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5.30pm WATCH: Barack Obama tells MPs and peers assembled in Westminster Hall how he wanted to reaffirm "one of the oldest and strongest alliances the world has ever known"

3pm WATCH: Two clips from this afternoon's press conference:

Picture 17
2pm ToryDiary: Highlights of David Cameron's press conference with Barack Obama

12.45pm ToryDiary: The Conservatives continue to receive more in donations than Labour (which relied on unions for more than 85% of its latest donations)

11am Parliament: Tory MPs queue up to call on Clegg to dilute or ditch plans for Lords reform

ToryDiary: Why the Coalition will stop working in three years to this month

Andrea Leadsom MP on Comment: What can Government do to compensate taxpayers for the pain caused by the banks?

Also on Comment: Matthew Sinclair on Clegg's crony capitalism, cash for Climate Change Capital

Parliament: Chris Heaton-Harris explains why he watered down Mark Reckless's motion on Eurozone bailouts

Pickles470
Local Government: The Eric Pickles agenda emerges strengthened from the local election results

Alos on Local Government: 100 achievements of Conservative-run Hammersmith & Fulham Council

Ryan Bourne on ThinkTankCentral: The Centre for Policy Studies exposes the perpetual over-optimism of Treasury growth forecasts

From ConHome USA: Democrat Mediscare-mongering wins big in special election in New York's 26th congressional district

WATCH:

Obama and Cameron to talk tough on Libya…

Picture 9 "The US and UK are warning that Nato will increase airstrikes against Libya to levels not yet seen during the two month old conflict, as the pageantry of President Barack Obama’s state visit to the UK turns to issues of life and death. Speaking on a day when Nato aircraft carried out their most intensive attacks on Libyan targets to date, Ben Rhodes, Mr Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said Mr Obama and David Cameron, the UK prime minister, would make clear at a meeting at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday that the alliance would increase pressure on Col Gaddafi still further." – FT (£)

…and back multibillion-dollar plans to help Egypt and Tunisia

"David Cameron and Barack Obama are to back multibillion-dollar plans at their Downing Street summit to pour greater international financial and political support into Egypt and Tunisia in a bid to stabilise political reform. The US president has already called on Congress to forgive as much as $1bn in debt owed by Egypt, and to provide loan guarantees for up to $1bn in new borrowing for the nation." – The Guardian

Obama pays tribute to the 'enduring bond' between the UK and USDaily Telegraph

What the Commentariat are saying about the Obama visit

  • Simon Jenkins: Obama and Cameron must break this addiction to war – The Guardian
  • Daniel Fnkelstein: Obama’s holiday snaps are for folks at home – The Times (£)
  • Max Hastings: Just one more stop for Obama's re-election bandwagon – Daily Mail
  • Nile Gardiner: David Cameron should dump the phrase 'essential relationship' – Telegraph blog

> Obama State Visit coverage on ConHome yesterday:

Soaring borrowing increases pressure on Osborne

George Osborne outside Treasury "George Osborne’s austerity plans were dealt a blow yesterday as official figures revealed that Britain’s public coffers suffered their worst April since records began in 1993. The Office for National Statistics said that public sector net borrowing, which excludes financial interventions such as bank bailouts, stood at £10 billion in April, on the back of an increase in spending and falling tax receipts." – The Times (£)

Poor teachers 'to be fast-tracked out of the classroom'

"Schools will be able to get rid of the worst teachers within a few months of disciplinary procedures being launched instead of the current time frame of more than a year. Teachers will no longer be able to use illness or stress to delay the process, the Government said, allowing heads to remove staff who are officially signed off sick. School leaders will also get more freedom to observe staff in the classroom, it was revealed. Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said the measures would “protect the interests of children who suffer when struggling teachers are neither helped nor removed”. – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Michael Gove seeks to makes it easier for headteachers to sack bad teachers

Big Society tsar Lord Wei stands down

Picture 10 "The man in charge of implementing David Cameron's Big Society plan has announced he is standing down. Lord Wei said it had been "an honour" to be part of the project and he would now be taking on a role at a community action charity… Mr Cameron said Lord Wei had worked "incredibly hard" to help develop policies that support the Big Society." – BBC

Chris Hunne and estranged wife questioned by police over speeding points claims

"Energy Secretary Chris Huhne was grilled by cops yesterday over claims he got his wife to take the rap for a speeding offence. Estranged wife Vicky Pryce was also quizzed after weeks of speculation about the Lib Dem minister's future. Mr Huhne was questioned at a central London police station, believed to be Belgravia, while his wife was interviewed at a police station in Essex." – The Sun

UKIP MEP and former deputy leader defects to the Tories

"One of the most senior figures in the UK Independence Party, David Campbell Bannerman, has defected to the Tories. Mr Campbell Bannerman, one of UKIP's 12 MEPs in the European Parliament and deputy leader, lost out to Nigel Farage in a leadership contest in November. He said he had been "impressed" by David Cameron's leadership while UKIP was beset by "internal fighting" and was not a "credible" political force." – BBC

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Senior UKIP MEP David Campbell Bannerman confirms he is defecting (back) to the Conservative Party

Lord Ashcroft to advise government on military bases in Cyprus

ASHCROFT Michael "Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative party donor, has been appointed a government adviser on UK military bases in Cyprus in spite of serious reservations being raised by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister. The peer, who stood down as the Conservative deputy chairman last year over the party’s failure to secure a Commons majority in spite of his financial contributions to the election campaign, is one of two independent advisers reviewing the use of the UK sovereign bases alongside Patrick Mercer, a Conservative MP." – FT (£)

> Yesterday's Gazette: Lord Ashcroft to lead review of UK military bases on Cyprus

Lord Wakeham says law must be changed to stop judges handing out gagging orders

"The Human Rights Act should be amended urgently to end the “shambles” of judges gagging newspapers over the private lives of celebrities, the former head of the press watchdog says today. In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, Lord Wakeham says the “intolerable” rash of privacy injunctions granted by the courts was an “inevitable” consequence of the Act, which was passed by the Labour government." – Daily Telegraph

  • Stand up for MPs' rights, Bercow told, as Speaker prepares to meet senior judges over constitutional crisis over gagging orders – Daily Mail

> David T Breaker on Comment yesterday: Why a privacy law would be morally wrong

David Cameron to resist French plan for internet regulation

"David Cameron is to resist calls for international regulation of the web by Nicolas Sarkozy at the G8 summit. The French president will table proposals for controls on the internet on the first day of the conference of world leaders in Deauville, Normandy. Cameron's officials stressed they believed there were many hurdles and mechanisms before anyone could regulate the net internationally. "We will not be regulating the internet any time soon," said a Downing Street official." – The Guardian

Number Ten's fury as Baroness Ashton seeks millions more for her Euro empire

Baroness Ashton "Downing Street has turned its fire on EU  foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton after she demanded an inflation-busting rise in her budget. Ministers are furious that the Labour peer wants a £427million budget at a time when national foreign ministries are having their funds slashed. David Cameron’s official spokesman said yesterday: ‘We have a very clear position on the EU budget and we will be making our case very strongly’." – Daily Mail

Greek assets could go to ‘fund of experts’

"European leaders are pushing to impose measures that would ensure the Greek government lives up to its promise to deliver €50bn ($70bn) in privatisation proceeds, amid scepticism that Athens can carry out the sell-offs. The privatisation plan, spelt out in detail for the first time by the Greek government on Monday, has become a central issue in Europe-wide deliberations over how to overhaul Greece’s faltering €110bn bail-out programme." – FT (£)

Political news in brief

  • Kenneth Clarke meets sex attack victim in wake of furore over rape remarks – The Guardian
  • MPs hope to force Cameron into banning wild animals in circuses – The Independent
  • Unions meet ministers for talks over public sector pensions – Press Association
  • NHS reforms are not privatisation through the backdoor, says Clegg – Daily Mail
  • Only 2,600 benefited from Labour scheme to help struggling homeowners – Daily Telegraph
  • Anti-abortion group drafted in as sexual health adviser to government – The Guardian

And finally… sports news:

"They are both world leaders, at the very top of their game. But, in their very own version of ping pong diplomacy, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron were reduced to quivering wrecks as they were thrashed at table tennis by two schoolboys. Their doubles contest came as the two leaders visited The Globe Academy secondary school in Southwark, south London. Some could say the British-American relationship proved not to be quite so 'special' after all when the pair lost spectacularly to the teenagers." – Daily Mail

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