Published:

6.30pm WATCH: "It's a land grab too far." Iain Duncan Smith fights the European Commission over benefits tourism

Andy Coulson4.30pm ToryDiary: Andy Coulson’s GQ article is full of good advice for the PM – but not when it comes to Samantha Cameron

3pm On ToryDiary, Mark Wallace says that the EU Commission is the gift that keeps on giving: "This new threat suggests they intend to carry on governing as normal, unaware of the impact on anti-Brussels feeling among an already heartily eurosceptic electorate. Eurosceptics should hope for more such presents in the next couple of years – the likelihood is that the EU will willingly deliver them."

12.45pm Nick de Bois MP on Comment: More people and bodies should have the power to pull the Community Trigger

11am To mark Tax Freedom Day, the Adam Smith Institute's Madsen Pirie admits: I work for the government…

PatriotismToryDiary: The Tories must learn once more how to express patriotism, or the future belongs to UKIP

Peter Hoskin writes this week's Culture Column: Hay has gone political; if only politics would go Hay

Mark Field MP on Comment: The Office for Budget Responsibility – it seemed such a good idea at the time… 

Also on Comment, Louise Burfitt-Dons writes: It’s time for the Tories to target a new type of female voter

On MPsETC, Martin Callanan MEP's latest monthly letter to ConservativeHome readers: My colleague Vicky Ford fights off a directive that would have damaged our oil industry

On LeftWatch, Tim Montgomerie asks: Is it possible that Ed Miliband is a worse Labour leader than Gordon Brown?

Local Government: The Left's hypocrisy on "surplus places"

The Deep End: Jon Cruddas, Edmund Burke and a most remarkable book review

WATCH: Boris – "I'm backing David Cameron all the way"

Boris backs Dave (sort of)

Boris Cameron

"Boris Johnson cheekily declared yesterday he is 'increasingly confident' David Cameron will win the next election. … The London Mayor denied claims from ex-No10 Press chief Andy Coulson that he “desperately wants to be Prime Minister” and hopes to see the Tory leader fail." – The Sun

  • "Boris the hare should beware the tortoises" – Isabel Hardman, The Times (£)
  • "What are we to make of poll results which show that knowledge of Boris Johnson's love child makes almost no difference at all to voters' intentions?" – Independent editorial
  • "Cameron the new Major? Don’t buy that myth" – Steve Richards, The Independent
  • "David Cameron’s circle of trusty chums is shrinking" – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

> Today's video to WATCH: Boris – "I'm backing David Cameron all the way"

Good news for George Osborne, as the OECD supports his deficit reduction plan

Upturn"The British economy will perform better than all its major European rivals this year as the sluggish recovery picks up pace, [the OECD] said yesterday. … The Paris-based think tank said Chancellor George Osborne’s austerity plans were ‘appropriate’ and ‘necessary’ and added that the outlook in the UK was far brighter than on the Continent, where the situation is ‘dire’." – Daily Mail

OECD calls for NHS ringfence to be reconsidered – Daily Telegraph

  • "I'm used to the Left fibbing about 'savage' cuts. But the mystery is why Mr Osborne is playing the same game." – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

…while he takes on the energy companies…

Osborne"Gas and electricity companies have attempted to make  ‘completely unacceptable’ claims for nearly £1billion in tax breaks they should not be entitled to, George Osborne said. … The Chancellor said HM Revenue and Customs has prevented utility firms from claiming tax breaks on payments made by their customers rather than themselves." – Daily Mail

  • "Village sports clubs face crippling tax bills after a major crackdown by the taxman." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by Rory Meakin on ThinkTankCentral: Three steps to fix our broken corporate tax system

…and one of his recent hires comes under question

"A former banker hand-picked by chancellor George Osborne to help police the financial system donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Conservative Party. … One insider said the donations are likely to be scrutinised by the influential Treasury Select Committee of MPs, which will grill new committee members over the next few weeks." – Daily Mail

Philip Hammond gets caught up in a row over Afghan prisoners…

PH"Lawyers for the Afghans claimed the prisoners are being illegally detained at a ‘secret’ prison within Camp Bastion in Helmand Province and demanded they be brought before a court or released. … But when Defence Secretary Philip Hammond indicated that the military was prepared to release them to the Afghan authorities, the same lawyers said they might launch fresh action in the UK courts to prevent that happening." – Daily Mail

  • "The whiff of suspicion over the Chilcot Inquiry grows stronger" – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Freeborn Philip Hammond's spending review rebellion may be more loyal than it looks

…agitates against further defence cuts…

"Philip Hammond has raised the stakes ahead of next month’s spending review, insisting that the Ministry of Defence cannot make any further substantial cuts without undermining British security" –Financial Times

  • "Business Secretary Vince Cable may cut up rough, and the Lib Dems will not accept swingeing welfare cuts, but fundamentally any Star Chamber will mark yet another round of Blue on Blue battles." – Sue Cameron, Daily Telegraph

…speaks out in favour of the Communications Data Bill…

DCB"British troops and citizens would be safer from terrorist 'mayhem' if MI5 and MI6 had more access to people’s internet activities, the Defence Secretary has claimed. … [He] said it was vital to have the new laws – known as the 'snooper’s charter' – in order to monitor Islamic extremists." – The Independent

Michael Adebowale charged with the murder of Lee Rigby – Daily Telegraph

  • "After Woolwich, don't ban hate speech, counter it. Hate it, too" – Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian
  • "Theresa May knows what it is necessary to do to fight Islamism – but her hands are tied" – Douglas Murray, The Spectator

> Yesterday, by Mohammed Amin on Comment: Calling terrorists jihadis helps them

…and is the subject of a profile by Andrew Gimson in the New Statesman

AG"It is easy to imagine Hammond as a chancellor devoted to sound money: much harder to imagine him as prime minister. But that depends on what kind of prime minister is wanted. If we are in a crisis, and need a calm head attached to a safe pair of hands, the cry might yet go up to send for Hammond." – Andrew Gimson, New Statesman

The holiday's over for some prisoners, thanks to Chris Grayling's latest plans

"All lags will be banned from swanning off abroad after being freed on licence. … About 50,000 criminals a year who are sentenced to less than 12 months will be slapped with the curb on foreign hols. … The move will bring the convicts — who only serve half their sentence in jail — into line with prisoners given longer terms." – The Sun

Concern that the Government's new planning measures will fuel problem gambling

"Betting shops will be allowed to open up in pubs under a change in planning laws which will see the high street ‘overrun’ with bookmakers and payday lenders, critics have warned. … Planning rules that come into force today will allow shops to switch use to bookmakers without planning permission in what was dubbed a ‘free for all’ on Britain’s high streets." - Daily Mail

The Government's plans to tackle benefits tourism face a legal challenge… from Brussels

"The European Commission wants to relax the rules on welfare payments to EU nationals. … Since 2004, Britain has required them to be formal residents of the UK in order to claim state handouts – but the Commission thinks this breaks EU rules. … If European officials get their way, the UK would have to pay hundreds of millions of pounds a year to EU nationals who visit Britain." - Daily Mail

As a German politician attacks Tory MPs as the "English Tea Party"

Tea PArty"British Conservative MPs have been branded the “English Tea Party” in a rant by a senior German politician that revealed Berlin’s frustrations with the rest of Europe. … Britain, France and 'barely governable' Italy came in for a verbal assault from Günther Oettinger, the German European Union Commissioner for Energy and a senior member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU)." - The Times (£)

  • "The idea of tabling an amendment to the Tory bill demanding a referendum before the next election is gaining currency in Labour ranks." – Rafael Behr, New Statesman

> Yesterday:

Tim Yeo reckons that humans might not be responsible for global warming

"Tim Yeo, who chairs the Commons energy and climate change committee, accepted that the earth’s temperature is rising. … But he said it was possible that the increase could be down to ‘natural phases’ in the earth’s climate, and that human action is merely a ‘possible cause’." – Daily Mail

"John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, lives rent free with his family in a prestigious Westminster residence granted as part of his office"Daily Telegraph

Nick Clegg cares more about his party than the country, says Jacob Rees-Mogg

CoC"The Prime Minister has been admirable in acting according to the responsibilities of his high office rather than as a party leader. … Nick Clegg has not done this. He has followed a differentiation strategy. … This differentiation strategy has been followed not for the good of the nation but in a so far forlorn effort to protect the Lib Dems' opinion poll ratings and a rather more successful one to keep the Deputy Prime Minister in his post." – Jacob Rees-Mogg, Daily Telegraph

  • Nick Clegg launches inquiry into MP facing sexual assault claims - Guardian

Defence officials warn that the Lib Dems' Trident plans could cost jobs

"The Lib Dems have long pushed for a cheaper alternative to Trident, and will back the reduced version suggested by the Cabinet Office analysis. But senior advisers at the Ministry of Defence have said this would put British jobs at risk at some of the country’s biggest defence contractors." – Financial Times

Oh dear, Ed Miliband is regarded as "less trustworthy, decisive or competent" than Gordon Brown

ED Brown"Ed Miliband us viewed by voters as less trustworthy, decisive or competent than Gordon Brown, according to a new poll … The Labour leader scores at consistently poorer levels than his predecessor did after the party's 2010 general electon defeat. However, voters also regard Mr Miliband as a better Labour leader than Mr Brown, by 32 per cent to 17 per cent." – The Times (£)

  • "Britain could find itself with a prime minister it doesn’t want or respect. Miliband’s best hope is to get tough on the economy" – Times editorial (£)

> Today on On LeftWatch: Is it possible that Ed Miliband is a worse Labour leader than Gordon Brown?

News in brief

  • "Mary Portas's scheme to revitalise ailing high streets has failed to stop the rot – with 10 out of the 12 towns selected to share £1.2m of taxpayers' cash seeing an increase in empty shopping outlets." – Guardian
  • Overstretched A&E departments having to divert ambulances to other hospitals – Daily Mail
  • Anger at the boss of Network Rail's £100,000 bonus – Daily Mail
  • Two-thirds of pupils are worried about the cost of university – Daily Mail
  • Grandparents provide childcare worth £7.3 billion a year, according to study – The Sun
  • "There is more of the MMR scandal to come," warns former chief executive of the Medical Research Council – The Times (£)
  • Half-a-million Britons are using food banks, claims report – The Independent

And finally… Save the Houses of Parliament!

HoP

"An international appeal has been issued to companies who can save the Houses of Parliament from collapse. … Specialist companies are now being sought to find a way to carry out extensive work to repair the building, without distributing the process of British politics. … However, MPs and peers could be told to pack their bags and leave the site for up to two years, instead holding debates and votes in a temporary Parliament elsewhere." – Daily Mail

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