5.15pm Mark Field MP on CentreRight: "Far from upholding the free market values and the honour of the law of contract, those who support Sir Fred’s entitlement as it was back in October will only help to undermine capitalism and all it does to create wealth."
- George Osborne blames Gordon Brown’s regulatory reforms for contributing to scale of banks’ catastrophic losses
- George Osborne questions Labour on when it knew about Fred Goodwin’s massive pension
2.45pm Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: "Would all these Labour MPs and government ministers saying that it is "unacceptable" for Goodwin to receive his pension be happy for other employers to treat dismissed staff in the way they propose to treat Goodwin?"
- Charlie Elphicke offers a tale of one paid job and one unpaid job
- Matt Sinclair worries that Brown’s appeasement of his backbenchers means we are not getting proper reform of the Royal Mail
Jonathan Sheppard on Platform: Why any Conservative must support Royal Mail reform
- Should Croydon Council get twice as much Government grant as Bromley Council
- Latest by-election results
Today’s must-read: Our public debt is hitting Armageddon levels
"Most economists and ministers now believe that a prudent fiscal policy means not allowing public sector debt to exceed 40 per cent of GDP. But the Government is under no obligation to manage the public finances with this target in mind. Indeed, Britain is not even bound by the 60 per cent limit in the Maastricht treaty, as Margaret Thatcher managed to win an opt-out from the relevant article. This is just as well, given what has happened since last year. With the debts of the nationalised and part-nationalised banks now on the public sector balance sheet, the ratio of public sector debt to GDP in the UK exceeds that of Italy and Japan. And it is set to grow much higher. On the basis of the planned levels of borrowing, it could exceed 65 per cent of GDP in 2010-11." – Steve Bundred, Chief Executive of the Audit Commission, writing in The Times
Immigration is voters’ top concern
"A Daily Telegraph/YouGov survey shows that it is the top concern that people want an incoming Conservative government to deal with. Fifty-two per cent said they wanted a Tory administration to reduce immigration. This week immigration figures revealed that one in nine people living in Britain was born overseas, highlighting a significant change in population make-up under Labour." – Telegraph
> Yesterday’s ToryDiary: Poll also finds Tories 10% ahead
Agreement reached on ‘Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force’
"The Conservative Party and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) have confirmed their plans to fight elections in Northern Ireland on a joint ticket and under a new name. After painstaking behind-the-scenes negotiations the ballot papers will carry the title ‘Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force’." – Belfast Telegraph
"Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party Sir Reg Empey said: "I am delighted that my party has agreed to work more closely with the Conservative Party. This is something entirely new in Northern Ireland, something which would allow us to become more fully and demonstrably an equal partner within the UK family."" – Telegraph
Theresa Villiers makes the case for her high speed rail plan
“We believe that this will cement Birmingham’s place as a major European city and provide a major boost for jobs across the West Midlands. As well as regeneration gains, particularly around the stations for the new line, a top-class transport link that effectively shrinks the distance between the nation’s two largest cities will help integrate the economies of the Midlands and the south-east. Faster and better links to London help the rest of the country tap into higher relative levels of prosperity in the south-east, providing a boost for vitally important manufacturing industries such as car production, which are suffering so badly in the current recession.” – Birmingham Post
You knew all about my £693,000 a year pension deal, Sir Fred tells Labour – Daily Mail
> Yesterday’s ToryDiary: Did Labour authorise Fred Goodwin’s pension windfall?
Nick Bourne reshuffles his Welsh Tory team, moving chief rival – BBC
Labour minister, Caroline Flint MP, warns unions against boosting the BNP
"A minister has warned Labour MPs and trade unions they will play into the hands of the British National Party if they continue their campaign against companies they claim recruit "foreign workers" to undercut pay levels." – Independent
Teenage pregnancy levels highest for a decade – Times
Ministers admit they handed over terror suspects in Iraq to US, sparking claims of extraordinary rendition – BBC
Councils in England will be forced to publish information on how much their chief executives earn – BBC
"Gold-plated pensions gobble up £1 in every £5 of council tax we pay, a report will reveal today. The bill for UK town hall pensions hit a massive £4.5 billion last year — with the average council paying about £10million. The typical Band D tax is due to rise to a record £1,414 in April — with £282 spent on council workers’ deals. And the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which uncovered the figures, claims that about 3,500 councillors are now on index-linked, final-salary pensions." – The Sun
Clean streets, safe neighbourhoods and strong schools should be recipe for Republican revival in US cities – Heather MacDonald in The Guardian
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