7.30pm WATCH: Bob Crow announces the RMT strike by signal workers
- On ToryDiary we summarise the Rebuilding Security paper's 12 main policy themes.
- On Platform, Greg Clark MP, Shadow Secretary of State, reviews Labour's failure to plan ahead and promises a strategy that delivers secure, sustainable and affordable supplies.
Noon Patrick Nolan on CentreRight invites you to try your hand at being Chancellor of the Exchequer using Reform's online calculators
Richard Benyon MP on Platform: British servicemen overseas must not be disenfranchised at the general election
- Should councils trumpet Council Tax freezes?
- In which councils could the Tories gain seats on May 6 where they have none at present?
Greg Clark: "We are in favour of nuclear power"
"One new nuclear power station would be opened every 18 months under a Conservative blueprint to avoid the first widespread electricity blackouts since the 1970s. Shadow energy spokesman Greg Clark told the Daily Mail there would be 'no limit' on the expansion of nuclear power under a Tory government. 'In the past, we haven't been entirely clear – this is a very clear statement that we are in favour of nuclear power,' he said." – Daily Mail
"Huge offshore wind parks and new nuclear reactors to be financed by a state-backed Green Investment Bank would be built under plans to reform energy policy and meet tough emission reduction targets to be announced by the Conservatives today. In a package of measures with far-reaching implications for industry and consumers, David Cameron is also expected to call for a floor price for carbon to be set as a way of stimulating investment in cleaner forms of energy." – The Times
Tories back postcode variation in services
"The public would have to accept more variation in public services under a Conservative government, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, warned on Thursday. His comments were echoed by Francis Maude, shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, who said there would be “postcode variation” in provision under the Tories. Underlining the Conservatives’ determination to make greater use of voluntary organisations and social enterprises to deliver public services more innovatively and locally, Mr Osborne told a conference organised by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations: “A massive challenge for everybody will be explaining that if we want things done locally, then not everyone is going to get a uniform service.” – FT
Liam Fox discusses his plans for the MoD under a Conservative Government
"Inside six months, Mr Fox wants to reshape his department, publish two green papers – on sovereign capabilities and small companies – settle a Whitehall-wide security and defence review, and secure adequate funding for its conclusions. And, of course, there is the war to run in Afghanistan. Considering the last SDR took 18 months, it is a daunting schedule. “Acquisition reform will probably be a bit later, maybe when we’re six months in,” he says, in a reluctant concession. “It may be ambitious, but I would rather aim to be overambitious than to waste time.” – Financial Times
Tory wheeling and dealing let Ashcroft break non-dom pact, papers reveal – The Times
Pressure builds on Hague over Ashcroft's secret non-dom deal – The Guardian
Peter Mandelson and Ken Clarke get the claws out
"If the British economy were really facing a Greek or Icelandic meltdown Peter Mandelson and Ken Clarke could sit down over a quiet drink and sort out a recovery plan in 30 minutes. In the process Ken would devour a couple of pints and three cigars while Peter would sip a white wine spritzer through a straw. But it isn't. So they didn't. There's an election coming. At yesterday's lunchtime gladiatorial session, organised by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), they squared off in a manly fashion as if they both fear and dislike each other – which clearly they don't, which is probably why their parties have never loved them." – Michael White in The Guardian
Mandelson warns of further tax rises next year
"Labour does plan to raise taxes next year if it wins the election, Lord Mandelson revealed yesterday. The First Secretary admitted that “further” raising of taxes beyond the range of measures already announced would have to be considered a year from now. Public spending cuts would also have to be examined, he said." – Daily Telegraph
Cameron overrules Clarke on national insurance contributions
"David Cameron on Thursday overruled Ken Clarke, after the shadow business secretary appeared to backtrack on a Tory commitment to spell out details of a core tax policy ahead of the general election. The Conservative leader acted after Mr Clarke told a London event that the party could not decide until it was in power whether it would reverse the one percentage point rise in national insurance that is due to take effect in April… The Tories later issued a statement confirming that Mr Cameron’s pledge remained intact. “Ken [Clarke] is right to say that Budgets are difficult to penetrate from opposition but our policy on NICs is clear – we will set out our position before the general election,” an official said." – FT
BBC making covert smears against the Conservatives
"A Sun investigation has unearthed an alarming BBC bias against the Tories in the run up to the Election. Covert smears on David Cameron's Conservatives are being made right across the state-owned network – sparking hundreds of viewers' complaints. News coverage, chat shows and even kids' TV are guilty." – The Sun
Union behind BA strike receives £18m from taxpayers in ‘money-laundering’ deal with Labour
"The union behind the British Airways strike has received £18million from taxpayers under Labour, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. Unite, and the two unions that formed it, received the public money under two little-known funds to improve management and training for its members. It has been the biggest beneficiary of one of the schemes, the Union Modernisation Fund, and received a sixth of all the money given out under the Union Learning Fund." – Daily Telegraph
Lib Dem think-tank suggests Clegg could support Tories in a minority government
"The Liberal Democrats would support a minority Conservative government in a hung parliament despite "profound differences" between the two parties, according to a report published today. CentreForum, a liberal think-tank, predicted that divisions over policy would prevent Nick Clegg entering a formal coalition with Liberal Democrats sitting in a David Cameron Cabinet. But it concluded that the pressure on the third party to act responsibly in a hung parliament would result in Mr Clegg sustaining the Tories in power if they won the most seats." – The Independent
Lord Tebbit facing charges after 'kicking dancing dragon' during Chinese New Year – Daily Mail
Bloody Sunday report delayed until after the election – The Times
Tony Blair's fight to keep his oil cash secret – Daily Mail
Iron Lady’s paperwork to be given digital future
"A Welsh company has landed the job of digitising the private archives of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. This project is intended to give greater access to the behind-the-scenes details of Mrs Thatcher’s political career than has happened with any politician in any country. The thousands of archive boxes include personal letters, details of her egg-based diet, her father’s sermon notes and draft manifestos with her amendments scribbled in the margins." – Western Mail
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