7pm WATCH: The Telegraph's Jeremy Warner explains why the S & P downgrade is so dangerous to the French economy

5pm Teatime newslinks: The debate over child benefits and the €urozone crisis top today's teatime newslinks

3.45pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: For a family on £80,000, Child Benefit is a tax rebate

3pm Local government: Council byelection results from yesterday

Camhague2.30pm ToryDiary: "The Prime Minister's Saudi visit exposes him to the charge of hypocrisy – and, most crucially, such a stance compromises the diplomatic successes of the Foreign Office under William Hague."  Cameron's visit to Saudi Arabia undermines William Hague's call for Islamic democracy in the Middle East

2pm WATCH: Michael Gove: “It’s only fair to allow those teachers, who may have been drifting in the past, to have an opportunity to raise their game”

1pm ToryDiary: Liam Fox should write a blog

12.30pm Local government: Hackney heroine joins board for new free school

Noon ConservativeHomeUSA newslinks: Romney responds to attacks on his business record

10.30am Joseph Willits on Comment: Thatcher and Reagan: Whose approach to ageing are we more comfortable with?

ToryDiary: Michael Gove floats shocking proposal in Daily Mail interview today

Columnist Bruce Anderson: Miliband is mere comic relief. Labour should promote Dan Jarvis.

LancasterMark Lancaster MP on Comment: Has the Territorial Army had sufficient training to be deployed as the Government envisages?

Local Government: 

WATCH: Jeremy Hunt apologises for the "frustration that people feel" in trying to use the London 2012 ticket resale site

Cameron signals a rethink of proposals to scrap child benefit for higher earners

Tel"Cameron admitted that the current proposal had been criticised for its “unfairness”. There was a “cliff edge issue” which meant that some families would be stripped of benefits. He insisted that the Government was prepared to “look at the way” the child benefit was due to be cut and suggested that a new system might be proposed in the Chancellor’s March Budget. For the Prime Minister to acknowledge that the proposal is being reconsidered because it is seen as unfair will be considered significant two months before the publication of Mr Osborne’s plans" - Telegraph

  • "Cameron yesterday said he wants to get rid of the ‘cliff edge’ where the benefit drops to nothing as soon as one earner tops £42,375" - Daily Mail
Prime Minister could accept amendments by the House of Lords to IDS's Welfare Reform Bill to make it easier for himself, but the bill's tough love has the backing of workers, says Fraser Nelson

IdsCameron "could accept the Lords’ amendments, avoid the nasty headlines – safe in the knowledge that British employers can bus in whoever they like … To accept the amendments would save plenty of political grief. But for Duncan Smith, this is more about saving lives than saving money. He says this is his last job in politics, a cause for which he was campaigning in opposition for many years. And if enacting reform means that he will be portrayed as cruel and heartless, then so be it" - Telegraph

  • The Labour party accuse the Coalition of using special precedures in the House of Lords to reverse vote on cutting disability benefit - Guardian

> Yesterday WATCH: Nick Clegg: "We need to change the welfare system to bring it back to its original purpose"

Gove tells the Mail that he wants incompetent teaching staff to be sacked within nine weeks, and will announce plans to do so today

Gove"The proposals, to be unveiled today, will trigger a storm of protest from education unions. Only a handful of teachers have been struck off for incompetence over the past decade, suggesting it is all but impossible to get thrown out of the profession. Mr Gove said: ‘You wouldn’t tolerate an underperforming surgeon in an operating theatre, or a underperforming midwife at your child’s birth" - Daily Mail

  • 'Time to boot out the bad teachers' - Sun
  • Toby Young: "Perhaps now we can start to arrest the decline that has seen Britain plummet in the OECD's international league table comparing the performance of schoolchildren around the world" - Telegraph
  • Daily Mail Comment: "After a decade of Labour pandering to teaching unions, we applaud Mr Gove’s observation that: ‘We have got to think of what’s in the children’s interests first.’ The challenge for him now will be facing down these militant unions and turning his bold words into the action that our pupils so desperately need" - Daily Mail
  • Brett Wigdortz: 'Don't let defeatism drag down our schools' - Times (£)

In the same interview, he defends wife Sarah Vine over her column about cosmetic surgery which links Louise Mensch to Jordan – Daily Mail

William Hague: We have to accept the choices made by countries in the Arab Spring to vote for Islamic parties "and work with the governments they elect"

Hague_william_nw“It is true that parties drawing their inspiration from Islam have done better at the polls than secular parties and there are legitimate concerns about what this will mean . . . We must respect these choices while upholding our own principles of human rights and freedom and urging the highest standards. Trying to pick winners would fatally undermine faith in our intentions and our support for democracy. In standing up for the right of peoples to choose their own representatives at the ballot box, we have to accept their choices and work with the governments they elect.”

  • 'We must work with Islamic regimes says Hague' - Times (£)

Cameron makes his first visit to Saudi Arabia, where he will discuss changes in the region, trade and human rightsGuardian

  • Downing Street hopes the visit will "broaden and deepen" the UK-Saudi relationship - BBC
  • As Cameron embarks on his visit, the Committee on Arms Export Controls asks why Britain continues to sell arms to the country after the unrest last year - Times (£)

If Scotland becomes independent, it may have to join the €uro says Osborne

Scotland"Mr Osborne said: “Alex Salmond has himself said he’d want Scotland to join the euro and you have to ask yourself is that the currency you want to be joining at the moment? That’s a question that the Scottish people are going to have to ask themselves.” Pressed to say clearly if he would let an independent Scotland keep the pound, Mr Osborne replied: “Alex Salmond has said Scotland should join the euro. That means giving up the pound” - Telegraph

Scotland news:

  • Salmond causes outrage by suggesting an independent Scotland would get 90% of oil revenues, but shouldn't pick up the Royal Bank of Scotland debt - Sun
  • SNP MSP Joan McAlpine accused of "political racism" for saying opponents of referendum plan are ‘anti-Scottish’ - Times (£)

Dominic Raab MP: Britain should offer Scotland a generous proposal which guarantees democratic rights for the Scottish, and terms which are fair to Britain

Raab"Rather than fighting on the back foot to save the Union, it’s time to make a big, open and comprehensive offer which combines stronger democratic rights for the Scottish people with terms that are fair to Britain. That way we can put the Union on a sustainable basis for the long term" - Telegraph

Other Scotland comment:

  • Osborne: Scotland would be 'worse off outside UK' - BBC
  • Simon Jenkins: "Many Britons yearn for the break-up of the European one. Why do they fight to sustain the United Kingdom as it manifestly crumbles? The answer is that English tribalism trumps hypocrisy. David Cameron has only conceded a binding referendum on Scottish independence because polls say it will be rejected" - Guardian
  • Steve Richards: 'Neither Cameron nor Salmond can control the ending of this drama' - Independent

Theresa May gives the green light for pubs to stay open until 1am to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

"Pubs are set to open until 1am on Friday June 1 and Saturday June 2 to mark the Diamond Jubilee. But last night there were calls for late-night extensions across the whole four-day Bank Holiday weekend. British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "Friday and Saturday are great to get the party started — but it's a shame extra hours won't apply on Sunday and Monday." – Sun

The British Medical Association warns that high risk life-saving procedures may dissapear from the NHS if medical cover is privatisedGuardian

Philip Collins: Ed Miliband's plan for Britain: Be more like GermanyTimes (£)

StrawScotland Yard are to interview Jack Straw and other ministers in the Blair Government, over their alleged role in human rights abuses in Libya Independent

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu warns that “the nation’s humanity is at stake" unless the elderly are protected from Government cutsTelegraph

And finally … ‘Haitch Ess Two’: Quentin Letts says Justine Greening may want to tactically avoid saying using 'haitch', which "sets southern teeth on edge" given that most opposition to high speed rail "comes from Home Counties voters" Daily Mail


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