Fraser Nelson: Warsi has made Cameron a more activist Christian

Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 08.12.06“It is a Muslim, Ms Warsi, who has done most to confront this attitude – and to start the change now under way. When she became minister of faith, she agreed an agenda with Mr Cameron. The way the Government talks about religion had to change, she said: people of faith should not be spoken of as if they were oddities, minorities and foreigners. So they should aim for a “normalisation” of faith – Church of England charities should be able to win government contracts, just like other charities. She found in the Prime Minister a ready ally.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Justin Welby: the hard-nosed realist holding together the Church of England – The Guardian
  • Civil servants sent on course telling them how to ‘do God’ – Daily Mail
  • Cameron won’t win votes by calling Britain a Christian country – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
  • A man of modest faith – Mary Dejevsky, The Independent
  • Kazakh dissident loses UK refugee status after Prime Minister’s trade mission – The Independent
  • Cameron “stung by jellyfish” – The Sun (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – The death and resurrection of Jesus is a much harder story than his birth

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – What Cameron can do next for the churches

Conservative councillor, grandson of Bolton’s first Indian immigrant, urges schools to fly the Union flag

“Mudasir Dean said he wanted to seize the Union Flag back from the Far Right and show children it was a symbol people from all backgrounds could celebrate. ‘My grandfather came to Bolton in the 1920s from India,’ he said. ‘He lived here all his life and he was the first Asian to settle in Bolton. Growing up in Bolton, I’ve seen less and less of the Union Flag. It’s been hijacked by the Far Right and it’s time we take that symbol back into mainstream British, Bolton life.’” – Daily Mail

Let families rent out their own private drives, Pickles tells councils

PICKLES Eric 2009“Last year town halls began threatening households with fines of up to £20,000 for renting out their driveways if they had not secured planning permission for a ‘change of use’. But the Communities Secretary announced yesterday that new regulations, which came into force two weeks ago, will prevent councils from making money from ‘resourceful and entrepreneurial families’.” – Daily Mail

  • CLG Secretary: I’ll shut council freesheets that publish ‘propaganda on the rates’ – The Guardian
  • Labour’s Hillary Benn claims that councils have slashed local bus services by half – The Sun (£)

> Today: Local Government – Five councils ordered to stop “Town Hall Pravdas”

Labour hires Obama’s Axelrod, but he won’t be here until May – and the Party’s campaign structure is unchanged

“David Axelrod has been given the title of senior strategic adviser and told the Guardian that Labour’s political and economic analysis was similar to the central themes deployed in Obama’s successful re-election campaign…But he will not be as hands-on as his rival: he will first visit the UK in May, and Labour’s overall campaign structure, the subject of recent leaks and rivalries, remains unchanged.” – The Guardian

  • Umunna vows to boost local funds for SMEs – Financial Times
  • Birmingham’s Labour leader says that Gove’s extremism investigator ‘will have to work harder because of anti-terror background’ – Birmingham Post
  • ‘I love parliament but I don’t want to die in the chamber’: farewell from Austin Mitchell MP – The Guardian’s Northerner Blog

Student support for Lib Dems collapses to just six per cent

CURSE OF CLEGG one“A poll of 1,200 students in higher education institutions throughout the UK reveals it has fallen from a high of 50 per cent just before the last election, following leader Nick Clegg’s first TV debate of the campaign, to just six per cent in the latest poll. The result poses a serious risk to the party of losing seats in university cities or towns won at the last election, such as Cambridge and even Mr Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam constituency.” – The Independent

> Yesterday: Local Government – Which councils could the Lib Dems lose on May 22nd?

Salmond claims that an Outer Hebridean missile test range is of more importance to the NATO nuclear alliance than Trident

“On a visit to the isle of Lewis, the First Minister said the future of the range, which spans Benbecula, North and South Uist and St Kilda, would be stronger after independence. The Hebrides range was established in the 1950s and is Britain’s biggest missile test site. In 2011, the Ministry of Defence said the range was secure for the next five years. Around 200 staff work there. Defence contractor QinetiQ runs the site on the MoD’s behalf.” – Scotsman

> Yesterday: Columnist Brian Monteith – Farage’s challenge to Salmond reveals an opportunity for Scottish Tories

Bercow complains about PMQs, but Soubry hits back

SOUBRY Anna Question Time“Commons Speaker John Bercow has claimed that women MPs have stopped attending Prime Minister’s Questions because of the rowdy atmosphere…But defence minister Anna Soubry, who sits on the back row of the green benches among the ‘awkward squad’ of MPs, warned that Mr Bercow was perpetuating ‘old fashioned’ views of women by singling them out.” – Daily Mail

Leadsom “used controversial trusts to reduce her potential inheritance-tax bill”

“The former Barclays banker, who was appointed to the Treasury by the Chancellor this month, is facing questions after it was disclosed that  she had placed her shares in the property company into trusts for the benefit of her children – a move that is commonly used to avoid inheritance tax. Bandal – the buy-to-let firm created by the former City high-flyer, 50, and her husband, another ex-banker – also created charges over two of its buy-to-let properties in favour of the offshore branch of an investment bank.” – The Independent

Russia, Ukraine, U.S, & EU reach agreement in Geneva

Vladimir Putin“The deal, clinched after a dramatic extended meeting in Geneva, calls for the disarming of all illegal groups. In the next few days they would have to vacate all the government buildings and public spaces they have occupied over the course of the crisis. In return, the protesters in eastern Ukraine would be offered amnesty for all but capital crimes and the government in Kiev would immediately start a process of public consultation aimed at devolving constitutional powers to the provinces.” – The Guardian

  • ‘Grotesque’ anti-semitic pamphlets tells Jews in Ukraine to register or face consequences – Daily Express
  • Putin still has friends in the City – Philip Stephens, Financial Times
  • Hold fire – Sun Editorial

> Yesterday: Lord Flight on Comment – The West must match Russian aggression with a military response, or re-run the 1930s

Co-op announces ‘disastrous’ £2.5bn annual loss as Acting Chief Executive issues stark warning about its future

“Acting chief executive Richard Pennycook made a stark warning about the mutual’s future and admitted: ‘2013 was a disastrous year, the worst in our 150-year history’. He added: ‘This is a wake-up call that the Co-op does not have a God-given right to exist.’ The monumental losses follow the near-collapse of its banking arm, which had a £1.5billion black hole in its finances and nearly sank the whole group, which employs 90,000 staff in the UK.” Daily Mail

> Yesterday: LeftWatch – A case for Miliband, Balls and Umunna – or maybe not

News in Brief

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 08.34.24Duchess of Cambridge suggests Prince William should wear an alpaca toupee – Daily Mail
  • €20m of fake notes seized after major sting on Republican dissidents – Belfast Telegraph
  • Mensch: “No chance at all” Boris will lead Tories – he’s “an epic Europhile” – Daily Telegraph
  • NHS misses target on patient waiting times – Financial Times
  • Miss Scarborough contest descends into chaos with mass punch-up after crowd erupt in fury over choice of winner – Daily Mail
  • Thousands across Wales accept that they will never be able to buy their own home – Wales Online
  • Pistorius trial key evidence – The Independent
  • Gabriel García Márquez dies aged 87 – The Guardian
  • Caroline Lucas cleared over anti-fracking protests – The Guardian
  • Oxford in row over grade inflation – Daily Telegraph
  • Pope Francis washes feet of women, elderly and disabled people, and non-Christians during Mass of the Lord’s Supper – Daily Mail
  • Queen hands out money in Maundy Thursday service – Daily Express

P.S: Apologies for absence of items from the Times, but its website is down as we publish today.

Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 08.35.35