10.30pm Martin Parsons on CentreRight: Suffolk rapist aged eight

7.30pm ToryDiary: Tory lead steady at 12% according to ICM plus Cameron's advantage over Brown widens

7.15pm ToryDiary: Jonathan 'Two Exclusives' Isaby

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7pm AmericaInTheWorld: America takes another step away from free trade

5.45pm Local Government: LGA issue list of 200 words for Councils to ban

4pm CentreRight updates:

2.30pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: The BBC buries good news from Iraq

12.45pm Parliament: Backbench Tories fail to stop UK Youth Parliament from being able to use House of Commons chamber

12.45pm Local Government:

12.15pm ToryDiary: Tory lead down to 10% in new MORI poll

11.45am Jeremy Hunt MP on CentreRight: Andy Burnham "said [the licence fee] was a matter for the BBC Trust and not politicians. Really? Even the BBC's own fact sheets say “the Government sets the level of the licence fee.”

Jig11.30am WATCH: David Cameron joins with George Osborne, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and William Hague for a St Patrick's Day jig

11.15am Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: The Union Flag belongs to all of us

10am Dan Lewis on CentreRight: "News today that the Financial Services Authority has discovered a precisely correct and safe level of mortgage lending for everyone – up to 3 times annual salary – struck me as pretty absurd. Why not 3.21 or 2.95 or 4.0319?"

ToryDiary: The BBC is "love-bombing" Tory frontbenchers, candidates and (even) bloggers

Nick Wood on Platform: David Cameron should tell the British people the truth

Seats and candidates: Search for 100 Peers: Historian Michael Burleigh

Local government:


On Europe, public spending and crime the Conservative leadership is trending rightwards – Rachel Sylvester in The Times

Tories want freeze in BBC licence fee

"Axing the £3 increase in the licence fee, due to take effect on April 1 under a six-year deal between the broadcaster and the government, would save just £68m ($96m). The Conservative leader’s proposal also applies for this year only. Mr Cameron said the licence fee level needed to be looked at “on a year-by-year basis”." – FT

"The Sun applauds Tory leader David Cameron’s call for a one-year freeze. It is a brave beginning — but it must be only a beginning. The appetite of unelected mandarins in Whitehall and town halls for taxpayers’ hard-earned money has grown out of control. The public sector is riddled with waste, wanton extravagance and, in some cases, corruption. Having set the ball rolling with the BBC, Tories cannot stop now until they have reined in — and made fully accountable — a spending monster which threatens this country’s entire economy." – The Sun Says

"For the Conservatives, the next couple of months are all about signals. Attacking the licence fee is just a signal of the kind of belt-tightening to expect from a Cameron government. He is preparing the ground. He has already apologised for his part in the recession, but cleverly he also warned that all of us must live within our means, that is get ready for big spending cuts." – The Herald

> Jeremy Hunt MP on CentreRight yesterday: The BBC licence fee should be frozen in these tough economic times

The Tories and the Lisbon Treaty

"If the Lisbon treaty comes into force before the election, what will the Tories do? William Hague has talked of not letting it rest. What does that mean? Withdrawing from the treaty? Renegotiating Britain’s membership, as in 1974-75 (a token exercise)? This risks a clash with the rest of the EU." – Peter Riddell in The Times

UK's clout in EU will fall under Tories, says Jose Manuel Barroso

"Mr Barroso, who met Mr Cameron in London yesterday, said: "I regret that decision. My party is a member of the EPP and I regret this decision because in Europe [it is] the main political parties and the main political families that really shape the European agenda… Of course these are the most influential families in Europe."" – Independent

> Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight yesterday: "Won't any self-respecting Tory eurosceptic wear actually Barroso's "regret" as a badge of honour and take it as an additional sign that it is completely the right thing to be doing?"

Steve Richards: LibDem membership would veto any deal with the Conservatives

"The leadership of the Lib Dems is committed to what is called a triple lock before entering any form of arrangement with another party. The leadership must get the support of its parliamentary party, the executive of the party and the membership. That is quite a lock. Lib Dem MPs are telling some of their Labour counterparts that there is no way their membership would support any arrangement with the Conservative party. Therefore the only conceivable option would be some kind of deal with Labour if it was the biggest party." – Steve Richards in The Independent

Brown claims that the downturn marks the end of the era of laissez-faire governmentGuardian

Labour membership down to 176,891 as party machine rustsGuardian

Single mothers to be forced to name fathers on birth certificatesTelegraph

The story of the Department for Energy and Climate Change is a warning about departmental reorganisation

"After taking the plaudits from environmentalists and campaigners, all is not well at Ed Miliband's Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Almost half a year after it was formed, it is beset with organisational problems, a severe backlog of paperwork and vacancies in key posts. Mr Miliband faces a battle of wills with senior civil servants still committed to cheap, fossil-fuel energy production. Whitehall mandarins now under Mr Miliband's new department, which took over responsibilities held by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Business Department, are still working in different buildings." – Independent

'All women shortlists do not address the underlying problem that women don't want to be involved in politics'

"The underlying problem – that many women are wary of, and weary with, the business of politics – cannot be solved in a lasting way by diktat. Instead, the Holyrood and Westminster parliaments need to look at what it is about their culture and working practices that is putting women off." – Rebecca McQuillan in The Herald

Obama to meet NI's first and deputy first ministers during Washington's St Patrick's Day celebrationsBBC

Many universities in England and Wales want a sharp increase in tuition feesBBC

And finally… Boris Johnson wants the young to learn poetry

"It was a good school, a grammar school, and the kids were well-mannered, bright, self-confident. They were all bound for university, and since we were talking about poetry, I asked them casually how many poems they knew by heart. There was a silence. I looked again at the 30 sixth-formers. "What, none?" I said. I couldn't believe it. Here was the cream of young England, exposed by their teachers to all that is best in our literature, and not so much as a sonnet had lodged in their skulls." – Boris Johnson in The Telegraph


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