6pm International update: Berlusconi's party fares badly in Italian local elections
2pm ConHomeUSA: Time for Tea Party 2.0?
11.15am International: Will the Liberal Democrats follow Germany's example and abandon nuclear power?
Tom Clougherty on Comment: Happy Tax Freedom Day 2011! For the rest of the year you are no longer working for the government…
On the Local government blog:
- Cllr Andrew Povey on Residents running libraries in Surrey's Big Society challenge
- Incentive planned to restore weekly waste collections
- Councils to be allowed to ease cycling restrictions
Chris Huhne's estranged wife refused to tell police whether she took speeding points because she feared prison – Telegraph
Downing Street moves to deny speculation that Andrew Lansley will quit; "Andrew Lansley is doing an excellent job as Health Secretary" – Independent
- Ed Miliband shouldn't crow. It's time to move closer to Clegg and reshape the NHS reforms – Jackie Ashley in The Guardian
- "The kind of radical change suggested by Andrew Lansley's, while not perfect, is, [former Labour minister] Lord Warner argues, the only way to avoid the NHS imploding financially." – BBC
- Marketing campaigns to resume after sharp declines in use of public health websites and helplines – BBC
Cameron attacked for breaking promise to appoint Ministers for the North
"In his first major speech as Premier, in Shipley exactly a year ago today, Mr Cameron pledged to introduce a team of City Ministers to champion the region’s economic powerhouses and help bridge the North-South divide. But despite pledging to act within weeks – filling the gap left by the axing of Labour’s Regional Ministers – no City Ministers have been appointed." – Yorkshire Post
Cameron also accused of lacking a plan to tackle regional imbalances – Yorkshire Post
Fox attacks "cowardly" leak of his confidential letters on defence and aid spending
"It has been suggested Dr Fox – regarded as one of the most right-wing Tories in Cabinet – believes another member of the National Security Council is responsible for the leaks, although he has ruled out Conservative colleague William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, as the culprit. Yesterday, asked if a Cabinet colleague had leaked his letters, he replied: “You never know. That’s the whole things with leaks,” which he labelled “unprofessional, unethical and cowardly”." – Herald
Vince Cable attempted to sell arms to Cuba in his early career
"Dr Cable’s time as a government arms broker, which formed part of his duties as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office official charged with boosting trade to Latin America, will come as a shock to many Liberal Democrats. He made the admission as he attempted to win over Britain’s defence industry, a sector he has spent most of his political career criticising." – Times (£)
Government to announce an estimated £100m to restore weekly bin services – Guardian
- Hundreds of miles of cycle routes could be created across England following a move by Grant Shapps to make it easier for councils to scrap outdated local laws – Independent
Cameron cuts his ties with Jewish National Fund charity in move hailed by pro-Palestine campaigners – Daily Mail
Sam Coates in The Times (£) has more: "David Cameron has removed his name from a list of patrons of the UK branch of a Jewish charity dedicated to the “Zionist dream”, in the latest signal of a cooling of relations with Israel. The Prime Minister broke with tradition and wrote to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) earlier this month to announce his decision to withdraw his patronage. He took on the role five years ago, following the example set by the former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown."
Melanie Phillips says Cameron's words on overseas aid sound "like a callow teenager in an Oxfam kaftan"
"As with other semi-submerged ‘iceberg’ issues — such as immigration, the EU or human rights — overseas aid is where the political elite either ignores or sneers at the common sense in which public opinion is rooted." – Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail
> Last night's ToryDiary: And in other news… The British taxpayer saves four million lives
Two thirds of criminals avoid jail despite amassing at least 15 convictions
Tory MP Douglas Carswell told the Daily Mail: "Many of my constituents are losing faith in the criminal justice system because – as these figures show – even when people have become habitual offenders they are not actually brought to justice. The criminal justice system simply doesn’t administer what my constituents regard as justice. If the Government wants to claim to be a government that puts victims and the law-abiding first, it urgently and desperately needs to take action on this."
Pressure grows for circus ban on wild animals – Independent
Other political comment:
- We can get more revenue from the rich by cutting their tax rates – John Redwood
- Boundary changes, Scottish independence and party funding reform could prevent Labour ever winning again – George Eaton for the New Statesman
- The Guardian's leader-writers predict a Lib Dem rebellion on the benefits cap will be the next frustrated Coalition reform
- Our political leaders used to love reading and going to the theatre. Now they fear being seen as elitist – Mark Lawson in The Guardian
- The British economy needs investment in roads and infrastructure – David Wighton in The Times (£)
Labour considers parliamentary alliance with Eurosceptic Tory MPs to get better eurozone bailout terms
"The Labour party said on Sunday it was willing to work with Eurosceptic Tories to reduce the size of UK contributions to the bailout of troubled eurozone nations and to cut the timescale of UK liability. The decision puts the coalition government's parliamentary support for its handling of the crisis under explicit threat for the first time." – Guardian
We should stop fighting the 'war on drugs' – Mary Ann Sieghart in The Independent
And finally… Rugby is the solution to England's football problem says Boris
"When God-gifted geniuses such as Manchester United can be made to look like clodhoppers, it is time to think of the millions of kids who would benefit from a game that is in some ways less technical but more physical than football – and every bit as exhilarating. They should be given the chance." – Boris Johnson in The Telegraph