Published:

5.15pm ToryDiary: Conservative members want the Coalition to end shortly before the election (and are opposed to the idea of another afterwards)

4pm LeftWatch: Unite officials, retreads and washed-up Brownites picked in Labour's troubled MEP selections

1.30pm LeftWatch: Exam board insists A-level Politics students give left-wing answers

1pm On Comment, Lord Ashcroft writes about the silent victim of The Sunday Times’s “cash for access exposé”: "Sarah Southern has always maintained a dignified public silence over the events of early last year but, with her permission, I am able to tell her side of events for the first time."

12.45pm Local Government: Council by-election results from yesterday

11.30am Dr Prem Sharma on Comment: UKIP – a truly Conservative government at last?

Screen shot 2013-08-02 at 11.34.13On ToryDiary, how Boris plans to run the Ultimate Bandwagon Leadership Campaign"He is the Ulysses of our time, and sees the leadership as his Penelope.The Mayoralty is only Calypso – a stopping-point on the way back to what he sees as his own, as his possession. His competitors are the suitors. He is coming for them with a quiverful of fiery arrows."

Iain Dale's latest column: Just how big is Douglas Alexander's sword?

Chris Skidmore MP on Comment: Three years on, the Academies Act in review

Local Government: Oxfordshire County Council proposes new bus lanes to raise revenue from fines

The Deep End's Heresy of the Week: Atheism has its heretics too

Cameron (and the other party leaders) criticised after new Lords appointments

Lords

"The main party leaders were accused last night of polluting politics by cramming the House of Lords with donors, cronies, lobbyists and failed politicians. … David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband face claims of trading honours for millions of pounds in donations. … Even though the three parties have called for a smaller upper house, their 30 appointments send its membership ballooning to 836 – 200 more than the Commons. Taxpayers face a bill for an extra £1.2million a year." – Daily Mail

  • "Another grubby day for our political class" – Daily Mail editorial
  • "What an embarrassment to the so-called mother of parliaments." – Guardian editorial
  • "Nick Clegg should listen to David Steel and improves the Upper House." – Times editorial (£)
  • "A crowded, expensive and inefficient House" – Daily Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday:

The Prime Minister isn't a gentleman, claims Tom Utley – but Gove is

Gove"I am determined to introduce [my son's teacher fiancée] to the Education Secretary. For I defy anyone to spend 20 minutes in his company without realising that he is a thoroughly good man, driven only by a strong desire to improve the prospects of children who were born, like him, without life’s material advantages. … She will find that far from being Satan, he is a true gentleman. Which is a great deal more than can be said for his boss." – Tom Utley, Daily Mail

"Why bother to fight a reform that is doing so well, and proving so popular with parents and children that lengthy queues for places are forming? The answer is that it is Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, who has achieved all this – and the Left is maddened by his success." – Daily Telegraph editorial

  • "Gove draws level with Boris in poll for Cameron's successor" – The Independent reports ConservativeHome's poll results from yesterday

> Yesterday: 

Osborne may start selling off Lloyds shares as soon as next week

Lloyds"The Government is looking at selling the first part of its £20 billion stake in the Lloyds Banking Group as early as next week. … Officials believe that there may be an opportunity to start disposing of its 39 per cent stake in the next few days, after strong half-year results in the first half of 2013 prompted a spike in the share price." – The Times (£)

  • "Banks have agreed to pay the equivalent of almost £400 to every adult in Britain as the country’s biggest misselling scandal continues to grow." – The Times (£)

Simon Jenkins versus Eric Pickles

"Bullying local government is a leitmotif of coalition politics. Pickles wants to cap every tax, decide every planning application, curb any innovation and squeeze every budget. No meadow is safe from his inspectors, no skyline from his towers. He has plenty of money to spend where he can get the credit." – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

"Nick Clegg has said the murder of Daniel Pelka should be on everyone's conscience"The Guardian

Clegg embroiled in a jobs row as he opens new wind farm…

Wind turbine"As he officially opened the offshore scheme yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg claimed 30,000 British jobs would be created by the end of the decade by investing in renewable energy. … But local MPs and businessmen said this appeared a hollow promise. … Because turbines for the Centrica scheme off Skegness are made in Denmark, Danish and Swedish workers are being drafted in daily to work on them." – Daily Mail

"David Cameron’s planning minister has been stripped of his responsibility for wind farm policy because his brother works for a major turbine manufacturer." – Daily Telegraph

Foreign wind farm companies to face UK jobs test to win subsidies - Financial Times

  • "Britain is slamming its doors against the world" – Philip Stevens, Financial Times

> Yesterday on the Deep End: British workers have done their bit for recovery, now British capitalists must do the same

…while the ONS increases its estimates around "zero hour" contracts

Zero"The number of UK workers on zero hours contracts is 25 per cent greater than was thought after the government changed its methodology for calculating the figure. … The Office for National Statistics announced on Thursday that at the end of 2012 some 250,000 people were on such contracts, in which employees are only paid for the time they work and have no guarantee they will be offered any hours." – Financial Times

  • "The UK should not ban zero hours contracts but crack down on abuses" – Financial Times

Labour MP attacks Ed Miliband's leadership as "hesitant and confused"

"George Mudie confessed he was deeply worried about the party’s prospects with the next General Election just 18 months away. … The former minister — a member of the powerful Treasury Select Committee — warned that Labour members across Britain 'have difficulty knowing what we stand for now'" – The Sun (£)

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: What must Labour do next? Our panel offer some advice to Ed Miliband

Sadiq Khan: The Tories can't connect with ordinary people

SK"These examples signify more than comic incompetence. They chime with the public's view that the Conservatives are desperately and irretrievably out of touch. The reason these problems emerge with such regularity is because David Cameron has not changed, and will not change, his party." – Sadiq Khan, The Guardian

Stella Creasy is profiled in The Guardian, including quotes from ConservativeHome

"Similarly, the influential Tory website ConservativeHome has called her 'Labour's most interesting member of parliament', less for her wide outside interests than for speaking what it called 'no end of good sense' on public spending and the national debt. As 'one of the few genuine Labour stars of the 2010 intake', the website concluded, Conservatives would be wise to be wary of such a skilled political operator." – The Guardian

The private firm that ran a failing hospital but will still make £53 million – thanks to Labour

NHS"Ministers terminated the contract with Clinicenta to run the treatment centre at Lister Hospital in Stevenage after local GPs stopped referring patients to the unit. … The CQC found the unit was not meeting minimum standards. Yet the terms of the contract signed by Labour mean that the Department of Health must pay £53million to Clinicenta, owned by Carillion, to end the deal." – Daily Mail

An independent Scotland would boost its own oil revenues, claims the SNP

"An independent Scotland would be able to increase returns from North Sea oil by working more closely with industry and being more flexible in policy than UK authorities, says the country’s energy minister." – Financial Times

  • "Both Bannockburn and the Great War will loom large when Scotland votes on independence, one year from now" – Sunder Katwala, Daily Telegraph

£100 million of extra funding for GCHQ … from the US Government

Dollars"The US government gave Britain’s spying centre at GCHQ £100million over three years and apparently expected to influence its work, it was claimed last night. … In return for the secret payments, the eavesdropping agency was expected to ‘pull its weight’, according to documents leaked last night by the fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden." – Daily Mail

  • "And what does the US expect to get from this investment? Quite a bit, seems to be the answer. The influence the NSA has over GCHQ seems considerable." – Nick Hopkins, The Guardian

And other official secrets: the £1 million payoffs for civil servants

"Bosses at the Serious Fraud Office secretly negotiated ‘irregular’ pay-offs for executives worth £1million by using personal email accounts to cover their tracks, the Daily Mail can reveal. … The clandestine deals for senior civil servants were arranged by a handful of managers at the fraud-busting agency – in part through messages sent from private addresses – to prevent other staff from finding out." – Daily Mail

Recovery will only widen the rich-poor divide, argues Jenni Russell

JR"Work by the Resolution Foundation think-tank shows that the ten million people on low-to-middle incomes are never going to be able to make up for the losses they ave experienced over the past few years. Their average earnings are now as low as they were ten years ago. These won't return to their pre-recession value until 2023. Headline figures about recovery will mean nothing to this group." – Jenni Russell, The Times (£)

News in brief

  • "A top police official at the centre of the corporate hacking scandal quit yesterday amid a row over his link to a big investigations company." – The Sun (£)
  • The council that spent £361,800 on iPads, but will now cut up to 1,700 jobs to save money – Daily Mail
  • The number of people killed as a result of drink-driving accidents rose by 26 per cent last year – Daily Mail
  • Steven Hawking ain't on the dole, says doctor attacking the culture of sickness benefits – Daily Mail
  • Twitter storm over the Home Office's crackdown on illegal immigration – The Guardian
  • Postal workers to ballot for strike – The Independent

And finally 1)… Foot protection

Statue

"Commons statues of Margaret Thatcher and Sir Winston Churchill are to be roped off to protect their feet from superstitious MPs. … Traditionally, Tories touch the former Prime Ministers’ feet for good luck as they enter the chamber ahead of a big speech. … Curators warned the statues were 'seriously under threat' from the wear and tear." – The Sun (£)

  • Margaret Thatcher vetoed William Hague's appointment as a special adviser when he was 21, branding it a "gimmick" – Daily Telegraph
  • "The man who was Margaret Thatcher in dry run for World War Three" – Daily Telegraph

And finally 2)… What the leaders bought for Prince George


Boy"Downing Street today revealed the Prime Minister and his wife sent the third in line to the throne a selection of books by the celebrated children's author Roald Dahl. … The Prime Minister's gift to welcome the birth of the royal baby was disclosed after Nick Clegg, his Liberal Democrat deputy, said he has given an embroidered cot blanket made by Spanish nuns. … A Labour spokesman confirmed Ed Miliband, the opposition leader, has sent a three-year-old apple tree – a traditional gift for a first-born boy." – Daily Telegraph

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