9.30pm WATCH: Gordon Brown plays down divisions at EU summit

5.30pm WATCH:

2.45pm More CentreRight updates:

2.30pm Peter Whittle on CentreRight on the frustration of getting into his car to drive into London on a Saturday afternoon

1pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Why should Ofcom be intervening to stop Lord Ashcroft’s commendable efforts to solve crime?

12.30pm Andrew Lilico on CentreRight laments the rising role of the state

Vaizeyed11.45am Ed Vaizey MP on CentreRight advocates product placement in ITV programming

10.30am Platform: Julian Lewis MP rebuts this morning’s News of the World report questioning his use of Commons housing allowances

ToryDiary: “Vote Tory and suffer a miserable four to five years and then maybe another four more when you re-elect us”

Dr Eamonn Butler on Platform: The Rotten Police State of Britain

Mark Wallace in Local Government: Windsor and Maidenhead Council sets the pace on transparency and openness


David Cameron speaks of grief over Ivan

"David Cameron has spoken of his grief at losing his "wonderfully special and beautiful" son Ivan. The Conservative leader said he always knew his severely disabled child would not live forever, but he still did not expect to lose him so soon. His death had left a hole so big "words can’t describe it", he said. In a moving email message to party activists, members and staff around the country, whom he thanked for their support, Mr Cameron paid tribute to the happiness his son had brought people in his short life." – Sunday Telegraph

"If Ivan’s birth changed Cameron as a person, his death will change him still more. It would be glib, and quite possibly wrong, to say he will emerge a wiser, stronger or more rounded politician. In time, voters will form their own view of that. How it changes his wife is even more unknowable. In a sense, David and Samantha Cameron will never get over their loss. They will need every ounce of one another’s love and support if they are to get close to it." – David Cameron’s biographer James Hanning writing in the Independent on Sunday

"I spent a lot of time with David Cameron between the summers of 2007 and 2008, for a project we were working on together. We met many times to talk: in his office, in Parliament and at his house in London and his constituency house in Oxfordshire. I was given unprecedented access and I think I got to know David in a very particular way. Whenever we met, and whenever Ivan was mentioned, he behaved like any other decent father – with frustration, with pride, and with love. An awful lot of love…Having spent time with David and Sam, it was very easy for me to see how Ivan informed their life together, and how in some ways it will always define it." – Dylan Jones, author of Cameron on Cameron, writing in the Mail on Sunday

"It was only a few months ago that Gordon Brown savagely insinuated that David Cameron had been publicising his son’s disability for political ends: “I haven’t served my children up for spreads in the papers . . . My children aren’t props. They’re people.” Yet the prime minister’s unprecedented parliamentary eulogy on the death of six-year-old Ivan Cameron was as sincere as anything that can ever have been said in that chamber, heightened as it must have been by the recollection of the death of his own firstborn." – Dominic Lawson writing in the Sunday Times

> Last night’s ToryDiary: David Cameron conveys his thanks for all the messages of support he has received this week

Sunday columnists continue to debate the decision to suspend PMQs on Wednesday

"Among the many roles allotted to the House of Commons, wrote Walter Bagehot, is "an expressive function. It is its office to express the mind of the English people on all matters which come before it"… On Wednesday, as it declared its collective sadness at the death of Ivan Cameron, the Lower House performed this ancestral "expressive function" with bleak majesty. The cancellation of Prime Minister’s Questions was not, as some alleged, a constitutional impropriety; the brief remarks made by Gordon Brown, William Hague and Vince Cable (fewer than 800 words in total) were neither schmaltzy nor self-indulgent. For once, the Commons spoke with absolute, unambiguous clarity for and on behalf of the rest of us." – Matthew d’Ancona writing in the Sunday Telegraph

"We can all express and feel a decent sympathy with the Camerons on their loss, and we most certainly should. But it is not a political or a public event… I am made uneasy by the sight of the House of Commons abandoning Prime Minister’s Question Time because of the death of Ivan Cameron. I don’t think much of PMQs these days, but TV and the sketchwriters have made it our single most important political forum, and I don’t believe it should be suspended because of a personal tragedy… If they can adjourn for poor Ivan Cameron, then they should be compelled also to sit in all-night session till dawn, to commemorate and debate in detail each military death in Afghanistan from now on." – Peter Hitchens writing in the Mail on Sunday

David Davis warns Britain is "becoming a police state" at the Convention on Modern Liberty…

"There has been a tide of government actions which have bput expediency over justice time and time again. The British people wear their liberty like an old comfy suit, they are careless about it, but the mood is changing. Last year 80% of people were in favour of ID cards, now 80% are against. There is a point of reflection that we are reaching. The communications database which is planned to collect every private text and phone call and petrol station receipt will create uproar… We are getting on the way to becoming a police state and the surest thing I do know is that by the time we are sure we are, then it will be too late." – David Davis quoted on the Guardian’s Comment is free website

…and writes that torture is "a moral black hole diminishing our very civilisation"

"The battle between the civilised nations of the world and Al Qaeda is – or should be – a battle between civilised values and barbaric beliefs. So when we read about prisoners being hung up, beaten, frozen, and assaulted with electrodes and razor blades, our frontline warriors feel not just a sense of shame. They feel a sense of moral defeat. That torture is wrong is written into our moral DNA." – David Davis writing in the Mail on Sunday

New crime-fighting TV series is axed after Lord Ashcroft sponsorship row

"Britain’s largest crime fighting charity has been forced to abandoned a new television series, which could have solved dozens of major cases, because of a row over programme sponsorship.Filming for Crimestoppers Live, which was due to start in the first week of March with Fiona Phillips as the main presenter, has been halted after Ofcom, the broadcast regulator, said it was unhappy that Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative peer, was providing £700,000 to help fund the show. Lord Ashcroft is angry and disappointed at the outcome and has said that he only intended to provide the money – at the request of Channel Five and with the support of police forces up and down the country – because he wanted to combat crime on a pilot series." – Sunday Telegraph

Thatcher’s PR guru bids for toughest job of his career

"He is best known as the man who reinvented Margaret Thatcher, micro-managing her image to help her win three consecutive elections. Now Tim Bell could be hired in a similar capacity by Jacob Zuma, the leader of South Africa’s ANC party, who is hoping to shake off a tarnished reputation as he runs in next month’s presidential election. Lord Bell of Belgravia, 67, who was made a peer by Tony Blair in 1998, confirmed to The Independent on Sunday last night that his Bell Pottinger agency has been in talks with Mr Zuma about a possible PR campaign, although he has yet to hear whether his bid has been accepted." – Independent on Sunday

Greening accuses Government of ignoring Heathrow consultation

"Public opposition to Heathrow airport’s proposed third runway was
far higher than the government ever admitted, according to a Tory
analysis of its consultation. The analysis suggests up to 86% of the
people who responded to the government’s call for comments were
strongly opposed to the runway. The government, however, said only 37%
of those who contributed were clearly opposed… Justine Greening,
shadow minister for London, said: “These figures show that there was
overwhelming opposition and the government systematically ignored it.
They have prioritised the vested interests of the few rather than the
many. It proves that however many members of the public had their say,
they were never going to be listened to by this government. It had made
its mind up already.” – Sunday Times

The News of the World scrutinises Julian Lewis’s housing arrangements

"A top Tory who battled for MPs’ addresses to be kept secret has milked over £60,000 on Parliament’s controversial second home perks. And Shadow Defence Minister Julian Lewis outrageously played the secrecy card again this week — attempting to invoke police security powers to censor this News of the World report." – News of the World

> Julian Lewis has now responded to this report with a Platform article

Mandelson goes to war on Labour Post Office rebels

"Peter Mandelson came out fighting last night in the growing row over the Royal Mail sell-off, slapping down protests from Labour ministers and MPs, and accusing the postal union of dishonest "scare tactics" that could cost workers their pensions and even their jobs. Lord Mandelson’s attack, in an interview with the Observer, widened the split between the government and the Communications Workers’ Union, and at least 130 Labour MPs and two members of the cabinet who are opposed to partial privatisation." – Observer

Gordon Brown prepares to woo Obama with "global new deal"…

"Gordon Brown hopes to forge a partnership with President Barack Obama in Washington this week, to call for a “global new deal” to lift the world out of recession… Brown will meet Obama on Tuesday and address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Aides say he has both to demonstrate to a sceptical British public that he commands the respect of the president, and to persuade the American political establishment that global action is needed to rescue the US economy." – Sunday Times

…as Sir Malcolm Rifkind advises him to champion free trade…

"Britain has been the global champion of free trade for over 100
years. Breaking down trade barriers has served the world well and
created unprecedented prosperity, jobs and economic growth. British
prime ministers are, therefore, better qualified than any other heads
of government to proclaim its virtues. For its part, the US Congress is
the most powerful audience in the world that one could address on this
subject. That, therefore, is Gordon Brown’s task this week. If he
can ensure that Congress does not go protectionist he might not have
saved the world, but he would have made a very useful contribution." – Sir Malcom Rifkind MP writing in the Sunday Telegraph

…whilst Fraser Nelson has his own suggestion as to what Brown should tell Congress

"I was Chancellor since 1997. I wasn’t just at the scene of the crime, but wrote the script and cast the actors. I knighted the bankers, taxed all their bonuses. And now I have to pretend to be shocked at what went on. So I say to you today quite simply, in the words of your president: “I screwed up”. And let me tell you just how much. There’s a scene from that film Rogue Trader where the anti-hero screams “I, Nicholas Leeson, have just lost £15 million in one day.” Well I, James Gordon Brown, am adding £15 million to my country’s national debt every hour." – Fraser Nelson writing in the News of the World

Union boss in £399-a-night stays at Claridge’s

"One of the leaders of Britain’s largest trade union has enjoyed the use of a £399-a-night hotel suite within yards of his office – to save a 35-minute journey to his £800,000 grace-and-favour home. Derek Simpson, 64, the joint leader of Unite and a leading critic of ‘fat-cat’ banking bosses, has spent nights at the five-star Waldorf Hilton hotel in London, just 600 yards from his office. The Mail on Sunday has established that Mr Simpson, a close political ally of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, recently spent four nights in one of the hotel’s King Hilton suites, which boast such luxurious features as a king-size bed and ‘body massage jets’." – Mail on Sunday

Scottish Government plans crackdown on alcohol salesScotland on Sunday

Scottish criminal age of responsibility to be raised to 12BBC

European leaders in economy summitBBC

Gordon Brown’s threat to sack "disloyal" HarmanMail on Sunday

Cherie Blair: Christians are being marginalisedSunday Telegraph

Clare Short: There was no Cabinet debate in the Iraq warMail on Sunday

Picture_4And finally… Short Northern Redhead attacks political correctness

"Politicians are the butt of the cartoonist’s pen and the stand-up comic’s punchline. It is the beauty of living in a land where free speech is cherished. Then along came political correctness and asked us to be more serious. Some people became so oversensitive to the risk of offending someone they feared upsetting anyone. And our sense of fun is the poorer for it… The danger of timidly tiptoeing around the imagined sensitivities of religions or cultures over little things runs the risk of leaving bigger issues unchallenged. If we are frightened of using the words then we cannot say what we mean." – Hazel Blears writing in The People


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