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8.15pm WATCH: Prime Minister – We will never buckle in the face of terror

6.45pm ToryDiary: Cameron returning to London after terrorist attack in Woolwich

5.15pm ToryDiary: Ten reasons why the Conservatives will win the next General Election

3.30pm Lord Flight on Comment: Why Germany should leave the Euro

1.15pm Nick Pickles on Comment: Local councils should stop putting local papers out of business

12.45pm ToryDiary: 102 more free schools approved

11.30am Nick De Bois MP on Comment: On the big issues Conservatives are right – we need to be united too

10.30am ToryDiary: David Cameron gives relaxed performance on Today programme

9.30am On ToryDiary, the third post on our special series on UKIP: What are UKIP’s policies?

ToryDiary: Three ways for Cameron to get back on the front foot – and stay there

Screen shot 2013-05-22 at 07.02.03On LeftWatch, it's 2015 – and Andrew Gimson finds Labour's leader trapped in a French tragedy: Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister and detests being Francois Hollande


Mary Macleod MP on Comment: Injustice in Downton Abbey. Why women should have equal rights to peerages

MPsETC: Our breakdown of how Tory MPs lined up in last night's Same Sex Marriage vote

Local Government: Councils should not subsidise the arts

The Deep End: The Cypriot banking crisis: if you’ve got a pension you ought to know what happened next

OwenpatersonGay marriage vote passed by Commons…

"The House of Commons has voted to allow gay marriage in England and Wales, despite 161 MPs opposing the government's plans. Several Tory MPs spoke against the proposals, which have caused tensions in the party, but the Labour and Lib Dem leaderships backed them. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill now goes before the House of Lords." – BBC

  • "Two Cabinet ministers, David Jones, the Welsh Secretary, and Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, were among the 133 Conservative MPs who voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. They were joined by ten other ministers, including John Hayes, who is Mr Cameron's senior parliamentary adviser and a key figure linking the Prime Minister with backbench Tories." – Daily Telegraph

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

…but Tory opponents urge peers to take up the fight

"David Burrowes, the Conservative MP for Enfield Southgate, said that peers had every right to oppose the bill because it was not included in the coalition agreement and was not promoted clearly in any of the party election manifestos. His comments came after Peter Bone, the Conservative MP for Wellingborough, said: "The unusual position we have is none of the political parties put this in their manifesto. Would [you] agree that [the House of Lords] has the complete legitimacy to reject this bill because there is no Salisbury Convention?" – The Guardian

  • "If it wishes to mend fences the Government must get back to the key priorities it was formed to pursue: getting down the deficit, reigniting economic growth, helping families with the cost of living, reforming welfare and cutting taxes on hard-working people. It is by these benchmarks and not trendy social reforms that David Cameron’s administration will be judged come the next election. Banging on about gay weddings will hardly impress voters who cannot afford their heating bills." – Leader Daily Express
  • Farage: I won't expel those who say gay sex is "disgusting" – Daily Telegraph

CleggClegg won't pull plug on coalition..

"Nick Clegg is to insist the Liberal Democrats will not "pull the plug" on the coalition government ahead of the next general election. In a speech at Westminster, the deputy prime minister will say he and David Cameron remain "absolutely committed" to maintaining their partnership. But Mr Clegg will accuse some Tory MPs of "game playing" over issues such as Europe and same-sex marriage." – BBC 

  • "His reading of the riot act to the Tory right is likely to be seen as the kind of slap-down to Cameron's rebels that the prime minister himself feels too weak to administer because of the advance of Ukip. The deputy prime minister will accuse Tory MPs of "disappearing into a parliamentary rabbit warren, obsessing over this new tactic or that new trick: paving legislation, enabling referendums, wrecking amendments". – The Guardian

…while Cameron says "clear the battlefield"

"David Cameron has told ministers to “clear the battlefield” and concentrate on core issues such as welfare and the economy as Tory divisions over gay marriage were again laid bare…The Prime Minister had used a political Cabinet of Tory colleagues yesterday morning to try to draw a line under two weeks in which Tory splits over Europe and divisions between the leadership and grassroots have been on display. Mr Cameron told ministers to concentrate on bread-and-butter issues such as education." – The Times (£)

TimesafghanAfghan interpreters win right to stay in Britain

"Six hundred Afghan interpreters are to be given the right to a new life in Britain after a climbdown by the Government. Those who have worked alongside British troops on the front line for more than 12 months will be allowed to bring close family members to the UK on a five-year visa. The Prime Minister’s decision to throw open the door comes after a backlash against his original proposal to discourage interpreters and their families from coming to Britain." – The Times (£)

JeremyhuntHunt blames Labour for A&E pressures…

"The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt blamed the previous Labour Government for allowing GPs to opt out of after hours care which has resulted in an increase in patients attending A&E units. He admitted that “short-term pressures” could result in NHS not coping “as well as it needs to and affecting the “quality of care”. But he added that responsibility lay with “target-at-any-cost culture under Labour” which “led to the disaster of Mid-Staffordshire”. “We will take responsibility for sorting out those problems, but the Labour party must take responsibility for creating a number of them,” he said." – The Independent

…NHS chief to quit next year…

"Sir David Nicholson will retire as head of the NHS with a £1.9 million pension pot — a sum that drew outrage from campaigners even as they celebrated the news of his departure. After announcing yesterday that he would go by March next year, he was lauded by the Prime Minister, Health Secretary and senior health service leaders, but condemned by others as a bully who had ignored patient safety." – The Times (£)

  • "Has bungling NHS chief Sir David Nicholson no shame? He was at the helm when 1,200 patients died needlessly at Mid Staffs, yet plans to retire with a golden goodbye. Sir Dave said he had “no idea” about the failings — yet he was part of the problem, not the cure." – The Sun Says

EXpresshealth…£70 million NHS bill for health tourism

"Freeloading foreign patients owe taxpayers almost ­£70million in unpaid NHS bills, it emerged yesterday. Campaigners reacted with fury at the huge sum hospitals have been forced to write off over the past decade. Health service finance chiefs have little chance of tracing foreign patients who fly home ­without paying. And there is evidence the problem is growing. Almost a third of the total, £25million, has been lost in the past two years alone." – Daily Express

HeathShale gas potential huge

"Our current consumption of gas was 3,055bn cubic feet (bcf) in 2011. According to a report out today from the Institute of Directors, UK shale gas output could peak at 853bn cubic feet (bcf) per year under a low scenario and reach 1,389 bcf under the best case scenario, which actually feels entirely plausible. Other benefits include £3.7bn a year in investment spending, supporting 74,000 jobs." – Allister Heath City AM

Binley says "growing gap" between Cameron and Party

"A Tory backbencher who pushed unsuccessfully for a party investigation into “Loongate” complained today of a “growing gap” between David Cameron and his party. Brian Binley, the 71-year-old MP for Northampton South, said that his local party activists were outraged by reported comments from a close Cameron aide dismissing them as “mad, swivel-eyed loons”." – The Times (£)

GraylingnewChris Grayling to cut Legal Aid…

"The justice secretary has defended the government's proposed changes to legal aid in England and Wales. Chris Grayling told MPs he wanted a legal aid system "that provides justice but that is also affordable"…The proposals being considered by the government for reforms to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act include stopping defendants with a disposable income of more than £37,500 from automatically receiving legal aid and curbing the right of prisoners to legal aid." – BBC

Letts…so why aren't the Tory Right cheering him on? Asks Quentin Letts

"Claims that the Coalition is unremittingly soppy are not necessarily factual. But was Mr Grayling encouraged by those grouches who so often claim to speak for the Tory Right? Nope. In the Chamber yesterday morning we had no Peter Bone (Con, Wellingborough), no Edward Leigh (Con, Gainsborough), no Tim Loughton (Con, E Worthing) and at first no Sir Gerald Howarth (Con, Aldershot), all of whom had been so unhelpful to Mr Cameron on Monday. Messrs Bone and Leigh are less trainable than Burmese cats but Mr Loughton used to be a Cameroon. Then he lost his job as a minister. Stamp, stamp, stamp went little bootied feet." – Quentin Letts Daily Mail

TobyyoungToby Young says David Cameron is getting the serious stuff right

"In a sense, those critics who bemoan the fact that Cameron"s not better at party management, better at dealing with the press, more obsessed with presentational issues, etc, are complaining that he's not superficial enough. But when Cameron became Prime Minister he clearly took a conscious decision to focus on substance rather than style. He calculated that the public were sick to the back teeth with being spun by his two predecessors and were ready for a more serious-minded leader. In spite of all the needless difficulties he's got himself into through his inattention to the quotidian detail of politics, I still think he was right about that." Toby Young Daily Telegraph

Simon Heffer says Tory establishment has sneered at Party faithful for decades…

"The fact is the Tory establishment has long despised the truly Conservative people who are the backbone of the party and whose only crime is to love their country and its traditional values and culture. All that has changed is that their supercilious contempt is out in the open." Simon Heffer Daily Mail


…while Hadley Freeman says the Party must embrace the 21st century…

"One could make the point here that it's possibly time for certain members of the Tory party to join the 21st century before they manage to implode their party, but, really, I'd rather dream about a Britain ruled by a badass lesbian queen, with kd lang and Melissa Etheridge singing at her coronation. That calypso song would rock the afterparty." Hadley Freeman The Guardian

Jacob…Jacob Rees-Mogg says the membership can revive…

"To rejuvenate the party this needs to reverse and the effort to revitalise policy discussion is a step in the right direction. The localism that is preached for government ought to be practised in organisational structures. Agents who were once the real power of the Tory Party need to be restored to their pre-eminence and Central Office ought to be the servant rather than the master. Campaigning organisations, including socialist front operations such as 38 Degrees, can gain followers and influence so there is no fundamental reason why mass membership organisations cannot flourish. They need energy and panache to succeed." – Jacob Rees-Mogg Daily Telegraph

…and Mary Riddell says Labour have problems with elitist sneering too

"According to one influential player, Labour is run by elitists who think that “the voters are the problem”. Party polling is said to show that the angry and forgotten are the paradox people: “Pro-European but anti-EU, pro-worker but anti-union, pro-compassion but anti-welfare, pro-marriage not anti-gay.” As one analyst puts it: “It would be graceful if the party at least listened kindly to people rather than interrupting or ignoring them.” – Mary Riddell Daily Telegraph

WallaceMark Wallace on the UKIP threat

"Ukip still has its weaknesses, of course. The professional regional structure of the party remains decidedly patchy. It doesn’t have the money for a proper IT infrastructure to log voter and canvassing data. Many of its new councillors find themselves unexpectedly elected –unvetted – with almost no local party organisation. But those gaps may soon close. Ukip’s success has opened doors to new donors, and a few hundred pounds from each of its councillors would give the coffers a boost. Most important of all, and most troublingly for the main parties, the insurgents have a spring in their step – and floating voters are paying attention." Mark Wallace City AM

News in brief

  • The annual report of the Criminal Records Bureau shows that as many as 500 people could have received incorrect criminal records between April and December last year – Daily Telegraph
  • IMF say sell RBS and LLoyds shares – The Times (£)
  • Whittingdale warns imprisoning phone hacking journalists would damage Britain's reputation – Daily Telegraph
  • Salmond threatens that Scotland would opt out of UK National Debt – The Times (£)
  • Paul McCartney backs new free school in Liverpool – The Independent

And finally…Sam only went out with me because I had a car says Dave

"David Cameron has confessed that his wife Samantha only fell for him because he owned a car – and that she may not have been 18 when he fell in love with her….Mr Cameron, who is nearly five years older, said he was only able to woo the teenager because he drove her around and took her out for meals." – Daily Mail


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