7.15pm James Bethell on CentreRight: Nick Griffin is playing a game with the courts and the continuing judicial challenge to the BNP risks playing into his hands

CameronSarlozy5pm ToryDiary: Captions please…

5pm Robin Simcox on CentreRight: David Cameron reiterates promise to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir

4.30pm Parliament: Tory MPs raise questions about the cost of the proposed parliamentary nursery

3.30pm ToryDiary: Expelled Tory MEP, Edward McMillan-Scott joins the Liberal Democrats

3.15pm Local government: Council byelection results from yesterday

2.30pm WATCH: Ahead of the Lib Dem spring conference, Nick Clegg tells GMTV that the work of the Lib Dem candidate who directs porn films is "not exactly my cup of tea"

SaveElectionNight graphic1.15pm ToryDiary: Eric Pickles calls for the Electoral Commission to give Returning Officers an "unambiguous steer" that not counting votes on General Election Night would be in defiance of Parliament

11am LeftWatch: Three unions have given £25 million to Labour – and have now secured more than 100 parliamentary candidacies

10.30pm WATCH: Jeremy Hunt talks about the Conservatives' Technology Manifesto

Picture 1ToryDiary: Should David Cameron be more angry about Labour failures and failings?

Also on ToryDiary: Coulson and Hilton join forces as Tory machine prepares for final lap

Yousuf Miah on Platform: The system of student visas needs a complete overhaul

LeftWatch: Treasury Minister claims there would be "no new tax rises" if Labour were re-elected

Seats and Candidates: Victoria Ayling in Great Grimsby ditches the Soap Box in favour of a Fish Box

Glyn Gaskarth in Local Government: A strategy for reducing the power of quangos

Also in Local Government: Who would Lib Dem councillors favour in a hung Parliament?

WATCH: Sajid Javid, the recently selected candidate for Bromsgrove, introduces himself and sets out his stall to the electorate

David Cameron to meet Nicolas Sarkozy in London today

SARKOZY "French President Nicolas Sarkozy will hold separate talks in London later with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron… Mr Sarkozy is expected to examine the Tory leader's position on key issues in the event of a change of UK government in the general election. European defence is likely to be high on the agenda during their talks. The French president and the Conservative leader last met in 2008." – BBC

"Mr Sarkozy's officials and senior party colleagues are keen to establish a dialogue with Mr Cameron's team to find out where they stand on financial regulation, defence and the EU, and to explore the potential for co-operation. A speech by Mr Cameron late last year, in which he abandoned a promised referendum on the Lisbon treaty and relegated as a priority his demand for a repatriation of powers from the EU, has helped ease, though not erase, French fears that Mr Cameron is a Eurosceptic ideologue bent on picking a fight with the EU." – FT

YouGov daily tracker has 3% Tory leadThe Sun | Last night's ToryDiary

Theresa Villiers: Labour have betrayed our vision of high speed rail

VILLIERS THERESA NW "The owners of 440 homes face having their properties demolished to make way for the first stage of a 250mph rail line from London to Birmingham and northern England… Lord Adonis unveiled a detailed blueprint for the line as far as Birmingham and then outlined proposals for two lines further north… But Theresa Villiers, his Tory shadow, poured scorn on the plans. “Labour have betrayed the vision we set out three years ago for high speed rail. In leaving out Heathrow and setting out plans that give no firm guarantees north of the Midlands, Labour’s plans are flawed both by lack of ambition and undermined by their inability to grasp the basic truth that high speed rail should an alternative to a third runway not an addition to it," she said. " – Daily Telegraph

> Theresa Villiers MP on Platform yesterday: Conservatives started – and continue to lead – the debate on high speed rail on which Labour's vision is misguided and unambitious

Tories promise superfast broadband

"The Conservatives have launched a technology manifesto that aims to increase broadband speeds and improve access to government data as the government's digital economy bill moves quickly through parliament. The manifesto pulls together a number of technology proposals that the Conservatives have floated in the runup to the general election, including promising superfast broadband connections of 100Mbps to most Britons and opening up data on contracts and public sector salaries." – The Guardian

> Stephan Shakespeare on CentreRight yesterday welcomed the commitment to a Right to Government Data in the Conservatives' technology manifesto

Tories insist that City has faith in OsborneCity AM

Tories boycott "blatantly political" Commons inquiry into Ashcroft peerage

"A Westminster inquiry into the row over Lord Ashcroft's peerage was thrown into turmoil when the Tory MPs on the committee walked out and said they were boycotting it permanently. In what is understood to be an unprecedented move, Conservative members have withdrawn from the public administration select committee, some following discussions with the party whips." – The Guardian

Black Tory candidate Loanna Morrison defends saying that "Britain is full"

Loanna Morrison "I was just articulating what a lot of people have been telling me on the doorstep, a lot of them minorities," she says of the piece which ran on the website Conservativehome. "People say the country just doesn't need any more immigrants. White voters tell me I can say the things they can't. I tell them that I am as annoyed as anyone else." – The Guardian

> Loanna Morrison on Platform: It is Labour's failure to control immigration and its obsession with promoting "multiculturalism" that has allowed the BNP to re-emerge

Ministers rule out ban on BNP teachersThe Guardian

David Cameron re-iterates promise to ban Islamic extremists from Britain

"A Conservative government would ban extremist Islamist groups, refuse visas to hate preachers and insist that universities identify and root out radicals promoting violence, antisemitism and other racial intolerance on campus… He said recent visitors to Britain such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the influential Egyptian cleric who supports suicide bombing against Israeli targets, and Ibrahim Moussawi, Hizbollah's "media relations officer", would never again be allowed into the country. He also confirmed that a Tory government would ban the virulently anti-Zionist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir." – Jewish Chronicle

Lib Dems warn Clegg against a deal with the Tories

Nick Clegg confrence speech "Nick Clegg is being warned that an attempt to strike a formal deal with a minority Tory government after the next election risks dividing the Liberal Democrats. At his party’s spring conference, which begins in Birmingham today, Mr Clegg will once more outline policies that he said would form the basis for negotiations if the Lib Dems held the balance of power in a hung Parliament. Senior party figures, including some close to the leadership, have told The Times, however, of concern over how far he could carry the party into an alliance with David Cameron." – The Times

"Labour will today warn 300,000 wavering voters who are tempted to support the Liberal Democrats that they could let David Cameron into Downing Street by the back door. Labour strategists have identified this key group of swing voters in 28 Labour-Conservative marginal seats. They will be bombarded with personalised letters this weekend appealing to them to support the progressive cause by voting Labour to keep the Tories out." – The Independent

Nick Clegg is also interviewed in today's Economist

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Nick Clegg unveils four demands for a post-election deal in a hung Parliament – as he praises Margaret Thatcher and claims Lord Tebbit's support for his tax policy

Chris Grayling: The tragic David Askew case underlines the need for a proper zero tolerance policy

“Just how many of these tragic cases are we going to have to see before this government and the police adopt a proper zero tolerance approach to antisocial behaviour? We need to get tough with trouble makers, punish them when they offend and not let them get away with it." – Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling quoted in the Daily Telegraph

How useful is the political spouse on the campaign trail?

Samantha and David Cameron "While Sarah Brown and Samantha Cameron are both likeable women and potentially more popular than their husbands, it is questionable how useful their support will actually turn out to be. It may well suggest to the public a lack of self-confidence by a party leader to make his wife campaign on his behalf. None of our most successful prime ministers – Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Harold Macmillan, Margaret Thatcher, even Tony Blair – have resorted to this tactic." – Alexander Chancellor in The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Samantha Cameron breaks her silence with first interview as she prepares to hit the election campaign trail

Martin Wolf: Both sides deserve to lose the election

"At a time of crisis, the UK has to choose between a government about which it knows far too much and an opposition about which it knows far too little. Neither side is convincing, given not just the scale but also the complexity of the challenge that lies ahead. But governments always lose elections. This one deserves to do so." – Martin Wolf in the FT

Labour peer Baroness Uddin could face charges over expensesSky News

And finally… Porn film director selected as Lib Dem candidate

"The Liberal Democrats have selected a pornographic film-maker as their parliamentary candidate for Gravesham in Kent. Anna Arrowsmith, who is the managing director of Easy on the Eye Productions, was selected by constituency members on Wednesday evening. Mrs Arrowsmith, who works under the pseudonym of Anna Span, was the only Lib Dem candidate presented to the constituency for selection… A spokesman for Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, said yesterday: “Mrs Arrowsmith’s job isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but it is not illegal and we welcome and respect people from different backgrounds.” – The Times


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