Screen shot 2011-03-15 at 17.44.34 5.45pm WATCH: A charismatic leader gets a defeated party 50% of the way back to power, says Michael Portillo

3.15pm On Comment: Steve Baker MP previews the movie of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged

2.15pm ToryDiary: Edward Timpson MP appointed to strengthen Number 10's relations with 'Class of 2010'

11.45am Parliament: Lord Lamont asks if a Prime Minister might sit in an elected House of Lords…?

11.15am Local government: Livingstone says "I'll tell you my plans after the election"

ToryDiary: Government urged to link overseas aid to religious freedom


Matthew Hancock MP on LeftWatch: The divide in British politics is now clear

Andrea Leadsom MP on Comment: We need more competition in the banking sector

Dalibor Rohac on Comment: Wealth is the best protection from natural disasters and climate change

LEIGH edward MP Parliament: Edward Leigh warns that BBC World Service cuts may give Iran and China opportunity for soft power dominance

Local government: Councillor in charge of libraries had his fine waived and Isles of Scilly groaning with Town Hall bureaucrats

Clegg wins battle on ECHR inquiry (as celebrated on LibDemVoice)

Commission to investigate future of ECHR (a) rules out withdrawal, (b) includes Lord Lester and Baroness Kennedy and (c) will report to ECHR supporter, Ken Clarke – Guardian

Blow for rich and powerful as ministers act on ‘libel tourism’

CLARKE KEN PURPOSEFUL "Moves to stop the libel courts being exploited by the rich and powerful will be outlined by ministers today in an attempt to end London’s reputation as the libel capital of the world. Courts will be given powers to strike out all trivial claims and to stop “libel tourism” in which people abroad with tenuous links with Britain try to sue for libel here. Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, is also expected to publish a draft Defamation Bill proposing the first statutory “public interest” defence to give the media greater protection when publishing stories." – Times (£)

Dominic Grieve QC may introduce a ban on the media identifying uncharged suspectsBBC

Sir Gus O’Donnell, cabinet secretary, "displeased" by Cameron's labelling of some civil servants as "enemies of enterprise"FT (£)

Meanwhile Will Hutton recommends performance-related pay cuts for public sector workers, rejects Cameron's draft idea of salary cap – Telegraph

Downing Street has ruled out "significant changes" to government NHS reformsBBC


  • The Daily Mail warns Andrew Lansley to listen to concerns of L:ib Dems, patients and doctors
  • BMA summons 350 doctors to London to pass emergency resolutions attacking NHS reforms – Daily Mail
  • NHS productivity slid badly during Labour years – Express

The Nudge agenda's first big test comes with the Responsibility Deal with the food industryTelegraph

"Today the Department of Health publishes its public health “responsibility deal”, setting out plans to tackle obesity, alcohol abuse, exercise and health at work through voluntary codes. Companies, including McDonald’s, PepsiCo and Pizza Hut, have signed up to a series of pledges that include putting calorie counts on menus, reducing salt content and eliminating trans-fats from products by the end of the year… But six leading health organisations have condemned the proposals on alcohol as ineffective, accusing the Government of being in the pocket of drink companies. Although Downing Street insiders say that the alcohol campaigners are zealots who want people to stop drinking altogether, critics argue that nudge is a fudge that will never achieve enough." – Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£)

Chris Grayling: Bidders for the government’s ambitious welfare-to-work programme will each be given a limited number of contracts, to reduce the risk to the taxpayer if they go bustFT (£)

Quentin Letts reviews MPs' contributions to the Libya statementDaily Mail

The problem the West faces now is that it risks becoming a laughing stock – Con Coughlin in The Telegraph

Coalition will re-introduce exit checks by 2015 as 181,000 migrants 'may have overstayed visas'BBC

John Redwood warns Chris Huhne on carbon price

HUHNE Christopher "Mr Huhne needs to consider very carefully what price he is going to set for his floor price or carbon tax level. If the UK sets it much higher than elsewhere, we will merely lose our industry without cutting overall world output of CO2.  The government’s general  policy is to build up manufacturing, to welcome more industry. Industry is energy intensive. If we are successful in building up industry  it will make hitting the CO2 and energy targets that much more difficult. If the UK sets too high  aprice for carbon and therefore for power, it will make it very difficult to attract new industry, and difficult even to keep all the energy intensive activities we still have. Energy intensive industry spends more on energy than on wages. It is a very important cost. The UK is in danger of becoming uncompetitive on its energy prices." – John Redwood

Ed Balls sparked fury yesterday by using the Japanese earthquake to attack George OsborneThe Sun

Miliband explains why he won't share Yes2AV platform with Nick Clegg

Miliband Ed Wood "Yesterday, Mr Miliband said Mr Clegg was "the last thing" the Yes campaign needed. He told a press conference: "The best thing Nick Clegg can do, to be frank, if he wants a Yes vote in the referendum is to lie low for a bit. "I'm not going to share a platform with Nick Clegg, because I don't think he will help us win the referendum. What is the problem about Nick Clegg? Where do you start? He was the person who promised new politics. And the brief bout of Cleggmania that there was, was supposed to be about new politics. I'm afraid he has become the exemplar of old politics; of breaking your promises."" – Independent

Polly Toynbee: Vote for AV to hurt Cameron, Osborne and Murdoch

"But for those tempted to vote no out of a low urge to give Clegg a kicking, consider this: Clegg is a minor distraction who will soon be gone. If you want to be tribal, keep the real enemy in your sights. The Conservative party, Rupert Murdoch and the rightwing press are ferociously against reform – and for good reason. First-past-the-post may have failed them this time, but they know it's their only chance of ruling alone again, despite a permanent minority of votes." – Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

Salmond sets out his vision for ‘second term’ ScotlandHerald

PHIBBS HARRY Other Comment:

  • "Scarcely a week goes by without news of the EU further encroaching on individual freedom. Should we continue to accept it? Let the people decide." – Harry Phibbs in the Daily Mail
  • Yes, nuclear power plants are dangerous. But for Britain, the alternative is to start hoarding candles – Max Hastings in the Daily Mail
  • Entrepreneurs, not bankers are main victims of 50p tax – Allister Heath in City AM (second half of article)
  • "The German press and public are screaming about the prospect of further emergency loans to Europe. The courts have threatened to rule the bail-outs illegal. Once reliably pro-European parties, such as the Free Democrats, are increasingly eurosceptic." – Gideon Rachman in the FT (£)