Prime Minister urges schools to teach profit making to children…

Cameron1“Children must be taught how to make a profit if the country is to generate a new generation of entrepreneurs, David Cameron has said. The Prime Minister said schools should do more to develop the future Richard Bransons and Karren Bradys, adding that he wanted to see business leaders visiting schools to share their knowledge. Speaking to the Institute of Directors magazine he said: ‘Children need to know how money is made, about turning over a profit, about working in a team. The future Richard Bransons and Karren Bradys are out there.” – Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister backs separating pupils by ability – The Times (£)
  • Baker warns that practical skills are absent from schools – Daily Telegraph
  • Miliband has the skills to pay the bills – Michael Deacon’s sketch, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: You want pupils to learn about profits, Prime Minister? Here’s a way in which they can do so.

…as new figures deal fresh blow to his immigration promise

“David Cameron’s promise to curb immigration was shattered yesterday by figures revealing it has hit the highest level on record. Annual net migration – the measure of how many people have come into Britain minus those who have left – has reached nearly 300,000. When he took power in 2010 Mr Cameron pledged to bring this politically sensitive figure below 100,000.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Until or unless we leave the EU, we stand no chance of reducing net immigration to “tens of thousands”

Theresa May: Cutting immigration remains our aim

MAY Home Office big“Back in 2010, we said we wanted to get annual net migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands. Thanks to net migration from the EU – which has doubled – and thanks to coalition government, the Conservatives haven’t been able to go as far as we’d like. So we haven’t met that objective. But cutting immigration remains our aim. Unlike the other parties – who seem to gloat that the numbers are going up – we still want to see the numbers come down. And we have a plan to do just that if the Conservative Party wins a majority at the election in May.” – The Sun (£)

Cameron, Clegg and Crabb set to unveil fresh funding deal for Wales

“The UK Government will today publish proposals to put Wales on the path to fairer funding when the coalition parties commit to deliver a sweeping package of new powers to the Assembly. It is understood Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb with the support of the prime minister and deputy prime minister, overcame Whitehall resistance to secure a pledge to introduce a funding “floor” to ensure that the cash the Welsh Government receives under the Barnett formula from the Treasury is not eroded.” – Wales Online

>Yesterday: Graeme Archer’s column: I would vote for the Coalition – it ought to stand in May

Hunt gives statement to the House on Stoke Mandeville report

Hunt Jeremy 15“Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt vows that “never again must the power of money or celebrity blind us to repeated clear signals that some extremely vulnerable people were being abused” as he repeated an apology from the Government to the victims of Jimmy Savile. An official report, published by barrister Kate Lampard today, will disclose allegations that Savile assaulted and raped at least 60 victims at Stoke Mandeville hospital.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Cowardly politicians aren’t up to fixing the NHS – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

Committees 1) Osborne’s EU negotiation claim questioned

“Days later, Mr Osborne emerged from an Ecofin meeting with fellow EU finance ministers to declare that Britain would pay just £850 million, telling reporters: “We have halved the bill … it’s a result for Britain.” However, MPs on the new Treasury select committee report has found that Mr Osborne’s claim was “not supported by the facts”, and the Treasury should have known “well in advance” of the November 7 meeting that the demand would automatically be cut in half by Britain’s regular EU rebate, negotiated by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984.” – Daily Telegraph

Committees 2) Foreign Affairs Committee claims FCO cuts will hinder diplomacy

MANIFESTO money“Budget cuts and low pay at the Foreign Office are endangering the UK’s global role and could have a “disastrous and costly” effect on the government’s ability to make informed judgments on critical issues, including whether to go to war, according to a parliamentary report. Protect FCO’s Budget or Reduce Britain’s Global Diplomacy, from the cross-party House of Commons foreign affairs committee, depicts a department under severe and increasing strain.” – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Karen Lumley MP in Comment: How Mohamed Nasheed, a friend to me, Britain and freedom, was brutally arrested

Committees 3) Coalition’s Arctic policy risks seeing UK left behind, warn peers

“A feeble approach to promoting Britain’s interests in the Arctic means that the UK risks being outmanoeuvred by other countries, says a House of Lords committee. The government should follow the example set by France, Singapore and Japan and appoint an ambassador to a region facing unprecedented change that is likely to present big risks and opportunities, it says in a report. “Other countries are assertive about their interests in the Arctic, and the UK should be, too,” the Lords Arctic committee said on Friday.” – Financial Times

Ottaway attacks Cypriot naval port deal with Putin

“There had already been a surge in Russian navy visits to the Cypriot port of Limassol, but the new agreement puts the situation on more solid legal ground. Tory MP Richard Ottaway, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said: ‘It is going to make renewing sanctions against Russia … much more unlikely. ‘Putin is trying to drive a wedge between countries in the EU.’” – Daily Mail

Tory MPs demand Cameron pledge to rip up Davey’s wind farm contracts

“Ed Davey, the energy and climate change secretary, awarded 27 new contracts yesterday, including 15 onshore wind projects and five solar projects, with the rest involving waste energy or new “conversion technology”. Conservative MPs demanded that David Cameron cancel the contracts, which will be signed before the election, to honour his pledge that a future Conservative government would stop all new subsidies for onshore wind farms.” – The Times (£)

Quentin Letts: Is Javid the Bond villain to fix the BBC?

JAVID Sajid BBC“I occasionally do freelance work for the Beeb yet the Corporation’s anti-Right bias drives me nuts. It has neglected its founding, elitist principles. Its default egalitarianism is a negation of its raison d’etre. In Mr Javid we finally have a Culture Secretary who is flintily small-state and takes a libertarian approach to freedom of expression. There is not much romantic, Macmillanesque gloop in this Secretary of State. He sees that consensus can be the antithesis of true tolerance.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Not just the Uxbridge One, but the Magnificent Seven

Miliband’s tuition policy criticised by experts and businesses…

“Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, has also had to deny repeatedly reports that he had been in a “bust up” with Mr Miliband over how to fund the fees cut. The plans were criticised on Thursday with one business group raising concerns about the possible impact on science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour locked in 11th hour talks to save fees plan – The Sun (£)
  • Ed tries to manufacture a little love – Ann Treneman’s sketch, The Times (£)

…as party is corrected over inflated zero hours contracts claim

LABOUR holes“Labour has been corrected by the Office for National Statistics over a claim that 1.8 million people are on zero-hour contracts. Britain’s statistical office said the actual figure is one third of that. The party used figures released yesterday to issue a graphic, stating: “There are now 1.8 million people on zero-hour contracts.”… But the Office for National Statistics said the party had failed to distinguish between contracts and people.” – Daily Telegraph

Labour Seats 1) Leader accused of striking cash-for-seats pact with unions

“Moderate Labour MPs have accused Ed Miliband of striking a “cash for MPs” deal with union bosses. They allege two senior Unite officials have been eased into prized safe seats after a £1.5million donation from the giant union a month ago. Moves are afoot to parachute in more Unite activists, the Blairite MPs fear.” – The Sun (£)

  • Poll suggests Miliband has a 74 per cent chance of being Prime Minister – Financial Times
  • Crossrail 2 costs PCS a £25 million payday – The Sun (£)

Labour Seats 2) ‘Fix’ in Galloway seat collapses into chaos

GALLOWAY George“Ed Miliband has been forced to seize control of the contest to choose a challenger to George Galloway after accusations of vote-rigging. Labour’s senior executive held an emergency meeting about the Bradford West constituency after its candidate stood down days after being selected amid claims of clan-based politics among local British-Pakistani factions.” – The Times (£)

Balls dismisses SNP demands as ‘irrelevant’…

“Nicola Sturgeon’s demands for propping up a minority Labour government after the general election are an irrelevance because they are not going to be implemented, Ed Balls has said as she marked 100 days as First Minister. The Shadow Chancellor said Ms Sturgeon’s call for an extra £180 billion of public spending after the election is “not the issue” because Britons will either get a Tory economic plan or a Labour one.” – Daily Telegraph

…as he refuses to rule out Nationalist pact

snplogo“Ed Balls put a post-election deal with the SNP back on the table yesterday by refusing to rule out such a move. The shadow chancellor appeared to change his previous position against an agreement with Nicola Sturgeon, but he attacked the terms that the Scottish first minister has set for such a deal including £180 billion more public spending and the scrapping of Trident. He also shot down her claims that Scotland could vote SNP and get a Labour government, insisting that the only way to ensure that his party won power was to vote for it.” – The Times (£)

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: How I surprised Ed Balls with my small package

Philip Collins: Labour’s dumbest idea is cutting tuition fees

“Mr Miliband ran for the leadership of the Labour party on the promise of a graduate tax, a disastrous policy that does not produce the necessary revenue for universities until 2041 and doesn’t get a penny out of anyone who has left the country. In 2011 he told his party conference that he would reduce the fee cap for undergraduates from £9,000 to £6,000 per annum. Today, after four years of preparation, Labour will tell us which other budget will be raided to make this happen, accompanied, no doubt, by some flowery talk about investing in both science and the next generation.” – The Times (£)

Farage insists his party is ‘not the Tea Party’ on US visit…

UKIP glass“UKIP, he boasted, is ‘an insurgent political force that has taken on the political establishment and rocked them to the backs of their heels.’ But don’t confuse him with the tea party, he said after the applause ended. ‘We’re not the tea party,’ Farage insisted one-on-one. ‘Our job is not to influence one political party. We’re not an outlier from the Tories.’” – Daily Mail

…as UKIP demand taxpayer funded bodyguards for him…

“UKIP has demanded taxpayer-funded police bodyguards for Nigel Farage during the General Election campaign. The party has made a formal submission to the Home Office, which is now being assessed by MI5 and police chiefs. The Ukip leader was furious when forced to cancel a recent walkabout in Rotherham, South Yorks, as protesters mobbed the party’s office in the town. He ripped into the police for “wilfully doing nothing” to protect him.” – The Sun (£)

  • Judge orders UKIP candidate not to take children to rally – Daily Mail

…and sign up to Osborne’s deficit timetable

money“The UK Independence party will on Friday sign up to the George Osborne’s plans to eliminate the deficit by 2018, proposing to cut billions of pounds’ worth of funding from Scotland to help do so. Patrick O’Flynn, the party’s economic spokesman, will tell delegates at this weekend’s spring conference he backs the scale of cuts outlined by the chancellor for the next parliament. But to do so, he will announce that Ukip backs scrapping the Barnett formula that decides Scotland’s funding allocation from Westminster, and make heavy cuts to Holyrood’s block grant instead.” – Financial Times

UKIP LGBT chair quits party

“Ukip’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group chair has resigned over concerns that the party’s leadership has failed to “set a gay-friendly tone”. Announcing his resignation on Twitter, Tom Booker said that his departure was because he “simply couldn’t defend the party any more”. “It’s a long way from Classical Liberal these days”, he added.” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Jobless young total hits eight-year low – The Sun (£)
  • Rough sleeping rises 55 per cent under Coalition – Daily Telegraph
  • GPs to get bonus for recording your dying wish – Daily Mail
  • Committee warns against UK diplomats’ poor language skills – The Times (£)
  • Clegg set to host LBC show on mental health – The Sun (£)
  • Tories set to benefit from voter registration change – Financial Times
  • Britannia rules again on £2 coin – Daily Express