Katy Lindsay on Platform: We must stay true to our values if we are to defeat Al Qaeda
ThinkTankCentral: Civitas report calls for reduction of corporation tax to 15% by 2020
Union chiefs preparing for a battle over public spending cuts have launched a £500,000 recruitment drive – The Sun
David Cameron will move to scrap the automatic union funding of the Labour party if he wins the general election – Telegraph
ConservativeHome warned about the unions' plan to "unleash hell" against a Conservative government in December.
A rise in VAT to 20% is looming whichever party wins the general election, raising £13bn – Times
Donations from the financial sector to the Tories have more than quadrupled under David Cameron’s leadership – FT
William Hague: Vote Conservative or vote for ruin
"William Hague has an apocalyptic message today for our readers, and the whole country. We must choose between “change and ruin”. In an interview with this newspaper he tells us that the forthcoming general election is our chance – our only chance – to get rid of Gordon Brown. This is no time to punish mainstream political parties with votes for fringe groups or to indulge in fantasies of a hung Parliament." – Telegraph leader
Mr Hague uses his Telegraph interview to say that the Tories DO have a tax cutting message: "He tackles the complaint that the Tories are not doing enough to spell out a
tax-cutting message. He points to their pledges to freeze council tax for
two years, to scrap death duties for estates worth up to £1 million, to
reduce corporation tax to 25p and to reform stamp duty. “We talk about those
as much as we can. There is a tax reduction agenda there.” But for the
moment — and until polling day it seems — it stops there."
Cameron refuses to play 'the Barnett card' as he addresses Scottish Conservatives
"But if you watch any of the public meetings I have up and down the country, whenever I’m asked about Scotland and the Barnett formula, I say frankly and clearly to English voters there is not some pot of gold in this money – you are not being ripped off by Scottish taxpayers. Whatever the Barnett formula is replaced by it will have to be a needs-based formula and Scotland has great needs and will get a great amount of money. That is one example of why this is a UK-wide Conservative party that wants to keep the United Kingdom together.” – The Tory leader quoted in The Herald
David Cameron has said Scotland's deputy first minister has "serious questions" to answer over a letter she wrote on behalf of a fraudster – BBC
A Guardian leader accuses David Cameron of playing 'the orange card'
"Mr Cameron is treading a very dangerous line. His overriding duty on Northern Ireland as prime minister would be to maintain power-sharing, not to destabilise it by aligning himself so explicitly with Sinn Féin's rivals (and possibly giving them great leverage in a hung parliament). It is fine for Mr Cameron to be a unionist prime minister. What he must never be, if he wants the peace process to thrive, is an Ulster Unionist one." – Guardian leader
The Conservatives' £20,000 "death tax" have been condemned as "grotesque" and a lie by Dame Joan Bakewell – Guardian
Michael Gove, has opposed plans to build a mosque in his constituency after it became the target of an "inflammatory and offensive" online campaign – Guardian
Nick Herbert set to become Tory champion of gay rights
"Herbert, MP for Arundel and South Downs, initially regarded himself as an MP who happened to be gay and was annoyed to be described as "gay Eurosceptic" by the Times. But his view changed. "What I have discovered is it is incredibly important for others that they see gay people succeeding in politics without impediment. I have realised it matters to people, I have realised from the emails I get not just from people who are interested in politics but to others – to young people who email me and say thank you for taking out a civil partnership, thank you for taking a stand." – Guardian
Nick Herbert, the shadow Environment Secretary, has received a £5,000 donation from a leading defender of foxhunting – Independent
David Willetts: My solution to the age time bomb
"The boomers, roughly those born between 1945 and 1965, have turned out to be better parents than we are citizens. The evidence is that the boomers have devoted more time to our children than the previous generation did to us. We have engaged in massive investment in our own children and do not wish governments to stop it." – David Willetts in The Independent
Julie Kirkbride said to want £100,000 lobbying job
"Miss Kirkbride's husband has been signed up for 'a six figure sum' by leading company Burson Marsteller. Mr MacKay, a former aide of Tory leader David Cameron, will specialise in gaining access to senior Conservative figures." – Daily Mail
More on the Joanne Cash affair
"Clean-cut ingenues have risen from nowhere, have invariably never worked in a constituency and are protected from all evil – and themselves! – by the Tory big guns." – Jan Moir in The Daily Mail
Also in The Daily Mail, Andrew Pierce accuses the Tory leadership of politically correct centralisation.
> Yesterday's Seats and candidates: The war over Joanne Cash
A significant number of Conservative candidates in winnable seats hold strong anti-abortion views – FT
Don't bank on Cameron ditching sofa government – Andrew Grice in The Independent
Nick Clegg sacks Baroness Tonge after she made unfounded attack on Israeli troops harvesting organs from Haitians – BBC
Peter Oborne wonders if Brown will go for an early election
"A new mood of optimism in Downing Street which reflects the feeling that even though it will still be very hard for Gordon Brown to win the general election, it will at least be possible to prevent David Cameron from securing an outright victory." – Peter Oborne in The Daily Mail
And finally… Marina Hyde wants weak, weak government
"No offence, but can't we try weak government? We've had two strong governments since the war. The first destroyed half the country's working-class communities and created the obsession with short-term financial gain that ultimately caused the economy to implode. The second destroyed our reputation abroad for who knows how many generations with disastrous wars, stripped us of what we imagined were fundamental rights, and cherished the same obsession with short-term financial gain that again caused the economy to implode, only worse than before." – Marina Hyde in The Guardian
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