11.15pm ToryDiary: New YouGov poll puts Tory lead at 11%

11pm Latest on CentreRight:

8.15pm ToryDiary: Were the Scottish Tories right to back the SNP budget?

6pm Jeremy Hunt on CentreRight: Digital disappointment

5.45pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: How can an MP of 12 years’ standing accidentally vote the wrong way?

John_hayes_44.30pm Parliament: MP of the day – John Hayes for standing up to anti-Semitism

4.15pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: The Muslim Council of Britain finds a new excuse to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day

2.30pm Latest from CentreRight:

Theresa_villiers_mp_212.30pm Parliament: Theresa Villiers opposes third runway at Heathrow

12noon Parliament: Cheryl Gillan wants more done about job losses in Wales

11.30am Matt Sinclair on CentreRight: What is the Conservative position on flights?

11.15am ToryDiary: Further rebuke for Derek Conway

11am ToryDiary: The journalist behind the recent Ken Clarke stories explains himself

ToryDiary: Is it time to reform the House of Lords?

Theresamayqs_2 ToryDiary: Send us your questions for Theresa May, the new shadow work and pensions secretary

Dr Mark Thompson on Platform: We need a new approach for IT procurement in government

Seats and Candidates Search for 100 Peers: Simon Mort

Local Government:


WATCH: President Obama on his Economic Recovery Plan

Osborne_george_smiling Tories taunt Gordon Brown over "the true cost of Labour failures" as IMF predicts economy will shrink by 2.8% this year

"It has been a constant refrain, an accompaniment to every storm warning of economic trouble ahead: “Britain is better placed to ride out the global downturn than the rest of the world.” But Gordon Brown’s claim was blown away yesterday when the International Monetary Fund marked Britain down to suffer a worse recession than any other developed nation. “This is the day when the British people were confronted with the true cost of Gordon Brown’s failures,” George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, said." – The Times

"Alistair Darling must use the Budget in April to rescind the two main measures of November’s ill-judged pre-Budget report – the temporary cut in VAT and the planned 45 per cent top tax rate. The first has been ineffectual, the second will be harmful. The IFS correctly observes that we can only balance our books by raising taxes or cutting spending. Raising taxes in a recession is not an option. The Government must emulate every business and family in the land and reduce its outgoings. With a planned spend next year of £640 billion, it cannot credibly claim there is no scope for savings." – Telegraph leader

Tories backed by 28 Labour rebels in last night’s vote on Heathrow expansion…

"The government last night narrowly ­survived the first parliamentary test of its decision to expand Heathrow airport… The Conservative motion was a word-for-word copy of the early day motion tabled by Labour MP John Grogan before Christmas – a tactic they believed would recruit maximum numbers of Labour MPs to their ranks – but in the event 28 went through the division lobbies with the opposition, with the government’s majority slashed to 19." – Guardian

…as Villiers clear the way for more flights from small airports

"The Conservatives said yesterday that they were willing to expand airport capacity in the South East despite the party’s environmental opposition to a third runway at Heathrow. Luton, City Airport or Southend could be allowed increased numbers of flights or an extra runway under the Tories, even though they argued against Heathrow’s expansion on the grounds that it could jeopardise the target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Theresa Villiers, the Shadow Transport Secretary, did, however, repeat her opposition to expansion at Gatwick and Stansted and to a new airport in the Thames Estuary." – The Times

Theresa Villiers and Greg Clark taking part in live webcast on climate change, the environment and Heathrow at 11.30am this

Scottish Tories back SNP budget – but it is defeated by the Presiding Officer’s casting vote

"The SNP had the support of the Scottish Conservatives for their £33bn budget, and thought they had bought off the two Scottish Green MSPs with a last-minute promise of a £33m programme of home insulation. But it wasn’t enough, and the vote was tied 64 to 64. The presiding officer voted with the status quo – which in this case he interpreted as meaning he should vote against the bill" – The Guardian

Annabel_goldie "Labour’s actions today are grossly irresponsible and quite frankly pathetic. It is political posturing at its very worst, which could cost Scotland £1.8bn and will only increase uncertainty during Labour’s recession. The Scottish Conservatives fought hard to secure nearly a quarter of a billion pounds worth of concessions from the SNP Government to help in these difficult economic times. Labour secured nothing. Gordon Brown has created a recession, Iain Gray has just made it worse. When will Labour learn to put the national interest before narrow party interest. Labour is all at sea with minority government, it has no compass and no hand at the helm." – Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie quoted in The Herald

"The absolute mayhem, bordering on farce, at the Scottish Parliament yesterday as the SNP’s budget was kicked into touch by two of its members, for whom nobody had ever cast a vote, is the price we were always likely to pay one day for our new devolved democracy." – Alan Cochrane in the Daily Telegraph

Tories to encourage school trips to farms

"Pupils would be able to go on class trips to the farmyard and "adopt an animal" to teach them where their food comes from under Tory plans. Layers of "cotton wool" which prevent schoolchildren from being taken on trips would be shredded so that teachers are not afraid to organise trips, according to Shadow Farming Minister Jim Paice… Mr Paice called for action to teach youngsters about their food to "explode some myths" – Yorkshire Post

Edward Leigh: Too many cannot read and write

"An "unacceptably" high number of people in England cannot read, write and count properly, MPs have warned. The Public Accounts Committee said in 2007 51,000 pupils left school without a GCSE of at least D-G in maths and 39,000 left without this in English… CPA chairman Edward Leigh said: "This is a dismal picture, both for the many who face diminished prospects in what they can achieve in life and for the competitiveness of our country in the world economy." – BBC

Tory peer accused of misusing Lords to boost her own firm

"A Conservative peer who owns a political networking consultancy was last night facing allegations that she had misused parliamentary facilities to promote her own business. Lady Cumberlege, a former minister in John Major’s government, yesterday admitted failing to declare "punctiliously" her financial interests during House of Lords debates." – Guardian

Inaccurate Government statistics cause fresh embarrassment

"The Government faced fresh embarrassment over its ability to handle statistics yesterday after it was forced to delay publication of two sets of data because of inconsistencies. The Ministry of Justice was due to publish quarterly sentencing figures today and quarterly probation statistics tomorrow but postponed both after officials discovered inaccuracies… Shadow Justice Secretary, Dominic Grieve said: "This is further evidence of disarray in the publication of regular statistics on criminal justice – it comes as yet another blow, both to the government’s credibility and public confidence." – Daily Telegraph

Iain Martin: David Cameron can be a great PM – or a footnote

"What should be dawning on Cameron is that there will be no possibility of a mediocre Blairite ramble through a decade in power and on into a world of overpaid public speaking. He can do what needs doing and become a great prime minister. Or he can duck tough choices and be chased from office – just as Gordon Brown is going to be." – Iain Martin in the Daily Telegraph

The Lords "cash for amendments" scandal is a parable for the end of New Labour

"There is a powerful allegorical quality to the Lords scandal. The chamber so brutally attacked by New Labour as the embodiment of all that was wrong with Britain in 1997 may yet come to embody all that is devious and corrupt about New Labour in its death throes. Yet there is a crucial difference. In 1997, sleaze was brilliantly used by Labour to divert attention from a near-miraculous economic recovery. Now, it simply the latest squalid addition to a compendium of abject failure." – Fraser Nelson in The Spectator

Picture_2 "Rise of the Red Tories"

"The crisis is an opportunity to sweep away the rotten postwar settlement of British politics. Labour is moribund. But David Cameron has a chance to develop a "red Tory" communitarianism, socially conservative but anti-big business" – Philip Blond in Prospect magazine

> Tim Montgomerie: Introducing "Red Toryism"

US House passes Obama’s fiscal stimulus package without Republican supportBBC

Standards Committee to publish new report on Derek Conway todayBBC

Britain opens door to 36,000 Gurkha veterans after policy U-turnTimes

Half a million Poles "will stay in Britain despite recession"Telegraph

Chief medical officer to issue strict guidance on children’s alcohol consumptionBBC


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