5pm In Local government on the Tower Hamlets voter fraud scandal:

4.45pm MPsETC: What is the No Turning Back group? Matthew Barrett profiles the keepers of the Thatcherite flame

3.15pm WATCH: David Cameron addresses Clean Energy summit

11.45am ConHomeUSA newslinks: Romney urged to set out positive vision

Screen Shot 2012-04-26 at 07.39.47ToryDiary: The Spectator's Fraser Nelson makes the case for Boris

Columnist Andrew Lilico: On Green Millenarianism

Quentin Langley on Comment: A tour of the Prime Minister's reshuffle options

Local government:

Britain has plunged into the first double-dip recession since 1975 and is enduring its longest economic slump for a centuryDaily Mail


"Ministers can’t blame Labour for ever. Cutting the deficit is right. But that seems the only shot in George Osborne’s locker. The Chancellor looks a one-trick pony lacking the imagination to drag us out of this slump." – The Sun Says

The BBC's Paul Mason and the Daily Mail agree: The Government has no growth plan

  • "A consistent theme throughout this past 12 months has been the absence of a growth plan that actually delivers growth. The Conservatives' instinct was to go for a rapid breakup of labour market impediments to growth: mass exemptions for small businesses from minimum wage rules, reducing entitlement to maternity leave etc and unfair dismissal. This was the focus of the Beecroft report. The Lib Dems stymied it, leaving the government, as Vince Cable said in a leaked letter, without a coherent strategy." – Paul Mason for the BBC
  • Daily Mail leader: "Two years have passed since the election, but there has not been the radical rebalancing of the economy this country so badly needs. Too much money continues to be lavished upon the inefficient, bloated public sector. Businesses continue to be strangled in red tape. The bonfire of the quangos is yet to be ignited."

Osborne must embrace tax reform, faster infrastructure projects and bank lending measures – Alex Brummer in the Daily Mail

Jeremy Warner in The Telegraph argues that the Government is cutting the wrong things: "When you look at where the axe is falling hardest, it is on government investment – spending on schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, affordable housing, and so on. This is the easiest thing to chop, so that’s where the Coalition has acted first. In fact, this form of state spending should be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled, with the money made up by further cuts in entitlements and bureaucracy."

Too many taxes + over-hyped reforms + inflation = Double dip recession …concludes Allister Heath for City AM

  • Leo McKinstry says the Coalition is too weak to deliver economic reformExpress

Nick Clegg's message to the banks: "Don't unnecessarily hoard capital when businesses need loans. Don't sit on your hands while firms are crying out for cash" – Quoted in The Independent

The government will today unveil a £70bn bonanza of lucrative public sector contracts

Maude Francis 470

"Companies including BAE, Serco, Babcock and Capita have been invited to a Cabinet Office briefing where Francis Maude, cabinet secretary, will present a five year pipeline of bid opportunities in 13 sectors ranging from construction, energy and medical life sciences, which includes NHS drugs and equipment. The total includes £5.4bn of welfare-to-work contracts and £2.6bn of property and facilities management work as well as the retendering of smaller deals such as the provision of travel management for civil servants." – FT (£)

On ConHome yesterday:

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will soon expect some high earners to quiz their partners to find out if they claim child benefitBBC

Hunt Jeremy red tieJeremy Hunt gets Cameron's full supportIndependent | The Sun

Jeremy Hunt could face three investigations after his special adviser resigned for leaking privileged information to the Murdoch empireDaily Mail

Jeremy Hunt accused of throwing special adviser, Adam Smith, to the wolves – Guardian

  • "The wagons were circled around the minister, and the special adviser was thrown to the wolves. Or, as expressed more brutally but not inaccurately by the veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner to a tumultuous House of Commons yesterday: "When posh boys are in trouble, they sack the servants."" – Independent leader
  • Adam Smith is a quiet man who cared more for sport than media – Telegraph
  • Mr Cameron is in deep trouble. Only complete candour will stop the storm engulfing him – Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail
  • Will Rupert and James Murdoch topple David Cameron? – Peter Oborne in The Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameron puts in strong performance at PMQs while Jeremy Hunt enjoys full support from Tory MPs

Alex Salmond has conceded he had agreed to lobby UK ministers to support News International’s multi-billion takeover of BSkyB, insisting that anyone who questioned his actions “shouldn’t be in politics”Scotsman

Rupert Murdoch disclosed that he had met the Prime Minister on at least five more occasions than David Cameron has previously admitted

"The chairman and chief executive of News Corporation provided details of diary entries to the Leveson Inquiry which showed that the two men had met on at least seven occasions since Mr Cameron became Prime Minister. Downing Street has previously acknowledged only that the Prime Minister had met the media tycoon twice since May 2010… On Wednesday night it emerged that only one-to-one or “substantial” meetings were disclosed officially, whereas Mr Murdoch recorded meetings at social dinners and other events." – Telegraph

  • Rupert Murdoch has admitted being a “great admirer” of Margaret Thatcher, but denied ever asking her for any help in expanding his media empire – Telegraph
  • Murdoch claimed yesterday that former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown became “unbalanced” when his press empire switched sides to support the Tories at the last election – Express
  • Murdoch under fire for calling Ivan Cameron "retarded" – Daily Mail | Express

PM to tell meeting of 23 countries that UK is spearheading green revolutionGuardian

  • David Cameron opening clean energy summit – Renewable energy sources must become "financially sustainable" if they are to meet the world's needs BBC

The controversial bill cutting legal aid in England and Wales has survived a last-ditch attack in the Lords and is now set to become lawBBC

Two-thirds of voters, regardless of party, class and age reject city mayorsGuardian

Mark Hoban slams EU budget request

Hoban-Mark-150p"Mark Hoban, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said that the draft budget conflicted with economic reality in Europe. “It is unacceptable for the Commission to propose an inflation-busting budget increase when governments across Europe are making difficult decisions on public spending,” Mr Hoban said at the European Parliament. The Brussels executive “must improve its financial discipline”, he added." – Times (£)

> Yesterday's MPsETC: There's one place in Europe which is a stranger to austerity. Guess where?

Sayeeda Warsi says she's ready to lead Tory attempt to win support of minority voters – Tim Shipman in the Daily Mail

Foodbank handouts double as more families end up on the breadlineGuardian

And finally… Should Cameron get a tattoo to deal with posh boy image?

In the FT (£), Robert Shrimsley uncovers some secret Downing Street strategising: "On balance we do not think a tattoo is a good idea; especially not a full-arm depiction of the home secretary surrounded by immigration queues at Heathrow. But if you are determined to persist with it, we recommend against henna tattoos. It is true they fade in a month but this might suggest a lack of conviction."


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