3.45pm Latest on CentreRight:
- Jonathan Isaby: MEPs also indulge in "doughnutting"
- Jill Kirby: The introduction of the word "trilemma" into mainstream parlance
1.45pm ToryDiary: Edward Leigh elicits promise of Iraq War inquiry later this year from David Miliband Updated with reaction from William Hague
12.45pm Latest on CentreRight:
- Jonathan Isaby: I was right when I said we'd see less of Gordon Brown in 2009
- Policy Exchange's Tom Richmond: Sir Jim Rose's plans for the primary school curriculum are a case of reshuffling the education deckchairs…
Howard Flight on Platform: The counter-revolutions needed in Education and Bureaucracy
- Cllr Tim Archer: An alternative vision for Tower Hamlets
- Tory woman councillor accused of "sexist" email
- Deselected Tory Devon councillors threaten to stand as independents
- Highlights of Gordon Brown's address to the European Parliament interspersed with less than supportive responses by UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan (broken link fixed!)
- President Obama says he sees "signs of progress" on the economy
"Grieving David Cameron last night talked for the first time about the loss of his disabled son Ivan. The Tory leader told how five-year-old daughter Nancy believes her older brother is now able to eat chocolate and walk “in heaven” like other kids. Ivan died last month aged six after a lifelong battle with cerebral palsy and a rare form of epilepsy. Mr Cameron told ITV’s Alan Titchmarsh: “Children are quite resilient. There are moments when they talk about it a lot, think about it a lot and there are other moments when they seem OK." – The Sun
"Speaking candidly yesterday about the enormous shock, the Tory leader said: 'We never expected him to die so young or so suddenly so it was just a real bolt that hit us.' In his first interview on the subject, he revealed that he and his wife Samantha had received more than 11,000 letters of sympathy from the public… Mr Cameron said: 'Well it's been very difficult because it was just the most enormous shock. We always knew that Ivan wouldn't live forever because he had this very rare condition and he had been incredibly ill in his short life but we never expected him to die so young or so suddenly.' He said he hoped that with time they hoped to be able to look back and 'remember the good things'." – Daily Mail
Bank of England Governor warns: "We cannot afford any more stimulus plans"
"The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, has hijacked next month's Budget and ruled out a further fiscal stimulus to the economy – the very policy Gordon Brown is campaigning for in advance of the G20 summit in London next week. Such open defiance of Downing Street by Threadneedle Street is unprecedented in modern times… Mr King's remarks have been seized on by opposition politicians. George Osborne, the shadow Chancellor, said: "This is a defining moment in the political argument on the recession" – The Independent
Cameron vows to bring 'law and order' and social responsibility to the financial markets
"David Cameron has pledged to restore 'law and order' to the financial markets if the Tories come to power. He said he would change the culture of the City and give the Bank of England power to oversee public and private debt levels. 'We are the party of law and order. So we are the party to bring law and order to the financial markets,' he said." – Daily Mail
"David Cameron yesterday risked putting the Conservative Party on an apparent collision course with the Financial Services Authority when he pledged to return power to the Bank of England, just as the FSA chairman, Lord Turner, argued for the existing financial regulator to retain the lead. The Tory leader was setting out his regulatory blueprint for Britain's financial services in the wake of the financial meltdown." – The Independent
"More children will be encouraged to take part in inter-school sports fixtures under Conservative plans to curb a "disastrous" decline in competitive games. A new Olympic-style tournament will also be staged to find the best young athletes in the country, the Tories said. Hugh Robertson, the shadow sports minister, insisted reforms would be focused on under-11s to encourage more pupils to become interested in sport at an early age." – Daily Telegraph
Hugh Robertson's piece in the Daily Telegraph
Chris Grayling says Government counter-terror training is "flawed"
"The government's plan to train 60,000 workers to look out for potential terror attacks is "flawed", the Conservatives have said. Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said this would amount to a "voluntary three-hour seminar", less than half the length of a cycling proficiency course. The programme outlined by the government was "dispiriting", he added." – BBC
Baroness Warsi named Britain's most powerful Muslim woman
"I personally come from a family of all girls, and was brought up to believe that anything was possible, and being a Muslim woman should in no way be seen as a barrier but as an asset to achievement. I'm extremely proud to be named as the most powerful British Muslim woman and I'm sure my Pakistani origins, my strong faith and my Yorkshire upbringing have played a huge part." – Baroness Warsi quoted in the Daily Telegraph
Eric Pickles accuses Health minister Ben Bradshaw of "breathtaking stupidity"
"A minister was branded “stupid” last night after claiming high unemployment is good for men’s health. Ben Bradshaw told MPs: “More men go and see their GPs if they are unemployed. There can be an advantage from that because men are notoriously reluctant to seek healthcare and health advice.” But the Health Minister’s Commons comments yesterday were blasted by the Tories. Party chairman Eric Pickles said he was “insensitive” to the two million Brits currently out of work. He added: “This is breathtaking stupidity from Ben Bradshaw and shows just how out of touch Labour are with reality.” – The Sun
Tories call for merger of lighthouse bodies
"The Tory Party is calling for the merger of the British Isles' three lighthouse bodies and the axing of subsidies for Irish navigational aids as the row escalates over dues paid by ships to enter UK ports. Julian Brazier, the shadow shipping minister, made the proposals in a letter sent on Tuesday to transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick." – Daily Telegraph
"The Scottish Conservative party demanded on Tuesday that a scheme which allows worried parents to find out if a new neighbour, babysitter or partner is a sex offender is rolled out in Scotland. A pilot scheme was rolled out in four English counties giving parents the right to ask police whether an individual has a record of child sex offences. If they do, the police can inform the child's parent, but no-one else… Annabel Goldie MSP, Scottish Tory Leader, told stv news: "We can't have a situation where children in Scotland are at greater risk than those elsewhere – that is utterly unacceptable." – STV
Labour accuse Tories of hypocrisy on offshore tax havens
"Labour on Tuesday night hit back at the “hypocrisy” of the Conservatives for criticising offshore tax havens despite Ken Clarke’s recent directorship of a hedge fund whose main fund was based in the Cayman Islands. George Osborne, shadow chancellor, on Tuesday criticised Lord Myners, the City minister, for his past involvement in tax havens… The Conservative party has taken large donations from hedge funds and their owners, including Paul Ruddock, founder of Lansdowne Partners. Stanley Fink, former chief executive of Man Group, is co-treasurer of the party. The office of William Hague, shadow foreign secretary, is partially funded by Merebis Capital Management, another hedge fund. Mr Clarke, shadow business secretary, was until last year a member of the advisory board for Centaurus Capital, a London-based hedge fund whose flagship “Centaurus Alpha” fund – now being wound up – was offshore." – FT
Simon Heffer: It's time the Tories tackled the real problem – the state, not the rich
"The political calculation behind David Cameron's decision to implement Labour's 45 per cent tax bracket if elected is as obvious as it is deeply unattractive. With the Conservative Party more desperate than ever to follow opinion rather than lead it, this prevents accusations that it is propitiating that ugly minority now stigmatised as "rich". Taking his cue from Gordon Brown, Mr Cameron chose to speak in stereotypes, and not even accurate ones at that. "The poorest in our society should not pay an unfair price for mistakes made by some of the richest." If any part of that statement were true, he would indeed be right. But he is simply playing Labour's game of scapegoating bankers for what were fundamentally the mistakes of politicians." – Simon Heffer writing in the Daily Telegraph
"This debate about Tory tax policy is nearly four years old. At every stage the leadership has been offered spectacularly silly advice. When David Cameron became leader in 2005 he said that if he had to choose between stability and tax cuts he would always put stability first. Extraordinarily, he was told that this was wrong. Do you remember? People said that talk of stability and tax cuts was a false choice. But it wasn't a false choice, was it? If the Tories get in, the choice between stability and tax cuts will stare them in the face. And they will have to put stability first. When Mr Osborne told the Conservative Party that he would not announce overall upfront tax cuts he was told that was wrong too. He was urged to announce a big tax cut package early and sell it to the electorate. Can you imagine what a mess he would be in if he had listened to this insistent advice? I think we've heard quite enough on this, thank you very much." – Daniel Finkelstein writing in The Times
Michael White: The high-wire "trilemma" which faces David Cameron and George Osborne
"As public finances plunge further into the red, David Cameron and George Osborne are facing what the Tory historian Niall Ferguson likes to call a "trilemma", one shadow cabinet colleague explained last night. "How do they keep their promises to cut the taxes which Tory voters hate? How do they show they are tough and capable politicians who can balance the books? And how do they do both while keeping their social consciences by helping the poorest?" he asked. It is a high-wire trilemma that has generated U-turn headlines, anguished phone calls and Tory blogosphere chatter in the past few days, allowing Brown to jeer that Conservative policy is "that, in times of difficulty, the many should come to the aid of the few". – Michael White in The Guardian
Iain Martin: When will there be cutbacks at Parliament plc?
"Some political analysts argue, with some justification, that MPs should be paid more, with a simpler allowance system and publication of all expenses claims. But, realistically, this is a non-starter: the public would hate the idea, and it would be a foolish government that risked it in a recession. Better would be to increase the size of constituencies, to cut the number of seats to around 400 and bring down the cost. Supply and demand would ensure there were fewer seats for weak MPs. Allowances should then be tightly regulated. A new code is being brought in next month, but it does not go far enough. Every stamp and receipt should be accounted for and listed online, for the public to see. That is the price of rebuilding trust." – Iain Martin writing in the Daily Telegraph
Four ministers facing questions over second homes – Daily Telegraph
Brown takes stimulus plan to the US – BBC
Sir Fred Goodwin's home vandalised – Sky News
Social networking sites "could be monitored by the Government" – BBC
"Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, has revealed his classical musical tastes. "At seven," he said, "my mother gave me The Blue Danube. At 11, our music master made us listen to the entire Ring Cycle. I loved it, partly because it was a cracking story." But, he confesses, "My own taste is slightly less adventurous. I am on the windy yellow brick road that leads from Classic FM to Radio 3. I am probably nearer the Classic FM end." – The Guardian
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