Published:

5.45pm ToryDiary: Tory members rank twenty election-winning policies

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5.30pm ToryDiary: Full text of Theresa May's speech: We Will Win by Being the Party for All

1.30pm ToryDiary: “There is no left and right – except in political imagination”

10.30am Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Ed Miliband doing less well in marginal seats than nationwide – but still firmly ahead

ToryDiary:

Nadhim Zahawi MP on Comment: The Chancellor can do more to help the businesses of tomorrow

LeftWatch: Lib Dems can't decide whether they support or oppose the Government


TimesfrontlostTory supporters expect defeat at the next election

"The poll of 1,844 Tory members by the website Conservative Home found that only a quarter believed that the party would be either in power or sharing power after the next election. The poll found that 62 per cent of Tories regarded “stopping Tory-minded voters from defecting to UKIP” as the hardest task facing the party at the next election." – The Times (£)

 >Tory Diary: Only 7% of Tory members think Cameron can win a majority in 2015

Boles says Tories "screwed it up" in Eastleigh…..

"Nick Boles, the Planning Minister, said that he had been “thoroughly p****d off” by the “truly rotten campaign”. He said it proved that any attempt to pull the Tories to the right would end in electoral disaster. “Where was the hope? It was as if modernisation had never happened,” he said. “We screwed it up. We didn’t even screw up in a new way. We screwed up in an old way that we have been doing for a decade. It’s so frustrating.” – The Times (£)

…..while the Guardian suggests this will distract the Party from winning in the north

"As the party begins to tread the dangerous path of looking in on itself, there is a danger that a result in a southern by-election detracts from the real problem the Conservatives have, namely not making any sort of breakthrough in northern England. For the Conservatives to govern alone at the next election will require them to take a whole host of seats from Labour, seats such as Wirral South where Labour clings to a majority of just 531; Bolton West with an even measlier just 92 and yes, even the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Ball's seat of Morley and Outwood, which he holds with a majority over the Conservatives of just over 1,000. How do the Conservatives get the north back? The economy, stupid." – The Guardian


IndependenttruthCameron contradicted by OBR

"In a speech on the economy on Thursday, the prime minister said the independent watchdog had made it "absolutely clear" that spending cuts and tax rises were not responsible for the weak economy. But the OBR said it had been arguing for years that this was an issue." – BBC

  • "Robert Chote, the chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility, wrote to Downing Street to protest that Mr Cameron had misrepresented its view on the reasons for the economy’s feeble performance in recent years. The Treasury was rocked by the dramatic intervention, which follows several rebukes from the UK Statistics Authority for the Government’s handling and presentation of official figures on the economy and spending." – The Independent

>Yesterday ToryDiary: The OBR has upbraided David Cameron? Good – that’s kinda why George Osborne set it up

The Independent says Theresa May is the "Iron Lady in waiting"

"The Westminster rumour mill is abuzz with the possibility that the Conservative Party might choose a woman leader for the second time in history….Unusually for someone who has risen to such prominence in politics, May is a very private person, completely free from the addiction to self-publicity that has been the downfall of so many in her trade." – The Independent

  • "George Osborne behind whispers of May leadership bid" – The Guardian


GuardiancableCable calls for £15 billion more public spending on capital projects

"In a fresh intervention, the Liberal Democrat also called for affluent pensioner perks such as winter fuel payments and free TV licences to be taxed, and proposes up to £15bn of capital spending on house building less than two weeks before the budget is due to be unveiled. …Speaking to the Guardian, Cable said political disagreements over future spending plans were so intense that it was an option not to complete the planned coalition spending review this year, due to cover 2015-16." – The Guardian

  • "The Business Secretary has been denied a speaking slot in the formal conference, where his grassroots allies in the Social Liberal Forum (SLF) pressure group have tabled a “Plan C” or “Plan Cable” for the economy. They hope conference delegates will agree today to discuss their emergency motion tomorrow. But the Liberal Democrat leadership will try to water it down because it opposes further spending cuts." – The Independent
  • "Lib Dems bouyant despite Huhne and Pryce disgrace" – The Guardian

Clegg says Lib Dems "let people down" over Rennard scandal

"In his speech, on International Women's Day, the deputy prime minister told delegates gathering at the party's spring conference in Brighton: "When concerns were brought to the attention of members of my team, we acted to address them. But this should not have just been the responsibility of a few
individuals acting with the best of intentions. It must be the responsibility of the party as a whole to make sure we have the processes and support structures in place now and in the future. We didn't, and as a result we let people down. Liberal Democrats, that is not acceptable to me." – BBC

> Yesterday – Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Despite everything, there is still a strong sense that Lib Dems stand for fairness and ordinary people

The Times says the Conservatives and Lib Dems should stop squabbling

"Rather than look inward, the coalition parties need to redouble their efforts to make sure that they are running an effective Government. Although it is a secondary question, that will also turn out to be the wisest political strategy for them to follow. …The central lesson of governments in the midst of a difficult Parliament is that they should keep calm and carry on. " Leader The Times (£)


MailfrontaidDaily Mail says Tories "see sense" on Overseas Aid

"Foreign aid is to be diverted through British companies to prevent it falling into the hands of corrupt and wasteful regimes. Firms will use the money to win infrastructure contracts and boost struggling economies in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The radical move, to be announced by International Development Secretary Justine Greening next week, is being seen as a victory for common sense in the bitter controversy over the £11billion international development budget, which has been ringfenced while other departments face cuts." – Daily Mail

Peers attempt to sabotage Government programme in demand for Leveson reforms

"Hacked Off persuaded the cross-bench peer Lord Skidelsky to table an amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (ERR) Bill – which is designed to cut red tape in business and promote economic growth – in order to compel the Government fully to implement Lord Justice
Leveson's plan for a new press watchdog." – The Independent


TelegraphcareCompulsory training for health care staff

"Care home staff will be forced to undergo compulsory training for the first time under government plans to protect the elderly from abuse and neglect,   The lack of basic requirements for training care workers is leaving frail pensioners in the hands of staff who have “no idea what they are doing”, Norman Lamb, the health minister, warned." – Daily Telegraph

RMT union official accused of violent attack on female colleagueThe Independent

Woman protests at offensive questions from SWP kangeroo court after rape allegations – The Guardian


JeremyhuntJeremy Hunt says NHS culture of "targets at any cost" must go

"Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says it is time to challenge the NHS to strive for excellence rather than being a culture of compliance." – Daily Telegraph

  • "Our politicians, especially our health secretary, should be looking inwardly and supporting staff, not constantly denigrating them," said Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of GPs. "The constant publicity about how bad the NHS is has the potential to frighten the people who need it most, who might think it's not a safe place to get the care they need." – The Guardian


ArcherGraeme Archer says Tory MPs are like Bisou the stowaway cat

"Bisou was reported to be fine, if bewildered, by her journey. In this, she resembles many Tory MPs, trapped in the suitcase of coalition with the Lib Dems, and on the luggage carousel bound for a flight to… where? Not planet Tory, they seem to think. Every time the case is opened and they take a peak, the outside world seems yet more foreign. “They haven’t cut taxes yet,” miaows Tigger. “What’s all this about gay marriage?” snuffles Socks." – Daily Telegraph

Interviewed in the Financial Times, Farage calls on Tories to remove Cameron as leader in return for electoral pact

"Nigel Farage has laid down terms for a pre-election pact between his UK Independence party and the Conservatives: ditch David Cameron and hold a quick referendum on Europe. The Ukip leader said it was “highly unlikely” that his party could do a deal with Mr Cameron. Mr Farage said the prime minister had not apologised for branding Ukip a party made up of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”. – Financial Times


Parris_matthewMatthew Parris offers a guide to "pointless political advice"

Item three on his list is: "Rage against politicians for not “getting it” No need to define what it is they don’t get or what they’d do if they got it." – The Times (£)

"Nudge" scheme helps get unemployed into work

"A novel government programme that uses basic psychology to help people get back into work has improved the job prospects of the unemployed by
nearly 20 per cent…Under the new scheme Job Centre staff get claimants to identify and write down what they are going to do to find work in the next two
weeks as well as how and when they are going to do it." – The Independent

Abu Qatada arrested – The Sun

Tell Sid-style share offer plan for RBS sell off – Financial Times

Hague says there will be no ground troops in MaliDaily Telegraph

Sinn Fein win Mid Ulster byelections with reduced majorityBBC

Falkland Islanders go to the pollsDaily Telegraph

And finally…Tory councillor acts to prevent John Humphrys being woken by early morning noise

"The 69 year-old, who starts his Today programme broadcast at 6am each weekday, this week wrote to his local councillor, complaining how he was being deprived of his sleep….Harry Phibbs, the Conservative councillor for the Ravenscourt Park ward, intervened and raised the concerns with senior town hall officials who agreed to ban the practice." – Daily Telegraph

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