Screen shot 2010-07-24 at 21.59.33 10.00pm LeftWatch: Is Balls a quitter, not a fighter?

7.00pm WATCH: 

4.30pm ToryDiary: The Government should publicise the list of quangos it's scrapping

2.30pm WATCH:

Noon Parliament: Nick Gibb gives grammar schools reassurance on selection if they wish to become academies

Could the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats merge to fight the next election as a single force?

Paul Campbell on Platform: A valued presence on the web is now more important than ever for MPs wanting to seize the opportunity of incumbency

Local Government: Hammersmith and Fulham publish assets register

LeftWatch: David Miliband grabs more cash for leadership fight than Ed Miliband (or anyone else)

Cameron musters his troops to protect LibDems from Labour attacks

"David Cameron and his ministers agreed to come to the Liberal Democrats’
yesterday as the coalition Cabinet discussed plans to co-ordinate its
attacks on Labour. Conservative and Lib Dem ministers agreed a joint strategy to press
leadership candidates and spokesmen relentlessly on how they would deal
Britain’s budget deficit. Privately Nick Clegg’s advisers admit that he has been damaged by Labour
figures who have targeted the Lib Dems as the coalition’s weak link and
accused them of abandoning their principles, such as over the rise in
VAT in
the Budget" – Times (£)

LibDem MPs backing off backing Academies Bill 

"Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem deputy leader, admitted his party does not
agree with the academies bill. "The academies bill – no, we wouldn't
have supported," he told Radio 4. "We need to be clear that when things
come from the Conservative stable [we say] this is not our proposal but
we have accepted it as it is part of the package. A series of Lib
Dem MPs have told the Guardian they plan to vote against – or abstain –
on the bill that would allow parents to set up their own schools and
pave the way for hundreds more academies" Guardian

LibDem MP jibes at "toxic and ugly" Tories

Screen shot 2010-07-24 at 08.58.51 "A senior Liberal Democrat yesterday attacked Tory MPs as ‘toxic’ and
‘ugly’. Tim Farron, who recently stood for the deputy leadership
of his party, accused David Cameron of using his coalition partners as
‘cover’ for unpopular decisions. He said: ‘We are providing some cover for them. The reality is that
David Cameron has a toxic brand. His brand, including most
of his MPs, are toxic. It is not my job to detoxify it. He gets
something out of all this. Part of it is that the Conservative Party, at
the end of it, is less ugly than when it went into it. The
problem is that most Tory MPs are determined to keep it ugly' " – Daily Mail

Commentators look back on Coalition's "worst week yet" and forward to AV referendum campaign

Peter Oborne: "Cameron's personal rating has never been higher and even his enemies
agree that he has turned out to be a much more accomplished Prime
Minister than practically anyone anticipated ahead of the May General
Election. But Cameron had better enjoy his popularity while it lasts – for
by this time next year he will be running one of the most hated and
reviled Governments Britain has ever known" – Daily

Andrew Grice: "The two parties will not
attack each other, but they will keep their separate identity – a more
pressing need for Nick Clegg than for David Cameron.
As well as being Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Clegg has to keep his own
onside. Some grassroots activists, MPs and peers are nervous. The
party has
slumped in the opinion polls to just 14 per cent, according to YouGov
week – its lowest rating since February last year – Independent.

Charles Moore:
"I hope [the AV referendum campaign] will not be based on
calculations of which party does better
under which system. Politicians love all that stuff, but the voters will
be less excited by it. The real question, surely, is about "ownership".
Does our political system allow voters to put in a government and turn
one out, or does it usurp that power?" – Telegraph

Matthew Parris: "I’d like to help save the Liberal Democrats. For purely arithmetical
reasons, their morale is important if the strong Government that Britain
so needs is to be sustained. But, beyond that, Lib Dems bring to
government and to their Conservative partners a distinct and healthy
slant on politics" – Times (£)

> Yesterday in Parliament: Whips
try to stop Bernard Jenkin from gathering signatures on timing of AV

This week Washington, next week Delhi

Screen shot 2010-07-24 at 09.02.13 Cameron leads 90-strong delegation seeking £1bn India defence deal
Times (£)

"David Cameron will lead a 90-strong delegation to India next week to
showcase his commercially based foreign policy with a £1 billion defence
deal. Officials are understood to be optimistic that India will
sign a deal to buy 57 Hawks from BAE Systems and its local partner, HAL.
It could be worth more than £500 million to BAE" Telegraph

"David Cameron’s decision to take three of his four most senior Cabinet
colleagues with him to New Delhi next week, along with his higher
minister, marks a historic moment in almost 400 years of British
with India. It gives ceremony to a state of affairs that has been the
for some time but not, until now, acknowledged: we need India more
than it
needs us.' – Dean Nelson, Telegraph

Is Francis Maude the Tories' Peter Mandelson? – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

"As Minister of the Cabinet Office, with an ambiguous catch-all
department and
title, he has developed significant influence over the entire
Government –
exerted mainly behind closed doors. Mr Maude’s position completes an
Mandelsonian return from obscurity for the 57-year-old father of five" – James Kirkup, Telegraph

The agony of Crispin Blunt – day two

"PM David Cameron sensationally slapped down bungling Justice Minister Crispin Blunt yesterday for axing a ban on "Monsters' Ball" prison parties.  In a highly unusual move, the furious Premier ordered the Ministry of Justice to reverse the decision and make sure the ban stays in place" – The Sun

"David Cameron issued a humiliating rebuke to the
Justice minister, Crispin Blunt, yesterday by overturning his plan to
bring back party nights and comedy workshops for prisoners. Alarmed by headlines in Tory tabloids suggesting
that taxpayers were paying for "prison parties", Downing Street ordered
the Ministry of Justice to scrap the proposal. Mr Blunt was accused of a
freelance operation and not clearing a speech in which he outlined his
plans with No 10. Although he is said to have blotted his copybook, he
will keep his job – Independent

Screen shot 2010-07-24 at 09.04.52 
"David Cameron was said to have been annoyed when Blunt also took a swipe at his
membership of the Oxford Bullingdon Club in his speech. Blunt quoted Churchill who said privileged young men commit offences
"in boisterous and exuberant moments, whether at Oxford or anywhere
else" and escape prison. Blunt said: "There may be connections
between the nearest prison to Oxford these days, HMP Bullingdon, and
other institutions of that name. I have yet to investigate these and, on
reflection, probably won't" – Guardian

Blunt "worryingly naive"; Cameron "livid"; Clarke "a professional contrarian" – Tories must stay true on law and order – Daily Mail comment

Howard Jacobson: People want retribution, not rehabiliation – Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary:
Blunt is carpeted for the wrong thing

Conservative volunteers to
deliver 2000 English language dictionaries in this summer's Project
Umubano Rwanda visit

"Project Umubano was led in its first three years by Andrew Mitchell,
the Tories' shadow international development secretary until the
election. Mitchell has this year handed over the reins to the Tory whip,
Stephen Crabb…Crabb, the MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, told me
before he flew to Rwanda that the dictionaries would be sent to teachers
and 1,800 schools examiners as part of a two week course designed by
the British council and the ministry of education" – Wintour and Watt, Guardian

Pickles backtracks on "useless Chief Executives" comment

Dangers lie in Cameron's hazy vision of social regeneration – Independent

Boris Johnson to unveil London cycle scheme this weekGuardian

Screen shot 2010-07-24 at 09.06.30 Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens "plan to have Pope Benedict arrested in UK for crimes against humanity"
Digital Journal

Cameron-Kawczynski summit on stopping AV Tim Walker, Telegraph

And finally…the Financial Times clears its front page to report David Davis comparing Cameron and Clegg to gay cowboys in Boot and Flogger wine bar

"The scale of Conservative rightwing frustration at David Cameron’s
coalition government has been graphically illustrated in unguarded
comments by the man he beat for the party leadership. David Davis,
once Mr Cameron’s shadow home secretary, approvingly repeated a barb
that he attributed to another senior Tory who described the David
Cameron-Nick Clegg partnership as the “Brokeback coalition”. He also
lampooned the flagship Big Society policy as “Blairite dressing” and
suggested that the Tory leadership was more concerned with appeasing the
Liberal Democrats than its own party FT (£)


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