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10pm BREAKING NEWS… ToryDiary: Cable calls for "progressive majority" to keep Tories out of power

7.15pm WATCH: The BBC's Gary O'Donoghue reports from the by-election campaign trail in Leicester South

Picture 45.45pm Jonathan Isaby on Comment: If Nick Clegg venerates Shirley Williams so much, why couldn't he remember voting for her?

3.45pm WATCH: Yes2AV video warns that candidates with 30% support can win under First-Past-The-Post

3.30pm LeftWatch: Gordon Brown appointed to World Economic Forum role

2pm Amber Rudd MP on Comment: How I am promoting enterprise in Hastings and Rye

11am WATCH: Senator John McCain arrives in Libya to meet rebels in Benghazi

ToryDiary: David Cameron cites unease at how judges are creating a privacy law by the back door

Ruth Lea Ruth Lea on Comment: Radical policies are required to rediscover Britain’s lost competitiveness

Also on Comment, Andrew Lilico: Women heirs – fine, no problem. Catholic heirs… if we must, but with consequences

LeftWatch: Has Labour really become a Eurosceptic party?

Local Government:

WATCH: On the campaign trail in Befordshire, David Cameron addresses plans to get people off incapacity benefit and the impact of the AV debate on the coalition

Cameron pledges to veto proposed EU budget rise

"David Cameron last night vowed that Brussels would be ‘stopped’ from imposing an enormous increase to the EU budget that will leave families with an astonishing £400 bill. The Prime Minister insisted Europe should not be immune from belt-tightening when national governments are making huge cuts in response to the financial crisis. He vowed to oppose the European Commission’s demand for a 4.9 per cent rise in its budget, landing British taxpayers with a £10billion EU bill for the first time, saying the increase was ‘not going to happen’." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: We need to address the abusive relationship rather than just stop the latest punch from Brussels

Clegg insists Coalition 'Will Go On After AV Vote'…

Nick Clegg 2011 "Nick Clegg has hit out at "falsehoods" from the campaign against the alternative vote, but insisted the coalition would continue to work regardless of the referendum result. Both the Prime Minister and the Liberal Democrat leader have said there would be no ill will between the Government partners – even though each party disagrees over voting reform." – Sky News

…although the personal attacks continue…

"Nick Clegg launched a thinly veiled attack on David Cameron yesterday as he branded opponents of changing the voting system as "dinosaurs". Amid rising tension between the two Coalition parties, the Deputy Prime Minister hit back at Mr Cameron's declaration that the alternative vote (AV) would result in more "broken promises" by politicians." – The Independent

…and Cameron attacks Major government in AV campaign

"The Prime Minister picked the most recent Conservative-only government to illustrate why the proposed Alternative Vote system should be opposed. He said removing tired governments was vital to democracy. When the country “desperately needed to get rid of that [Labour] government” in 1979, they were able to elect Margaret Thatcher, he said. “We also remember 1997 and I think we know in 1997 the country needed change. Again it was a decisive result,” he added." – Daily Telegraph

  • TNS poll has No campaign ahead by a whisker – The Independent
  • Fresh blow to AV as older voters back first-past-the post – Daily Mail
  • Tony Blair refuses to takes sides on AV – The Times (£)
  • No2AV Director Matthew Elliot discuses the challenges of the referendum – Total Politics
  • If you get the X Factor you'll get AV – Johann Hari in The Independent

> Yesterday on Comment: Graeme Archer nailsthree myths about Alternative Vote (including the one repeated above by Johann Hari that AV is akin to voting in The X Factor)

George Osborne given triple boost with statistics signalling good times are ahead

OSBORNE GEORGE smiling "Retail sales figures unexpectedly rose last month, car production also increased and public borrowing fell. The data gives the Chancellor some respite after poor economic figures earlier this year and growing concern over his stringent deficit reduction plans. Mr Osborne will hope that quarterly production statistics out next week follow suit by showing a return to growth." – Daily Telegraph

  • Why didn’t I hear about the 5.1% increase in public spending on the BBC? – John Redwood's Diary
  • Chancellor confident Tories will not suffer cuts backlash – Western Mail

Chris Grayling: We will make the welfare system fit for purpose

"The last government was happy to spend billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money while leaving people on benefits without ever asking the question “is there something more you could be doing with your life?” That’s why we are in the situation where around 20,000 people with drug and alcohol addictions have simply been allowed to spend the last decade abandoned on benefits with the taxpayer footing the bill. Well this situation isn’t going to continue." – Employment minister Chris Grayling in the Daily Express

  • PM vows action to get addicts on benefits into work – BBC

> Video from yesterday: Chris Grayling says that Government's changes to incapacity benefits will save money and lives

UK will not take in migrants fleeing northern Africa, insists Theresa May

Theresa May Home Secretary "Theresa May has insisted she will not take in any of the migrants fleeing turmoil in northern Africa as concerns grow that they could head for UK shores. The Home Secretary has told her EU counterparts that Britain is not prepared to join any “burden sharing” as tens of thousands of people cross in to Europe, The Daily Telegraph can disclose." – Daily Telegraph

David Cameron echoes Tony Blair's warnings over Iraq as he vows to step up pressure on Colonel Gaddafi

"David Cameron yesterday echoed Tony Blair’s warnings on Iraq as he vowed to step up pressure on Colonel Gaddafi. The Prime Minister said military action was needed to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Libya when the Commons voted on sending in troops. With Gaddafi’s forces laying waste to the rebel city Misrata, Mr Cameron yesterday claimed the mission was also needed for national security. He said: “We have to explain it’s not just a moral interest in Libya preventing a slaughter, it’s also our national interest." – Daily Mirror

Clegg approves peers’ plan to delay police reform

"Nick Clegg has given Liberal Democrat peers his approval to delay the implementation of Tory policy on elected police commissioners. The Deputy Prime Minister said he was committed to the policy but he suggested that it would be proper for the Lords to amend it to ensure its proper implementation. New elected representatives are meant to be in place by May 2012, but Lib Dem peers are pushing for the idea to be tested for three years." – The Times (£)

The Independent declares that Lords reform must be delayed no longer

Lords_Chamber "There will necessarily be a long, slow, process from the publication of the draft proposals in May to the day when old peers are actually told to pack up their ermine and leave, but the important thing is that it must happen. This is not so much a matter of dragging the Lords into the 21st century. Just getting them into the 20th century would be a start." – Independent editorial

> Jonathan Isaby earlier this year on Comment: Turning the House of Lords into an elected Senate would be a lasting and highly damaging piece of constitutional vandalism

Latest polling news

Other news in brief

  • Government issues Easter weekend smog alert – Daily Telegraph
  • Church urges schools to slash places for believers – The Times (£)
  • Man charged in Constable Ronan Kerr murder inquiry – BBC

And finally… Miliband declares "Red Ed is dead"

Ed Miliband 2011 "Ed Miliband has declared "Red Ed is dead" in a bid to dump his left-wing image and win back Sun readers. The rookie Labour leader gave his most self-effacing interview yet to the nation's best-read newspaper over a game of pool." – The Sun

…as he prepares for adenoids operation to cure ‘bunged-up’ voice

"Ed Miliband is to have an operation to improve his voice and help turn him into an election winner. Aides have told the Labour leader to have surgery to cure his “bunged up” sound. He is expected to have his adenoids – fleshy growths behind the nose – removed during Parliament’s long summer break. The op, usually performed under general ­anaesthetic, takes about a week to recover from and should get rid of his nasal drawl." – Daily Mirror

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