5pm WATCH: William Hague taunts Harriet Harman at PMQs
2pm Damian Green on Platform: Why don’t we know the full facts about immigration?
12.45pm Local Government:
- Dominic Grieve calls for fresh thinking on multiculturalism as he condemns a decade of political correctness
- Graham Brady launches friendsofgrammarschools.org
- Updated: Caroline Spelman to keep shadow cabinet post after found guilty of only inadvertent breaches
Daniel Kawczynski on Platform: It is time to address the democratic deficit in England
- Cllr Eugenie White: Stop garden waste collections and promote home composting instead
- Cllr Nick Vaughan: Blanket abolition of Regional Development Agencies would not be very Conservative
"Caroline Spelman last night agreed to pay back nearly £10,000 of Commons expenses she ‘inadvertently’ misused to pay her children’s nanny. The Tory frontbencher apologised for ‘unintentionally’ using taxpayers’ money to help meet the costs of child-minding after a sleaze probe found that she broke the rules governing Parliamentary staffing allowances. MPs on the Commons standards and privileges committee said that in 1997 and 1998 she paid her nanny £4,800 a year too much to also carry out secretarial work – meaning her childcare was ‘cross-subsidised’. But in a report published yesterday they ruled the breach was not deliberate." – Daily Mail
> Yesterday’s ToryDiary
Ivan Cameron laid to rest
"They came to mourn, but also to celebrate a young life that transformed their family. David and Samantha Cameron asked mourners at yesterday’s funeral of their eldest son, Ivan, not to wear black. The Conservative leader led the way with a navy blue suit and a dark yellow tie. His wife wore a dark blue coat and a red scarf. The Camerons wanted yesterday’s private funeral, attended by close family and friends in Oxfordshire, to celebrate the life of Ivan, who died last week at the age of six after a seizure. Ivan, who was described by the Camerons as a "beautiful boy" who transformed their lives, was diagnosed with Ohtahara syndrome, a neurological disorder, shortly after his birth in 2002. The funeral service at the Church of St Nicholas in Chadlington, Oxfordshire, was arranged so that every part said something about Ivan’s life." – Guardian
"David Cameron’s son Ivan’s favourite book, Where the Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak, was read at his funeral. David and Samantha Cameron often read the book, about the imaginary adventures of a young boy named Max dressed in a distinctive wolf suit, to their eldest son who died aged six last Wednesday morning. The lavishly illustrated book, which has 10-sentences, is a modern classic." – Daily Telegraph
George Osborne highlights the growing rift between Brown and Darling…
"Gordon Brown is resisting pressure to admit to mistakes in his handling of the economy, fuelling speculation of a rift with Alistair Darling. The Chancellor said yesterday that the Government shared responsibility for allowing a culture of risk-taking in banks to get out of control, but Mr Darling’s suggestion that ministers show humility and accept a share of the blame for the recession is rejected by Mr Brown… George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, said: “When the Chancellor and the Prime Minister are openly divided over the causes of recession and their responsibility for the mess the British economy is in, what confidence can anyone have that they can lead us into a recovery? Gordon Brown is deeply implicated in the mistakes of the past — and even if he won’t apologise for them, he can’t escape them.” – Times
…and raises questions about Lord Myners failure to question Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension
"City Minister Lord Myners should explain why he did not ask "necessary questions" about ex-RBS chief Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension deal, say the Tories. Shadow chancellor George Osborne said Lord Myners had been told the pension would be a "substantial figure". – BBC
"The independent statistics body for Britain has a ‘sinister’ attitude to immigration, a minister has claimed. Phil Woolas questioned the motives of the Office for National Statistics in publishing figures showing one in nine UK residents was born abroad. The immigration minister revealed that he had tried to prevent the organisation publishing the data and accused it of ‘playing politics’… Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘The way ministers are behaving over crime and immigration figures is little short of a disgrace. When they can, they manipulate the figures for their own political purposes and when they can’t they launch hysterical rants at the independent statistics office’." – Daily Mail
Ministers accused of sleeping on watch over collapse of Icelandic banks
"Ministers were accused by the Conservatives yesterday of being "asleep on their watch" over the collapse of the Icelandic banks.
The shadow communities and local government secretary Caroline Spelman said that they should have realised that "alarm bells" were ringing over the likely damage that would be caused to local government finances." – The Scotsman
Grant Shapps brands Gordon Brown "bailiff-in-chief"
"Gordon Brown was accused of acting as “bailiff-in-chief” last night after Government-owned Northern Rock revealed its home repossessions soared by 63 per cent last year. Thousands of hard-working families were effectively thrown on to the streets as the state-owned lender led the way in calling time on mortgage defaulters… Last night Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps said the blame could be laid at Gordon Brown’s door. He said: “The first thing Brown did as Chancellor of the Exchequer was to give the Bank of England independence and remove power to reign in the lenders, allowing this situation to get out of control. Now he is acting like bailiff-in-chief and has overseen this rise in repossessions at Northern Rock." – Daily Express
Tory-run Essex poised to hand running of care and education to private firms
"Local services face a new wave of privatisation across England as a Conservative council leads moves to put contracts worth billions of pounds out to private tender. Essex County Council is one of a growing number of authorities, mainly Tory-led, that intend to outsource all or most of their services to save funds, including schools management, social care, roads and libraries. Essex, which has shortlisted two companies for a £5.4 billion contract over eight years, is regarded as having developed the blueprint for town halls under a Conservative government." – Times
"Julie Kirkbride said that she had felt vulnerable after receiving disturbing correspondence. She disclosed that other female MPs were experiencing similar problems. Mrs Kirkbride, a former Daily Telegraph reporter, made the comments during a debate on plans to keep MPs’ home addresses secret. MPs backed the controversial plans. "I have had cause in the past to talk to the police about people that have become a nuisance," she said. "You never know if someone is going to explode and you can feel vulnerable sometimes. "I have had some asking for a photograph who seem rational, but then they come back saying ‘I am getting out soon and want to meet’. I still get them now." – Daily Telegraph
Senior Tories say the next election remains "wide open"
"Talk to Cameron’s shadow cabinet. The smarter members of that group
can make a compelling case for why the next election is wide open.
First, they say, it is surely a centre-left moment when untamed markets
are the problem and active government hailed as the solution. Second,
Cameron does not like being forced to talk economics. "He preferred
discussing health or schools, to show he was a different kind of Tory."
This crisis has shoved him right back into his discomfort zone. But
most important, says a leading shadow minister, "Brown has proved that
he can come back from the dead once. He can do it again."- Jonathan Freedland writing in The Guardian
Alice Miles: "Even Cabinet ministers are finding it hard to contemplate another 14 directionless months. We need an election now"
"So, let me get this right. The Prime Minister has flown to Washington to celebrate what is now to be called Britain’s “special partnership” with the US. Gordon Brown and Barack Obama will hold a press conference and have a working lunch, No 10 announced. Oh no, they won’t. the White House said. There was no formal press conference. And the lunch wasn’t even an hour long. Except it wasn’t actually lunch. It was “talks”. With a photo opportunity attached… Nothing will get better on Mr Brown’s watch. Not even with the Pope on his side. Not even if he visits Mr Obama every week. Not even with a “partnership of purpose”. We need an election." – Alice Miles writing in The Times
Brown expected to warn US against protectionism in address to Congress – BBC
DCLG attacked by its own departmental select committee – Daily Express
Ted Kennedy to receive honorary knighthood – Guardian
Ken Livingstone hits back at Tessa Jowell – Guardian letters page
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