6.15pm Melanchthon on CentreRight: "If Cameron can successfully renegotiate our position within the EU, then there is a chance that the UK will still be a member in thirty years time.  If Cameron chooses not to try to renegotiate, or if he does try but is not taken seriously by our EU partners, then I expect that the UK will have left the EU within ten to fifteen years."

5.45pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Questions that won't (but should) be at the heart of the Iraq Inquiry

2.45pm Tom Greeves on CentreRight defends MPs employing spouses etc: In praise of nepotism

ELLWOOD-TOBIASNoon ToryDiary: Tobias Ellwood MP beaten "black and blue" by youths

11.30am WATCH: Nick Clegg tells the BBC that Tony Blair shouldn't be allowed to dictate that Iraq Inquiry takes place behind closed doors

ToryDiary: The grim mood of the Parliamentary Conservative Party

Pamela Singleton on Platform argues that The Marine Bill needs to designate 30% of UK waters as 'highly protected marine reserves'

Mark Wallace on Local government: Birmingham should cut council tax by the £193m it has allocated to a new and unnecessary library

Benedict Rogers on CentreRight comes to the defence of John Bercow and his human rights work: Another side of the story

WATCH: Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is jeered when he tells angry London audience that "Zimbabweans must come home"

Quote of the day

11949839951455368809scissors_02.svg.hi "If Brown won’t offer cuts, then the Tories can outline the tax rises he will have to make in compensation – 12p in the pound in income tax rises, by some estimates."

– Martin Ivens in The Sunday Times

Brown's Cabinet colleagues unhappy at his cuts attacks on Cameron – The Sunday Times

Will 15% cuts be necessary?

"New figures show that, whichever party wins the next election, there will have to cuts of around 15%… totalling a massive £22 billion. That’s equal to the ENTIRE budget for Britain’s secondary schools or FIVE TIMES the current bill for unemployment benefit." – News of the World

Andrew Rawnsley: Tories are WRONG to protect NHS from cuts

"My sacrilegious thought for today is that it will prove to be a mistake to give health a blanket exemption which will mean an even harsher squeeze everywhere else. Some of Tony Blair's advisers used to reflect that one of their strategic mistakes was to get the balance wrong between spending on health and education. The NHS will swallow whatever cash is poured into it. Education is an investment in the country's skills and a generator of additional growth in the future." – Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

> ToryDiary: 63% of voters say Tory line on increasing NHS spending is wrong

Tory frontbenchers in rush to give up second jobs

SHAPPS GRANT-1 "Six senior Tories told The Sunday Times they had either quit or were planning to quit consultancies and directorships. Grant Shapps, the shadow housing minister, David Gauke, the Treasury spokesman, and David Evennett, the junior universities spokesman, are likely to meet the July 1 deadline and thus avoid the need to declare their earnings from second jobs Francis Maude, shadow Cabinet Office minister, David Willetts, the universities spokesman, and Gregory Barker, shadow environment minister, also indicated they would give up their second jobs. But they will not achieve this by July 1 and will have to make at least one set of declarations of their earnings and specify the number of hours they spend on second jobs."

The Independent on Sunday notes that other Labour MPs are also affected by second jobs disclosure rules: "Alan Milburn, once seen as a future Labour prime minister, has seen his business career flourish since leaving the Cabinet. He now earns over £100,000 a year from outside interests, and has set up his own company to handle his media and consultancy work. The former armed services minister Adam Ingram has put together a portfo
lio of directorships worth up to £170,000 since leaving the Government two years ago."

Clarke rebuked by Cameron for Lisbon remarks

"David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has slapped down Kenneth Clarke, the shadow business secretary, for suggesting that the Tories will not hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty." – The Sunday Telegraph

…Patrick O'Flynn got closer to the truth in The Express: "[Ken Clarke] was not carpeted, let alone sacked. Cameron's aides merely stated that the Tory policy had not changed. But they refused to be drawn further on what exactly the policy is."

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: "The Conservative leadership team would not have invited Ken Clarke to join the shadow cabinet if they had intended to be radical on Europe."

The Tory MPs who took £250 each month for unreceipted petty cash

  1. Blunt Crispin Crispin Blunt
  2. Peter Bone
  3. Derek Conway (had whip withdrawn)
  4. Gerald Howarth
  5. Andrew Mackay
  6. David Wilshire

From The Mail on Sunday.

Will Gordon Brown walk away BEFORE General Election?

The Mail on Sunday says POSSIBLY: "Gordon Brown may agree to step down as Prime Minister before the next General Election to avoid a humiliating defeat by David Cameron, according to Labour sources. The possibility of Mr Brown quitting to give a new leader the chance of reviving the party’s fortunes was disclosed after he talked openly for the first time of ‘walking away’ from the job and spending more time with his family."

The News of the World says NO: "Today Gordon Brown throws down a defiant challenge to Labour rebels – declaring he WILL be leading the party at the next election. In an exclusive interview with the News of the World, the Prime Minister insisted he has NO intention of quitting and will NOT be blown off course."

Downing Street dismisses claims that decision to hold an Iraq inquiry in private reflected pressure from Tony BlairBBC

Gordon Brown is to appear on Songs of Praise as he attempts to "reconnect"

Picture 9 "When the show – during which Mr Brown will speak about courage and the people who have inspired him – is broadcast next month the chosen hymns will include Be Still My Soul, Fight the Good Fight and Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd." – Sunday Telegraph

The unredacted expense claims of the ten candidates for Commons SpeakerSunday Telegraph

Constitutional experts say Cabinet is now too big to take decisionsSunday Telegraph

And finally…

SCOTTISH FLAG "It's 2014. The Tories are running the UK, having won the election in 2010. An SNP government is re-elected in 2011. They hold a referendum on independence, and Scottish hostility to the Tories generates a yes vote. Alex Salmond and Michael Russell's less-than-secret plan? No, it's the opening of Alan Clements' excellent thriller Rogue Nation…" – Scotland on Sunday


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.