Published:

OSborne6pm WATCH: A George Osborne double-bill:

3.30pm Charlotte Leslie MP on Comment: What the Royal College of Nursing can learn from the teaching unions

2.30pm ToryDiary: George Osborne avoids the embarrassment of rising borrowing – but other dangers lie in wait

Huntingdonshire2.15pm Local Government: Put historic counties back on the map

11.30am Emma Carr on Comment: It's time to ditch the Snoopers' Charter

10.30am Adam Afriyie MP on Comment: A lesson from South Shields – why we need to legislate for an EU referendum

9.30am ToryDiary: The Conservatives must campaign for Justice for England in 2015

ToryDiary: Why senior staff leave Downing Street. They don't feel Cameron has a mission. Or they don't think he'll win. Or both.

Charles MooreAndrew Gimson interviews Charles Moore about Margaret Thatcher and his biography of her: A conviction politician who survived by twisting and turning

John Redwood MP on Comment: The people want the politicians to occupy the common ground – not the centre ground

Also on Comment, our Compassionate Conservatism series continues with a dissenting voice. Alistair Thompson argues that it should take a back seat in these austere times, and that what really matters is the economy.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne on Local Government: The battle for Gloucestershire

Local Government: What would be a good result for the Lib Dems on May 2nd?

The Deep End: What would Margaret Thatcher have done about climate change?

George Osborne under pressure

Osborne

"Tory MPs are set to demand further tax cuts and a new hub airport if the economy is shown to be flatlining this week. … George Osborne’s internal critics warned last night that the Chancellor will face a barrage of demands when growth figures are released on Thursday." – Daily Mail 

  • "George Osborne was humiliated and his pet project in disarray on Monday as the House of Lords once again refused to support his plan to allow workers to swap employee rights in return for shares." – Financial Times

Mr Osborne wants Alex Salmond to be under pressure too

AS"UK ministers would demand tough controls over an independent Scotland’s economic policies before they would join it in a currency union — and even then the fiscal and financial risks could prove too high for a deal, George Osborne will warn today." – The Times (£)

As spy chiefs petition the Chancellor: don't cut our budget

"Public safety will be put at risk if spending on the security services is cut any further in the drive to save an extra £11.5 billion, George Osborne has been warned. … MI5 and MI6 chiefs have told the Chancellor that Britain would be more vulnerable to a terrorist attack if they have to find additional savings, The Times has learnt." – The Times (£)

  • "There must, however, be cuts and those cuts have to be achieved somehow. At the moment a mixture of political expediency and ministerial weakness is dictating where the axe will fall." – Times editorial (£)
  • "The older generation has been protected from the worst of the austerity measures. That special treatment must end." - Andrew Harrop, The Times (£)

David Cameron suggests that the Coalition will scrap all planned fuel duty increases

Fuel duty"Speaking during the local election campaign in Derbyshire [yesterday], he also pledged to “keep going” to block future fuel duty rises. … It is now understood to be unlikely that there will be any duty rises before the next general election in 2015, unless petrol prices fall sharply." – Daily Telegraph

Mr Cameron can expect an intra-Coalition scrap over Europe

"David Cameron is heading for a new coalition row over Europe, after his plan to pull Britain out of 130 EU justice and police co-operation measures was denounced by senior peers as dangerous to national security. … A report by the cross-party Lords EU committee [warns] that opting out of the laws would have 'significant adverse negative repercussions' for British security and justice." - Financial Times

UK would jeopardise military standing by leaving EU, says German minister - Guardian

  • "A new deal would benefit all of Europe" – Daily Telegraph editorial

What will No.10 decide about the Afghan interpreters?

"The Government is expected to rule this week on the fate of hundreds of interpreters who work alongside British forces in Afghanistan. … The imminent decision by No 10 comes after a campaign to give the 600 workers the right to refuge in Britain when Nato forces leave the country next year." - The Times (£)

  • "The Ministry of Defence wastes up to £94m a year training 16 and 17-year-old army recruits for roles which could be filled more cost-effectively by adults, according to analysis by campaign groups." – Independent
  • "A two-year delay in the publication of the official inquiry into the Iraq war was condemned by peers yesterday" – The Times (£)

Well, we shouldn't really expect decisions from a deserted No.10, says Rachel Sylvester

Tumbleweed"Andrew Cooper, the Prime Minister’s director of strategy, has promised to stay until at least October — but after that he is likely to return to Populus, the polling company he set up, with a contract to advise the Conservatives as a consultant … 'Downing Street is like a ghost ship,' says one senior Tory. 'If you want a decision made on government policy it’s hard to know who to ring. Everything is in limbo.'" – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)

> Today on ToryDiary: Why senior staff leave Downing Street. They don't feel Cameron has a mission. Or they don't think he'll win. Or both.

As one of those former No.10 advisers urges the Government to take on the "vested interests" blocking reform

"One in five parents, rising to one in three in cities, feels they cannot access a good school in their local area, a survey by a right of centre think-tank has found. … The report’s author Sean Worth, who advised Mr Cameron in Downing Street until last year, said the poor and vulnerable are losing out because 'powerful vested interests' hold up change in the public sector." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday, by Richard Tracey on Local Government: Ban the tube strikes

Jeremy Hunt confronts the Royal College of Nursing

Hunt"Mr Hunt said the RCN, which attacked a move to make all student nurses spend a year doing menial tasks, had been criticised for being more concerned about their members than patients. … He told the RCN to be ‘very careful’ and pointed out that a damning report into Mid Staffs said the union had failed to listen to nurses’ warnings of unnecessary suffering." – Daily Mail

"Tens of thousands of elderly patients could be sent to hotels to recover from illnesses under plans being considered by the Government to free up hospital beds." – Daily Mail

  • "…if the RCN really believes that paper qualifications are more valuable to patients than human compassion, it has forgotten why the NHS was founded in the first place." – Daily Mail editorial

> Yesterday:

Tory MPs back Elizabeth Truss in her battle with "chaotic" nurseries

"The education minister’s claim that nurseries are too ‘chaotic’ has already outraged teaching unions and childcare providers. … Tory MPs urged Miss Truss to ‘stick to her guns’ yesterday. One, Damian Hinds, urged her to ‘continue her drive to improve standards in our nurseries’." – Daily Mail

  • "Yes, minister, nurseries are bad for children. So why don't you do more for stay-at-home mums?" – Kathy Gyngell, Daily Mail

The Government's amendment to the Libel Bill

"Companies will be prevented from suing newspapers and bloggers for libel unless they can prove substantial financial loss, under an amendment to the Defamation Bill tabled by the Government. … The amendment was heralded as a victory for free speech by campaigners, who have been fighting for years to prevent companies from using Britain’s antiquated libel laws to silence critics." – The Times (£)

The Times highlights and criticises the Leveson effect

Times"The British establishment has for too long valued secrecy over disclosure. It is now moving towards a new relationship with the press that will undermine both freedom and accountability." – Times editorial (£)

  • Rob Wilson continues his fight to have the Leveson lawyers' affair investigated - Daily Mail

"Snooping tax inspectors have made 41,351 requests to see details about people’s private communications in the past three years"The Sun

  • "Theresa May's Data and Commuications Bill is illiberal and pointless" - Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)

More action on planning: ministers move to curb "time-wasting" appeals against new developments

Boles"Residents' rights to appeal against planning applications will be sharply curbed under rules announced today. … Ministers say the limits on court action will stop ‘time-wasting’ appeals to block new developments – and encourage both economic growth and house-building. … But campaigners warn local communities face a further erosion of their powers to block unwanted building." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by Alex Morton on Comment: How to build better homes – for both younger and older people

And they've moved to curb time-wasting judicial reviews, too

"Applicants seeking a judicial review are to be subject to new charges and shortened deadlines in order to cut down on what ministers have described as “meritless applications” brought solely to get publicity. … The changes, brought in on Tuesday, mark the latest step in efforts to streamline the courts process and free up time for so-called genuine cases." – Financial Times

Further speculation about the numbers of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants…

RB"But critics accused the BBC of concocting 'nothing-to-see-here headlines'. … The poll quoted figures of 1 per cent of Romanians and 4 per cent of Bulgarians 'actively considering work in the UK'. … But the MigrationWatchUK think-tank said the small percentages represented 150,000 Romanians and 200,000 Bulgarians." – Daily Mail

The first volume of Charles Moore's biography of Margaret Thatcher is released today

Charles Moore"Margaret Thatcher was condemned by one of her closest advisers within two years of arriving in No 10 for bullying weaker colleagues and abusing her seniority, the official biography of the late prime minister reveals. … In a searing memo, which foresaw many of the weaknesses which led to her downfall nearly a decade later, Sir John Hoskyns warned Thatcher that she was breaking every rule of man-management and had created an 'unhappy ship' which threatened her position." – Guardian

The Telegraph has plenty of extracts here.

> Today, Andrew Gimson interviews Charles Moore: A conviction politician who survived by twisting and turning 

Bruce Anderson: Today’s Tory MPs are far less predictable – and manageable – than their forebears

"…the PM ought to beware of the trouble that could be over the horizon. Once he has made a well-received speech, he is still inclined to think that he can forget about politics and get on with governing. That is a snare and a delusion. Even if he does not need to worry about the 1922 as a corporate body, he ought to pay more attention to its members." – Bruce Anderson, Daily Telegraph

  • "The Select Committees are stronger than ever and the post-2010, post-expenses scandal, intake is less deferential, especially on the Tory side" – Donald Macintyre, Independent

Vince Cable versus the big pub companies

VC"Business Secretary Vince Cable unveiled plans for a radical 'Code of Practice' to give landlords a fairer deal on rent and beer prices. … And he tore into pubcos — those managing vast estates of over 500 pubs — for speeding up the demise of the British boozer." – The Sun

  • "Vince Cable, business secretary, has refused to commit to a target of spending on science as a proportion of gross domestic product…" – Financial Times

Ed Miliband on a future Labour government: "It’s going to be very different from the Labour government of 1997 to 2010."

"Mr Miliband said he has ‘learned lessons’ from New Labour’s approach to business and the City and said he would aim to water down the importance of financial services in the economy. … In an interview with the BBC, he laid out plans to impose more regulation, tax bankers more heavily and build ‘a different banking system’." – Daily Mail

  • "[Mr Miliband] believes the next election can and should be won from some way to the left of where Mr Blair contested three. It is a fearsome gamble to take, but it is anything but vague." – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

The Guardian and Independent back Mr Miliband's plans to integrate health and social care


Ed M

  • "It is obviously in the interest of patients for the system to provide co-ordinated treatment – with support at home taking account of what's happened in hospital." – Guardian editorial (£)
  • "The Labour leader, Ed Miliband is stealing a march on the Coalition and daring to broach a problem that is long overdue for a solution." – Independent editorial

"Barry Sheerman, the Labour MP who wanted to see a statue erected of Harold Wilson in the Commons, has been unable to persuade his fellow parliamentarians"Daily Telegraph

Unions threatening to strike over Royal Mail plans

"In a call to arms, they are plotting ‘any campaign required to oppose the privatisation’, such as strike action. … The Government is the only shareholder in Royal Mail, but a flotation on the stock market is expected, possibly this autumn." – Daily Mail

Britain is in a "depression", says the Archbishop of Canterbury

Justin Welby"Speaking at a Bible Society debate on ethics in finance, Justin Welby described the financial crisis as a ‘generational problem’ driven by a slump in confidence as much as a breakdown in the markets." – Daily Mail

  • Justin Welby calls for introduction of regional banks – Guardian

"Politicians should take note of the resurgence of English national identity" – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

News in brief:

  • "Chris Huhne and his former wife Vicky Pryce are due to walk free from jail within weeks after serving only two months of their eight-month sentences." – Daily Mail
  • Google defends itself over low UK tax bill – Daily Mail
  • Parliamentary injuries cost the taxpayer more than £40,000 – The Times (£)

And finally 1)… success for the Succession Bill

"The Queen is expected to approve a historic change in law within days that will allow a first-born daughter of Prince William and his wife Kate to ascend to the throne. … The Succession to the Crown Bill passed its final stage in Parliament last night when it was approved by the House of Lords, and will receive Royal Assent as early as next week." – Daily Mail

And finally 2)… an act of Gove

Bulb"Blackout in the Commons. It happened just after Education Secretary Michael Gove described a school in Vauxhall, south London, as ‘a bright ray of hope’. With that, ping, off went the lights." – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

  • "A school head has banned teachers marking homework in red ink — in case it upsets pupils." –The Sun

And finally 3)… popcorn and ermine

"Government and Labour whips have come up with a novel way to keep members of the House of Lords entertained when they are required to stay at Parliament for late-night votes. … A programme of film screenings, panel discussions and talks, including the Bond thriller Skyfall and a documentary on Clement Attlee’s Government, has been arranged in an attempt to discourage peers from leaving early." – The Times (£)

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