6.45pm Gazette: Why is Rory Stewart the only new MP to be invited to Chequers? Does the fact that Grant Shapps has been a guest mean he's a hot tip for promotion? Why hasn't Caroline Spelman or Eric Pickles been hosted yet?

5.15pm LeftWatch: Which media moguls did Brown entertain at Chequers?

Screen shot 2011-07-15 at 16.44.11 4.30pm WATCH: Brooks resigns from News International

2pm Alex Deane on Comment: The non-high speed case for (and against) HS2

12.30pm Parliament: Bill Cash leads parliamentary effort to include BBC and broadcast media in Leveson inquiry

Noon ConHomeUSA: Latest US Republican and conservative news

10.45am Parliament: Jacob Rees-Mogg tells the Commons that MPs who criticise the Queen should be imprisoned in the Tower of London

10.30am Local Government: Labour back Narey Review on adoption

ToryDiary: Boris – Did cash actually go from the Murdoch empire into Livingstone’s pockets? I'm shocked…shocked

Screen shot 2011-07-15 at 08.54.12
Nick Gibb MP on Comment: We're giving teachers the powers they need to get a grip on unruly classrooms

Local Government: Clear relevant teacher standards agreed

LeftWatch: A Guardian-sized apology to The Sun

WATCH: The destruction of middle income jobs during the Labour years

It's Stress Test Friday for Europe's banks.  What will the markets do on Monday?

"The next step in the Eurozone's demise will come when the results of the stress tests for Europe’s 91 largest banks are announced this evening at 5pm. They will show that several continental institutions would be incapable of surviving a crisis – even though, absurdly, the tests don’t even acknowledge the possibility of any country defaulting. There is a decent chance that the Eurozone could be plunged into turmoil on Monday. If so, London will be affected, even though UK institutions are much more robust." – Allister Heath, City A.M

Today we have stress tests of banks – John Redwood's Blog

Vicky Ford "This year I will again stay up late and read through the results.  I will start by looking at the big banks in big countries.  I will be looking out for the statements on the remedial action backstop plans each country is meant to have in place to cope with banks that fail.  Will the plans be credible?  This will doubtless be a busy weekend in board rooms, central banks and between finance ministers.  Will the decisions made over the weekend stand the stresses of the markets when they open on Monday?" – Vicky Ford MEP, Dale & Co

  • Mountains of debt threaten world recovery, warns IMF – The Times (£)
  • North sea oil tax revenue falls after tax grab – Daily Express

Hackgate latest

1) Furious May and Boris demand "Wolfman" answers

"The head of Scotland Yard was given a dressing down last night for employing a News of the World phone hacking suspect as a £1,000-a-day consultant. Sir Paul Stephenson also faces being dragged before MPs to explain himself after sensationally admitting Neil Wallis, former executive editor of the Sunday tabloid, worked for the force for 11 months." – Daily Mail

"Last night the Met was unable to say whether Sir Paul, who is ultimately responsible for the phone hacking investigation, had told deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers, the officer leading the day-to-day inquiry of Mr Wallis’s professional relationship with the force. It also emerged that Sir Paul held eight meetings with Mr Wallis while he was an executive at the tabloid.  Mr Wallis…also advised John Yates, the officer once in charge of the phone hacking investigation." – Daily Telegraph

2) Murdoch yields to Parliament

Screen shot 2011-07-15 at 05.13.26 "Rupert Murdoch set the scene for an historic showdown with Parliament yesterday when he bowed to intense pressure and agreed to face questions from MPs over the phone-hacking scandal. The News Corporation chairman and CEO will appear next Tuesday alongside his son James and Rebekah Brooks, head of his UK newspaper arm, after conceding a trial of strength to the Commons authorities." – The Times (£)

"Mr. Murdoch, who agreed on Thursday to appear before a parliamentary committee next week after initially declining, said he decided to do so after being told he would be summoned. He said he wanted to address "some of the things that have been said in Parliament, some of which are total lies. We think it's important to absolutely establish our integrity in the eyes of the public……I felt that it's best just to be as transparent as possible." – Wall Street Journal

  • Embattled Murdochs target of personal lawsuits – Daily Telegraph
  • FBI to investigate News Corporation over 9/11 hacking allegations – The Guardian

3) Clegg says it's time to get tough on Murdoch…

"The Deputy Prime Minister said the Government will review laws on what constitutes a “fit and proper” owner for broadcasting firms. Anyone found not to meet that standard can be forced to give up their stake in a company. Mr Murdoch and his team now face “big questions” under those rules, Mr Clegg said. He also suggested changing market rules to put greater restrictions on media companies that grow over time." – Daily Telegraph

…While Ex-LibDem aides find it's time to work for him

"News International has taken on a former speechwriter for Paddy Ashdown and press secretary to Charles Kennedy in a fresh bid to cope with the deluge of global media coverage…Jamie Lundie, who spent seven years working in the Liberal Democrat leader's office, found himself at the centre of his own media storm last year when The Daily Telegraph revealed that his partner, David Laws… was claiming expenses for living in Mr Lundie's flat." – The Independent

  • Nick Clegg isn't trying to destroy the Conservative press – Julian Astle, Daily Telegraph
  • Liberal Democrats prepare to revolt over benefit cap – The Independent
  • Could the LibDems bring down Cameron? – Wintour and Watt, The Guardian

4) Brown bonkers speech backlash begins

"The final decision over whether to hold an inquiry rested with Mr Brown as Prime Minister, the Cabinet Office insisted…The seven-page briefing note released by the Cabinet Office today was in line with the summary of its contents recounted to MPs by Mr Brown in his speech.  However in a statement the Cabinet Office said: "Decisions on whether or not to hold a public inquiry, and on its scope and nature, are always the decisions of a minister." – Daily Telegraph

"Former members of Gordon Brown's Cabinet yesterday questioned his claim that he wanted to launch a judicial inquiry into phone-hacking while he was prime minister…Some Labour Cabinet members have a different recollection of events. They claimed the idea of an inquiry was never a formal proposal discussed inside Downing Street or by ministers. "If it was a proposal, it was one by Gordon to himself," one minister said." – The Independent

Screen shot 2011-07-15 at 05.14.17 "The Guardian last night said sorry to The Sun for accusing us of hacking into the medical records of Gordon Brown's sick son. The apology came after we told how our source was the dad of another child with cystic fibrosis – and that the ex-PM was mistaken in claiming we were guilty of wrongdoing. The paper conceded: "The Guardian of Tuesday 12 July incorrectly reported the Sun newspaper had obtained information on the medical condition of Gordon Brown's son from his medical records." – The Sun

Gordon Brown, the new Heath – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

5) Did Craig Oliver persuade Cameron to distance himself from Coulson?

"The only person in Downing Street with a clear view of what should be done was a post-Coulson man and Wednesday's tougher words from Cameron suggest Craig Oliver – Coulson's successor – won out. Sources say Oliver argued from the start that Cameron had to distance himself from his friend. We may get Oliver's own account of these conversations soon enough. He is said to be keeping a diary." – Allegra Stratton, The Guardian


  • Next Tuesday’s Test for Murdoch – The Times (£) Editorial
  • I give up on the police (as well as everyone else) – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
  • It is in America that Rupert Murdoch faces ruin – Ann Applebaum, Daily Telegraph
  • Goodbye to the harlot’s prerogative – Philip Stephens, Financial Times (£)
  • Cameron "has partially emerged from the sewer" – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph (So which bit of him is still inside?)

Yesterday on ConHome:

That Loughton-Bercow Twitter spat in full

Screen shot 2011-07-15 at 05.27.14
"Mr Loughton hit back on the social-networking website Twitter, writing: ‘Me thinks Speaker Bercow needs to calm down dear – 3rd time with same childish put down and I wasn’t actually saying anything.’ He added: ‘Bercow lost control of the House today. Like the school bully exposed he lashed out at the closest target albeit with a tired cliche.’ " – Daily Mail

Mitchell withdraws aid from Malawi

"The UK Government has withdrawn £19 million of support from Malawi over the country’s repeated failure to address concerns over economic management and governance. International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said “poor people in Malawi and British taxpayers” had been let down and he could not justify continuing general budget support. However, Scotland’s aid programme to the poverty-stricken country, set up by former First Minister Lord McConnell, will continue." – Herald Scotland

Government climbdown on coastguard cutsThe Guardian

Cameron asks Derby Councillors to meet Cable over Bombardier Daily Express

Alastair Campbell was like 'an unguided missile' over Iraq dossier, claims MI6 officerDaily Mail

How the arts are raising more money from philanthropists in response to new Hunt policyYorkshire Post

IPSA to take over running MPs pensionsDaily Mail

Political News and Comment in Brief

  • You need to earn £40,000 to be a Middle Briton – Daily Mail
  • Ofsted to make spot checks at schools with unruly pupils – The Independent
  • Pink Floyd guitarist's son Charlie Gilmour in dock over 'day of destruction' – Daily Telegraph
  • Nato leaders in new diplomatic push on Libya – BBC
  • Rising gas and electricity prices boost fuel poverty – The Times (£)
  • Orange Order snubs McGuinness over Twelfth talks bid – Belfast Telegraph
  • MPs urged to rethink police cuts as recession sparks rise in crime – The Independent
  • Hospital failure proposals criticised – Financial Times (£)

And finally…Who's rattling Osborne's cage?

"George Osborne, the Chancellor, has every right to commend his budgie to the House. His new pet, called Gibson, is already in residence at 11 Downing Street and is proving to be a popular, if not especially loquacious, addition to his family…Osborne ostensibly acquired the budgie for his children Luke, nine, and Liberty, seven, and to keep his wife, Frances, company during his late nights at the Treasury. However, the Chancellor has been spending so much time in Gibson’s company that David Cameron appeared to believe that he belonged exclusively to him." – Daily Telegraph



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