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10.45pm ToryDiary: This evening's Boris documentary: Cockerell cuddle follows Mair mauling

6.30pm WATCH: Boris responds to his Night-Mair: “It is the function of BBC journalists to bash-up politicians”

5pm MPsETC: Download your own “12 Conservative Achievements” card

5pm Local Government: Councillors falsely presented as “anti development”

4pm WATCH: A couple of clips from David Cameron's immigration speech…

2.30pm ToryDiary: Highlights from David Cameron’s immigration speech

Noon ToryDiary: A step closer to English votes on English laws?

11am Andrew Lilico on Comment: The revised Cypriot deal – good and bad news for depositors and investors in Cyprus and the rest of the World

ImmigrationTwo posts about immigration lead our coverage today:

Also on ToryDiary, from last night: The shrinking Cameron project

Foreign_policyFor his latest Foreign Policy column, Garvan Walsh imagines what dictators everywhere must be thinking about the press regulation Royal Charter: “‘Extend
an official invitation…’ he paused. Fingers tapped. The cabinet looked up in
suspense. Clocks ticked and tocked. Eyes turned to the Napoleon bust, as if to
divine their leader’s mind ‘…to Lord Justice Leveson.’” 

Cllr John Moss on Local Government: Why the “Help to Buy” scheme will not re-inflate the housing bubble

International: “It became necessary to destroy Cyprus to save it”

The Deep End: Let’s abolish the Budget (and the Autumn Statement)

The Eurozone agrees a bailout deal for Cyprus


"Eurozone finance ministers have agreed a deal on a 10bn-euro bailout for Cyprus to prevent its banking system collapsing and keep the country in the eurozone. … Laiki (Popular) Bank – the country's second-biggest – will be wound down and holders of deposits of more than 100,000 euros will face big losses. … However, all deposits under 100,000 euros will be 'fully guaranteed'." – BBC

  • House prices leap upwards, as foreign investors regard Britain as a "safe haven" from the Eurozone crisis – Daily Mail
  • And they're investing in organs from the NHS, too – Daily Mail

And from the comment pages:

  • "A measure of brinkmanship is inevitable in Europe’s debt negotiations, as in America’s. But in both cases it destabilises markets and hurts the businesses on which recovery depends. After this haircut, Europe must plan better for the next one." – Times editorial (£)
  • "I have believed for some time that it is impossible for Germany, Finland and the Netherlands to be in a monetary union with Cyprus, Greece and Portugal. Either the two sides agree to adjust more symmetrically, politically and economically, or this experiment should end." – Wolfgang Münchau, Financial Times (£)
  • "…what is on show here, yet again, are some deep-rooted weaknesses in the organisation of the single-currency club, the competence of some of its key brokers, and even the European economic model." – Guardian editorial

> Today on International: “It became necessary to destroy Cyprus to save it”

More previews of David Cameron's immigration speech… 

DC"New EU migrants will be stripped of jobless benefits after six months, David Cameron will pledge today. … A more radical plan to ban new arrivals from claiming benefits at all in their first year was dropped for fear of breaching EU law." – Daily Mail

  • "Britain’s benefits bill will be nearly £21 billion higher than expected in this Parliament" – The Sun

And response, too:

  • "Yet, as ever with Mr Cameron, the devil is in the detail. … Yes, EU migrants will have their out-of-work benefits taken away – but only after  six months and if they have not tried to find a job (as might a British citizen, in similar circumstances)." – Daily Mail editorial
  • "Even if the new rules become law — and I don’t see how they can if applied to EU  visitors — won’t councils unsympathetic to the Government find ways around them?" – Peter McKay, Daily Mail
  • "David Cameron is at least making the right noises on immigration." – Sun editorial

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameron toughens his position on immigration but is he serious about the issue?

…as the extent of the immigration backlog is clarified

"Border officials need 24 years to clear their backlog of 320,000 immigration cases, MPs warn today. … Keith Vaz, the Labour MP who chairs the home affairs committee, said hardly any progress was being made in clearing the backlog. He holds former UKBA chief executive Lin Homer – Britain’s most senior female mandarin – responsible for much of the debacle." – Daily Mail 

Give English MPs greater control over English laws, Government told

England flag"English MPs should be given far greater control over laws that affect only England to tackle growing resentment among voters about devolution elsewhere in the UK, ministers have been told. … A commission headed by Sir William McKay has told the government that the Commons should restrict the rights of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs to influence or determine purely English legislation in future." – Guardian

  • "Sir William is correct to observe that the status quo cannot be sustained, since a majority of English voters are unhappy with it." – Daily Telegraph editorial

Tim Montgomerie on Cameron's lost decade

Tm"[Cameron's leadership] began with a promise to save the world’s climate and rebuild conservatism. Cameronism then became a more modest project to balance the nation’s books. … By 2015 the shrinkage will be complete. The Tory leader will stand before the country with the thin claim that he’s not as bad as Ed Miliband. It may be enough to keep him in No 10, but it’s a depressing prospect for the country." – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

  • "PM a political dwarf: sleepy, dopey, grumpy." – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

> Last night's ToryDiary: The shrinking Cameron project

"After that TV ambush, Boris's rise doesn't look quite so irresistible," says Quentin Letts

Boris"Is Boris a nasty piece of work, as Mr Mair suggested? I have known the old horse for 25 years and have no hesitation in saying that ‘nasty’ is an adjective too far. … Half his trouble is that he is not nasty enough. Like many Old Etonians, he is terrified of becoming unpopular. The greatest politicians are prepared to be disliked." – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

  • "Boris Johnson's gilded reputation may be about to lose its shine" – Sonia Purnell, Guardian

> Yesterday:

As Boris writes in his latest Telegraph column, "It’s bobbies, not buildings we need in the fight against crime" – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

The Financial Times calls on George Osborne to scrap his "shares for rights" plan – Financial Times editorial (£)

As the Daily Telegraph questions Nick Boles' planning reforms (again)


"As we report today, emboldened by the Government’s rhetoric, councils have been inundated with applications for new building projects from developers. Battle is about to be joined just as the Tories seek to defend many of their local authorities in the county council elections in May. If Mr Boles wanted a fight, it looks like he is going to get one. But the politics of this issue are toxic and civil war in the shires is not the most promising manifesto on which to base a campaign." – Daily Telegraph editorial

Smaller blogs are set to escape the new press regulations

"Low-profile blogs and not-for-profit publishers are set to be exempted from Britain’s new press controls as the three main political parties seek to iron out what some have described as draconian curbs on freedom of speech." – Financial Times (£)

> Today, by Garvan Walshe: The press regulation Royal Charter is a boon to dictators everywhere

Patrick McLoughlin to extend Virgin's West Coast mainline contract

PM"Mr McLoughlin is expected to unveil a revised timetable for rail franchising before the parliamentary Easter recess on Tuesday in an effort to draw a line under the debacle. … The new schedule is expected to include a further extension for Virgin Rail, a joint venture between Sir Richard Branson and Stagecoach, on the West Coast that will take the contract beyond the general election in 2015." – Financial Times (£)

  • "The transport department has abandoned all hope of privatising Britain’s motorways and trunk roads before the general election…" – Financial Times (£)

Doctors will have to show what they're spending, under the new health reforms

"Doctors who are poised to take control of billions of pounds of spending under radical health reforms will be expected to report quarterly on how they are performing to ensure a tight rein is kept on the service’s fragile finances, the Financial Times has learnt." – Financial Times (£)

  • "The Treasury has signed off the first new private finance initiative hospital since the coalition came to power in 2010…" – Financial Times (£)

The Government plays down fears of gas rationing

Gas"The UK only has enough gas in storage to meet two days of demand after the latest blast of freezing weather led to millions of families turning up their heating higher than is usual for March. … Ministers said they were ‘confident’ that there was enough gas available to meet the UK’s needs." – Daily Mail

  • "The Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron, has raised the prospect that his party is privately negotiating to reopen the green energy deal signed by the coalition last autumn in an attempt to introduce carbon reduction targets for the energy sector." – Guardian

Grant Shapps could replace CCHQ's election computer

"Conservative high command has ordered an emergency re-boot of the party’s [Merlin] campaign database amid fears that its failings could cost the party dear at the next election. … Mr Shapps, the most tech-savvy chairman the Tories have had, is said to be alert to the issue and is looking at other possibilities, including developing a new system in-house." – The Times (£)

> Yesterday, by Grant Shapps MP on Comment: Over the next two years we're going to tell the British people about this Government's impressive achievements

Lord Heseltine: Do we have the will to bring about a recovery?

LH"British people may be so wealthy that they lack the 'national will' needed to secure an economic recovery, Lord Heseltine has suggested. … In an interview with The Independent, the former Deputy Prime Minister said that one theory why Britain's growth was sluggish compared with India and China was because – unlike the UK – those countries had 'real problems'." – Independent

  • "Heseltine's questionable lesson in economics" – Independent editorial

John Prescott suggests the Queen should abdicate, is slapped down

John Prescott has come under fire for suggesting the Queen should abdicate because of her recent bout of ill-health. … Conor Burns said: ‘John Prescott is the antithesis of the Queen. She is a model of selfless public service and duty. He is frittering away any last vestiges of dignity his career had with these sort of pig-ignorant comments.’" – Daily Mail

  • "Time to retire, John" – Daily Telegraph editorial

Douglas Alexander's "Special Relationship" warning

"Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, will warn that pulling out of the European Union would leave Britain ;relegated diplomatically and economically'. … 'The UK's relationship with the US would be a lot less special if we were outside the EU. In a 21st Century defined by interdependence, isolation in the Atlantic would be anything but splendid for Britain.'" – Daily Telegraph

Union bosses versus Michael Gove, round 1,276

Gloves"Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), will say the Education Secretary is 'undermining everything we stand for'. She will accuse him of sending a 'gang of arm-twisters' to force schools to comply with his policies and become academies." – Independent

Owen Jones is lanuching a new left-wing movement

"…the great British political cartel now faces a new challenge. On Tuesday, I’ll be helping to launch the People’s Assembly with Green MP Caroline Lucas, my fellow Independent columnist Mark Steel, disability rights campaigner Francesca Martinez, Labour MP Katy Clark, and leading trade unionists." – Owen Jones, Independent

"Politicians can ignore public opinion," says the pollster Ben Page – Ben Page, Guardian

"In a few months’ time we will not be allowed to express the view at all in public that marriage is between a man and a woman." – Chris Sugden, The Times (£)

Charity highlights the third-of-a-million elderly people who are stuck in their homes because there's no suitable transport availableDaily Mail

And finally… The ambulance man who saved lives after the Brighton bombing

"An ambulance man credited with saving Norman Tebbit in the aftermath of the Brighton bombing has died. … Lord Tebbit led the tributes to Mr Murray, who was awarded the British Empire Medal for his bravery. … He said: ‘My wife and I remain profoundly grateful to all of those in the emergency services who played their part in rescuing us and others at The Grand.’" – Daily Mail


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