HALFON-robert6pm Robert Halfon MP on Comment: While the Internet can be a bastion of freedom, it is still controlled by governments and corporations

5pm Reactions to Britain's negative credit rating outlook and falling inflation figures lead our teatime newslinks

4.30pm Local government:

3.45pm ToryDiary: Intervention in the Middle East is justified if it saves lives, says William Hague

3pm ThinkTankCentral: Round-up of reactions to negative credit rating outlook announcement

2pm WATCH: Boris Johnson: "The sooner that we find a way of getting Mr Qatada to Jordan… the better"

Osborne growth figures iv12.15pm WATCH: George Osborne: "Britain has to confront its debt problem, and the British government is doing precisely that"

Noon ConHomeUSA: Obama's budget raises spending and taxes, and fails on entitlement reform

10am MPsETC: The European Parliament flies the Union Jack upside down

ToryDiary: George Osborne's economic policy gets a "reality check" from Moody's

ToryDiary: Sayeeda Warsi and Andrew Feldman negotiate cut-price party conference deal

Building Majority 2

Majority Conservatism: Building a Conservative Majority (1)… Recruitment of more northern candidates

Columnist Stephan Shakespeare: Voters approve of U-turns – if they bring politicians back in line with the public

James Morris MP on Comment: We have a responsibility to ensure Iran NEVER becomes a nuclear power

MPsETC: Zac Goldsmith voted the most fanciable male MP (again)

Justin Hinchcliffe on Local government: Who is to blame for the failure of Downhills School?

WATCH: John Reid: Abu Qatada has rights, but the 65 million people in Britain have the right not to fear terrorism

Moody's puts Britain's AAA rating on negative outlook

Osborne NewX"Moody's put the UK, along with eight other countries, on a "negative outlook", meaning that there is a one in three chance that Britain will be stripped of its top rating later this year. Moody's said that it had taken the action based on the UK's "susceptibility to the growing financial and macroeconomic risks emanating from the euro area crisis"." – Independent

  • "The chancellor said he would press ahead with his programme of austerity cuts because to relax controls on public spending would be to risk an immediate downgrade." – Guardian
  • "This is now the main choice facing Osborne ahead of the Budget, if he wants to maintain our AAA rating: does he do more to reassure the credit rating agencies? Or does he hold out a while longer, in the hope that our prospects for growth improve in the meantime?" – Peter Hoskin
  • Coalition’s crazy credit contradiction – Allister Heath
  • Profitable investment fund to be first to get £200m hand-out to help businesses – The Times (£)
  • The Chancellor has limited ingredients with which to create the feast demanded of him – Bruce Anderson

Britain being overtaken by 'militant secularists', says Baroness Warsi

Warsi Cardiff"[Baroness Warsi] says: “My fear today is that a militant secularisation is taking hold of our societies. We see it in any number of things: when signs of religion cannot be displayed or worn in government buildings; and where religion is sidelined, marginalised and downgraded in the public sphere. For me, one of the most worrying aspects about this militant secularisation is that at its core and in its instincts it is deeply intolerant. It demonstrates similar traits to totalitarian regimes – denying people the right to a religious identity because they were frightened of the concept of multiple identities.”" – Daily Telegraph

  • We stand side by side with the Pope in fighting for faith – Baroness Warsi for the Daily Telegraph
  • "Such instincts, Baroness Warsi notes, are “deeply intolerant”, and have historically been the hallmark of totalitarian regimes." – Daily Telegraph editorial

> From yesterday:

Ministers 'fully behind' Lansley and NHS reforms, says Cameron

Lansley-Big-Ben"David Cameron will stage a high-profile hospital visit tomorrow as he attempts to win the public-relations battle over the Government's controversial health reforms. The Prime Minister will intervene after the plans to overhaul the structure of the NHS came under fire last week from three unnamed Tory cabinet ministers. A spokesman insisted Mr Cameron was "fully committed to the reform and modernisation of the health service"." - Independent

  • Major NHS reforms 'are being forced through on the back of myths that the health service is becoming less productive' – Daily Mail
  • 400 doctors urge Tories: Put the hated health bill out of its misery - Daily Mirror
  • The health and social care bill: here is a way out of this mess - Shirley Williams

> From yesterday:

Cameron and Sarkozy to discuss help for Syrian rebels

Cameron Sarkozy"David Cameron and the French president Nicolas Sarkozy are to meet in Paris on Friday to discuss a possible increase in help to Syrian rebels, including giving them military advice. … Cameron, meanwhile, is not expecting to receive an invitation to join the Sarkozy campaign. He and the French president have been engaged in an on-off war over the handling the euro crisis for six months. Cameron will be accompanied by his pro-European deputy Nick Clegg." - Guardian

Ministers to target high earners’ pension relief

"Ministers are drawing up plans to raid the pension contributions of higher earners to help pay towards lifting everyone earning under £10,000 out of tax. Workers currently receive tax relief on the money they pay into their pensions, up to a maximum of £50,000. But under controversial plans being discussed by the “quad” at the heart of the coalition – David Cameron, the prime minister, Nick Clegg, his deputy, George Osborne, the chancellor, and Danny Alexander, the Treasury chief secretary – this upper limit would be reduced, with potential savings of billions of pounds." – FT (£)

David Cameron backs new car insurance rules to cut cost of premiumsGuardian

Damian Green to introduce tighter foreign student rules "within weeks"

GREEN DAMIAN BLUE BACKGROUND"Foreign students will need to earn at least £20,000 a year and work for “reputable” Home Office-approved companies only if they want to stay in the UK after they have graduated, under plans to be implemented “within weeks”. … Damian Green, immigration minister, said: “It is vital that we continue to attract the brightest and the best international students but we have to be more selective about who can come here and how long they can stay.”"

David Davis: Abu Qatada’s release is not just the fault of the courts – the counter-terrorism tactics are to blame, too

DAVIS FORMAL"Control orders… are the archetypal manifestation of this flawed strategy. Brought in by Labour in 2005, these draconian measures saw terrorist suspects placed under virtual house arrest, banned from using phones and the internet or even forcibly relocated. The 50 subjects of control orders are supposedly the most dangerous would-be terrorists in the country. Yet not one “controlee” has ever been charged with a terrorism offence, let alone convicted." – David Davis MP for the Times (£)

> From yesterday - AUDIO: Reacting to Abu Qatada's release, Robert Halfon MP says UK should suspend ECHR membership until Court returns to its founding principles

Business Secretary Cable wins fight over contentious university tsar after Cameron backs down his opposition

Cable Vince interview"The controversial academic picked by Vince Cable to be university access tsar will be handed the job next week – after David Cameron abandoned his opposition to the appointment. The Business Secretary will defy the views of a powerful Commons select committee, which ruled that Professor Les Ebdon was unfit for the role. Furious Tories last night said the decision to let Prof Ebdon take up his post was an affront to Parliament and a disaster for Britain’s universities." – Daily Mail

David Miliband to hold meetings to find out why Labour lost voters in 2010 

"One of the Commons seminars – provocatively entitled "how did we get into this mess and how do we get out of it?" – will echo fears on the Labour Right that the party has still not faced up to the scale of its defeat in 2010." – Independent

EU tries to finalise €130bn Greek bail-out – FT (£)

  • MPs in Athens may have voted for austerity, but the reality is that default is looming - Andrew Lilico
  • Riots in Athens could be just the start for Europe – Stephen Pollard for the Daily Express
  • EC rules put savings, companies and jobs at risk, business leaders warn - Daily Telegraph

Public 'should be charged to see government papers'Daily Telegraph

Any strategy for growth must include decent childcare for allPolly Toynbee for the Guardian

'True' UK unemployment is 6.3m, says TUCGuardian

HS2 rail link may face legal challengeIndependent

  • Bombardier will shut if it loses Crossrail contract, bosses warn – Daily Mirror

Steve Richards: No one is above the law – and that includes 'The Sun'Independent


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