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6.45pm WATCH: Nick Clegg gives his unequivocal backing to military action in Libya on the grounds of "upholding international law"

BARNES TIMOTHY6.15pm Timothy Barnes on Comment: The Big Society does not have to have a Red Nose

5.15pm ToryDiary: What has Libya got to do with us? Is this another Iraq? David Cameron provides the answers

4.30pm WATCH: David Cameron tells Nick Robinson he will judge Gaddafi by his actions rather than his words after the Libyan authorities announce a ceasefire

4.15pm Will Tanner of Reform on ThinkTankCentral: Information, Choice and the English Baccalaureate

4.00pm Local Government: Council fat cat's new job with League Against Cruel Sport

3.30pm Parliament update: The Government has published the text of the motion on Libya which MPs will debate on Monday

3.15pm Robin Simcox on Comment: What is it with Democrats and interventionism?

3pm ToryDiary: Today, Britain has a new foreign policy – and it isn't neo-conservatism. It's the politics of "it depends".

1.30pm WATCH: David Cameron's statement to the Commons on Libya in full

12.30pm Latest in Local Government:

Picture 1011.15am Parliament: David Cameron makes an emergency statement to the Commons saying that UK forces are being deployed to enforce the UN Resolution in Libya and that MPs will have a debate on the deployment next week and as of 1pm the Libyan Government declared a ceasefire

10am Parliament: Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Richard Ottaway expresses his concern that a no-fly zone will result in stalemate and that we therefore need a Plan B in Libya

Picture 13ToryDiary: Can Cameron turn a diplomatic triumph into a military success?

Also on ToryDiary: Party Members expect Tory MPs to "normally support" the Government in Commons votes and call on regular rebels to be disciplined

Mark Field MP on Comment: Our economic mission needs an explicitly stronger moral dimension

Also on Comment, Robert Leitch asks: Isn't it time to bring prostitution into the 21st Century?

Parliament: Yesterday's Defra Questions saw MPs discussing putting Chris Huhne out of a job, how to deal with urban foxes and whether the state should buy British

Local Government:

ThinkTankCentral: Tim Worstall exposes the flawed and contradictory claims of UK Uncut for the Institute of Economic Affairs

WATCH: William Hague welcomes last night's UN resolution authorising action against Libya

Britain poised for military action against Libya after UN approves resolution

"Britain is poised to join international military action to protect Libyan citizens from a "brutal" assault by Muammar Gaddafi after the United Nations approved the intervention. The Security Council voted in favour of the imposition a no-fly zone over the country and authorised member states to employ "all necessary measures" short of putting troops on the ground. Prime Minister David Cameron will chair an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss the next steps before addressing MPs in the Commons on the latest situation. Downing Street played down suggestions – raised by France in the run-up to the vote – that action could start within hours and US officials suggested it may take until Sunday to be ready." – Press Association

William Hague serious 2011 "Foreign Secretary William Hague said: ‘We have been clear that the world would not accept Gaddafi’s brutality against his own people. This resolution is the expression of that resolve. It is a positive response to the call by the Arab League last weekend for measures to protect and safeguard the civilian population of Libya and it is the culmination of a great deal of hard work in the last few days. This resolution calls for an immediate ceasefire. For an end to violence. We have said all along that Gaddafi must go. It is necessary to take these measures to avoid greater bloodshed’… Malcolm Rifkind, a former foreign secretary, said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted. Without action of this kind, Benghazi would have been a bloodbath'." – Daily Mail

"Obama called French President Nicolas Sarkozy and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron after the passage of a resolution authorizing measures to impose a no-fly zone, protect civilians and impose a ceasefire on Gadhafi's military. "The leaders agreed that Libya must immediately comply with all terms of the resolution and that violence against the civilian population of Libya must cease," the White House said in a statement." – Wall Street Journal

The UN resolution represents a "diplomatic coup for Cameron"

David Cameron serious outside No 10 "David Cameron was looking a more seasoned figure on the international stage last night than his critics would have believed likely even a week ago. By forcing the diplomatic pace over Libya, by gambling when many counterparts were playing safe, he can claim a decent slice of the credit for the passage of last night’s resolution." – The Times (£)

"David Cameron is experiencing one of his most significant moments since becoming prime minister last May. The vote at the United Nations to take "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in Libya, allowing a no-fly zone, is little short of a personal triumph. It may well define his approach to foreign policy for the rest of his premiership." – Nick Watt of The Guardian

  • I’ll attack passenger jets, warns Gaddafi, as air strikes loom – Daily Telegraph
  • Libya's No-Fly Zone: What Does It Mean? – Sky News

Government U-turns on public sector "diversity audits"…

"Just two months after setting out the requirement for 27,000 public sector bodies to carry out detailed “diversity audits” of their staff, the Government has signalled an about-turn. A “policy review paper” says the burden of red tape will be reduced and revised draft guidelines make no reference to private information about employees being collected or published. Dominic Raab, the Conservative MP for Esher and Walton who has led opposition to the original plans, said: “It is welcome that the coalition is thinking twice about this aspect of Labour’s Equality Act. Forcing 27,000 schools, police forces, councils and other public bodies to audit their staff for ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability and other social criteria is the last thing the public sector needs in tough financial times." – Daily Telegraph

…as Vince Cable introduces moratorium on red tape for firms employing fewer than ten staff

Vince Cable 2010 "Small firms in Britain would benefit from a three-year moratorium on new regulation under a plan the government was set to announce on Friday to cut business red tape and boost the economy. At a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses annual conference in Liverpool, Business Secretary Vince Cable will outline how the government plans to review regulation to cut bureaucracy, a media brief from Cable's office said." – Reuters

"He will also abolish the extension of flexible working rights planned for 300,000 families from April and publish all 22,000 regulations that effect business. Companies will be invited to pick the rules that cause the most problems in a "crowd sourcing" exercise. A Business Department spokesman said the least popular regulations would go in front of a 'Reducing Regulation Committee', chaired by Mr Cable, within "months". – Daily Telegraph

Osborne's Budget should set out a strategy for radical tax reform

"When George Osborne makes his second budget statement as chancellor of the exchequer on March 23rd, he seems set to outline a grand “growth strategy” to counter claims that he is more interested in cutting spending than boosting the economy. But the budget is meant to be about tax—on which, for all its radicalism elsewhere, the government has been timid. Mr Osborne should rectify that." – The Economist

BoE Deputy Governor says we live in "very hazardous times"

"Britain has entered a hazardous period as new question marks hang over the recovery at a time of persistently above-target inflation, a top Bank of England official said yesterday. Charlie Bean, the Deputy Governor, told The Times that it was still not clear whether the economy was passing through a soft patch or had entered “a more durable slowing” amid public worries about the Treasury’s spending cuts and tax rises." – The Times (£)

  • Ipsos-Mori poll shows voters blame Labour for fiscal woe – but want spending cut more slowly – The Economist

The latest pre-Budget pleas

  • Small businesses call for simplification of taxes and regulation in Budget – City AM
  • AA calls for fuel duty increase to be cancelled – Press Association

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: First Budget whispers suggest a merging of income tax and NI, tax breaks for "business angels" and a hike in airport tax…

Liam Fox says defence jobs may be spared if savings are found elsewhere

Liam Fox 2011 "Liam Fox, the defence secretary, has told unions that if they can find convincing ways of cutting the Ministry of Defence's budget then thousands of threatened civilian jobs might be saved. Union leaders say they were told there was no "political imperative" to lose 25,000 ministry jobs, the figure set out in last year's strategic defence and security review, and that ministers would look seriously at any fresh proposals to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies. A meeting between the two sides has been scheduled for next week to discuss ideas." – The Guardian

Theresa May announces increase in control orders

"The number of suspected British terrorists subject to control orders has increased to 10, the Home Secretary has said. Theresa May said three of these were living in the Metropolitan Police service area, while the remaining seven were based elsewhere in the UK. There have been two new control orders since the last quarterly update to MPs in December, she said. One further control order has been made, but not yet served, Mrs May said." – Sky News

Scottish Tories gather in Perth for pre-Holyrood election conference

Scottish Conservative logo "David Cameron will today insist the Conservatives “are delivering for Scotland”, and claim confidence is returning to the British economy, suggesting “hard-grafting Scots” will have to rise early and work late to help the UK grow jobs and wealth. In an article for The Herald, the Prime Minister, ahead of a keynote speech to the Scottish Conservative Party conference in Perth, boasts how the Tories are working for Scotland at Westminster, citing the restoration of the earnings link to pensions, introducing the immigration cap, reforming welfare, abolishing ID cards, doubling the operational allowance for British troops and rebating fuel duty for people in the Highlands and Northern Isles." – The Herald

Annabel_goldie "Speaking as the conference was getting under way, Scottish leader Annabel Goldie said politicians must be honest about the tough financial situation, while offering hope for the future. She argues the Tories were behind key Scottish government policies, including boosting police officer numbers by 1,000, rates relief for small businesses and a new, national drug strategy. "Over four years, the Scottish Conservatives have delivered a £2bn package of measures for Scotland," said Miss Goldie. "We have made Scotland safer, fairer, more competitive and more secure. In short, a better Scotland." – BBC

  • Tory divisions over extra Scottish tax powers laid bare – Daily Telegraph

Clegg refuses to 'lie low' with AV campaign

"Nick Clegg will defy calls for him to "lie low" in the referendum for voting system reform when he speaks at the launch of the Liberal Democrats' "Yes To AV" campaign. Labour leader Ed Miliband has claimed that the Deputy Prime Minister's unpopularity made him a liability to the chances of victory in the May 5 vote. Mr Clegg will insist the issue is not about party politics, and will set out his determination to argue the case for a change to the alternative vote (AV) "with passion". – Sky News

Peter Oborne: Labour’s tawdry smear tactics can’t disguise its absence of ideas

OBORNE "Serious evidence is starting to emerge that Ed Miliband, the new Labour leader, is making the same errors which ultimately doomed poor Kinnock. To his credit, Miliband has recovered from a poor start. He has established a high-calibre team around him. Likeable and talented, he is fast growing into his job, and indeed I would expect him to improve further. Nevertheless, he has so far failed to develop anything resembling a worthwhile alternative political analysis. Like Kinnock, he is concentrating only on being the voice of opposition, as the events of the past few days show with disconcerting clarity." – Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph

Other political news in brief

  • Hague calls for end to Israeli settlement building – Press Association
  • Ken Clarke axes routine searches of prisoners' cells – The Sun
  • Squatting to be made illegal – Daily Telegraph
  • Judge rules ten-year peace protest in Parliament Square must end – The Independent

And finally… Nick Clegg's effort at team-building with Tory MPs ends in farce

Nick Clegg 2011 crestfallen "A planned charm offensive by Nick Clegg to build ties with new Tory MPs has backfired spectacularly. A getting-to-know-you meeting was a "disaster from beginning to end", said one Conservative, after the Deputy Prime Minister failed to turn up and guests had to dash off down Whitehall – twice – for Commons votes. Angry MPs eventually abandoned the event at Mr Clegg's office overlooking Horse Guards Parade." – Last night's Evening Standard

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