11.45pm ToryDiary: Tories 10% ahead (YouGov)

6.45pm Local government: Worcester Tories will NOT support twinning with Gaza

Green_damian_blue_background_26pm ToryDiary: "I regard anyone born in Britain as British" says Damian Green

5pm ToryDiary: Did Labour authorise Fred Goodwin’s £650,000pa pension?

3.45pm Parliament: Malcolm Harbour welcomes proposal to exempt small businesses from EU regulation

12.15pm Parliament: Gordon Brown breaks Commons rules on office sub-lets

12noon Parliament: It was right to suspend PMQs yesterday

11.45am Parliament: Nick Hurd backs short-term Treasury loans to sound charities

Crabbstephen2 11.30am Parliament: Stephen Crabb calls for clear Government message on gas storage

10.30am Local Government: Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh’s budget speech on Hammersmith and Fulham’s Council Tax cut.

9.45am Parliament: More than a hundred MPs want to see police report on Damian Green arrest

ToryDiary: A brief glimpse of Samanatha Cameron’s anguish

Elizabeth Truss on Platform sets out a manifesto for police reform: "Despite having the most expensive police service in the developed world per capita – costing 20 per cent more as proportion of  GDP than the US – Reform’s new report, A New Force, shows that there are major gaps in provision, particularly in tackling organised crime. The street price of drugs is falling – cocaine costs half as much as a decade ago. People-trafficking is rising."

Local government:


Picture_2 WATCH: Margaret Thatcher’s new Downing Street portrait

Brown makes private call to David Cameron

"Gordon Brown has spoken to David Cameron to express his condolences over the loss of his son Ivan. Mr Brown had already said in Parliament that everyone’s thoughts and prayers were with the Conservative leader, but he later spoke to him privately." – BBC

How Ivan changed David Cameron

"As political adviser to cabinet ministers Norman Lamont and Michael Howard, and later as director of corporate affairs at Carlton Communications, Mr Cameron’s public school confidence sometimes extended to a touch of arrogance. Friends say that was knocked out of him by his and his wife Samantha’s experience in bringing up Ivan. At Carlton, former colleagues noticed a change in him after Ivan was born in 2002. One described him as a "different man" and "much less frivolous". Another said that whereas he had previously appeared "arrogant", Ivan’s disability has been "a real leveller". His lifelong friend, the writer Giles Andreae, has said it had given the Tory leader "more humility"." – Andrew Grice in The Independent

David Cameron expected to be off duty for at least ten daysITN

Matthew Parris: Speaker wrong to cancel PMQs

"I did not care for the House of Commons’s impromptu memorial ceremony yesterday, which may now become a precedent for whenever a party leader suffers a close personal loss. The House is there to look outward to the nation as a whole, not inward. Parliament marks the deaths in action of British servicemen in Afghanistan with a simple one-line acknowledgement, and should do no more for sadnesses closer to home." – Matthew Parris in The Times

Gove: Deprived children twice as likely to skip school than those from the richest areasTelegraph

Conservatives want to turn Britain into California

"Fraser Nelson says that the Conservatives are taking their cue from the West Coast of America: the land of Google, Stanford University and venture capital. They want to rebuild Britain in California’s image: dynamic, high-tech, green and ‘family-friendly’" – Fraser Nelson in The Spectator

‘The Ashcroft effect’

Ashcroft_michael "In opinion polls, the Tories now do about five points better in marginal seats, where British elections are decided, than they do nationally. Gordon Brown found this out to his horror when he commissioned one such survey of swing seats, just before he cancelled the election-that-never-was in autumn 2007. The ‘Ashcroft Effect’, as it was known in Number 10, meant that a hung parliament was a distinct possibility — even if the national polls pointed towards a Labour win. The Prime Minister found out, embarrassingly late in his planning, that he had been comprehensively outmanoeuvred." – Fraser Nelson in The Spectator

Tories accepted £250,000 from Lord Ashcroft’s wife – Times

Verdict on UUP-Tory deal today

"The Ulster Unionist party’s ruling executive is due to meet to give its verdict on proposals for a partnership with the Conservative Party. The most difficult issue has been which name the new grouping will take, as most assembly members opposed Tory plans to drop the word "Ulster". It is understood the new name will be the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists but the word "party" will not appear." – BBC

Labour’s eight largest unions protest Lord Mandelson’s plans for Royal Mail

Mandelson_peter_sky "The concerted attack comes on the day the government publishes its bill to change the way Royal Mail is set up. But Mandelson will make significant moves to meet party rebels halfway by offering some reassurances today. The business secretary’s commitments include assuring that Royal Mail is not completely privatised without further primary legislation; that a universal letter service, six days a week at a single affordable price, will be enshrined in law; and that Ofcom will get extensive powers to investigate the prices the service is allowed to charge private competitors and to ensure it is not forced to provide a hidden subsidy to rivals." – Guardian

"The legislation for the part-privatisation of Royal Mail that Lord Mandelson published yesterday has triggered near-hysteria in the Labour Party. Half the party’s backbenchers are threatening rebellion, there is open dissent among Cabinet ministers and Gordon Brown will almost certainly have to rely on Tory votes to get the measure though the Commons. Everyone agrees that Royal Mail is a poorly run business, burdened with a ballooning pensions liability which is expected to rise to more than £8 billion by the summer. Yet perfectly sensible plans to put the company on a sounder commercial footing, while guaranteeing the pension fund, have induced a fit of the vapours in Government ranks. This does not augur well for the future, because Royal Mail offers just a tiny taste of what is to come in the public sector." – Telegraph leader

Labour peer sent to prison for texting while drivingIndependent


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