10pm Iain Murray on CentreRight: Mrs Thatcher and the Environment

8.15pm Local Government: Eric Pickles predicts "big Tory gains" at the local elections

CRABB-STEPHEN-25.45pm WATCH: Gordon Brown fails to see the funny side of Tory MP Stephen Crabb's question at PMQs about "a senior Whitehall boss" throwing around mobile phones

5.30pm Seats and Candidates: Banff and Buchan Tory candidate calls on Alex "Three Jobs" Salmond to stand down from Westminster and create a by-election

3.45pm Latest on Local Government:

3.30pm WATCH: Sky News's Joey Jones reviews the highlights of today's Prime Minister's Questions

3.15pm Danilel Kawczynski MP on CentreRight: An open letter to Gordon Brown on Equitable Life

Picture 133pm WATCH: The latest Conservative election broadcast features David Cameron around the country at a series of Cameron Direct meetings

12.45pm Seats and Candidates: Is Labour trying to "exploit people's fears" on immigration?

12.30pm ToryDiaryA painful PMQs for Gordon Brown

11.30am ParliamentGovernment sends two ministers and 45 officials to conference on climate change

11.15am ParliamentThe Prime Minister won't answer David Gauke's question about his YouTube show

11am Parliament: No-one should be forced to fund a political party

9.45am Jonathan Isaby on CentreRIght: One year to go before polling day…

ManifestoToryDiary: The most electorally potent and the most transformational Tory policies

Star Chamber: A fairer distribution of public spending between the UK regions

Jeremy Middleton on Platform: Building a sustainable and influential voluntary party is my main priority as the new chairman of the National Conservative Convention

Local government:


David Cameron launches Tory local election campaign

Picture 2 "David Cameron has urged voters to use next month's local elections as a referendum on Gordon Brown's leadership, asking them to deliver a clear message to his "weak, useless and spineless" Government." – Independent | FT

> Yesterday's ConHome report on the launch | Video

Tories decline to commit on Crossrail

"The Conservative party refused to give unequivocal backing to the Crossrail project on Tuesday night in a move that could set it on a collision course with Boris Johnson, the Tory mayor. Mr Johnson is determined to press ahead with the new rail line, which will run from Maidenhead in the west of London to Abbey Wood in the east." – FT

> Yesterday's ConHome discussion on the future of Crossrail

Grayling attacks farcical trialling of ID cards in Manchester

GRAYLING CHRIS NW ""The government is split down the middle on ID cards but it looks as if Jacqui Smith is carrying on regardless," said the shadow home secretary Chris Grayling. "They should abandon this farce and scrap the whole scheme."" – Quoted by the BBC

The Financial Times warns the Tories to be more positive about Europe FT leader

> Caroline Jackson launches another attack on David Cameron's decision to take the Conservatives out of the EPP

Dominic Grieve: Probation checks on murderers freed from jail are being reducedThe Sun

The Tories can't afford to insult state employees – Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

Interview with James Cleverly AM, Boris' 'youth ambassador'

CLEVERLY JAMES "London's youth ambassador James Cleverly, brought in after mayor Boris Johnson's disastrous first appointment, tells Hélène Mulholland that there's more to the Tories' plans for young people than cracking down on crime." – Guardian

Boris meets Boris as Tussauds unveils waxwork of mayor – Guardian

10p tax hike (£42bn) needed 'to rescue British economy'Daily Mail

As many as 100 Labour MPs may rebel on Royal Mail privatisationGuardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Ken Clarke confirms continued Tory support for Brown on Royal Mail

Brown retreats from Blairite agenda on schools

"In a sign of a clear shift from Blairite rhetoric about need for “choice” and “competition” in public sector reform, Mr Brown attacked those who “tackle school failure by relying on market forces”. Mr Brown said a Tory system would merely be exploited by well-to-do parents. “A whole generation failed – waiting for the market to work,” he said. “Power for a few parents, not for the many.”" – FT

ConservativeHomeEditorial ConservativeHome comment: "ConHome recently noted that The Times would swing to the Conservatives if it saw more evidence that Brown was abandoning a Blairite commitment to public service reform.  Brown will pick up support among the public sector unions for yesterday's speech but he will have lost sympathy from Wapping's Thunderer."

Lumley in fresh attack on Labour over rights of GurkhasIndependent | Video

Jane Moore: Brown and Blair betrayed us

"When we entrusted power to Tony Blair in 1997, he talked about the strong foundations of family life, how the welfare state should encourage work not dependency, and that we wouldn’t be paying more in taxes and getting less. But that’s all it was… talk. And his unelected successor is even worse. So now we’re truly angry, but we don’t need to picket or riot. Besides, we’re still too law-abiding for that." – Jane Moore in The Sun

Margaret Thatcher's 1974 election as Tory leader was an accident

ThatcherDowningSt1979 "Sir Keith Joseph had been cajoled into standing against Ted Heath in 1974 after two electoral defeats. But with the persuasion of an aide, he made a speech about the poor breeding too fast and withdrew in the subsequent uproar. Horrified that no other Shadow Cabinet member apparently had the guts to challenge Ted, she decided to run, though sure she would not win. The Conservative Party was not ready for a woman leader. But her candidature might provoke a second ballot in which other senior Tories might enter the lists. Which is what happened – and the impressed backbenchers decided for her and against the faint-hearts. Poor thing! She was stunned and it took her a long time to find her feet." – Andrew Alexander in the Daily Mail

'Labour is most in thrall to Thatcherism'

"Brown's "Green New Deal" is pitifully small, and his ability to sell any policy is limited by his own lousy communication skills and his refusal to decisively cast off the shroud of Thatcher. Even the 50 per cent tax rate was introduced with a nervous, quaking commitment to reverse it once the recession ends. Who will point out that during America's largest boom – the 1950s – it had a 92 per cent top rate of tax under a Republican President? And so the window to a better, more social democratic Britain seems to be creaking shut. Gordon Brown stands frozen as his Blearsy-eyed colleagues hiss and snap all around him, protesting at even the tiniest nudges to the left. Why won't Labour let the Iron Lady rust?" – Johann Hari in The Independent

America is falling out of love with Britain – Max Hastings in the Daily Mail


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