6.30 am Friday Local Government: Labour meltdown in Lincolnshire and monkey back in Hartlepool

11pm ToryDiary: Live blog of local elections

10.30pm ToryDiary: James Purnell quits and calls on Brown to "stand aside"… Cameron reacts

NeverForget 6pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: China continues to deny the Tiananmen Square massacre…

5.45pm ToryDiary: ConHome's election coverage from inside CCHQ

4pm AmericaInTheWorld: Obama promises "to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam" in major addess in Egypt

Picture 272.15pm WATCH: Boris Johnson falls into river during anti-litter photo opportunity

10.30am Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Who will be Labour's Crispin Blunt and be the first to call on Brown to go?

10.00am Local Government: Iain Dale wants your help Beating the BBC with the results


International: Good news for Berlusconi and Wilders in European polling, less good news for Sarkozy and Merkel

AnEmergencyBudget Andrew Lilico on Platform: Examining New Labour's second spending spree

KeepingFirstPastThePost Daniel Kawczynski MP on CentreRight: The case for keeping First Past The Post

On Local government: Hounslow councillor defects to Conservatives and Will the monkey get back in Hartlepool?

WATCH:  Sky's Jon Craig discusses an email circulating among Labour MPs that seeks to initiate a leadership contest

Senior Cabinet rallies behind Brown…

"The prime minister appeared to have repulsed the first wave of the attempt to topple him when senior figures in the cabinet rallied to his standard, including a clear vow of loyalty by the health secretary, Alan Johnson, the man seen as most likely to succeed him. One of Brown's closest aides vowed "the prime minister will only be taken out of Downing Street in a box", adding: "If he is ousted, no successor would be able to withstand the demands for an immediate general election, and that will destroy us for a generation." – Guardian

Mandelson urges MPs to back Brown – BBC

DARLING BLEAK …but could Darling be the one to finally call on Brown to go? – Benedict Brogan in The Telegraph

…or do his assassins wear skirts?  (or in Hazel's case, motorbike leathers)

"Allies of the Prime Minister seized upon a Monday meeting of women MPs, including Ms Blears, Jacqui Smith and Caroline Flint, in the hallowed Commons bar-lounge overlooking the Thames as evidence of a female conspiracy to oust him. Male Labour MPs allied to Mr Brown were openly speculating about the motives behind the Pugin Room meeting — the latest sign of the fear and loathing that is gripping the party." – Times

Hazel Blears made £80k on homes, partly funded by expenses – Telegraph

Brown has never exactly nurtured female talent at cabinet level – Jackie Ashley in The Guardian

Matthew Parris: Brown is a symptom of Labour's decay

"Mr Brown is not the cause of Labour's agonies, but a symptom. Rotting institutions get rotten people as their leaders. Always too cynical to put down the roots of confident belief, Blairism was more effective at breaking the party's continuity with its own past than at growing a new creed to replace it. We are left with a Cabinet of bedwetters: some bright and decent people among them – but where's the backbone, where's the beef? Their fate could be to become the third party; perhaps by as early as this weekend; perhaps never to return." – Matthew Parris in The Times

Liberal Democrats appear to close door on co-operation with Labour

"Nick Clegg would resist overtures from a new prime minister as strongly as he would the current one, senior Liberal Democrat figures have told the Guardian."

The Independent: The Liberal Democrats deserve support today

LIBERAL-DEMOCRATS "Only the Liberal Democrats have consistently put the case for Europe, doing so even when seeking to hold seats in parts of the country, such as the south-west of England, that are more euro-sceptic than others. Like his recent predecessors, Nick Clegg is unequivocal in his support for the EU. A strong vote for his party would show that parts of the electorate recognise the importance of Britain playing a positive role at the heart of Europe. On that basis alone the Liberal Democrats deserve to perform well." – Independent leader

The Telegraph: David Cameron is the right choice for Britain

"The Conservatives have been hit just as hard as Labour by the expenses scandal; but Mr Cameron has handled the ramifications for his party in a firm and unambiguous manner that has both wrong-footed Gordon Brown and shown up the inadequacies of the Prime Minister's response. In the House of Commons, the Tory leader is effective and confident. He is beginning to demonstrate the qualities of leadership that the country craves and for which they need to be given the chance to vote in a general election. A vote for the Conservatives today would be good for the country." – Telegraph leader

Conservative peer Lord Kalms set to vote UKIP

KALMS STANLEY “European elections tomorrow are a unique opportunity for the British electorate to express their distaste for several current UK policies from all the leading parties. It is an opportunity to vote for personal priorities and, with the exception of the BNP, I would strongly recommend, as I will do, voting for smaller parties who represent my major concerns today. For myself, I am considering lending my vote to UKIP.” – Statement from Lord Kalms quoted in The Sun

> Iain Dale: Don't do it, Stanley

Tories may do less well today than in the 1999 and 2004 European Elections

"At 28 per cent, the Tories' average European poll rating is only a little higher than the 27 per cent it won five years ago. It is well short of the 36 per cent William Hague managed in 1999…. [and in local elections…] The Conservative performance could fall well short of the 44 per cent it secured last year, when the local votes are projected into a nationwide vote. Mr Cameron will not want the impression formed at this stage of the electoral cycle that his party's support has begun to recede." – John Curtice in The Independent

Conservative MEPs will be in more respectable company outside the EPP

Dan Hannan uses his Telegraph blog to knock down the latest attacks from the Left on the planned new grouping of Conservative MEPs.

Shadow Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan had mooted the idea of transferring powers over Welsh universities back to WestminsterWestern Mail

Edward Leigh MP slams secret BBC pay deals

"The BBC will be branded 'disgraceful' by MPs today for refusing to reveal details of the bumper salaries lavished on some of its top presenters. A committee of MPs found that the lucrative pay packets mean BBC radio shows are up to six times more expensive to produce than their commercial rivals… Tory MP Edward Leigh, the committee chairman, said: 'Very few will find acceptable any such constraints on the National Audit Office's ability to investigate how a publicly funded national institution spends our money. It is disgraceful that the NAO's lack of statutory audit access to the BBC puts the corporation in the position to dictate what the spending watchdog can and cannot see.'" – Daily Mail

'Don't play the guilt card', Science minister tells climate change campaignersTimes

Barack Obama prepares to address the Muslim worldGuardian | AmericaInTheWorld

Ehypt, a police state, is the wrong venue for Obama's speech – Robert Fisk in The Independent


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