7.45pm BREAKING on International: Anti-bailout party, allied to UKIP, may finish first in Finnish election
6.45pm Gazette: Photographs of David Cameron on the No2AV campaign trail
4pm ToryDiary: Selection for sixteen year olds?
3.45pm Local government: Sunday Telegraph's fictitous attack on Bob Neill
2pm LeftWatch: Unison paints Eric Pickles as "Jabba the Cut"
Roger Fox on Comment: The Conservative Party in the country should be getting behind the NHS reforms
- Council chief execs given pay rises named and shamed
- The battle for West Lancashire
- The Prince's Foundation receives £800,000 grant from DCLG
- Community Engagement courses offered to councillors
David Cameron draws up raft of measures to boost Nick Clegg in event of 'No' vote including Proportional Representation for Lords and NHS retreats
"David Cameron is planning to allow peers to be elected to a reformed House of Lords by a system of proportional representation in a major boost for Nick Clegg… Strategists at 10 Downing Street are drawing up plans for a raft of policy announcements in the weeks following May 5 which can be claimed as Lib Dem "wins" if Mr Clegg suffers reverses in both ballots." – The Sunday Telegraph
- "If PR were adopted for the Lords, it would set a very dangerous precedent. The Lib Dems would be encouraged to think they could get PR for the whole electoral system – which would be disastrous for this country. The Prime Minister should proceed with extreme caution." – Sunday Telegraph leader
- Clegg to Lansley: Change NHS reforms or lose our support – Independent on Sunday
- Andrew Lansley interview with the News of the World (£).
- In The Observer, Nick Cohen asks: "Satisfaction with the NHS has seldom been higher, so why is the coalition so determined to overhaul it?"
…But Cameron faces his own nightmares if AV passes
"The double nightmare scenario for David Cameron is that the result is swung in Scotland and Wales where there is a higher turn-out because the referendum coincides with the elections to the Edinburgh Parliament and Cardiff Assembly. Elements of the Conservative party will go demented with fury if England says no but a Celtic yes vote wins it for AV. The Thatcherite former Scottish secretary, Michael Forsyth, has already described such a outcome as "rigged", which implies he and other Tories might try to resist the introduction of AV on the grounds that the result was not legitimate. One senior Conservative MP on the right predicts that Tories will go "completely mad" if they lose the referendum – to the extent that they might even jeopardise the coalition." – Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer
"Tory MPs think Cameron was wrong to agree to this referendum and if he loses this contest, one year after he lost an “unlosable” general election, many will wonder whether their leader is much of a winner." – Tim Montgomerie in The Sunday Telegraph
- 37% of Liberal Democrat voters have deserted Clegg – Independent on Sunday
- 'No' has 3% lead according to YouGov (increasing to 7% among those likeliest to vote).
- 'No' has 6% lead in ComRes survey – Yesterday evening's ToryDiary
Paddy Ashdown accuses Sayeeda Warsi of "tawdry" and "indefensible" campaigning against AV
"What I am perplexed and deeply disturbed by is that those running the no campaign haven't once put forward a positive case for the current system and instead have spent their time lying about AV. I have seen principle-free machine politics in action many times and it is never a pretty sight. But this time really is different. To have Baroness Warsi stand on the site of race riots in the 1930s and say that a yes vote will help the BNP is as tawdry as it is indefensible." – Lord Ashdown in The Observer
- AV is too complex.
- AV is unfair.
- AV makes it harder to kick out bad governments.
- AV is a waste of money.
- AV is unpopular.
Read the Prime Minister's full piece in the News of the World (£).
Great leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Bill Clinton would not have been elected under the Alternative Vote system – News of the World (£)
> On ToryDiary yesterday Jonathan Isaby noted the Tory leadership's massive anti-AV weekend effort as postal votes are distributed.
Cameron to share 'No2AV' platform with senior Labour figures including John Reid – Independent on Sunday
Cable to share 'Yes2AV' platform with Ed Miliband – Mail on Sunday
Cameron should have sacked Vince Cable for his attack on Coalition immigration policy – Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph
- "Vince Cable, the business secretary, has advised colleges to mount a legal challenge against measures to cut immigration." – The Sunday Times (£)
- David Cameron doesn't have a serious plan to curb immigration – Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday
Clegg urges Lib Dems to 'take the fight' to the Tories as he launches local election campaign – Mail on Sunday
The Lib Dem leader attacks Tory councils for closing libraries and Sure Start centres – Video report
Britain's most senior Catholic leader has warned David Cameron not to use the Big Society as "a cloak for masking cuts"
"The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales said Catholics were afraid the Coalition was "washing its hands" of its responsibilities to communities and expecting volunteers to fill the gap. "It is all very well to deliver speeches about the need for greater voluntary activity, but there needs to be some practical solutions," he said… Archbishop Nichols said there was a worrying tendency for the poorer sections of society to be worst affected by cuts and accused the banks of failing to contribute their share to helping the victims of the economic crisis." – The Sunday Telegraph
William Hague has welcomed Syrian president's vow to lift state of emergency – Sunday Express
- Bernard Jenkin and Patrick Mercer call for extra help for Libyan rebels – The Sunday Telegraph
- "Lord Dannatt said that while the Nato-led air strikes had enjoyed some success, equipping the opposition to fight effectively was vital to prevent a vacuum forming that could be filled by extremists." – Sunday Express
Coalition in brief:
- Defence Secretary Liam Fox flees his flat over terror attack fears – Mail on Sunday
- Teacher trainers threaten to strike over Michael Gove's plan to move training to the classroom – Observer
- Third of MPs say they considered quitting over long hours in Commons – The Observer
Radio 2 is Coalition's target
"Downing Street’s new communications director Craig Oliver has decided who the Cameron Government’s target audience should be. Oliver declared at a recent meeting of Tory spin doctors that the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2 should be their Holy Grail, the place where they want their message to be delivered. The 8am news bulletin on Evans’s show is the most listened-to news programme of the day and, to Oliver’s mind, the most important. Evans’s show has 8.7 million listeners. But for Oliver, the appeal of the show is not just the size of its audience but that it also gets the Government thinking outside the Westminster bubble… He wants to make it concentrate on the programmes that are heard by the most people rather than just those listened to by the most influential people." – James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday
Fraser Nelson: Crime is more expensive than prison
"Our Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, says that prison is a "waste of money". I'd like to try and change his mind. The average prisoner has committed 140 crimes in the 12 months before being banged up. According to the Home Office, the average crime costs just under £3,000. So that's £420,000 a year of crime. And it costs less than a tenth of that, about £30,000, to keep someone inside. That's a pretty good return on investment." – Fraser Nelson in the News of the World (£)
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Ken Clarke insists David Cameron agrees with him on sending fewer criminals to prison
"The party has appeared to return to the old model of gentry-led Conservatism in which anyone who earns more than £42,000 a year through his own labour is culpably wealthy, and too much self-improvement will get you clobbered with punitive taxation" – Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph
Before you attack Oxford, Mr Cameron, what about some black ministers? – Jenny McCartney in The Sunday Telegraph
- "David Cameron’s blast at Oxford University for not recruiting enough black students was greeted with nervous throat-clearing at his favourite Pall Mall gentlemen’s club, White’s. How many of its 1,600 members fit his ethnic criteria? ‘I can’t say I have ever seen a black member there,’ a veteran White’s-goer confessed. ‘But we do have the odd Maharaja knocking around. Does that count?’ Er, no." – Mail on Sunday
- Independent on Sunday cartoon mocks racial diversity of Conservative Party.
We have to give up the green mantra that the only way to cut our carbon emissions is renewable energy. The fastest way is to burn gas – Charles Glover in The Sunday Times (£)
Given that we’ve followed in America’s considerable wake on many other health initiatives, should we have a fat tax here? – Matt Rudd in The Sunday Times (£)
And finally… Clegg comes top of one opinion poll…
The Sunday Times finds professional gay men find him more attractive than Cameron or Miliband (but that doesn't translate into votes, with Tories the most popular party according to gay networking site, Jake) – The Sunday Times (£)