9pm WATCH: Berlusconi bloodied after punch in face
5.15pm Alex Deane on CentreRight: America looks to Britain's past – for examples of what not to do
Seats and candidates: David McLetchie MSP charged with winning eleven Scottish seats for David Cameron
Mark Wallace on Local government: We need real information and power not CAA box ticking
Only 10% think Darling has tackled economic crisis; 62% do not
"A total of 63% say Britain is going back to being the poor man of Europe, a reputation gained in the Seventies when Labour went cap in hand to the International Monetary Fund."- BPIX poll for Mail on Sunday
On ToryDiary yesterday evening we published three polls that gave Tory leads of 9%, 11% and 17%.
Gordon Brown tells Labour party to get set for snap election – The Sunday Times
Labour plan to target "secret" Tory plans to increase VAT – The Sunday Telegraph
In his Sunday Telegraph column, Matthew d'Ancona suggests Brown blocked Darling's own plan to increase VAT.
Andrew Rawnsley: Darling's failure to be candid let the Conservatives off the hook
"This failure to be more candid let the Tories off the hook. Their
approach is also characterised by a lot of dodgy numbers, vague
assurances and hidden intentions. The fuzziness of Labour's plans means
there is reduced pressure on the Conservatives to specify how and where
they would cut faster and deeper." – Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer
"Alistair Darling's pre-Budget report showed that New Labour has abandoned the aspiring classes on which its power was built" – Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph
"Tory women revolt on marriage tax break"
The headline in The Sunday Times is NOT backed up by the article. All the on-the-record quotations could easily have been said by David Cameron himself, eg David Davis' "“Marriage is the best for children. But we have to be very careful to make clear that people’s life choices are their life choices. The single mum is a title that encompasses a vast range of people.”
Last week David Cameron attempted to reassure a single parent pressure group that the Conservative Party was on their side as well as on the side of married couples.
Where is the evidence that the message of austerity has hurt the Tories?
We ask the question because of this from Toby Helm in The Observer: "Since their [Conservative] party conference in Manchester in October, when they decided to "go for austerity" and promote themselves as the heirs to prudence, their lead over Labour has narrowed in most opinion polls."
The Tory lead remained robust after the October party conference and only moderated after the Europe policy was announced.
Zac Goldsmith faces Liberal Democrat claims that he avoided £5.8m of tax while a non-dom
"The Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, has calculated that Goldsmith is likely to have avoided, at a conservative estimate, around £580,000 a year in UK taxes over the past decade as a result of being defined as a non-dom. Goldsmith, who dismisses Huhne's figures as "fantasy", says that the "vast majority" of his income comes to the UK and is taxed here." – Observer
'Don't call me Dave, call me Prime Minister'
"If David Cameron wins the General Election, Whitehall mandarins will be issued with a ‘don’t call me Dave’ order and instructed to address him formally as ‘Prime Minister.’" – Mail on Sunday
Business lobby group London First joins calls for Tories to soften opposition to third Heathrow runway – Observer
Tory MP Richard Ottaway condemns Tony Blair's Iraq confession
"Conservative MP Richard Ottoway, a member of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, said Mr Blair's comments were a "cynical ploy to soften up public opinion" before his appearance at the Iraq Inquiry. Mr Ottoway added that Mr Blair had misled parliament on "more than one occasion" and that people would be "dismayed" that what was the "most significant foreign affairs initiative since World War II had been debated on a false premise". He added that some MPs may had made a different decision had they known the "full unvarnished truth"." – BBC
Blair will give Iraq war evidence in secret – Independent on Sunday
Lord Coe rules out return to politics if Tories win – BBC
"Politicians have increasingly sought to pretend to their voters that they lead lives exactly like those of the ordinary man in the street." – Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times
Humiliated Ed Balls drops laws that would have forced parents to prove they are not paedophiles – Observer
Speaker John Bercow’s wife put on Labour candidate list – The Sunday Times
Mrs Bercow recently launched a stinging and very personalised attack on David Cameron.
And finally… Media toffs
"Gordon Brown, with a little help from Alastair Campbell, launches a Tory toffs onslaught as David Cameron (Eton) prepares to be PM. Meanwhile, Roland Watson (Eton) takes over as political editor of the Times and Tom Newton Dunn (Eton) does likewise at the Sun. And if Nick Robinson should decide to step down as BBC political editor after the next election (in order to become the new Andrew Marr/Neil) then his deputy, James Landale, stands in prime position to take over. He went to Eton, too. All together now: spin, spin together, with your head between your knees." – Peter Preston in The Observer
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