7.30pm ToryDiary: Tories up 4% (and 13% ahead) in new ComRes poll (Updated at 9.15pm with a YouGov poll giving the Conservatives a 9% lead)
- Gordon Brown promises to help people who want a bigger home and a holiday abroad
- Ed Balls disowns rapper who he used in anti-bullying campaign (and then sent bullying txt msg)
Richard Graham on Platform: Why I, a Conservative parliamentary candidate, am prepared to go to jail (to fight Labour's Criminal Records Checking)
Osborne to push for global bank levy
"A Conservative government would push for a worldwide insurance levy on financial institutions, amid a growing outcry over banks paying what Barack Obama this week called “obscene” bonuses. George Osborne, shadow chancellor, said that it was “unacceptable” for banks to be paying large cash bonuses when they should be defending themselves against future disaster. On Friday, JPMorgan Chase, the US bank, kicked off the latest bank reporting season by announcing that it would pay $9.3bn (£5.7bn) in bonuses this year. Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Osborne said that a Tory administration would support a new levy on banks – so long as it could be agreed by G20 countries – to protect the taxpayer from the costs of a future crisis."
Osborne embraces Swedish-style cuts that protect the poor
"Bathed in flickering candlelight at the plush Swedish embassy in London, George Osborne appears determined to soften the Tories’ harsh message of the need for spending cuts and tax rises with an emphasis on “social cohesion” and co-operation with the unions." – FT
"Mr Osborne is entirely right to observe that, to borrow his party's election slogan, 'we can't go on like this'. But the shadow chancellor would do well to remember that, in his conference speech last October, he solemnly promised that 'we're all in this together'. That means spelling out exactly how the public sector – and not just the middle-classes – is to take its share of the pain." – Daily Mail leader
David Cameron may be MORE radical than Margaret Thatcher – Peter Oborne in the Mail on Sunday
In contrast, Charles Moore complains about the caution of the Conservatives – Telegraph
An editorial in The Guardian accuses David Cameron of dismantling Labour's international aid infrastructure – Guardian leader
The Independent reports aid agencies attacking the Tory plan to divert aid money to military-led stabilisation work.
NHS A&E beds overwhelmed with homeless people – The Independent reports research by Grant Shapps
Embarrassment for Cameron as Tory councillor declares there are 'too many Pakis' in his town – Daily Mail
Gay rights would 'grind to a halt' under Tories, say Lib Dems – Guardian
Europe Minister Chris Bryant likely to be first to hold civil partnership ceremony at the Houses of Parliament – Guardian
Annabel Goldie calls for cuts in the £72 million running costs of Holyrood – Herald
David Cameron's escape from helicopter with no landing gear
"Tory leader David Cameron narrowly escaped disaster after the landing gear handle of a helicopter he was travelling in came off in the pilot’s hand. Faced with dwindling fuel and worried that an emergency landing would flip the helicopter, quick-thinking pilot Philip Amadeus, 54, executed a low hover. This enabled the four passengers, including Mr Cameron who had to jump three feet, and a fellow crew member, to jump to safety. The brave pilot then managed to land the Augusta helicopter safely on a bed of car tyres quickly assembled by resourceful staff at Redhill Aerodrome, in Surrey." – Daily Express
Gordon Brown to make speech appealing to the aspirational middle classes
The BBC has a preview of what the Prime Minister will say: "A fair society is one where everyone who works hard and plays by the rules has a chance to fulfil their dreams whether that's owning a bigger house, taking a holiday abroad, buying a new car or starting a small business. And this is the next project for New Labour, our next generation project… The coming decade will provide the UK with more middle class jobs than ever before."
Underlining the fact that the pro-aspiration faction in the Labour party may be getting the upper hand again, The Telegraph reports that Lord Mandelson wants the 50p tax rate to be shortlived.
UKIP woos white working class with call for total ban on burkas – Times
Times leader attacks UKIP for "stirring racial discontent".
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