Midnight ToryDiary: Tories 19% ahead but UKIP surge for Euro elections

5.15pm WATCH: Disgraced Andrew MacKay mobbed by reporters

4.45pm ToryDiary: Two-thirds of Conservative members say Andrew MacKay should cease to be Tory MP

1pm ToryDiary: ConservativeHome survey on MPs' pay and expenses

11.45am ToryDiary: Grassroots survey on expenses

Andrew Mackay10.45am ToryDiary: Andrew Mackay resigns as David Cameron's adviser over unreasonable expenses claims

Local Government:


Howard Flight on Platform: There is little scope for tax rises if Britain is to remain economically competitive

WATCH: Elliot Morley MP claimed £16,000 for mortgage that did not exist

Elliot Morley might be prosecuted for fraud

MORELY_803018a (Image from The Sun)

"Elliot Morley, the former agriculture minister, continued claiming for the mortgage interest on his constituency home for more than 18 months after the loan had been repaid. Lawyers last night said that the claims could constitute a criminal offence under the 2006 Fraud Act and the 1968 Theft Act." – Telegraph

Blair's £43,000 expenses were shredded 'by incompetence' – Daily Mail

Alex Salmond has refused to apologise for his expense claims, arguing that he was the innocent victim of a system that was open to “widespread abuse” – Telegraph

"John Maples, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, declared that a room in his private members’ club in Pall Mall, London, was his main home. This allowed him to spend money on his family’s Oxfordshire home. Stephen Crabb, a Conservative MP, claimed his “main home” was a room in a flat rented by another MP, after buying a new house for his family in Wales and claiming £9,300 in stamp duty. He had previously “flipped” his second home to the family house from another London flat that was sold for a profit after more than £8,000 in taxpayer-funded refurbishments." – Telegraph

Brown plays catch up

"Gordon Brown launched a desperate attempt to catch up with David Cameron yesterday in the race to win back public trust following the MPs' expenses scandal. The Prime Minister said he wanted the Commons members' allowances committee to agree an independent audit of every MPs' expenses claim for the past four years. But the Tory leader accused him of failing to show leadership and having a 'tin ear' to public outrage." – Daily Mail

"Every day brings evidence to support the charge first articulated by Mr Cameron that Mr Brown is a 20th century politician at sea in the 21st. This does not just mean that the tieless informality of YouTube loves the Tory leader but hates Mr Brown. It is about the kind of politics each chooses to pursue: where Mr Cameron favours consultation, engagement with voters, and risk, the Prime Minister is steered by the calculating factionalism and power politics he learned from pre-1997 Labour or his hero Lyndon B Johnson." – Ben Brogan in The Telegraph

Tories send mixed signals on Communications Allowance

David Cameron urges prime minister to scrap MPs' communications allowance (Guardian) describing it as a "gigantic waste of money"… but only 21 Tory MPs don't use it now (Yesterday's ToryDiary)

The Conservative leader repeats call for 10% cut in number of MPsFT

The Times turns its attention to MPs' pensions

"It is a defined-benefit plan, of the kind deemed too expensive to run by the private sector and abandoned in large number. This means that MPs' pensions are immune to the gyrations of the stock markets, no matter how many banks fail or bubbles burst. The MPs get to vote on how much the plan should pay out; and in 2001, they enthusiastically voted for an increase in the rate at which they earned their payouts. This level of generosity costs the taxpayer. The Exchequer now contributes 31.6 per cent of MPs' salary into the plan. The average private sector employer pays in 6.5 per cent of salaries. An MP who serves two terms can accrue a pension of £16,191 a year. It would cost a private sector employee almost £400,000 to fund such a payout." – Times leader

Freedom of Information campaigner tells The Sun why she campaigned against MPs' secrecy

SNN1409H-280_802906a "MPs earn nearly £65,000. They can claim almost twice that in tax-free expenses. It’s an utterly unprofessional system lacking in accountability. Rather than admit it and reform they fought right up to the High Court to hide it. It ruled they should publish expenses and second home details. But then they tried to exempt themselves from their own FOI law — and now the Speaker has called in police. There’s a saying: When you are in a hole, stop digging!" – Heather Brooke in The Sun

Annabel Goldie to use Scottish Conference address to invite voters to take a fresh look at changed Tories

"In her address, Miss Goldie will concede that, for many voters, supporting the Tories is a "big ask", although the word "Thatcher" will not be mentioned. "I know for many people voting Conservative in Scotland is a big ask," she will say. "Some have never done it, some last did it a long time ago. So I say to you – judge us not on your perception of the echoes of the past but rather judge us on what we are now and what in the Scottish Parliament we are achieving."" – BBC

Labour faces southern wipeout

"Labour faces the possibility of being all but wiped out in the South in next month’s council elections, putting a swath of its parliamentary seats in jeopardy at the general election." – Times

The fringe parties that could benefit from a protest voteIndependent

Police Federation attacks Labour's "hokey cokey" system of justice

"The Government has created a "hokey cokey" criminal justice system that fails to tackle persistent offenders, the leader of rank and file police officers has said. Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers are "sick to death" of seeing the same criminals again and again." – Sky News


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