Published:

Bob Crow7pm WATCH: Bob Crow calls for a new left-wing alternative to the Labour Party

4pm Daniel Hamilton on Comment: Cameron’s referendum pledge has already strengthened the Conservatives’ hand in Europe

1pm Benedict Rogers on Comment: What Cameron and Hague should tell Burma's President tomorrow 

10.30am MPsETC Ultimate political grudge match today: Bluebirds v Demon Eyes

ToryDiary: Osborne has set off another round of differentiation – who will gain from it?

Kwasi Kwarteng MP on Comment: Democracy lacks roots in Egypt – and it's time we got real about it

Lyton Crosby caught up in the row over cigarette packaging

Times"Ministers effectively abandoned yesterday efforts to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products. But hours later it emerged that Lynton Crosby’s company, CTF, had been advising Philip Morris Ltd in Britain since November. … A Tory MP drew attention to the perceived influence of Mr Crosby because of his previous links to lobbying by tobacco businesses in Australia." – The Times (£)

  • "The Government must be clear on why it has changed tack on cigarette packs" – Times editorial (£)
  • "The Coalition's chance to improve the UK's health has gone up in smoke" – Chris Bryant, The Independent

May tries to stem backbench disgruntlement over EU arrest warrants

"The Home Secretary infuriated Eurosceptic MPs this week by giving them less than a week to digest her proposals before voting on Monday. … She wants to opt out of 130 EU measures on justice and home affairs and retain 35, including the arrest warrants. … But in a major shift yesterday Mrs May said MPs would now be given until October to examine the plans. … Tory Eurosceptic Peter Bone, welcomed the climbdown but said it did not go far enough." – Daily Mail

  • "We must not withdraw from the European convention on human rights" – Cherie Booth, The Guardian

Her decision to scrap the UK Border Agency is further vindicated

May

"It will take 37 years to clear a new backlog of half a million immigration cases, MPs reveal today. … The Home Affairs Select Committee said it is “staggering” that 502,462 applications are still outstanding. … The devastating verdict comes in an inquiry into the failed UK Border Agency, which has now been scrapped and broken up." – The Sun

As Quentin Letts wonders, could the Home Secretary become Tory leader? 

"Mrs May has let it be known she is not hoping to oust Mr Cameron: she is simply determined that Boris Johnson should not stroll into high office. … I am told she finds his shallowness childish and his repeated adultery deplorable. It affronts her both as a child of the vicarage and as a woman. She has no time for Boris’s fnarr-fnarr celebrity politics." – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Gove wants to extend Free School Meals to more pupils, but is wary of the cost

Gove"The education secretary, Michael Gove, supports extending free school lunches to the 3 million primary school pupils in England who currently do not receive them. But the price tag of £900m a year puts the policy out of reach until 2016 at the very earliest, Department for Education (DfE) sources suggested." – The Guardian

G4S does battle with Grayling

"Security firm G4S has hit back at allegations of contract overcharging, accusing court and prison services of failing to pass on vital information to prevent bills on electronic tagging contracts stacking up. … Pointing the finger back at justice secretary Chris Grayling, who has called on the Serious Fraud Office to launch a criminal investigation, G4S told the Guardian: 'We have not overcharged the Ministry of Justice, but have always billed in line with the contract.'" – The Guardian

  • "As G4S 'overcharging' and BBC payouts reveal, life in the UK just isn't fair" – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

Liverpool Care Pathway to be scrapped

"The controversial Liverpool Care Pathway used to 'manage' the death of terminally ill NHS patients is to be scrapped following an official review, ministers will announce next week. … Doctors are expected to be told that, rather than an inflexible national system, each patient in the final days or weeks of their lives should have a personalised treatment plan agreed with their families." – Daily Telegraph

Ministers accused over the deaths of people with learning disabilities

"Ministers have been accused of not caring about the deaths of people with learning disabilities in their response to a report finding widespread discrimination in the NHS. … In a formal response yesterday the Department of Health admitted “unacceptable inequalities” and said that it would look at making a series of improvements around co-ordination, record-keeping and best practice." – The Times (£)

Maria Miller to boycott golf's Open Championship

MM"The Culture, Media and Sport Secretary will boycott the Open Championship in Muirfield next week because it is taking place at a male-only members' club. … Maria Miller, who is also the Minister for Women and Equalities, accused the R&A, golf's governing body, of 'turning a blind eye to sexism.'" – The Times (£)

The Times and Daily Mail respond to Osborne's no-tax-rises pledge

  • "Fighting as the party of less public spending and serious welfare reform against a party of higher tax is a winning position. Although voters say that they favour higher taxes on people wealthier than them, it isn't hard to persuade them that once the taxing starts, they will be included." – Times editorial (£)
  • "The question is: can the Chancellor – whose cuts have, in truth, been relatively timid so far – convince voters that he has the courage to make these tough but necessary calls? For him, and Britain, the stakes could not be higher." – Daily Mail editorial

> Today on ToryDiary: Osborne has set off another round of differentiation – who will gain from it?

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Osborne's tax pledge heralds a class war, 2015 General Election

Could parliamentary delays derail HS2?

Train"Parliament may defer legislation giving the go-ahead to the new railway between London and Birmingham until after the general election, said Alison Munro of HS2 Ltd. It is an admission that critics view as another nail in the coffin of the beleaguered project." – The Times (£)

White Van voters will decide the next PM, says Robert Halfon

"My campaign for White Van Britain started when I fought to stop the relentless increase in fuel duty … Now it's time for a wider movement to build 'White Van Conservatism' – a conservatism that reaches out to those who work hard, save hard, and hold high hopes for themselves and their children." – Robert Halfon, The Times (£)

> Yesterday: 

Boris: voters aren't bothered about my love life

Boris"BoJo was surprised when he was challenged in a Radio 3 interview about at least two flings as well as fathering a love child. … Boris, 49, said: 'My genuine experience is that it doesn’t really make any difference to what the public think you are doing.'" – The Sun

Cable goes on the attack, accuses Tories of relishing the prospect of more cuts

"Vince Cable will today accuse George Osborne of enjoying the prospect of even more spending cuts. … In a clear attack on the Chancellor, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary will warn that ‘Tory dogma’ is holding back  Britain’s recovery. … Mr Cable will also call for local authorities to be allowed to borrow £2.8billion more to build up to 25,000 new council houses." – Daily Mail

And Teather goes on the attack, too, over immigration reform

"A former coalition minister has launched a wide-ranging attack on the government's proposals to reform immigrants' access to housing, healthcare and other essential services, condemning the plans as 'unworkable, unjust, and nakedly political'." – Guardian

Labour's union scandal is far more extensive than Miliband has admitted, writes Andrew Pierce

Ed Miliband"Ms Webb’s concerns are echoed by John Knowles, a Peterborough councillor who joined Labour in 1967. He says at least two defeated candidates were bullied. … Even more worrying, he claims some party members were told that if they withdrew complaints about bullying they would be given financial support by the union to help them run for public office." – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

Other writers consider Ed Miliband's speech on the unions, and what it means for party funding

  • "Once the Labour Party has a relationship with trade unionists as individuals rather than as a block, the difficult legacies of the past start to resolve themselves." – Independent editorial
  • MP"Ed Miliband's promise to reform Labour's relationship with its so-called union paymasters will cost millions; the Tories dependence on their own super-rich so-called paymasters cannot surive. Both parties will face bankruptcy. At that point they'll turn to you and me to help. And do you know what? I think we should." – Matthew Parris, The Times (£)
  • "There is undoubtedly a hidden agenda behind Ed Miliband’s decision to try to reform the way the unions help finance Labour. … It is, I fear, that if he becomes prime minister, he will introduce state funding for political parties. But that would be an outrage." – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • "Mr Miliband seems to have recognised … that his party needs willing recruits, not conscripts. And he will also then need some willing donors to fill the gap. This latest crisis may thus leave him with clean but empty hands." – Peter Clarke, Financial Times

Bob Crow wants a new "working class party" to replace Labour

BC"Bob Crow, the RMT general secretary, will seek to exploit Labour’s wranglings with trade unions by urging the movement to break ties with Ed Miliband and create a party' to take on the 'anti-worker' agenda of the three main Westminster political parties at the Durham Miners’ Gala." – The Independent

  • "Union leaders have enjoyed pay rises of up to 60% and £90,000 'golden-goodbyes' while their members are struggling to cope with rising living costs and pay freezes, according to official accounts." – Daily Telegraph

Yep, there's going to be another round of strikes affecting schools

"Thousands of schools will close for a day after unions  confirmed plans for a national strike next term. … The National Union of Teachers and NASUWT are staging the walkout in protest at Michael Gove’s planned reforms which they describe as a ‘relentless attack’ on the profession." – Daily Mail

  • "Militant teachers seem unable to learn one very simple lesson. … Namely, the only thing they achieve by striking is to stoke public resentment against them." – Sun editorial

"A Labour MP splashed out £1,000 of taxpayers’ cash hiring a flunky to fill out expenses claims — because he cannot use a computer" The Sun

Riots break out in Belfast, leaving an MP injured

"A Belfast MP has been hit in the head with a brick at a Unionist march in the city after celebrations to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne turned violent. … Democratic Unionist Party MP Nigel Dodds was believed to be knocked unconscious and was hospitalised after trouble broke out in the north of the city." – Daily Mail

Charles Moore interviews the Archbishop of Canterbury

JW"I am amazed. I first saw this man 40 years ago, when we were both pupils at Eton. Later, I was with him at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was the shyest, most unhappy-looking boy you could imagine. Now he is 105th in the line that began with St Augustine. He seems to be loving it. I remark on the change, and he agrees. 'That’s something to do with the Christian faith,' he says." – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

"The Office for National Statistics predicts that most children in 2016 will be born out of wedlock – but that doesn't mean they will be raised in single parent households" – Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Police investigating a nail bomb attack at a mosque, which occurred just two hours after the funeral of Lee Rigby – Daily Telegraph
  • Government accused of colluding with Moscow to prevent a public inquiry into Alexander Litvinenko's death – Daily Mail
  • Andrew Marr will appear on his self-titled show tomorrow, with a full-time return to television planned for September – Daily Mail
  • The number of mortgages granted to first-time buyers has risen to its highest level since the start of the financial crisis – Daily Mail
  • Rupert Murdoch's News UK could face fresh phone hacking lawsuits – Financial Times
  • Heathrow to step up its expansion campaign by identifying potential sites – Financial Times
  • Work and Pensions press officers sent on statistics course – The Independent

And finally… Ed Miliband, ladies' man

"As for Ed Miliband, whose romance with Ms Flanders was much shorter than her affair with Balls, ‘he was a bit of a ladies’ man’. … ‘He had a nice line in looking as though he needed comforting from girls, and had considerable success with quite a lot of them.’" – Daily Mail

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