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Tories urge Lib Dems to end coalition early

Coalition Colours“Tory MPs are secretly urging Lib Dems to help them bring the coalition to an early end as new polling suggests that Nick Clegg’s party is losing ground against the Conservatives in key seats…A study of 17 seats where the Lib Dems and the Tories are the main contenders, paid for by Lord Ashcroft, the former Conservative vice-chairman, shows support for both down from 2010. However, while the Tories have slipped 8 points the Lib Dems are down 15, giving the Tories a chance of unseating as many as 15 Lib Dem MPs at the next election” – The Times (£)

>Today:

Tory Diary: The 1922 Committee prepares to discuss ending the Coalition

>Yesterday:

Comment by Lord Ashcroft: A big lesson from the Blue-Yellow marginals – don’t assume uniform swing

ToryDiary: If UKIP voters switch in those Blue-Yellow marginals, they look more likely to vote Tory than LibDem

Europroblem 1): Farage mocks Cameron for not stopping Juncker

“David Cameron is on course for a humiliating defeat over his attempt to stop the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission, according to Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence party. ‘David Cameron made a big stand about blocking Mr Juncker and is on course for a very embarrassing defeat,’ Mr Farage told the Financial Times. ‘That will mean his renegotiation promise looking even weaker’” – Financial Times

  • After losing on Juncker, Britain should press for job of single market commissioner – The Times leader (£)
  • Juncker is definitely the wrong candidate – Philip Stephens, Financial Times
  • An In/Out EU campaign could turn the Tories against Cameron – Isabel Hardman, Daily Telegraph

Europroblem 2): Migrants use EU to enter Britain by back door

Border“Migrants are exploiting a back-door route into Britain by gaining citizenship of other EU states, ministers were warned yesterday. A report by the chief inspector of borders and immigration highlighted how it was easier to gain citizenship in Italy and Germany than in the UK. Migrants are then able to move to Britain to work and access public services. Sham marriages to EU citizens living in Britain are also growing” – The Times (£)

Passport delay? Stay in the UK, says minister

“Helen Grant, the tourism minister, said she was confident that people waiting longer than normal for their passports would get them in time to travel this summer, but there was ‘a lot to be said for the staycation’. The number of passport applications waiting to be processed reached nearly half a million this week. ‘I’m very confident that people will get their passports,’ she said. ‘But if they don’t want to go away, we have some fantastic places to visit and holiday not that far from here’” – The Times (£)

Muslims claim Gove’s rules could bar them from school governorships

michael-gove“Community leaders have warned that some Muslims could be effectively barred from becoming trustees or governors of new academies and free schools under rules introduced by the education secretary, Michael Gove, in response to the ‘Trojan horse’ controversy…The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said that the new rule would make it very difficult to become a school governor if conservative Muslim beliefs were deemed to be incompatible with ‘British values’” – Guardian

MPs brand disability benefit launch a “fiasco”

“The launch of a new disability benefit has been ‘nothing short of a fiasco’, a parliamentary watchdog has concluded, in the latest blow to Iain Duncan Smith’s troubled welfare reforms. The Commons public accounts committee says the botched introduction of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has ‘let down some of the most vulnerable people in our society’” – Financial Times

Lib Dem ministers blast “shambolic” IT overhaul

CABLE Marr purple shirt“A Whitehall initiative to loosen the hold of big business on government contracts has come under fire from cabinet ministers, who have told the prime minister that ‘shambolic’ IT provision by smaller firms has brought their departments to a virtual standstill in recent weeks. Vince Cable, business secretary, and Ed Davey at the energy department told David Cameron last week that their officials had been struggling with intermittent email, internet and network connections” – Financial Times

  • Mum pestered by Hancock says it “beggars belief” he can remain an MP – The Sun (£)

Nelson: Miliband’s welfare plan shows he is not ready for office

“The whole benefits crackdown is, in fact, a fascinating and deeply instructive study in just how unready Mr Miliband and his party are for government…It is strange to think that the Conservatives could go into the next election claiming to be the true progressives – the ones who have not just thought harder about poverty, but made more progress in tackling it. The Left is still some way behind on the learning curve” – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

But Miliband himself insists he can defy the odds

Ed Miliband stare“Ed Miliband yesterday insisted he can ‘defy the odds’ and win the next election – despite mounting criticism from senior colleagues and dire results in the polls. The Labour leader admitted he faces a tough fight to take his party to victory next year and said he always knew it would be no ‘walk in the park’…His optimism came despite a YouGov poll suggesting only one in five voters thinks he is up to the job of being prime minister” – Daily Mail

  • If it is to win, Labour must confront the “Ed” problem – Rafael Behr, Guardian
  • Labour promises owls for all in Twitter gaffe – Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Obama ready to strike against Iraqi insurgents – The Times (£)
  • King Felipe VI calls for “new Spain” as he is sworn in – BBC
  • Search for MH370 to move south, Australia announces – Guardian
  • Military police fail to prove any rapes despite 60 claims – The Times (£)
  • Hislop quits Index on Censorship – Guardian
  • Pinewood Studios get go-ahead for £200 million expansion – Daily Mail
  • Carrots could hold key to beating cancer – Daily Express
  • Michael Schumacher “likely to remain an invalid” – Daily Telegraph
  • Gerry Goffin dies – Guardian
  • England loses at football – Daily Telegraph

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