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5.15pm LeftWatch: Ed Miliband quietly dropped Chuka Umunna as his PPS this week for a more experienced fixer

1.30pm Arianna Capuani in International: Silvio Berlusconi's party faces losing control of Milan to the Left for the first time in nearly two decades

Noon WATCH: Boris Johnson test drives the newly-designed Routemaster bus

ToryDiary: £2.22 vaccinates ten of the world's poorest children against polio. Can you think of a better way of spending that money?

Sam Chapman on Comment: If you want to see an end to lenient sentences for sex offenders, bring on the elected Police Commissioner

Local Government:

WATCH: Newly-married Ed Miliband poses for the cameras with his wife, Justine

Cameron says momentum is building against Colonel Gaddafi…

Picture 4 "David Cameron said on Friday that NATO's war to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was entering a new phase and that the deployment of British helicopters would turn up the pressure… "Now there are signs that the momentum against Gaddafi is really building. So it is right that we are ratcheting up the military, the economic and the political pressure," Cameron told a news conference at the G8 summit in the seaside town of Deauville." – Reuters

…as he stresses the moral principle behind the intervention in Libya

"The moral principle is that we are doing this as part of an international effort to save civilian life and to stop and to stop a dictator in his tracks who is intent on murdering and massacring his own people. And even as we stand and sit here today that is what is happening in parts of Libya, that is the moral impact." – David Cameron quoted in the Daily Telegraph

  • Cameron rules out ceasefire in Libya until Gaddafi is gone – Daily Express
  • Sarkozy blurts out plans for future "victory tour of Libya" – Daily Mail

> Video from yesterday: At the G8 summit in France, David Cameron says it's right to be ratcheting up the military, economic and political pressure against Colonel Gaddafi

Andrew Lansley warns he would rather quit than abandon his health reforms

Andrew Lansley 2010 "Andrew Lansley has warned David Cameron he would rather quit the Cabinet than abandon his controversial health reforms. The beleaguered health secretary has issued the extraordinary ‘back me or sack me’ ultimatum to Mr Cameron as his reform plans come under sustained attack from the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg… In an outspoken public intervention yesterday he said driving through the health reforms was now his only political goal. Mr Lansley said: ‘I’ve stopped being a politician – I just want to get the NHS to a place where it will deliver results. I don’t want to do any other Cabinet job. I’m someone who cares about the NHS who happens to be a politician, not the other way around’." – Daily Mail

  • Hospital doctors want a place on GP boards – The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Do we want a producer-centred NHS or a patient-driven NHS?

Paras handed reprieve over pay cut as Liam Fox orders MoD rethink

"Dr Liam Fox is understood to have told Ministry of Defence officials to rethink plans that would lead to a pay cut of as much as 10 per cent for Parachute Regiment soldiers who have just returned from Afghanistan. More than 4,700 members of the Armed Forces are trained to parachute into action, including soldiers, engineers, artillery experts and medics. All receive an extra £180 a month regardless of rank, in recognition of the risks involved." – Daily Telegraph

  • Armed forces face radical changes under Lord Levene plans – The Guardian

> Martin Cakebread on Comment on Thursday: Rather than cut the Forces' pay, isn't it time we cut final salary pensions for all MPs and civil servants?

Theresa May to crack down on fraudsters

Theresa May blue "Theresa May, the home secretary, has announced a new crackdown on economic crime including bogus share dealing, but she has rowed back from plans to split the agency that prosecutes white-collar crime. Ms May wants to target fraud worth less than £1m, such as the sale of fake event tickets and fraudulent property rentals, along with internet-based con outfits.
“A lot of people feel that there hasn’t been enough emphasis on what one call middle-level, financial fraud taking place,” she said." – FT (£)

Government to appeal against ruling on Sharon Shoesmith's dismissal

"Government lawyers are to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court, and David Cameron backed the Education Department’s appeal against the ruling. The Prime Minister said: “We all remember the absolutely appalling case of Baby P and how, as a country, we’ve got to do right and make sure we are accountable for the terrible mistakes and errors.” – Daily Express

"Sharon Shoesmith has said it was "justice, not money" that motivated her during a two-year legal challenge over her controversial sacking in the wake of the Baby Peter tragedy. The former Haringey director of children's services is potentially in line for compensation of more than £500,000 after the appeal court ruled on Friday that her dismissal by the former children's secretary Ed Balls was "intrinsically unfair and unlawful". In an interview with the Guardian, she said she was still angry at her treatment at the hands of Balls and the tabloid media, and blamed him for triggering a crisis in child protection." – The Guardian

> Coverage yesterday:

Sports Minister Hugh Robertson calls for Fifa election to be halted

Hugh Robertson "The Prime Minister has backed demands for the presidential election at Fifa, the governing body of world football, to be postponed because both candidates are being investigated over allegations of corruption… Hugh Robertson, the Sports Minister, said that the Fifa election process was “descending into a farce”. “It’s impossible to have a sensible election when both of the candidates have been accused of corruption,” he said. “The sensible thing would be to suspend the election until these allegations have been properly investigated.” – The Times (£)

£680,000 spent on Downing Street renovations

"David Cameron has spent more than £680,000 of public money renovating Downing Street in the year that his government inflicted the biggest ever spending cuts across the public sector. Records of all government spending reveal nine bills for the refurbishment of Downing Street including £30,000 for work he and his wife, Samantha, carried out on the No 11 flat last summer… The other £653,192.34 was spent on external and internal renovation of the offices and reception rooms in Downing Street, including cabling, plumbing and energy efficiency improvements." – The Guardian

"This spend relates to the Downing Street Building Modernisation Programme launched in 2006, under the last Government, to address structural repairs and the renewal of failing infrastructure having gone without refurbishment for some 50 years. 'This programme of work is still ongoing. Downing Street is a Grade I listed building. As such it requires a certain level of maintenance. The Prime Minister has paid for changes to the flat out of his own pocket, beyond the annual maintenance budget threshold." – Statement from Number Ten spokesman published in the Daily Mail

As it emerges that Tory MP Jeremy Lefroy was taken ill during Obama's speech on Wednesday…

"The cameras cut away from Barack Obama's speech in Parliament to catch a shot of Ken Clarke snoozing, but, quite rightly, they did not broadcast a more alarming interruption to the President's speech, when the MP, Jeremy Lefroy, collapsed and was taken to hospital. He had become dehydrated, through food poisoning. He was out of hospital the same evening, and his office said yesterday that he was back at work in his Stafford constituency." – The Independent

…Iain Martin rails at the ping pong, high fives and an insidious obsession with PR gimmicks

Iain Martin "Twenty-nine years ago, another American President addressed a joint meeting of both Houses of Parliament. Unlike Barack Obama, this visitor was not accorded the ultimate parliamentary honour of being asked to speak in the ancient Westminster Hall… But after the festival of hype and spin that accompanied Obama’s visit this week, with British politicians fawning in his presence, it is well worth re-reading Reagan’s brilliantly incisive and clear-sighted speech from that day, back in the summer of 1982. And what a sharp contrast to Barack Obama’s vapid sloganeering and windy rhetoric it is." – Iain Martin in the Daily Mail

  • Barack Obama should remember that global strength comes from a mix of ideals and power – Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph
  • The Special Relationship is battered at a time the world needs it more than ever – Dominic Sandbrook in the Daily Mail

Political news and comment in brief

  • Treasury rebuked by UK Statistics Authority for inflation leaks – Daily Telegraph
  • Welsh Tory leadership contender barred from pub after quiz "banter" – BBC
  • We need a better growth strategy – John Redwood
  • Labour failures helped create the current climate of fear in Tower Hamlets – Graeme Archer in the Daily Telegraph
  • Police continue inquiries into Chris Huhne's speeding points – Michael Crick's BBC blog
  • Sarah Palin presidential speculation mounts as she announces bus tour – Daily Telegraph

And finally… Janet Brown, the celebrated Margaret Thatcher impressionist, has died

Picture 5 "Much-loved actress and comedienne Janet Brown, best known for her hilarious impersonations of Margaret Thatcher, died yesterday, aged 87. The Glasgow-born star, whose showbusiness career spanned 70 years, died in her sleep at a nursing home in Hove, East Sussex, after a short illness. Last night her devastated son, Darling Buds Of May actor Tyler Butterworth, 52, told The Mirror: “I’ll miss her terribly… I remember how she used to say that people responded to her in a different way as soon as she put on her Thatcher wig – it was strangely empowering. Occasionally people would heckle when she played Thatcher, but she joked that being in character gave her an uncanny ability to shoot people down with a razor-sharp comeback. She loved playing Mrs T." – Daily Mirror

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