Picture 11 9.15pm WATCH: Eric Pickles delivers his latest War Room Briefing out on the stump in Essex

8.30pm Seats and Candidates Update: Three more Labour MPs throw in the towel and a fourth is barred from standing for the party again

6.30pm ToryDiary: Conservatives will back Commons vote to dissolve Parliament next week

5.30pm Latest on CentreRight:

4pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Gordon Brown has quite clearly lost any sense of control or authority over his party

3pm WATCH: Sky News's Adam Boulton on Jacqui Smith's reported decision to resign as Home Secretary

2pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Michael Howard gives the Telegraph's Andrew Porter the Paxman treatment

1.15pm Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight exposes how both major parties currently sit uneasily in their groups in the European Parliament

William Hague happy 21pm ToryDiary: William Hague says that appearing on Have I Got News For You is incompatible with being a Front Bencher

11am Parliament: Government department refuses to publish guidance on financial interests

11am Seats and Candidates: Three more Labour MPs throw in the towel

10.45am Seats and Candidates: Two more Labour MPs throw in the towel

10.30am Local Government:

ToryDiary: William Hague gives a reply (if not an answer) to the question: "What does 'We will not let matters rest there' actually mean in practice?"

CH awards graphic ToryDiary: Who is your Campaigner of the Year?

Fiona Beveridge on Platform: The Government's so-called "transparency" on freedom of information does not extend to abortion statistics

Seats and Candidates:

Local Government:

WATCH: Professor Niall Ferguson explains why he thinks Gordon Brown is incapable of effectively pulling the UK out of recession

Tories take a big hit in one new poll

"The scandal over MPs' expenses has led to a dramatic drop in support for the Conservatives as voters have turned their backs on all three main parties, the latest ComRes survey for The Independent has found. Remarkably, the poll puts the "other parties" on 30 per cent – neck and neck with the Tories. The Tories' rating is 15 points down on the last ComRes survey for this newspaper a month ago, before the controversy erupted. It is at its lowest level in any poll since April 2006, poll since April 2006 when David Cameron was engulfed in a row over his party's policy on grammar schools." – The Independent

Michael Brown 2009 "It may be that the precise details of these scandals – wisteria clearing, moats, duck houses, manure and press photos of grand country houses involving huge gardening bills – have reminded voters that Tory MPs are still rich grandees who continue to live in a style "to the manor born". This could be seriously undermining Mr Cameron's painstaking efforts during the past four years to create a party that "looks more like the people it seeks to represent". – Michael Brown writing in The Independent

"Support for Labour has plung­­ed to level pegging with the Liberal Democrats at just 18 per cent, a poll revealed last night. The survey put the Tories roaring ahead at 40 per cent… Last night’s Ipsos Mori poll asked voters who they would choose in a Westminster election. It found that just a quarter were satisfied with Gordon Brown’s performance as Prime Minister – with seven in 10 saying they are unhappy." – Daily Express

> Last night's ToryDiary posts on the ComRes poll and the Ipsos-Mori poll

The Telegraph focuses on Geoff Hoon's housing arrangements…

"Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, is exposed as the second Cabinet minister to have claimed expenses for two different second homes at the same time. Mr Hoon's constituency home was funded by the taxpayer while he was also claiming parliamentary allowances for a London town house, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. During 2006, he claimed hundreds of pounds for the Derbyshire house after "flipping" his designated second home to the capital. Last night, the Transport Secretary apologised "unreservedly" for what he described as an "inadvertent administrative error" and repaid £384 to the parliamentary authorities." – Daily Telegraph

Picture 6…but also raises questions about Tory MP Andrew Turner's use of office costs allowances…

 "In 2004, he was ordered to pay £10,250 to Colin Hedgley, his former office manager, after a tribunal found he had been unfairly dismissed… Mr Turner used his incidental expenses provision, used to cover the costs of running a constituency office, to pay £6,471 of the compensation bill… Mr Turner put through a £160 invoice for a member of staff to have "life coaching (4 sessions)". Mr Turner also submitted a £20 receipt for House of Commons cufflinks and £139 for a digital radio, even though he had bought another for £199 the previous year." – Daily Telegraph

…as Michael Howard's payments to his Conservative association attract scrutiny

"The former minister made regular payments to the Folkestone and Hythe Conservative Association as part of his incidental expenses provision. In total he claimed £44,760 between 2004 and 2008… Last night Mr Howard said all office expenses paid to his local Conservative association were just, and that there was "no element of profit or benefit involved". – Daily Telegraph

Iain Duncan Smith raises educational issues as he hits the campaign trail in Northern Ireland

"Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith has urged politicians in Northern Ireland to put the debate over academic selection to one side and instead focus their energies on children's early years. Mr Duncan Smith said it is crucial that assembly members look at ways of improving the educational outcome for children from dysfunctional families here. " – Belfast Telegraph

Tories "blame Labour" for BNP threat

"The Conservatives have blamed Labour for the prospect of a historically strong performance by the British National party in Thursday’s elections, as new research suggests support for the far right is strongest in Old Labour heartlands. The Tory intervention marks a shift in the traditional bipartisan approach to fighting the BNP." – FT

George Osborne challenges Brown to back or sack Darling

"What are the public and the international markets to make of the fact that on three occasions today the Prime Minister has failed to express his confidence in his own Chancellor? Gordon Brown must stop this dithering on Darling’s future – either he backs him or he sacks him.” – George Osborne quotes in the Daily Express

Alistair Darling facing axe in reshuffleGuardian

GRAYLING serious Chris Grayling responds to Home Affairs committee report on knife crime

"Children as young as seven are being used as "mules" to carry knives for older youths, says a bombshell report by MPs today… Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: "We've got to be much tougher on those committing acts of anti-social behaviour to prevent them from going on to commit more serious offences, like knife crime, later in life." – The Sun

How "shamed" MEPs will enjoy a golden goodbye…

"Three politicians accused of misusing public money will receive hundreds of thousands of pounds in pensions and benefits as part of a £20 million payoff for British MEPs who retire this week… Den Dover, who was expelled from the Conservative Party for gross misconduct after claiming £500,000 in “unjustified expenses”, has a pension valued at £235,000 and will receive a “transitional allowance” of £59,367." – The Times

…as the perks of "disgraced" retiring MPs are revealed

"Disgraced MPs forced to step down at the next election as a result of their abuse of expenses will still be offered the chance to hold on to some of their parliamentary perks after they leave Westminster, The Independent has learnt. All MPs leaving parliament at the next election will be given the option of keeping hold of a Commons pass, allowing them to mix freely with MPs and use Westminster's publicly subsidised facilities." – The Independent

The Guardian suggests voting Lib Dem or Green

"There is certainly no case for switching to the Conservatives… The case for supporting the Liberal Democrats is now very strong. Anyone who believes Britain should be an engaged member of the European Union – who does not believe scare stories about the Lisbon treaty and who wants to back a party that campaigns on this – should vote Lib Dem… Many progressives will cheer if the Greens do well. They deserve support, although their policies are largely unreported, and include opposition to the new EU treaty. It is hard to find the same enthusiasm for Labour's campaign." – The Guardian

…as Richard Littlejohn proposes spoiling your ballot paper

"Let's have a record turnout and, instead of voting for anyone, write 'GENERAL ELECTION NOW!!' on your ballot paper. That's not spoiling your ballot, it's exercising your democratic right. You never know, they might just get the message." – Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail

Scottish Tories criticise SNP over potential loss of teaching jobsThe Herald


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