7.15pm WATCH: Speaking outside Downing Street, David Cameron says that Egypt now has a "precious moment of opportunity" to have a government that brings the country together

OSBORNE GEORGE NW5.30pm ToryDiary: A good week for rebels, George Osborne and Boris

5pm Latest on Comment:

4pm ThinkTankCentral: The Centre for Policy Studies publishes proposals for dealing with the unaffordable public sector pensions framework

3.30pm Local Government: Brighton & Hove cut Council Tax while protecting frontline services

2.30pm Local Government:

1.45pm ToryDiary: Rory Stewart is right about Afghanistan (and David Cameron knows it)

1.15pm Melanchthon on Comment: Votes for prisoners, Control Orders and how to win Lib Dem allies in reviewing British dealing with the ECHR 

SPELMAN CAROLINE NW12.45pm ToryDiary: Lessons for the Government to learn from the forests fiasco as Caroline Spelman puts the sell-off on hold

11.30am Two views on Comment of what to do next about votes for prisoners:

11.15am Local Government:

10.15am John Strafford on Comment: What has CCHQ got to fear from pro-AV Tories at Spring Forum?

10am Local Government: Labour MP Andrew Slaughter misleads the House – again

ToryDiary: If you don't understand AV, why vote for it?

Blair Gibbs on Comment: The Government now has a variety of options on votes for prisoners – with more tactical obfuscation looking highly likely

Matthew Sinclair on Comment: Lower, reformed taxes will reduce tax complexity

Parliament: A full breakdown of how all MPs voted on votes for prisoners

Also in Parliament: Highlights from the Conservative contributions to the debate on votes for prisoners

Local Government: Free schools planned for Reading, Greenwich, Cornwall, Suffolk, Southwark…

WATCH: As Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refuses to stand down, William Hague gives his reaction

Reaction to last night's decisive division on votes for prisoners

Prisoners votes "Only 22 MPs supported the European Court of Human Rights’ insistence that British prisoners should have the vote. Parliamentarians realised they can support human rights, but oppose the flawed way the human rights court works. Now David Cameron has a mandate to tell the Strasbourg court that its rulings must take account of democratically elected representatives.  Britain has taken a small but significant step towards regaining control of her destiny." – Daily Mail editorial

"Remember the date. Thursday, February 10, 2011 was the day Britain's Parliament finally stood up to Europe over human rights madness… David Cameron now finds himself in a unique position denied to former PMs. He has the backing of MPs from Left and Right to tell Europe we will not surrender to its bullying. Mr Cameron must seize his chance to sort out human rights once and for all. Yesterday's vote hands him the authority to end our slavish submission to Europe's Human Rights Charter. This wretched thing stops us kicking out terror suspects and threatens to foist on us a privacy law to protect corrupt politicians. The PM can now make a decisive stand for our freedoms. He must not let Britain down." – The Sun Says 

  • Will David Cameron defy Parliament on prisoners’ votes, or Europe? – Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph
  • What is Parliament for, if it is not to judge just these kind of issues, and for MPs to face their electors and justify the votes they cast? – John Redwood on his blog

> Yesterday in Parliament: MPs back ban on votes for prisoners by 234 to 22

> David Davis MP: The vote on prisoners' rights is an historic opportunity to draw a line in the sand on European power

Draconian vetting to go under new bill scaling back state power

"A vetting scheme that would have targeted more than nine million adults will be scrapped as the Government seeks to end a "13-year assault on hard-won British freedoms", Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said. Only those working most closely with children or vulnerable adults will need to undergo a criminal records check and the results will be able to move with individuals when they change jobs, cutting down on bureaucracy, the Government said… The changes, outlined in the Protection of Freedoms Bill, aim to scale back state powers and reverse what has been seen as the widespread erosion of civil liberties in recent years." – Press Association

  • People get power to take CCTV abusers to court – Daily Telegraph
  • "We're restoring hard won British liberties" – Nick Clegg in the Daily Telegraph

George Osborne rounds on Lib Dem councillors over spending cuts

George Osborne 2011 square "George Osborne dismissed appeals by senior Liberal Democrat council chiefs yesterday to slow down the pace of spending cuts as coalition unity shattered over public service cutbacks… The Chancellor said that while difficult decisions had to be taken it was essential that the Government tackled the budget deficit. “The national credit card has completely maxed out and if we don’t deal with that there will be no jobs, no growth and no investment in our public services,” he said." – The Times (£)

  • Clegg accuses critics in his party of 'megaphone' debate on cuts – The Guardian

Lib Dems to target Tory votes as Clegg sees his constituency slip away

"The Liberal Democrats will try to win the votes of "soft" Conservative supporters at the next general election after conceding they are unlikely to regain the backing of people who have already switched to Labour. Confidential papers seen by The Independent suggest that Nick Clegg will reject calls by some Liberal Democrats for him to "tack left" to try to convince progressive voters that he is not "right-wing" after entering the Coalition with the Tories. " – The Independent

Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston laments the control of the Government Whips' Office

Sarah Wollaston Commons "When I was asked if I would like to become a minister's parliamentary private secretary (PPS), it sounded like a promotion – until I looked at the job description. It is in fact something of a Faustian pact: in return for the vague illusion of having the minister's ear, I would have had to resign from the health select committee, agree to never speak on health matters and to always vote with the government… How could I justify taking such a role to my constituents in Totnes? I would like to have joined the committee considering that [health] bill, to keep my promise to constituents to scrutinise health legislation. But when I suggested to the whips that I would like to table amendments, I effectively signed myself off the list of candidates." – Sarah Wollaston MP in The Guardian

Francis Maude to announce procurement changes to aid SMEs

"Francis Maude is streamlining procurement rules across Whitehall in an attempt to double the share of the government’s annual £191bn procurement budget won by small and medium-sized companies. The cabinet office minister, flanked by David Cameron, will today announce he is scrapping onerous “pre-qualification questionnaires” for SMEs to make it easier for them to apply for government contracts." – FT (£)

William Hague warns Egyptian protesters they must beware this ‘menace for Arab world’

William Hague 2011 "William Hague gave warning last night that instability in Egypt and the looming end of the Mubarak years in Cairo heralded the start of a difficult period. Speaking in Bahrain where the Foreign Secretary interrupted a meeting with the King to comment on the Egyptian crisis, Mr Hague said: “It could be a time of danger unless the international community shows resolve.” – The Times (£)

Ministers warn over university fee rises

"Ministers have warned universities that the government will seek new powers to contain tuition fees if too many institutions try to raise their charges close to the maximum. The threat, contained in a letter from Vince Cable, business secretary, and David Willetts, universities minister, to Offa, the university admissions watchdog, reflected concern in the coalition about the potential cost of its university reforms." – FT (£)

  • University elite forced to take fixed quotas of state pupils – Daily Telegraph

MPs' Expenses news

  • Standards watchdog warns that MPs expenses regime will exclude many from political life – BBC
  • Ex-Labour MP Eric Illsely jailed for a year for fictitious expense claims – Daily Telegraph 
  • Expenses cheat Jim Devine may face jail after fiddling £8,000 in expenses – Daily Express
  • MPs convicted of expenses fraud could lose their ‘golden goodbyes’ – The Times (£)

Other political news in brief

  • Tory council leaders concerned over cuts – FT (£)
  • Ed Vaizey: I will not intervene in local authority arts cuts – The Guardian
  • Two in three benefit claimants are fit to work – Daily Telegraph
  • Voting the Australian way shows AV would make little difference in Britain – Julian Glover in The Guardian

Red Ed shows his true colours: Miliband to share stage with unions in rally against cuts

Ed Miliband on Marr "Ed Miliband is to be the keynote speaker at a major Left-wing rally against public spending cuts next month – despite warnings it will highlight his close links to the union barons who gifted him the Labour leadership. Labour sources said Mr Miliband had decided to attend the TUC-organised event in London on March 26, despite pulling out of a similar event last year because of concerns about potentially damaging publicity." – Daily Mail

And finally… Desperate pro-AV campaign hitches itself to royal wedding

"The yes campaign in the referendum on introducing the alternative vote for Westminster elections is planning to capitalise on the royal wedding, six days earlier, by arguing that it is "a time to be optimistic and say yes". Campaigners for change have been struggling with the impact of Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton on 29 April, before the referendum on 5 May. That week also includes a bank holiday. But now they think they have a solution: proclaim it the season for saying yes." – The Guardian

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