Cameron’s plan for the Tories’ first hundred days in power

CAMERON Popular“David Cameron today announces his plans for the first 100 days of a new Conservative government, promising radical tax cuts if he is re-elected as Prime Minister in 11 days’ time. … Mr Cameron pledges to scrap human rights laws and include a referendum on the European Union in his first Queen’s Speech on May 27 if he stays in Downing Street. … However, writing for The Telegraph, he warns that voters risk opening the door of Number 10 to Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, who will be ‘locked in a death dance’ that destroys Britain’s economy.” – Sunday Telegraph

“We’ve saved the economy from ruin – don’t let Ed Miliband spoil it.” Read Cameron’s Sunday Telegraph article in full

  • “New laws will free up to one million people from income tax if Tories win the election. … The PM revealed that boosting the take-home pay of those on the minimum wage will be his first act on May 8, within hours of the general election.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

And comment:

  • “David Cameron is laying out what a future Conservative government would do for ordinary Britons. This rediscovery of Thatcherite vision is most welcome.” – Sunday Telegraph editorial

James Forsyth: The Prime Minister is going for the undecideds

FORSYTH, James“Those close to him say Cameron is less nervous than he was at the start of the campaign. He is irritated, though, by the constant calls on him to show more passion. … Campaign insiders from both parties point to the unusually high number of undecideds – as many as one in five of those who intend to vote. Which way they jump will determine the result. Cameron regards reeling in this group, rather than angling for voters from the other parties, as the key challenge for the Tories.” – James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday

  • “Now presenting: the Cameron late, late show.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)

> Yesterday:

Leadership talk 1) Some Tory donors aren’t pleased with the campaign so far – and are backing Boris

Boris Hurdles“David Cameron is under fire from two wealthy party donors over the Conservatives’ ‘lacklustre’ election campaign. … Investment boss Peter Hall and Pizza Express mogul Hugh Osmond, who have given more than £700,000 between them since 2005, said the Tories were uninspiring and the PM lacked passion. … They backed Boris Johnson for party leader if Mr Cameron loses the election.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “Whether or not the Conservatives manage to pull off a win on polling day next month, the party’s campaign has been dull, dull, dull. … There’s been not an ounce of sparkle. … Which is one thing that Boris Johnson has in spades.” – Sun on Sunday editorial (£)

And comment:

  • “The darkest of the existential crises about to hit the established parties is probably the one that faces the Tory party. … If the Tories yet again fail to win a majority, that will be the trigger for a massive argument about why not.” – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

> Yesterday: 

Leadership talk 2) Boris would never run against his own brother, Miliband-style

“Ed Miliband was branded a back-stabber yesterday by Boris Johnson who vowed never to knife his own MP brother. … The London Mayor launched a blistering attack on the Labour leader over the ruthless way he snatched his party’s crown from his big bruv David’s head. … Tory Boris said he and his rising star brother Jo will stick to a Mafia-style code of “never, ever” turning on each other. … Mimicking the gruff tones of Vito Corleone in The Godfather, he declared: ‘It’s the family. We don’t do it like that… never, ever.’” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Leadership talk 3) Growing support for Leadsom among backbenchers

LEADSOM Andrea blue“Conservative backbenchers want the Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom to run in a future leadership contest – just as David Cameron appears to have tipped Culture Secretary Sajid Javid as a possible successor. … Both were part of the 2010 intake of MPs, but Mr Javid has risen more rapidly through the ranks, last year becoming the first Asian male Tory cabinet member. Mr Cameron said that the first black or Asian prime minister would be a Conservative.” – Independent on Sunday

Leadership talk 4) The Sunday Times lists the runners and riders

“Johnson and May are certain to run, while Owen Paterson, Liam Fox, Chris Grayling and Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 committee, are understood to have talked to friends about a challenge from the right, believing May lacks the strength to defeat Johnson. … Sajid Javid, the culture secretary, is described as ‘on manoeuvres’, while former ministers and MPs have urged Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, to run as a modernising candidate who can appeal to non-Tories. … Other former MPs received calls last week on behalf of Andrea Leadsom, a Treasury minister well regarded by the 2010 intake. She is understood to be backed by Eurosceptic donors. … Those looking for a ‘clean skin’ untainted by the government are promoting Dominic Raab, who led backbench opposition to the European arrest warrant.” – Sunday Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – The Andy Warhol leadership election. Coming soon to a Conservative Party near you. (Or maybe not.)

May warns that a SNP-Labour pact could trigger the worst constitutional crisis since 1936…

MAY Warhol“Britain will face its biggest constitutional crisis since Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 if Ed Miliband runs Britain with Nicola Sturgeon, Theresa May has warned. … In a dramatic intervention in the Election campaign, the Home Secretary questioned whether English voters would accept the ‘legitimacy’ of a Labour Government backed by Scottish Nationalists. … And she compared the effects of such a pact to the way Britain’s governing class was paralysed for months in the 1930s because of King Edward VIII’s affair with American divorcee Wallis Simpson.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “The Tories are inching ahead of Labour as Nigel Farage starts to peel off Ed Miliband’s supporters. … And English voters are so alarmed by the prospect of being ruled by Nicola Sturgeon with Miliband in her pocket that they would prefer to get rid of her – and Scotland – by giving the country independence after all.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “The Conservatives head into the last 10 days of the election campaign with the narrowest of leads over Labour, according to the penultimate Opinium/Observer survey before polling day on 7 May.” – The Observer

And comment:

  • “Theresa May is justified in raising the question of the Scottish National Party in such stark terms. There is a genuine problem of legitimacy here.” – Mail on Sunday editorial
  • “It would be a huge and tragic irony if well-meaning people ended up hurting the most deprived in our country. But that is what I fear would happen with a Labour-SNP government – one that is anti-business, anti-aspiration and pro-spending money we haven’t even earned yet.” – Charles Dunstone, Mail on Sunday
  • With the security of this nation at stake, can you really trust a leader who would have to – despite all his protestations to the contrary – keep very close company with the SNP?” – Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mail on Sunday
  • “A Labour-SNP pact would be an outrage to democracy.” – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • “Why are the Tories so paranoid about the SNP?” – David Steel, The Observer

…Osborne raises fears about the nationalists’ effect on house prices…

George Osborne“A Labour deal with the Scottish National party would add £1,000 to annual mortgage bills, George Osborne has claimed as the Tories launch a final election offensive on the economy. … In an interview with The Sunday Times, the chancellor warned that the prospect of an Ed Miliband government propped up by the SNP would lead to a ‘clear and present danger’ of rising interest rates that would cause people to lose their homes, and companies to flee the UK.” – Sunday Times (£)

“It all comes down to the economy.” Read the Chancellor’s Sunday Times interview in full (£)

  • “The Ed Miliband effect is knocking up to 10% off the value of some properties worth £2m or more as buyers spooked by the prospect of paying mansion tax are demanding rebates if the Labour leader gets into Downing Street.” – Sunday Times (£)

…but Alexander wishes that they wouldn’t

“Tory attempts to paint the SNP as a divisive force that would drain resources from the rest of the UK risks the future of the union, leading politicians and cultural figures said. … Liberal Democrat cabinet minster Danny Alexander, who is fighting to save his Scottish seat of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey from the SNP, told the Observer that he was appalled by the Tory campaign, which he said risked giving the SNP a grievance against England that the nationalists could use to push again for independence.” – The Observer

Tories vow to “sort out” the Beeb

Biased BBC“Top Tories have vowed to ‘sort out’ what they claim is a Labour-leaning BBC if they win the election. … A series of ambushes have left fuming Conservatives wondering if BBC chiefs want Labour to win. … Last week BBC Newsbeat presenter Chris Smith repeatedly interrupted David Cameron and even bet him £1,000 the Tories would not win a majority. … A senior minister has vowed revenge, telling The Sun on Sunday: ‘Don’t worry, we’ll sort them out after the election.’” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “It has been the most depressing, incoherent election I’ve covered, and it’s not a lot better online — but it is different.” – AA Gill, Sunday Times (£)

Surprise, surprise – Cable wants to be Chancellor

“Vince Cable prides himself on being the Tories’ bogeyman in the Coalition Cabinet. … ‘I’m regularly voted their least popular Cabinet member,’ he says with his familiar hangdog smile. … But as we sit on the terrace of the quirkily named Barmy Arms pub by the Thames in his Twickenham constituency, Business Secretary Cable says something, which on first hearing, sounds even more barmy. … Not only is he ready to spend another five years helping the Tories run Britain, he wants to replace George Osborne as Chancellor.” – Mail on Sunday

Constitutional expert dismisses Clegg’s claims about coalition-building

CLEGG Bird“One of the country’s leading constitutionalists has described claims by Nick Clegg that a government would lack legitimacy if formed by the party that finished second as absurd. … Professor Vernon Bogdanor said there was a precedent for such a coalition between the smaller parties and whichever won the second largest number of seats. He added that the Liberal Democrat leader should instead be honest about whether he would politically prefer another alliance with the Conservatives.” – The Observer

  • “The Liberal Democrats must play a part in the next government, however it is constituted, to ensure the fight is maintained against climate change, 20 figures from the renewable energy industry and businesses say in a letter to The Independent on Sunday.” – Independent on Sunday

And comment:

  • “How about a Tory-Labour coalition? It’s what the majority want.” – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)
  • “Who will own the post-vote weekend?” – Jane Merrick, Independent on Sunday

> Today: David Jones MP on Comment – In any post-election Coalition negotiations, the Right’s voice must be heard. Send for IDS and Grayling.

Miliband: I’ve been more resilient than people expected

MILIBAND Red Ed“Miliband has spent a lot of time in the US and believes his blooding as a leader resembles the two-year presidential election process. ‘I always felt this campaign was an opportunity to show the real me, not the caricature,’ he said after a day of promoting Labour’s campaign to ‘Save the NHS’. … ‘The job of leader of the opposition is definitely a good test of one’s resilience and mettle. Maybe I’ve been more resilient than some people have expected.’” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Despite it being impossible, we’d like fiscal responsibility without pain. That is what Ed Miliband is selling. The fact that so many people would like to believe this illusion is, I guess, a victory for Gordon Brown.” – Camilla Cavendish, Sunday Times (£)
  • “The media got bored of saying Miliband was useless, but as the herd changes course, it overshoots.” – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday

Labour’s plan for rent controls

“Labour will slap a cap on rents, banning private landlords from increasing their costs by more than the rate of inflation in Ed Miliband’s latest populist pledge of state intervention. … The Labour leader will announce today that rent rises will be pegged to rising consumer prices as he launches a new election offensive on the cost of living. … The move is likely to cause controversy, with critics comparing it to the rent controls of the 1960s and 1970s.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Labour’s plans to introduce rent controls for private landlords, and reduce the tax available to them, will also hit the tens of thousands of people who have invested in buy-to-let property, as well as those who plan to use their pension pots to do so.” – Sunday Times (£)

Kahn wants crims to cough up

KHAN Sadiq “Fewer than half of fines slapped on crooks to help victims are being collected, figures reveal. … Criminals are failing to hand over millions of pounds every year, leaving support projects short-changed. … Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan, who uncovered the figures, said: ‘Under the Tories, criminals have been getting away without paying millions.’” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “Civil servants will suggest the decriminalisation of the use of hard drugs as a way of tackling the Ministry of Justice’s budget woes when the new government takes power next month.” – Independent on Sunday

Unions claim that hospitals have suffered a “stealth cut” of £2 billion

“Hospitals across England have suffered a ‘stealth cut’ amounting to more than to £2bn since 2010, because of reductions in the amounts paid to fund standard medical procedures, according to new research. … The tactic of reducing the amounts given to hospitals for different treatments is a false economy, said Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary.” – Independent on Sunday

  • “Angry postal and telecoms workers are trying to cut their union’s ties to Labour, which could blow a £500,000 hole in the cash-strapped party’s finances.” – Independent on Sunday

> Yesterday: LeftWatch – If Labour cut NHS income from private patients how would they fund the shortfall?

Lord Falconer questions the Janner decision

Police helmet“Law chief Alison Saunders was wrong to let Lord Janner off child abuse charges, an ex-Lord Chancellor said last night. … Lord Falconer said the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service boss was ‘suspicious’, given that it took place behind closed doors. … He added he could think of ‘nothing more awful’ for genuine victims than their cases were not heard. It comes after we revealed Director of Public Prosecutions Ms Saunders worked at the same legal chambers as Lord Janner.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “The mental capacity of Lord Janner, who will not face child abuse charges because he has dementia, could still be examined by third-party expert witnesses, according to a lawyer representing several of his alleged victims.” – The Observer

And comment:

McBride on Brown’s Duffy moment

“The error in the Duffy incident was not the live microphone but what was said down it. Forsyth should have dismissed Brown’s fear that the encounter was a total disaster and changed the subject, much like distracting a fallen toddler before they start to cry. … Instead, he indulged him by asking questions. And after his third such interjection: ‘What did she say?’, Brown uttered his fateful, throwaway description of Duffy as ‘just a sort of bigoted woman’.” – Damian McBride, Sunday Times (£)

Umunna: A “virus of racism” runs through UKIP

UKIP glass“Nigel Farage and Ukip ‘hate modern Britain’ and have a ‘problem with race’, Chuka Umunna says in an interview with The Independent on Sunday. … The shadow business secretary, whose father was born in Nigeria, responded to the Ukip leader’s description of two of Ukip’s spokesmen as ‘fully black’ and ‘half black’ by saying there is a ‘virus of racism’ that runs through Mr Farage’s party.” Independent on Sunday

  • “Let’s take a more positive, balanced view on immigration.” – Independent on Sunday editorial

National Front members turn up to campaign for Farage

“Nigel Farage was at the centre of fresh controversy last night after National Front members turned up to campaign for him in the South Thanet constituency. … The row started after a group of far-Right supporters calling themselves the East Kent English Patriots supported Mr Farage at an event in Broadstairs on Friday evening.” – Mail on Sunday

Nick Cohen: How a dictatorship flourished in Tower Hamlets

“We are used to thinking of racism as Nigel Farage or the Tory tabloids egging on their readers to see the Aids-afflicted foreigner as the enemy. Indeed, it often appears that this is the only way we can think about it. The mirror image is just as foul and its foulness reached a nadir in London. The worst of Rahman’s corruption was not the purloined money, but the way he corrupted leftwing values.” – Nick Cohen, The Observer

  • “To vote Rahman, put your cross here . . . here, here and here.” – Rod Liddle, Sunday Times (£)
  • “Lutfur Rahman’s downfall shows the power of the people – aided by a free press.” – Sunday Telegraph editorial

Patrick Cockburn: The war in Yemen will soon become Europe’s problem

Yemen flag“The collapse of the country into a permanent state of warfare will send waves of boat-people towards Western Europe or anywhere else they can find refuge. It is absurd for European leaders to pretend that they are doing something about ‘terrorism’ or the refugees drowning in the Mediterranean when they ignore the wars that are the root causes of these events.” – Patrick Cockburn, Independent on Sunday

  • “The truth is, everyone, even Ed, has led from behind on the Med crisis.” – James Rubin, Sunday Times (£)

And related news:

  • “One of the country’s most senior bishops has said that Britain has a moral imperative to accept refugees from conflicts in which it has participated.” – The Observer
  • “Sir John Chilcott should be forced to produce a report on the findings of his inquiry into the war in Iraq or be replaced, Lord Morris, Tony Blair’s first attorney-general, has said.” – Sunday Times (£)

50 Britons feared to be among the dead after Nepalese earthquake

“Dozens of British climbers and travellers are feared missing or dead following the devastating earthquake in Nepal that triggered a massive avalanche on Mount Everest. … Desperate relatives have posted pictures and descriptions of loved ones online in the hope they can be found as the death toll continues to grow, with more than 1,500 people dead. … Latest estimates suggest as many as 50 British tourists are missing but the true number could be far higher.” - Mail on Sunday

The super-rich have doubled their wealth since 2009

UK notes and coins“Britain’s super-rich have powered through the economic crisis and are now more than twice as rich as they were in 2009 when the economy was on the rocks, The Sunday Times Rich List 2015 reveals. … Today the wealthiest 1,000 people based in Britain are collectively worth £547bn, up from £258bn in 2009, an increase of 112%. … The rise has been greatest in the past 12 months. You need £100m to get on the list this year. That is £45m more than in 2009 and £15m more than last year.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Driving out the super-rich would not benefit anybody apart from Britain’s rivals.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)

News in brief

  • Gallipoli centenary services held across the world – The Observer
  • Paramedics take 40,000 days off sick with stress – The Observer
  • Superbug hits the hospital where Kate Middleton is due to give birth – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • Diana is the public’s preferred name for for a baby princess – Sunday Times (£)
  • Edward to be the next Duke of Edinburgh – Sunday Times (£)
  • That Top Gear number plate was deliberately provocative, rules Argentine judge – Independent on Sunday
  • “Those Joe Biden shoulder massages… they’re like magic.” Obama’s White House Correspondents’ Speech – Mail on Sunday
  • Tony McCoy retires from horse racing – Mail on Sunday

And finally 1) Aston Villainy

cameron-face“David Cameron scored an own goal yesterday when he forgot which Premier League soccer club he supports. … In a speech to black and ethnic minorities, he urged them to support London club West Ham despite backing Birmingham side Aston Villa. … The PM, whose gaffe was ridiculed by rivals, blamed his slip on ‘brain fade’, adding: ‘These things sometimes happen on the stump.’” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “David Cameron may be the boss but one top Tory lost his rag when the PM gave away a Game Of Thrones spoiler.” – Guido Fawkes, Sun on Sunday (£)

> Yesterday: WATCH – “Brain fade” Cameron urges support for West Ham

And finally 2) Another Danczuk in the Commons?

“Councillor Karen, 31, wife of Labour MP Simon, said she would run for the party as soon as a constituency vacancy is available. … Karen, well-known for posting selfies of her cleavage to her 50,000 Twitter followers, said: ‘I think there needs to be more normal men and women in politics, somebody with their feet on the ground and in touch with reality.’” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “If Westminster isn’t exactly overrun with women, much less comprehensive school-educated behavioural economists with a doctoral thesis to write, that’s in part because the institution does far too little to accommodate difference.” – Catherine Mayer, The Observer
  • “The women’s vote is key. Hide Harriet.” – Rod Liddle, Sunday Times (£)

And finally 3) Naughty Nicola

Nicola Sturgeon“Entitled ‘Naughty Nicola’, the painting depicts her as a dominatrix in a short red dress, black suspenders on display and whip in hand. … But instead of being offended, Ms Sturgeon is ‘tickled’ by the image, so much so it is believed to grace the wall of her suburban Glasgow home after she was given it as a birthday gift by her husband, Peter Murrell.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “According to her sister, Gillian Owens, [Sturgeon] was prone to hacking the hair of from dolls as a child.” – Mail on Sunday

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