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Cameron: Without an In-Out EU referendum, I’ll quit. He confirms that it is a red line for future Coalition negotiations.

CAMERON EU flag“He accepted voters were ‘sceptical’ about his promise but insisted: ‘I would not continue as Prime Minister unless it can be absolutely guaranteed this referendum will go ahead on an in-out basis.’ Mr Cameron last night also made clear that a referendum is a ‘deal breaker’ in any future coalition negotiations – insisting it could not be ditched if he were to fail to win an outright majority and seek a new power-sharing deal with Nick Clegg.” – Daily Mail

  • Open Europe says populist parties could win a third of the vote next month – The Times (£)
  • Farage’s party accused of “EUracism” by claimed new cross-party campaign (but no Tory supporters are named) – The Guardian
  • UKIP’s Roger Helmer: we should be able to despise gay people, just as we should be free to dislike Earl Grey tea – The Sun (£)
  • Would-be Conservative MEP James Cracknell take the fight to UKIP – The Independent
  • Tory MEP Kay Swinburne “fights for survival” – Wales Online
  • City lawyer’s analysis warns of ‘uncertainty’ threat of EU exit – Financial Times
  • The City’s message to Eurosceptics: where’s your plan? – Juliet Samuel, The Times (£)
  • When the main party leaders play at being the man in the street, it looks craven and affected – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • Prime Minister’s barrister brother tries to have £5million fraud trial thrown out – because Coalition reforms mean his clients can’t get decent lawyers – Daily Mail
  • Cameron must set himself against the spirit of the age – Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – Should Cameron do God? Is Britain a Christian country? Should the Church be disestablished?

> Yesterday: MajorityConservatism – Dial in tonight for a live election conference call with the Prime Minister

HS2 1) In the Commons. Bill gains Second Reading with majority of over 400

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 08.33.30“MPs on Monday night voted MPs voted 452 to 41 in favour of the £50bn project linking London to the north, a majority of 411. A rebel amendment proposed by former Cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan was defeated 451 to 50, although many Tories are believed to have supported it. Labour completed its transformation from HS2 sceptic to cheerleader for high-speed rail as the party lined up behind the coalition to praise the plan.” – Financial Times

The Commons:

  • Gillan: we fight on. Fabricant: Cameron’s U-turn – The Independent
  • John Randall, Iraq war opponent: Voting against HS2 is as important to me as voting against the war – Daily Telegraph
  • “Given the parliamentary arithmetic, Mr McLoughlin was able to adopt a breezy, confident manner. He accepted numerous interventions and with a bluff skill managed to draw the personal sting from the argument.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • His Labour shadow is Mary Creagh, an impressive performer who will go farther and faster than HS2 ever will, especially for those who live in Stoke-on-Trent – Ann Treneman, The Times (£)
  • Bridgen, Lefroy,  Pincher, Turner take aim at scheme – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Is Bercow fit to preside over the debate? – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

HS2 2) Outside the Commons. Lidington: If there’s no Chilterns tunnel, I will resign

LIDINGTON blue background“I have decided to abstain, but I have been and remain opposed to HS2, I’ve fought alongside campaigns and the Prime Minister knows my views. The key test for me is, given there is a massive cross-party majority in favour of this scheme, can we get the generous and fair mitigation that the local area deserves? He said he would resign at the third of the HS2 bill if he feels mitigation is not sufficient. “I will resign at a later stage of the bill if they don’t get mitigation, and that for me includes a Chilterns tunnel.” – Bucks Herald

  • Grieve “absent on a trip to north-east England”, Leadsom “in Brussels on official business” – The Guardian
  • Woodland Trust hits back at Boris over claims that H2 protestors don’t care about the environment – The Times (£)
  • “Once the link is running successfully, future generations will wonder what opponents were fussing about” – Leo Mckinstry and Ross Clark, Daily Express

> Yesterday: MPsETC Maps of the constituencies that HS2 passes through – and the majorities in each

Gove: let’s celebrate the fact that we’re a multicultural nation

“Michael Gove, the Education secretary and a Tory moderniser, issued the call for the Conservatives to reclaim the term at the Asian Business Awards dinner earlier this month. He told the 500-strong black tie dinner at a hotel in central London earlier this month that Britain was a “stronger country” because of its history of immigration. The comments from Mr Gove, who is close to Prime Minister David Cameron, were backed by other senior Tories. Alok Sharma MP, the Conservatives’ vice chairman for black and minority ethnic issues told The Daily Telegraph that people would regard to Mr Gove’s remarks “positively”.” – Daily Telegraph

Polly Toynbee comes to the defence of…Sajid Javid

JAVID Sajid BBC“With the arm’s-length Arts Council to make judgments, the minister’s job is not to opine on the arts. What’s more, it’s a category error to expect politicians to have natural empathy with, or relevant experience in, their departments. Defence secretaries are despised by the armed forces for never having fought, doctors sneer at health secretaries, and teachers detest being instructed by education secretaries. Ministers must be jacks of all trades. What people forget is that politics is a profession in its own right, with running for office an important apprenticeship in public advocacy before steering a department according to voters’ political priorities.” – The Guardian

Cyril Smith: police identify 10 new suspects in ‘child sex ring cover up’

“Greater Manchester Chief Constable, Sir Peter Fahey, said the ongoing police investigation had identified a number of new suspects, but no arrests have been made yet. He told a news conference: “We have identified a number of suspects. New victims have come forward. We have ten or 11 suspects.”…The police investigation will also look at a number of allegations made by Rochdale’s current MP, Simon Danczuk, in a new book about the scandal.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Cyril Smith’s victims don’t want police platitudes, they want his accomplices put behind bars – Simon Danczuk MP, Daily Mail
  • Max Clifford guilty of eight counts of indecent assault – Daily Express

Clegg heads Government’s latest drive to push electric cars

Curse of Clegg 2“The government has promised to spend £500m during the next five years to encourage the use of electric and other green cars, in a push to charge up lacklustre demand. The investment, to be spent between 2015 and 2020, is the latest effort by the government to tempt people into buying low-emission cars, after a previous spending target was missed. “Owning an electric car is no longer a dream or an inconvenience,” said Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister.” – Financial Times

> Yesterday: Local Government – Big drop in number of Lib Dem council candidates

Former Downing Street adviser for Bright Blue 1): Legalise cannabis

“As I proposed to the Prime Minister and some of his closest advisers, the issue of drug reform clearly fits the modernising blueprint for party and nation. The idea was toyed with in the early days of David Cameron’s leadership, then abandoned amid fear of hostile headlines. Since then, the world – and the British media – has moved on. The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs is the annual get-together for combatants in the war on drugs. Member states discuss global drug controls and examine the effectiveness of the three key international treaties underpinning their mission.” – The Independent

Former Downing Street adviser for Bright Blue 2): Labour policy on the NHS is “puerile”

WORTH Sean“Sean Worth, who advised the prime minister on public service reform in Downing Street until 2012, says that “bureaucracies and vested interests” in the NHS have successfully prevented new providers from operating hospitals by creating an “infantile political row” about privatisation. In an article for a new book by the Bright Blue Tory modernising thinktank, Worth cites the example of the 14 NHS trusts taken into special measures since the report on the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal last year.” – Guardian

  • Labour ask Tories not to privatise probation service before general election – The Independent
  • The super-rich could win political gold for Ed – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)

Salmond attacked over Putin praise

“Salmond has been accused of making a “gross error of judgment in international relations” by paying tribute to Russia. Mr Salmond said in a magazine interview that he admired “certain aspects” of president Vladimir Putin, including how he had restored part of Russian pride, although he added he did not approve of a range of Russian actions. He made the comments on 14 March as Russia was being accused of military aggression over the future of Crimea, which it has since annexed, in neighbouring Ukraine.” – Scotsman

  • New sanctions on Putin allies – The Guardian
  • Could these lotto winners break up the UK? – The Sun
  • Billy Connolly comes out against independence… – The Times (£)
  • …And fights cancer and Parkinson’s disease – Daily Mail

Anne Maguire, the first British teacher murdered in a classroom

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 08.43.51“Tributes to the “devoted” Spanish and Religious Education teacher were led by the Prime Minister. Mrs Maguire is believed to be the first teacher to have been killed in a British classroom. Last night a 15-year-old pupil, who minutes before the attack had been brandishing a kitchen knife, was being quizzed by detectives over the killing of the married mother of two. The incident happened at 11.48am at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds where Mrs Maguire was in her final term of teaching before her planned retirement in July.” – Daily Express

News in Brief

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