12.45pm WATCH: Tories are enjoying economic bad news, says Mandelson
ToryDiary: Updated post records that Cameron is now leading Brown on nearly all personal quality measures
- Welcome to the Star Chamber – A page, edited by Phil Taylor, dedicated to finding savings in public spending
- We start with a proposal to halve the cost of ministerial Special Advisers
Fiona Hodgson and Glyn Strong on Platform: We must not let women's rights be eroded again in Afghanistan
Labour slide in opinion polls:
- 19% behind in the Mail on Sunday | Yesterday evening's ToryDiary
- 17% behind in The Sunday Telegraph | Yesterday evening's ToryDiary
"Ed Balls ‘ran’ Labour’s smear unit" – Schools Secretary Ed Balls is also caught up in Smeargate web according to The Sunday Times
And a leader in the Mail on Sunday concludes: "As Mr Brown’s Government steps deeper into the mire with each day that passes, all we can hope is that we are soon allowed to head to the polls to vote his maladroit police state into oblivion."
Former Labour MP Alice Mahon quits party
"Alice Mahon, a well-respected leftwinger who retired at the last election, said she was quitting the party after half a century because Labour no longer stood for what she believed in. She said she was "shocked and absolutely scandalised" by attempts by Gordon Brown's close aide Damian McBride to smear David Cameron and other Tories over their personal lives." – Observer | Video
Will the Conservatives be any different?
Peter Oborne says the party has failed on expenses but David Cameron still has an opportunity to prove that he'll govern differently – The Observer
Cameron must resist the control freakery of Brown and Blair – Iain Martin in The Sunday Telegraph
Francis Maude used “second home” expenses to pay for a £345,000 London flat just 70 yards from a house he owns in London – The Sunday Times
Vice madam to name four top Tories in tell-all book – Sunday Mirror
Could McBride come back in the PR industry?
"Charles Lewington, the managing director of Hanover Communications and a former press secretary to John Major, thinks not. "I am loath to kick a man when he is down but he demonstrated a clear lack of judgement and professionalism," he says, "I fear his reputation is so badly damaged that only a long period building churches in Rwanda will restore it." – Independent on Sunday
PR firms are in a rush to recruit Tories with access to the Cameron circle – Observer
Labour MP Phil Woolas: I'd much rather you voted Tory than BNP – Mail on Sunday
BNP hides its skinheads to woo voters – The Sunday Times
Darling may 'beef up' 45p tax hike
"Darling is also considering new postelection tax rises, which could include beefing up the planned supertax on higher earners. Last year the chancellor announced the introduction in 2011 of a 45% top rate of income tax for people earning more than £150,000. Darling has come under pressure from Labour colleagues to reduce this new top-rate threshold to £100,000 – a move that would lead to higher tax bills for 500,000 high earners." – The Sunday Times
Other Budget stories
"We should not be overtaxed because Labour has overspent." – A great line from George Osborne in The Sunday Times
"There need to be significant cuts in future years in spending and unfortunately, probably tax increases for years ahead." – Norman Lamont in The Sunday Telegraph
Alex Salmond warns Labour it will suffer at polls if public spending is slashed – Observer
The British Chambers of Commerce wants freeze in minimum wage and cuts in corporation tax – BBC
The events and policies of Margaret Thatcher's tumultuous, divisive 11-year premiership are affecting us even now, says Andrew Anthony – The Observer
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