Tories tell Cameron: Don’t leave us out of any future Coalition negotiations

Libdem bird vs TORY“Tory MPs are warning David Cameron against a ‘plot’ to go over their heads and ask party members to endorse a second power-sharing deal with the Liberal Democrats. … Activists are seen as more positive about the idea than the Parliamentary party – with at least 80 Conservative MPs thought to be ‘implacably’ opposed. … The ConservativeHome website found that 61 per cent of party members opposed, either broadly or completely, the idea of another deal with the Lib Dems.” – Daily Mail

The Prime Minister continues to play down his migration aspirations

“David Cameron has apparently cooled on his party’s pledge to cut net migration to tens of thousands of people by next May’s general election. … The Prime Minister was repeatedly asked in a television interview if he was sticking to his commitment to cut the number coming to the UK to fewer than 100,000. … However he declined five times specifically to say that he wanted to achieve this by 2015, preferring to insist that the Conservatives were ‘working towards’ the target.” – Daily Telegraph

Gove’s tougher tests for 11-year-olds

gove“Tens of thousands of 11-year-olds are being stretched by more difficult tests that have been revived by Education Secretary Michael Gove. … Only the brightest pupils are expected to pass the tougher versions of Level 6 exams. … From 2016, the current standard tests for 11-year-olds will be replaced by a compulsory exam which will include many of the harder questions asked in the Level 6 papers.” – Daily Mail

  • “A voluntary code of conduct to regulate teaching in madrasas in Britain is due to be announced next month by the education secretary, Michael Gove.” – The Guardian
  • “An increasing use of private tutoring is making children disengage from their lessons at school, a headmaster has said.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “What a telling snapshot of the confusions of contemporary British society. Trying to protect gay sensibilities, Ofsted offends a religious minority; conversely, to avoid offending Muslims entails outraging gay people.” – Melanie Phillips, The Times (£)

Ministers versus the press, round 264

Newspaper mastheads“Ministers are seeking powers to make newspapers remove from their online archives stories about the criminal past of people facing trial. … Editors fear the move could create a ‘black hole’ in the historical record by striking out previous convictions. … It has been designed as part of a crackdown on jurors using the internet to research a case, mid-trial. … But, to make it harder for them to do so, Attorney General Dominic Grieve wants the power to issue a so-called ‘take-down’ order to UK newspapers.” – Daily Mail

  • “A police chief has said more than half of his force’s armed officers could stop carrying weapons because of plans by the police watchdog to ban them from conferring with each other as they write up statements following a shooting.” – The Guardian
  • “Police at one of the country’s largest forces are not dealing with crimes in person because of budget cuts.” – Daily Mail
  • “Murderer on the run for fourth time” – The Times (£)

Dominic Lawson: The Tories should be shouting with joy about Hinchingbrooke

NHS“…not a single Conservative spokesman pointed out that Hinchingbrooke’s winning of the top hospital award refuted the Labour leader’s accusation that competition was putting the NHS ‘backwards’. … This is shameful, not least because it would have been a much-needed recognition of what the doctors and nurses at Hinchingbrooke have achieved — in the face of a continuing campaign by the unions nationally to have Circle’s management contract cancelled.” – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

  • “Rising rates of mental health disorders among children are linked to council budget cuts and health restructurings that have denied vulnerable young people early help, the Children’s Commissioner has told MPs.” – The Independent

The Mirror visits Heath’s home

“But now the Ghost of Ted is returning to haunt Cameron’s Cons in the run-up to the European elections on Thursday. Arundells, his fascinating listed home in the shadow of Salisbury’s magnificent cathedral in Wiltshire, has reopened to the public. …Heath bequeathed the residence to the nation when he died a bachelor without any heirs. The only other 20th Century Premier bestowed the peculiar honour of a house open to the public is Sir Winston Churchill and his Chartwell estate in Kent.” – Daily Mirror

Clegg tries to stoke Tory anger over Europe

CURSE OF CLEGG one“Nick Clegg has slammed the PM’s bid to reform Britain’s relationship with the EU — saying it is doomed to failure. … In an exclusive interview, the Lib Dem leader said David Cameron’s ‘small fry’ reform proposals were so insignificant that even he would back them. … And he said they would never be enough to satisfy Tory backbenchers baying for Britain to quit the European Union altogether.” – The Sun (£)

Read Clegg’s conversation with The Sun’s cabbie in full

  • “Downing Street is making a last-ditch diplomatic effort to find European allies to block a leading opponent of Britain’s reform agenda from the top job in Brussels.” – The Times (£)
  • “The results suggest Britain now has a more favourable attitude to the EU than citizens in Spain, Greece and Italy – and is only marginally behind pro-European countries such as France.” – The Independent

And comment:

  • “With friends like Nick Clegg who needs enemies?” – Sun editorial(£)
  • “…the mere fact that pro-Europeans form a silent majority in modern Britain will come as a revelation to many, shattering many a hoary myth about what makes this country tick.” – Independent editorial
  • “Our MEPs really are worth your vote” – Chris Huhne, The Guardian

Meanwhile, he advises the Lib Dems not to panic – is he fearful for his job?

“With rumours swirling of a plot against his leadership, the Deputy Prime Minister told colleagues it would be ‘highly self-defeating’ to turn inwards just as the Government’s key decisions are being ‘vindicated’. … He also snapped at the BBC’s Andrew Marr, accusing him of ‘sneering’ at him for insisting the Lib Dems could form another coalition with the Tories after 2015 despite rising tensions between the two parties.” – Daily Mail

And he has some words for Scottish voters, too

Scottish flag“In a speech in Edinburgh on Monday, Mr Clegg will echo a pledge last week by David Cameron, prime minister, that offers of further devolution from the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats mean voting No will give Scotland more control over its fiscal affairs. … ‘All three parties are clear in their commitment,’ Mr Clegg will say. ‘More powers will come.'” – Financial Times

“Nick Clegg has challenged other pro-UK politicians to have a more honest public debate about offering Scotland greater powers over tax and spending before September’s referendum.” – The Guardian

  • “It was predictable that last week’s House of Lords report on the constitutional implications of a yes vote in the Scottish referendum was brushed aside by David Cameron during his latest Scottish visit and simultaneously trashed by the Scottish nationalists. … This was a mistake.” – Guardian editorial

Davey wants Npower to improve its customer service

“Npower will be ordered by government to fix its woeful customer service. … The boss of Britain’s most complained about power supplier is to be hauled in front of the Energy Secretary. … Sources told The Sun that Ed Davey is furious with Npower for taking so long to fix a meltdown caused by its new billing system.” – The Sun (£)

Another disheartening poll for Miliband…

Ed Miliband stare“Four out of ten Labour voters say Ed Miliband is not a PM in waiting. … And in a further twist of the knife they have put his brother David top of a list of potential successors. … The drubbing — in an exclusive poll for The Sun — comes a day after a top Labour MP slammed the party leader for electoral suicide by pursuing a ‘mantra of misery’. … Ed will launch a new bid for votes today by pledging an increase in the national minimum wage — without giving a target.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Both the Blue Labour wing – loosely supporters of Jon Cruddas such as Lord Glasman – and some more traditional centre-right Labour figures in the shadow cabinet have urged a stronger attack on Ukip.” – The Guardian

…ahead of a pledge to increase the minimum wage

“Ed Miliband will fight the next election on a promise to ‘significantly increase’ the national minimum wage as the Labour leader puts low pay at the heart of his 2015 pitch to voters. … The Labour leader will on Monday announce that he will set the Low Pay Commission a five-year target to increase the rate to a set percentage of median hourly pay if he wins the general election.” – Financial Times

  • “Companies need to win back public trust by helping disadvantaged groups to share in the economic recovery, the first female deputy director-general of Britain’s largest business lobby group has said.” – Financial Times
  • “Switzerland’s voters have overwhelmingly turned down a plan to introduce what would have been the highest minimum wage in the world, in a fillip for the country’s businesses.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “The Rich List contains hundreds of role models to inspire the younger generation” – Martin Vander Weyer, Daily Telegraph

Farage and the n-word: UKIP hit by more racism allegations

UKIP glass“The founder of Ukip last night revived claims that Nigel Farage repeatedly used the n-word when referring to black voters – as the party was plunged into turmoil over allegations of racism. … Professor Alan Sked said a storm of controversy provoked by Mr Farage’s remarks last week about Romanians ‘backs up what I have always said’ about the Ukip leader’s private views on race. … ‘He told me, “We needn’t worry about the n****r vote”,’ Professor Sked told the Daily Mail. ‘He added: “The n**-n**s will never vote for us.”’” – Daily Mail

  • “…it’s clear Shapps is up for the fight Ukip has brought to his door over Europe. ‘Where the hell were Ukip when David Cameron negotiated a cut in the UK’s contribution to Europe?’ he asks angrily. ‘They voted against the cut. They refuse to deliver even when they can.'” – City AM
  • “Shamed Ukip leader Nigel Farage last night claimed he was ‘tired out’ when he made his racist outburst about Romanians.” – The Sun (£)
  • “The leader of the UK Independence Party leader has taken out a newspaper advert insisting his stance against Romanians is not racist and is planning to lead a ‘carnival’ for black and ethnic minority voters.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “UKIP’s most senior female representative has been photographed giving a rude hand gesture in response to a group of local activists who questioned her party’s policies in a Kent town centre this weekend.” – Daily Mail
  • “Politicians from Britain’s three main political parties should be hanged and their voters tried for treason, a Ukip candidate has said.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Nick Clegg has said Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s mask is beginning to slip, and that ‘behind the beer-swilling bonhomie is a really nasty view of the world’ and of modern Britain.” – The Guardian
  • “‘I have a lot of respect for Mr Farage and his party,’ Mr Wilders said…” – The Times (£)
  • “Up to one in three voters are expected to back Ukip in this week’s European elections in what would mark a historic moment for the anti-Brussels party.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “There is only one party with any hope of both forming the government of this country and giving the people the debate and the vote we are crying out for – and that is David Cameron’s Conservative Party.” – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph
  • “Is a great realignment possible, with the old Gladstonian coalition of economic free-marketers and social liberals gradually re-emerging, with Labour, Ukip, the Greens and the Lib Dems left appealing to those who fear change?” – Matt Ridley, The Times (£)
  • “Is Ukip leader voice of nation… or bigoted menace?” – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun (£)
  • “Racism is far more than old white men using the N-word” – Gary Younge, The Guardian
  • “The Conservatives are the only party offering both the promise of a new deal with Europe and the prospect of being in Government to deliver it. … So they need to listen to those voices hailing Farage as a hero and turn this week’s protest votes into next year’s Tory votes.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “The mainstream parties and the pundits may have to brace themselves for a noisy, tight election this week – one that has generated far more interest than matters European generally enjoy.” – Daily Telegraph editorial

>Today: Priti Patel MP’s column – This is the most successful Euro-sceptic government since Thatcher’s. So vote Conservative on Thursday.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary – Pollsters risk their reputations trying to suss out what will happen on Thursday

Glad tidings from Carney…

Mark Carney“Workers can expect to see their wages grow strongly in the months ahead –  ending the ‘cost of living crisis’ – the  Governor of the Bank of England said yesterday. … Mark Carney said pay rises were already matching inflation and should increase further, returning to historic rates of three to four per cent a year.” – Daily Mail

…and unhappy ones, as well

“The government’s Help to Buy scheme could distort the entire mortgage market and may have to be curbed, the governor of the Bank of England warned yesterday. … Mark Carney said that the programme to help new home owners to secure a mortgage with a deposit of as little as 5 per cent may be encouraging a return to risky home loans. … The remarks represent the most explicit sign that the Bank of England may formally request a policy change in September.” – The Times (£)

  • “Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One: ‘I think if [Mr Carney] says that we need to pare back some of the Government schemes, like Help to Buy, then I think we should do so.'” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “…it would be foolish to imperil the entire recovery by allowing one part of it to overheat.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “The solutions to Britain’s heated housing market need to be formulated in Downing Street rather than Threadneedle Street” – Times editorial (£)


Pfizer’s AstraZeneca bid in doubt

Pfizer“AstraZeneca is preparing to reject a £69bn takeover bid by rival drugmaker Pfizer just hours after its US suitor said it would walk away if its offer were rebuffed, putting into doubt a deal that would be the largest foreign takeover of a UK company. … The £55-per-share bid, upped from £50 two weeks ago, was viewed by key members of AstraZeneca’s management team and its board of directors as falling short of properly valuing the company, according to people familiar with the matter.” – Financial Times

  • “The public interest argument on AstraZeneca is overdone” – Tony Jackson, Financial Times

Further delay for the Chilcot Report?

“A letter sent by Tony Blair to George Bush that is ‘critical’ to the Iraq Inquiry has gone missing from official White House records, it has been reported. … The publication of secret correspondence between the UK and US administrations in the build-up to the Iraq War has become a major stumbling block for Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry into the 2003 invasion.” – The Independent

News in brief

  • Gunmen attack Libya’s parliament and prime minister’s office – Financial Times
  • Hamza’s plan for Taliban headquarters in the UK – Daily Mail
  • Snowden journalist threatens to reveal more GCHQ secrets – Daily Mail
  • Britain’s new £1.2 billion nuclear-powered submarine is launched – The Sun (£)
  • Thousands flee flooding in Serbia and Bosnia – The Guardian
  • Families of missing British yachtsmen plead for US to resume search – Daily Telegraph

And finally 1) You may say Cam’s a dreamer

England football manager Roy Hodgson“PM David Cameron says he is ‘daring to dream’ that England can win the World Cup. … Breaking with his Government’s gloomy view, he insisted anything is possible. He added that even the Scots would be right behind Roy Hodgson’s Boys. He said: ‘I’m a huge fan and I think (Roy) is a great manager.'” – The Sun (£)

And finally 2) Swimsuit diplomacy

“She is not the most likely of diplomats, but Pamela Anderson has told how she has influenced some of the worlds most formidable leaders – thanks to Baywatch. … Anderson, the actress and model, claimed she had convinced Vladimir Putin to ban the import of seal products, and had discussed major policy with Fidel Castro.” – Daily Telegraph

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