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10pm ToryDiary: Voters unenthusiastic about holding AV referendum on cost grounds says new poll

7.45pm Local Government: Lib Dems gained two seats from the Tories in yesterday's local council by-elections

DAVIS-DAVID-BLACK-ON-RIGHT7pm ToryDiary: David Davis predict lots of public debate by
Conservatives in the coming years to subject the Coalition Agreement to
"sensible amendment"

5.15pm Paul Goodman on CentreRight: A brief question arising from yesterday's suicide bomb murders at the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore

4pm Matthew Elliott on CentreRight: Bill Cash is the man to chair the European Scrutiny Committee

3.30pm ToryDiary: Any change to the voting system should be conditional upon the Lib Dems remaining in the Coalition for five years

Picture 112.30pm WATCH: Andrew Neil grills Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham on This Week

1.45pm ToryDiary: The AV referendum should not be held on May 5th next year

Noon ToryDiary: Tory members approve of most Budget measures

10.30am Parliament: In their maiden speeches, Richard Drax
highlights Britain's "forgotten army" of prison officers as Sarah
Newton insists there is nothing “fringe” about Cornwall

ToryDiary: AV would be bad for Britain – but not necessarily for the Conservatives

Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin MP on Platform: Why I want to help answer the West Lothian Question

LeftWatch: The TaxPayers' Alliance unmasks the 38 trade union bosses taking home more than £100,000 a year

Local Government: Labour councillor accuses Eric Pickles of being "fat"

General Election Review: Cameron spent £111 getting every extra Conservative vote

Nigel Jones on CentreRight: The re-introduction of fact-based teaching is to be welcomed – and here are ten facts every pupil should know

Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: The Times won't even let me pay to view its website

WATCH: Samantha Cameron comes face to face with David Cameron's wax double at Madame Tussaud's

Afghanistan withdrawal date reinforced by William Hague

William Hague serious square "William Hague was forced to clarify the government's thinking on Afghanistan today when he declared that he would be "very surprised" if Kabul's military was unable to take the lead by 2014. The foreign secretary spoke out as Labour accused the government of a confused approach. Twenty four hours earlier Liam Fox, the defence secretary, had warned an early withdrawal of forces would act as "a shot in the arm to jihadists" across the world." – The Guardian

"A former Forces head last night blasted the PM and his Defence Secretary over their Afghan war row as "not helpful". David Cameron and Dr Liam Fox revealed an alarming split at the very top of the Government when they publicly disagreed on whether there should be an end date for the conflict. Ex-Chief of Defence Staff Lord Guthrie told The Sun: "The Army doesn't want a government that dithers." – The Sun

> Wednesday's ToryDiary: Liam Fox reaffirms why British troops remain in Afghanistan and explains that their return is dependent on national security needs

Public sector pay freeze will affect 140,000 troops, MoD confirmsDaily Telegraph

Will William Hague's vision of Britain as a world power carry the day?

"Not since the late Robin Cook made his infamous speech at the start of the Blair era about introducing a more ethical foreign policy have we had such an all-encompassing proclamation of the direction the country needs to take if it is to retain its economic and political status. And unlike Mr Cook, who was quickly sidelined by Downing Street as a crank, Mr Hague has the backing to implement at least some of his policy initiatives." – Con Coughlin in the Daily Telegraph

"William Hague’s first set-piece speech as foreign secretary eschewed
eye-catching gimmicks or empty promises of an ethical foreign policy.
It sets the tone for a pragmatic approach which recognises the
post-crisis reality: there is less money to spend; power is shifting
south and east; and the EU remains an important lever for British
influence." – FT editorial

Iain Martin "At the Foreign Office on Thursday, William Hague delivered a speech that, for once, almost deserves the journalistic soubriquet “keynote”… How did Labour respond to all this? Former Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that William Hague needs to start behaving like a foreign secretary. This is silly. In the Locarno room at the FCO, Mr. Hague had just made a serious speech about Britain’s place in the world. That counts as behaving like a foreign secretary." – Iain Martin in the Wall Street Journal

> WATCH: In his first keynote speech as Foreign Secretary, William Hague says that on his watch the Foreign Office will "serve and protect the interests and needs of the British people"

Revealed: The 328 quango chiefs earning more than David Cameron

"The massive burden placed on taxpayers by the public sector was exposed last night when damning figures revealed there are more than 300 bosses earning over £150,000 a year… Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who also chairs the new Public Sector Transparency Board, said: “Yet again we have shown we are absolutely committed to acting quickly on pledges in our Coalition Agreement to release information that will allow everyone to hold their politicians and public bodies to account." – Daily Express

Vince Cable's 'department for growth' is first to face job cuts

Vince Cable 2010 "The government department that considers itself responsible for delivering growth across the economy is to become the first Whitehall operation to feel the pressure of the Treasury's job axe. The 3,000 staff employed by Vince Cable's Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) will next week be told of a voluntary redundancy programme to cut part of the £38m of administrative costs as ordered by George Osborne." – The Guardian

The Your Freedom website crashes due to public surge of interest in repealing laws

"Nick Clegg's new website aimed at gathering public suggestions for the repeal of oppressive laws repeatedly crashed today due to heavy traffic. Opposition to cannabis laws, criminal records checks, the hunting ban, fixed-penalty notices, police stop and search powers, internet downloading restrictions, and controls on child minders were some of the popular entries in what Clegg, the deputy prime minister, today hailed as "a raucous initiative that the government was not supposed to control". – The Guardian

> WATCH: Nick Clegg launches Your Freedom, the search for laws and regulations to be repealed  

Leaders seek to placate coalition MPs

"David Cameron and Nick Clegg are setting up a network of party
committees to shadow government departments in an attempt to channel
backbench frustration with the coalition and offer rewards for loyalty… Conservative reforms will establish “departmental support groups” in
which some backbench veterans could pursue special interests and new
MPs could “learn the ropes”. – FT

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Conservative backbench committees to be in place by end of July

Angry MPs threated to axe new expenses watchdog

IPSA logo "Furious MPs are plotting to scrap Parliament's expenses watchdog only weeks after its launch. They are angry at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority's strict demands that they submit receipts with every claim they make… Now MPs are threatening to veto Ipsa's budget or even repeal the Act of Parliament which set it up." – Daily Mail

> Melanchthon on CentreRight yesterday reacted to news that some MPs are sleeping on their office floors

Councils initiate £1.5bn school building plans

"Local authorities have embarked on a post-election burst of contracting, signing about £1.5bn of school building projects since May, in spite of the coalition government declaring a new age of austerity for the public finances." – FT

How Labour spent £20bn trying to close health gap between rich and poor – but it got even wider

"Labour’s multi-billion pound project to close the ‘health gap’ between the middle classes and the poor has been an abject failure, auditors declared yesterday. Not only did NHS managers fail to reach targets set in 2000 despite the huge sums spent, but the difference in life expectancy between the poor and the rest of the population actually widened." – Daily Mail

Parliament Square protesters face eviction today

"Peace protesters who have been camping in Parliament Square since May have until 1600 BST to vacate the site. The protesters have been occupying the central London square to register their objection against the Afghanistan war and several other issues. A High Court judge has granted Mayor of London Boris Johnson's request for an eviction order, citing vandalism." – BBC

Martin Kettle: Labour may never win alone again

"Parties of the left are in retreat across most of Europe. The parties' majoritarian ambitions are mocked by a succession of recent election results that show most of them with the support of fewer than one in three voters, and in several countries – including the important example of Germany – less than a quarter." – Martin Kettle in The Guardia

MPs urge Iraq inquiry to recall BlairThe Independent

Civil partnership bill backed by Irish politiciansBBC

And finally… Meryl Streep to play the Iron Lady

Picture 8 "Meryl Streep has been lined up to play the leading role in Thatcher, a biopic of one of the most controversial prime ministers in British history. The Oscar winner Jim Broadbent is tipped to play her husband Denis in the movie, which is being developed by Pathé and BBC films… The movie is set during the 17 days that preceded the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands and the ensuing 10-week war." – The Independent

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