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Gove promises Tories will make ‘undeserving rich’ pay at launch of The Good Right

michael-gove“Michael Gove proposed new taxes on the ‘undeserving rich’ last night, saying the Tories will only win the general election if voters believe the party are ‘warriors for the dispossessed’. Painting a broad, positive vision for five more years in power, the party’s chief whip said the wealthiest already pay the most towards reducing the deficit, but insisted: ‘We expect them to pay more.’ Official figures show that despite the economic crisis, inequality has fallen since 2010 – an achievement he said the Conservatives should trumpet rather than ‘overlook’.” – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: “We are warriors for the dispossessed.” Gove’s rallying cry for the Conservatives

Cameron 1) EU referendum will stop sleepwalk towards Brexit

“David Cameron has vowed that his plan to hold an EU referendum will stop Britain “sleepwalking towards the exit”, as he prepares to give George Osborne a central role in negotiating a new membership deal. The prime minister admits that the talks could drag into 2017 and that his plan to make EU migrant workers wait four years before being eligible for benefits would require treaty changes — a step opposed by many member states. Mr Cameron confirmed in an interview with the Financial Times that in the event of a Tory election victory Mr Osborne would be a central figure in the renegotiation: a relief to business leaders who view the chancellor as an ally in the fight to keep Britain in the EU.” – Financial Times

  • Prime Minister insists referendum would be pivotal for Britain – The Guardian
  • Interview with the Prime Minister – Financial Times
  • Cameron describes frustration with Whitehall – Daily Mail
  • “I want him to win”: interview with Samantha Cameron – The Sun (£)

>Today: Samantha Callan in Comment: Osborne should make the marriage allowance meaningful in the Budget – and here’s how

Cameron 2) Number 10 announces boycott of Russian commemoration in protest over Ukraine

Russian flag“David Cameron will not attend Russian commemorations of the Allied victory in World War Two in protest at Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, Downing Street has said. The Prime Minister will join Angela Merkel and the leaders of the Baltic states in boycotting the Victory Day parade in May, marking seventy years since the capitulation of Nazi Germany. It is unusual for Downing Street to rule out attending an event so far in advance, not least given the event comes after the General Election on May 7, meaning Mr Cameron may not be in office.” – Daily Telegraph

Cameron 3) Prime Minister suggests reclassifying spending to meet NATO target

“Spending on the security services could be merged with the defence budget to hit a key Nato target, David Cameron indicated yesterday. The Prime Minister is under intense pressure from both his own MPs and former generals to guarantee that the Conservatives will continue to spend at least 2 per cent of Britain’s national income on defence. A study published yesterday revealed that Britain will miss the target by more than £2billion next year if current spending plans are maintained.” – Daily Mail

  • Cameron and Osborne not protecting defence, warns Clegg – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister accused of ‘cavalier’ attitude towards military spending – Financial Times
  • Tory MPs criticise Government for leaving UK to ‘freeload’ off US defence – Daily Mail
  • Defence wobble could scupper Cameron’s re-election as DUP back NATO target – The Sun (£)
  • SNP would block military action as price of any deal, claims Robertson – The Times (£)

Sketches:

  • No defence for David Cameron – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Defence committee fires warning shot across Osborne’s bows – Donald Macintyre, The Independent

>Yesterday:

Cameron 4) Move to close loophole in intelligence oversight

Mi6“David Cameron has moved to close a hole in the oversight of Britain’s intelligence agencies after it was revealed for the first time that they were creating “bulk personal datasets” containing millions of items of personal information, some of it gathered covertly without any statutory accountability. Some of the data appears to have been gathered from other government departments as well as commercial organisations.” – The Guardian

  • Intelligence and Security Committee report supports security services – The Sun (£)
  • British spies sacked for illicit snooping on private information – The Independent

Comment and Editorial:

Hunt aims to grant elderly greater power over end of life care

“In the wake of the scandal at Stafford hospital, ministers have decided to re-write the NHS constitution, the charter setting out the principles of the healthcare system. A consultation document released by the Government has set out plans to give patients more powers to plan and make decisions about their “end of life care”. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said that the new constitution, which is going out for consultation, said that he wants to “strengthen” the right for patients to be involved in more decisions about their own care.” – Daily Telegraph

London 1) Brady hints at future mayoral run

LONDON-ASSEMBLY“Ms Brady – one of Britain’s best known businesswomen as well as a Conservative peer – also hinted she may run to become London Mayor in the future. “It’s certainly ruled out in the short term, because I’ve got an Olympic stadium to get ready for,” she replies. “But I mean, I always say ‘never say never’. If you’d asked me five years ago, would I be here in the House of Lords, I would have probably said ‘No’.”” – Daily Telegraph

London 2) …as Boris meets Campbell in City Hall

“Boris Johnson plans to meet Mayor of London hopeful, ex-England football star Sol Campbell, it has emerged. The pair are set to meet at City Hall, Boris said, fuelling rumours Sol could be the man to replace him. Sources said the meeting was most likely after the Election. The former Tottenham and Arsenal defender told the Sun last month he was being urged by senior Tories to consider standing as the party’s Mayoral candidate. He said he was “definitely interested” in the role.” – The Sun (£)

  • Boris imposes 20 mph speed limit on arterial routes – Daily Mail

Hague attacks Miliband over Mirror hacking

mirrorpic“William Hague yesterday mocked Ed Miliband for staying silent over phone hacking at the Daily Mirror. The top Tory said there were “many theories” why the Labour leader had not called for an inquiry — like he had with the News of the World. In an attack in the Commons, Leader of the House Mr Hague added: “It could be that the leader of the Opposition does not want to offend the one news organisation that is still arguing in his favour.”” – The Sun (£)

Reeves unveils plan to shave £200 million off housing benefit bill

“Housing benefit claimants could be forced to waive data protection rights under a Labour plan to save £200 million a year in fraudulent and mistaken payments. Claimants would be subjected to the same credit checks as people applying for a mortgage or other bank loan in the move against cheats driving up the £24 billion annual cost of housing benefit. With the Conservatives set to make a promise to slash £12 billion a year from the welfare bill a central election campaign pledge, Labour has identified housing benefit as an area it can make savings.” – The Times (£)

Labour parachute UNITE candidate from Falkirk scandal into key marginal

Unite“Unite now wants Miss Murphy to be selected in key marginal Halifax where the current Labour MP, Linda Riordan, has announced she is stepping down. Her possible inclusion on an all-women shortlist, to be announced on Tuesday, risks re-opening the wounds of the bitter Falkirk row just weeks before the election and is proving a headache for Ed Miliband. The Labour leader has been warned that his party risks losing the seat if Miss Murphy is selected, but the union could stop bankrolling the party’s election campaign if she is not chosen.” – Daily Mail

  • Outgoing MP savages party for ‘dragging feet’ over selection – The Sun (£)

Miliband promises to give energy watchdog price-cutting powers…

“A Labour government would give the energy regulator new powers to force firms to cut electricity and gas, Ed Miliband will say. The Labour leader will use a speech to say that if he wins the election he will pass a new law giving Ofgem a “legal duty to ensure fair prices this winter”. It follows Mr Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy prices for two years if he is elected.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour leader holds out promise of ten per cent cut in energy bills – Financial Times

…as he’s embroiled in ‘bizarre’ row over kitchenette

Miliband coffee“It was an attempt to portray Ed Miliband as a “man of the people” by filming him alongside his wife in a small, austere kitchen of their north London home. But the move backfired after it emerged the room was in fact the smaller of two kitchens in his £2 million mansion, which he uses only for preparing “tea and quick snacks”. The apparent gaff saw Mr Miliband dubbed “Two Kitchens” – a reference to John ‘Two Jags’ Prescott, the former Labour deputy leader – and mocked by Conservative opponents.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Ten things we learned as the Labour leader was grilled by young voters last night – The Independent

Philip Collins: A refusal to embrace new ideas has infected a whole Labour generation

“The Labour impulse, articulated by Tristram Hunt to whom I give the credit of not really believing it, was that free schools created places where they were not needed. And who will be the judge of whether those places were needed? Why, the Labour party of course, in the guise of a local authority. Whether or not those places were deemed, by the resident bureaucrat, to be “needed”, they were certainly wanted or else the consortium of local teachers and parents wouldn’t have gone to the considerable trouble of setting one up. Yet the received Labour response was the voice of the planner, the controller — the producer not the parent.” – The Times (£)

>Today: The Deep End: Heresy of the week: Boys, not girls, are the primary victims of the education system

Police asked to investigate Lib Dem ‘dodgy dossier’…

CLEGG Bird“The Metropolitan Police has been asked to investigate allegations that a key member of Nick Clegg’s inner circle accepted a potentially illegal donation. Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has written to the Met’s Commissioner urging him to “urgently investigate” revelations that the party’s former chief fundraisier told an undercover reporter posing as a wealthy Indian businessman that he could donate money to the Lib Dems via a cousin.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Clegg accused of hypocrisy over political donations – Daily Mail
  • Leader defends Alexander in fundraising string – Daily Express
  • Party face Commons probe over ‘misuse’ of pass by former official – Daily Telegraph
  • Lib Dem finances reveal a constant struggle to stay afloat – Daily Telegraph
  • Parties taking millions from mystery donors – The Times (£)
  • Interview with Nick Clegg – Daily Mail

Comment:

…as Farron gives party two out of ten

“The front-runner to replace Nick Clegg as Liberal Democrat leader has savaged the way his party conducts itself in the Coalition – saying it deserves a score of ‘two out of ten’. In a thinly veiled attack on the Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Farron said the Lib Dems should have blocked the Conservatives’ health reforms. The MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale also acknowledged that the party could lose seats at the election – saying he was looking forward to the ‘thrill of rebuilding’.” – Daily Mail

  • Clegg’s likely successor prepares to pick up the pieces – Financial Times

Clegg scorns European Army

EU FLag“Nick Clegg has today branded the European Union’s top politician a “dangerous fantasist” over his plans for an army controlled from Brussels. The Deputy Prime Minister poured scorn on the notion of a Europe-wide force, which opponents warn would undermine Britain’s standing in the world. The idea had been mooted by Jean-Claude Juncker – Brussels’ top bureaucrat – in an article for a German newspaper. The president of the European Commission claimed a collective force across the 28 EU states would act as a deterrent to Russian aggression in eastern Europe.” – Daily Express

Fraser Nelson: Alexander’s paltry fee exposes Lib Dem desperation

“For a while, now, Conservatives have suspected that their coalition partners have been bending the rules of political donations. Tory fundraisers had noticed that some of its more dubious prospective donors – interested in concealing donations – ended up with the Liberal Democrats. It’s an odd business: most donors are just bored millionaires seeking entertainment. Others may look for favours: knighthoods, regulation or an entrée into the world of politics. There’s scarcely a politician in Westminster who doesn’t loathe fundraising. But for the Liberal Democrats, this isn’t about extra cash – it’s about basic survival.” – Daily Telegraph

Farage forced to backtrack over call to scrap race laws

UKIP glass“Nigel Farage was likened to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels last night as he was forced to backtrack over a call to scrap most of Britain’s race relations laws. The Ukip leader prompted a storm of controversy by suggesting he wanted to reverse legislation dating back to the 1960s which bars discrimination at work on the grounds of race or colour. His remarks were condemned by the leaders of the other three main parties. David Cameron said Mr Farage appeared ‘desperate for attention’, while Ed Miliband said the comments were ‘wrong, divisive and dangerous’.” – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • ‘No dogs, no blacks, no Irish’ is now UKIP policy – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph

SNP’s ‘home rule’ ambition could put 138,000 Scots on the dole

“Ms Sturgeon wants a dramatic redrawing of the Smith Commission powers so that Holyrood takes responsibility for all tax and spending. But the move would mean the end of the Barnett formula and the block grant from Westminster, leaving the Scottish Government struggling to balance the books. Scotland’s economic output would drop by five per cent – a cut of around £6.5billion a year. The politically neutral Scottish Parliament Information Centre, SPICe, used the Government’s own economic model to show such a cut would cost 138,000 jobs.” – Scottish Express

News in Brief:

  • RSPCA criticised by judge for exceeding powers – Daily Mail
  • US attacks UK over ‘accomodation’ with China – Financial Times
  • Report finds more older people taking cocaine – Daily Telegraph
  • MPs criticise civil liberties groups who claimed terror was a price of freedom – The Times (£)
  • ICC claims moves to prevent police snooping on press don’t go far enough – The Sun (£)
  • Pay hinders recruitment of judges and mandarins – Financial Times
  • Call for UN-led global ban on tobacco within 25 years – Daily Mail
  • Town halls monitor more emails than the security services – Daily Telegraph
  • Election set to see largest increase in female MPs since 1997 – Financial Times

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