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6.45pm ToryDiary: Fledgling Conservative Yes to AV campaign launches

6pm Seats and Candidates: Boundary Commission confirms that seat reductions will be greater in Labour-dominated regions

6pm WATCH: George Osborne explains how Britain has seized £100 million worth of Libyan banknotes destined for Libya

Welsh flag5.30pm ToryDiary update: Nick Bourne welcomes Yes vote and commits to making the next stage of devolution a success

3.30pm ToryDiary: Wales votes Yes to give Assembly full law-making powers

3pm Parliament: Peter Bone wants Hansard to record how whips advise MPs to vote in Commons divisions

2.15pm Local government: Council byelection results from yesterday

2pm JP Floru on Comment fears that Our wealth creators are off

Cash470
1.15pm Bill Cash MP on Comment: After Barnsley Central, a Conservative Party health warning on Europe

12.30pm ToryDiary: It's time for Ministers to investigate who's funding our Universities from abroad

11.15am WATCH: Nick Clegg says the Barnsley Central result was bad for the Lib Dems but vows to prove wrong those who want to write his party off

9.30am Local Government:

ToryDiary: Cameron should have only one aim at the Spring Forum

Magnificent seven
Also on ToryDiary: Cameron's Magnificent Seven of high performing Cabinet ministers and 42% of Tory members want David Davis as Party Chairman

Seats and Candidates: Labour hold Barnsley Central as Lib Dems fall to sixth place and lose deposit

Sam Gyimah MP on Comment: We can give student protesters real power by giving them worthwhile degrees – but let's stop all talk of limiting student numbers

Parliament: Robert Halfon MP highlights UK universities' links with oppressive Middle Eastern dictatorships

WATCH: William Hague says that there are no "pain free" or "simple" options in dealing with the crisis in Libya

Coalition divided over multiculturalism as Clegg says: We have to talk to extremists

Nick Clegg 2011 "Nick Clegg broke with David Cameron over multiculturalism last night as he insisted the Government had to talk to extremist groups. The Deputy Prime Minister also risked controversy by claiming that households that are worried about immigration could be tipped into extremism by the economic downturn. Opening up a split at the top of government, Mr Clegg insisted multiculturalism should be the hallmark of an ‘open, confident society’." – Daily Mail

"Aides to Mr Clegg said there were policy tensions between the men over the review of the Government's Prevent strategy to counter Islamic extremism. Mr Clegg is unhappy about Mr Cameron's pledge not to give public money to groups if they do not endorse women's rights or promote integration. Mr Cameron also suggested immigrants to Britain must speak English and schools will be expected to teach the UK's country's common culture." – The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Conservative anger as Clegg prepares to break with Cameron over extremism – in Luton, of all places

Jeremy Hunt gives News Corp green light to launch £8bn bid for BSkyB

HUNT JEREMY NW "Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, has given the green light for News Corporation to prepare an £8bn bid for the 61% of BSkyB it does not already own , setting up a showdown with investors in the satellite broadcaster who are determined to seek a deal worth at least £1bn more. In fact, Rupert Murdoch may have to pay even more to complete the controversial acquisition, after Hunt said he would grant regulatory approval so long as Murdoch agreed to spin off Sky News into a new company that remains 39% controlled by News Corporation." – The Guardian

> Matthew Sinclair on Comment yesterday: Have we wound up with the worst possible resolution of the BSkyB-News Corp deal?

> WATCH: ‪Jeremy Hunt's statement on Murdoch and the BSkyB purchase‬

Cameron's Libya no-fly plan is 'shambolic', says US

"David Cameron's handling of the Libya crisis was denounced as "shambolic" as tensions grew between London and Washington over the Prime Minister's suggestion that a no-fly zone could be imposed over the north African state." – The Independent

Head of LSE resigns over links to GaddafiThe Times (£)

> Robert Halfon MP on Comment yesterday: The progressive left's appeasement of Gaddafi

George Osborne is told to stop inheritance tax breaks…

George Osborne 2011 square "Middle-class families were  facing a fresh inheritance tax raid last night after the Chancellor was told to take an axe to breaks for trust funds. A report from the Office of Tax Simplification, established by George Osborne last year, yesterday called for an overhaul of what it described as ‘unfair’ inheritance tax laws. The proposal will shock families who have worked hard and sought to protect assets for their children." – Daily Mail

"Income tax and national insurance tax should be merged and dozens of tax allowances abolished, according to recommendations published by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS)." – City AM

…as he plans to rip up planning rules

"George Osborne is pushing for sweeping changes to Britain’s planning regime as part of a package of low-cost measures designed to kick-start growth, City A.M. has learned. He wants to make it much easier for companies to obtain planning consent for new projects – even if they go against the wishes of local residents – allowing them to expand their businesses while also providing a timely boost for the construction sector. The changes would also enable ministers to fast-track large scale infrastructure like nuclear power stations." – City AM

Michael Gove moots 10-hour school day and more term time (not to mention Saturday school)

Michael Gove 2010 "Children could go to school for ten hours a day and on Saturday mornings under a radical shake-up of secondary education.  Education Minister Michael Gove wants school days to run from 7.30am to 5.30pm to improve pupils’ performance and enable them to study vocational courses alongside core academic subjects. He also wants sites to open on Saturdays and to increase terms by two weeks, to a total of 40 weeks a year." – Daily Mail

Health bill changed to stop price war

"Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, will amend his health bill to stop hospitals and other healthcare providers undercutting each other, a U-turn in the face of opposition from health experts who had warned of a "race to the bottom" in the NHS that would damage quality. Although the cabinet minister has argued that price competition is not inherently bad, he has been taken aback by the force of opposition – including among MPs from his own party – to the principle." – The Guardian

Terror suspects could walk in push for prosecution 'deals'

"Theresa May, the Home Secretary, wants powers that allow prosecutors to offer immunity or sentence reductions to serious criminals who testify against others to be used more in terrorism cases. It raises the prospect of suspected terrorists plotting serious atrocities against the UK walking free or having their sentences slashed. It is part of an attempt to increase the number of convictions in terrorism cases. It will be seen by critics as a form US-style plea-bargaining by the back door." – Daily Telegraph

Government considers scrapping May Day holiday but shelves plans for double summertime

John Penrose "The May Day bank holiday could be dropped and replaced by either St George's Day in April or Trafalgar Day in October under new tourism plans the Government has announced. But a proposal for "double summertime" to bring the UK's clocks into line with Europe's was not in the tourism strategy despite widespread reports that it would be included. Outlining the strategy, Tourism Minister John Penrose said moving the May Day bank holiday could bring tourism benefits." – Daily Express

"Plans to move clocks forward by one hour have been put on the back-burner, with ministers arguing that such a measure could not take place without the consent of the UK’s devolved nations. John Penrose, tourism minister, said the proposal was “an interesting idea”, examined among measures drawn up for the government’s tourism strategy. “It was in, then out, then in and then out,” he said." – FT (£)

Counting to start in Welsh assembly powers referendum

"Counting is due to begin in the Welsh assembly powers referendum. Voters went to the polls on Thursday to decide whether the assembly should have direct law-making powers. But an opinion poll for BBC Wales found almost half of potential voters felt they lacked enough information to make an informed decision. Counting starts at about 0930 GMT with a final result likely to be announced in early afternoon." – BBC

Other political news in brief

  • Cameron told to rein in special advisers over negative briefings – The Independent
  • NO2AV opens up 11-point lead in latest YouGov poll – The Sun
  • Only one in five knife thugs sent to jail – Daily Express
  • Food and fuel bills to rocket – Daily Mail
  • Boris Johnson announces £4m 'big society' fund for London – The Guardian
  • Huhne says UK is facing 1970s-style oil shock which could cost economy £45bn – The Guardian
  • Scottish islanders set to get fuel duty relief – The Scotsman
  • Holyrood bids to gain more power through tax – The Times (£)

Allister Heath: Why the young are feeling worse off

Allister Heath "Forget about class war; we are entering a new era of generational wars. There is a growing sense among younger people that they won’t enjoy as prosperous a life as their parents. It is easy to understand such concerns: powerful economic, technological, demographic and political forces are forcing the generations apart." – Allister Heath in City AM

Samuel Brittan: Why there are two kinds of conservatismFT (£)

James Kirkup: Will Liam Fox reopen the Pandora's Box that is the Defence Review?

"In his office on the fifth floor of the MoD, Dr Fox keeps the in-tray from hell: a monumental overdraft and an unsympathetic Treasury; powerful, squabbling military commanders; a department famous for its lumbering bureaucracy; a boss desperate to stay on the right side of fickle short-term public opinion; and lingering question marks over Britain’s strategy and role in the world. And in the world outside his office, is that chorus of voices, louder every day, demanding he reopen the Pandora’s Box that is the SDSR. It would take a heart of stone not to sympathise. But then, no one ever promised that being Defence Secretary was going to be easy." – Daily Telegraph

And finally… MoD paid £22 for lightbulbs

Picture 6 "Defence chiefs pay £22 each for 65p lightbulbs, Army documents seen by The Sun have revealed. Dim MoD bosses incredibly also pay £103 each for screws… The public money spent on lightbulbs represents a mark-up of more than 3,000 per cent on their true retail value. Angry Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said last night the inflated prices paid showed a "lack of common sense"… Dr Fox told The Sun: "We are already tackling the procurement problems we inherited head-on. When money is tight and we need to protect the front line, waste is inexcusable. This is classic evidence of how Labour wasted taxpayers' money." – The Sun

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69 comments for: Newslinks for Friday 4th March 2011

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