- Melanchthon predicts a Tory majority of 100… a grouping of 40 Tory MPs calling for exit from the EU… the largest spending cuts in British history…
- Tim Montgomerie highlights an innovative video guide to the rise and fall of the British Empire
- Chris Woodhead identifies three possible holes in the Tories' flagship schools policy
- Jonathan Isaby and Tim Montgomerie choose their Frontbencher of the year
- The Sun praises Swindon Tories as accident rates don't change after scrapping speed cameras
- Richmond Tories plan to champion older people
Tories re-commit to inheritance tax policy
"The Tories will today seek to win over the middle classes by arguing that more than 4m people are liable to pay inheritance tax, contradicting Labour claims that the levy falls largely on the rich." – FT | Sun
"David Cameron’s Tories should hold their nerve and stick to their pledge to raise the threshold to £1million if they win power. Britain is crying out for a tax-cutting government. if Cameron retreats at the first whiff of political grapeshot it will know that he is not the man to deliver it." – Express leader
David Cameron condemns China's execution of Akmal Shaikh
Statement issued from CCHQ: "I deplore and deeply regret the fact that the Chinese authorities have executed Akmal Shaikh, and did not heed the pleas for clemency made in his case by the British Government, by the opposition parties, by his family and by others. There were serious concerns about Mr Shaikh's mental health. It is appalling that these concerns were not independently assessed during the more than two years Mr Shaikh was in custody, and taken properly into account in the judicial process. We supported the Government in the efforts they have made, and I join with them in sending my sympathy to Mr Shaikh's family and friends."
Leo McKinstry in the Daily Mail says China did the right thing: "In contrast to New Labour's policy of appeasement and surrender, the Chinese Government acts vigorously to defend its people from the misery caused by the drugs trade. My regret is not over tough action by Beijing, but the fact that we in this country do not possess the moral clarity or strength of purpose to deal ruthlessly with drug peddlers and other enemies of our society."
Former Tory MP Michael Brown attacks Cameron's lovebombing of the Liberal Democrats
"All the Tory talk is of a "new politics" and recognising "the good intentions of our opponents". But I'm not sure that too many voters will understand the clarity of the Tory message when told that "between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats there is a lot less disagreement than there used to be". Try telling that to the Conservative candidate in Cheltenham, for whom I spoke a few weeks ago, trying to unseat the Liberal Democrat incumbent in what should be an easy Tory gain. Mark Coote has been working furiously, locally, to point out how hopeless his Liberal Democrat opponents are and how much difference there is between his policies and theirs." – Michael Brown in The Independent
BTW: Michael Brown also notes that Mr Cameron's email message to Tory supporters included the disclaimer, "Any opinion expressed in this email is not necessarily that of the Party"!
Labour MEPs accused of secret tax agenda
"A document drawn up by a European Parliament group that includes Britain’s 13 Labour MEPs calls for a bigger EU budget, common EU taxes and VAT harmonisation… Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “These plans show how Labour are lurching to the Left and want to give the EU even more control over our lives." – Express
Labour's core vote strategy sees them recover some support in the north – FT
The death of David Taylor, the Labour back bencher who suffered a heart attack on Boxing Day, could leave constituents without an MP for six months if the party ducks a tricky by-election – Telegraph
Harman retreats on scrapping MPs' £10,040-a-year communications allowance – Times
David Cameron is committed to abolish the allowance.
The wife of Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, Iris Robinson MP, is quitting politics after admitting she is battling severe depression – BBC
"A Northern Ireland MP, who made headlines last year for her anti-gay remarks, yesterday said she was suffering from serious depression and cited ill health as a reason for leaving public life." – Guardian
Alex Salmond hopes for 20 SNP MPs and for them to hold the balance of power – Herald
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