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9.30pm WATCH: The most reformist of the candidates, Hassan Rouhani, is elected as the new President of Iran

3.30pm MPsETC: MEP candidates and hustings for the North East, North West and Yorkshire

3pm ToryDiary: On Syria, Cameron should be the heir to Blair

12.45pm: ToryDiary: Michael Hintze deserves his knighthood

ToryDiary: The honours system needs more rigour and less political correctness

David Mowat MP on Comment: Despite low & falling emissions, we could be fined. Welcome to the crazy world of EU environment policy

TimessyriaStill "no decision" by Cameron on arming Syrian rebels

"David Cameron has said Britain has taken "no decision" to arm the Syrian rebels after the US declared it would provide them with military support. But the prime minister backed the US assessment that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons and described President Assad as a "brutal dictator"." – BBC

  • "Containment is not working. Arming those elements of the opposition that favour a non-sectarian outcome may alter the balance of forces among the rebels. It would aim to shift the balance of power within Syria, forcing Assad to the negotiating table by demonstrating the limits of his power. Creating safe zones on the borders, defended by heavy weaponry, would show Syrians that there is a sanctuary amid the suffering." – Leader The Times (£)

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

LeighHonours list published

"Sir Menzies Campbell has spoken of his "surprise" and delight at being included in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. The former Lib Dem leader has been made a Companion of Honour. Tory MP Edward Leigh, former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, and former Liberal Democrat minister Andrew Stunell both receive knighthoods." – BBC

  • "Edward Leigh, a right-wing Tory MP and opponent of gay marriage, has been knighted. His opposition to David Cameron’s line on gay marriage is only the latest of a series of public disagreements he has had with successive party leaders from John Major onwards." – The Independent
  • "Michael Hintze, the hedge fund boss and Conservative party donor, has been created a knight in the Queen’s birthday honours list for 2013, one of more than a thousand people honoured for their contributions to the UK. Mr Hintze, founder of the hedge fund CQS, is worth $1.6bn and is one of the City of London’s most prominent financiers. He is also known for his association with Adam Werritty: in 2011, it was revealed he had indirectly funded Mr Werritty, an unofficial adviser to Liam Fox, the defence secretary at the time…Mr Hintze’s charitable foundation, which he runs with his wife, is one of the UK’s biggest arts donors." – Financial Times

Mailhonours…to less than universal acclaim

"Robert Collington – whose company Thames Water stands accused of ripping off customers, avoiding tax and enforcing a farcical hosepipe ban during some of the wettest weather seen in England – will be given an OBE ‘for services to consumers’. Retired Met deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers receives a CBE for ‘services to policing’. She was in charge in the police district where tragic Victoria was horrifically abused and murdered. And millionaire Michael Hintze, who has made a series of personal donations and gifts to senior Cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister and  Chancellor, receives a knighthood for ‘services to the arts’." – Daily Mail

GuardiantaxPrime Minister to "sweep away" tax secrecy….

"Britain is to "sweep away" tax secrecy by introducing a new central register that will ensure all the true owners of "shadowy" shell companies have to be declared to the tax authorities, David Cameron has announced. In one of the biggest steps by Britain to crack down on "aggressive" tax avoidance and money-laundering, the prime minister pledged in a Guardian interview to end the era of "secretive companies in secretive locations" that cost exchequers around the world billions of pounds in lost revenue." – The Guardian

  • "But he will also use the summit, which is being held in Northern Ireland, to promote the image of Britain as a good place for international companies to do business. Speaking at an innovation conference in London on Friday, Mr Cameron said: “We want all our businesses to succeed and we are actually changing our tax system to try to encourage more multinationals to locate in the UK.” Britain is on course to have one of the lowest corporation tax rates in the West from 2015, after it was cut to 20pc in the March Budget." – Daily Telegraph

…and warns communiques are a waste of time

"Sitting beneath a portrait of Lady Thatcher in Downing Street, Cameron explains: "International gatherings are worthwhile, if they are done in the right way. The trouble is too many of them are about long communiques with endless textual arguments. I once asked where these communiques go after we have agreed them, like in the EU. Is there an elephant's graveyard of communiques or a room – remember like that advert for Carlsberg with the complaints department in which no-one worked in – you think that must be where they go." – The Guardian

TheresamayTheresa May settles spending cuts…

"The Home Office and five other departments are the latest to reach a deal with George Osborne over spending cuts, the government has confirmed. About half of all departments have now agreed to cuts of between 8% and 10% to help tackle the deficit." – BBC

  • "Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the settlements "show we continue to make real progress towards the savings we need while protecting priority areas". "Counter terrorism policing is a crucial part of our national security and I took no convincing of the need to protect this area. Given recent events in Woolwich, we cannot compromise on our national security," he said." – Daily Telegraph

Maria_miller_mp…as does Maria Miller…

"The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has agreed an 8% cut in spending for 2015-2016 in a deal with the Treasury, the BBC understands. It is understood that arts and museums will share less of the burden with a reduction of around 5%. Peter Bazalgette, the new chair of Arts Council England, said it was a "massive result" for the arts." – BBC

…but no more cuts to army, navy or air force numbers…

"Cameron said: "We're not going to be making further cuts to the numbers of our army, navy or air force: they know what they have available. "No department can be excluded from being efficient from saving money, from making sure we get the best possible value from every pound that we take from the taxpayers and spend." – The Guardian

Hammond…as Hammond says Afghanistan is our Vietnam

"War-weary Britain is experiencing its own “Vietnam phenomenon” as the Afghan mission draws to a close, the Defence Secretary told The Telegraph during a trip to Afghanistan. His candid assessment of Britain’s appetite for future conflict comes as David Cameron and other Western leaders edge towards greater military intervention in Syria." – Daily Telegraph

Taxpayers Alliance says the Government is wasting £120 billion a year

"Nearly £120 billion of taxpayers’ cash was wasted by the Government last year — equivalent to £4,500 per household — according to a campaign group. Tens of billions of pounds were lost by paying public sector workers too much, inefficient procurement, useless projects and public sector fraud, the Taxpayers’ Alliance said. It also claimed that millions of pounds were thrown away on paying benefits to the rich, clinical negligence, subsidising EU farmers and missed hospital appointments." – The Times (£)

  • "The trade unions in particular are given a paid army of grassroots activists at taxpayers’ expense thanks to what is known as “facility time”. More than 2,500 full-time equivalent staff are paid as if they worked for the public sector, but actually work for the unions. Once they have brought the enemies of reform under control ministers should accelerate changes to put the finances on a sounder footing." Matthew Sinclair The Times (£)
  • "Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke said: “This report shows exactly why it’s right that the Government is sticking to its plan and cutting spending.” – Daily Express
  • "This waste can’t all be wiped out overnight. But some can. Like the £25billion blown by Whitehall officials unable or unwilling to haggle hard with suppliers. Or the £20billion lost to fraud. Or the councils frittering taxpayers’ money on luxuries. This Government is at least alive to the profligacy that went unchecked under the last. But there is plainly far more to cut." – The Sun Says

MooreCharles Moore says more must be done to counter Islamic extremism

"In our state schools, in mosques, on the internet, in university gatherings, many young people are taught to detest the freedom in which they live. Just as surely as good teaching, bad teaching has its power. We refuse even to face it, let alone to stop it." – Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

Matthew Parris says politicians should take on the elderly

"The old fall into income groups, just like everyone else. If the old want to be seen as a special category, to be spared impertinent questions about their bank balances, then it’s time that the young returned the compliment and mobilised too. We over-sixties are a nakedly self-interested pressure group, just like the NFU, Aslef or the Police Federation. Respect for the elderly is all very well, but we have become cuckoos in the nest. It’s time for the politicians to stop kowtowing to us." Matthew Parris The Times (£)

News in brief

  • Clegg rebuffs grandees over "Snoopers Charter" – BBC
  • Abu Qatada deportation legal fees have cost £1.7 million so far- The Independent
  • The MOD has more horses than tanks – Daily Telegraph
  • Balls in curry circuit leadership challenge – The Times (£)
  • Ofsted chief "may quit over jibes" – The Times (£)

And finally… the Prime Minister works in his pyjamas

"David Cameron was asked whether he works in his pyjamas because he lives and works in the same building in Downing Street. Speaking on BBC radio and television, he told the member of the public who had called in that the short answer is "yes, I suppose I do". “I get up pretty early in the morning and I start work before I get dressed," he said. His admission is likely to reinforce Mr Cameron's reputation for informality but counter criticism that he does not work long enough hours." – Daily Telegraph


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