7.45pm Seats and Candidates: Antony Calvert selected for Morley and Outwood

Ivan_cameron_and_family_27.15pm ToryDiary: David Cameron conveys his thanks for all the messages of support he has received this week

5.15pm Julia Manning on CentreRight: "We need a military health service in the UK that communicates the deep
appreciation and respect that most of us have for our veterans. The
price paid by our forces in the daily sacrifices of duty should be
credited to them in the specialised care they receive when their losses
later extend to their mental health."

4.15pm WATCH: Gordon Brown promises a clean-up of the banking system

2.30pm Local Government: Eric Pickles urges Conservative councillors to "get in touch with their inner Tory"

1pm Local Government: Bob Neill MP reports back on a successful Conservative Councillors’ Association Conference

11.30am WATCH:

David_ruffley_2ToryDiary: David Ruffley announces "Mobile Urban Gaols" to spearhead Tory effort to let the police concentrate on policing

Abhishek Majumdar on Platform: Avoiding tax avoidance and restoring confidence to the UK

Seats and Candidates Search for 100 Peers: Sir Andrew Green

Local Government:

Greg Hands on CentreRight: Where spin meets the politics of envy – Labour’s new policy to publish Council chiefs’ salaries


David Cameron sends message of support to today’s Convention on Modern Liberty

"The Conservative leader said a Convention report earlier this week citing nearly 25 acts of parliament and more than 50 separate measures that have eroded British liberty added more weight to the evidence of the erosion of liberties: "It shows very clearly that the Human Rights Act has not protected us from these erosions, and may even have given them a veneer of respectability. That is why a Conservative government would replace the Act with a British bill of rights – to better tailor, but also strengthen, the protection of our core rights in keeping with the great tradition of freedom under law that has been nurtured in this country for centuries." – Guardian

> Yesterday’s ToryDiary post on how the recession could impact the debate on civil liberties

Lord Myners under pressure as it emerges he knew about Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension…

"The government last night moved to claw back half of the £16m pension pot for the disgraced RBS chief executive, Sir Fred Goodwin, as it launched a wider review of the multi-million pound rewards earned by ousted executives of the bailed-out banks. The move by ministers came as Goodwin was still refusing to relinquish his pension payout of £693,000 a year that he claims was secured with the knowledge of the City minister, Lord Myners… Myners came under pressure from the Tories and the unions yesterday to step down because of his handling of the crisis. Shadow chancellor George Osborne said Myners was in a very difficult position as he had known about the size of the pension last October and did not do anything about it. The senior Tory on the treasury select committee, Michael Fallon, called on Myners to resign." – Guardian

“Of course our anger should be directed at Fred Goodwin. But it should also be directed at Gordon Brown and Treasury minister Paul Myners for allowing this pension to be paid out for failure. We should be angry that this row has further sapped confidence in the Government’s ability to handle the banking crisis at the heart of this recession.” – George Osborne quoted in The Sun

…as the pay-off and pension for ex-HBOS executive Peter Cummings comes under scrutiny

"The disgraced banker who helped bring Halifax Bank of Scotland to its knees was given a £600,000 pay-off and is likely to receive a pension of more than £400,000 a year. Peter Cummings, who masterminded many of the stricken bank’s high-profile deals, has left with a pension pot estimated at £10million-plus… But yesterday Mr Brown attempted to distance himself from the deal, insisting: ‘That was a decision that was made by Lloyds and HBOS – it was a merger that they decided’… Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said: ‘Gordon Brown has a reputation for acting like Macavity when things go wrong, but even by his standards attempting to claim he had nothing to do with the Lloyds/HBOS merger is staggering’." – Daily Mail

Further coverage of the "sealing of the deal" between the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists

"The merger between the UUP and Conservatives will allow Ulster voters to play a key role in national politics, it was claimed yesterday. Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey and Conservative Northern Ireland spokesman Owen Paterson officially launched their plan to field joint candidates in the European and Westminster elections in Northern Ireland. They urged voters to focus on the opportunities their alliance presented and dismissed criticisms of their new title, ‘Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force’." – Belfast News Letter

> Yesterday’s ToryDiary: European Elections will be first test for Conservatives and Unionists

Amanda Platell reflects on how Ivan’s death will affect David Cameron

"I was initially deeply sceptical over the way Cameron flaunted his family. Cameras in the kitchen… pictures of him kissing Ivan… it all seemed to be too intrusive, too much spin, too Tony Blair. But Cameron maintained we had a right to know what kind of man he was – and that meant witnessing at first hand how important his family life was to him. And over time, who could not admire the way he coped with Ivan’s condition, without a hint of complaint for the sleepless nights, the frequent trips to hospital, the constant gnawing anxiety that must have left him utterly drained and exhausted? It showed the measure of the man." – Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail

Charles Moore expresses his unease about the suspension of the Commons on Wednesday

"Not surprisingly, the media reports of the political reaction to the death of David Cameron’s son, Ivan, on Ash Wednesday, showed a House of Commons united. But, in fact, this was not so… At Gordon Brown’s request, the House adjourned out of respect for Mr Cameron, suspending Prime Minister’s Questions. No one in Westminster wanted to question this out loud, but, in private, many were unhappy about it. I think they were right to be." – Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph

Welsh Tory candidate mourns her baby’s death

"The Conservative parliamentary candidate in Delyn, Antoinette Sandbach, is mourning the death of her five-day-old son Sam. The baby died on Tuesday, the same day that the Conservative leader David Cameron’s son Ivan was taken ill before dying the following morning. The separate tragedy was revealed yesterday in a statement issued by the Welsh Conservative party." – Daily Post

William Hague: The government must be open about its role in Binyam Mohamed’s Guantánamo ordeal

"This week Binyam Mohamed was released from Guantánamo Bay and transferred to the UK. Far from ending speculation, his return has inflamed rumours about what he endured since his capture in 2002… These are serious allegations. Torture is abhorrent and unacceptable, and for Britain to be associated with such practices, even at the level of unproven allegations, damages our reputation and our standing in the world. For Britain to clear its name, the government needs to be as transparent as possible about what happened to Mohamed, so that the British public, British officials and British allies know that this country does not connive, collude or participate in torture." – William Hague writing in The Guardian

> Our recent ToryDiary post on the issue

Lord Forsyth and SNP Finance minister clash over Scottish fiscal autonomy

"Former Tory Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth yesterday accused Finance Secretary John Swinney of tactics of "destruction" over his demands for full fiscal autonomy. The old adversaries clashed at a House of Lords hearing in Edinburgh examining the future of the Barnett Formula. Mr Swinney made clear that he rejected the replacement of the formula with a new needs-based assessment because he did not trust the fairness or impartiality of the Treasury to oversee that process. Former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth said his advisers had always warned against a needs-based system because it could cut funds to Scotland. He asked why Mr Swinney was rejecting the argument and added: "Is there some tactics here?" – The Herald

Cheryl Gillan’s autism bill clears first hurdle

"A Tory MP’s bid to improve support for people with autism has cleared its first Commons hurdle, despite government opposition. Cheryl Gillan’s bill would put a legal duty on councils and NHS services to look after people with autism’s needs. Labour claims their autism strategy would achieve the same effect without the "blunt instrument" of legislation. But Tory MPs cheered as they won a vote to stop the bill being "talked out" by 131 votes to 25 – a majority of 106. They had entered the Commons chamber to support the closure motion in unusually large numbers for a Friday and the bill was given an unopposed second reading – allowing it to move into its detailed committee stage." – BBC

Tories to oppose "unfair" port bill

"The Conservatives will table an amendment to a controversial bill that will see businesses that use UK ports face far higher rates bills. The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill, which is currently before Parliament in the House of Lords, proposes that companies that use the UK’s 55 ports will have to pay millions of pounds more in business rates from April. The bill has caused particular controversy as the increased rates will be backdated to 2005, and the Conservatives plan to table an amendment." – Daily Telegraph

Boris unveils celebration of London

"Plans for a month-long celebration of London which include live music, lectures and walking tours throughout June, have been unveiled. Inspired by the city’s past, present and future, events being organised for the Story of London involve a Tudor river pageant… London mayor Boris Johnson said the event would have "superb attractions". Mr Johnson said: "There are so many stories to tell, in so many different ways, and the Story of London will be a kaleidoscopic exposition of the city’s past, present and future." – BBC

Matthew Parris on the lessons of the miners’ strike, which began 25 years ago tomorrow

"David Cameron describes himself (I think sincerely) as an admirer of Lady Thatcher. If so, this is not a bad moment to think about the lessons of the miners’ strike. I don’t mean that he will face a bankers’ strike; or a teachers’ or prison officers’ strike; or even a civil servants’ strike; or any strike at all. I mean that shockingly early in the life of the next administration it will become clear that if prime minister Cameron is to do anything but affably tread water, there will emerge substantial, sometimes powerful and sometimes pitiable groups who can never be reconciled to his plans." – Matthew Parris in The Times

Boris to face Commons transport committee over snow disruption Daily Telegraph

Peter Mandelson in new "favours for friends" rowDaily Mail

Commons Speaker took wife on taxpayer-funded trips to Hawaii and BahamasDaily Telegraph

VC holder Johnson Beharry condemns government failure to care for veterans suffering post-combat stressIndependent

Brown pins his hopes of recovery on ObamaTimes

Obama outlines Iraq pullout planBBC

Lib Dems suspend Nazi fancy dress councillorIndependent



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