7.30pm WATCH: Howard Dean addresses the Lib Dem spring conference in Harrogate

6pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: The country’s leading trade unionist is re-elected with the support of less than 5% of his comrades

3.15pm International: "There is actually a limit to what governments can do."

2.45pm WATCH: President Obama responds to the latest US unemployment figures: There are difficult days ahead, but we will get through this

1pm ToryDiary: Tory takes on another banking bailout Updated at 2.15pm with more reaction from George Osborne

10.30am ToryDiary: UUP leader Sir Reg Empey brands the Conservatives "no longer a right-wing party"

Neville_jonesToryDiary: Pauline Neville-Jones analyses the foreign policy implications of a prolonged global recession

Dan Lewis on Platform: We need a Gordon Ramsay approach to the quangocracy

Seats and Candidates Search for 100 Peers:  Dr Eamonn Butler

Local Government: Labour Mayor of Stoke arrested in corruption inquiry


Osborne pledges a cut in corporation tax…

"Conservative government could make "significant" cuts in the rate of corporation tax, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has said. Mr Osborne used a speech in Birmingham to announce that he could cut the tax below the 25 per cent rate he has already promised. Corporation tax is currently 28 per cent. The hint of a new tax cut from a Tory government comes even as senior Conservatives prepare the ground for unpopular decisions on tax and spending if they take power next year. The Tories have said they would fund their cut to 25p cut by abolishing several business tax exemptions." – Daily Telegraph

"George Osborne warned homeowners and businesses yesterday to face up to the “uncomfortable truth” that their spiralling debt helped to trigger the downturn. An incoming Conservative government inheriting “the worst public finances since the Second World War”, would not flinch from “major reforms” to public services, the Shadow Chancellor said. As Gordon Brown used a speech to Labour activists in Scotland to call for a return to the “values of good banking”, Mr Osborne said that the blame for the financial crisis should be shared more widely." – Times

…which fills Matthew Parris with enthusiasm…

"Right or wrong in its particulars, wise or ill-considered in its general sweep, Mr Osborne’s speech stands as an example of what politics should be for: taking a view, a view of the whole, a view of your own; finding your explanation of the world; and navigating by that star. Deciding. And leaving managers to manage. That’s what politics is for." – Matthew Parris writing in The Times

…but fails to impress Polly Toynbee

"Yesterday George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, laid out an economic policy that looks to any Keynesian like the perfect recipe for turning recession into deepest depression. It’s Margaret Thatcher in 1980 all over again – cutting, sacking and reducing debt just when the state should expand… Never mind what nice Mr Cameron says about "capitalism with a conscience", it’s the numbers in nasty Mr Osborne’s calculator that count." – Polly Toynbee writing in The Guardian

> Yesterday’s ToryDiary on George Osborne’s speech

Formal talks between senior civil servants and the shadow cabinet have begun

"David Cameron and members of his shadow Cabinet have started formal talks with Sir Gus O’Donnell and senior civil servants about forming the next Government, The Daily Telegraph can reveal. The news shows the starting gun has been fired for the next General Election campaign, expected in May next year, with civil servants formally preparing for a potential change of leadership in Government… Sir Gus told The Daily Telegraph that he met Conservative leader David Cameron to discuss his plans for Government in the past few weeks. He declined to say how many times they had met since the start of the year. There have also been other formal meetings between three other senior members of the shadow cabinet and their corresponding permanent secretaries in Whitehall." – Daily Telegraph

Peter Oborne: The third phase of David Cameron’s leadership is about to begin

"The politician who will go back to Westminster will be a very different figure from the one who left in such tragic circumstances two weeks ago… The other Cameron was simply leader of the Opposition. But the new Cameron will present himself as a prospective prime minister – a more mature, sombre and tough individual than the plausible charmer of the past few years. As a result, Cameron will endeavour to present himself as a substantial statesman capable of dealing with the greatest economic crisis of modern British history. This represents a very significant change from the jaunty, care-free Cameron in the early years of opposition." – Peter Oborne writing in the Daily Mail

Carol Vorderman on her admiration for David Cameron

"Now, she’s using those mathematical skills to benefit David Cameron’s Conservatives, having agreed to undertake a review of how maths is taught in schools – and what the policy of a possible future Tory government should be. “I like David Cameron a lot, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this job,” says Vorderman. “The one thing that I do believe about Cameron is that if he thinks that something is right to do, he will do it very quickly.” A rapid fix for maths education in this country is, says Vorderman, horribly overdue: she has “not been impressed at all” by the results of 11 years of Labour government. She says that Labour’s trumpeting of the high ranking achieved by England’s schools in the much-quoted Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study masks the fact that that study omits 13 other European countries, including France and Switzerland." – Daily Telegraph

Leading Northern Irish Tory resigns from joint UUP-Conservative committee

"A leading Northern Ireland Conservative member of a special committee set up to establish the new pact with the Ulster Unionists has resigned in protest. Jeffrey Peel quit the joint committee, which only last week helped foster a new working agreement and electoral pact between the two parties." – Irish Times

> Updated ToryDiary: Jeff Peel suspended as area officer

 Margaret Thatcher attacked by Nick Clegg…

"Nick Clegg has launched an outspoken attack on life in Britain under Margaret Thatcher and blamed the former prime minister for sewing the seeds of the current economic crisis. Speaking to Liberal Democrat activists last night, Mr Clegg, blamed Baroness Thatcher for creating a "brutal" and "soulless" Britain, and condemned the former leader for her brand of "cut-throat, sink-or-swim materialism". In what many in Westminster will see as an attempt to brand the Tories as the wrong party to deal with the recession, the Liberal Democrat leader described Mrs Thatcher’s Britain as a place where profit was worshipped above all else." – Independent

…and Vince Cable

"Many of the problems we have originate from the [Margaret] Thatcher years. If you take for example the way in which they demutualised building societies, which became banks, that was a real Thatcher policy and those institutions have been at the heart of the crisis of irresponsible lending. It originated in the Tory years." – VInce Cable quoted in The Guardian

Arthur Scargill claims Margaret Thatcher sabotaged early settlements of the 1984-85 miners’ strike

"For 25 years, I have been accused of refusing to negotiate a settlement with the NCB, and of "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" – a blatant lie. The NUM settled the strike on five separate occasions in 1984: on 8 June, 8 July, 18 July, 10 September, and 12 October." – Arthur Scargill writing in The Guardian

John Major, the secret Bard of Downing Street

"Not a lot of people know it, but Sir John Major is something of a poet. While in Downing Street, the former Prime Minister coped with the stresses of office by writing verse. Until now, the Bard of Whitehall’s efforts have been kept under wraps. But today the Daily Mail can reveal one of his proudest achievements – a work in rhyming couplets entitled Lord Colin Cowdrey – A Cricketing Gentleman." – Daily Mail

Government to take majority share in LloydsBBC

Tory MP splits from mother of his four-month-old daughterDaily Mail

David Mundell wants English shops to accept Scottish banknotesScotsman

Police launch inquiry into Mandelson green custard attackDaily Telegraph

> WATCH Sky News’s footage of the attack

An analysis of Gordon Brown’s recent promises of action (and the reality of what he has delivered)Independent

Police targeting thousands of political campaigners in surveillance operationsGuardian


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