Cameron7pm WATCH: David Cameron on the campaign trail ahead of tomorrow's local elections

4pm ToryDiary: David Cameron faces more opposition to pensioner perks. For once, let’s hope he gives in

1.45pm Christopher Clarke on Comment: Why Britain needs a National Conversation to engage people with politics once more

Noon Local Government: Poll suggests UKIP will beat Lib Dems in tomorrow's elections

10.30am Henry Hill's Red, White and Blue column: The challenge of teaching non-nationalist national history

ToryDiary: The Government regards the state-owned banks as symbolically important. The question is how it will use that symbolism around election time

WEekly letterGreg Clark MP writes the latest Weekly Letter From a Treasury Minister: Why shouldn't you be able to use your mobile phone to deposit, withdraw and transfer money?

Columnist Stephan Shakespeare: Why it's a mistake to target only a small section of voters

Local Government:

The Deep End: No, the case for austerity is not based on a spreadsheet error

WATCH: "I continue to believe that we need to close Guantanamo," says Barack Obama

David Cameron: The influx of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants will be "nothing like" when Poland joined the EU


"[Mr Cameron] said: ‘When a country joins the European Union you can put in place transitional controls. You can say to that country, "You can’t all come here for the first seven years". … This time because the transitional controls have been put in, we are not lifting the restrictions on Romania and Bulgaria alone, it’s happening right across Europe. … So I don’t think we’ll have anything like the situation we had in the Polish situation.’" – Daily Mail

  • "Britain will be the world’s most ethnically diverse Western nation after 2050, a bombshell study has found." – The Sun

Dan Hodges on Mr Cameron's "Chumocracy"

HODGES-Dan"All senior politicians create inner circles. It comes with the territory. In fact, it’s an important part of the territory. They need confidants. Protectors. A strong shoulder upon which to rest a weary head during hard times. … But there’s a difference between a tight inner circle and a clique. And there’s a difference between a clique and an old boys’ (and girls’) network." – Dan Hodges, Daily Mail

  • "Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a blow ahead of Thursday’s local elections as new figures showed his popularity had fallen to its lowest level since the last general election." – Independent

Could George Osborne return Lloyds to full private ownership before the next election?

LBG"Taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group moved one step closer to being sold back into private hands – after making a £2billion profit in the first three months of the year. … Treasury sources acknowledged that there was still ‘work to be done’ … But the bank’s strong first-quarter results will give heart to the government, which is hoping the prospect of selling bank stakes will be on horizon by the next election." – Daily Mail

Vince Cable presses for decision on RBS prosecutions – Guardian

  • "…why can’t the state put a small percentage of its holdings up for sale now to test the market, and if the results are positive, start preparing the ground for a full sell-off?" – Daily Mail editorial
  • "The government should look closely at a proposal already mooted by Nick Clegg. Mr Clegg argued in 2011 that the government’s stakes in Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland should be given direct to every adult in Britain." – Times editorial (£)

> Today:

> Yesterday by Lord Ashcroft on Comment: If things are so bad, why aren’t more people saying it’s time for change?

Might other state-owned services be sold off, too?

CO"Under plans being rolled out by the Cabinet Office, millions of pounds’ worth of state-owned services will be spun off into independent companies – jointly owned by private-sector investors and their employees – within the next two years. Eventually as many as one in six civil servants – or 75,000 staff – could be transferred into the private sector with the Government maintaining a minority stake and offering long-term contracts to the new companies to encourage investment." – Independent

And while the Chancellor's looking for money, what about the schools budget?

"Michael Gove, whose spending on schools has been ring-fenced in previous Whitehall budget negotiations, is urging Mr Cameron to confirm that the guarantee extends to the 2015-16 financial year. … But George Osborne and some Liberal Democrat ministers are prepared to look again at the schools budget as talks get underway on what insiders admit will be a “very difficult” Cabinet battle…" – Independent

  • "Michael Gove is winning the hearts of state heads" – Anthony Seldon, Daily Telegraph

But Jeremy Hunt says his budget is safe

JH"Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is confidently claiming the support of David Cameron and Nick Clegg in his attempts to prevent other government departments raiding his protected budget in the spending review on 26 June." – Guardian

  • "Osborne will regret playing Lord of the Ring Fence" – Tim Ross, Daily Telegraph

"George Osborne faces being forced to set aside up to £9bn for a standalone bank crisis fund, as the Chancellor is once again cornered in Brussels over a flagship EU financial reform" - Financial Times (£)

He's curtailed prison perks, now Chris Grayling wants to take on Britain's "compensation culture"

"Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will say today it is time to ‘turn the tide on Britain’s compensation culture’ as he sets out reforms designed to slash rip-off legal fees and prevent insurers, claims firms and garages selling on details of accident victims." – Daily Mail

  • "Prison comforts are irrelevant. We need longer sentences" – Theodore Dalrymple, The Times (£)
  • "Prisons aren’t the right place for people with mental illness. We must find another way" – Paul Jenkins, Independent

> Yesterday, by Chris Grayling MP on Comment: No more Sky subscriptions. No more 18 certificate DVDs. Why I'm launching today's tougher prison regime.

"I hate Abu Qatada too – but the law’s the law" – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

Justine Greening under fire after scrapping aid to South Africa

SA"Pretoria’s Department of International Relations accused ministers of acting without warning and said that the decision would damage long-term relations. … The comments surprised ministers, who believed that they had cleared the announcement with their South African counterparts." – The Times (£)

  • Ministry of Defence campaigns for overseas aid to pay for military patrols – Guardian

Mark Hoban warns underperforming welfare-to-work companies: buck up or get the sack

"Mark Hoban said some companies on the government’s £5bn work programme were getting so few people into sustained employment that he would reallocate work from the worst-performing companies to the best. He said: 'We have set very clear targets and companies need to hit them to retain their contracts.'" – Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: IDS and universal credit. "They lied to him." Trouble with the civil service

Norman Tebbit: Vote UKIP, if it means stopping Labour

"For my part, I will be voting for my Conservative candidates. … If you have a Labour councillor then I suggest that the best vote is the one most likely to replace him or her with either a Conservative, Ukip or sound independent one." – Norman Tebbit on his Telegraph blog

As it emerges that Priti Patel's father is a UKIP candidate

PP"Mr Patel, 64, kept his decision to stand for UKIP a secret from his daughter, who is the MP for Witham in Essex. The party’s head office did not make the discovery until Monday when a branch chairman realised it might be worth mentioning. … Ms Patel responded by telling the Financial Times: 'He’s my dad and I love him.'" – The Times (£)

  • UKIP candidate a sick Jimmy Savile mask - The Sun

> Yesterday's clip to LISTEN to: "We have had a couple of very bizarre cases." Nigel Farage speaks on Radio 4's Today Programme

And the FT advises the Tories to expose UKIP for what it really is

"Rather than shun Ukip for being what it is not, Mr Cameron and his fellow party leaders should expose it for what it is. Mr Farage’s party is a muddled paradox. While posing as a repository of thrift and common sense, its programme contains unfunded spending pledges on a scale that would make the most reckless deficit-denier blush." – Financial Times (£)

  • "…no one will be surprised, when the ballots are counted, if the protest party has done rather well for itself." – Daily Telegraph editorial

Nick Clegg suggests that he'll only back further benefit cuts if wealthy pensioners lose out…

NC"One of the areas of disagreement is welfare spending. Mr Clegg said there would be no more cuts to this budget beyond the £3.5 billion announced last autumn, without looking at universal benefits for older people like free bus passes, television licences and winter fuel payments." – Daily Telegraph

  • "Only a foolhardy politician would ask pensioners to sacrifice their free bus pass" – Joan Bakewell, Daily Telegraph

…and says that the Afghan interpreters should be granted asylum in Britain

"A simmering coalition row over the fate of hundreds of Afghan interpreters burst into the open yesterday when Nick Clegg said it would be morally indefensible to “turn our backs” on them. … The Deputy Prime Minister urged David Cameron to grant asylum to those working alongside British troops rather than abandon them to a dangerous future in Afghanistan." – The Times (£)

Ed Davey responds to his Department's latest survey: "The findings show energy and climate change issues are at the forefront of people’s minds"

"Six out of ten people are worried about spiralling energy bills, far eclipsing the number concerned about climate change. … Despite ministers’ efforts to convince the public of the need for costly ‘green’ energy projects, just one person in 20 said climate change was Britain’s biggest challenge." – Daily Mail

Ed Miliband finally admits that his VAT cut would require a borrowing rise

Ed Miliband"After refusing to address the issue on the World at One programme on BBC Radio 4 the previous day, the Labour leader conceded that his proposed emergency VAT cut would increase the deficit. 'I am clear about this: a temporary cut in VAT, as we are proposing, would lead to a temporary rise in borrowing,' he said." – The Times (£)

  • "Ed Miliband will fail if he locks himself into Tory austerity" – Seumas Milne, Guardian
  • "Labour is betting everything on its new brand of pothole politics" – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph
  • "Without a strong showing in the South tomorrow, Ed Miliband’s claims of One Nation politics will still ring hollow" – Times editorial (£)

> Yesterday: 

Ken Livingstone criticised for his comments about the Boston bombing

KL"Ken Livingstone was condemned yesterday for saying that US foreign policy had 'fuelled the anger' of the Boston bombers. … Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman, called for an apology, adding: 'These are irresponsible, insensitive and thoughtless comments which show why Ken Livingstone is not fit to hold public office.'" – The Times (£)

Labour's John Robertson wants an investigation into npower's tax affairsThe Sun

News in brief

  • "About 800 state school heads, deputies and assistant heads were paid at least £100,000 last year, up from 700 in 2011. A quarter of them received more than £110,000." - Daily Mail
  • Four-in-ten small firms have been rejected for a loan from their banks in the past two years - Daily Mail
  • Public don't want politicians involved in press regulation, poll suggests – Daily Mail
  • The rise of "community resolutions", by which offenders don't receive a criminal record, but have to apologise to their victom or make some other reparation – Daily Mail


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