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6.15pm WATCH ‪Maude – "The Government has saved £3.75bn"‬

3pm ToryDiary: Andrew Mitchell asks party members to give to the DEC's East Africa crisis appeal

12.30pm Local Government:

Noon: ConHomeUSA:  Today's U.S political highlights – including details of and reaction to the proposed debt deal

10.45am WATCH:

ToryDiary: What is the Government's policy on intervention abroad?

Matthew Sinclair on Comment: David Cameron needs to reform failing climate change policy here, not try to convince Australians to make the same mistakes

Also on Comment: Benedict Rogers – Our civilisation is under threat: from ourselves, as well as from extremists

BV

International: A big victory for American Republicans. For small government. And, yes, for the Tea Party Movement.

Local Government:

Rob Hayward on Seats and Candidates: The boundary reviews. What do we know?

LeftWatch: The left's solution to dealing with an elite is…for its own elite to organise another elite

WATCH: Obama announces last-minute debt deal

Obama and Republican leadership reach debt agreement

"President Obama forged a deal with the Republican congressional leadership last night that would lift the debt ceiling and prevent a US default from endangering his presidency and threatening the global economy. The fragile compromise agreement, reached by a handful of senior negotiators during late-night talks at the White House, must now be returned to the turbulent US Congress for approval before it can be enacted." – The Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Hague condemns Hama slaughter…

Screen shot 2011-08-01 at 08.11.54 "Tanks stormed the city of Hama before dawn in a crackdown on protests over President Bashar Assad’s rule. Residents said they saw bodies in streets after troops shelled the area and used machine guns to fire at civilians. There were also raids in southern Syria and near the capital Damascus. Mr Hague said there was “no justification” for the attacks, which he said appeared to be part of a coordinated effort to deter Syrians from protesting in advance of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, that starts today." – Daily Express

Assad sends in his death squads. Students of Lebanon and Rwanda, take note – Michael Weiss, Daily Telegraph

…As he is left most senior Minister on duty

"David Cameron is on holiday in Tuscany for two weeks with his wife Samantha and family. The Camerons are renting a villa in the Chianti region with its own swimming pool and tennis court. The price is believed to be around £5,800, which the prime minister is paying for himself. Nick Clegg is also scheduled to take a break with his family, leaving William Hague the most senior cabinet minister in the country." – Huffington Post

  • Tuscan waitress tells Cameron to get his own coffee – Daily Telegraph
  • Is power without popularity the best a Tory can hope for? – Bruce Anderson, Daily Telegraph

Fox says Gaddafi will go only when his friends abandon him

"Britain admitted Colonel Gaddafi will be toppled only when his inner circle turns against him. Amid calls for a ‘wholesale’ rethink of strategy in the Libyan conflict, Defence Secretary Liam Fox said the key would be whether the ‘close circle’ around the dictator realise he is a ‘busted flush’. Dr Fox also insisted Britain would take part in the bombing campaign against the regime to protect civilians for ‘as long as required’." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday LISTEN: Liam Fox downplays likelihood of new UN resolution that could authorise arming of Libyan rebels

Alexander joins Cable in warning against 50p rate cut

Screen shot 2011-08-01 at 08.44.00 "Mr Cable’s Liberal Democrat colleague, Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, added that wanting a cut in the 50p top rate was “cloud cuckoo land”. The news that senior Liberal Democrats in the Coalition have set their faces against cuts in the top rate of income tax will dismay senior Right-wing Tories. In an interview, Mr Cable said that it was “impossible” for the Government to scrap the top income tax rate of 50p in the pound for those earning more than £150,000 a year." – Daily Telegraph

The Green Investment Bank should be empowered to borrow – Robert Skidelsky and Felix Martin, Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday in ToryDiary: Four paths to the abolition of the 50p tax rate

Children still held in detention centres despite Clegg's pledgeThe Independent

Badger protesters mobilise for battle

"The fight to stop thousands of badgers being culled has been joined by the campaign group which played a key role in forcing the Government to drop plans to sell off forests.  The involvement of 38 Degrees heaps more pressure on the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, to reverse her decision to let farmers shoot badgers in a campaign to stop them infecting cattle with bovine tuberculosis." – The Independent

EU fishing fleets discarded £2.7bn of cod, claims reportThe Guardian

Pickles says that parking fees will fall in town centres

Eric Pickles "Mr Pickles wants to encourage people to shop in their town centres, rather than do their weekly grocery shopping in out of town supermarkets where it is easier to park. He also plans to allow more parking spaces to be created near new homes to cut on street parking. Whitehall planning guidance brought in by Labour in 2001 restricted the amount of parking spaces in new developments. This in turn resulted in more people parking their cars on the streets, which led to more need for parking permits to park there." – Daily Telegraph

UK immigration analysis needed on Turkish legal migration, say MPsThe Guardian

Maude saves almost £4 billion in a year

"The Government has saved £3.75bn in less than a year by cutting jobs, axing projects and reining in its spending, it claimed yesterday. Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said they were "staggering" results. Officials need his approval on many spending decisions, including marketing proposals above £20,000 and IT projects of more than £1m.  A programme, to electronically collect information on movements in and out of the UK, was axed as it would "not deliver"." – The Independent

  • Good start on waste, now for the red tape – Daily Mail Comment
  • Civil servants getting golden handshakes four times bigger than in private sector – Daily Telegraph

Pensions crisis will throw millions into poverty, study warnsDaily Express

Chilcot to slam Blair over Iraq war

BLAIR & BUSH
"Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is set to be rapped by the Chilcot Inquiry over his handling of the Iraq war, it was claimed today. The report into the conflict is expected to deliver damning criticism of the ex-premier for telling Parliament that intelligence indicating Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was "beyond doubt". Mr Blair will also apparently be slammed for refusing to admit there had been a "secret pledge" with former US president George Bush to go to war." – The Sun

More on David Miliband's tour of UniversitiesDaily Telegraph

Green group disputes carbon reporting costsFinancial Times (£)

Lines for electoral boundary changes could crack the UK coalition – Julian Glover, The Guardian

The blood of the Norwegian massacre isn't on my hands – Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail

MPs spent the equivalent of almost one day a week tweetingDaily Mirror

And finally…William Hague's message for the start of Ramadan

"Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection. Its importance is emphasised in prayer and as a time when families and friends gather to remember those less fortunate. Its values remind us of the principles that we hold in common – tolerance, justice, progress and the dignity of all human beings. The key messages of selflessness, charity, and compassion are values that unite Muslims and non Muslims alike.”" – The Nation

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