8.30pm MPsETC: 127 Tory MPs oppose the same sex marriage bill, but it still passes the Commons

7.30pm WATCH: Martin Callanan MEP wants concrete results from tomorrow's EU summit on energy and tax evasion

SCOTLAND6.30pm WATCH: Today's scrap over Scottish independence…

3.30pm ToryDiary: The Tory leadership is betting the house on house prices – it might not end well

1.30pm Dr Lee Rotherham on Comment: Why we should pull out of the EU Defence Agency

10.30am Two posts related to the "swivel-eyed" story:

ToryDiary: The same-sex marriage bill. Bad when it started. Just as bad now. It should be opposed today.

UKIPAlso on ToryDiary, the second post in our special series on UKIP: How do UKIP campaign?

Shazia Ovaisi writes this week's Foreign Policy column: Pakistan's election – Freedom or Fragmentation?

Andrew Haldenby on Comment: Michael Gove and the teaching unions – allies in preserving ring-fencing, which should go

John Bald on Local Government: Our eyes are perfectly stable

The Deep End: The rise and fall and rise again of North Sea oil (to be followed by another fall)

David Cameron writes to reassure party activists after the "swivel-eyed" furore…

Cameron"The Prime Minister did not refer explicitly to the remark, but insisted that he admired and respected his party’s activists. … 'I am proud to lead this party. I am proud of what you do,' he said. 'I would never have around me those who sneered or thought otherwise. We are a team, from the parish council to the local association to Parliament, and I never forget it.'" – Daily Telegraph

  • "Whether those on the Right will be mollified remains to be seen, but at least the Prime Minister has started to focus on uniting his party, rather than dividing it." – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "Mr Cameron must demonstrate personally that he feels a bond with the party he leads." – Times editorial (£)
  • "If the Tories do not pull themselves together very soon the party will have forfeited its case for re-election" – Guardian editorial

> Yesterday:

…as he comes under further pressure in the polls and from his party, with talk of a no confidence vote resurfacing…

Farage"David Cameron issued a love letter to Tory activists last night as UKIP closed to within two points in the opinion polls. … The dire poll ratings will fuel the discontent of Tory MPs who warned yesterday the number prepared to force a leadership election has risen in recent days.’" – Daily Mail

"But senior figures indicated that the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 committee, Graham Brady, was expected to receive further letters calling for a confidence vote. … One senior figure said: "This is worse than John Major. There was quite a lot of sympathy for him because of the Maastricht rebels. He also listened, though he probably listened too much. With Cameron it feels like this could be terminal – and will be so before the election." – The Guardian

"More than twice as many people believe UKIP leader Nigel Farage is closer to Conservative activists than David Cameron, a poll reveals today." – The Sun

  • "…who can doubt the main thrust of Mr Farage’s attack – that Mr Cameron’s circle looks down on the party’s natural supporters?" – Daily Mail editorial
  • "…there is now a serious chance that Mr Farage will smash the existing party system and usher in a very different structure at Westminster." – Iain Martin, Daily Telegraph
  • "Politics needs mavericks, not just the same old chumocracy and groupthink" – Jenni Russell, The Guardian

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Who are UKIP?

…and gets a kicking from The Sun…

The Sun"…the root of his undoing has been his own dithering, U-turns and endless broken pledges. Since long before the 2010 election, Cameron has over-promised and under-achieved. … Only a man of Cameron’s Etonian arrogance would imagine he could reinvent Britain’s oldest political party without haemorrhaging support. But just to send defectors even faster into Nigel Farage’s warm embrace, he hurled a few playground insults UKIP’s way too. … What is lost in this orgy of self-destruction is that Cameron’s position is so often RIGHT." – Sun editorial

…and from a sweary Norman Tebbit…

"The former Conservative chairman said that the alienation of some traditional Tory voters showed how ministers had 'f***ed things up'. … The peer made the observation during an interview with The Big Issue, in which he said UKIP would be the main beneficiaries of bad Tory proposals." – The Times (£)

…and from Rachel Sylvester's Tory sources…

RS"Despair and frustration are growing on the government benches. 'It's a vacuum filled by anarchy,' says one Tory minister. 'There is no leadership, direction or character at the top. You can't govern with gimmicks – you need gumption and guts. All the rows are a proxy for 'What the hell is going on?' and 'Where are you going?'" – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)

  • "Mr Cameron has never openly addressed the question of why he fell short in 2010. Yet the battle to interpret that result is shaping his present and will influence the party’s choice of an eventual successor." – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

…but he avoids a Commons defeat over gay marriage by joining up with Labour

Cameron Miliband

"David Cameron enraged Tory rebels last night by striking a late deal with Labour to prevent his own MPs wrecking gay marriage legislation. … The Prime Minister backed Labour’s calls for an immediate consultation on the future of civil partnerships once gay marriages are legalised. … This could either lead to them being extended to heterosexual couples or scrapped totally." – Daily Mail

  • "A surprising aspect of last night’s vote is that Cameron took his (in many ways commendable) stand after a week of concessions to his dissenters on the arguably more crucial issue of Europe." – Donald Macintyre, Independent
  • "We need to rescue marriage, not replace it" – Christian Guy, The Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Don't mention the tax avoidance! Mr Cameron meets with Google boss

ES"David Cameron held talks with the billionaire head of Google yesterday but failed to tackle him over allegations the giant corporation has dodged hundreds of millions of pounds in tax. … Eric Schmidt attended the meeting in Downing Street as a member of the Prime Minister’s elite Business Advisory Group." – Daily Mail

  • "The backlash against corporate tax avoidance could end up costing the country jobs and investment, [the] Treasury minister [David Gauke] has warned." – Financial Times

> Yesterday, by Charlie Elphicke MP on Comment: Labour is responsible for tax avoidance culture

William Hague's latest warning to Bashar al Assad

"William Hague issued an ultimatum to Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad yesterday, warning Britain will arm the rebels seeking to oust him unless he comes to the negotiating table. … The Foreign Secretary said there’s a ‘compelling case’ for changing the European Union arms embargo on Syria next week to allow weapons to go to moderate rebel groups." – Daily Mail

Jeremy Hunt attacks out-of-hours GP services

Hunt"Millions of patients are being failed by GP clinics that have become 'mini A&E departments', says Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. … He blasted surgeries where it is 'impossible' to get a next-day appointment — and out-of-hours services are provided by doctors 'who do not know you from Adam.'" – The Sun

"England's 34,000 family doctors will face Ofsted-style inspections overseen by a new chief inspector of general practice to secure 'safe and responsive care', the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is to announce." – The Guardian

  • "The Government's chief medical officer will warn today that resistance to antibiotics is one of the greatest threats to modern health." – Daily Mail

Owen Paterson bans one tree to save another

"Ministers are set to ban imports of sweet chestnut trees to prevent a repeat of the ash dieback crisis threatening to devastate Britain’s countryside. … The announcement by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was made following the recommendations of an independent task force set up to look at tree and plant health." – Daily Mail

The 35 Tory MPs who face fracking in their constituencies

Fracking"Drilling for gas could take place across the south of England in the constituencies of 35 Tory MPs. … A new analysis of the areas where shale – a type of rock rich in natural gas – is plentiful and drilling licences have been handed out, covers the constituencies of several cabinet ministers." – Daily Mail

Ed Davey fears that the rise of UKIP will fuel climate change scepticism – but backs George Osborne

"The rise of Ukip risks fuelling climate change scepticism as Conservative politicians embrace the populist 'saloon bar' politics of Nigel Farage’s party, the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, has warned. … Asked if he thought Chancellor George Osborne was among the climate sceptics, Mr Davey told The Independent: 'I’ve never seen evidence to that effect.'" – Independent

Labour wants vocational teachers to spend time in industry

"All teachers involved in vocational education would have to spend a period of each year in industry, under Labour plans to integrate further education with emerging skills gaps identified by businesses. … The strategy is based on recommendations from the Institute of Education, aimed at addressing the low levels of employer involvement in the skills system, the lack of high quality apprenticeships and the poor quality advice available to pupils." – Financial Times

Spending on schools cuts be cut by a fifth without harming results, claims think-tank

Reform"Spending on schools could be cut by almost a fifth without harming results, a think-tank claims. … Reform, a right-of-centre group, published an analysis suggesting that there were weak links between school budgets and the quality of teaching and pupils' progress." – The Times (£)

  • "We trust this research will stiffen the resolve of Michael Gove, as he wrestles with the education establishment’s resistance to his reforms." – Daily Telegraph editorial

> Today on Comment, Reform's director Andrew Haldenby writes: Michael Gove and the teaching unions – allies in preserving ring-fencing, which should go

Leveson Inquiry caught up in gagging row

LEveson"The Leveson Inquiry was under fire tonight after claims Scotland Yard gagged it over extraordinary allegations against a senior officer. … Fresh questions emerged about its effectiveness as it emerged a report detailing suspicions that the officer was leaking to the News of the World was withheld." - Daily Mail

  • "Police officers must declare if they are friends with journalists under draconian new guidelines published yesterday." - Daily Mail

Dominic Sandbrook: It's insulting that MPs want a pay rise

"In its way, this story tells you everything you need to know about British politics in 2013. Never in living memory has our political elite seemed so disconnected from the pressures faced by ordinary people. Never has the gap between the rulers and the ruled yawned quite so wide." – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by Marina Kim on Comment: If MPs are to be paid more, voters need a right of recall

Benedict Brogan on political reporting in the age of social media

Twitter-logo-2012"Where Alastair Campbell complained about the drumbeat of the 24-hour news channels, Mr Cameron must contend with the minute-by-minute verdict of social media, where his performances and policies are scrutinised, judged and discarded instantly. Where journalists used to meet in the bar, they now exchange gags and gossip on Twitter. It is a political accelerant." – Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • "Private companies who win government contracts to help the jobless find work are 'parking' some of the most disadvantaged people on benefits, MPs warn today" – Independent
  • Police have searched the Commons office of Nigel Evans - Daily Mail
  • "The public does have a right to know about Boris Johnson’s philandering past, the Appeal Court confirmed." – Daily Mail
  • "More than a third of Brits taking out payday loans earn less than £15,000 a year" – The Sun
  • Three million parents over 50 have their grown-up children living at home with them – Daily Mail
  • Survey finds two in three people oppose legal aid cuts – Independent
  • Abu Qatada wants a bigger taxpayer-funded house – Daily Mail
  • FTSE hits a 13-year high – Daily Mail


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