8pm WATCH: Lord Heseltine: Britain will join the €uro in the future

7.15pm ToryDiary: Did Downing Street offer Tim Montgomerie a job?

5.45pm MPsETC: Theresa May's statement to the House: "We can soon put Qatada on a plane and get him out of our country for good"

Harrington Richard August 20114pm Richard Harrington MP on Comment: Avoiding tax through charitable donations denies money to institutions all of society benefits from

2.45pm MPsETC: Gove will "extend the role of the Church in the provision of schools" – and highlights from Education Questions

2pm WATCH: Tony Blair: The Government would be wise to separate "issues to do with tax avoidance and charitable giving"

Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Romney leads Obama in head-to-head polling – but Obama has advantage in swing states

10.30am Simon Hart MP on Comment: The Government is right to recognise the countryside as a force for good in our nation

Screen shot 2012-04-16 at 19.16.16

ToryDiary: The tycoon tax proves the power of the Curse of Clegg

Columnist Stephan Shakespeare: Many more people have lost faith in the Coalition than are currently willing to actually switch parties

Christopher Howarth on Comment: If he wants Britain to have a vision for Europe, David Cameron should appoint a European Secretary

MajorityConservatism: Building a Conservative Majority (16): More political firepower for ministers

MPsETC: What is the 40 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the MPs trying to keep hold of the most marginal Tory seats

Local Government: 

WATCH: Sayeeda Warsi: Projected Labour council gains mean "we will not be having the best of nights" on May 3rd

David Cameron's European Court of Human Rights reforms 'to be watered down'

"The Times has been leaked the latest draft of the agreement… This shows that key British proposals have been dropped or watered down, meaning the court is unlikely to see new powers to reject cases and curb its backlog. … However, the document does agree that the core principle that gives states discretion on interpreting human rights laws… should be included in the preamble to the [ECHR]" – The Times (£)

Abu Qatada case: Theresa May will not appeal against Strasbourg ruling

May Theresa Abu Qatada"Theresa May is to announce she will not appeal against the [ECHR] ruling blocking the deportation of the radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada… Instead the home secretary will attempt to convince a British high court judge that she has made sufficient "demonstrable progress" in securing assurances from the Jordanian government about Qatada's treatment" – Guardian

  • "In an emergency statement to the Commons, Theresa May will say she believes a deal with Jordan will let the UK deport the al-Qaeda suspect. Her comments will raise hopes the vile Islamic militant could be back behind bars within days." – The Sun

Gove urges the Church to extend its role in education


"The Church of England has been urged to establish a new generation of academies after Michael Gove said he wanted to 'extend' its role in educating children. Mr Gove said he “cherished” the education currently provided by the Church to more than a million children. … There had been concerns that Mr Gove’s support for faith schools was wavering, but yesterday’s comments are expected to be welcomed by bishops who are currently considering the future role of the Church." – Daily Telegraph

David Cameron halts compulsory green deal policy on home improvements

Cameron IV on green"All the mandatory elements of the government's green deal for homes are to be scrapped following an intervention by the prime minister. The decision… means that the government will reject proposals… that would have required homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient if they were undertaking home improvements, such as extending a garage or replacing windows." – Guardian

  • ‘Conservatory tax’ set to be shelved but homeowner help remains – FT (£)
  • Wind farm developers resorting to 'little short of bribery' – Daily Telegraph

Rachel Sylvester: David Cameron is yet to decide whether he's an insurgent Thatcherite or deferential paternalist. His internal conflict is hindering Government progress.

"There is a curious mixture of tradition and modernity within this Converse-wearing Old Etonian who is as comfortable playing Fruit Ninja as tending his vegetable patch. “The duality exists insides David Cameron’s head,” says the aide. “Is he an iconoclast or an Establishment figure? For the many or the few? Pro-enterprise or pro-social enterprise? Politically rational or emotionally intuitive? His strength comes from the fact he embodies both traditions. He’s a one-man big tent but there are times when that’s a weakness.” It may be time for Mr Cameron to work out which side he’s on." – Rachel Sylvester for the Times (£)

Philip Johnston: George Osborne puts the fabric of Britain at risk with the 'heritage tax'

Osborne on a bridge"Given their great age, most cathedrals and ancient churches need millions of pounds spent on them every year if they are not to fall apart. This money has to be raised from congregations, donations (which could be also be hit by the cap on charitable tax relief) and special events. The Church of England reckons the Chancellor’s decision will cost up to £20 million a year extra on works to its 12,500 listed buildings, if they go ahead at all." – Philip Johnston for the Daily Telegraph

  • What's the problem – a lack of vision, or George Osborne? - Andrew Grice
  • Hammer rich tax dodgers, George, not charities - Sir Max Hastings
  • Now get tough on the real tax cheats - Daily Mail editorial
  • George Osborne must stand up to the self-interested super-rich – Polly Toynbee
  • Tony Blair tells David Cameron to rethink charity tax cap – Guardian

> From yesterday - LISTEN:  David Gauke explains why the government is in favour of a cap on charity donation tax relief

Chris Grayling: Stay-at-home mums are increasingly looking for part-time work

Grayling470"Chris Grayling called the change one of the “big trends” of the past year. The Employment Minister said that he suspected fears about the state of the economy was one of the factors driving women back to the workplace. “We are seeing more stay-at-home mums saying, ‘I think I’ll look for a part-time job’,” he said." – The Times (£)

  • Experienced foreign workers a 'challenge' to British jobseekers – Daily Telegraph

Coalition set for defence strategy U-turn over carrier jets

"The Royal Navy has announced the next generation of aircraft carriers will use the original version of the joint strike fighter (JSF) in an apparent U-turn in the government’s defence strategy. … That version of the jet, which is capable of vertical take-off and landing, was originally ordered by the previous Labour government, but ditched by the coalition in favour of a cheaper model." – Scotsman

  • Australian troops to exit Afghanistan a year early – Guardian

PM set to raise Neil Heywood death with China official

"David Cameron is set to raise the death in China of Briton Neil Heywood when he meets a senior Chinese Communist Party official at Downing Street on Tuesday. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg earlier raised the case with another member of the politburo in London." – BBC

Cameron set to host nurses' forum Daily Express

WiddecombeAnn5minsAnn Widdecombe: Women binge-drinkers should be named and shamedDaily Telegraph

Cigarette advertising ban gives more room for 'back of fag packet' policies, jokes Chris Chope

"Plans for plain standardised advertising on cigarettes have made it easier for ministers to work out policies “on the back of a fag packet”, a senior Conservative MP has joked. The remark from Christopher Chope suggests that criticisms of Chancellor George Osborne have moved from private complaints to open mockery on the floor of the House of Commons." - Daily Telegraph

Minicab boss granted meeting with transport minister after Tory donation

"The chairman of a minicab company that wants access to London's restricted bus lanes was granted a private meeting with the transport secretary at which they discussed the matter after his firm donated £250,000 to the Conservative party. John Griffin, the chairman of Addison Lee, met Philip Hammond last October and raised the question of access to the lanes." – Guardian

Tory peer paid to lobby for island tax haven 

Mclean  david"A former Conservative minister with close links to the Government is sitting as a peer in the House of Lords while simultaneously lobbying on behalf of a Caribbean tax haven. Lord Blencathra, a former MP and Tory chief whip, is being paid by the Cayman Islands government to represent the interests of its financial services industry – despite also being able to vote on legislation affecting the territory." – Independent

  • Ministers should be forced to declare if their wives or husbands are lobbyists – Daily Telegraph

Cap maternity pay and cut back on free bus passes, TV licences for OAPs, says Ed Davey aideDaily Telegraph

> What Chris Nicholson wrote for ThinkTankCentral: The winter fuel allowance, statutory maternity pay, social housing. How to save over £2 billion a year – and that's before I get started on Trident.

Three polls from last night show healthy Labour leads


  • "The Populus poll for The Times now puts Labour on 42 per cent, up 4 points on March, its highest share of the vote in this Parliament. The Conservatives slipped back one point to 33 per cent, its joint lowest poll rating, while the Liberal Democrats remain unchanged on 11." – The Times (£)
  • "Across Britain, 41 per cent of decided voters and leaners (+1 since March) would support the Labour Party candidate in their constituency in the next General Election. The Conservatives have dropped to a post-General Election low of 29 per cent (-3). Their coalition partners—the Liberal Democrats—are holding on to third place with 11 per cent (+1), while the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) also increased its standing this month (8%, +1)." – Angus Reid
  • "[UKIP] has nine per cent support — with Deputy PM Nick Clegg’s lot on just eight. The YouGov poll ahead of May’s local elections puts Labour 11 points ahead of the Tories." - The Sun
  • Public confidence plummets over tax and spending cuts - The Times (£)

> Yesterday on Local Government: Boris lead steady at 6%

Mary Riddell: Funding of political parties is a side issue – the challenge is how to finance good public services

Miliband Ed Yes 2"Those around Mr Miliband say rejecting union donations is the first sign that his period of caution is over. “He has got the bit between his teeth,” says one aide, promising a shift in tempo and a clear outline of what Labour’s promise of change will entail. While Labour is right to want to take big money out of electioneering, the real cash flow problem concerns the dwindling public coffers. All other rows are the small change of politics." – Mary Riddell for the Daily Telegraph

  • Scottish Labour to unveil council manifesto - BBC

Lord Ahmed denies making Obama bounty comments

Screen shot 2012-04-16 at 08.05.47"Labour moved swiftly to suspend the peer, pending an investigation. … But Lord Ahmed complained that party chiefs had not spoken to him before announcing the move and challenged the party to produce evidence against him. Speaking in Pakistan, he said that he had told the meeting that Mr Bush and former prime minister Tony Blair should be prosecuted for war crimes. However, asked about the reported comments, he said: “I never said those words.”" – Scotsman

  • "But on Monday he told the BBC he was "devastated" by the allegation. "I'm shocked and horrified that this whole story could be just made up of lies…" he said. "I never mentioned President Obama, I never mentioned the word bounty."" – BBC

Split widens within SNP ranks as key figures take sides on NatoScotsman

  • If the Scottish National party takes Glasgow in May, the shock waves will go to the top of Labour's hierarchy – Ewan Crawford

George Galloway returns to Parliament with ‘army in the north’ warning

Galloway swearing in"George Galloway returned to the House of Commons yesterday, insisting… “It is good to be back, but I’m just the advance party. There’s an army mustering in the north and in the great industrial and post-industrial cities of this country, an army of discontented, alienated people who feel that this place has let them down, it has failed the country and it has failed the people.”" – Scotsman

  • With Mr Galloway, we had no need for a Bible. Or Koran – Quentin Letts
  • The 'anti-politics' vote won't do people any good - Steve Richards

> From yesterday:

Argentina to renationalise oil group

"The seizure of YPF would be the biggest renationalisation in the natural resources industry since the Russian government took control of Yukos in the early 2000s. The 51 per cent of YPF has a market value of around $5bn, according to analysts’ estimates." – FT (£)

Fracking 'should continue with checks' BBC

Thousands of speeding drivers let off with warning letters due to police cutsDaily Mirror


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