2pm WATCH: Gaza is a "prison camp" says Cameron
ToryDiary update: Turkish reforms have put the country on the path to join the "secular EU", says Cameron, as he enthusiastically backs the nation's accession
- Academies Bill passes Commons with majority of 92
- Theresa May unveils most radical police reforms "in at least fifty years"
- Jeremy Hunt announces cuts to culture bureaucracy
About ConservativeHome: Mark Field MP to chair ConservativeHome Accountability Board with Lord Bates and Jill Kirby
Andrew Lansley proposes new freedoms for NHS foundation hospitals – FT (£)
Vince Cable says one thing on banking but his green paper says another – Allister Heath in City AM
Coalition takes the axe to more quangoes
In a front page splash The Independent lists the quangoes already abolished and those under threat.
"The coalition's promised bonfire of the quangos began yesterday – but with a little spark rather than a great flame. Ministers announced that the UK Film Council, the HFEA fertility watchdog and funding body Sport England are among 20 or so organisations set for the chop. But the controversial drugs rationing watchdog NICE will have its remit expanded – and an entirely new quango, called HealthWatch England, will be created to stick up for NHS patients." – Daily Mail
"The British film world was left stunned yesterday by the Government’s surprise decision to wind up the UK Film Council, the quango that distributes public funds to the industry. Kevin MacDonald, the director of Touching the Void and The Last King of Scotland, described it as a “wilfully destructive” political act, while Armando Iannucci, the director of In the Loop, used Twitter to call called it a “mad move by macho numbercrunchers”." – Times (£)
Parliament's initial 11 weeks have been tumultuous, the largest culture shift in generations – Guardian leader
"Asked to award the coalition marks out of 10 for its performance so far, voters are lukewarm: the total score is 5.1. The highest score, 6.6, comes from Conservative voters, followed by LibDems on 5.5 and Labour on 4.2." – Guardian coverage of an ICM poll putting the Tories on 38%, Labour on 34% and the Liberal Democrats on 19%.
The FT's George Parker issues an extended report card for the Coalition
"The coalition allowed Mr Cameron to continue his drive to take the Conservatives into more liberal terrain, in areas such as civil liberties, the environment and political reform. Meanwhile he found willing partners in his drive for fiscal discipline in the shape of Mr Clegg and his cabinet colleagues, inheritors of their party’s economic traditions of sound money and open markets. Both parties want to devolve power away from the centre." – FT (£)
Atlanticist charity overseen by Liam Fox reprimanded by Charity Commission
"Four senior Cabinet members are advisers of a campaign criticised last night for breaching charity rules that ban political activity. The Atlantic Bridge has been ordered to “cease its activities” in promoting the “special relationship” between Britain and the United States because of its close links to the Conservative Party." – Times (£)
Are the Tories and LibDems heading for full merger? – Paul Goodman in The Telegraph
Happy Clegg, unhappy Liberal Democrats
"In tempestuous times Clegg is also buttressed by the fact that he supports out of conviction, and not weak-kneed expediency, most policies of the coalition. This, though, could also be a source of his undoing. Sections of his party do not share his genuine enthusiasm. The most important division in the coming months or years is not between Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, nor between Cameron and the right of his party, but between Clegg's deeply-held convictions and those, also sincerely believed, held by a growing element in his own party." – Steve Richards in The Independent
The "madness" of Chris Huhne's energy policy – Daily Mail leader
"Graeme Leach, director of policy at business group Institute of Directors, said UK energy policy was not sufficiently focused on mitigating the "very serious risk" of power cuts in the middle of this decade. "The message from business to the new Government is unambiguous – deal with the energy security problem and start dealing with it now," he said." – Express
MPs have been told to stop sleeping in their offices in an effort to save on parliamentary expenses – BBC
The Electoral Commission has called for ministers to consider requiring voters to produce proof of identity at polls – BBC
Philip Stephens: Labour should adopt serious David, rather than crowd-pleasing Ed
"A tendency to tell people what they want to hear seems since to have served [Ed Miliband] well. He has scooped up the support of the leaders of the biggest unions and is said to be well ahead in garnering the second preference votes that could eventually decide the outcome. What he would actually do as leader is an altogether different question… A centre-left opposition serious about winning office needs a leader to take it out of its comfort zone – to admit the books must be balanced and, dare one say it, to imagine how its values can be advanced through a smarter rather than bigger state. For all his present caution, Mr Miliband senior is the only candidate who comes close." – Philip Stephens in the FT (£)
Bill Cash MP says BBC gave Lord Mandelson's book too much publicity
"Lord Mandelson, who signed a six-figure serialisation deal with a national newspaper, was given a 17-minute interview in the prime slot on Radio 4’s Today programme. He also appeared on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show and BBC Breakfast, as well as on Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 programme, Richard Bacon’s 5 Live slot, BBC2’s Daily Politics, BBC Radio Wales and the World Service. Conservative MP Bill Cash said: ‘The way in which it was done clearly demonstrated that he was not only allowed to plug his book but that he was effectively given a free ride.'" – Daily Mail
And finally… You'll never think of the Central Lobby of the House of Commons in the same way
Parliament’s main meeting place is used by amorous politicians to find “bed warmers” for the night, according to a veteran MP. Paul Flynn claims that one member lost his seat at a general election because he spent so much time in the Central Lobby “pursuing his passions” with strangers. He also claims a friend had been propositioned by a woman who was waiting to meet her Tory MP at the crossroads between the Houses of Commons and Lords." – Telegraph
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