8pm ToryDiary: Are fringe parties the main beneficiaries of Labour’s collapse?

5.30pm Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: "The idea that we need to "end the bonus culture" is plain old cheap, pointless political posturing"

4.15pm Local Government: Should Councils give children free swimming?

3.45pm Ruth Lea on CentreRight: Very few British jobs have gone to British workers

2.30pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Why no Government condemnation of "climate change denial" of Northern Ireland Environment minister?

12.15pm Parliament: Written answers round-up, including: 150 courts have closed since 1997 and some advice for the BBC

11am ToryDiary: David Cameron announces Economic Recovery Committee

10.45am Parliament: Peter Luff’s call for automatic business rate relief for small businesses among recent Early Day Motions

Us_flag10.15am Parliament: Mark Pritchard secures debate on UK-US relations

10am Mark Field MP on CentreRight: "No bank which is in receipt of government bailout funding should be paying bonuses to staff this year."

ClarkekennethToryDiary: Ken Clarke explains how he will deal with collective responsibility on Europe

Alistair Thompson on Platform: Stop blaming capitalism for our woes

Local Government: Should residents clear the snow themselves?

Seats and Candidates


WATCH: Conservatives discover that almost half of maternity wards have turned away women in labour

Cameron_at_number_ten Bruce Anderson: What Cameron must now do to win

"The Tories appear to be sleepwalking to power. Yet they would be unwise to settle for victory on those terms. This is no moment for a wise Tory to congratulate himself on how well his party is doing. This is the time to win the arguments and create the intellectual capital to sustain David Cameron’s government in the stormy weather which will assail his Premiership from the outset." – Bruce Anderson writing in The Independent

Further coverage of David Cameron’s pledge to co-operate with the SNP administration in Edinburgh

"David Cameron has pledged to end the cross-border warfare which has dogged Scottish politics since the SNP government took power in 2007, if he becomes Prime Minister at the next general election. But the Conservative leader’s promise to govern with “maturity and respect” for the Scottish people was attacked yesterday by Alex Salmond. “No amount of warm words from the Tories will wipe out the memories the people of Scotland have of the damage inflicted on the country during 18 long years of Conservative rule,” a spokesman for the First Minister said."- The Times

"Tory leader David Cameron was last night accused of sending out a series of mixed messages about how he would deal with the SNP if he became prime minister. He said he would work constructively with any First Minister in Scotland, while doing all in his power to block independence, but the SNP said the latest opinion poll showed support for independence gaining ground in recent months, with support for a yes vote now within two points of those opposed, 38% to 40%." –  The Herald

> Yesterday’s ToryDiary: How a Cameron Government would cohabit with an SNP administration in Scotland

George Osborne tells bankers: "The party’s over"

"Banks being propped up by taxpayers are poised to defy public fury and pay staff bonuses of almost £4billion… Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has called for a ‘new banking settlement’. He said: ‘The party is over for the banks. You can’t go on paying yourselves 20 times what a heart surgeon earns, so that whole culture has to come to an end.’ Mr Osborne said the issue had been brewing for months but ministers had reacted too late. He demanded that the Treasury tear up contracts guaranteeing huge bonuses because ‘these banks wouldn’t be in existence without taxpayer support’." – Daily Mail

Treasury’s bank bonus team to get own payout – Times

> Yesterday’s ToryDiary on George Osborne’s interview with Andrew Marr

Mark_harper Four-fold rise in addicts claiming disability benefits, say Tories

"The Tories claimed the rise in the numbers of addicts and alcoholics claiming Disability Living Allowance "completely undermined"claims by ministers they were dealing with the problem. The figures show 4,800 people received the benefit in 1998 and the number increased each year, hitting 19,300 in 2008… Shadow work and pensions minister Mark Harper, who obtained the data said: "These figures completely undermine Labour’s sham claim to be getting to grips with drug addiction and benefit dependency." – Daily Telegraph

Janet Daley assess Tory education policy

"I think that a good deal of the Cameron-Gove package is really promising… But establishing a rigorous "setting", let alone "streaming" policy in every comprehensive? Aren’t they aware that "setting" has supposedly been part of comprehensive education since its inception, and that it is not enforced because teachers will not do it? And that "streaming" would be anathema to most of the presiding heads in the state system? As for the Cameron-Gove dream of a proper curriculum (individual subjects taught to exacting standards): where will they find enough properly educated teachers to offer it?… So set all the schools free, Mr Cameron, and give parents the right to take their tax-funded allowance (don’t call it a voucher) to whichever one they want. Then the rest – the curriculum, the teaching methodology and the educational ethos – will find its own way home." – Janet Daley in the Daily Telegraph

Boris’s housing goal under threat

"London Mayor Boris Johnson may not reach his target of building 50,000 affordable homes by 2011, deputy mayor Sir Simon Milton has admitted. In November the mayor announced the target to help Londoners "aspiring to get a foot on the housing ladder". But on Sunday Sir Simon said: "You can’t guarantee anything in this market. It would be foolish to do so."  – BBC

Gove_michael_nw Michael Gove: You can’t ignore the free market’s charms

"My belief in capitalism’s durability is based not on any particular understanding of economics, no long immersion in Ricardo, von Mises or Friedman. It is based on my bewilderment in the face of mobile phone charms… I cannot conceive what possible use or attraction these devices have… But it’s clear that there is a demand for these things, a demand which countless websites and shops on every street corner are there to meet. And the ability of one individual, a few years ago, to have divined this demand, then to have devised ways of getting these trinkets into shops and then into the hands of hundreds of thousands, is all the proof I need of capitalism’s certain immortality." – Michael Gove writing in The Times

Mark Pritchard attacks MoD training project as "a privatisation too far"

"The government’s biggest private finance initiative, a multibillion-pound plan to hive-off training for the armed forces, is in trouble, subject to delays, financial problems, and increases in cost, the Ministry of Defence has said. The long-planned project, known as the defence training review, first proposed a decade ago, has been put off for at least two years and its estimated initial cost has risen from £11bn to £12bn… Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for The Wrekin, who stands to lose the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering at Cosford in his constituency if the project goes ahead, describes it as a "privatisation too far". – Guardian

Labour areas received four times more Lottery cash than Conservative constituencies

"Labour-held constituencies have a far better chance of winning generous Lottery grants than Conservative or Liberal Democrat areas, a new analysis reveals. Figures unearthed using the Freedom of Information Act show that among those areas receiving the most cash from the Big Lottery Fund last year Labour seats outnumbered Conservative by almost four to one. The five best-funded areas were all Labour constituencies. Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘These figures underline the need for Lottery funding to be politically neutral. One of the most important jobs for an incoming Tory Government will be to make the Lottery independent of Government in terms of how it spends the money and who sits on its board’." – Daily Mail

The maverick ideas of red Toryism could give Cameron a potent edge

"Phillip Blond may provoke fury and incomprehension on the Tory blogs, but party thinkers such as Oliver Letwin and David Willetts are intrigued. As are the more thoughtful on the Labour backbenches such as Jon Cruddas. Close watchers on the left acknowledge that Blond is opening up "potent political territory" – territory that could go to the Tories but equally could be captured by another, or even a new, party." – Madeleine Bunting writing in The Guardian

> Our recent ToryDiary post: Introducing ‘Red Toryism’

Jacqui Smith denies misuse of home allowanceBirmingham Post

Labour backbencher claims increasing support for bid to ban political donations by those not paying UK taxScotsman

Brown under pressure to scrap part sale of Royal MailTimes

Charities and volunteers get funds to help out in recessionDaily Telegraph

Lib Dems to unveil spending plansBBC

Scottish political blogger "Indygal" set to become SNP MSPGuardian

Swiss continue to back free movement of labour with the EUDaily Telegraph

Final day of election campaigning in IsraelBBC

How a Cameron Government would cohabit with an SNP administration in Scotland

Cameron vows to create a good school in every community

Tim Montgomerie: The Tory grassroots deserved better than the insulting A-list

Tim Loughton MP: Has Child Protection become more about protecting the system than protecting vulnerable children?

Andrew Lilico: Striking off a foster parent because a 16-year-old in her care converted to Christianity is a disgrace and should not be tolerated

And there was ConHome’s Brown v Sarkozy video:


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