5pm Today's General Election Brief: All the weekend's big election developments
- Ridley Grove: Liam Fox has failed the armed forces
- David T Breaker: What do we actually want an MP to be? What is the job description?
- John Glen: Balls' dogma on marriage is expensive and depressing
Influx of 1.5m eastern Europeans means UK's lowest-paid workers are earning less – Observer
Labour's Lord Ahmed accuses ministers of aiding the rise of Far Right extremists by neglecting the white working class and failing to control immigration – The Sunday Telegraph
Two polls overnight had the Conservatives 9% and 13% ahead – ToryDiary
Cameron attacks Labour's disincentives to do the right thing
"In the last decade Labour's big government, while trying to make things better, has actually made many of them worse by undermining the personal and social responsibility that makes a strong society tick. Just look at the signals we send out. To the young parents struggling: Stay together, and you'll get less money; split up, and you'll get more. To the head teacher who is trying to restore some order: Expel a pupil, and we will overrule you. And to the single mother working part-time: Take on extra work, and we will take away more of your pay." – David Cameron writing in the Mail on Sunday
On the eve of the launch of the Conservatives' education manifesto, Nick Gibb attacks Labour's record on school discipline – Sunday Express
"While Labour has been in charge, the number of youngsters sent to special schools for violent and disruptive behaviour has more than doubled. responsible parents have despaired at the inability of some schools to restore order. now, by declaring war on classroom “yobbery”, the tories aim to put teachers back in control. “they will have more power to nip trouble in the bud,” vows Shadow Education Minister Nick Gibb. thank goodness common sense is making a comeback. it’s long overdue." – Sunday Express leader
David Cameron is secretly studying a £35 billion cuts plan that would AXE thousands of civil servants and SLASH government waste – News of the World
Fraser Nelson in the News of the World accuses the Tory leader of putting electioneering before the correct thing: "[Cameron is] focused too much on election tactics. And not enough on what’s right for the country. I wonder if he is being told how puzzling his campaign pledges will sound on Budget day. How can you justify increasing the aid budget by 50 per cent with SCHOOLS and POLICE being cut by 20 per cent? I’ve been staggered by the expensive pledges Cam has created on the election trail so far. He’ll have to eat his words."
John Rentoul: The Tories are not so Cameroon
"The new intake of Tory MPs is conspicuous not for being a clone army of Cameroons, but for a flotilla of mavericks (Rory Stewart, Zac Goldsmith) in a sea of traditional Tories. David Davis, the former shadow home secretary who quit to tilt at the windmill of the Labour police state, is still hungrily prowling the corridors of Westminster. Outside the stockade, Boris Johnson's star is still rising, with an independent power base that in France would be regarded as a stepping stone to the premiership. Davis mutters about grammar schools; Johnson splutters about taxing bankers." – John Rentoul in The Independent on Sunday
'Brown prepares to present the Conservatives as the party of Vicky Pollard, Zac Goldsmith and noone in between'
"Henceforth, the Brownite attack will be as follows: that the Cameroons have severed the historic tie between the Conservative Party and Middle Britain. Like the young Disraeli, they allegedly seek an alliance between the aristocracy and the under-privileged. They will cut inheritance tax for the richest and safeguard benefits for the neediest, but abandon the "mainstream majority". The Tory party will be – in Gordon's chilling vision – the party of Vicky Pollard and Zac Goldsmith, and nothing in between." – Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph
The Sunday Times warns Cameron not to neglect the middle classes: "Instead of wooing the middle classes, [Conservatives] now talk of removing benefits such as child trust funds, child tax credits and Sure Start children’s centres. It is debatable whether the middle classes should have gained quite so much from these benefits, but they can hardly look to the Conservatives as their saviours as they face higher university fees, more taxes, rising interest rates, bigger utility bills, a stagnant property market and a general tightening of their spending power. If Mr Cameron has a strategy to claim back middle Britain, he is keeping it hidden."
Ed Balls to attack Tory tax breaks for married couples as "social engineering" – The Sunday Telegraph
Sunday Telegraph leader: "Providing tax incentives for marriage does not "stigmatise" the children of the unmarried, any more than providing incentives for single parenthood has "stigmatised" those whose parents live together."
> John Glen on CentreRight: "I wonder, if you polled a thousand 16 year olds – as they stand on the threshold of adult life, and asked them what they aspire to I doubt many would say – to get divorced, or to have a series of failed relationships or to be widowed or bring up children on their own."
The recovery is weak and the Tories could wreck it – William Keegan in The Observer
Labour considers legal action to stop Ashcroft's funding of target seats
"[Labour] believes it has a case to cut off the flow of Ashcroft's millions during the campaign because the peer is still subject to an inquiry by the official spending watchdog, the Electoral Commission." – Observer
Geoff Hoon 'denied Iraq soldiers equipment that could have saved lives' – The Observer
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