6.30pm ToryDiary: Official line is that the inheritance tax cut will be delivered in first parliament of Tory government (8.15pm update with statement from Ken Clarke)
1pm ToryDiary on Ken Clarke's interview in which he said inheritance tax reduction may no longer be affordable: "We are going to move heaven and earth to show that we are not the party of the rich"
12.45pm Jonathan Isaby in Parliament: Like it or not, Brussels cannot be ignored (and I don't like it)
10.45am Peter Whittle on CentreRight: Environmentalists don't have the nerve to address the specific causes of population growth
Mark Harper MP on Platform: Reporting back on a successful recession survival workshop
"Thousands of prisoners could be released into the community and some ex-offenders allowed to wipe their records clean under landmark proposals from Jonathan Aitken, the former Conservative cabinet minister. The findings from the former inmate of Belmarsh jail, who served seven months for perjury, mark a significant shift in Conservative ideas on law and order, putting the emphasis on giving criminals a second chance. He told the Observer that creating an alternative to the "human warehousing" of offenders in overcrowded prisons with no means of rehabilitation should reduce reoffending. "Punish, yes. But punish thoughtfully, punish constructively," he added. His report, to be published tomorrow by the think tank the Centre for Social Justice, will recommend the introduction of supervised halfway homes in the community for some low-risk inmates – women, those recovering from mental illness and ex-service personnel." – The Observer
"Surely any civilised society cannot base its criminal justice system on a policy of retribution alone. While prison works when it protects us from the actions of violent and hardened criminals, too often the majority of those inside its walls are neither. Changing their lives, particularly the lives of young offenders, should be a priority for us – if not for their sake then for ours. Surely we both deserve a second chance. " – CSJ chairman Iain Duncan Smith MP writing in the Sunday Telegraph
Tory poll lead narrows amid ongoing wrangling over tax policy
"David Cameron was fighting to contain a potentially damaging row over his party's tax policy yesterday as a new poll showed the Tory lead over Labour has narrowed. The ComRes poll for The Independent on Sunday showed the Conservatives are on 41 per cent, still 11 points clear of the Government, but down from a 16-point lead a month ago. Labour's share increased by five points to 30 per cent, in a sign that Gordon Brown's position could be stabilising after months of being punished for the economic downturn… The Liberal Democrats are down five points on 17 per cent." – Independent on Sunday
> Last night's ToryDiary on the poll
Members of the country's biggest trade union think Cameron would be a better PM than Brown
"Confidence in Gordon Brown has crumbled so badly that members of Unite, the country’s biggest union and one of Labour’s most generous donors, now think David Cameron would make a better prime minister. According to a poll by Populus, more than half, 52%, of Unite’s members thought Cameron was “up to the job” of leading the country, against just 42% for Brown… Nearly half the respondents, 48%, said they voted Labour at the last election but only 34% expected to do so next time. Tory support was up from 22% to 31%, while the Liberal Democrats were up just one at 19%. The most damning findings for Brown, however, came when members of the union were asked to compare him with Cameron. Nearly two-thirds, 61%, described the Tory leader as “strong”, compared with 49% for Brown." – Sunday Times
"London Mayor Boris Johnson is to defy the politically correct brigade by staging a week-long festival in the capital to celebrate St George’s Day, with the red and white cross of England’s patron saint flying proudly from his City Hall offices. The move follows a series of incidents in recent years in which people have been banned from displaying the English flag on the grounds that it is racist and could offend Muslims because of St George’s association with the Crusades. But Mr Johnson believes such arguments are unjustified and plans a series of events around St George’s Day on April 23 to honour the historical achievements of England and the English." – Mail on Sunday
Annabel Goldie: Scottish prisons are "awash with drugs"
"Drugs are seized in Scottish jails almost five times a day on average, according to official figures. There were 2,122 cases of drugs being discovered in prisons from January 2008 to March 2009. Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said the problem had doubled in five years, with jails now "awash" with drugs… She said: "It is nothing short of incredible that the number of drug finds in our prisons has more than doubled in less than five years." – BBC
Alan Duncan talks about how his civil partnership has affected his political life
"It was an act that would have been unthinkable as well as legally impossible just 10 years ago — and it signalled a profound change in the Conservative party. But Alan Duncan is surprisingly nonchalant when he describes how, last summer, he became the first Conservative MP to enter into a civil partnership with his male partner… “It’s been better than I expected,” he says of married life. “James is busy, too, with his job, but life’s fallen into a comfortable pattern. I love the companionship and it gives me a new perspective: it’s made me less obsessive about politics.” – Sunday Times
GLA Member Roger Evans rebuked for "climate change Taliban" remark
David Cameron yesterday slapped down a senior Tory who compared climate change activists to the Taliban, as he continued his attempt to green his party, despite the recession and opposition from sceptics. Sources close to the Conservative leader described as "inappropriate" a website entry by Roger Evans, a London Assembly member, describing anti-airport campaigners as "the climate change Taliban". And a spokesman for Boris Johnson, London's Mayor – who once compared concern about global warming to "Stone Age religion" – added: "This is not language that the Mayor would use." – Independent on Sunday
David Cameron backs the News of the World's "Go Green and Save Campaign"
"Climate change isn’t something that any politician or campaigner can tackle alone — we are all in this one together. If we all do those little things like recycling our rubbish, we can make a massive difference to the environment. Not only that but the News of the World’s Go Green & Save Campaign is a fantastic achievement that shows sometimes helping the environment can make your way of life cheaper and easier." – David Cameron writing in the News of the World
Liam Fox backs plan for Spitfire memorial in Southampton
"So seldom do you get one piece of equipment that is so iconic and so identified with the country’s freedom than you do with the Spitfire and it’s because of the contribution that it almost uniquely made at a vital time in Britain’s history. There is absolute duty that we don’t forget the contribution it made.” – Lima Fox quoted in the Daily Echo
"David Cameron, the Tory leader, has appointed as his party fixer the daughter of a Bavarian prince who helped the Rolling Stones avoid tax. Princess Dora Loewenstein, whose father is Rupert Loewenstein, the rock’n’roll banker nicknamed “Rupie the Groupie”, was the organiser of the Conservatives’ latest sell-out fundraising ball. The chic “winter glamorous” themed event, held last month in Battersea Park, southwest London is estimated to have raised more than £1m for the party’s general election fund." – Sunday Times
John Rentoul: Cameron is evasive but unstoppable
"Cameron resists definition. He talks about tough choices without ever really making any. He will, therefore, easily defeat Gordon Brown, a known quantity… His core beliefs are ungraspable. In other words, as an electoral force he is unstoppable." – John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday
The Observer asks: Is austerity all you have to offer, Mr Cameron?
"Mr Cameron's vision raises more questions than it answers. This new Conservative approach of setting people free sounds rather like the old Conservative approach of leaving people to fend for themselves. With little more than a year before an election must be held, Mr Cameron has no agenda for government other than fiscal austerity. A nation that has lived beyond its means might still vote for that message. But it cannot be expected to do so with relish." – Observer editorial
Andrew Rawnsley: The long party is over for the public sector, whoever wins
"George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, recently issued a secret instruction to his senior colleagues calling in all the Conservatives' previous spending commitments. As for the tax cuts once dangled by the Tories, David Cameron has just given a sensible and significant indication that no one should vote Conservative expecting him to be able to deliver any of those in a hurry. He is now saying clearly that a Tory government would not have the scope to cut taxes until it had drained some of the red ink from the public finances." – Andrew Rawnsley writing in The Observer
Employment minister Tony McNulty "rumbled" over £60,000 expenses claim on parents' home – Mail on Sunday
Gordon Brown explains why he is updating the national counter-terrorism strategy – Observer
Brown to order inquiry into the Iraq War – News of the World
Minister in charge of offshore clampdown ran tax haven firm – Sunday Times
Anger over Brown's five-star "jamboree" to Chile – Mail on Sunday
22-year-old daughter of Tony Blair's polling guru tipped for safe Labour seat – Sunday Times
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