4.45pm ToryDiary: Boris remains the activists' favourite to succeed Cameron as Party leader

1.45pm LeftWatch: Who do Labour MPs represent? The party, the voters or the unions?

12.30pm ToryDiary: General Boles opens strategic peace talks with planning opponents

11am Fiona Hodgson on Comment reflects on her recent meeting with Syrians driven from their homes: "The women we met there told us their heart-rending stories. Dalal has a 16-year-old son suffering from shrapnel
head wounds. She borrowed taxi money to take him to hospital but was
unable to pay for the needed operations."
Pitched from dreams of University to the squalor of a refugee camp

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 07.50.52
Tory Diary: Tomorrow will see the Queen's Speech. So here again is the Alternative Queen's Speech

Majority Conservatism: Five ideas for Cameron: 2) Transferable Tax Allowances Now

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 08.39.51Lord Ashcroft on Comment: New moves on aid are a step in the right direction

Also on Comment: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – We'll reform nursing to make sure that vulnerable people get the NHS care they need

MPsETC: Lord Lawson becomes the first former Chancellor to call for Britain to quit the EU

Also on MPsETC: Suspended Nadine Dorries ready to turn to 1922 Committee and return to parliamentary party

Cllr John Moss on Local Government: How to build more “affordable” homes, without adding to our debts

The Deep End: The Marxist revival that never happened

Latest Queen's Speech briefing is on Cameron's pro-women drive

Cameron with Flowers"The new legislative programme will include flagship Bills on pensions and social care, which ministers say are weighted towards helping women. A new flat-rate pension will stop women losing out in retirement after taking time out to bring up their children. And those caring for elderly loved ones will get the legal right to request help with nursing care, home adaptations and respite care from their local council." – Daily Mail

> Today: Majority Conservatism – Five ideas for Cameron: 2) Transferable Tax Allowances Now

> Yesterday: Majority Conservatism – The first of a series of Five ideas for Cameron: 1) He needs an Inner Cabinet. With Graham Brady in it. 

Heather Wheeler MP calls for NHS budget to help fund social care

Wheeler Heather"Heather Wheeler, a member of the Conservative 1992 backbench committee and chair of the all-party group on local government, warns that the scale of the challenge facing councils in providing social care means the NHS budget must be re-examined to meet the current funding gap for social care. The shortfall is set to rise as the population ages. Her call comes ahead of the Queen's speech on Wednesday in which the coalition will lay out its plans to address the boundary between NHS acute care and local government-funded means-tested social care in a care and social support bill." – The Guardian

  • Reform says that Cameron is ‘running scared’ of older voters – The Times (£)

> Today: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Comment – We'll reform nursing to make sure that vulnerable people get the NHS care they need

Benedict Brogan: Cameron can spring a John Major-type surprise victory in 2015

Major John 470
questions of what Ukip’s rise means and what Mr Cameron must do about
it have dominated the political debate over the bank holiday weekend.
But it is also possible to discern in last Thursday’s results a wider
choice that will face the country in 2015, one more promising both for
the Tories and for the Right in general. Optimism has its risks, but I
am beginning to wonder – especially given the dismal performances by
Labour and the Lib Dems in the local elections – whether the conditions
are crystallising for an electoral surprise equal to John Major’s
victory in 1992, when the electorate decided convincingly that it
preferred the Tories’ view of what Britain needed to Labour’s." – Daily Telegraph

"UKIP would have to win a quarter of the vote to gain a solitary Westminster MP"

"The anti-EU party will struggle at a General Election because it has no large pockets of support like the three big Westminster parties. It doesn’t have many well-known candidates who could encourage voters to defect, and it is unlikely to benefit from tactical voting. The analysis, by the website Electoral Calculus, reveals how tough it is for new parties to break through under the current “first past the post” voting system." – The Sun

Dominic Raab MP: The Tories can beat Farage by backing taxpayers and consumers – and standing up for the little guy

Dominic Raab cartoon1"None of this means lurching to the right. It requires reaching out to the little guy. Trust in the free market has been tainted by banking failures and a perception that big business — in cahoots with the political establishment — stacks the deck against ordinary people. Conservatives should not offer crude populism in response, but practical support. For example, requiring banks to give customers clear statements of charges and portable accounts would break the monopoly of the Big Four and allow customers to stick two fingers up to arrogant banks. Likewise, pushing energy companies to sign up to an online customer- switching facility would prise open the grip of the Big Six energy companies." – The Times (£)

  • Governments manage change. UKIP fears it – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • UKIP is wrong to ditch flat tax, but Farage’s party is on a roll – Allister Heath, City A.M
  • It would be folly for Cameron to ape UKIP – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

> Yesterday:

Lord Lawson becomes the most senior Conservative politician since Margaret Thatcher to say that Britain should leave the EU

LAWSON NIGEL TODAY"The peer, writing in The Times, says that the economic
gains from a British exit “would substantially outweigh the costs”. The
EU had become “a bureaucratic monstrosity” from which the UK should
break free. After an association with Brussels of 40 years, he said:
“The case for exit is clear.” Lord Lawson derides the Prime Minister’s
European strategy, saying that the outcome is guaranteed to be
“inconsequential”." – The Times (£)

  • Lord Lawson's article in full – The Times (£)
  • The time has come for a mandate referendum – Bernard Jenkin MP, Daily Telegraph
  • European Commissioner says that British Parliamentarians know nothing about the EU – The Independent

> Today: MPsETC – Lord Lawson becomes the first former Chancellor to call for Britain to quit the EU

> Yesterday: Nick Pickles on Comment – Voters would laugh the sham of a mandate referendum out of court

Euro-enthusiast group wants tighter restrictions on benefits for EU
migrants. Labour MP John Mann calls for end to free movement of workers.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 08.33.30"The
Business for New Europe group admitted there was "a massive credibility
gap" with the public over politicians' assurances that EU immigrants
could not access benefits and public services too readily. Ministers are
expected to propose tightening of eligibility for housing, welfare and
health benefits in the Queen's speech. Business for New Europe has
clearly calculated that if pro-Europeans reject any tightening of the
eligibility rules, then the wider case for staying in Europe will start
to lose respect." – The Guardian

  • Lord Adonis's memoirs continue: Brown's last hours in the bunker – The Times (£)

> Yesterday: LeftWatch – No benefits without two years of NI. Work
permits for all Europeans. No more single market. A populist right
party? No – a Labour MP

Eurozone recession set to deepen as private sector shrinks for 15th month

"Germany, the powerhouse of the eurozone, also suffered a contraction in business activity during the month, which could send a worrying signal for the rest of the bloc. An official indication of eurozone GDP is due next week and on Monday the president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, stressed that the policymakers would be ready to cut rates again after taking a quarter of a percentage point off the benchmark rate to a record low of 0.5% last week." – The Guardian

  • Inflation in shops is at 3-year low – Daily Express
  • Will Angela Merkel have to choose between Germany and Europe? – Daily Telegraph
  • Ban the French from Norway, they are notorious criminals', says leading Norwegian politician – Daily Mail
  • "David Gauke reacted positively to plan to challenge Osita Mba's account of 'sweetheart' deal, according to leaked emails" – The Guardian

Cameron barred from visiting China over last year's Dalai Lama meeting

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 08.34.27"China wants Mr Cameron to apologise for hosting Tibet’s spiritual leader, who disputes Beijing’s territorial claims on the region. The Government insists there is nothing to apologise for. There are now fears that the frosty diplomatic relations could put at risk Chinese investment in Britain, which was worth £8billion last year. Chinese sources have made a veiled threat that for investment in the UK “there needs to be a strong relationship”." – Daily Telegraph

  • Meeting that tweaked the dragon's tail – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister to host Somalia conference today – BBC

Richard Littlejohn: The police's circus arrest of Nigel Evans

"In the recent spate of celebrity sex cases — and now Nigel Evans — that process is being turned on its head. The police are formally arresting suspects as a basis for negotiation, even without sufficient potential evidence for a conviction, and then setting about building their case. It’s part of a trend which first became apparent when they started rounding up journalists in the phone hacking inquiry." – Daily Mail

Let's have dialogue over housing and planning, says Boles

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 08.35.26"Mr Boles called on opponents of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which came into force in March, to redirect their energy into engaging with ministers “rather than just saying, ‘We don’t want any of it’.” His appeal comes in the wake of the Government’s embarrassing climbdown over a scheme to make it easier to build conservatories and first floor extensions. It is the latest sign of a more conciliatory approach from senior Conservative figures in the wake of last week's local elections which saw David Cameron rejected by some, core supporters." – Daily Telegraph

> Today: Cllr John Moss on Local Government – How to build more “affordable” homes, without adding to our debts

Dorries enters power tussle with Downing Street armed with obscure right of appeal to '22

"Ms Dorries, who lost the Conservative whip in November over her appearance on a reality TV show, is due to meet Sir George Young, the Tory Chief Whip, to hear if the party high command is ready to bring her back into the fold. However, she is expected to refuse any demands to bind her into uncritical silence concerning the Government. This is buoyed in part by the existence of a little-known party rule that means the Prime Minister does not have the final say as to whether she can stand for the Tories in 2015." – The Times (£)

> Today: MPsETC – Suspended Nadine Dorries eady to turn to 1922 Committee and return to parliamentary party

Latest assault on detail of what Scottish independence would mean: Nanette Milne pressures SNP over national lottery

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 08.36.11"Finance secretary John Swinney has said an independent Scotland “will continue to have a lottery and lottery infrastructure”. But he has come under new pressure to clarify the position after Tory MSP Nanette Milne wrote to National Lottery operator Camelot asking if it had been approached by SNP ministers. Ms Milne was told the future of the lottery in Scotland was not for Camelot but for the UK and Scottish Governments to decide." – Scotsman

News in Brief

  • Original signed copy of Margaret Thatcher’s telex which ended Falklands conflict is set to fetch £15,000 – Daily Mail
  • US casts doubt on claim Syrian rebels may have used sarin gas – The Guardian
  • Minutes of Commons administration committee say that some MPs want cheaper Commons bar drink prices – The Sun
  • Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams hints at MP ambitions – Wales Online
  • Downloading al-Qaeda terror guide ‘will lead to arrest and prosecution’ – The Times (£)
  • Elderly and sick forced out of homes for hours by pipe bombers – Belfast Telegraph
  • Whitehall shuns business gurus – Financial Times (£)
  • We're worth four times what you pay for us, arts leaders tell Government – The Independent
  • Queen to miss Sri Lanka summit – Daily Telegraph


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