Published:

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4.30pm WATCH: Tony Bray, Margaret Thatcher's first boyfriend, remembers her. Three clips from this evening's BBC documentary "Young Margaret," presented by Charles Moore, her authorised biographer:

4pm Daniel Kawczynski MP on Comment: UKIP’s thin offer

1.30pm Peter Walker on Comment: How ring-fencing turns public servants into state dependents

9.30am As the party's Welsh Conference begins, Andrew Davies AM writes on ConservativeHome: Let's take the fight to Labour in Wales

ToryDiary: Fallon should be in the Cabinet

James Duddridge MP on Comment: Perceptions of Africa are changing – invest now

Cameron on tour: as the local elections loom, he confirms yesterday's ConservativeHome story that marriage tax breaks will be forced on Osborne if necessary…

Cameron reading ConHome
"Amid concerns on the Tory right that the prime minister has no feel for their concerns, the prime minister told the ConservativeHome website that he can force the touchstone issue of tax and marriage because he is technically the most senior Treasury minister. "The prime minister is the first lord of the treasury," Cameron said as he made clear that he would deliver on a commitment in the coalition agreement to hold a Commons vote on a marriage tax allowance by the time of the next election." – The Guardian

> Yesterday:

…The Prime Minister also tells voters that foreign criminals will be sent back to serve their sentences in foreign countries…

"Mr Cameron made his comments during a ‘Cameron Direct’ event on the local elections campaign trail in Carlisle. He said: ‘When people are sent to prison in the UK we should do everything we can to make sure that if they’re foreign nationals, they are sent back to their country to serve their sentence in a foreign prison. ‘And I’m taking action in Government to say look we have strong relationships with all of the countries where these people come from." – Daily Mail

  • The European Commission wants the UK to be forced to accept jobless immigrants – The Sun
  • French socialists attack 'Thatcherite' Cameron and 'selfish' Merkel – Financial Times (£)
  • Beijing punishes PM for his meeting with Dalai Lama while French president gets full state visit treatment – The Guardian
  • Did Cameron's words help to get Suarez banned? – Sun Editorial
  • Osborne's message to the IMF: we're flexible – Financial Times

…And looks to America to step up pressure on Assad

CAMERON POINTING"David Cameron also said there is “limited but growing evidence” that chemical weapons have been used. He added: “It is extremely serious, this is a war crime and we should take it very seriously.”…Mr Cameron said he was “keen to do more” but, when asked if British troops would be sent, he said: “I don’t want to see that and I don’t think that is likely to happen.” He added: “The question is how do we step up the pressure and, in my view, what we need to do – and we’re doing some of this already – is shape (the) opposition, work with them, train them, mentor them, help them, so that we put the pressure on the regime and so we can bring this to an end.” – Daily Express

Cameron: If you want to keep the council tax down, vote Conservative

"The Prime Minister acknowledged that next Thursday’s polls in
one Welsh and 34 English councils, with nearly 2,400 seats up for grabs,
were difficult for a governing party in mid-term. But he said: “I will
be out there with my teams working hard to persuade people to vote
Conservative with a very clear message. “It is that if you want to keep
council tax down, then you vote Conservative and get good value for
money. Over the past three years council tax has barely increased
nationwide and many areas have frozen it three times in a row." – Daily
Express

  • Bristol local election sees councillors forced to redefine their role – The Guardian
  • "Councillors are interested in feathering their own nests, wasting money on the trappings of office and imposing politically correct drivel on council taxpayers." – Robin Page, Daily Mail

But there's bad news for the Conservatives in the latest Lord Ashcroft poll

Next general election 1) Lord Ashcroft: Ministers are at risk. As matters stand, Cameron is set to lose in 2015. Voters still don’t believe that the Tories are on their side

Screen shot 2013-04-27 at 08.53.09"My poll found that Labour would gain a total of 109 seats, including 93 from the Tories, giving Mr Miliband 367 seats in the House of Commons – a majority of 84. Ministers including Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, Anna Soubry in Broxtowe, Edward Timpson in Crewe & Nantwich, and Esther McVey in Wirral West would be vulnerable, as would serial rebel Stewart Jackson in Peterborough and Margot James, MP for Stourbridge, who was appointed earlier this week to the Number 10 policy unit." – Financial Times

Planet Tory has just got a whole lot more like today’s Planet Britain – Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph

Next general election 2) Conservative women and northern MPs fear that they will lose in 2015

"Prominent Tory women in the line of fire include Anna Soubry, the health minister, Esther McVey, minister for disabled people, and parliamentary aides Amber Rudd and Mary Macleod. “Conservatives have a fundamental problem on women’s representation,”a senior Labour adviser said. “Cameron promised the most family-friendly government ever but his policies are hitting women and families hard. This could prove a real blow to Conservative claims to properly represent the whole of the country in parliament.” – Financial Times (£)

And, in the corridors of Westminster, the plotters lurk…

Screen shot 2013-04-27 at 08.54.33"Senior Tory MPs denied that a formal challenge to Mr Cameron before the 2015 general election had been ruled out. "It all depends on how Ukip does next week," one told The Independent. "If Ukip does well, all bets are off"…experts say Ukip is hurting the Tories most, with some polls suggesting that 18 per cent of Conservative supporters at the last election have switched allegiance. Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, the elections experts from the University of Plymouth, are forecasting about 310 Tory losses, 350 Labour gains, 130 Liberal Democrat losses and 40 Ukip gains." – The Independent

> Yesterday: Local Government – Council byelection results from yesterday

Miliband: Labour's mansion tax may have to wait

"We said we want to have a mansion tax on the richest homes in the country, homes over two million pounds,” Mr Miliband told BBC Breakfast. “That is something we want to do in government. We want a fairer tax system but how you deliver that has got to depend on the state of your economy and the state of your public finances.” The Labour leader said that he would be criticised for making promises on tax too early, when the economy is still “incredibly uncertain”." – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour leader lays down living wage challenge – The Guardian

Three days is a long time in politics.  On Wednesday, Galloway said
that Miliband is  “quite impressive physically and intellectually” and
that he should be Prime Minister "the sooner the better",  But
yesterday…

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"George Galloway called Ed Miliband an “unprincipled
coward with the backbone of an amoeba”.  His attack came after the
Labour leader said the Respect MP’s views were “awful”. The row followed
a secret meeting between the pair in Mr Miliband’s office. The Labour
chief said he only met the leftie firebrand to talk about a vote on
boundary changes.

But former Labour MP Mr Galloway called that claim
“a lie” online. He added: “I realise now that I showed poor judgment in
finally agreeing to meet Miliband.” – The Sun

Clegg: Quit the ECHR? No-one's asked me

"David Cameron this week
held a “war council” with Theresa May, the Home Secretary, Justice
Secretary Chris Grayling and Attorney General Dominic Grieve to discuss
ways of deporting Qatada. Downing Street is insisting that temporary
withdrawal from the convention is an option that is being considered by
ministers. However, officials have refused to say whether Mr Grieve has
been asked to provide legal guidance on whether such a move would even
be possible." – Daily Telegraph

  • May says the Jordanian government can be trusted not to
    torture its prisoners but Jordanian activists disagree – The Independent
  • Could Abu Qatada trigger a snap general election? – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail (QTWTAIN of the day)

> Yesterday: Iain Dale's Friday Diary- Theresa May doesn't have to be Little Miss Popular to become Tory leader

Fallon says that local people will be able to block wind farms

FALLON MICHAEL"Michael Fallon will shortly publish planning protections and proposals for a scheme of community “payments” for residents who agree to allow wind turbines near their homes. The recently appointed energy and business minister told the The Daily Telegraph that new schemes would have to gain “community consent”, effectively handing the power of veto to communities in opposition to wind farms in their area." – Daily Telegraph

Ministers "to break NHS pledge by shifting funds into community care"

"The move comes amid fears hospital accident and emergency
departments are being flooded by patients who could be cared for at
home. Despite a promise to protect the NHS from the £11.5billion cuts
the Treasury has ordered for 2015/16, the proposals could see more than 
£1billion funnelled from the Department of Health to local
authorities." – Daily Mail

  • NHS ombudsman: ignoring patient complaints 'risks new Mid Staffs' – The Guardian

Jesse Norman, new Cameron policy committee recruit, defends Eton

Screen shot 2013-04-27 at 09.02.09"In
an interview with the Times, Mr Norman said: “Other schools don’t have
the same commitment to public service. They do other things. It’s one of
the few schools where the pupils really do run vast chunks of the
school themselves. So they don’t defer in quite the same way, they do
think there’s the possibility of making change through their own
actions…the whole point of what Michael Gove is trying to do is to
recover that independent school ethos within the state system, so that
people from whatever walk of life can feel that they can take a proper
part to the maximum.”" – The Times (£)

  • Full interview with Norman, who is about to publish a new biography of Edmund Burke – The Times (£)

UKIP's BNP-linked candidate woes continue

"Several UKIP candidates in next week’s local elections appeared on a British National Party membership list. The Eurosceptic party has surged in national polling but its popularity has outstripped its party machine, allowing far-Right sympathisers to infiltrate the selection process. Earlier this week Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, admitted that “we don’t have the party apparatus to fully vet 1,700 people”, adding that he thought it likely “one or two will have slipped through the net”." – The Times (£)

  • "Racism is “just ethnic banter”, paedophiles should be killed by vigilantes and Londoners should wear face masks to protect themselves from eastern Europeans, some of the UK Independence Party’s local election candidates have suggested." – Daily Telegraph
  • "Labour is right to be fearful of Ukip in South Shields" – Patrick O'Flynn, Daily Express

Angus Robertson: Unionist leaders see Scots as uniquely poor and stupid

Screen shot 2013-04-27 at 09.03.15"Mr Robertson criticised Alistair Darling’s Better Together campaign in an interview broadcast on the new political podcast Hear, Hear, which was launched yesterday on the social sound platform Audioboo. “They are running around trying to scare people into voting No. I think it says something about the paucity of the argument in favour of the Union that the only case they seem to be making is that people in Scotland are uniquely poor, stupid and incapable of governing themselves,” Mr Robertson said." – Scotsman

Matthew Parris: Who's right over early school specialisation? Michael Gove or Kenneth Baker?

"Is 14 too early to specialise? Mr Gove would worry about this: he’d think more in terms of 16, 18, or even post-university, as it was for him and me. All I can say is that this would have been precisely my worry, until I actually visited the place and saw and talked to its students. They were of course preselected by having been disposed to make this choice in the first place; but I really did get the impression that they knew — in a pretty adult way — what they were doing." – The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • BENYON RICHARDFood waste claim Minister Richard Benyon in local tradition of handing local people bread through the window of a property on his estate – Daily Mail
  • ‘Self-inflicted wounds’ put US growth under threat – The Times (£)
  • Jailed: the terror gang behind plot to rival 7/7 and transform Birmingham into a 'little war zone' – Daily Mail
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury calls for bankers to be required to pass exams to raise professional standards – Financial Times (£)
  • Heated meeting hears loyalist claims of abandonment over flag – Belfast Telegraph
  • Universal credit pilot to launch with only a few dozen claimants – The Guardian
  • £13bn Iter project makes breakthrough in quest for nuclear fusion – The Independent
  • Churchill to be new face of £5 note – The Sun
  • It's goodbye to the sun as arctic winds blast Britain – Daily Express

And finally…

Ed Balls.

Ed Balls.

Ed Balls.

Ed Balls.

Ed Balls.

Ed Balls.

Ed Balls….

"On April 28, 2011, Mr Balls typed his own name into the message box on Twitter instead of the search box and accidentally tweeted to thousands of followers a message that read simply: “Ed Balls”. His tweet has since been retweeted more than 14,000 times and has become the subject of an online “meme” — in which variations on a theme spread across the internet. The words “Ed Balls” were superimposed on movie posters, such as Being Ed Balls, on Bart Simpson’s blackboard, in place of the Hollywood sign on Mount Lee and into the Peanuts comic strip, as well as on to the hat of the UKIP leader Nigel Farage." – The Times (£)

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