7.30pm WATCH: Today's debate on the Growth and Infrastructure Bill – including the Government's compromise offer on planning

Coffin5.30pm WATCH: Margaret Thatcher's coffin arrives in Westminster, ahead of tomorrow's funeral

4.45pm On Comment, two posts about education:

Lord Ashcroft4pm On Comment, Lord Ashcroft writes a memo to Ed Miliband"…you seem to argue that we could borrow less if only we borrowed more. After nearly fifty years in business I know a tough sell when I see one."

1.15pm: LeftWatch: 35 and minus 23: two numbers that are on Labour’s collective mind today

11.45am Mark Fox on Comment: Yes, we must move on from Margaret Thatcher. But here's why she merits the funeral she's getting. "Like Winston Churchill, and unlike Anthony Eden or Tony Blair, Mrs T was an involuntary war leader. A piece of British territory was invaded and our leader was called upon to respond. She did. For me, that is why she deserves the ceremonial funeral."

10.15am Local Government: Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell to step down as leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council

GimsonAndrew Gimson writes his first ToryDiary for ConservativeHome: Margaret Thatcher inspired a generation of Tory journalists. And they, in turn, inspired her

Greg Clark MP writes the latest Weekly Letter From a Treasury Minister: Lessons for Britain from the Cyprus debacle

Laura Perrins on Comment: This Government's family policy is unConservative

Julian Brazier on Comment: Only reducing immigration to much lower levels than emigration can halt a social crisis

Brandon Lewis MP on Local Government: Buckinghamshire is the Council of the Week

The Deep End: The lost tribes of British politics – day 2: the Blairites and the liberal interventionists

WATCH: President Obama's statement in response to the Boston tragedy

David Cameron and other politicians respond to the tragedy in Boston


"Prime Minister David Cameron wrote on Twitter: 'The scenes from Boston are shocking and horrific – my thoughts are with all those who have been affected.' … The Labour leader Ed Miliband wrote on Twitter: 'Appalling news from Boston. All of my thoughts are with the casualties and their families.'" – Daily Mail

  •  The London Marathon will go ahead, says is chief executive – BBC
  • "Boston is a tough an resilient town. So are its people," says President Obama – Daily Mail
  • "A terrorist cell plotted to attack a Territorial Army base with a home-made bomb attached to a remote controlled toy car, a court heard yesterday" – The Times (£)

David Cameron will not move to the right, say his allies – even once Andrew Cooper has left No.10

"Andrew Cooper, director of strategy, will leave Number 10 this year or early in 2014. The advocate of gay marriage, an unpopular policy with many Tory MPs, will return to Populus, the polling organisation that he co-founded. … Mr Cameron’s aides say the prime minister remains wedded to a modernisation project aimed at fighting the next general election from the centre as do allies such as George Osborne, chancellor, and Michael Gove, education secretary." – Financial Times (£)

Margaret Thatcher's funeral 1): President Obama declines to send a member of his administration

MT"US President Barack Obama will snub Lady Thatcher’s funeral by failing to send a single senior member of his administration, The Sun can reveal. … Ageing former Secretaries of State James Baker, 82, and George Shultz, 92, will lead the US delegation, the White House will announce today." - The Sun

Margaret Thatcher's funeral 2): Big Ben is to be silenced

"It is the first time that the bells of Big Ben and the Great Clock at the Palace of Westminster will have been halted in this way since the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965." – Daily Telegraph

Margaret Thatcher's funeral 3): The rehearsal "went very well"…

"Baroness Thatcher's family met at her home to make final arrangements today just hours after a stirring full military rehearsal for the Iron Lady's funeral had taken place before dawn. … Major Andrew Chatburn, the man in charge of choreographing the parade, said the rehearsal 'went very well' and claimed it was 'vitally important' to stage a trial of Wednesday's event." – Daily Mail

  • "A moving rehearsal in the bleary dawn" – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

Margaret Thatcher's funeral 4): …but what about the protests?…

"Hundreds of protesters have pledged to turn their backs on the former prime minister as her coffin travels through Central London. … Campaigners said Scotland Yard has effectively encouraged the move by decreeing it is not against the law and will not provoke arrests." – Daily Mail

  • "When does peaceful protest cross the line?" – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

Margaret Thatcher's funeral 5): …and the "senior Tory" who plans to boycott the event?

"One senior Tory is planning to boycott the funeral on the grounds that the Queen, whose aides are understood to have raised concerns about associating a divisive prime minister with the military on such a large scale, has been placed in an invidious position." – Guardian

  • "George Galloway has lambasted the 'tidal wave of guff' in response to the death of Baroness Thatcher and vowed to disrupt plans to cancel this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions." - The Times (£)

More remembrance and comment

  • BB"Her dictum was plain enough: success can be measured by unpopularity. Mr Cameron might ponder that as he sits in St Paul’s tomorrow, waiting for normal politics to resume." – Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph
  • "A contemporary Thatcherite leader would not be a carbon copy of the lady herself, but a modern, authentic figure to whom the public can relate and who understands the concerns, attitudes and problems of the age." – Allister Heath, City AM
  • "She would certainly applaud the assault on welfare spending now under way and the effort to change the perceived 'benefits culture' but she would not be a slasher and burner. She protected spending on many key government services." – Patience Wheatcroft, The Times (£)
  • "Margaret Thatcher earned her own -ism but her admirers often misidentify the one she slew. It was not socialism, which had never really taken hold in the UK in the first place. … What Thatcher really destroyed was corporatism." – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • "What would Margaret Thatcher have thought? Britain’s political leaders are drawing inspiration from Germany, the European country whose influence the Iron Lady had most difficulty coming to terms with." – Brian Groom, Financial Times
  • "The debates, briefly revived, about the poll tax, about the miners, about the Big Bang, are a part of history. The question of how we make institutions more accountable, better-regulated and transparent without stifling them is the new challenge from the 1980s." – Steve Richards, Independent
  • "Margaret Thatcher's education legacy is still with us – driven on by Gove" – Peter Wilby, Guardian

> Today on ToryDiary: Margaret Thatcher inspired a generation of Tory journalists. And they, in turn, inspired her

> Yesterday:

William Hague says that chemical wepaons have been used in Syria – Britain is going to arm the rebels

William Hague

"Britain will try to tear up the EU arms embargo against Syria next month so weapons can be supplied to rebels in the country, William Hague announced yesterday. … The Foreign Secretary claimed chemical weapons have been used in Syria and said Britain and France want to be able to ‘take urgent action’ in the event of future atrocities." – Daily Mail

The planning rebellion: at least 20 Tory and Lib Dem MPs could vote against Nick Boles and the Government

Nick Boles"Ministers held crisis talks last night to avert a rebellion over David Cameron’s planning ‘free-for-all’ as it emerged it could lead to 40,000 unsightly extensions being thrown up each year. … Potential Tory and Lib Dem rebels were invited to a ‘drop-in session’ with planning minister Nick Boles as it emerged that at least 20 MPs are planning to oppose the government in a crucial vote today." – Daily Mail

  • "This desperate idea will set neighbour against neighbour" – Zac Goldsmith, The Times (£)

CCHQ goes on the attack over benefits

"Working families would have to earn more than £41,000 a year to get the same as many living on state benefits if the Labour Party was in charge of the welfare  system, the Tories claimed last night. … The Government’s benefit cap – introduced yesterday – limits the amount of money a household can claim in  welfare payments to £26,000 a year, the before-tax income of the average  working family." – Daily Mail

"Single parents comprise half of the 40,000 families who will lose out from the £500 weekly benefit cap, it emerged yesterday." – The Times (£)

  • DM"Indeed, the cap is not only fairer to taxpayers. For families on benefits, it could prove the most humane reform since the welfare safety net became a vicious dependency trap." – Daily Mail editorial
  • "There is a important moral imperative behind this policy." – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "Underemployment can be as corrosive as unemployment – and it's on the rise" – Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian

Ministers move to ban circuses from using exotic animals…

"Circuses will be banned from using wild animals under a proposed change in the law. … Ministers will today unveil a draft bill that will ban using exotic beasts in big tops. Only domesticated animals, such as rabbits, dogs and horses, will be allowed to perform." – Daily Mail

…and to curtail "compensation culture"…

Wet floor"David Cameron’s campaign against Britain’s 'compensation culture' continues in the Commons on Tuesday as ministers battle to reform the law covering claims by employees over injuries sustained at work. … Personal injury lawyers say the government’s reforms will make it harder for workers to claim for injuries and will shift power back to negligent employers." – Financial Times

…and to dilute libel reforms

"The Government is to block plans to reform Britain’s 'chilling' libel laws and to prevent large companies from silencing their critics with the threat of being sued. … ministers announced last night that they would seek to overturn a cross-party consensus in the House of Lords that companies should have to show financial damage before they can sue a journalist, academic or blogger." – Independent

  • "While Sir Edward, 60, has acted within parliamentary rules and declared his financial interest as a libel lawyer, it has led some to question that the outside earnings of MPs could potentially compromise their views inside Parliament." – Independent

Andrew Mitchell's new part-time job

Andrew Mitchell"The former Chief Whip, who stood down over the 'plebgate' row, has been hired by a company that specialises in helping clients to deal with 'political and reputational threats'. Montrose Associates will pay him £3,000 a day to act as a senior adviser to business clients across the globe." – The Times (£)

The Conservatives should back a Living Wage for workers, says Ian Birrell

"This would be a move of sound political sense for the Tories, something David Cameron came close to backing in opposition. It would show they cared about ordinary people while cutting the ground from beneath Labour leader Ed Miliband and repairing damage done by trimming the top rate of tax." – Ian Birrell, Independent

Tories propose curbing public sector transport strikes, Bob Crow compares them to Hitler

"Responding to the report Mr Crow said: 'One of the first things fascist dictators like Hitler, Mussolini and Pinochet did when they seized power was to ban transport workers from taking strike action so the Tory group on the London Assembly find themselves in some high profile company on this one.'" – Daily Telegraph

Blair versus Miliband: the battle continues

TB"It emerged on Monday that Blair renewed his criticisms last weekend, telling a university audience in America that electorates on both sides of the Atlantic did not want partisan politics." – Guardian

"Ed Miliband tonight hit back at criticism of Labour's direction under him from Tony Blair and his allies, accusing them of being out of date and out of touch with the public. … Insisting that Labour is on course for victory at the 2015 election, Mr Miliband said: 'We are not a party of commentators.' He added: 'We have got to recognise that the next election has to be a change election. That means change from the past.'" – Independent

  • "Tony Blair is like a loose horse at the Grand National" – Polly Toynbee, Guardian

> Today on the Deep End: The lost tribes of British politics – day 2: the Blairites and the liberal interventionists

Some Labour advisers think the next election can be won with 35 per cent of the vote – Rachel Sylvester thinks that's unambitious

35%"…this means securing the 29 per cent of voters who backed Labour at the last election, and adding on another 6 per cent of disillusioned Liberal Democrats. … It is certainly possible, but the approach would be depressingly unambitious." – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£) 

Labour wants a licensing regime for bankers

"Chris Leslie, shadow City minister, will on Tuesday table amendments to the banking reform bill that would transform the way the industry is regulated, introducing new standards for qualifications, training, competence and behaviour." – Financial Times

"Cronyism" row as a police commmisioner employs a Labour colleague as his deputyThe Times (£)

"If one of my children had been among the students in the North Korean party, I would have been outside Broadcasting House this week demanding blood" – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

> Yesterday::

News in brief:

  • NHSNHS chief says patients face more charges – Daily Telegraph
  • Ex-Times editor to be BBC head of news – Financial Times (£)
  • Think-tank warns that councils may scrap free school meals to keep pace with the cuts – Independent
  • "16,400 loans were advanced to first-time buyers in February … 17 per cent stronger than a year earlier" – Daily Mail
  • John Archer, the first person of Afro-Caribbean descent to hold civic office in London, is commemorated on a stamp – Daily Mail

And finally 1)… Vince Cable versus One Direction

"The Business Secretary criticised the hugely successful boy band, albeit inadvertently, in a debate about bosses’ pay. Asked if their earnings last year of £5million each were ‘mad’ he said the ‘extremities of pay’ were ‘grossly insensitive and downright immoral’." – Daily Mail

  • "Business secretary Vince Cable has over-ruled the Government's own minimum wage advisers and increased the hourly rate for apprentices." – Daily Telegraph

And finally 2)… Boris tucks into a plate of camel 


"Whatever life serves him, Boris Johnson is seldom stuck for a colourful turn of phrase. … Faced with a dish of camel on a trade mission to the Gulf, however, he showed that being Mayor of London does not mean he can’t act like every other tourist too – by reaching for his smartphone to take a photo of the local delicacy." – Daily Mail


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