7.45pm WATCH: George Osborne: "No need for strikes over pensions"
5.30pm ToryDiary: Five things you should know about Steve Hilton
2pm Nicholas Soames MP on Comment: "The history of the British Isles is a history of innovation and industry. Rediscovering this once-defining attribute, and refounding the prestige and recognition of skilled labour, will be to the benefit of us all." - You're hired!
1pm ToryDiary: The Conservatives spent £49,205,000 during 2010
Noon ConHomeUSA: McCain attacks Republican hardliners, Boehner tells colleagues to get their "asses in line"; Democrats complain Obama is giving too much away… Today's top American political news features the latest on the US debtlock
11.15am ToryDiary: Four new Enterprise Zones established and an update on the Plan for Growth
10.30am Nick Pickles on Comment: A recipe for rip-offs – will the Coalition heed PASC's warning on Government IT?
ToryDiary: "George Osborne is growing up. He is experiencing the rite of passage that politicians must undergo as they pass from the youth of their politics, with its "change, optimism and hope" to its middle age, with its sense of horizons narrowing, opportunities going, time passing: "Shades of the prison-house begin to close/Upon the growing Boy.""
Damian Hinds MP and Charlotte Leslie MP on Comment: Why Gove’s EBacc can help narrow the gap
A final contribution to our growth manifesto, from the Legatum Institute: Incentives for high productivity individuals to work in the private sector and a more positive attitude to wealth creation (please scroll down to bottom of link)
Also on ThinkTankCentral: Jonathan Isaby joins The TaxPayers' Alliance as Political Director
Glyn Gaskarth on Local government: Public libraries should include e libraries
Also on Local government: Spending watchdog hired vanity photographer to snap boozy parties
Chill winds threaten the Arab Spring, says Hague
"The democratic gains of the Arab Spring are at risk from sectarian strife, struggling economies and counter-revolutions, William Hague has warned. Fledgeling democracies produced by the wave of people power might prove too weak to deal with the deep-rooted problems that they faced, the Foreign Secretary told The Times. There would be “a lot of problems and even convulsions” to come in the region. Mr Hague sounded particular alarm over Egypt, urging European leaders to help to ensure that the power struggle in Cairo did not allow the Arab Spring’s pivotal country to slip backwards." – Times (£)
Hague attacks "pretty much worthless" medical advice that led to release of Lockerbie bomber
"The Foreign Secretary was responding to fresh video footage taken of Megrahi attending what appeared to be a government rally in support of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi earlier this week." – Scotsman
"In our current economic plight it might be wise to avoid too stretching a world role. We need a little time to get our public spending under control and to get our economy firing on all cylinders again. We need a strong diplomatic corps to project our interests and concerns. We should keep sensible forces that are mobile and capable of intervention from sea and air so we can contribute to wise UN and NATO tasks that make sense for us. We should have an aid programme to assist with famine, flood and other disasters. We should not be offering aid to nuclear weapons countries, or think that old style aid will lift countries torn by civil war or marred by bad dictators out of poverty." – John Redwood
Public sector workers will have to pay up to £3,000 a year more into their pensions to keep their “gold-plated” retirement schemes – Telegraph
Danny Alexander sets out the case for reform of public sector pensions in The Sun.
Blue Sky thinking in overdrive – Steve Hilton’s most “out-there” ideas – FT (£)
Steve Richards discusses the Happiness Index, opposition to supermarket dominance and other beliefs of Steve Hilton and the 'Tory Romantics' – Independent
Vince Cable is to scrap or simplify more than half of all regulations that affect retailers – BBC
The Business Secretary has got his mojo back… – Ben Chu for The Independent
…Danny Blanchflower urges Vince Cable to leave the Coalition… – New Statesman
…but The Sun mocks Cable's "attack" on red tape: "Way to go, Vince Cable. As the economy flatlines, the Business Secretary saves the day – by cutting regulations on the sale of chocolate liqueurs. "This is very radical – we are moving fast," declared Mr Cable as he went further by axing rules on fly spray and lowering the age for buying Christmas crackers… Thank goodness the Business Secretary didn't do anything rash, like tackling the high taxes and red tape destroying enterprise."
- "Like his predecessors, David Cameron promised to cut red tape when he came to power. And, just like the previous occupiers of 10 Downing Street, this Prime Minister has failed to deliver the reforms that he promised." – Yorkshire Post leader
- Survey of MPs finds "fewer than half (47 per cent) of Tory backbenchers believe that unemployment will fall, while 34 per cent say it will stay the same and 19 per cent see it growing" – Independent
The FT reminds us that Boris' differences with Cameron aren't just on Europe and tax…
"It is notable, though, that Mr Johnson’s interventions are not always from the right and are typically consistent with his fundamental political ethos of low tax and social liberalism, a stance in tune with many Londoners. For example, he has clashed on immigration policy with Mr Cameron. The mayor infuriated the prime minister last year when Mr Johnson vowed that he would not tolerate “Kosovo-style social cleansing” caused by housing benefit cuts." – FT (£)
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Is Boris right? Should Osborne cut taxes?
Chris Giles in the FT (£) warns against "voodoo tax cuts": "It's a general truth that tax cuts do not lead to higher revenues".
The Government is setting out plans for a new push against organised crime
"Home Office minister James Brokenshire said: "The Organised Crime Strategy will bring a new emphasis on the prevention of organised crime alongside a greater push to ensure that more prosecution and disruption activity takes place against more organised criminals, at a reduced cost."" – Express
The Government's new English Baccalaureate has been attacked by MPs, who warned it was rushed and risks "shoe-horning" pupils into taking inappropriate qualifications – Express
IT giants 'ripping off Whitehall', say MPs
"Government departments have been ripped off by an "oligopoly" of IT giants, a damning report by a committee of MPs has found. Some were paying as much as 10 times the commercial rate for equipment and up to £3,500 on a single desktop PC… Committee chairman, Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, said that, according to some sources, the government had paid contractors between seven and 10 times more than the standard rate." – BBC | Daily Mail
The lives of 300 heart attack patients have been saved every year since competition was introduced to NHS hospitals – Telegraph
Vote to approve new parliamentary boundaries "will be the greatest single risk to the coalition making it through its full five years" – Guardian
"Danny Alexander and Ed Balls could find their Commons seats abolished under a redrawing of Britain’s electoral map designed to cut the number of MPs… An analysis by Rob Hayward, a former Tory MP who is advising the party on the review, estimates this means that the Conservatives would lose 15 seats, Labour 25 and Lib Dems six. Four nationalist seats would also go. Under a rough projection, this puts the Tories in a better position, on 291 seats — tantalisingly close to the 301 for an overall majority, versus 309 held by opposing parties." – Times (£) | FT (£)
Police hand Chris Huhne 'speeding file' to prosecutors – Independent
Jonathan Djanogly faces an official investigation into his employment of private detectives to “blag” information – Telegraph
Camerons to take budget airline to Tuscan villa – Independent
"David Cameron has chosen a luxury villa in Tuscany as his summer holiday destination. The Prime Minister will spend a fortnight in an 18th-century villa, complete with swimming pool and tennis court, near the town of Mercatale Valdarno in the Chianti region. Mr Cameron, his wife Samantha and their three young children will share their holiday with two other families, it was reported yesterday. It is understood that the Camerons are paying £5,800 as their share of the 11,000 euro-a-week villa." – Scotsman
"This is precisely the sort of holiday that the Camerons would be going on if they didn’t live in Downing Street, so why alter their behaviour for PR reasons?" – Toby Young in The Telegraph
The Daily Mail has photographs of inside the Camerons' Tuscan getaway.
Ed Miliband undergoes hour-long NHS procedure for respiratory condition – but has it improved his voice? – Guardian
If you don't speak English you can't belong in Britain – David Green for The Telegraph
And finally… The BBC Poll of Polls since the General Election
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