Published:

8pm ToryDiary: UKIP on 17% in latest ComRes poll – Tories on 28%

4.45pm LeftWatch: Balls to Osborne: Go on, borrow more

Cameron1.45pm WATCH: A David Cameron double bill…

1pm ToryDiary: Cameron goes on the defensive – "Our battle is with Labour," he tells Tory activists

10.45am ToryDiary: Five MPs support Conservative Grassroots – which meets at today's Spring Forum

OsborneOn ToryDiary, Paul Goodman profiles a Chancellor under pressure: "The truth is that Osborne is a marmite politician in a country that prefers marmalade. This distorts judgements. Mine is that he's not as good as his tiny band of fans claim and not nearly as bad as his much bigger band of detractors assert."

Also on ToryDiary: Has David Cameron finally found a message he will stick with?

Stewart Jackson MP on Comment: Is it time for a land tax in the Budget on builders who won't build?

On Majority Conservatism, Philip Davies MP reiterates the theme of his talk to last weekend's Victory 2015 conference: Win the Blue Collar Vote or prepare for Opposition

WATCH: "The white smoke over the Falklands was pretty clear," says David Cameron in response to the Pope

Leveson 1): Tory MPs set to rebel against David Cameron's press reforms

All three main parties will order their MPs to fall into line on Monday. … But Labour sources said they were in talks with a group of about 20 Tory rebels who may be persuaded to defy Mr Cameron. … A small group of Labour MPs could also rebel, but most Westminster observers believe the Parliamentary arithmetic is narrowly against the Prime Minister at this stage." – Daily Mail

Cabinet minister David Jones forced to fly back from Japan for press vote – Daily Telegraph

  • RB"Unless the royal charter delivers on Leveson, I cannot back it" – Robert Buckland MP, Guardian
  • "David Cameron’s decision to abandon cross-party talks on implementing Leveson has injected a degree of drama into these final stages. It was a surprise and a disappointment, but I will not walk away from a cross- party approach." – Nick Clegg, The Times (£)
  • "MPs must not decide what goes in the papers" – Matthew Parris, The Times (£)
  • "Our offence? Only to side with The Guardian and Financial Times in calling for the process of implementing Leveson’s recommendations to be more open, and for the Conservatives’ chosen instrument of a Royal Charter to be accompanied by a brief statute." – Chris Blackhurst, Independent

> Yesterday:

Leveson 2): Reports that Hacked Off threatened Labour

Hacked OFf"Media pressure group Hacked Off made extraordinary threats against Labour in a bid to ‘sabotage’ cross-party talks on Press reform, it emerged last night. … The group threatened to publish a statement in which victims of phone hacking would condemn Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman and Nick Clegg in the strongest terms for agreeing to a ‘dirty deal’." - Daily Mail

  • "…the most unedifying aspect of this saga is the way Labour has been hijacked by Hacked Off, a self-appointed cadre of Press-hating zealots, tarnished celebrities and small-town academics." – Daily Mail editorial
  • "One minute Hacked Off denounces the Press for manipulating politicians using threats and secret deals. The next it manipulates politicians itself using threats and secret deals. … The hypocrisy would be hilarious if its ramifications were less serious." – Sun editorial

Leveson 3): Boris has his say

Boris"Public officials may be too scared to reveal important issues because of the 'hysteria' behind the massive police investigations into journalists, Boris Johnson has declared. … The London Mayor also yesterday backed PM David Cameron’s showdown stand against a Press law, called for by Lord Justice Leveson. … Mr Johnson added: … 'How can we tell dictators and despots around the world to keep their hands off journalists if politicians have oversight of the media here?'" – The Sun

Mr Cameron takes on the Pope

"David Cameron clashed with the new Pope yesterday over his claims that the Falkland Islands had been ‘usurped’ by the British. … Referring to the method used in the Vatican to denote that a new Pope has been elected, Mr Cameron said: ‘As it were, the white smoke over the Falklands was pretty clear.’" - Daily Mail

> Today's video to WATCH: "The white smoke over the Falklands was pretty clear," says David Cameron in response to the Pope

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: David Cameron: It is right to look at further changes to the Syrian arms embargo

And promises an "aspiration nation"

Cameorn"In a speech to Conservative  activists in London, the Prime Minister will say: 'I know the leg-ups I got in life. A loving family, wonderful parents, a great school and university.' He will promise to build 'an aspiration nation' and 'a country where it’s not who you know or where you’re from, but who you are and where you’re determined to go.' He will add: 'My dream for Britain is that opportunity is not an accident of birth, but a birth-right.'" – Independent

> Today:

And wins a deal to cut EU red tape

"Over dinner in Brussels last night, EU leaders agreed a to bring forward 'concrete' plans to cut bureaucracy by June. … Decisions on which regulations will be abolished are then expected to be discussed in the autumn." – Daily Telegraph

  • Jam"On Monday, Mr Cable will announce plans to change the regulations, describing them as an example of unnecessary red tape and 'gold-plating' of European Union directives. 'This looks like jam, smells like jam and tastes like jam,' he said. 'The only thing stopping it being called jam is some outdated rules.'" - Independent

Both sides claim victory after yesterday's HS2 judgement

"Campaigners against the £34billion HS2 rail project  yesterday won their fight for higher compensation. … The Government won nine other cases yesterday relating to the plan to run 225mph trains from London to the Midlands and beyond in a  Y-shaped route to Leeds and Manchester. … Rail minister Simon Burns said: ‘This is a major landmark victory for HS2 and the future of Britain.'" – Daily Mail

"Legal wrangling over plans for a high-speed rail line from London to the north of England could drag on for years after opponents were given leave to appeal against a court ruling." – Financial Times (£)

> WATCH: Simon Burns MP on today's HS2 judgement: "We have had a convincing green-light to press ahead"

Budget 1): Plunging growth forecasts

Downturn"George Osborne is expected to announce weaker-than-anticipated growth figures in Wednesday’s Budget … The sharp reduction to this year’s growth outlook — estimated to be slightly more than half previous predictions — will leave the Chancellor’s hopes of reducing borrowing on a knife-edge and open him to a fresh assault from Labour." – The Times (£)

  • "Why Britain needs a stimulus" – Guardian editorial

Budget 2): Pressure over taxation

"The Government's claims that it has cut taxes through big rises in the personal allowance are a myth, according to figures calculated for TheTelegraph by accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). They show that most taxpayers have seen little, if any, benefit from the changes because other taxes have been inflated to pay for them." – Daily Telegraph

  • "…the Budget needs to contain not just piecemeal tinkering, but measures that hand money to companies and consumers." – Daily Telegraph editorial

Budget 3): Childcare tax breaks of £1,500?

Child Care"Ministers are set to unveil more generous childcare tax breaks next week in a bid to woo working women voters. … Families could be entitled to claim up to an extra £1,500 per child every year from their tax bills to cover the cost of child- minders and nurseries." – Daily Mail 

Budget 4): Or is it childcare vouchers worth £2,000?

"The UK coalition government will try to sell next week’s Budget as a help to hard-pressed families with plans for a childcare voucher scheme to help parents pay nursery fees. … The scheme is expected to be worth up to £1.5bn and will offer families up to £2,000 in vouchers towards the cost of childcare." – Financial Times (£)

Budget 5): Or is it a delay for childcare tax breaks?

"David Cameron and Nick Clegg are to join forces on Tuesday to launch a series of childcare initiatives which the prime minister described last week as a 'very major step forward'. … But Osborne is expected to announce in the budget on Wednesday that it will take time, possibly until after the general election in 2015, to add a new tax break of up to £1,000 to existing childcare help." – Guardian

Budget 6): "If this Budget flops, a Tory bloodbath is just weeks away"

SH"… those who are plotting claim that, for all the present discontent, Mr Cameron is safe until the Euro elections in May next year. Many Tories, though, fear UKIP, which came a strong second last time, could increase its share of votes. Such a result could be fatal to the Prime Minister. … Yet I don’t see Mr Cameron being deposed easily." - Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

> Today on ToryDiary: Osborne under pressure

"The Chancellor met [bank bosses] at 11 Downing Street almost 50 times in the two years after the Coalition came to power"Daily Mail

An intra-Coalition battle over housing policy

"With only days before the Budget, a new battle erupted over measures to boost the property market. The Government had been hoping to present new housing proposals on Monday, as part of its mid-term review. But informed sources suggested that the plans, said to include extra help for first-time buyers, expanding the Right to Buy, and releasing more cash for affordable homes, have split the coalition again." – The Times (£)

> Today, by Stewart Jackson MP on Comment: Is it time for a land tax in the Budget on builders who won't build?

> Yesterday, by Alex Morton on Comment: Let’s have more self-build housing – and quick

Boris wants the Government to build big

Crane"Britain should embrace Gallic 'ruthlessness' to embark on a building spree of high-speed rail lines, runways and nuclear power stations, Boris Johnson declared yesterday. … The Mayor of London spoke of his admiration for the way big infrastructure projects were pushed through in France." – The Times (£)

  • "David Cameron can see off a challenge from Theresa May. But Boris Johnson is another matter." – Andrew Grice, Independent

Jeremy Hunt to make the manipulation of NHS statistics a criminal offence

"Fiddling figures from NHS hospitals will become a criminal offence, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is to announce. … Penalties for manipulating statistics on waiting times and death rates could include seven-figure fines and jail terms." – Guardian

  • Downing Street says Sir David Nicholson is partly to blame for Mid Staffs – Daily Telegraph

"A long delayed £150m government overhaul of primary school sport, announced on Saturday, has been welcomed by Olympic athletes including Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis"Guardian

Sarah Wollaston urges the Tory leadership to keep on modernising

SW"Sarah Wollaston said she could have used 'more diplomatic language' when she used Twitter to warn the Prime Minister that his inner circle should be less 'posh, male and white'. … But the MP for Totnes said that her comments about the Prime Minister’s team were designed to remind him to promote more women." – The Times (£)

The Daily Mail profiles Samantha Cameron

"…one Tory strategist warns: ‘The more voters tend to see of Downing Street wives, the less they tend to like them. Cherie Blair is the perfect example: Exhibit A. … Every photo-op Samantha does will spark its share of criticism, as this Comic Relief thing shows. So she’s very wise to keep her head down.’" – Daily Mail

Ed Balls calls for a cut in the basic rate of income tax

Balls"In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ed Balls insists that a cut in the basic rate of income tax — funded by a temporary rise in borrowing — would ultimately pay for itself as it would spark economic growth. … He says “something must be done now” as Britain is facing an economic depression 'like the 1930s'." – Daily Telegraph

  • Read the Telegraph's interview with Ed Balls here.

Labour's reliance on all-women shortlistsGuardian

Eric Joyce's drinking ban

"The independent MP Eric Joyce faces a possible jail term after being arrested for the second time for an alleged late-night brawl in the House of Commons. … Mr Joyce, 52, was banned yesterday from buying or being served alcohol within Parliament’s grounds for an indefinite period…" – The Times (£)

> From yesterday, LISTEN: An eyewitness to the Eric Joyce incident describes what he saw

Nigel Farage hates Cameron, loves Gove

Farage"'I can’t stand Cameron,' says Farage, witheringly, through a miasma of cigarette smoke. 'He’s shallow, nobody trusts a word he says.' … 'Our effect on the Tories is more psychological than arithmetical,' says Farage, with (slightly suspect) generosity, who, incidentally, would be minded to do business with Michael Gove on the grounds 'he doesn’t just talk, he listens.'" – from the interview with Mr Farage in the Daily Telegraph

"Being political is necessary," says the Archbishop of Canterbury

"The Most Rev Justin Welby suggested that he would stand up to the Government when its policies conflicted with the values of the Church. “'Speaking to Government depends on the circumstances,' he said. 'Certainly not to oppose for the sake of it, but to be clear about what Christian values are.' … He added: 'Being political is necessary, being party political is something you avoid.'" – Daily Mail

Glasgow tops the league table for people coming off benefitsThe Sun

  • DWP seeks law change to avoid benefit repayments after Poundland ruling – Guardian

"Charities must clean up their act if they want us to dig deep" – Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph

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