9.15pm WATCH: William Hague says the military operation in Libya has already saved many lives and will continue until there is a complete and genuine ceasefire on Gaddafi's part

7.30pm Local Government: Boris bootcamp

6pm Gazette: Andrew Rosindell celebrates his successful 9-year campaign to have the Union flag fly permanently from Parliament

Picture 75pm Andrew Griffiths MP on Comment: George Osborne should freeze beer duty tomorrow to save countless community pubs and thousands of jobs

4.45pm Charles Tannock MEP and Greg Hands MP: Kashgar – a Chinese city under threat of destruction

4pm ToryDiary update: Theresa May reveals details of how the Government is cracking down on bogus student visas

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3.15pm LeftWatch: CCHQ publishes an eve-of-Budget illustrated guide to Labour's appalling economic legacy

2.15pm Ryan Bourne of the Centre for Policy Studies on ThinkTankCentral: What we need from tomorrow's Budget

EffOff12.45pm Tim Montgomerie on Comment: Who would sell T-shirts like THIS? Who would wear them?

12.30pm Parliament: Kris Hopkins soberly warns the Commons that there is "nothing glorious or romantic about war"

Noon Andrew Lilico on Comment: At this Budget, the inflation target should be amended

11.30am WATCH: The BBC reports that at 5.5%, RPI inflation is now the highest it has been for almost twenty years

10.45am Amy Selman on Comment: Why I will be filling in my Census form

ToryDiary: Theresa May to announce crackdown on bogus student visas

Also in ToryDiary: Would you like to join ConservativeHome as Assistant to the Editors?

Lord Lamont on Comment: George Osborne must stick to his deficit cutting strategy tomorrow – but it would be reassuring to hear that he has his sights set on tax cuts in the longer term

Also on Comment:


Local Government:

WATCH: President Obama says that the US wants Gadaffi to leave power and predicts that the transition will take days, not weeks

William Hague insists Libya action is legal…

William Hague serious 2011 "The legality of military action in Libya is "not in the slightest doubt", Foreign Secretary William Hague said as he claimed United Nations resolution 1973 would not have happened without British intervention. Mr Hague sought to allay fears the UK had rushed in to Libya, claiming his staff had "moved heaven and earth diplomatically" before the decision to use force was taken." – Press Association

…as the Government and military appear to disagree over targeting of Gaddafi…

"A breach within Britain's political and military leadership has opened up as David Cameron argued that the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, may be a legitimate target while the chief of the defence staff, Sir David Richards, said he was "absolutely not". The clash fed concern on the third day of the air assault that the hastily assembled international alliance is struggling to paper over disagreements about its ultimate war aims, the future role of Nato and the legitimacy of the rebel groups." – The Guardian

  • Government at war with Army over whether to target Gaddafi – The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Should Coalition forces be targeting Gaddafi?

…and a YouGov poll finds the public split over the military intervention

"Britain is split over the war on Colonel Gaddafi's regime, a poll for The Sun has revealed. Voters are also divided on whether the Libyan leader should be assassinated. The YouGov survey shows 45 per cent support the action to stop the dictator's attacks on his own people. But 36 per cent think the war is wrong, while 19 per cent don't know. Asked whether Gaddafi should be personally targeted by Allied air strikes, 46 per cent said he should, but 30 per cent disagreed." – The Sun

Lord Tebbit: David Cameron deserves credit for his swift action on Libya

Lord Tebbit 2010 serious "It would be ungenerous, indeed it would be ignoring reality, not to acknowledge that what began as no more than a Cameron-Sarkozy initiative has now brought on board the Americans, the Arab League and indeed the Security Council of the UN. That is some considerable achievement and the Prime Minister deserves great credit for his determination in driving it forward." – Lord Tebbit on his Daily Telegraph blog

Today's Budget speculation

  • George Osborne to clamp down on tax avoidance – The Guardian
  • Osborne to unveil private jet flight tax – BBC
  • Chancellor hopes £100m pothole fund will restore nation’s optimism – The Times (£)
  • Green bank to get go-ahead on fundraising – FT (£)

Allister Heath: Inflation means bigger Budget cuts

Allister Heath "What if inflation turns out to be much higher than the Treasury is assuming? Such an outcome would reduce the real value of spending by more than the four per cent described above, thus accelerating the cuts – or it could allow Osborne to spend more in cash terms, thus partly appeasing his critics, while still reducing spending by the same amount in real terms and satisfying the markets… There is another reason why inflation will matter tomorrow, whether Osborne admits it or not." – Allister Heath in City AM

  • Households robbed of £900 as inflation heads towards 6 per cent – The Independent

Patrick Nolan: Here's how Osborne should reduce the tax gap

"If the coalition is serious about reducing the tax gap they should move to a simpler tax system with a broader base and lower rates. Two key changes could help with this. 1) The coalition should scrap the zero-rating and reduced rating of VAT on products… 2) The coalition should scrap their plans to increase the personal tax allowance and lower the threshold for the 40p rate." – Patrick Nolan of Refrom writing for the Spectator Coffee House blog

Pickles scraps employment code

Eric Pickles BBC "The Government has unveiled controversial plans to scrap an employment code which unions argued gave "vital" protection to public sector workers. Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said he intended to scrap the Local Authority Two Tier Code, saying the move would "level the playing field" and reduce costs. Employers would no longer be required to offer employment to new recruits on terms and conditions "no less favourable" than those of transferred employees, potentially reducing the cost to the taxpayer of providing public services and encourage job creation, the minister told a CBI meeting." – Press Association

Boris Johnson announces £70m fund to make London greener

"London is set to become greener, with a £70m fund to finance the development of low-carbon waste and recycling facilities in the capital… Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, said the fund could generate hundreds of green jobs, save 28,000 tonnes of carbon and divert 245,000 tonnes of waste from landfill." – The Guardian

  • Green London Assembly Member to challenge Boris for the Mayoralty next year – Press Association

Children 'should read 50 books a year', says Gove

Michael Gove Sky News “Recently, I asked to see what students were reading at GCSE and I discovered that something like 80 or 90 per cent were just reading one or two novels and overwhelmingly it was the case that it included Of Mice and Men. Here [in the US] , kids at the end of primary school are being expected to read 50 books a year. I think we should, as a nation, be saying that our children should be reading 50 books a year, not just one or two for GCSE.” – Michael Gove quoted in the Daily Telegraph

Free schools will not teach creationism, says Gove's Department

"The Department for Education has said Michael Gove is "crystal clear that teaching creationism is at odds with scientific fact" after a warning that the government's new free schools could be exploited by fundamentalist churches looking to promote a literal interpretation of the Bible." – The Guardian

Other political news in brief

  • David Cameron says no to £7,000 pay rise for senior judges – Daily Mail
  • Cameron says UK is "extremely disturbed" by events in Yemen – Reuters
  • Andy Coulson falls on his feet with media consultancy role – The Guardian
  • Record satisfaction with NHS even among Tory voters – Daily Telegraph
  • Equality commission to face 'major surgery' – The Guardian
  • MEPs resign over bribes-for-amendments scandal – The Times (£)

And finally… David Cameron's top parenting tip

"My one tip – one thing that I do that I find I get a huge benefit from, and lots of fun – is cooking with the children. Particularly simple things like making pancakes. It’s just a fantastic thing to do – you make a lot of mess, you have a lot of fun, and there’s a point to it as well." – David Cameron quoted in the Daily Mail