Published:

7.30pm LeftWatch: Back to the '70s as Labour's far left crank up for selection battles

4.30pm WATCH: UKIP and Green Party battle for votes in council elections

4pm Adrian Hilton on Comment: The Conservative Party will not be compassionate until its members care

12.30pm Spencer Pitfield on Comment: The CPF's enthusiastic but measured debate about Europe

12.15pm ToryDiary: David Cameron (eventually) tells the Sunday Times he is not a Thatcherite

11.30am ToryDiary: Downing Street must impose its authority over Sayeeda Warsi. If necessary, she should be sacked

Tory Diary: UKIP should not be compared to the BNP

In the first of a series of articles for ConservativeHome, Adam Afriyie on Comment says: "Jobs for the boys" is making this Government too big


SuntelidsIDS urges rich pensioners to hand back their benefits

"Iain Duncan Smith says he “would encourage” elderly people who can well afford to pay for their their own heating bills, bus passes and television licences to return the money to the state." Sunday Telegraph

  • "There has previously been a discussion in government of means testing to exclude richer pensioners, but Mr Duncan Smith said there were no plans to make that change. He also said that the new universal credit – a payment that marks the biggest overhaul of the benefits system since the 1940s – was being implemented over four years because "I want to get these things right". – BBC


BorisBoris could return as an MP while still Mayor of London

"David Cameron has strengthened his embrace of the Johnson family by leaving the door open for Boris Johnson to return as an MP before the next election. Asked during an interview with The Sunday Times whether Johnson could combine the role of mayor of London with being an MP, the prime minister replied: “Boris can do anything, that’s the moral of the story of Boris.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • "Earlier BoJo joined the bunny at a demo against a third runway at Heathrow. He called the idea “totally nuts” as he joined 1,000 residents living under the flightpath. Bojo cycled to the rally in Barnes, South-West London, and warned the expansion would create “great flying fleets of fortissimo flatulence”." – The Sun on Sunday
  • David Cameron interview – Sunday Times (£)


IosbigThe Big Society is booming

"According to the Government's own quarterly measure, Community Life, 72 per cent of people volunteered at least once last year, a rise from 65 per cent the year before." – The Independent on Sunday

Cameron warned Syrian intervention could lead to all-out war

"Britain's most senior military officer has warned David Cameron that intervening in Syria would risk sucking UK forces into an all-out war. General Sir David Richards, chief of the defence staff, believes any military response to the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad’s regime would have to be on a huge scale to succeed." – Sunday Times (£)

Lynton Crosby "clashes" with Osborne and Shapps

"Tough-talking Lynton Crosby has had a series of clashes with fellow campaign chiefs Shapps and Osborne, according to insiders. They say that Australian-born Mr Crosby, recruited by Mr Cameron  to revive flagging Tory ratings, regards Mr Shapps as ‘ineffective’. And he reportedly believes Mr Osborne’s abysmal personal popularity means he is driving voters away in large numbers." – Mail on Sunday


ObserverukipUKIP "in chaos over policy"

"A series of leaked emails between key figures in Ukip reveals growing chaos at the heart of the party as it struggles to fill a policy vacuum just days before crucial local elections in which it is expected to make spectacular advances. In one email, a senior party figure claims that leading the anti-EU party is like "herding cats". Ukip leader Nigel Farage is warned that his party is facing a decade without credible policies, as crippling internal rows rage, and it is suggested that the party should consider buying off-the-shelf strategy from right-leaning thinktanks." – The Observer

>Yesterday: Daniel Kawczynski MP on Comment: UKIP’s thin offer

In the latest of his letters o the Party leaders Lord Ashcroft tells Nigel Farage that UKIP is cultivating disillusionment as an end in itself…

"Your declared aim of ushering Britain out of the EU has come up against your promise that UKIP is ‘here to stay’. If secession were the priority, you would get behind the only party with a chance of forming a government that had offered the referendum  that makes it possible. That would mean assigning a degree of credibility to the Tories, and acknowledging that one party had a policy that was manifestly different from the other two." – Mail on Sunday


….as UKIP struggle to ditch extremist candidates….

"A UKIP local election candidate was suspended yesterday after The Sunday Times exposed his support for the far-right English Defence League (EDL). Chris Scotton, 24, faces expulsion from the party after repeatedly endorsing the EDL on Facebook and indicating that he has been an activist for the movement, which has gained notoriety for violent protests against Islam." – Sunday Times (£)


Farage….Welcome to UKIPland – Ramsey in Cambridgeshire

"Nigel Farage, UKIP’s leader, said Ramsey, with its big- society-on-steroids approach, is the perfect example of what a UKIP-controlled Britain would look like. “Local budgets can’t pay for everything so if we want to improve our community, we roll our sleeves up and do it ourselves,” said Farage. “It’s just astonishing — the people of the town love it.” – Sunday Times (£)

Mark Reckless challenges Theresa May…

"Overall I believe that the Home Secretary is doing a good job. Crime is down and, with the support of able Immigration Ministers, she is delivering on our promise to cut net immigration from hundreds of thousands to just tens of thousands a year. However, on the issue of Abu Qatada I believe that she has got the law wrong." – Mark Reckless MP  Mail on Sunday


Theresamay…as protests grow over another "human rights" case

"Hesham Mohammed Ali won an appeal against moves by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to deport him because of his crimes. He convinced a judge he had a “family life” which had to be respected because he had a “genuine” relationship with a British woman – despite already having two children by different women with whom he now has no contact." – Sunday Telegraph

Details of the Galloway/Miliband meeting emerge

"Ed Miliband faced a growing revolt last night over his secret meeting with Respect MP George Galloway after it emerged that Mr Miliband had congratulated him on the way he beat Labour in a by-election." – Mail on Sunday

 Ed Miliband plans Shadow Cabinet reshuffle

"Stephen Twigg, the shadow education secretary, has been criticised by some of his colleagues for being too timid in his criticism of Michael Gove's school reforms. Twigg still has Miliband's full confidence, however. It is likely that Miliband will want to promote more women, with Rachel Reeves, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, being tipped to shadow a big department when she returns from maternity leave. Other female MPs who could be preferred include Luciana Berger, Emma Reynolds and former GMTV presenter Gloria De Piero." – The Observer

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Fallon should be in the Cabinet


JamesforsythJames Forsyth on the local elections

"The odd truth is that all three main parties could do badly. For these elections look like being the latest act in UKIP’s dramatic rise to being a permanent, and potentially mould-breaking, presence. In a sign of his confidence, Nigel Farage is the only party leader talking up his side’s chances." – Mail on Sunday

  • "David Cameron’s latest electoral test comes on Thursday, when more than 2,400 council seats are up for grabs. If it was a General Election, the polls show the Tories would be wiped out. On Friday, Ed Miliband would be walking into Number 10 with a thumping majority. If that’s a frightening prospect for Cameron, it ought to put the wind up the rest of us too. Miliband is the most Left-wing Labour leader since Michael Foot. And at the moment, he’s being given a free ride into Downing Street." – The Sun Says

Adam Boulton says Tories sense they are back in the game

"One normally shrewd second-term MP seemed almost euphoric contemplating a Labour lead in the opinion polls dropping just back into single figures: “All we need is us to take back five points from
UKIP, and the Libs to do the same from Labour, and we’ll be back in the game.” – Sunday Times (£)

  •  "David Cameron faces rising panic among rookie MPs — sparked by town hall massacres on their home turf. Nervous novices fear this Thursday’s local election results will herald disaster for them in 2015. Tories are set to lose 380 councillors in a night of carnage — and sitting MPs believe they will be next to go." – The Sun

South Shields byelection report –

"Sitting behind a desk in Ukip's King Street shop on Wednesday, Lisa Duffy, Ukip's perennially jovial director – mayor of Ramsey in Cambridgeshire in her spare time – was even more upbeat than usual. She was spending £40,000 on the byelection, she said – half what the party splurged in Eastleigh. "But the money goes a lot further up here." – The Observer

  • The candidates give their pitch- BBC


JanetdaleyJanet Daley says welfare reform shows Left/Right divide is outdated

"The welfare reform programme is a true instance of compassionate conservatism. And it is this clear sense in which the policy is benevolent and socially responsible – quite as much as its resounding popularity with the electorate – which makes it so very difficult for Ed Miliband and his army of throwbacks to oppose it." – Sunday Telegraph

Lord Mandelson urges David Cameron to support the EU

"When we have so many other deep-seated problems in Britain, it is crazy to start an artificial argument among ourselves about whether we want to remain in the EU. But there is a potential silver lining in the cloud cast over Britain's EU membership if, instead of propelling Britain out of the EU, we build Britain's influence inside it to help forge the changes and reforms it needs." – Peter Mandelson Independent on Sunday

Boris and Jo Johnson are "very different"- Bruce Anderson Sunday Telegraph

The Sunday Times profiles the Johnson children – Sunday Times (£)

And finally….Stanley Johnson on Bo Jo v Jo Jo

"My son's appointment to head the Downing Street Policy Unit didn't lead the news, but it was not far off. My mobile phone didn't ring much that morning but that was only because I had spilt a glass of wine over it the night before." – Mail on Sunday

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