6.30pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: No tokenism at Demos as five white men prepare to debate equality

5.30pm WATCH: Andrew Lansley talks to the Daily Politics about foreign doctors and their role in delivering out-of-hours care

3.45pm Parliament: Eleanor Laing signals that she will table
amendments to the Government's Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill
in a bid to Save General Election Night

Picture 121pm WATCH: MPs are ordered by Sir Thomas Legg to repay  £1.1 million in expenses – but Ann Widdecombe says his approach was lazy, incompetent and illogical

11.45am Cllr Matthew Colledge in Local Government: Trafford Council has not banned any child from any school trip


11am Mark Field MP on CentreRight: Uneasy calm settles over the financial markets

10.45am ToryDiary: As Sir Thomas Legg's report on MPs' expenses is published, David Cameron must ensure again that the Conservatives provide the most robust reaction to the public anger

2251 ToryDiary: David Cameron reaches out to the gay community

Shailesh Vara MP on Platform: Only a Conservative Government will give each Englishman the right to defend the castle that is his home

Seat and Candidates Search for 100 Peers: General Sir Mike Jackson

LeftWatch: The Lib Dems draw their fantasy constituency map for a general election fought under Single Transferable Vote 

Local Government: Do local councils need to know our sexual orientation?

WATCH: Sky News' Jon Craig previews this morning's announcements from Sir Thomas Legg on MPs' expenses

MPs to be ordered to pay back more than £1 million in expenses today

"The former civil servant charged with probing MPs' expenses claims will deliver his final, damning verdict on their conduct when he reveals that he has ordered 350 of them to pay back a total of more than £1m. In a report said to be "devastating" for the reputation of parliament, Sir Thomas Legg will criticise the "culture of deference" MPs created in which they expected Commons officials to unquestioningly pay out for their claims. Using blunt language, he will accuse MPs of a collapse in their ethics regarding the expenses system." – The Guardian

"The Independent has learnt that Sir Thomas has concluded that MPs – and not Commons officials – should shoulder the blame for the expenses scandal that convulsed Westminster last year. He will acknowledge that a "culture of deference" developed at the Commons fees office which meant officials rarely challenged or refused MPs' claims." – The Independent

Fraser Nelson: It’s hard to see what is Tory about the Tories

Fraser Nelson "To look at Tory policies so far, it is hard to see any great vision for society. In the draft manifesto, one sees several Labour ideas inserted like pagan offerings to assuage a god of war. We find Labour’s commitment to tax the richest at 50p; a pledge to protect the bloated NHS budget; a pledge to increase foreign aid spending by some £4 billion — while cutting the military budget by about the same amount. At a time of war. If these are to be implemented, it is depressingly hard to work out what will be Tory about the next Tory government." – Fraser Nelson writing in The Times

The Tories cannot continue to fight the election on the vague promise of ‘change’

"The problem is that the Tories are barely hitting 40 per cent in the polls despite the fact that they are running against a tired and discredited government led by a man whom most of the Cabinet, let alone the public, can’t abide. The root cause of this problem is that they have no central message. The party’s posters all bear the tagline ‘year for change’. But beyond this, the Tories struggle to explain what change they will bring apart from not being Gordon Brown." – James Forsyth in The Spectator

The Tories look wobbly, but it's Gordon Brown the voters want to ditch – Ben Brogan in the Daily Telegraph

What are the Tory Party's policies? – Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail

> To answer his own question, Mr Glover ought to obtain a copy of the ConservativeIntelligence guide to the Tory manfiesto

Eric Pickles steps up pressure on Gordon Brown over secret fund claims…

"The Tories today sought to step up pressure on Gordon Brown over claims that he had a secret fund to advance his Labour leadership ambitions before he became prime minister. The Conservative party chairman, Eric Pickles, accused Brown of treating people "like fools" by denying any knowledge of the allegations at his weekly Commons question time." – The Guardian

…as Liam Fox accuses him of misleading Parliament over defence spending claims

Liam Fox Daily Politics "The Conservatives have accused Gordon Brown of misleading Parliament over claims he made about their record on defence spending. During Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Brown insisted military spending "rose every year" and would increase again in the next financial year…. Mr Brown went on to suggest the Tories had proposed cuts again in their 2005 manifesto. Shadow defence secretary Dr Liam Fox rejected the claim and called for the Mr Brown to apologise." – Sky News

Concession to Scottish Tories enable Alex Salmond's Budget to be passed

"Alex Salmond’s £35 billion budget has won approval from MSPs after he promised to introduce independent checks on the affordability of his flagship giveaways… Mr Salmond only managed to secure passage of his budget by agreeing to Tory proposals that could spell to an end to the largesse that has marked his tenure in office. An Independent Budget Review Group is to be formed with the power to examine any element of Scottish Executive spending, including the affordability of services “provided on a universal basis". – Daily Telegraph

Tube PPP is "worst of both worlds", says Osborne

"The shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, has attacked the London Underground public-private partnership and called for a "new approach" in a statement likely to deal a blow to the embattled PPP contractor, Tube Lines." – Daily Telegraph

Brown attacks ‘chaotic’ Tory spending plans

"Gordon Brown launched a fresh attack on the “chaotic” Tory spending plans, as independent analysis on Wednesday suggested the opposition party’s proposed cuts for this year would raise substantially less than the £700m claimed." – FT

Labour and the Tories draw battle lines on cutting £178bn budget deficit – The Times

Hundreds will bid to run new "Swedish-style" schools

Rachel Wolf "Hundreds of parents disillusioned with standards of state education are bidding to open their own schools, it has emerged. They could be among the first to take advantage of new legislation expected to be unveiled in the first term of a Conservative government to create a generation of schools run free of local council control. Rachel Wolf, director of the New Schools Network, said: “Our education system suits some families, but too many children leave school with no real prospects – through no fault of their own. We must give those children alternatives. That is why we’re going to try to help create new, independent state schools that will give parents a second chance to get their child into a good school.”  – Daily Telegraph

Grayling denies wrongdoing over use of crime figures

"The Conservatives were accused of issuing "dodgy crime figures" after highlighting contentious statistics that suggested violent crime had increased dramatically under Labour… Mr Grayling denied any wrongdoing. "There are certainly changes in the recording methods, but the point is that they are the only comparators available," he told the Today programme. "They are published by the Home Office. We don't create crime figures. We use the official crime figures published by the Home Office. The Home Office has continued to use the same comparators." – The Guardian

Peter Robinson returns as Northern Ireland's First Minister

"Peter Robinson has resumed his role as Northern Ireland's first minister after stepping aside last month for a "short time," giving him more clout to spur on sluggish talks on the future of the fragile government. Robinson stood down on January 11 to face an inquiry over money his wife raised for her former 19-year-old lover… Robinson said Wednesday that legal advice he had received confirmed his view that he had acted properly and in compliance with his public duties at all times." – Reuters


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