5.30pm ToryDiary: David Cameron would like you to sit in the dark from 8.30pm tonight
4pm Jason Groves in International: Today's massacre of Labor in New South Wales represents the most devastating defeat in Australian political history
- Cuts take size of state back to 2007, not the 1980s, says Francis Maude
- Ed Balls MP explains why he is supporting today's TUC march
11.15am International: Massive defeat for Australian Labor in New South Wales
LeftWatch: The Ten Commandments Of The Selfish Left
Local government: "Let the message go forth from this website, especially in areas with a Labour council seeking to claim credit for freezing the Council Tax: The Labour Party opposes the Council Tax freeze."
Ryan Henson on Comment: The Coalition is making progress amongst students in the university tuition fees debate
Redwood, Cash and Carswell lead backbench Tory anger at Portgual bailout – Daily Mail
"David Cameron declared Europe united this afternoon on the military campaign in Libya, the need to kick-start economies, and on stress tests for all nuclear plants by the end of the year." – Independent/ PA
Britain's annual contribution to the European Union is set to soar to just under £9billion by 2015 – Express
> Bill Cash MP on ConservativeHome yesterday: Why does Robert Peston think that the British contribution to the potential Portuguese bailout will be “close to zero”?
Ken Clarke warns that the Libyan leader could stage a Lockerbie-style attack in revenge for Britain's role in enforcement of No Fly Zone – Guardian
- William Hague: "If the Gaddafi regime think the international will and unity on this is faltering in any way, they are in for quite a surprise" – BBC
- Only when Colonel Gaddafi is out of the way can the country be put back together – Telegraph leader
- "The nightmare for Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama is that Gaddafi may win this thing." – Melanie Phillips
- Matthew Parris in The Times (£): The right thing to do isn’t always the best thing
- France and Britain – a new special relationship – Jean-Pierre Chevènement for The Guardian
Nick Clegg wins £70m extra for access fund to ease abolition of EMA – Independent
"The backlog of repairs needed by English schools would require £8.5bn to fix, according to recent internal civil service estimates seen by the Financial Times (£)."
National Audit Office issues warning about nature of spending cuts
“Because of the short time scale, there is a risk that much of the cost reduction [in the current financial year] will result from policy decisions to withdraw funding and reduce budgets or other short-term measures, rather than [through] structured and sustainable cost reduction.” – FT (£)
Nigel Lawson warns George Osborne against merging income tax and NI
In an article for The Times (£) the former Chancellor also criticises George Osborne's green agenda: "Raising the cost of energy to British business — of which the latest example was his announcement that “today we become the first country in the world to introduce a carbon price floor for the power sector” — is nothing less than an anti-growth strategy."
Gas companies have warned they will have to curtail investment as a result of the Budget windfall tax
The Times (£) reveals how the windfall tax was a last minute operation: "The Office for Budget Responsibility confirmed last night that the centrepiece of Mr Osborne’s keynote speech was only put before it at the last moment, too late for the watchdog to scrutinise the plans. The Government denied suggestions that key officials in the Department of Energy and Climate Change, with detailed knowledge of the gas market, were not properly consulted over the measure in advance."
Andrew Grice: Osborne is aiming to reduce personal and business taxation before the next election and offer more tax cuts in the Tory manifesto – Independent
The 50p tax band "has restricted disposable income, lowered investment, smothered risk-taking and therefore either put or kept people out of jobs" – Simon Heffer in The Telegraph attacks George Osborne's "lily-livered" Budget.
Both ICM and YouGov have Tories on 37% after Budget – UK Polling Report
- Early withdrawal of our trooops from Afghanistan;
- Leaving enforcement of the UN resolution in Libya to the Arab League and the NATO neighbours of Libya;
- Not replacing so many Whitehall back office staff as they leave service
- Not spending any money on the HS2 train proposal this Parliament;
- Declining to pay for increases in the EU budget;
- Cutting out overseas aid to nuclear weapons countries;
- Voting against any bails out to Euro members;
- Lowering the rate of price inflation by a better monetary policy to control the costs of inflation proofing.
Mr Redwood lists these cuts on his blog.
Chris Huhne branded a hypocrite after blaming 'Tory cuts' for closure of children's centres in his constituency – Daily Mail
IPSA reforms fail to satisfy every Tory MP and some direct their anger at Cameron
"Mark Pritchard, a backbencher and member of the influential 1922 committee, came to Mr Cameron’s defence, saying Ipsa’s “mixed bag of changes” could not be laid solely at the party leader’s feet. “The prime minister is running the country – not Ipsa. I suspect the former is a 24-hour job so unhappy MPs need to cut him some slack.” – FT (£)
Mail leader: "WITH inflation surging and families tightening their belts, expenses watchdog IPSA considers it an apposite time to award MPs an extra £3million in allowances. Predictably most MPs, who have spent the last year whining about the injustice of the expenses crackdown, are delighted. Truly, has there ever been a political class more detached from the public?"
Paul Goodman reflected on IPSA for Comment is free yesterday: "The Prime Minister is caught between voters – who want receipts and tough conditions – and MPs who want allowances and less constriction. With local elections and the alternative vote referendum looming – not to mention war in Libya and turmoil in Portugal – the latter will probably keep their complaints to themselves for the time being. But for Cameron, this looks like trouble postponed."
Scottish Tories in turmoil after top candidate sacked – Telegraph
Shaky start for Conservatives – Scotsman leader
David Cameron must defeat AV — or face truly terrible consequences – Iain Martin in the Daily Mail