4.45pm WATCH: Vince Cable reforms employment tribunal law but insists there'll be no hiring-and-firing

Shapps Grant May 20124pm ToryDiary: Grant Shapps announces that Tories will select candidates on basis of EXISTING boundaries

2.15pm MPsETC: The 24 Conservative MPs who are still on the backbenches and have never rebelled

11.15am MPsETC: The Carlton Club Dinner has raised about £2m under Steve Barclay MP's chairmanship

ToryDiary: We still don't have enough friends in the North

Lord Ashcroft on Comment: After the reshuffle soap opera it's time to focus on voters again

Columnist Andrew Lilico: When democracies stop working

Local government: Brent Council honours Grunwick strikers

The Deep End: Heresy of the week: The elites may be corrupt, but then so is everyone else

Hammond Philip Central LobbyExit from Afghanistan may quicken next year

"The pace of the British withdrawal from Afghanistan could quicken next year because military commanders have changed their views about how many troops need to remain to help local security forces fight the Taliban" – Revealed by Philip Hammond in The Guardian

Cameron has privately warned EU leaders he will call a referendum in Britain if they press ahead with plans to create a ‘federal Europe’Daily Mail

  • But The Express doubts if the referendum would be meaningful: "A senior Government source said a vote would be on a “recommendation that Britain stays in the EU without joining a political union.” …Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: “This could turn out to be the worst possible outcome, denying us a real say while letting the politicians and mandarins decide our relationship with Europe. It sounds like a choice between a yes or a yes-yes to Europe when what we really need is an in-or-out referendum.”"
  • Express leader: "What our country needs is a proper In/Out referendum on EU membership so that the people of Britain can instruct their public servants to negotiate satisfactory terms for withdrawal."
  • Mainstream Dutch parties win election – WSJ Europe

David Willetts will launch a global drive to convince word that Britain remains open to overseas students in the wake of Home Office's curbs on student visasGuardian

Soaring Government benefits spending is leaving a new £2billion black hole in public coffers – The Sun

The Sun Says: "It was plain wrong to hand a 5.2 per cent rise to benefit claimants as Britain’s workers took pay cuts or freezes. It was wrong because it scuttled the Tories’ plan to make work pay and return welfare to the last resort it was always meant to be. But we are only now counting the cost of that blunder last year. The huge rise has potentially blown a £2billion hole in the finances."

  • Pensioner campaigners furious at Liam Fox's call to mean-test their benefits – Express

Flight HowardThe Government should abolish capital gains tax (CGT), Tory peer Howard
Flight claimed in a research paper released by the Centre for Policy
Studies yesterday
City AM

  • OECD finds 'tentative signs' that UK will return to growth – Telegraph
  • Northern Ireland holds conference on the province having a lower rate of corporation tax compared to rest of UK – FT (£)

Twelve or more Tory MPs are supposedly plotting to oust David CameronTelegraph

Cameron's leadership was under fresh pressure last night following
claims that 14 Tory MPs have backed calls to remove him. The Spectator
magazine reported that the group had written to Graham Brady, the
chairman of the party's backbench 1922 Committee, asking for a
leadership challenge." – Independent

  • Stewart Jackson MP:
    "Speculation on Coffee House Blog regarding possible no of no
    confidence letters is rubbish. Only Graham Brady knows and he wouldn't
  • Benedict Brogan urges people to be very sceptical about these reports – Telegraph

David Cameron must find a way to stop the takeover of BAE systems – Iain Martin in The Telegraph

The Conservatives' outreach to gay people could be a model for their outreach to ethnic minoritiesEconomist

Davey EdEd Davey set to defy George Osborne on climate change target

"A simmering coalition row over energy policy has burst back into the open as the energy secretary confirmed he was ready to defy the chancellor and set a target for how much carbon dioxide electricity plants should emit by 2030. “We are currently considering a 2030 electricity decarbonisation target,” Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, said on Thursday." – FT (£)

Cable is to announce that workers will face a cut in how much they can win for unfair dismissal at employment tribunals

"He will also back using settlement agreements, under which staff agree to leave without being able to go to a tribunal, but get a pay-off in return. He will also confirm that proposals to make it easier to fire under-performing staff will not be made law." – BBC

  • Childminders and nurseries are seeking urgent talks with Liz Truss, the
    new early years minister, amid fears that her appointment signals a
    radical deregulation of the sector – Times (£)
  • Cable's Business Department is exposed as Whitehall's most profligate spender – Daily Mail

CAMPBELL MING 2Sir Menzies Campbell has attacked Vince Cable over his flirtation with Labour

"Labour leader Ed Miliband last week revealed that he and Mr Cable were in regular text contact and that he was ‘open for business’ if the Business Secretary wanted to talk about the future. But yesterday Sir Menzies criticised Mr Cable for undermining the Coalition and warned that it threatened to anger already disgruntled Tory MPs." – Daily Mail

  • The former Lib Dem leader has also questioned Lord Oakeshott's undermining of Nick Clegg but also the Deputy PM's decision not to have Lib Dem ministers at the Foreign Office or MoD – Scotsman

Lib Dems 'would consider future coalition with Labour', says CleggBBC

"If the Lib Dems want to move beyond pavement politics and opportunist gestures, left libertarianism seems to me the right way to go. It is better than acting like a Labour colony in a Conservative administration." – Samuel Brittan in the FT (£)

Labour could win the next election because of Coalition failure but it has no policies or direction – Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph

Former Tory MP named as The Sun's Hillsborough source 'deeply sorry'
London Evening Standard

Jenkins: Hillsborough shows it's time for elected police commissioners:
"A Sheffield police commissioner would have at least some local case to
answer after Hillsborough. Instead, accountability has been rendered by
two judges, a bishop and a prime minister, whose "apology" for
something that is nothing to do with him is meaningless." – Simon
Jenkins in The Guardian

Economically, socially and politically, the north is becoming another countryThe Economist


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