5pm Melanchthon on CentreRight: "If we say: "The terrorists have no compunction about murdering our people, so we should have no compunction about torturing them" the terrorists win a battle. If we say: "We know that most of the terrorists come from particular races and are Muslim, so all such people should be sbject to additional checks to get on planes or attend football matches or enter the Houses of Parliament", the terrorists win a battle…"
- Channel 4 News reports on the circumstances that led to the arrest, in 2008, of Steve Hilton
- David Cameron campaigns in Wales
Today's top story: Darling and Mandelson win internal Labour battle on cuts
"Alistair Darling has warned that Britain faces its toughest spending cuts for 20 years if Labour continues in office. The Chancellor, indicating a dramatic shift in his party’s election strategy, tells The Times today that severe spending restraints are “non-negotiable” if he is to bring down the £178 billion budget deficit. The remarks suggest a big victory for Mr Darling and Lord Mandelson." – The Times
David Cameron ready to take on the unions
"The Conservative leader said that, if he became prime minister, he would be “very happy” to strengthen laws to stop unions staging walkouts over his plan to freeze wages for at least a year as part of efforts to get to grips with the public deficit. He warned union leaders that they faced “a very determined, robust, sensible, reasonable group of people”." – Telegraph
> Recent ToryDiary: Unions have £25m war chest to "unleash hell" on Tory government
Trident replacement and Navy's aircraft carrier project are vulnerable under Tory government
"If a future Conservative government is in Afghanistan for the long term, Mr Osborne will have to find other savings from the defence budget. The Navy’s proposed £5 billion aircraft carrier project is, as a result, in play. Mr Osborne will not say whether he would scrap it, but he offers little enthusiasm for the project. Likewise, the future of the Trident nuclear capability is under discussion. The Conservatives would not abandon Britain’s nuclear capability, but there is a discussion over whether the cruise system could replace Trident. It would limit Britain’s nuclear flexibility, but save billions of pounds." – Report in Times that emerges from interview with William Hague and George Osborne during their visit to Afghanistan
Daily Mail wants more courage and coherence from David Cameron
"Under [David Cameron], the Tories have developed plenty of policies, from fashionable environmentalism to greater rights for householders to protect themselves against violent burglars. But without a Big Idea to bind their programme together, they will look more like a team of middle-managers, reacting to each day's headlines, than a potential government guided by firm principles… It won't be nearly enough for Mr Cameron to appear on posters, air-brushed and tie-less, promoting the need for change. He must have the courage to give voters coherent and convincing reasons why he is the man to lead the country." – Daily Mail leader
Tories would give heads more power to fire weak teachers – Guardian
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Tories "would give heads more power to fire weak teachers"
Anti-Hilton campaign attributed to old-school Conservatives who feel they are being marginalised by Cameron and his inner circle – Guardian
"What Hilton has managed to do brilliantly is take traditional Conservative values and place them in a modern setting. What is less clear is whether he will flourish in government if the Conservatives win. If he does, the Cameron government will be more experimental than most voters have realised so far." – Steve Richards in The Independent
David Cameron answers questions from Welsh voters – Western Mail
John Bercow has accused "nasty, cowardly and chauvinistic" Tory MPs of criticising his wife in order to undermine him – Independent
Geoff Hoon could face a vote of no confidence from his constituency – BBC
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