6.15pm WATCH: David Cameron answers the urgent question of the day: does he ever work in his pajamas?

4.30pm LeftWatch: We’d better watch out: Labour and the Lib Dems are discovering more areas of political overlap

3.45pm ToryDiary: Chief Constables are squealing about democratic oversight? Good

Flag2pm On Comment, James Duddridge MP says that Zimbabwe's elections must be free and fair: "Any elected official within the international community, with a genuine interest in the future of Zimbabwe, should understand that we cannot just sit back and pretend to recognise a process as legitimate, when the reality is anything but. To do so would be a neglect of our professional responsibilities, no matter how convenient it may be for some."

1.45pm Local Government: Pickles sets out rights for bloggers and journalists to film council meetings

Noon Local government: Cllr Robert Oliver reports on A Sunderland free school that is a private school without fees

11am Alistair Thompson on Comment: Cameron must end the Cold War with his own party

ToryDiary: The Euphrates is flowing through David Cameron's drawing room

IDIain Dale's latest column: The brass neck of Tim Yeo over Lord Debden's green interests

Chris Skidmore MP on Comment: The Liz Truss plan that Clegg blocked could cut childcare costs by a quarter for working parents

Free Schools Week continues on Local Government: Goveism around the Globe – how free schools are taking off internationally

The Deep End's Heresy of the week: The ‘Roons’ and ‘Loons’ are both to blame for the problems of the Conservative Party

WATCH: Sajid Javid praises the outgoing RBS chief executive Stephen Hester

David Cameron hugs his potential successors close

Boris Cameron

"In an interview with Bloomberg last night, Mr Cameron was asked if he was worried he was presiding over a ‘beauty contest’ in which there was speculation about the ambitions of senior colleagues. … He responded by praising Mrs May – along with the Chancellor, Education Secretary Mr Gove and London Mayor Mr Johnson. … He said: ‘I look around the table and think, isn’t it great we’ve got this talent. I don’t want shrinking violets.’" – Daily Mail

Michael Fallon suggests that, yes, Theresa May would like to lead the Tories – Daily Telegraph

  • "The more Mr Cameron's future is discussed, even incidentally, the worse his position gets." – Simon Hoggart, Guardian

Mr Cameron's G8 hopes are dented

G8"Hopes of a deal to boost the world economy at next week’s Group of Eight summit were in the balance on Thursday night, as France and Canada resisted a last-minute push for an ambitious trade and tax package. … David Cameron, British prime minister and summit host, met Mr Harper on Thursday in London to try to break the impasse." – Financial Times

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Welcome to Britain, Stephen Harper – and here are three lessons that David Cameron can learn from you

And he's to announce extra money for Northern Ireland… on one condition

"The Northern Ireland executive is to be given extra borrowing powers if it presses ahead with plans to tear down 'peace walls' that act as barriers between Catholic and Protestant communities in parts of Belfast, David Cameron will announce today." – Guardian

Now Stephen Hester's gone, George Osborne wants RBS to lend more

SH"Royal Bank of Scotland’s new boss will be ordered to lend billions more to struggling businesses after George Osborne staged a ‘coup’ to remove its chief executive Stephen Hester. … The Treasury denied Labour claims that Mr Hester had been removed to pave the way for a pre-election ‘fire sale’ of RBS … But ministers did make it clear the new regime at RBS would be expected to increase lending to Britain’s small businesses." – Daily Mail

"Despite feeling bruised and jaded, Mr Hester has told friends that his manner of departure is 'in the top quartile of ways in which I could have gone'." – from the Financial Times' anatomy of a departure

  • "…we worry about the Government's meddling in this affair. Meddling politicians and incompetent civil servants should have as little as possible to do with running huge commercial enterprises." – Daily Mail editorial
  • "If Stephen Hester really was a roadblock to taxpayers getting their money back from the RBS bailout, it is good he has gone." – Sun editorial
  • "It is against [this] backdrop that Mr Hester should be regarded: as an able financial technocrat at a time when what Britain really needed was a Roosevelt." – Guardian editorial
  • FT"It was always a stretch of the imagination to believe the government could run Royal Bank of Scotland at arm’s length. That myth was comprehensively shattered by news of Stephen Hester’s resignation." – Financial Times editorial
  • "Osborne shouldn’t treat RBS like his family business" – Jonathan Ford, Financial Times
  • "Stephen Hester did sterling work in a tough job at RBS – but politics beat him in the end" – Chris Blackhurst, Independent
  • Sell RBS now – James Barty, The Times (£)

> Today's video to WATCH: Sajid Javid praises the outgoing RBS chief executive Stephen Hester

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Stephen Hester's eventual replacement is walking into a political minefield

Army chief warns Mr Osborne against further defence cuts

"Gen Sir Peter Wall warned that further savings would place the Army’s future plans in jeopardy and seriously damage its 'professional competence' in some areas. … His outspoken intervention comes at a critical stage in spending negotiations between the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday, by John Glen MP on Comment: How GoCo will help to improve defence procurement

"A group representing 11 local authorities has written to Chancellor George Osborne expressing its concerns about the possible closure of a major museum in the north of England"Independent

Chief constables to Theresa May: rein in the police commissioners

Police"Chief constables are seeking an urgent meeting with the Home Secretary after the head of a police force was abruptly ousted from her job by one of the new breed of political crime commissioners. … Senior police officers are concerned that there are few checks on the powers of the new commissioners, who have begun to flex their muscles in a number of confrontations over the running of local forces." – The Times (£)

Chris Grayling wants former prisoners to be given a chance in the public sector

"The Justice Secretary has called for ex-offenders to be employed in the National Health Service and other public sector organisations. Private industry and the public sector should give former prisoners 'a chance' as part of efforts to help them turn their lives around, Chris Grayling said." – The Times (£)

Lord Ashcroft responds to Peter Oborne on the Telegraph's letters page

Lord Ashcroft"As Mr Oborne says, Twitter is not the ideal medium for complex arguments – which is why I write at greater length elsewhere, especially on ConservativeHome and my own site, Though I certainly say where I think things are going wrong, nobody reading my wider observations on politics and polling could conclude that I was pursuing an anti-Cameron crusade." – from Lord Ashcroft's letter to the Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday, by Lord Ashcroft on Comment: (Another) response to Peter Oborne

Lord Baker is among the four former Home Secretaries urging that the Communications Data Bill become law

"Four former home secretaries today accuse Nick Clegg of putting lives at risk by blocking sweeping new powers for the security services to track e-mails and online messages. … In a cross-party letter to The Times, the quartet urge the Lib Dems to lift their opposition to the Communications Data Bill, which has split the coalition." – The Times (£)

Lord Patten advises the Tories to unite over Europe

Lord PAtten"Conservative eurosceptics will lead their party into committing 'political suicide' if they refuse to accept any form of British membership of the EU, Lord Patten, the former party chairman, has warned. … He admitted it was still too early to predict what David Cameron would achieve in his attempts to renegotiate the UK’s membership, but said he should be able to reach a favourable outcome." – Financial Times

  • "The BBC appears to spend taxpayers' money as if it comes from a cash machine, Lord Patten said today." - Daily Mail

The Lib Dems plan to put job creation at the heart of their election campaign, reports the Guardian

"The biggest campaign theme for the Liberal Democrats between now and the 2015 election will be a commitment to helping the creation of 1m more jobs. … The decision was made after polling showed that apart from its commitment to increase tax allowances, the public do not associate the party with recognisably distinctive economic policies." – Guardian

  • "Senior Romanian politicians have voiced concerns to Nick Clegg over growing negative sentiment against their countrymen in the UK" – Guardian

Unlike Paul Goodman, Quentin Letts has little sympathy for Julian Huppert

JH"There is, I am afraid, something intrinsically mockable about Julian Leon Huppert, and the more he complains about the 'Oh NO' merchants, the more he will  encourage them. … Far from demanding that the House respect him – a prospect that only recedes with every stamp of his feet – Mr Huppert should be glad that he has been noticed at all." – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Solidarity with Julian Huppert: the hurt, pain and humiliation of being compared to Mr Bean

Labour to abstain on the EU Referendum vote

Miliband"The Labour leader stunned Westminster by announcing his party will abstain on the Bill in the Commons on July 5. … Labour said the proposal — which calls for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU by the end of 2017 — was 'a Tory gimmick and a political stunt' which had no chance of becoming law. … But Mr Miliband was accused of not having the guts to make tough decisions." – The Sun

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Ed Miliband bottles it – Labour will abstain on the EU Referendum Bill

And they'll include a decarbonisation target in their manifesto

"Tom Greatrex, a shadow energy minister, said Labour would include a 'decarbonisation target' in its election manifesto in one of the party's first major policy commitments. … Speaking at a conference in Manchester, Mr Greatrex said a target is 'absolutely crucial' to make sure wind farms and other renewable sources of energy are built." – Daily Telegraph

"Two thirds of Brits say a big Labour policy relaunch has either lost the party trust in how it would handle the economy — or made no difference"The Sun

  • "Labour’s addicted to meddling, not spending" – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

Hacked Off lobbyist had undisclosed Parliamentary pass

Hacked Off"The chief lobbyist for Hacked Off has had a special pass to Parliament for the past eight months without the privilege being disclosed as required on the register of interests. … Until yesterday, he was listed on the House of Lords register of staff interests as deputy head of public policy at Sense. He left that role last October and the register should have been updated within a month of him starting at Hacked Off." – The Times (£)

  • Lords Dannat and Lord Stirrup cleared of breaching House of Lords rules in lobbying row –Independent

> Today, Iain Dale's latest column: The brass neck of Tim Yeo over Lord Debden's green interests

Will Hutton still wishes we'd joined the Euro – yes, really

W"Britain would have entered the 2008 crisis with a far less unbalanced economy, a stronger banking system and international accounts, and a government deficit much less acute. And the reformed eurozone could have responded much more flexibly and cleverly than it did." – Will Hutton, Guardian

Politicians place too much faith in figures, suggests Fraser Nelson

"A poll last month found that just 7 per cent of us are confident that politicians will use statistics properly, which does sound about right. They do tend to get carried away. The trick is to make sure that metrics are the servants, not the master – and tearing up the old Labour targets would be a good way to start." – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

News in brief 

  • DWP data suggests that median pay is at its lowest level for a decade, after accounting for inflation – Guardian
  • Cabinet reshuffles leave government paralysed, says Commons committee – Guardian
  • Fewer adults playing sport since London Olympics – Guardian
  • The average home in England and Wales now costs £233,061, higher than the pre-recession peak – Daily Mail
  • Men born abroad have been more likely to hold down a job since the financial crisis than those born in Britain, suggests OECD – Daily Mail
  • One in four babies in Britain has a father born overseas – Daily Mail
  • Obama gives go-ahead to arm Syria rebels, as US accepts that Assad regime has used chemical weapons – Financial Times
  • Rupert Murdoch to file for divorce – The Sun

And finally 1)… Don't mention the Napoleonic Wars!

"Led into battle by the Duke of Wellington, UK troops routed Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, a triumph ushering in almost a century of peace and stability in Europe. … But the Government is refusing to mark the battle’s 200th anniversary in 2015 amid suspicions it does not want to offend France." – Daily Mail

And finally 2)… Don't mess with Eric Pickles

PI"While most ministers seem content with shaping national policy, Mr Pickles took direct action when he saw a group of travellers heading towards his constituency. … He gave chase in his car and bravely confronted them after they pulled on to a cricket pitch. … One Tory source said the minister’s actions had led to Commons wags comparing him to a private investigator. … He said: ‘We’re calling him P. I. Pickles. People in Whitehall know you don’t mess with Eric. This is a great example of local people taking action.’" – Daily Mail 

And finally 3)… Boris versus Clegg, the battle of the radio hosts

"A spat between Nick Clegg and Boris Johnson descended into a war of words… over who was the lazier. … It began when the Deputy Prime Minister branded the London Mayor a ‘slacker’. … Mr Johnson retorted that Mr Clegg was an ‘idle bum’ with only a ‘ceremonial post’ in government. The row erupted yesterday after it was revealed that Mr Johnson is to host a monthly phone-in show on London radio station LBC." – Daily Mail


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