11.15am Robert McIlveen on CentreRight: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office needs to take energy security seriously
- Tories stick to Council Tax freeze pledge
- Audit Commission spend £60,000 "to combat the activities of Eric Pickles"
- Mark Wallace of the Taxpayers Alliance welcomes councillors showing restraint on their pay and perks
David Cameron gets tough on right to defend home
"David Cameron backed the rights of homeowners to protect themselves yesterday by warning that burglars surrender their ‘human rights’ the moment they break in. He raised the election stakes on crime by saying a Tory government would change the law to protect householders who exercise their ‘legitimate’ right to self defence." – Daily Mail
The Sun Says: "[Cameron] pledges that, under the Tories, homeowners will only be prosecuted when they overstep the mark by using "grossly disproportionate" violence against the intruder, rather than the current benchmark of "reasonable force". Business Secretary Lord Mandelson airily dismisses this as "impractical". That's easy to say when you enjoy taxpayer-funded security, travel around in a chauffeur-driven limo and live in millionaires' row. The Tories are speaking for the people here."
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameron's dynamite quote on householders' rights
A Conservative government won't make large cuts in spending in early months
"David Cameron and George Osborne today confirmed a shift in Tory thinking on tackling the deficit, suggesting they would be able to make only limited spending cuts this summer, and only by acting in conjunction with the Bank of England. Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, immediately accused Cameron of "wobbling around" under pressure. Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, claimed the Tories were in a muddle and retreating from their previous commitment to immediate and substantial cuts." – Guardian
"David Cameron yesterday ruled out 'swingeing cuts' in public spending in the early days of a Tory government amid growing fears in the party of a 'double-dip' recession." – Daily Mail
"Evidence points to immediate cuts being not just necessary but beneficial to the economy. If the Conservatives think the economy cannot immediately bear the burden of unprecedented reductions in expenditure, they should say so; but also spell out, in as much detail as possible, when and where the axe will fall." – Telegraph leader
"David Cameron was accused of being “unpatriotic” on Sunday after the Conservative leader and his shadow chancellor said the UK faced a “Greek-style budget crisis” unless Britain got to grips quickly with its £178bn deficit." – FT
Conservatives would use funds that Labour has earmarked for subsidising regional news to build a super-fast broadband network – FT
Business fears Tory planning reforms will stifle development
"The Tories will set out plans for a more locally democratic planning system within days in spite of anger from property executives, who warn that the proposals would put the economy "at risk". Several big developers, including Land Securities, Britain's largest property group, have warned that the proposals could "stifle development" by giving more power to local people." – FT
The Tories must scupper plans for an EU legal system – Philip Johnston in The Telegraph
Boris Johnson on flying economy to Davos while Peter Mandelson flew first class – Telegraph
Tory MPs want Scotland's subsidy cut
"The IPPR questioned 114 MPs, around a fifth of the total, and found that the overwhelming majority are dissatisfied with the UK’s current constitutional arrangements. Seventy two per cent of Tory MPs in the poll said they believe that England is “losing out” because of devolution to Scotland and Wales. Seventy four per cent of Conservatives said the current system for distributing money around the UK is unfair on England." – Telegraph
Conservatives making progress in Wales – FT
Tories evasive over Ashcroft tax status, says watchdog – Guardian
Brown aims to outspend Tories on defence
"Gordon Brown will put two new aircraft carriers at the heart of his vision for the military this week as he commits Labour to billions of pounds of extra defence spending. At the same time, defence chiefs are exploring how closer military links with France and the potential benefits of an entente cordiale could tackle future dangers with limited resources." – Times
Writing in The Times, Malcolm Rifkind recommends closer co-operation with France on defence procurement.
Andy Burnham's drive to stop you smoking at the wheel and at home – Daily Mail
57% of extra UK jobs created during 1997-2007 were either officially on the government’s payrolls or “para-state” – technically private but dependent on government funding – Allister Heath in City AM
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