Cameron plans to promote working class Ministers

penning“David Cameron is planning a working class Cabinet makeover – with an ex-fireman tipped for a top role. The PM wants to promote up to five mid-ranking Tory ministers from humble backgrounds to run government departments in a bid to rid his top team of its elitist tag before next year’s general election. Under the plan, senior ministers are pushing him to elevate broken-nosed cockney speaking Minister for the Disabled Mike Penning.” – The Sun(£)

  • “DAVID Cameron’s next Cabinet reshuffle will try to shake-off the Tories’ “posh boy” image. But it’s not where you come from that should matter. It’s what you do. That applies to all of life. So what if David Cameron went to Eton? Come the General Election in May next year, he’ll be judged on his record as Prime Minister, not where he went to school.” – The Sun Says(£)

IDS heralds rise in self employment…

IDS on Marr“Benefit cuts are pushing more people into self-employment and helping to create a new generation of entrepreneurs, the Bank of England has suggested. The Bank announced that one of the most “striking” features of the economic recovery has been the record 4.5 million Britons who are now self-employed. According to official figures, the number of self-employed workers has risen by more than 600,000 since 2010, accounting for more than a third of the 1.5 million new jobs created since then. Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, claimed that the figures were evidence that the Coalition was reviving Britain’s “entrepreneurial spirit”.” – Daily Telegraph

…and warns Scots that independence would increase welfare costs

“The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has challenged first minister Alex Salmond to explain how Scotland could afford extra pension and benefits costs of up £1.55bn a year after independence. Duncan Smith released figures from the Department for Work and
Pensions (DWP) asserting that the first minister’s pledges on social security post-independence would cost each working-age adult in Scotland an extra £450 a year over the next 20 years.” – The Guardian

Government borrowing fell last year – to £107.7 billion…

money“BRITAIN’S huge deficit went down by £7.5billion in the last financial year – but still stands at an eye-watering £107.7billion. The latest official figures reveal money was saved thanks to the economy’s strong recovery boosting tax receipts last year by 4.3 per cent to a total of £574billion. The Treasury’s coffers were also given a boost by Lloyds shares sales. The most recent monthly figures for March showed public borrowing at its lowest for ten years. But at the same time, total government spending also went up by 1.4 per cent to pay for investment despite more cuts enforced on ministry budgets.” – The Sun(£)

  • Osborne’s £59 billion tax grab – The Times(£)
  • “This year, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, we will be spending £48.4 billion on central government debt interest. In five years’ time that burden will be up to £75.2 billion. We’ll be spending more paying the interest on our debts than we spend on transport and defence put together.” – Tim Montgomerie The Times(£)

…as CBI survey shows economic confidence growing

“The Bank of England upgraded its forecast for first quarter growth this year to 1 per cent, from 0.9 per cent, and said “it was possible that a sustainable rise in real wages was in prospect”. It has one of the most optimistic growth forecasts for 2014 — 3.4 per cent. Its upgrade came as the latest three-monthly survey by the CBI, the business lobby group, found that optimism among British manufacturers had improved at the sharpest pace since 1973. That was underpinned by strong order books and rising export demand.” – The Times(£)

>Today: Mel Stride MP on Comment: Stagnation or growth – what is the true picture on productivity?

A Conservative Government would stop building wind farms

Michael Fallon portrait“An effective moratorium on new onshore wind farms will be in place within six months of a Tory election victory next year, the party will pledge today. Energy Minister Michael Fallon will say that there is ‘no requirement for any more’ of the turbines  erected across the country with  little or no regard for the views of local communities. The Conservative manifesto will also pledge to scrap the subsidies paid by bill-payers for onshore wind power and change the planning system to allow local councils to block any which do not already have planning consent.” – Daily Mail

  • “BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins said the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had been “at pains to point out how much they disagree about onshore wind farms”, with David Cameron “repeatedly saying” subsidies must eventually be brought to an end.” – BBC

Pickles backs gravestone restoration for war heroes

“The Sun’s Honour Our VC Heroes campaign will ensure that all the gravestones of Britain’s Victoria Cross recipients are restored as poignant tributes that mark their sacrifice. The £100,000 that I can pledge today will pull the branches away, clean up the inscription and turn these graves into the respectful places they should be. There will be no mistaking the grave of Charles Stone as anything other than a hero’s resting place.” – Eric Pickles The Sun(£)

  • “Traditional county names like Middlesex and Cumberland could become a familiar sight again on England’s roads after ministers yesterday lifted a ban on displaying them on street signs. In a move to mark St George’s Day, the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said planning laws were being changed to allow councils to display traditional county names alongside more modern creations.” – Daily Mail

Clamour for Boris to return to Commons…

borisfringe“Senior Tories are calling on Boris Johnson to return to the Commons to prove the party has a stronger team of “heavy hitters” than Labour, it has emerged. Friends of the mayor now believe he could announce over the summer that he intends to run at the 2015 election. Downing St has long been in favour of seeing Mr Johnson return as an MP.” – The Times(£)

  • “At the next election the Conservative message will be a tough one, asking voters to stick with spending cuts and a programme of austerity. They will need ways of appearing optimistic as well as resolute. Mr Johnson has the ability to appeal in this way.” – Leader The Times(£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Big beasts for big times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Cry God for Hari, England and St George

…but Glover says Boris and George scheming risks Labour victory

“It is surely obvious how damaging it would be for the Tories over the coming months if The Boris And George Show loomed larger in the public mind. Most electors don’t like fractious political parties. The sight of two ‘Tory toffs’ tussling over future spoils would not go down well. Can anything be done? The question is addressed more at Boris than at Mr Osborne who, notwithstanding his outing on Tuesday, usually tries not to encourage speculation. The Mayor, by contrast, manufactures speculation like a Taiwanese factory churning out microchips.” – Stephen Glover Daily Mail

Teachers plan breakaway union for moderates

timesteachers“A new trade union for classroom teachers is to be launched amid growing discomfort at militancy and confrontation among the biggest education bodies. It will be aimed at teachers in primary and secondary schools who have become dismayed at plans by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to escalate its strikes. The union, the first new such body for teachers for almost 45 years, hopes to attract those in senior posts, such as heads of department or year groups. The body may also appeal especially to those in middle leadership roles who are put off by the hostile language routinely directed at school management by the Nasuwt, another teachers’ union, which has been running a work-to-contract dispute along with the NUT.” – The Times(£)

  • “The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) will launch the new union NAHTEdge in September. Members of the new union will be concurrent members of the NAHT and receive the same benefits, although NAHTEdge will be managed separately. Russell Hobby, general secretary of the 177-year-old NAHT, said the body was designed to attract “the next generation of school leaders,” such as heads of department and heads of faculty in schools, and hopes that it will recruit around 5,000 members.” – The Guardian

Meet Team Miliband

“The names of Ed Miliband’s team do not strike fear into the hearts of their opposite numbers — if, indeed, those opposite numbers know their names at all. This is, in part, a reflection of Miliband’s desire to reject the ‘celebrity politics’ of Labour’s recent past. In part, it’s because his advisers have shunned the limelight. And in part because Miliband’s operation has, by common consent, been a bit of a shambles.” – Dan Hodges The Spectator(£)

Lib Dems launch Euro Election campaign with attack on “isolationists”

“Nick Clegg will pledge to speak “loudly, passionately and unequivocally” against “isolationists” when he launches the Liberal Democrat campaign for the European elections. He will attack the UK Independence Party, calling its plan to leave the EU a “dangerous fantasy”.” – BBC

  • Danny Alexander hints that he wants to be Lib Dem leader – Daily Telegraph

Clwyd’s anger at NHS report

Ann Clywd“A Labour MP who exposed the neglect of her dying husband on a hospital ward told of her anger last night after an official report appeared to dismiss her concerns. Ann Clwyd previously spoke movingly of how her beloved Owen had died like a ‘battery hen’ at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, in 2012, describing the ‘contempt’ of nurses.” – Daily Mail

Blair criticised for speech on Islamic extremism

“Tony Blair’s speech seeking to rally global support for a confrontation with Islamic extremism generated a storm of reaction, most of it negative and much of it focusing on the messenger rather than the message. The director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, Chris Doyle, said the former prime minister had been right to underline the importance of the subject in his Bloomberg speech but was sharply critical of the way he went about tackling it.” – The Guardian

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: A reminder of Tony Blair’s most fundamental failings

News in brief

  • Tories apologise for Brown tweet – BBC
  • ASDA survey shows family incomes rising – The Sun(£)
  • UKIP angry over rival party’s name – BBC
  • Shale gas could provide 64,000 new jobs – The Times(£)
  • Ton Caplin was victim of Venezuelan bond scam – The Independent
  • Asylum seeker housing badly managed say MPs – BBC
  • Badger cull boosts hedgehog numbers – The Times(£)
  • Labour lead at five per cent – YouGov