9pm ToryDiary: Landmark polling from Lord Ashcroft reveals massive gap between governed and governing on crime

8.45pm ToryDiary: Cameron condemns "wicked and cowardly" murder of Ulster policeman

6.45pm WATCH: One of a series of Foreign Office films about EU civil servants at work

6.15pm Gazette: Brynle Williams, Welsh AM and fuel protestor, dies

4.45pm Local Government: Olympic Stadium on time and within budget

Screen shot 2011-04-02 at 18.19.53 1.30pm WATCH: What Boris said about the EMA

11am Daniel Hamilton on Comment: The International Court of Justice must investigate the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia and South Ossetia

ToryDiary: In defence of David Willetts

Michael Burnett on Comment: How Labour mismanaged Public Private Partnerships – and how we should reform them

Local Government: Most Councils are cutting the back office while protecting the front line

Parliament: A Bone to pick with the BBC

WATCH: A new take on the Arab spring

Lansley digs in over health reforms…

Screen shot 2011-04-02 at 08.07.39 "Defiant Health Secretary Andrew Lansley yesterday ruled out a major U-turn in his NHS reforms – in a direct confrontation with Downing Street.  He has faced a growing chorus of critics, ranging from medical organisations to MPs, and is even opposed in his own constituency.  Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg demanded substantial changes after a vote overwhelmingly against the plans at his Lib Dem spring conference." – The Sun

"ConHome’s poll found almost three-quarters of the supporter base in favour of reform. At Westminster, Tory whips said they were not anticipating a backlash on the bill. But that is where consensus ends. Some Tory MPs are privately expressing fears about pace and timing as Mr Lansley sets out to move the NHS towards being a national insurance system with care being provided by competing, publicly owned private and voluntary providers." – Financial Times (£)

  • Lansley's office attacked – BBC
  • Cameron will get his way on the NHS – Paul Goodman, The Guardian

>Yesterday in ToryDiary: Over 70 per cent of ConHome panellists want Lansley's reforms to go ahead

…While Clegg plans to ditch them as consolation prize for AV loss…

"Until recently, Mr Clegg's fall-back plan was to demand the speeding up of plans to create a mainly elected House of Lords. While that might raise a cheer at a Lib Dem conference, it hardly sets pulses racing in the Dog and Duck. And it would take years.  So Mr Clegg has set his sights on a much bigger prize: a U-turn in the controversial NHS reforms to hand 80 per cent of the budget to GPs and scrap primary care trusts (PCTs). Mr Clegg is convinced that there must be big symbolic changes to the NHS and Social Care Bill." – Andy Grice, The Independent

…And Cameron fires a broadside at the Yes campaign

Screen shot 2011-04-02 at 08.49.33
"David Cameron has stepped up his attack on the alternative vote backed by Nick Clegg, describing the system as crazy and reminding voters that his deputy once regarded the reform as a "miserable little compromise".  He did so as the yes campaign prepared today for a celebrity-backed launch and a poster campaign beginning on Monday designed to argue the voting changes will make MPs work harder by needing to win 50% of their constituency's support." – The Guardian

> Yesterday: WATCH – Cameron: AV is a "miserable little compromise"

Prime Minister rules out deal for Saif Gaddafi

Screen shot 2011-04-02 at 08.57.48 "Downing Street has stated its position towards Saif Gaddafi after it emerged that one of his key aides had travelled to Britain earlier this week, during which he had talks with intelligence officials. This sparked speculation that the aide, Mohammed Ismail, was exploring a possible exit deal for Saif Gaddafi – although this has been played down by Whitehall sources." – Daily Telegraph

"The protests against Mr Koussa’s arrival are not just silly. They could do actual damage. As the chances of survival for the Gaddafi regime decrease, each of its members starts to make calculations…If they see that escape will send them straight off to prison and persecution, they won’t attempt it. The agony will be prolonged – not just their agony, which matters little, but that of the people of Libya." – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

  • Gaddafi regime starts talks with the west to end conflict – The Guardian
  • Our man in Washington helped with Gaddafi son's "dodgy" PhD – Daily Mail
  • Forget Libya. Mr Cameron now faces awesome battles on the home front – Iain Martin, Daily Mail

UK Uncut fears Theresa May

"UK Uncut is worried that talk of a crackdown to curb further violence could impinge on its activities, which this weekend are planned in Bangor, Barnstaple, Edinburgh, London and Oxford. "Theresa May's comments are quite worrying," said a spokesman. "She seemed to imply that anyone who goes beyond marching would be criminalised and that would be dangerous. Our actions are direct but we consider them creative civil disobedience." – The Guardian

Tebbit: I admire Clegg more than Cameron

Tebbit2 "As a joke I ask if he has more admiration for Mr Clegg than Mr Cameron, and am astonished when he says, “Yes, in a way, because I think he has pushed his agenda quite hard. I think Clegg is probably more politically motivated than Cameron.” Damning for them both.  What does he feel Mr Cameron really believes in? “I’m not sure what he believes in. Let me put it tactfully like that.” – Lord Tebbit interview, Daily Telegraph

Boris rings Gove on EMAs

"The London mayor has called Education Secretary Michael Gove to explain his concerns over plans to replace student Education Maintenance Allowances.  Boris Johnson phoned Michael Gove after voicing reservations about the policy on the BBC's Question Time programme.  The Greater London Authority would work with the government to ensure the plans did not have a disproportionate effect on Londoners, said a City Hall source." – BBC

Coalition and Political News in Brief

  • Treasury Select Committee backs separation of retail and investment banking – Robert Peston, BBC
  • Libyan war troops face sack – Daily Telegraph
  • Police Chief goes early to frustrate elected commissioners plan – The Times (£)
  • New EU counter-terror agency claim – Daily Express
  • "Limbs in the Loch" axe murderer's ire at Bercow – The Times (£)
  • Liam Fox gives up alcohol – Andy McSmith, The Independent

CCHQ claims Huhne LibDem leadership plot

"Mr Huhne made a remarkable attack this week on Sayeeda Warsi, Tory chairman and a cabinet colleague, accusing her of being part of a “Goebbels-like campaign” against the alternative vote: “No lie is too idiotic given the truth is so unpalatable to them.”…“It was a quite vicious attack on Sayeeda,” said one Tory official, who added that Mr Huhne was clearly playing to Lib Dem activists. “It has caused a few raised eyebrows: we think he is positioning himself." – Financial Times

Yesterday in ToryDiary: Revealed – Secret Hilton plan for Huhne/Warsi Party Chairman jobshare

Replace Trident with Anglo-French weapon, says Liberal Democrat Defence Minister

Screen shot 2011-04-02 at 08.53.37 "A defence minister has called for a jointly developed and run Anglo-French replacement for Britain's nuclear weapons, a move that would save the UK tens of billions of pounds and change the face of its defence strategy.  The proposal from Nick Harvey, a Liberal Democrat, was put to French defence experts at the French ambassador's residence this week. Harvey told the Guardian the idea was warmly received." – The Guardian

MPs "gagged" as the rich and famous wage a privacy war

"The disclosure comes as details emerged last night of new far-reaching court orders that can prevent people from even talking to their MPs about issues of concern. The so-called “hyperinjunction” — a step up from the now infamous superinjunction which blocks publicity of an issue — is certain to create tension between judges and Parliament but has been used at least three times already, according to one MP." – The Times (£)

"Left-wing, shallow and oh-so politically correct… my verdict on the BBC"

"Michael Buerk has launched a withering assault on the BBC’s ‘creed of political correctness’.  The veteran presenter accuses staff at the Corporation of an inbuilt ‘institutional bias’ and warns that they read the left-wing Guardian newspaper as if it is ‘their Bible’.  Reviewing a memoir by his former colleague Peter Sissons, Buerk endorses his view that the BBC is warped by the prejudices of its staff." – Daily Mail

Matthew Parris comes to the defence of Ed Miliband

"To those in the party whose nostrils pick up the scent of an early challenge to his leadership, all I can say is that this is a decent, measured, thoughtful and mercifully unirritating man, who is unlikely to do anything really stupid. He will carry you carefully through an unavoidably bloody couple of years. So be careful what you wish for." – Matthew Parris, The Times (£)

Other Comment

And finally…Look who's advertising his services as follows –

Mandelson pointing cheeky " ‘Global Counsel brings together much of what I have learnt during my career: how best to renew and re-project brands (as I did in the creation of New Labour); how to re-focus large organisations to meet new goals (as I did in successive government departments); and how to adapt and benefit from the impact of globalisation (as I did as European Trade Commissioner)….Since the election I have travelled extensively, renewing my networks in Europe, China, India, Brazil, the Gulf States, Russia, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries.’ " – Daily Mail


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