important to have a free press. If the Lib Dems and Labour introduce a law making it harder to investigate things like this they will be protecting the likes of pharmaceutical companies and not protecting the victims." – Daily Telegraph

  • "Mr Grant and Mr Miliband must both be well aware that no system of regulation — proposed or otherwise — would have prevented the hacking of mobile phones, which was already illegal. Like many critics of the press, both have travelled far from the source of their outrage. There could be no better illustration of a politically expedient drift in parameters, of the sort that those opposed to legislation fear." Leader The Times (£)
  • "Labour forget the years The Sun backed them. They can never forgive our criticisms of Kinnock and Brown. Like Hugh Grant, they will die in a ditch to uphold free speech, so long as the speaker agrees with them. No one knows where state regulation would end. Only one side cares. Ed Miliband is ready to be on the wrong side of the argument so long as he is on the right side of Hugh." – The Sun Says
  • "if Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and their allies in the Hacked Off campaign should prevail, the Press will be regulated by statute for the first time since the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. To anyone who cares about Britain’s tradition of political and intellectual liberty, this is a deeply disturbing prospect." Dominic Sandbrook Daily Mail


Boris…..as does Boris

 "All my life I have thought of Britain as a free country, a place that can look around the world with a certain moral self-confidence. How can we wag our fingers at Putin’s Russia, when we are about to propose exemplary and crippling fines on publications that do not sign up to the regulatory body? How could we have criticised the Venezuela of Hugo Chavez? I wholly approve of the stance taken by my fellow Daily Telegraph columnist Fraser Nelson in refusing to sign up to any of it, and if I were editing The Spectator today, I hope I would do the same. " Boris Johnson Daily Telegraph


HeseltineBudget 1. Heseltine growth plan to be implemented…

"The government has announced it will accept most of former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine's plan to stimulate the economy. A report by the Conservative peer recommended devolving power to the English regions and setting up a single local growth fund to deal with skills, housing and transport." – BBC

  • Birmingham will "scoop the pool" – Financial Times
  • "George Osborne has been served notice by Conservative MPs that his budget on Wednesday marks one of the last opportunities for him to restore his economic and political credibility before the countdown begins to the general election in 2015." – Guardian
  • "The Taxpayers’ Alliance is pressing the Chancellor to finance tax cuts by cutting spending. To push their case, they released poll results showing that more people – 19 per cent – believe that alien life forms have visited Earth than the 12 per cent who think the Government should tax and spend more." – The Independent

>Yesterday:


Osborne….Budget 2. Social care cap costs for elderly to come in a year early…

"The government will bring forward its overhaul of the pension system and social care funding by a year, the chancellor has announced. George Osborne said the flat-tier pension, worth around £144 a week, would now start in 2016. A cap on the amount the elderly pay for social care in England – which
was to be £75,000 but will now be £72,000 – would start in the same year."

….Budget 3. Income Tax threshold to be raised to £10,000…

"Lower-paid workers are expected to be given an income tax cut as part of a Budget package designed to help those who “want to work hard and get on”. George Osborne, the Chancellor, is expected to announce that workers will not have to pay any tax on the first £10,000 they earn from as early as next year, pulling hundreds of thousands of low earners out of the tax net." – The Times (£)


Lamont…Budget 4. Lamont demands boredom

 "A boring Budget will at least have the merit of being an honest one. There are no miracle cures. Growth will eventually happen if allowed. It will be probably happen when least expected. But it will not happen if we abandon attempts to put our national finances on a sound footing. The trouble with Britain is that it always wants to sugar the pill. And sometimes there is too much sugar and hardly any pill." Norman Lamont The Times (£)

Adam Afriyie says he has no leadership ambition

"A Conservative MP mentioned as a potential future leader of the party has said he has "no ambition for any particular position". But Adam Afriyie refused to agree that there was "no doubt" Mr Cameron would still be in charge at the time of the 2015 general election. He told BBC One's Sunday Politics he would not "speculate" on the issue." – BBC


TapsellSir Peter Tapsell "keeping his seat warm for Boris"

"Sir Peter Tapsell, who represents the Lincolnshire constituency of Louth and Horncastle, made the frank admission after he was asked by the Prime Minister if he would stay on in the Commons until the next election. Mr Cameron said the party could do without another by-election. The veteran MP duly replied that he was “keeping his seat warm for Boris”. An increasing number of Tories believe the mayor is a potential Conservative leader, with the ebullience and popular appeal to win elections." – Daily Telegraph


DorriesNadine Dorries says "ridiculous" not to have Conservative whip

 “It’s either got to be given back to me or withdrawn,” she said. “I’m pretty confident and hopeful it will be given back to me. Of course I want it back. Discussions are ongoing….It’s getting to the point now where it’s beginning to look silly. I’ve never been so popular on the ‘rubber chicken circuit’. I am talking as a Conservative MP, I am voting as a Conservative MP – I voted for boundary changes which would have wiped out my own seat…." – Daily Telegraph


HagueHague says refusing to arm Syrian rebels is the greater risk

"Asked about calls, led by France and the UK, for the EU to drop its embargo and allow the supply of arms to the rebels, Mr Hague told Sky News:…"There are risks….But if this crisis goes on worsening in the way that it is in the coming weeks and months, there are even greater risks that have to be weighed against that: the risks of international terrorism and extremism taking root in Syria; the risks of Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan being destabilised; and the risks of extreme humanitarian distress." – BBC

  • "Short of a hazardous full-scale military intervention, the best thing that could be done to stem the humanitarian and refugee crisis would be comprehensive bombing of Syria’s airbases so that the regime loses its dominance of the skies. The next best option would be to help the
    Syrian rebels to defend themselves, not least with anti-aircraft systems. Britain and France seem ready to adopt this course if the situation hasn’t improved soon." Tim Montgomerie, after a visit to the Zaatari refugee camp, The Times (£)


TimeseuCyprus savings tax triggers Eurozone alarm

"The eurozone is threatened by a new round of chaos today after plans for an unprecedented raid on bank accounts in Cyprus triggered panic and undermined confidence in the European banking system. Up to 60,000 British residents will be among the victims of a tax of up to 10 per cent to be levied on every Cypriot bank account this week." – The Times (£)

  • George Osborne will compensate troops and Government workers – The Independent
  • "Asked why he stole from banks, the American robber Slick Willie Sutton is supposed to have replied, ‘because that’s where the money is’. Eurozone leaders have made the same calculation. Ever since the debt crisis struck, it was clear that, sooner or later, savers would be gouged." Daniel Hannan Daily Mail

>Yesterday: MPsETC: John Redwood and Douglas Carswell worry about banking panic after confiscation of Cyprus deposits


BengummerBen Gummer calls for an end to annual budget farce by copying Sweden fiscal rule

"Sweden and Switzerland have both transformed their public finances by turning their governmental budgeting on its head, forcing governments, opponents and commentators to think strategically rather than simply gaze at the short term. Both did it by the introduction of tough and binding fiscal rules that set budgets with a medium-term outlook and mandate surpluses when the going is good. As a result, Switzerland has reduced its debt from 70 per cent of GDP in 2005 to 47 per cent in 2012, while Sweden forced down its total debt from 78 per cent of GDP in 2000 to less than 34 per cent today." – Ben Gummer City AM


TonyblairTony Blair says it was right to go to war in Iraq

"Ten years on from Iraq, as well as looking at the toughness of the struggle our forces faced there, we should think about what would have happened if we had backed away from removing Saddam. Look at what Assad in Syria is doing to his people following the Arab upheavals and the effect on the whole of the Middle East, then think what Saddam would be doing in Iraq and the impact it would have." Tony Blair The Sun

HMRC customer service woeful say MPsThe Guardian

Shale gas would cut carbon pollutionFinancial Times

Strike disrupts Welsh AssemblyBBC

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