7.45pm WATCH: David Cameron and Nick Clegg react to Gordon Brown's proposals on MPs' allowances

Job Centre4.45pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight notes the strange coincidence that late opening at Job Centres ceases tomorrow, Budget Day, when the latest unemployment statistics are released

3.45pm ToryDiary: David Cameron welcomes many of Brown's proposals on MPs' allowances – because he proposed them in the first place

3pm Parliament: Chris Grayling: "Home Office made wildly exaggerated claims about leaks"

2.15pm WATCH: MPs examine police tactics at G20 protests

SPEAKER1.30pm Robert Halfon on CentreRight: Michael Martin, the Speaker of the Commons, is soft on terrorism

1pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Northern Irish MPs should not be treated differently from their mainland counterparts

12.15pm ToryDiary: MPs to vote on interim proposals on expenses and allowances "as early as next week" Updated with further details revealing that the Government doesn't want the rules to apply to Northern Irish MPs

11.45am Parliament: Philip Hollobone: "We spend far too much time in this country celebrating cultures other than our own"

11.30am WATCH: Gordon Brown's Downing Street webcast posted this morning in which he says that the system of MPs' expenses and allowances must be tightened up urgently – and voted on next week

11.15am Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Will Alistair Darling say sorry tomorrow?

10.30am ToryDiary: New Ipsos Mori poll puts Tory lead at 13%, with Lib Dems gaining ground

ToryDiary: Updated post records that the Conservatives are increasingly winning the public's trust to handle the economy

WILLETTS DAVID NW David Willetts MP on Platform: It makes no sense to be paying out unemployment benefits to young people when they are hungry to learn

Seats and Candidates: Where are the original A-Listers now? The 18 who have been selected for Conservative seats

Lucy Parson on Star Chamber: The civil service should adopt a four-day week for four days' pay

Local Government:


CAMERON DAVID official David Cameron calls for a general election to coincide with the European election…

"David Cameron yesterday challenged Gordon Brown to call a June general election, saying Britain urgently needed a new Government to think long term and “wipe the slate clean”. – Daily Express

"I am ready. I have always said: 'Bring it on — let’s have an Election.' I want to give people in this country the chance to vote for change, so I am absolutely ready for it — just name the day. We are all going to the polls on June 4 for the European elections. Why don’t we double up?" – David Cameron quoted in The Sun, after appearing on Jon Gaunt's SunTalk online radio show

…and repeats his anger over "Smeargate"

"I was incredibly angry about it and I said that at the time. It wasn't some sort of tactic, me wanting the Prime Minister to say sorry. I felt really bloody angry about it and I wanted him to acknowledge that and he did. I think the fact that he has said sorry is important, but what he has to do is work out what is going on in 10 Downing Street, because what we seem to be being told is that it is some sort of lone gunman operating alone. There has been no inquiry, no investigation, no one seems to be looking at his email inbox and actually getting to the bottom of who knew what, who was involved in this." – David Cameron quoted in the Daily Telegraph

Damian McBride faces move to expel him from Labour – The Herald

Labour accused over Red Rag-style attack blogs in Scotland and Wales – The Times

Budget set to include £1 billion rescue plan for the housing market

"Alistair Darling will unveil an emergency £1bn package for Britain's housing market tomorrow with a fund to build council houses, extend the stamp duty holiday on buying, and restart work on projects mothballed during the recession. Amid speculation last night that the chancellor plans to restrict tax relief on pension contributions in order to fund a modest overall boost to growth, government sources said a key part of the package would be a five-point programme to build homes and support property owners." – The Guardian

SHAPPS GRANT "Tens of thousands of home owners have been evicted from their homes since Gordon Brown first announced a package of measures to help them, new figures show. Exclusive calculations given to the Daily Telegraph suggest up to 28,000 households across Britain have had their homes repossessed despite the measures being announced last December… Grant Shapps, the shadow housing minister, said: "The Prime Minister just doesn't seem to appreciate the urgency of the situation in the housing market. People are suffering now, and looking for urgent help… Once again the Government is trying to spin a headline rather than providing real help during the recession." – Daily Telegraph

IFS warns that 45p tax rate risks cutting total revenue

"Government plans to raise the tax rate for higher earners will fail to raise the £1.6 billion expected and could even lose the Treasury money, a leading think tank warned today. The calculation from the Insitute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has emerged only two days before one of the most hotly anticipated Budgets in decades, when the Chancellor is expected to reveal the deteriorating state of the public finances." – The Times

Lib Dems propose increase in income tax threshold

"A personal tax-free allowance of £10,000 was pledged yesterday by the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, who predicted that it would make the low-paid £700 a year better off… The new, enlarged personal allowance would be paid for by abolishing tax concessions for the better-off and closing loopholes." – The Independent

More Budget previews from the commentariat

Picture 9 "Suddenly the political divide is not as straightforward as it was. Labour's fiscal expansionism versus Tory spending cuts becomes a more subtle split with Darling seeking to stress that he will cut too, while also finding room for an investment package with a green tinge, a Budget for growth as Peter Mandelson has put it, but a Budget with cuts as well: another convoluted third way, perhaps." – Steve Richards in The Independent

"Labour is fond of deriding the Tory opposition as the “do nothing party”. But tomorrow it will be Labour which is revealed as the “can’t act, won’t act” party." – Damian Reece in the Daily Telegraph

"The public does not yet realise how much pain it faces to get the public finances back on track. Statements about long-term fiscal rectitude, and modest downpayments, are not enough." – Peter Riddell in The Times

"Whichever way you look at it, tomorrow's Budget is going to be a horror story. No amount of 'greenwash' in the shape of incentives for more fuel-efficient cars, or verbal optimism about prospects for recovery, will be able to detract from the depth of the slump and its unprecedented impact on the public finances." – Alex Brummer in the Daily Mail

Tories "consider" scrapping Trident replacement

"The Tories are having… discussions about how widely they should wield the axe. I am told that some senior figures are seriously considering proposing to scrap the £60 billion replacement for Trident nuclear submarines – although they know this will be fiercely resisted by the defence spokesman Liam Fox." – Rachel Sylvester in The Times

Spelman-Caroline-on-QT Caroline Spelman accuses Treasury and FSA over council losses in Icelandic banks

"Whatever gloss is put on the news, it is unacceptable that local taxpayers will have lost £200 million. This will ultimately feed through to higher council tax or less investment in frontline services. It is a scandal that the Financial Services Authority and the Treasury knew that Icelandic banks were risky, but sat on their hands and kept quiet. Labour Ministers must take personal responsibility for this public policy mistake, given they created a flawed regulatory system and said nothing." – Caroline Spelman quoted on Ananova

Philip Stephens: Time for Cameron to write his prospectus

"Mr Cameron may well judge that time for a change is a sufficiently resonant tune to propel him into Downing Street. He could be right, but cannot be sure. At some point the media will tire of beating up the government. They will ask to see the Tory prospectus. Mr Cameron would do well to set his mind to writing one." – Philip Stephens writing in the FT

Government plans cut in speed limitsBBC

Rural Britain to miss out on super-fast broadbandDaily Telegraph

Andy Burnham left confidential documents on a trainThe Sun

Former US VP Cheney calls for release of memos showing results of interrogation effortsFOX News


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