7.30pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Could I now be arrested for photographing the Changing of the Guard?
- Tim Montgomerie on UKIP’s share of TV coverage
- Dan Hamilton writes: Hugo Chávez cares nothing for human rights
10.15am Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: Is is "extremist" to believe there are limits to the value of democracy?
- Labour council bans St George’s Day parade
- Tower Hamlets Council adopts its own foreign policy
- Surrey County Councillor defects to the Tories
"David Cameron on Sunday hailed the defection of the architect of the government’s welfare reforms as a coup that would help an incoming Conservative government address the “mass unemployment” it would inherit. The decision by David Freud, a former investment banker, to resign as a government adviser in favour of a post as a shadow Tory minister and a seat in the Lords capped a bad political week for Gordon Brown." – FT
"The government adviser poached by the Conservatives to run their welfare reform programme predicted that more people than ever before would be on benefit by the end of the recession. David Freud, whom David Cameron has recommended for a peerage, spoke of a risk that another generation of long-term unemployed would be condemned to languish outside the labour market for the rest of their lives." – The Times
> Saturday night’s ToryDiary on David Freud’s defection
David Cameron: "Rhodri ‘Morgan and Gordon Brown to blame for poor Wales"
"Speaking to the Western Mail ahead of a series of visits in Wales today
Mr Cameron said the First Minister and Prime Minister were behind the
economic downturn… Mr Cameron said: “People shouldn’t forget it’s Rhodri Morgan and
Gordon Brown who have been in charge of the Welsh economy for the last
decade. It’s their failure to prepare for the recession that
means Wales now has the highest unemployment rate of any of the nations
of the United Kingdom, and why Wales is the poorest part of the UK." – Western Mail
David Cameron calls for £2,000 cap on banking bonuses
"As the row over banking bonuses intensified, the Tory leader suggested that ministers should even be prepared to take City executives to court to break employment contracts promising them bigger financial rewards. Mr Cameron’s intervention came as it emerged that troubled Lloyds Banking Group, which has already received £17 billion from the taxpayer, is considering paying its staff a total of £120 million on top of their salaries for last year." – Daily Telegraph
> Yesterday’s ToryDiary
Ken Clarke accuses Brown over ill-advised HBOS-Lloyds merger
"Gordon Brown could have saved HBOS without engineering the merger with Lloyds TSB that has brought the two banks to the brink of disaster, the Government’s own financial watchdog has admitted… Kenneth Clarke, the Tory shadow business secretary, yesterday accused the Prime Minister of personally driving through an ill-advised merger. He said: "It was Gordon Brown’s idea so nobody dared say to Gordon, ‘Should we go ahead with your bright idea of persuading Lloyds to take over HBOS, couldn’t be challenged?’ and so this giant was set up and unfortunately it turns out that HBOS was a disastrous poison pill inside the new giant superstructure." – Daily Telegraph
"MPs shoud come clean about their past experiments with drugs, William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, declared. Politicians who decided to be open about drug use were "doing the right thing", he said. The Tory leader David Cameron has repeatedly refused to say whether he has taken drugs, insisting he is "entitled to a private past". But yesterday Mr Hague told a Sunday newspaper: "If a young Conservative MP came to me, admitted taking cocaine during his student years and was thinking of going to the press … I’d say he was doing the right thing." – Independent
Tory questions on Miliband’s deceit over Guantanamo torture claims
"David Miliband was yesterday accused of an ‘outrageous deception’ after it emerged that his department engineered a threat from the U.S. which helped suppress torture allegations that might embarrass the British government… William Hague said he was writing to Mr Miliband for an explanation. He said: ‘If this is true, it is the exact opposite of what should have been done, which was for the Government to ask the U.S. administration to change its approach on the release of these controversial paragraphs.’ And former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: ‘The Foreign Office have colluded with the Americans to produce a document to protect David Miliband’." – Daily Mail
Amazon villagers get Conservative party windfall for saving rainforest
"A remote community in the Amazon stands to be given millions of pounds to stop cutting down its rainforest after being chosen by both the Conservative party and one of the world’s biggest hotel groups to offset their carbon emissions. A total of 322 families living in the Juma reserve in the Brazilian state of Amazonas will each receive a monthly allowance in return for pledging zero deforestation. The Tories decided to support the project after a visit in December by Greg Barker, shadow environment minister, on a fact-finding mission. “Nothing we can do to fight climate change will succeed unless we can reverse the alarming deforestation across the world,” he said. It will be announced this week as part of a Conservative climate change campaign." – Times Online
"Gordon Brown was accused yesterday of trying to block David Cameron from attending a Downing Street dinner to mark the unveiling of a portrait of Margaret Thatcher. Baroness Thatcher had put the Tory leader’s name on a guest list for the event, which will be hosted by the Prime Minister later this month. But her office was astonished to discover that Mr Cameron’s name had been struck off. One source familiar with the list said: ‘When the list was sent back by Downing Street, Mr Cameron’s name had been removed. It was very odd.’ The source added that Lady Thatcher’s office ‘challenged’ the omission and his name was put back on the list." – Daily Mail
Trevor Kavanagh asks the question: "Why is Gordon Brown still Prime Minister?"
After the events of last week, why has he not resigned? And if he won’t go of his own accord, how long before he is hounded out by voters whose homes, pensions and jobs he’s put in peril? After all, he sacked his multi-millionaire banking pal and key adviser Sir James Crosby the moment he was exposed as a dud… Tories accuse Mr Brown of failing to fix the roof when the sun was shining. It was much worse. He demolished the load-bearing walls and propped up the rafters with broomsticks." – Trevor Kavanagh writing in The Sun
"The future’s Tory, so let’s get used to it now"
"What will life be like under the Tories? Better get used to it because Labour is going down for the third time, and this time there’s no bouncing back. Gordon Brown has manifestly lost the plot on the banking crisis, and doesn’t know what to do next… As Brown sinks beneath the waves of recession, it is becoming clear that, politically, Cameron was right to concentrate on debt last year rather than stimulus. Through tens of billions handed wantonly to bankrupt banks, and billions lost in benefits to the unemployed, the public finances are ruined for a generation, and Cameron can hang this round Gordon Brown’s neck. The economy will revive eventually – it always does – but in the mean time prepare for a new age of austerity: the Brown bust before the Cameron recovery." – Iain MacWhirter writing in The Herald
Frank Millar: Does David Cameron know what he’s doing by allying the Tories with the UUP?
"If this “new force” really is to amount to something more than a re-run of their past relationship, it would seem necessary for the Ulster Unionists to embrace the ethnically inclusive Cameron brand." – Frank Millar writing in the Irish Times
CBI: Government will have to borrow £100 billion more than anticipated – BBC
Farmer to receive new set aside payments – Telegraph
UK business loan scheme "not working" – FT
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