4.45pm LeftWatch: CCHQ's department-by-department guide to Ballsonomics
4pm David Cameron to Parliament advocating a No Fly Zone for Libya: "Do we want a situation where a failed pariah state festers on Europe's southern borders?"
2.30pm Local government:
- Mayor of Tower Hamlets gave character reference for minicab molester
- Free school proposed for Richmond
12.45pm Zehra Zaidi on Comment: Bahrain's fall may drag Saudi Arabia and Iran into an explosive mix
11.45am Patrick Nolan on Comment: The Coalition's policies on income tax thresholds and benefits for the elderly fail fairness tests
Marcus Booth on Comment: In defence of the European Convention on Human Rights
Also on Comment: Steve Baker MP argues that "It's time to bring casino banking into the light"
AmericaInTheWorld: Sir Malcolm Rifkind calls for arming of Libyan rebels as Obama dithers
On the Local government blog:
- Cllr Sarah McDermott: Wandsworth's Big Society Library project uses volunteers to deliver services
- John Bald: The damage of '60s thinking for education
"Bitter recriminations" between offices of Clegg and Miliband scupper Yes2AV event – Guardian
“We are not on the Left and we are not on the Right. We have our own label: liberal,” [Clegg] said. “Our politics is the politics of the radical centre. We are governing from the middle, for the middle.”
"Given the choice between being in government or out, the [Lib Dem] party has become rather partial to its modest slice of power." – Independent leader
Peter Oborne, in The Telegraph, on how Tim Farron has become the Lib Dems' new poster boy: "Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat president elect, is greeted with rapturous applause by the party faithful as he storms onto the stage, lays into David Cameron and calls for a giant lurch to the left."
Jackie Ashley, in The Guardian, sets out what real Lib Dem influence would have looked like: "We can all imagine what a coalition government with a stronger Lib Dem influence would look like. It would not have charged so hard towards free schools and against local councils; it would not have embarked on the NHS changes; it would have scrapped Trident; it would have been more pro-European. It would have castigated Labour, no doubt, over spending decisions, but it would have begun to reduce the deficit more through taxation than spending cuts. It would, we know, have been tougher on bankers' bonuses and more decisive in splitting the functions of the big banks."
Andrew Lansley offers to "amend" his reforms after Lib Dem delegates condem them as “damaging and unjustified” – Telegraph
"Clegg can tell Cameron that the [NHS] reform must be delayed or watered down to satisfy the Lib Dems. Most Tory MPs would be genuinely relieved if this were done. The junior coalition partner would look to the country as if it were saving the NHS from unpopular Tory measures. And Downing Street would have an excuse to row back." – Mary Ann Sieghart in The Independent
…but John Redwood warns the Coalition against too much flexibility…
"If Lib Dem criticisms of the Health policy result in major changes, Conservative party members will want changes to policies they don’t like. For example, many of them would like the overseas aid budget increases scaled back, would like the Ark Royal and Harriers reinstated, and Buckinghamshire protected from expensive new train lines." – John Redwood
Health organisations walk away from Andrew Lansley's responsibility deal with alcohol industry
"The deal, due to be announced on Tuesday, will see supermarkets, pubs and drinks manufacturers pledge to do their bit to reduce harmful drinking, such as labelling bottles and cans with the number of alcohol units. Other pledges will be made by the food and fitness industries. Health representatives on the alcohol panel, which has been meeting for several months, say the government listened to industry and refused to allow issues that could make a difference, such as price and promotion to children, to be discussed." – Guardian
"Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, wants companies to join a voluntary movement to reduce the amount of sugar, salt and fat in food, and encourage people to drink responsibly. On Tuesday Mr Lansley will reveal commitments to the deal made by around 150 companies." – Times (£)
Chris Woodhead: Free schools won't work unless Gove allows them to make a profit
"Ministers need to “bite the political bullet” and allow for-profit companies to run publicly funded state schools if the coalition's “free schools” policy is to succeed, says the chairman of the UK’s biggest private schools company. Chris Woodhead, Cognita chairman and a former chief inspector of schools, said unless Michael Gove, the education secretary “involves the profit companies he’s never going to get the number of free schools that he wants”." – FT (£)
> ThinkTankCentral: Gove's free schools revolution must embrace profit-making businesses to succeed
The number of jobs open to migrants from outside the European Union is to be halved from 500,000 to 230,000 – Daily Mail
Small businesses may get exemption from employment and equality laws
"Ministers are considering whether to exempt companies with only a few employees from a raft of regulations under a “small enterprise exemption initiative” in an effort to make it easier for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses. Vince Cable, the business secretary, will use a speech on Friday to flesh out the proposals, which are likely to exempt small businesses from equality law and parents’ rights to request flexible working." – FT (£)
The Sun presses on with its fuel tax campaign
The Sun Says: "It may seem rich for the tax-mad Labour Party to be demanding a tax cut. But the Opposition will attract strong support for its Commons bid this week for an immediate reduction in VAT on fuel. George Osborne hints about fuel action in the Budget. But motorists are broke and need help today. Crippling pump prices are throttling the recovery. The Government is on the back foot over fuel, and Labour knows it."
In The Telegraph Andrew Haldenby of Reform blasts the Coalition's income tax threshold policy: "Their flagship policy to help poor people is to stop anyone paying tax until they are earning £10,000 a year. This would indeed help low earners. Someone earning exactly £10,000, say, would gain £505 a year. But it would help higher earners much more. Someone earning £60,000 would gain over £1,000. All told, more than £9 in £10 of the tax cut would go to people earning over the £10,000 threshold. The Coalition would end up spending the annual cost of the police service, £13 billion, on people it isn't trying to help. Tax rates should certainly be reduced over time but this is not the way to do it."
Patten and Cameron may be on collision course – Stephen Glover for The Independent
Douglas Alexander says Labour must acknowledge debt situation, but it can win – Nicholas Watt for The Guardian