6.15pm Matthew Elliott on CentreRight: "When Ken Clarke was invited into the Shadow Cabinet, the nation was told that he would not be allowed to force the Conservative Party into following his unnatural and unpopular support for closer EU integration. Sadly, it seems that yesterday he attempted to rush the Opposition into just such a commitment.
10.30am Jill Kirby on CentreRight: "If the Conservatives can get on top in the battle of truth and lies, they will stand to gain not only a big majority but also a mandate to govern."
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- Furious Tory MPs threaten to remove John Bercow if he becomes "third Labour Speaker in a row"
- Conservative MPs prepare for second jobs scrutiny
Local government: Should we have talking CCTV?
Jackie Ashley: Labour is guilty of "teenage politics" on spending
"What is silly is to imply that Labour would not make cuts or that they
would not have to raise taxes for ordinary families. The pretence that
one party can protect us and the other one would cheerfully slash, is
old politics." – Jackie Ashley in The Guardian
Labour's Ed Balls persists with the "old politics" in an article
for Ms Ashley's newspaper: "the dividing line at the next election
won't simply be about Labour investment versus Tory cuts. It will also
be a debate about values and priorities: between a Labour party that
has asked the wealthiest to pay a little more to help the most
vulnerable through the recession, and a Conservative party that would
cut apprenticeships and close Sure Start centres to give millionaires a
Boris Johnson, in The Telegraph, calls for a renewed focus on wealth creation: "I want to hear politicians talk less about themselves and their priorities and more about the entrepreneurs, the people who get up at 5am to organise their business or cut deals with the other side of the world. Every time you hear politicians swanking about what they are going to do with public funds, remember that wealth was ultimately created by private enterprise; and, if they don't help the wealth creators, they won't have any money to spend."
National Union of Teachers welcome Michael Gove's abolition of tests for 11 year olds
"Controversial national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds will be scrapped if the Conservatives win the next general election. The tests, dubbed "SATs" and taken by 600,000 children in the final year of primary school in maths, English and science, will instead be sat by students as soon as they start secondary school. The pledge was immediately welcomed by both the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Head Teachers who have threatened to boycott the tests next summer on the grounds they narrow the curriculum on offer." – Independent
"Conservative proposals to reform Sats tests would be a "huge step backwards" for school accountability, Schools Minister Vernon Coaker has said." – BBC
A leading article in The Independent welcomes the policy shift as "imaginative".
'Ken Clarke softens Tory line on Lisbon'
"A future Tory government would accept the Lisbon treaty and concentrate instead on repatriating powers, mainly in the field of employment, the shadow business secretary, Kenneth Clarke, said yesterday… A Tory spokesman said Clarke had not changed party policy. "As Ken Clarke explained, if the Lisbon treaty is ratified and in force across the EU by the time of the election of a Conservative government, we would not let matters rest there. We have consistently made clear that the return of social and employment legislation to UK control would be a major goal for a Conservative government."" – Guardian
"The intervention of Mr Clarke, who has always been fervently supportive of the EU, appeared to rule out categorically the possibility of a referendum on the treaty if it has already been ratified when the Tories win power." – Daily Mail
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Clarke admits that Tories won't re-open Lisbon if it is ratified by the Irish
> Video of Clarke: 'I joined the frontbench because the Conservative Party is not as Eurosceptic as it was.'
California can no longer be a model for the Conservatives
"It was not that long ago that David Cameron, the Tory leader, was holding up California as the economic model he most wanted to emulate. One of his closest aides, Steve Hilton, is based in Silicon Valley, where his wife works for Google; and the more radical Cameroons thought they had discovered the perfect cocktail of entrepreneurialism, sunny lifestyle, environmentalism, social liberalism and third-way economics. Not too surprisingly, we are hearing much less talk of rebuilding post-credit crunch Britain in California’s image at the moment. California faces a $24.3bn budget deficit and is set to run out of cash by late July; its European-style welfare state, pegged on to its hardcore capitalist culture, is facing total collapse." – Allister Heath in City AM
> Yesterday on CentreRight: Allister Heath's daily economic wisdom is now online
Tory-backed Calman Commission recommends more devolution to Scotland
"Holyrood would take charge of half the income tax raised in
Scotland, under plans being put forward by the body reviewing Scottish
devolution. The Calman Commission will also say the Scottish Parliament
should be in control of national speed limits, drink driving laws and
airguns legislation." – BBC
FT poll finds considerable public support for independent candidates
"Widespread disgust about MPs’ lavish expenses claims has led as many as
three in five voters to consider punishing Labour, the Conservatives
and the Liberal Democrats at the next general election by switching
their support to independent candidates." – FT
"Up to 50 Labour MPs face the axe as the party cleans up its image after the expenses scandal" – The Sun
Keeping Iran in our thoughts
(PICTURE FROM ANDREW SULLIVAN)
"When a regime peremptorily chooses which candidates can run; shutters newspapers, Web sites and television bureaus; silences text messaging; and throws critics into prison — such a regime should not expect its pronouncements on election results to garner any respect." – Washington Post leader
"I believe Joe Biden, who conferred with Barack Obama before going on TV Sunday, made a mistake in reiterating America's intention to engage Iran, regardless of the election outcome. Why make that statement at this time? Why give the Iranian regime any kind of positive reinforcement for its violent suppression of the opposition?" – The Economist's Lexington
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