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9pm Gazette: Tory MPs Stephen Crabb and Edward Timpson are running the London Marathon tomorrow and would appreciate your sponsorship!

NO2AV logo8.45pm Gazette: Tory MPs and activists up and down the country campaign in No2AV Super Saturday

7.30pm ToryDiary: ComRes shows the "Don't Knows" increasingly transferring their support to No2AV

6.15pm WATCH: Nick Clegg tells Lib Dems they should "take the fight" to the Tories at next month's local elections

3.45pm Jonathan Isaby on Comment: Let's get on and change the rules on Royal succession

1.30pm ToryDiary: CCHQ launches another offensive in the fight against AV

1pm Melanchthon on Comment: The main problem with permitting assisted suicide

11.45am Suella Fernandes on Comment: Supporting stronger legal systems is essential to promoting change and development in Africa

Picture 3ToryDiary: Douglas Carswell seeks an inquiry into whether George Osborne lied to the Commons

Also on ToryDiary: Ken Clarke insists David Cameron agrees with him on sending fewer criminals to prison 

Oliver Cooper on Comment: A truly Big Society would be agnostic towards churches

Also on Comment, Martin Parsons asks: Should immigration be biased towards those most likely to integrate?

Seats and Candidates: Just five candidates to contest Leicester South by-election

Local Government:

WATCH: Barack Obama says that Gaddafi is becoming more and more isolated, although he never expected him to be gone in three weeks

Iain Martin predicts the break-up of the Coalition within two years

Iain Martin "I predict that at some point in the next couple of years it will cease to be viable, and it will break-up — over Europe, the NHS reforms or even the potential change to the voting system being decided in the referendum taking place on May 5… The row on immigration shows that the two parties are just too  far apart on the fundamental issues to forge a lasting partnership. Their pact might have been necessary a year ago, as a short-term measure to deal with an immediate economic emergency. Back then, it was essential that a plan be implemented to eliminate Labour's huge deficit, a result of reckless over-spending in the Blair-Brown years. But beyond that many Tories now believe they're paying way too high a price to their partners." – Iain Martin in the Daily Mail

Tory MPs urge recall of Parliament for debate on Libyan 'mission creep'

"The Government was yesterday facing calls for the recall of Parliament amid claims that the military mission in Libya had changed. Conservative MP John Baron said that it was now clear that Britain and its allies were pursuing a policy of ''regime change'' in Libya… Mr Baron said he has now written to Commons Speaker John Bercow formally requesting a recall of Parliament. The demands for a recall were backed by Conservative MPs David Davis and Peter Bone." – Daily Telegraph

"The French defence minister Gerard Longuet admitted the U.S., Britain and France were thinking beyond their current mandate. Asked whether in pushing for Gaddafi's overthrow, the coalition risked moving beyond UN resolution 1973, Mr Longuet said: 'Certainly. It does not address the future of Gaddafi'." – Daily Mail

"David Cameron rejected demands for a recall of parliament over Libya after MPs warned of a shift in emphasis by the western allies from a humanitarian mission towards a strategy for regime change… Mr Cameron will make a statement on the situation as the Commons gathers again on April 26. But there will be no chance for MPs to vote again on Libya unless a debate is forced by one of the opposition parties or by the backbench business committee." – FT (£)

> Yesterday on ConHome:

David Cameron: Those who wanted Britain to join the euro now want us to ditch our electoral system

NO2AV logo "Just look at who’s pushing the Yes campaign. You guessed it – many of the same people who called for the euro are now trying to meddle with our democracy. Spin doctors like Peter Mandelson and his europhile cronies. Politicians like Neil Kinnock, who failed to win under our tried-and-tested system and so now want to change the rules of the game. “And celebrities like Eddie Izzard, who has gone from fronting Yes to the euro to Yes to AV. Well, they were all wrong about the euro – and they’re just as wrong about this.’’ – David Cameron in the Daily Express

"The Prime Minister sets out his case against the AV voting system. The Daily Express is convinced by his arguments and has no hesitation in recommending that people vote No in the referendum on May 5." – Daily Express editorial

Baroness Warsi raises the prospect that AV could lead to compulsory voting…

"AV isn't just complicated and costly – it's a turn-off for voters. When the Australians introduced AV, turnout nosedived. They had to make voting compulsory. It's the kind of draconian measure we want to prevent. There's a real threat AV could slash turnout in the UK. It would be a disaster for our democracy." – Baroness Warsi quoted in The Sun

…as Theresa May suggests AV would lead to millions of spoilt ballots…

Theresa May "A shift to the alternative vote system would lead to almost two million people being disenfranchised, Home Secretary Theresa May is warning. Making her first intervention into the increasingly fractious AV debate, Mrs May predicts there would be a big increase in accidentally spoiled ballot papers – those filled out incorrectly – because of the complexity of the system. Evidence from around the world suggests that under AV, in which candidates have to be ranked in order of preference, 1.68 million Britons would see their votes discounted simply because of mistakes at the ballot box." – Daily Mail

…and the Telegraph sets out the alternatives to AV

"The wider use of open primaries would make MPs answerable to all their constituents, not just party members. The right of recall would enable voters to remove tainted or inadequate politicians without waiting for an election. Strengthening the legislature against the executive would help MPs act like statesmen rather than placemen. There are other measures that could be considered, such as removing party labels from the ballot paper to give candidates an individual mandate, as was the custom until surprisingly recently." – Daily Telegraph editorial

Giving MPs a kicking is no reason to back AV – Lord Fellowes in The Times (£)

Election bill will triple under AV, say ConservativesDaily Telegraph

Nick Clegg derides 'desperate' No campaign The Guardian

Labour 'entirely isolated' by Barack Obama's deficit cuts, says George Osborne

"Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has repeatedly used the US approach of cutting the deficit gradually to argue the Coalition is moving too fast and taking a reckless gamble with the economy. But on Thursday Obama unveiled plans to cut the US's $1.65 trillion (£1 trillion) deficit over four years, a faster rate than Britain. "It reinforces the point that Labour are entirely isolated in the international community," Mr Osborne said on the fringes of the International Monetary Fund's spring meeting in Washington." – Daily Telegraph

The first TV election leaders' debate is recalled one year on…

Picture 1 "Exactly a year ago today, Britain woke up to find itself in a new political world. The previous night, April 15, the three major party leaders had debated head to head for 90 minutes in front of a Manchester audience for the first time in a general election campaign… Some believe it was the biggest mistake of Cameron's political life to agree to participate in those pivotal campaign debates a year ago… Gordon Brown said in one moment of that first debate: 'I know we're not up against The X Factor or Britain's Got Talent.' But that is exactly what those political TV shows became." – Max Hastings in the Daily Mail

…as the Lib Dems have gone "from Cleggmania to Catastrophe"…

"The polls show a wholly different picture to the one enjoyed by the Liberal Democrat leader exactly 12 months ago. An approval rating survey taken at the time suggested that he was the most popular party leader since Winston Churchill. But a sounding gathered earlier this month showed that the Liberal Democrats suffered one of their lowest poll ratings in the party's history, with just nine points to Labour's 42 and with the Conservatives on 37." – Sky News

Nick Clegg 2011 resolute "With the economy and the cuts at the top of the agenda, it is remarkable that Mr Clegg rather than George Osborne has become public enemy number one. The Chancellor certainly expected to be. But Mr Osborne can keep his head down between big statements and speeches, while there is no hiding place for Mr Clegg, a convenient whipping boy for both left and right." – Andrew Grice in The Independent

…and Clegg now "disowns the Tories" as Lib Dems head for poll rout

"Nick Clegg will try to throw off claims today that he is too close to David Cameron by pledging to “take the fight to the Tories” in next month’s local elections. Facing the prospect of losing a third of his party’s councils and more than 300 seats, the Liberal Democrat leader will try to appease grassroot critics who are accusing him of eroding the party’s identity." – The Times (£)

"Working together in the national interest does not mean we agree on everything," he will say. "When the Conservatives are making local decisions that we wouldn't make, we should say so. When the Conservatives are making mistakes locally, we should say so." – The Independent

Welsh Conservatives launch Assembly manifesto

WELSH-LOGO "Welsh Conservatives yesterday launched their Assembly manifesto, aiming to reverse the fall in Wales’ share of the national wealth and decline in its educational achievement. The party set out the bold vision of reaching 85% of the UK average by 2020 and 100% by 2030." – Western Mail

"Tory assembly leader Nick Bourne said his party was willing to look at a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru after May's election. In his introduction to the manifesto, David Cameron said his party had an "ambitious programme for government". – BBC

Boris Johnson interviewed and profiled for The Guardian

Boris Johnson cycling on bike "The projects for which Johnson is responsible tend to have a back-to-the-future feeling – two months after coming to power, he scrapped the proposed £25 congestion charge on "gas-guzzlers" entering central London; last May, he unveiled his new-look Routemaster; he abolished the western congestion zone charge as a "Christmas present" to the Knightsbridge and Notting Hill set. His first policy announcement was to ban alcohol on tubes and buses – a surprisingly authoritarian stance for such a proud libertarian. But, like Livingstone, Johnson's politics have always been more of a pick and mix than he likes to profess." – The Guardian

Cameron hails the Tory councillor submarine hero

"Cameron has congratulated the hero who disarmed a killer gunman on nuclear sub HMS Astute. The PM called Tory council leader Royston Smith "fantastically brave". Councillor Smith, 47, was making a civic visit to the vessel when a submariner opened fire with an assault rifle." – The Sun

UKIP attracts anti-immigrant vote as polite alternative to BNP

"The UK Independence Party is picking up wide support from voters who are hostile to immigration but regard it as a "polite alternative" to the far-Right British National Party, new research concludes. Ukip is at pains to stress it is not a racist party, but fresh academic research suggests it will benefit from Islamophobic and xenophobic sentiments within the electorate." – The Independent

> Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin on Comment in January: Might UKIP succeed where the BNP has failed?

News and Comment in brief

  • Gordon Brown now tipped for World Economic Forum job – Daily Mail
  • Will there always be an England, whatever the origin of its people? – Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph
  • Miliband aide says Labour lied about the public about immigration – Daily Telegraph
  • With Cameron the great migration deabte has been won – Patrick O'Flynn in the Daily Express
  • Clegg aims to scrap male primogeniture from Royal line of succession – Daily Telegraph
  • William Hague "throwing two taxpayer-funded Royal Wedding parties" – Daily Mirror
  • Baroness Warsi "used taxpayer-funded official visit to Pakistan to slip off for family wedding" – Daily Mail
  • Parliament Square protester loses latest appeal – BBC

And finally… Ken Livingstone finds something to celebrate

"For the first time since Michael Foot, we've got a leader of the Labour Party who likes me." – Labour's London mayoral candidate interviewed in the Daily Telegraph

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49 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 16th April 2011

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