Cameron Delivering On Promises

5.30pm WATCH: Conservative Party political broadcast lists areas where the Government has delivered on the Tory manifesto

5.15pm MPsETC: "A pinball machine" – George Osborne's verdict on Balls' fuel duty flip-flopping

Hammond Afghan deaths4.15pm WATCH: Philip Hammond: Afghan deaths "will not shake our resolve to see through the mission"

3.30pm Rehman Chishti MP on Comment: How the Olympics legacy could help to tackle obesity and boost health 

3.15pm LISTEN: Lord Tebbit advises Vince Cable: "You just get on with it and do it, when you're the Secretary of State. You don't write letters which one of your little boys hands to the press for your own party bickering purposes"

PMQs 7th March 20122.30pm MPsETC: Cameron's tribute to the Queen: "While the sands of culture shift and the tides of politics ebb and flow, Her Majesty has been a permanent anchor"

1pm ToryDiary: Quiet PMQs as Miliband and Cameron agree on the need to draw down Afghan forces

11.45am ConHomeUSA newslinks: Romney's weaknesses are exposed despite six Super Tuesday wins

HALFON-robert10.30am Robert Halfon MP on Comment: A 2.5p cut in fuel duty would help create thousands of jobs and get the economy growing again

9.15am LeftWatch: A sign of Lib Dem leaflets to come – "Liberal Democrats stopped Tory tax cuts for the richest"

ToryDiary: The great middle-class budget fightback begins

Majority Conservatism: Holding a referendum on election day could increase turnout and unite the centre-right press, as it did in May 2011

Columnist Jill Kirby: The Treasury's child benefit game with couples: heads we win, tails you lose

Jackson stewartStewart Jackson MP on Comment: Why the Liberal Democrats would be mad to renege on their pledge to support boundary changes

Chris Nicholson on ThinkTankCentral proposes cuts to the winter fuel allowance, statutory maternity pay, social housing, and Trident, in our week long focus on how George Osborne can deliver further reductions in the size of the state.

Local government: Boris campaign toughens up with negative campaigning

LISTEN: Ed Miliband told: "You're not inspiring anyone, you're making it hard for people to vote Labour"

Iran "seeking to build nuclear weapon", warns David Cameron

"David Cameron has warned that Iran is seeking to build an "inter-continental nuclear weapon" that threatens the west, as he urged Israel to allow time for sanctions to force the Iranians to change their strategic stance." – Guardian

  • Stateless terrorists with a dirty bomb now real threat for UK, says Clegg – Daily Telegraph
  • "David Cameron has urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down to end the bloodshed in the country" – BBC

The FT says Nick Clegg is ready to ditch 50p tax rate in return for new taxes on the wealthy…

Clegg on Marr"The deputy prime minister has told David Cameron that he is not ideologically wedded to the 50p rate – levied on earnings over £150,000 – but that he could only support its abolition if it was offset by measures to extract even greater revenues from the wealthy… The big stumbling block to the abolition of the 50p rate could be Mr Cameron, who has signalled his instinctive opposition to new taxes on the wealthy, while many Conservative MPs also oppose any new taxes on principle." – FT (£)

  • Sir Simon Jenkins agrees with this Clegg plan: Drop the 50p tax rate and target property
  • "[George Osborne's] focus in this month’s Budget must be on promoting growth. That means controlling public spending and cutting taxes – not inventing vindictive and unworkable new ones." - Daily Mail editorial

…But the Times says that Cameron and Clegg have agreed not to target mansions

Cameron David DCLG"Top earners are at risk of losing generous tax breaks on their pension contributions after David Cameron and Nick Clegg agreed a truce over the so-called mansion tax. Liberal Democrats accept that their chances of winning Mr Cameron’s approval for a tax on top-end properties is unlikely to bear fruit. Instead, the Government is examining new curbs on the tax relief given to higher earners, particularly those earning more than £150,000 a year." - The Times (£)

  • "One area of agreement between the two parties is a plan to prevent the rich avoiding stamp duty on expensive homes by placing them in a company, which can sometimes be based offshore. But that might not raise enough money" – Independent
  • Osborne urged to snub mansion tax trade-off as it would require revaluation of property values costing 'hundreds of millions of pounds' – Daily Mail
  • Chancellor sets his face against any ‘unfunded giveaways’ – Scotsman
  • Osborne's £20bn loan guarantee scheme to be launched before Budget – Independent

Benedict Brogan warns of the political consequences of mansion tax and scrapping child benefit for "middle class" families

OsborneGreenTie"In parallel to the mansion tax debate, ministers are agonising over whether to mitigate the removal of child benefit from households with at least one higher-rate taxpayer. MPs have queued up to condemn a reform that hits the middle classes, and in particular working families who pay 40p tax despite being far from rich… [W]hether it is a senior policeman who earns enough to pay 40 per cent tax or a widow on a modest pension rattling around in a large family home that has soared in value, those he is asking to pay up are among those whom Mrs Thatcher would have considered the bedrock of any Tory majority." – Benedict Brogan

  • "Mr Osborne’s back-of-the envelope idea to axe child benefit for every family containing someone paying higher rate tax, announced in a rush at the 2010 Tory conference, is the stupidest idea to have emerged from Her Majesty’s Treasury in the 20 years I have been writing about politics" – Patrick O'Flynn
  • Child Benefit was always a really bad idea, and real reform should get rid of it altogether – Melanie Phillips
  • Forget mansions and lower the 40p tax band – Ian Birrell for the FT (£)
  • Alice Thomson warns against a mansion tax: "A mansion tax would not just affect those with inherited homes but those who have bought with the taxed proceeds of hard work." - The Times (£)
  • A so-called mansion tax will not achieve fairness and the revenue gain will be modest – Ryan Bourne

Cameron "frustrated" by slow pace of reform

"The Prime Minister said that changes to the education and welfare systems are “not happening as fast as I would like”… Mr Cameron made the admission as he faced questions from the Liaison Committee of senior MPs about his style of government… “My frustration is often that the changes I want to see put in place – more academy schools more free schools, more welfare to work provision is carried out by innovative businesses,” he said." - Daily Telegraph

Leaked Vince Cable letter warns that the Coalition lacks a "compelling vision" of what the country should look like, post-austerity

Cable Vince Yes"The Business Secretary told the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister in a letter that has been leaked that the Government does not have a "clear and confident message about how we will earn our living in the future", the BBC said… Britain lacks a "compelling vision of where the country is heading beyond sorting out the fiscal mess", Mr Cable said, and the government has missed "valuable opportunities" for growth." - Daily Telegraph

  • The leaked letter in full - Daily Telegraph
  • "The correspondence from earlier this year showed the Business Secretary Vince Cable called for the bank to be split up and used to establish a new “British business bank”." – Daily Express

Mark Pritchard: David Cameron’s weakness on Europe forced me to resign from Conservative Party job

Screen shot 2011-06-23 at 17.44.26"There are some in the Conservative leadership who argue that if it weren’t for the Lib Dems, the Government would be far more Eurosceptic – that sceptics in high office, the voluntary party and the wider electorate should exercise “strategic patience”. The narrative advanced is that, “if we give it time”, a future Conservative “majority government” will deliver on Europe… Historians will view the Coalition years, 2010-2015, as a squandered opportunity for the Government to have put the United Kingdom first." – Mark Pritchard for the Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday - WATCH: Mark Pritchard MP on his resignation – "People are saying to me: What is the difference between the last Government and this Government? And on immigration and Europe and some other issues you struggle to answer those questions."

Support gay marriage or we'll always be seen as backward, Francis Maude says

MAUDE-FRANCIS-ON-QT"The Tory Party will always be seen as the nasty party unless it backs gay marriage, supports unmarried couples and does more to attract ethnic minority supporters, a Cabinet minister warns today. Arch-moderniser Francis Maude says the Conservatives have still not done enough to change the party’s ‘backward-looking social attitudes’. He will use a speech today to enter the debate about gay marriage, warning that those who fail to back David Cameron’s support for homosexual rights will leave the party viewed as ‘unacceptable and unelectable’." – Daily Mail

  • The demand for gay equality threatens to undermine our most valuable institution – Cristina Odone
  • Church should "warmly welcome" gay marriage, says ex bishop – Daily Telegraph

CLARKE KEN PURPOSEFULKen Clarke unsettled by criticism of secret courts plan Guardian

> From yesterday - Nick Pickles on Comment: Ministers cannot be allowed to decide what evidence is heard in court

Cameron "almost certainly" breached code over Fox affairIndependent

  • Cameron "should have ordered independent inquiry into Liam Fox" – Daily Telegraph

Prime Minister pledges £336m for new NHS hospital units and equipment

"David Cameron has tried to regain the initiative on the NHS by pledging £336.5m to build new emergency units, help a major hospital cope with the booming birthrate and buy extra scanners. … The Department of Health said the money represented "extra" spending on capital projects and had become available after savings had been made elsewhere in its budget, including to the troubled NHS IT programme." – Guardian

  • House of Lords backs health bill compromise amendment – BBC
  • David Cameron's top guru told him to kill the Health Bill, source reveals – Daily Mirror
  • For the NHS's sake, we Lib Dems must ditch the health and social care bill – Evan Harris

Daniel Finkelstein: What we’ll miss in Steve Hilton’s gap year

"The Cameron-Hilton Big Society is an attempt to create an environment that encourages individuals to behave responsibly and for the common good, one in which the public interest benefits from private virtue. Mr Hilton has been accused of being drawn to faddish intellectual ideas, but what he is trying to do is use ideas from social science that are not only economic ones." – Daniel Finkelstein for the Times (£)

Lib Dems oppose nearly a third of new constituency boundaries Guardian

Miliband Ed PurpleJust "be yourself": Tony Blair's advice to Ed Miliband – Daily Mirror

  • I don’t mean to be cruel but you’re a failure, Miliband is told on radio – The Times (£)

Ken Livingstone gay fundraiser scaled down after offensive remarksAndrew Gilligan

George Galloway "almost certain" to stand in Bradford West byelectionGuardian

Whitehall department savings scheme overspent by £500m, says reportBBC

  • A seven-year government efficiency programme has backfired and increased costs for the taxpayer by hundreds of millions of pounds, a public spending watchdog said – Daily Telegraph

Police service on brink of disaster due to cuts, officers warn Daily Telegraph

Nicolas Sarkozy says France has too many foreigners – BBC

And finally… What's on David Cameron's iPad?

"Angry Nerds: Customised version of popular game. Avatars resembling the Miliband brothers try to wreak revenge on the greedy pigs who stole their rightful place in government. The more they lose, the more you win!" – The Guardian imagines Cameron's iPad apps | Independent


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