6.30pm ToryDiary: How's this for a Treasury team? Liam Fox and Harry Phibbs. "One of our brightest young councillors, Harry Phibbs, has been leading
the argument calling for sales of government land, a rethink of the
size and structure of Whitehall and the civil service, as well as a
radical deregulation programme," Fox told his midlands audience.

2.15pm Local Government: Council byelection results from yesterday

Camerontv1pm WATCH:

10.30am Bob Blackman MP on Comment: Laws to protect children from smoke in private vehicles reflect true Conservative values

ToryDiary: A view from Downing Street

MPsETC: The '22's choice to head Downing Street's Policy Unit was Peter Lilley

Iain Dale's Friday Diary: Theresa May doesn't have to be Little Miss Popular to become Tory leader

Lord Ashcroft on Comment: The case against overseas aid – and for genuinely compassionate conservatism

Local Government:

The Deep End: Heresy of the week: For social liberals, there’s now no reason not to legalise polygamous marriage

Fallon to sell off Royal Mail. But there will no "Tell Sid" campaign

Fallon Michael Newsnight"Business minister Michael Fallon said it is his ‘firm intention’ for the process to be finished by next April, with experts predicting a £2-£3billion flotation on the stock market this autumn. The historic move will allow anyone to buy shares in the former monopoly. Share ownership trebled under Baroness Thatcher’s leadership, as previously nationalised companies were made  available to the public – though she refused to sell off Royal Mail, saying she was ‘not prepared to have the Queen’s head privatised’." – Daily Mail

Richard Benyon: Families wasting £50 a month throwing away food

"Mr Benyon said many people had little idea how to keep fruit and vegetables fresh in the fridge or that cheese can be preserved for longer if it is wrapped properly after opening. He urged families to eat their left-overs and pay more attention to the storage instructions on labels to avoid produce going off. A more frugal approach to food waste would ease the strain on household expenses, he suggested…But the minister, who has a large family estate in Hampshire, was immediately accused of being “out of touch” for suggesting that “careful fridge management” would solve the “crisis” in living standards." – Daily Telegraph

Jojo mojo, say friends. Eton mess, say critics…

Screen shot 2013-04-26 at 05.10.50
"The Johnson brothers are clever, competitive and very different. Boris, the older brother, is a show-off and a risk-taker. Jo, by contrast, is a team player, who does not draw unnecessary attention to himself, though there is plenty that he could boast about, starting with the fact that he emerged from Oxford University with a better degree than his older brother – a double first, compared with Boris’s 2:1. He is the sort of MP a party leader likes to have around." – Andy McSmith, The Independent

…But was Johnson (minor's) promotion an Octopus Osborne ploy?

Screen shot 2013-04-26 at 08.14.19"The promotion of the old Etonian (‘Johnson Minimus’ in the posh school’s parlance), an MP for only three years, was the idea of Chancellor George Osborne. Apart from harnessing Jo’s strategic skills in a bid to make the Tories more popular, the move is seen  as a mischievous ruse to rein in Boris, who makes no secret of the fact he wants to succeed Cameron as Tory leader…This is a classic piece of Osborne devilry." – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Chancellor escapes triple dip recession tag as economy grows by 0.3% in last quarter…

"Mr Osborne declared: “Today’s figures are an encouraging sign the economy is healing. Despite a tough economic backdrop, we are making progress.  We all know there are no easy answers to problems built up over many years, and I can’t promise the road ahead will always be smooth.  But by continuing to confront our problems head on, Britain is recovering and we are building an economy fit for the future.” – Daily Express

…As Balls calls for economy "quickstart"

Balls Spender"But despite the unexpectedly strong growth figure, the shadow chancellor Ed Balls pointed out that GDP remained at the same level as it had been six months earlier. The ONS said the economy had been "broadly flat" over the past 18 months. "If we're to have a strong and sustained recovery and catch up all the ground we have lost over the last few years, we need urgent action to kickstart our economy and strengthen it for the long term – as Labour and the IMF have warned," Balls said." – The Guardian

> Yesterday:

Clegg tears up "snooper's charter"

Clegg on Marr"The legislation, which has been dubbed a “snoopers’ charter”, cannot go ahead. The Liberal Democrats cannot permit what would be a significant reduction in personal privacy, based on proposals where the workability remains in question. There is a careful balance to be struck between security and individual liberty – a classic dilemma for all governments. But this Bill does not get that balance right. The facts speak for themselves." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Michael Ellis MP on Comment: We need a Communications Data Bill.

Majority of Labour's would-be MPs for 2015 have union links

"Of the 42 candidates selected, 23 have union links.  Of those, 16 won their candidacies with direct backing from unions while a further seven are union members. Unite – Labour’s biggest donor – sponsors a quarter of those who have made it this far. Among those picked to battle for parliamentary seats are a campaigns officer from Unison and two former GMB officials." – Daily Mail

  • Labour explores a cap on the welfare bill – The Times (£)
  • Miliband believes the age of Ed began in 2008 – Philip Collins, The Times (£)
  • Vote Red Ed, get Red Len as the Labour dinosaurs roar back to life – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

Farage admits that some UKIP council candidates may be ex-BNP members

Farage Nigel March 2012"His admission comes after it emerged that Susan Bowen, who was due to stand in Cornwall, had been thrown out of the party because she was an ex-BNP member. Mr Farage told the BBC’s World at One: “I’ll be honest with you, we don’t have the party apparatus in a very short space of time to fully vet 1,700 people. I’ve no doubt amongst those 1,700 one or two will have slipped through the net that we’d rather not have had.” – Daily Express

  • Merkel speech highlights European divide – Financial Times (£)
  • Unemployment in Spain hits 27% – The Sun
  • UKIP candidate claims computer was hacked to produce Protocols of Zion claims – Scotsman
  • Tory peer’s wife gives UKIP £10,000 as protest – The Times (£)

Cameron may back Fleet Street Editors' Royal Charter rival to Leveson plan

"David Cameron offered a shard of hope for fresh talks by saying: “There is an all-party agreement around the charter that was published, but I’m always very happy to look at other proposals.” And privately the PM and his Lib Dem deputy Nick Clegg have already made it clear they will NOT bring in new laws to force papers to sign up to their plan. But Labour stood firm, with deputy leader Harriet Harman demanding papers “get on with implementation” of the original charter." – The Sun

  • No to Ministry of Truth regulation – The Sun
  • A truly independent regulator of the Press – Daily Mail Comment
  • An independent Royal Charter would ensure press regulation that was robust and independent but still voluntary and consistent with a free press – Times Editorial (£)
  • Self-regulation that's tough but independent – Daily Telegraph Editorial

Fraser Nelson: It's official – Spending doesn't make public services better

"Last year, the Department for Education asked a firm of accountants to trawl
its vast pupil database and find the secret of great state schools…When the results came back, the conclusion was extraordinary. As one would
expect, schools marked “outstanding” tended to achieve the best results.
Poverty mattered, but not as much as Deloitte had expected. The biggest
surprise, though, was the money: no matter how you split the figures, the
amount spent didn’t seem to make the blindest bit of difference." – Daily Telegraph

  • Pressure on Michael Gove to investigate tax affairs of £1000-a-day advisors – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Somalia: UK embassy reopening a sign of recovery – Scotsman
  • The cost of Margaret Thatcher's funeral was 6p each – Daily Telegraph
  • Louise Mensch facelift shocker – Daily Mail
  • Revealed: tragic victims of Syria’s nerve gas war – The Times (£)

And finally…Stop press. Treasury transformed into Studio 54. "Groups of
young women in short skirts are seen dancing on cars in the government
building’s circular court."
Yes, Osborne's hired it out for the latest
Fast and Furious film – Daily Mail


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