Picture 2 9pm WATCH: During a tirade attacking the excesses of the EU in the European Parliament this week, Dan Hannan MEP manages to congratulate the people of Massachusetts for taking a stand against excessive taxation

7pm ToryDiary: Tories 9% ahead in new ComRes poll and heading for majority of 38 in ICM/ News of the World marginals survey

4pm Ben Rogers on CentreRight: If Labour continue as ostriches over our broken society, their 1997 theme tune will have to be rewritten

1.15pm ToryDiary: Prison ships are being considered by the Conservatives as a way of meeting capacity

12.30pm Matt Sinclair on CentreRight draws our attention to Bill Gates' thoughts on climate change policy

Picture 1612.15pm WATCH: Karl Rove talks to Fox News about the slide in Barack Obama's approval ratings  

10.30am Local Government: Independent councillor in South Derbyshire crosses floor to support ruling Conservatives

ToryDiary: Even "Better Off Out" Tories are not guaranteed immunity from a UKIP challenge

Maurice Cousins on Platform: What the Conservatives must do to ensure the BNP is wiped off the electoral map

Seat and Candidates: Another Labour minister in a key marginal seat opts to quit at the general election

Local Government: What can we learn from the Mayor of Auckland?

WATCH: Home Secretary Alan Johnson explains that the terrorist threat in the UK has been raised to "severe"

David Cameron launched the Broken Britain chapter of the manifesto yesterday by suggesting the Doncaster torture case is symptomatic of the broken society

David Cameron at podium "David Cameron said the Doncaster torture case was a symptom of a new 'social recession'. In a hard-hitting speech, the Tory leader said it was not an 'isolated incident of evil' but part of a deeper malaise. Citing other high-profile killings, Mr Cameron said something was 'going wrong' with society… Mr Cameron said Britain was 'in danger of becoming an irresponsible society'. And he made his strongest defence yet of his policies on supporting the family and marriage, saying Britain would be a 'stronger society' if more couples married and stayed together." – Daily Mail

"Ed Balls, the Minister for Children, Schools and Families, described his comments as “completely irresponsible”. He claimed the case in Edlington, South Yorkshire, was “extremely rare”. Mr Cameron’s speech will draw inevitable comparisons with Tony Blair’s attack on the Tory government in 1993, when Labour’s then home affairs spokesman described the Bulger murder as “a hammer blow against the sleeping conscience of society”. – Daily Telegraph

Iain Duncan Smith urges hike in alcohol taxes

DUNCAN SMITH DP "David Cameron should impose significant increases in taxes on beer, wine and spirits if elected prime minister, according to the man charged with leading Conservative social policy. In an interview with The Times, Iain Duncan Smith accuses the supermarkets of “being as close to immoral as you can get” by selling alcohol so cheaply and of “creating alcoholics”. – The Times

"Mr Cameron has vowed to ban discount alcohol in supermarkets and give police and local authorities new powers to curb late-night drinking. But he said he did not want to return to the days when pubs closed at 11pm. Instead, he suggested, "kebab shops" and other food outlets which serve alcohol late should face new curbs." – BBC

George Osborne indicates he would not act un
ilaterally against banks' riskiest trading

"On Thursday he pledged to implement the U.S. proposal to stop retail banks using their own funds to bet on the stock market – a practice widely blamed for sparking the credit crunch. But yesterday Mr Osborne made it clear he would act only as part of an international agreement. He said: ‘I don’t think these things should be done in just one country. They need to be done across all countries, because these banks operate internationally and we need to get that agreement internationally'." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Osborne backs Obama's vision of smaller, simpler, safer banks

Eric Pickles: A hung Parliament would be "hideous"

Eric Pickles cheerful "The prospect of the first hung parliament for over 30 years, with no party in overall control, makes financial markets nervous when Britain is running a record £178 billion budget deficit. Conservative party chairman Eric Pickles told Reuters such an outcome would create real problems for a country struggling to come out of recession and to clean up its finances. "It would be utterly dreadful," said Pickles. "No one would have a clear mandate, it would be hideous, it would be hand-to-mouth and it wouldn't last very long." – Reuters

David Cameron welcomes the fact that Brown will give evidence to Chilcot before the general election

"One of the lessons about what went wrong is to do with the commitment the government made, with things like equipment," Cameron said during a question and answer session with members of the public at a community centre in Gillingham, southeast England. "He was chancellor at the time, he has got some very important questions to answer. I am glad they are getting asked." – Reuters

"The Prime Minister was told yesterday that he would be called in late February or early March after accepting an offer to give his testimony before the election… The Times has learnt that Mr Brown decided to push for an earlier appearance after he and his strategy team decided that he would continue to be portrayed by his opponents as afraid of being questioned about his role in decisions leading up to and after the war." – The Times

Iraq inquiry could be sabotaged by partisan politics, says Chilcot – Guardian

Chris Grayling exposes that burglars attack a householder every thirty minutes

"A householder is attacked by a violent burglar every 30 minutes… The Tories, who compiled the figures, have given a manifesto commitment to review the law, which currently allows a householder to respond with 'reasonable force'… Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'These figures are an alarming indication of the culture of violence that has built up in our society'." – Daily Mail

Prison ship plan under consideration by ToriesDaily Telegraph

Michael Gove backs Harrow head on the worthlessness of certain qualifications

GOVE MICHAEL NW "Pupils from deprived backgrounds are being conned into thinking they can advance in life by a system that hands out "worthless" qualifications, Harrow school's headteacher said today… Michael Gove, the shadow education secretary, backed Barnaby Lenon. Media studies had seen a big increase in popularity in state schools, simply because it boosted their position in the league tables, he told the conference of the 100 Group discussing social mobility. "More children who were eligible for free school meals sat GCSEs in media ­studies than in physics, chemistry and biology combined," Gove said." – The Guardian

Cameron’s Oxford crew will bring shared history to shape future

"Mr Cameron avoided the Oxford Union, the debating club that Boris Johnson and Michael Gove used to further their careers and the arena for the most committed self-publicists. Neither relied on the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) but a grouping known as the Limehouse machine, which was to the left of the official Tory group, to garner votes. Present frontbench Tories active in OUCA at the time include Mr Hunt and Ed Vaizey, Shadow Arts Minister. Other MPs involved were Mark Field and Philip Hollobone, who was prominent in the extreme right-wing Monday Club. Ed Llewelyn, David Cameron’s chief of staff, was also active and helped wrest control for the Tory Reform Group." – The Times

David Cameron must look and sound like a Prime Minister – Matthew Parris in The Times

Boris's plan for Thames estuary airport is dismissed by Cameron

Boris Johnson messy hair "Conservative leader David Cameron has said building an airport in the Thames Estuary is not among his party's plans. Mr Cameron said if elected to government in this year's general election it would not be the policy to construct the four-runway airport… He added: "Boris is a great mayor of London doing an excellent job, but building airports is not his responsibility." – BBC

Labour threatens complaint about Boris's "stitch-up" of top arts jobEvening Standard

Bendy buses decommissioned by Boris may end up in Malta Daily Mail

Tory MP accuses unions of talking down Cadbury and threatening jobs

"I have seen the trade unions talking down this company and I worry that by sending out such negative signals it puts people’s jobs more at risk because who wants to hire a whinging workforce when you could hire a really positive upbeat one?” – Bill Wiggin MP quoted in the Daily Express

Tories could keep Tessa Jowell's Olympic flame aliveFT


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