5.15pm Conservative Majority: “The number-one driver of not voting Conservative is not being white”
12.45pm International: Hardline on terror and promise to balance budget are big themes of soaring Sarkozy
Martin Parsons on Comment: Why A-levels need reform
Local government: The Boris academies driving up standards in Enfield and Bexleyheath
David Cameron’s promise of a fightback against the assault on Christianity was sabotaged yesterday by his own ministers who declared that Christians have no right to wear a cross at work – Daily Mail
- Mr Cameron's words about Christianity are great but his Government's deeds are not – Daily Mail comment
- "I hope Britain will always be a country where citizens can celebrate Diwali, eid or the winter solstice in freedom. But it is a disturbing society in which officials treat Christians with contempt. Whether you believe in the resurrection or not, easter is a festival that deserves to be celebrated." – Ross Clark in The Express
"Ministers and MPs are being quietly told that they need to ‘show their faces’ regularly at ethnic minority and religious festivals over the next three years, rather than simply turning up at election time. The Tories are set to copy a strategy, pioneered by the Conservative Party in Canada, where ministers are expected to report which ethnic minority events they have attended each month." – Daily Mail
David Cameron has dismissed findings of Institute for Fiscal Studies which claimed two million families with children would lose average of £511 a year on average under tax and benefit changes – Yorkshire Post
- But The Telegraph has a different angle: "Nearly 400,000 people earning between £100,000 and £150,000 will have to pay more to the taxman, while every other group of workers will be better off, according to an analysis by one of the biggest accountancy firms."
- "The amount of income that is tax free is rising by £630 to £8,105. The value of some benefits will rise by 5.2%. But the time couples with children will have to work to qualify for working tax credits will rise from 16 to 24 hours." – BBC
- Jill Kirby in The Times (£): "The message seems to be: work harder and we’ll help you with the cost of raising children, but don’t work too hard or you’ll get no help at all."
- "The assault on lower income families' finances along with tax breaks for the wealthy shows where the coalition's priorities lie" – Labour's Rachel Reeves MP in The Guardian
CBI says Coalition has done plenty of talking but delivered little action on jobs red tape – BBC
Cameron's pledge tackle Britain's "health and safety monster" has been ridiculed after it emerged flagship plans to cut red tape will only save businesses an average of 5p each – Telegraph
The Telegraph: The Health Secretary was right to order spot checks on abortion clinics
"It is odd that the Labour Party and the BBC – which led many of its news bulletins with the story yesterday – should focus on Mr Lansley’s perfectly justifiable actions… there is a more pernicious agenda at work here: a belief that abortion should not really be regulated at all, but instead allowed on demand. While this may increasingly have become the practice, it is not what the Abortion Act says." – Telegraph leader
Tom Utley in The Mail also comes to Andrew Lansley's defence: "If the newspapers or the BBC had uncovered evidence of any other systematic criminality in health clinics — particularly private ones, as some of these were — does anyone think it would have attacked the Health Secretary for requesting a prompt investigation?"
As teachers meet for their Easter conferences they will consider striking over threats to sack under-performing teachers and other Coalition reforms – BBC
The Independent praises Michael Gove's education reforms: "In demanding better-qualified teachers, toughening the inspectorate, loosening the stranglehold of local authorities by speeding the creation of academies, harnessing local activism by encouraging free schools, imposing a new core curriculum, changing the scoring system for league tables, and moving towards reform of A-levels, he has at least shown himself prepared to tackle some of the identifiable ills that afflict our schools. That much of what he is doing clearly discomfits the teachers' unions should not deter him."
Theresa May and Ken Clarke Ministers tell Tory MPs to support government on surveillance and claim access to sensitive data is crucial to deport terror suspects – Guardian
The Coalition Government has failed to explain how these plans are proportionate to the problem – Yvette Cooper in The Independent
"Catching crooks, not terrorists, is what most of the Government’s snooping Bill is really all about. It ought to say so." – Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph
Yesterday on ConHome:
- Tim Montgomerie: The police and security services must have the tools to protect us
- Nick Pickles: May and Clarke offer no details or justification for new surveillance and closed-court powers
British politics was dragged into a new era of openness yesterday as the battle for control of London left Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone making public the details of their tax returns – Times (£)
Chart from Guido Fawkes shows how Ken Livingstone wants everyone else to pay taxes but organises his own affairs to minimise his own contribution.
- Ken Livingstone was accused of hiding his true income last night — while Boris Johnson revealed he earned £1.7million in four years – The Sun
- We urge all three party leaders to publish their tax affairs – The Telegraph leader
- Matthew Barrett yesterday: "Making candidates disclose their tax returns will soon cause a witch-hunt for wealthy candidates every general election. We should discourage it."
Cameron's Big Society idea can be rescued if it embraces business methods to solve problems in health, welfare and justice – Philip Collins in The Times (£)
Ed Miliband was blasted as two-faced last night for declaring war on defence cuts — while secretly plotting MORE if he is PM – The Sun
The Sun Says: "Under Miliband, Labour have proved devoid of ideas. They haven’t a clue how to clear up the mess they created in office. They merely howl in protest at every cut the Coalition makes or suggests. This is opposition for the sake of opposition, driven not by beliefs but solely by a tribal desire to unseat the Tory enemy. No one will take Miliband seriously until he stops jumping on any passing bandwagon — and advances some constructive, costed-out ideas of his own."
Former aide to Gordon Brown warns Labour it will not regain power until it offers hope and jobs to a generation of young men who have turned their backs on the party
"Traditional 'male' jobs, characterised by skill, status and stability, have broadly disappeared: work in mines, yards and plants has been replaced with high-turnover, insecure, service industry jobs for which boys compete with the girls who outperformed them at school and outnumbered them at college." – Independent
"Mr Miliband should listen to Unite, but he cannot let it take over his party. It risks making him unelectable." – Anushka Asthana for The Times (£)
Ten serious complaints of racist behaviour by officers have been passed to the independent police watchdog, the Metropolitan Police revealed – Daily Mail
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