9.45pm ToryDiary: The majority of the public now expect a Conservative election victory

Picture 86pm WATCH: Team Brown as the Chippendales!

Picture 74.45pm ToryDiary: Voters like the idea of more LibDem-Tory co-operation

4.15pm Seats and candidates: Another proof that the Communications Allowance should be axed

3.30pm Seats and Candidates: CHICKEN WATCH – A boost for Tory candidates in Carlisle and Lewisham East as Labour MPs decide to quit rather than face the electorate again Updated at 5pm with news of Elmet Labour MP quitting as well

3.15pm Simon Chapman on CentreRight: "It is deeply disquieting to see decisions about Trident being discussed in the context of political positioning…  National security isn’t a sacred cow. It’s national security."

Derek Conway MP3pm Parliament: Derek Conway says he's no different to Caroline Spelman

2.15pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: "The party that will win the next election will be the one which convinces people that their personal future will be better than their past… More homeownership, more share-owning, more disposable income…"

1pm ToryDiary: Boris@1

12.45pm Local Government: Bob Neill calls on Councils to run joint Planning Departments

11.15am Parliament: The appointment of a new Black Rod is a reminder that this is a great country 

11am ParliamentDoubts persist about funding for education and training

Picture 310.45am WATCH: David Cameron's full, unedited opening statement from yesterday's press conference, covering swine flu, the disarray of the Government, MPs' expenses and the withdrawal of British soldiers from Iraq

10.30am Parliament: Government is defeated again, this time on expenses

ToryDiary: David Cameron has succeeded in broadening the party donor base (to a point)

Rupert Matthews on Platform: UKIP is out of its depth as a political party and its MEPs fail to represent the British people

Leah Fraser in Seats and Candidates: How I am "love-bombing" Liberal Democrats in Wallasey

Local Government:

Star Chamber: Scrap Regional Development Agencies


CAMERON SERIOUS David Cameron ponders defence spending commitments…

"David Cameron is considering abandoning the British Trident nuclear missile deterrent or going for a less expensive upgrade by converting to air-launched cruise missiles, rather than the government's planned four expensive submarines. An intense debate is under way inside the shadow cabinet, with the shadow chancellor George Osborne and some senior party strategists arguing against the full £21bn Trident modernisation proposed by Labour." – The Guardian

"The Conservatives are scrambling to mend relations with the defence industry, amid fears the party is pencilling in deep cuts to equipment spending should it win power. Industry executives have privately been assured that certain programmes are safe, even as David Cameron, Tory leader, promises to take a hard look at the entire defence budget." – FT

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: David Cameron refuses to rule out scrapping/ delaying replacement for Trident

…and repeats his call for Iraq inquiry

"Demands for an immediate inquiry into the war in Iraq grew today as Britain's military involvement in the country came to an end after six years.  David Cameron, the Tory leader, called for an immediate inquiry similar to that carried out by Lord Franks following the Falklands War in 1982. "After years of foot dragging, I believe it is the time for the Government to announce a proper Franks-style inquiry. Instead of starting in many months' time, it should start right now. There are vital lessons to learn and we need to learn them rapidly and the only justification for delay can, I'm afraid, be a political one." – Daily Telegraph

Cost-cutting consultants called in by Tories to plan for power

"A management consultancy employed for its cost-cutting skills is playing a key role in helping Shadow Cabinet members to draw up their preparations for power. Boston Consulting Group has seconded a member of staff to the implementation unit run by Francis Maude… Two other Shadow ministers receive help from Boston Consulting: George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, who wields huge power over the economy, City regulation and wider party spending commitments, and Michael Gove, the Schools Minister." – The Times

Decision on MPs' second home allowance delayed as other reforms are voted through

"The government has won a series of votes on planned MPs' expenses reforms, after it agreed to delay a decision on controversial second homes allowances. During a heated Commons debate many MPs called for all changes to be left until after an inquiry into the system ends. But plans were passed to stop Greater London MPs claiming for second homes, for receipts to back up all claims and details of second jobs to be published." – BBC

Listen to Sir Patrick Cormack explain why he opposed the reforms – BBC Today Programme

Derek Conway complains he was treated more harshly than Caroline Spelman – The Guardian

Picture 1 Boris Johnson was elected London Mayor a year ago today…

"Johnson's first year in charge of the capital has refuted the ­malicious forecasts of his foes and ­tentatively confirmed those of his fans. London has not collapsed into a Billy Bunter comedy routine. The most incompetent central government of recent times, lauded by Johnson's enemies, has visited on ­London its most severe postwar crisis. The mayor has not panicked." – Simon Jenkins writing in The Guardian

"His critics said he would be a disaster, and his shambolic style would soon see his mayoralty come unstuck. But there is no indication Londoners have fallen out of love with Boris Johnson." – BBC

…as Time magazine identifies him as one of the planet's 100 most influential people

"What does Boris Johnson have in common with Brad Pitt, Mexico’s biggest drug lord, the founders of Twitter and Barack Obama? And not with David Cameron? The answer is that they are among the 100 most influential people on the planet, according to Time magazine." – The Times

Chris Grayling voices concern over increase in use of stop and search powers

"Police use of anti-terror stop and search powers trebled last year, prompting fears that the policy is alienating London's Muslim communities… Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, said: "People will be highly suspicious about the scale of stop and search under terror laws. This will reinforce the view that anti-terror powers are used for unrelated purposes." – The Independent

Conservatives will name and shame high earners at BBC and Channel 4

"BBC and Channel 4 staff will be included in Tory plans to name and shame high earners working for public institutions, the party has confirmed. A Tory spokeswoman said that both broadcasters would be covered by the party's plans to personally name all public sector workers earning more than £150,000 a year in a list that a Conservative government would publish online." – The Guardian

David Ruffley David Ruffley attacks "disgraceful" £1 million Home Office taxi bill

"Home Office staff spent more than £1million on taxis last year – 33 times more than when Labour first won power… Tories last night branded the figures “utterly disgraceful” and called for an immediate block on the use of taxis. Spokesman David Ruffley said: “The Government has obviously lost control of its budgets and is incapable of getting money to the policing frontline, where it matters." – The Sun

David Davis: Gordon Brown's policy in Afghanistan is never going to work

"If we are (a lot) tougher on the corruption of the Karzai regime; ensure delivery of justice on the ground, even if it is tribal justice; and create a security force that underpins a viable government, we stand a chance of delivering what no foreigner has ever done before, namely a successful Afghan state. If not, we will be allowing the waste of countless lives to achieve little more than Vietnam." – David Davis MP writing in The Independent

Ann Widdecombe rejects idea that the State "automatically" to marry unmarried couples with children

"Prof Julian Le Grand, the architect of a clutch of New Labour policies such as baby bonds, is calling for marriage to be the legal "default" setting for new parents… Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP, rejected it as "ludicrous" and warned that it could spell the death of marriage." – Daily Telegraph

Gordon Brown has lost it, say ministers

"Labour is heading for an election defeat as heavy as that suffered by John Major because Gordon Brown has lost control of the parliamentary party, two senior Cabinet ministers have privately warned." – Daily Telegraph

Richard Littlejohn: "If Gordon was a dog, he’d be put down"

"There’s something quite unpleasant about watching the lingering political death of Gordon Brown. I feel like a rubber-necker slowing down to gawp at a motorway pile-up. The trouble is that while the Prime Minister lives out his excruciating personal tragedy, we’re going to have to suffer this zombie horror show for another year and endure the consequences for generations. If Gordon was a dog, he’d be put down." – Richard Littlejohn writing in the Daily Mail

Filming of last night's Question Time was delayed after Andrew Lansley got stuck in trafficBBC

David Blunkett warns Labour over "catastrophic meltdown of trust"The Guardian

Tory councillor apologises after naked women jokeDaily Telegraph


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