Picture 2 8.30pm Two videos from Armed Forces Day events:

7.15pm ToryDiary: The idea of a post-2015 Coalition with the Lib Dems seems more distant than ever

5.15pm Daniel Kawczynski MP on Comment: It is high time the UK developed a serious relationship with Mauritania

4.45pm WATCH: Ed Miliband tells the Labour Party that it must change to stop people losing trust in them again

2.15pm Parliament: Jesse Norman's campaign for a PFI rebate continues apace

2pm ConHomeUSA: Today's Republican and American political news

12.30pm Local government: Gove's praise for Pimlico Academy

Noon WATCH: Tony Blair says that the economic case for Britain joining the euro could yet become compelling

10.30am Martin Parsons in Comment: What sort of war are we fighting in Afghanistan?

ToryDiary: Cameron starts to blame Liberal Democrats for likely failure to deliver immigration promise

Liam Fox MP on Comment: On Armed Forces Day, it is time to celebrate and honour the service our brave forces provide to the nation

Local Government: The Daily Mail is good for local government – despite what Alastair Campbell says

Parliament: Sir Peter Bottomley seeks a memorial service to the man who started the Parliament Square peace camp

LeftWatch: Ed Miliband plans more reforms to "open up" the Labour Party as he cautions public sector unions against striking over pensions


David Cameron says banks must declare Greek holdings…

David Cameron speaking blue 2010 "David Cameron urged European leaders to force their banks to disclose their exposure to Greek debt as fears over the sovereign debt crisis disrupted markets again. The Prime Minister also called for national governments to ensure that banks are properly capitalised and prepared for more shocks. Speaking at the European Union leaders' summit in Brussels, Mr Cameron said: "All European countries need to use the time that we have to strengthen banks and bank balance sheets and make sure they are meeting all of the requirements so that they are strong and can withstand any problems and difficulties." – Daily Telegraph

…as he rages at £280 million plans for European Council HQ

"David Cameron accused EU leaders of wanting to live in a ‘gilded cage’ yesterday after Brussels bosses raised two fingers to austerity by laying out plans for a lavish new headquarters costing £280million. The Prime Minister and other EU leaders were presented with an expensive brochure about the building as they were discussing the need for austerity at a summit dinner on Thursday night." – Daily Mail

  • Cameron claims victory in blocking an attempt by Brussels to soften current asylum laws – Daily Telegraph
  • Charles Moore: Fear is turning to anger but the EU bureaucrats will screw us – Daily Telegraph
  • Blair still backs joining the euro – once Greek crisis is over – The Independent

> Yesterday on ConHome:

Cameron claims aides are like 'Mother Teresa' as he responds to Mark Pritchard's bullying claims

"In an extraordinary row, David Cameron yesterday attempted to brush off a backbench Tory MP’s claims that No 10 bullied and threatened him. The Prime Minister insisted his staff were more ‘Mother Teresa’ than ‘slavering rottweilers’… Mr Cameron, pressed about the claims yesterday, attempted to laugh them off. He joked that the Government had ‘been through the hoops, walked the tightrope and possibly sent in the clowns as well’, and went on to insist his team had held ‘gentle’ conversations with Mr Pritchard in an attempt to find a compromise." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday in Parliament: David Cameron denies Pritchard bullying claim: "There is no slabbering rottweiler sat by my desk"

Ministers "desperate for deal to avoid women’s pension U-turn"

Iain Duncan Smith "Ministers are working flat-out on a deal to avert a major Commons rebellion over women’s pensions that both satisfies the Treasury and does not lead to accusations of another U-turn. The Government wants to raise the pension age for women from 60 to 65 by 2018 as a prelude to both female and male pension ages rising to 66 in 2020…  Sources close to Mr Duncan Smith have made clear that he will focus on those who would have to wait the longest for their pension under the plans. “We are considering a cap of, say, 18 months, which would be the maximum extra time someone would have to work beyond the age they would normally have expected to retire,” one told The Times." – The Times (£)

Philip Hammond: HS2 opponents are Luddites

"Philip Hammond compares opponents of his cherished high-speed rail scheme to the Luddites who fought against the arrival of the Victorian railways in the 19th century. Folding his tall, angular frame into an office chair, the transport secretary drily mocks the doomsayers who opposed that historic project. “They predicted that it would ruin agriculture and that it would make stock-rearing impossible,” he says." – FT (£)

£10bn 'black hole' means new defence cuts loom

"The Daily Telegraph has learned that Ministry of Defence officials have calculated that the department is at least £10 billion short of what it will need in the coming years. The financial “mismatch” is larger than all the defence cuts announced in last year’s Spending Review, and has raised fears of another round of painful reductions in the Armed Forces." – Daily Telegraph

Matthew Parris: Discipline the military chiefs for their political interventions

PARRIS MATTHEW "Interventions this week by Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant, who told MPs that the RAF was “running hot” and might struggle if the Libyan intervention continues beyond September, and last week by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, who suggested that the conflict might prove unsustainable for much longer, would be outrageous even if they were accurate, which they are not. Both men should be disciplined." – Matthew Parris in The Times (£)

David Mundell may have to make court appearance over election expenses overspend

"A judge has called for a hearing of evidence as an MP seeks to have an election expenses "mistake" excused. Lawyers for Scotland Office minister David Mundell had argued the action could be decided on documentation, statements and submissions… Mr Mundell and his agent at last year's General Election, Joe Dawson, have raised the legal action following an error with an invoice which, if it had been allocated to the correct campaign spending, would have resulted in exceeding the limit by £466." – BBC

Could Sayeeda Warsi be Britain's next High Commissioner to Pakistan?

"Given that the Tory high command does not believe Warsi to be suited to being an election-campaign party chairman or to running a department, this raises the intriguing prospect that they might instead appoint her as Britian’s next high commissioner to Pakistan. One former colleague, who often clashed with her, thinks that this would be her ideal job." – James Forsyth of The Spectator

Lib Dem rebels vow to keep challenging "bad" NHS reforms in leaked email

"The "Yellow Bastards", as the Tories now call the Liberal Democrats, are still not happy with the government's NHS reforms plans. In a leaked email the former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris, who has led the charge against the original Andrew Lansley blueprint, has condemned the revised plans as "bad". – Nick Watt in The Guardian

Danny Kruger: Cameron's U-turn on justice betrays a great Tory reform

KRUGER "You can only get one thing – one argument, one punch – in a headline. This simple truth accounts for much in politics. The nuance, the context, Burke’s “distinguishing colour and discriminating effect”, are sacrificed to the slamming impact of raw news. So the news this week (delighting the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Tory blogosphere) was that David Cameron has found his backbone on crime… The government, beaten up by the redtops, has assuaged its bruised ego by beating up prisoners. No harm in that, perhaps – except that, as the government knows, “more prison” doesn’t equal “less crime”. – Danny Kruger in the FT (£)

Other Comment

  • Harry Phibbs: Gove is right that teachers have a 'moral duty' not to strike – Daily Mail
  • Graeme Archer: You’re earning a fortune, Bob Crow, so why not buy your own house? – Daily Telegraph

Ed Miliband to attack Blair and Brown's "sofa government"

"Mr Miliband will tell a party conference that by ignoring the concerns of ordinary Labour members, his predecessors lost power… The result, he will say, was Labour leaders who ran the party and the government through a small number of trusted aides. “We went from six people making decisions in a smoke-filled committee room to six people making the decisions from a sofa in Whitehall. Sometimes less than six,” Mr Miliband will say." – Daily Telegraph

The Guardian assesses the state of the Labour Party

"Labour's showing in council polls last month was mediocre, and it has barely started the task of devising a programme that can endure the slings and arrows of an election campaign. The 19-part policy review is too bitty to give any real direction, while Ed Balls's recent call for an emergency VAT cut looks too opportunistic, clouding Mr Miliband's previous suggestion that he would rather see the deficit being closed through more taxes as opposed to expenditure cuts. Meanwhile, the party's recent lapse into populist pandering over crime redoubles confusion about what – if anything – is different about life after New Labour." – Guardian editorial

Labour should always have a woman as leader or deputy, says Harriet HarmanDaily Mail

News in brief

  • Gove seeks to overturn ruling that Sharon Shoesmith was unfairly sacked – The Sun
  • David Cameron's favourite 'big society' youth centre faces closure – The Guardian
  • Conrad Black sent back to prison for 13 months – Wall Street Journal
  • Bill Cash defends Cameron's attack on "runaway dads" – The Guardian
  • Chinese Premier to arrive in UK for three-day visit – Sky News

And finally… The banter between Boris Johnson and George Osborne at a Downing Street dinner this week

Picture 18 "Mr Johnson, seldom at complete ease with MPs (he fears they can see through him), grunted: ‘When’s the recovery coming?’ Mr George Osborne, in a flash: ‘Next June.’ Merriment all round, for next June, you see, will come just too late for Boris’s re-election campaign for the London Mayoralty. Boris: ‘How about some tax cuts?’ Mr Osborne: ‘We’ll save those for when WE need re-electing’." – Daily Mail