David Cameron at podium 7pm ToryDiary: David Cameron explains how he wants to "use the state to remake society"

5pm Lee Rotherham on CentreRight: Life after the European Union – How it would benefit the British fishing industry

4.15pm Parliament: John Gummer calls for changes to postal voting rules to help Save General Election Night

1.45pm CentreRight updateTory MP compares Brown's letter to Jacqui Janes to the Government's strategy in Afghanistan

1.15pm WATCH: Gordon Brown reiterates his apology to Jacqui Janes at his monthly press conference

12.30pm Seats and Candidates: South West Norfolk association officers give Liz Truss their full support

11.45am AmericaInTheWorld: The untold story of the surge that saved Iraq

10.45am Seats and Candidates: Six candidates go forward to Brighton Pavilion Open Primary

10.15am LISTEN: Theresa May outlines the Tory approach to tackling poverty – and clashes with Yvette Cooper on the matter

ToryDiary: Compassionate conservatism is the biggest idea in British politics

Mark Clarke on Platform: Scores of vulnerable women rely on the police's Human Trafficking Unit, yet it is under threat – despite Gordon Brown's promises to the contrary

Parliament: Chris Grayling accuses the Goverment of setting out "deliberately to deceive the British people" with immigration policy cover-up

Local Government:


WATCH: Lord Mandelson insists that Gordon Brown meant no disrespect to the mother of the soldier killed in Afghanistan who has complained about his condolence letter

Grayling and Davis both voice fears about new "state spying" database…

Picture 3 "All telecoms companies and internet service providers will be required by law to keep a record of every customer's personal communications, showing who they are contacting, when, where and which websites they are visiting… Chris Grayling, shadow home secretary, said he had fears about the abuse of the data. "The big danger in all of this is 'mission creep'. This Government keeps on introducing new powers to tackle terrorism and organised crime which end up being used for completely different purposes. We have to stop that from happening". David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, added: "What is being proposed is a highly intrusive procedure which would allow Government authorities to maintain covert surveillance on public use of telephones, texts, emails and internet access." – Daily Telegraph

…which is now reportedly being cancelled

"Plans to store information about every phone call, email and internet visit in the United Kingdom have in effect been abandoned by the Government. The Home Office confirmed the "Big Brother" scheme had been delayed until after the election amid protests that it would be intrusive and open to abuse. Although ministers publicly insisted yesterday that they remained committed to the scheme, they have decided not to include the contentious measure in next week's Queen's Speech, the Government's final legislative programme before the election." – The Independent

A 10-point poll lead will not deliver a landslide majority

"Perhaps it may not be so easy after all for David Cameron to win an overall Commons majority. The latest Populus poll for The Times, undertaken over the weekend, underlines the obstacles. Both main parties are down a point. The Tories are, at 39 per cent, at the lower end of their recent range, and Labour, on 29 per cent, at the upper end of theirs. But the warning signs are clear. According to the UK Polling Report’s ready reckoner, which assumes a uniform switch of votes between the parties, these figures would give the Tories a majority of only two. No wonder that the number expecting a Tory overall majority has slipped from 57 to 50 per cent in the past month, the lowest level since the question was first asked in April." – The Times

"Labour has failed to dent the Conservatives’ opinion poll lead as David Cameron’s party improves its ratings on the economy, according to The Independent’s latest “poll of polls”. Gordon Brown’s government is even more unpopular than John Major’s administration before it slumped to an inevitable defeat at the 1997 election. The grim findings may embolden Labour backbenchers who are plotting another attempt to force the Prime Minister to stand down before the general election." – The Independent

> Last night's ToryDiary on the Populus poll

Lansley sceptical about announcement of new free health checks…

Lansley-Big-Ben "Patients in middle age are to be offered an NHS health check every five years, Gordon Brown will announce today… Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, said that the Government was attempting “to use the NHS as a political football”. “It is the latest in a series of unaffordable and uncosted pledges that have more to do with electioneering than improving the NHS." – The Times

…and new "patient rights"…

"Health Secretary Andy Burnham  is to announce plans to consult on a range of new 'patient rights'. He will pledge that, by April, it will be guaranteed in law that everyone should be able to start treatment with a consultant within 18 weeks of being referred by their GP… But the move to make the targets law is being seen as an attempt to make it harder for the Tories to scrap them if, as expected, they win the election. Conservative health spokesman Andrew Lansley said: 'These are pie in the sky proposals from Gordon Brown's tired Government which cares more about trying to not to lose the next election than how to improve the NHS'." – Daily Mail

…as he echos concerns about hospital infections

"Eight in ten hospital infections are going unreported and patients dying unnecessarily because hospitals are focusing on just two Government-targeted superbugs, a new report warns… Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, said: "This report confirms that Labour are still far too complacent about tackling hospital infections. "It raises two areas of very serious concern. Firstly, we don’t know enough about infections except the two that the Department of Health has targeted. And secondly, despite years of repeated warning, many hospitals still lack basic facilities to isolate patients who have an infection so that it doesn’t spread." – Daily Telegraph

David Cameron asks Debbie Scott to become Tory peer

"David Cameron has asked the chief executive of one of Britain's best-known unemployment charities to become a Conservative peer. Cameron regards the appointment of Debbie Scott, which was announced today, as a potent symbol of how he can build a stronger civil society to fill the gaps left by his vision of a smaller, less intrusive state. Scott, chief executive of Tomorrow's People, will join the Lords as a peer when her vetting is completed. She will be working as a backbencher alongside Lord Freud, the shadow welfare minister, and Lady Warsi, the shadow minister for social inclusion." – The Guardian

Boris Johnson under pressure to reinstate regular press conferences

Boris Johnson in Manchester "Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, is facing pressure to "reinstate" routine press conferences to enable him to be held to account amid claims that he is ducking such events to avoid making gaffes. Frustrated members of the London assembly will take the mayor to task over his failure to offer routine City Hall press conferences, despite claims last year that at least one such event would be held each month. Johnson had accused the administration of his predecessor, Ken Livingstone, of being "unaccountable and disdainful of scrutiny", and made a promise to introduce a more transparent and accountable regime during last year's election campaign. But critics say the mayor's decision to ditch the weekly press conferences his predecessor had put in place contradicts his manifesto pledge." – The Guardian

Grant Shapps: Fighting poverty is at the heart of progressive Conservatism

"Fighting poverty is nothing new for the Conservative Party, but during the 1980’s the emphasis placed on individualism and prosperity was sometimes seen to crowd out social issues like helping the most vulnerable in society… The strength of individual entrepreneurship – most associated with Margaret Thatcher – is all the more powerful when people work together to create a sense of social responsibility… We know that solving homelessness has to be about more than simply introducing a new raft of government initiatives, task forces and top-down solutions. And our Conservative blueprint for tackling homelessness sets out some of our ideas to get to the heart of the crisis.' – Grant Shapps writing in the Daily Telegraph

Gordon Brown apologises to grieving mother over mis-spelt condolence letter – but she hits back over the lack of equipment for British troops

"Gordon Brown had an amazing late-night phone bust-up with a grieving Forces mum, The Sun can reveal today. The Prime Minister had outraged Jacqui Janes by mis-spelling her and her dead son's names in a note of condolence. But Mr Brown denied making the mistakes during the 13-minute call to shocked Jacqui. A transcript reveals the mum of Guardsman Jamie, 20, below, told him: "I beg to differ." The Prime Minister rang Jacqui to blame poor handwriting for any "misunderstanding" on the spelling exposed in The Sun yesterday. Outraged Jacqui, 47, hit the phone's loudspeaker button to record the call – as she seized the chance to nail him over equipment shortages that put Our Boys in peril." – The Sun

"The Prime Minister writes in a scrawl. But we should admire that he does write, and by hand. And we must beware venting any distress we may feel over the war in Afghanistan at Mr Brown by proxy. His failure here is the ineffectiveness of his private office, which could have spared him this clumsiness. But there is a gulf between clumsiness and callousness. Magnanimity might yet spur Mrs Janes to applaud Mr Brown’s motive in writing to her, even if she can rightly fault his execution." – Times editorial

National Front accused of "desecrating" Cenotaph

Cenotaph and poppies "The National Front has laid wreaths at the Cenotaph in a move which the Royal British Legion said "desecrated" the monument to Britain's war dead. Hundreds of members of the far Right party marched through the streets of Westminster to the London memorial on Remembrance Sunday. It emerged last night that they placed four poppy wreaths following the official ceremony attended by the Queen. The Royal British Legion last night condemned the act saying that they had not been given permission to place the tributes, which were laid alongside those presented by Gordon Brown, the prime minister, and David Cameron, the Tory leader."

> Jonathan Isaby broke this story yesterday on CentreRight

Rachel Sylvester: The Tories must decide if the Afghan war is worth fighting

"Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, and Michael Gove, the education spokesman, are staunch Atlanticists and supporters of military intervention — “neocons” to their critics, although Dr Fox prefers “neo-realist”… Other Shadow Cabinet ministers think that the priority must be to hand over to the Afghan Army and bring British soldiers home. “There is a significant section of opinion in the parliamentary party that wants the thing over as soon as possible — you can call it isolationist or realist but it is there” one frontbencher says. George Osborne, an instinctive neocon, has, colleagues say become an “economic realist” who is struck by the cost of the war at a time when he must save billions. William Hague hovers between the two positions." – Rachel Sylvester in The Times

Michael Brown is counting the days until the General Election

"By my reckoning – assuming the general election is on 6 May 2010 – we are 177 days away from Mr Brown's eviction from Downing Street. That means 15 more question-time exchanges with David Cameron, one more Queen's Speech debate, a pre-Budget report, an actual Budget – and probably at least another 50 letters to be written by Mr Brown to the relatives of servicemen killed in Afghanistan." – Michael Brown in The Independent

Miliband "will not take EU job"BBC

Former BP head to run tuition fees reviewThe Guardian

And finally… Is David Cameron trying to outdo Gordon Brown in the fitness stakes?

CAMERON DAVID BLUE SHIRT "Perhaps he was trying to demonstrate to the British electorate that he would hit the ground running if his party is successful in the next general election. But it looks like the Tory leader should have taken some time out from attempting to show off his more youthful credentials during an early morning jog along the Southbank in London. It comes after Gordon Brown launched his own fitness regime aimed at improving his image and preparing him for the rigours of a six-month campaign for next year's election. The Prime Minister was spotted last week jogging through a London park with a Special Branch minder hard on his heels. But unlike the opposition leader, Mr Brown spared us a glimpse of his knees by sporting Umbro tracksuit bottoms and a baggy Slazenger tennis T-shirt." – Daily Mail


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