4pm Charlie Elphicke on CentreRight: It is important that David Cameron debunked the idea that deficit spending is somehow a good thing

154641043.45pm ToryDiary: Back where she belongs (and in trademark blue)

3.15pm WATCH: Cameron tells CBI that dealing with the deficit now would be good for growth

3pm Alex Deane on CentreRight on ID cards

1.30pm Bob Seely on CentreRight: What the Iraq Inquiry will tell us

12.30pm Stephan Shakespeare on CentreRight: Beware of Rogue Polls

12.15pm Mark Wallace on CentreRight: Resisting the urge to be nosy

ANDREWLILICO11.45am Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: Doing it all with tax rises is not an option

10.30am Seats and Candidates Breaking News: Confirmed – Richard Spring MP to stand down as MP for Suffolk West

ToryDiary: A hung Parliament would be the breaking – not the making – of the Liberal Democrats

Yousuf Miah on Platform: Child benefit should be dependent on the parents ensuring the child's attendance at school

Seats and Candidates Diary of a PPC: Melanie Hampton records a week in the fight to regain Mitcham and Morden

Harry Phibbs in Local Government
A Conservative Government should scrap the £3 billion annual subsidy to Transport for London

Also in Local GovernmentMark Bowen: Councillors should be the final arbiters of complaints

WATCH: Sir John Chilcot insists that his Iraq War Inquiry will not be a whitewash

A Cameron Government's first Budget would focus on growth

David Cameron at CBI "David Cameron will shift tone on the economy and echo the Prime Minister by promising to “go for growth” in the first Budget under a Tory government. The Conservative leader will strike a more optimistic note than of late when he addresses business leaders at the CBI annual conference, reflecting increased optimism about the prospects for the economy. The switch in tone, which is not accompanied by any change in policy, is also likely to be a recognition of a recent narrowing of the Tory lead in some opinion polls." – The Times

"Mr Cameron told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that a first Tory Budget should be about getting the deficit under control but added: “It should also be a Budget that goes for growth, that gets the economy moving again.” He did not set out any new policies to achieve that objective, other than repeating a planned cut to corporation tax from 28p to 25p, funded by ending some allowances, and by scrapping national insurance contributions for start-up companies taking on new staff." – FT

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Only growth and reform can save Britain (and the Conservatives)

Liam Fox blasts Government again over military procurement…

FOX LIAM NEW "The Ministry of Defence has been criticised for spending £149 million on an “urgent” upgrade to 900 tanks that can still only be used for training. The armoured vehicles will be used in Canada and Britain because they offer insufficient protection against mines in Afghanistan… Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, said: “We are increasingly concerned that the procurement programme is out of tandem with our military needs. This needs to be done on a detailed and thoughtful basis which can only come as part of major acquisition reform.” – The Times

…on the eve of the Iraq War Inquiry

"The lives of British soldiers were put at “significant” risk by an “appalling” lack of preparation in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, a leaked official report revealed yesterday… The alleged failings by Tony Blair’s government were revealed ahead of the official inquiry into the Iraq War under Sir John Chilcot, which opens tomorrow. Last night, Shadow Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “The accusation that British troops may have died because equipment was not ordered as part of a deliberate political act of deception is one of the most serious charges that could ever be levelled against a prime minister and his government. It is essential that the Iraq inquiry uncovers the truth.” – Daily Express

David Cameron faces more unrest over women candidates…

"David Cameron is facing more unrest over his attempts to force outside candidates on local Conservative constituency associations. After seeing off the threat of the so-called “Turnip Taliban” – the party membership in Norfolk that objected to a candidate who was pushed by Conservative Central Office – the Tory leader is braced for other constituencies to react to the imposition of women quotas." – Daily Telegraph

"At first glance, the Hobbinses and the Sir Jeremys might seem like terrible liabilities. But in reality, both episodes have offered a terrific opportunity to the project, and it is not difficult to imagine a wily strategist taking advantage of this. People like this are, without knowing it, clamouring for the honour of becoming the Derek Hatton of the Conservative Party." – Philip Hensher writing in The Independent

…as he warns that election win is not certain

"David Cameron has made it clear he is not taking an election victory for granted and slapped down a senior colleague for suggesting a Labour win would be better for Britain than the uncertainty and possible turmoil of a hung parliament… Mr Cameron publicly disowned comments from Ken Clarke, his front bench colleague, for suggesting recently that a Labour win would be preferable to a hung parliament. The former chancellor argued that at a time of grave economic difficulties the uncertainty it would create could be disastrous. The Conservative leader said: “Ken has his own ways of explaining these things. I think frankly anything is better than another five years of this Labour government." – Daily Telegraph

Lord Lawson: Copenhagen will fail – and quite right too

LAWSON NIGEL TODAY "The reason we use carbon-based energy is simply that it is far and away the cheapest source of energy, and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Switching to much more expensive energy may be acceptable for us in the developed world. But in the developing world, there are still tens of millions of people suffering from acute poverty, and from the consequences of such poverty, in the shape of preventable disease, malnutrition and premature death. So for the developing world, the overriding priority has to be the fastest feasible rate of economic development, which means, inter alia, using the cheapest available form of energy: carbon-based energy…  I am announcing today the launch of a new high-powered all-party (and non-party) think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (, which I hope may mark a turning-point in the political and public debate on the important issue of global warming policy." – Lord Lawson writing in The Times

Tory town halls "less likely to allow new homes"

"Conservative councils are less likely to grant planning permission for new homes than other local authorities, according to research by McGrigors, the commercial law firm. The gap is not large – 63 per cent of applications were approved by Tory-controlled councils compared with 69 per cent in authorities under Labour, Liberal or no overall control. But given that the Conservatives control half of all councils with planning permission powers and are likely to make further gains in elections in May, the outlook could well be an even more severe housing shortage in the long-term, the law firm said." – FT

Conservatives back new cohabiting laws

Bellingham-Henry "New rules are being proposed by the Law Commission that would mean unmarried couples who live together for two years or more would automatically be entitled to half their partner’s estate if they die… Henry Bellingham, the shadow justice minister, has said that by bringing in the rules children would be protected. He also suggested that the move would “encourage marriage.” He told the BBC Politics Show: “It may well be traditional Conservative policy to say we shouldn't give rights to co-habitees but at the moment people can walk away from those relationships and the children of the people who are left suffering. If we do bring in some new rights I think you would avoid a great deal of misery you would provide far more certainty for children in particular and actually you would, put in place a driver for more responsibility and at the same time you may actually encourage marriage.” – Daily Telegraph

Philip Johnston: Police are wrong to gear up for a fight with David Cameron's Tories

"If the public thought the police had got their priorities right, there would be no need for this reform. But they don't and there is. The problem is not with the police lower down the ranks, who are often deeply frustrated with the way they are used and the ludicrous targets they are forced to attain, but with the cosy cartel of top officers themselves and their detachment from the rest of us. In his BBC interview, Sir Hugh spoke of the "sub-optimal solutions that are needed at the back end of the business" and the need for "political top cover to look at the disparity of funding". Before they gear up for a fight with an elected government, maybe police chiefs could start talking the language the rest of us can understand." – Philip Johnston in the Daily Telegraph

Grayling calls for party conference to go to Liverpool

Chris Grayling head "The Conservative Party is considering bringing its party conference to Liverpool. Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling has been on a fact-finding visit to the Echo Arena and BT Convention Centre to check out the Merseyside venue. Following the tour by Arena officials, he said he would be lobbying party chairman Eric Pickles to bring the showcase event to Liverpool." – Liverpool Daily Post

Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw renews claims of Murdoch deal with the Tories

"Echoing the views of the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, Bradshaw says of News International and the Tories: "There is no doubt there's a deal … The Tories have basically subcontracted their media and broadcasting policy to News International. It's brazen." He fires off a list of Tory policies – including a commitment to TV news free from impartiality rules and Cameron's promise to rein in the media regulator, Ofcom – to demonstrate the extent of the collusion between the two, publicly denied by members of the shadow cabinet." – The Guardian

"Mr Cameron is unlikely to prove a dependable ally in Rupert Murdoch’s wars with the BBC and Google. Of course, as prime minister he may find other favours to bestow on the media tycoon. On the other hand, he may also irritate him on ideological grounds, particularly Europe, where he probably lacks the stomach for the all-out fight with the European Union that Eurosceptics crave. Remember how skin deep Mr Murdoch’s affection for the Tory leader really is, and it is easy to imagine relations between them being less cordial than between him and Tony Blair and, for a time, Gordon Brown. It is true that the old boy is 78, and may already be ceding power to his son James, but as long as he has breath in his body and a working brain in his head I would not count on David Cameron remaining his newspapers’ pin-up boy." – Stephen Glover writing in The Independent

Conservative ad capitalises on Jedward exit

Tory Jedward poster "The Conservatives have jumped on Jedward's X-Factor axing to take a swipe at Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling.The shadow government released a poster campaign featuring the faces of the PM and Chancellor imposed on a photo of the Irish twins. The advert was released hours after John and Edward Grimes were sent packing on the ITV talent show. The text of the poster, appearing on billboards across the capital, reads: "Jedward are gone, but we're still left with … Deadwood." The advert unashamedly mirrors the same campaign run by the Labour Party, then aimed at pillaring Tory leader David Cameron and his shadow chancellor, George Osborne." – Sky News

> Last night's ToryDiary: CCHQ launch Jedward poster

Melanie Phillips: Cynicism, cheap stunts and why voters still don't trust the ToriesDaily Mail

Tory PPC reportedly dating Metallica's managerDaily Mail

Labour MP on Standards Committee facing questions over expensesDaily Telegraph


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