2.45pm Martin Parsons on Comment: Reintroduce O-Levels – but don't abolish GCSEs

1.30pm ToryDiary: Alan Duncan bans civil servants from using jargon

FlagToryDiary: Martin McGuinness might as well be photographed waving a Union Flag

Kris Hopkins MP on Comment: What's wrong with demanding a minimum income migrant requirement?  We should back Theresa May on controlling immigration. 

Local Government: Should councils have to publish their procurement card spending?

WATCH: House of Lords referendum "inevitable"

QueenOwen Paterson says it is right for The Queen to meet Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness

"Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson said the meeting would be a "most significant event".  it was "right that the Queen should meet representatives from all parts of the community….it will ensure that next week's visit will move Northern Ireland a whole new step forward." – BBC

  • "Tory statesman Lord Tebbit, whose wife was left paralysed by the IRA, says that at least it shows McGuinness – Ulster’s deputy first minister – now accepts the Queen as sovereign of Northern Ireland. Perhaps. But if Her Majesty wants to wash her hands after the meeting, few will blame her." – The Sun Says

>Yesterday: WATCH – The Queen to meet Martin McGuinness

Miliband's immigration apology is met with scepticism

Miliband Ed Official"Labour’s mistakes were so enormous between 1997 and 2010 that its current leader should really have put on sackcloth and ashes. There were 3.5 million net migrants into this country in 13 years. It is not too much to say that an irreversible transformation in the demographics of Britain has taken place." – Stephen Glover Daily Mail

  • "Labour’s policy, which Ed Miliband has taken nearly two years to disown, was to abandon controls in favour of a free-for-all that has changed Britain for ever. So why would anyone trust Labour on immigration again?" The Sun Says
  • "The first point of the four-part Miliband plan was not much more than a pious desire for better border controls coupled to a gradual scheme for the admittance of nationals of newly acceded EU countries — a policy that is, in fact, already in place." Times(£)  leader
  • "Diane Abbott, the Shadow Public Health Minister, came the closest of any of Mr Miliband’s front bench to questioning the policy. She used Twitter to point to criticism of the Labour leader’s harder line on immigration. She said she was “judging the speech by the way Labour’s own spin doctors have chosen to spin it”." Times(£)
  • "Mischievous messages of support came from Ukip's Nigel Farage and even the BNP's Nick Griffin, the latter gleefully retweeted by Miliband's critics on the left, as if to suggest that the leader had taken the first step on the grimy slope towards fascism." Jonathan Freedland Guardian
  • "If British workers are struggling to compete for jobs, the answer is not, as Mr Miliband is suggesting, to use the law to tilt the balance artificially back in their favour. Rather, it is to ensure they are better equipped." Independent leader


Cameron knew about Gove plan to scrap GCSEs

GOVE MICHAEL NW"Downing Street has denied the deputy prime minister's claim David Cameron was kept in the dark about Michael Gove's plans to scrap GCSEs in England. Nick Clegg told BBC News neither he nor the prime minister knew of the proposal until they read it in the Daily Mail." – BBC

  • "I'm old enough to have taken O-levels, and it is true that there was a certain amount of stigma attached to the CSE. But it's hard to see why this should be the case. CSEs were introduced after the O-level, at a time when 80 per cent of pupils were leaving with no qualification at all." – Philip Henscher The Independent

Guardian welcomes Cameron's attack on tax avoidance…

"It hardly needs saying that it will be much harder for Mr Cameron to rebuild his credibility on financial fairness in 2012 than it was in 2006. But he is right to try. Now he needs to press forward and not to retreat. There is no more important test facing the Tory party." – Guardian Editorial

…But Conservative MPs question it

"As Downing Street said the prime minister had been too busy to fulfil his pledge to look at Barlow's tax affairs, senior Tories were privately warning that the prime minister risked looking foolish. "This is so typical of our prime minister. This is all about shooting from the hip without thinking through the consequences. He looks rather foolish. Downing Street seems incapable of any long-term thinking," one said." – The Guardian

  • "The truly moral course is not to castigate those such as Jimmy Carr, but to create a simpler, flatter tax system in which such behaviour is not just impossible, but unnecessary." – Daily Telegraph Editorial
  • "While the Mail holds no torch for Mr Carr, it’s Britain’s tax system that is the most morally offensive. The tax code handbook is currently 11,500 pages – the longest in the world – and is so riddled with complexity that accountants find increasingly ingenious ways of finding loopholes for their wealthy clients to exploit." – Daily Mail Editorial

>Yesterday: Ben Harris-Quinney on Comment: What really matters isn't tax avoidance. It's whether you are a a net benefactor or a net detractor.

MooreCharles Moore backs Mitt Romney

"Mr Romney stands in the central tradition of the modern presidency. He thinks America should be strong. He sees decline as a choice to be rejected, rather than a fate to be embraced. He does not suffer from Jimmy Carter-type agonies about American power, and is not troubled by Obama-style, anti-Western “Dreams from my Father”." Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

Government proposes no referendum on Lords reform

"The Government will publish controversial legislation to introduce elected peers but the historic plans will be allowed to proceed without a national vote….The decision may be seen as a concession by the Conservatives to Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, who previously compared the House of Lords to the “Chinese People’s Congress”."  – Daily Telegraph

  • "The coalition has suggested cutting the number of peers from more than 800 to 300, with 240 elected and 60 appointed. It will publish its plans next week. If its legislation is passed, the first elections would take place in 2015." – BBC
  • "Just look what "democracy" has done for the House of Commons over the provision of a Speaker. Until a few years ago, wise heads from the main parties got together and agreed on who should become Speaker. They invariably got the right person." – Chris Moncrieff Daily Mail

…but may have to have one anyway

"Labour in the Commons will undoubtedly support a referendum amendment and I think there are enough rebel Conservatives, and possibly Liberal Democrats as well, who will back that,  David Cameron can't avoid a referendum, no matter whether he wants one or not. If the Commons does not put a referendum in, you can then you can be virtually 100 per cent sure that the House of Lords will." Constitutional expert Dr Meg Russell tells Daily Telegraph

The Independent says Cameron would consult Clegg before using veto at EU summit on Thursday..

"One of the key EU measures will be a move towards a "banking union", which could have dangerous implications for Europe's biggest financial centre – the City of London….Callum Miller, Mr Clegg's principal private secretary for foreign affairs, will be part of the UK delegation, acting as his eyes and ears." – Andrew Grice  The Independent

…but the Daily Mail suggests it won't be needed

"Nine countries yesterday vowed to impose new taxes on financial deals – which Britain thinks will cripple economic growth – but demands for all 27 EU nations to be included were dropped."- Daily Mail

JustinegreeningJustine Greening says the Government still opposes third runway at HeathrowThe Times(£)

  • "Heathrow's capacity problems could be solved without the need for a new runway, as strict rules on take-offs and landings are eased from next month." – Independent

Ed Miliband calls for Blairites and unions to end "squabbling"Independent

Lord Maples obituaryHerald

Peers will have to name business clientsIndependent

And finally 1) Grammar fascist Alan Duncan bans DFID from "leveraging" or "mainstreaming" anything, ‘growing economies', 'going forward', 'accessing', 'catalysing', 'showcasing', 'impacting' or working in ‘the humanitarian space’ Daily Telegraph

And finally 2) 16-year-old David Cameron with his first girlfriendDaily Telegraph



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