9pm ToryDiary: You can sell austerity

8.45pm Melanchthon on CentreRight goes over the charge list against Geoff Hoon

8pm Daniel Kawczynski MP on CentreRight gives his response to being targeted by Power 2010 as an MP who is failing democracy

7.15pm Local government: Council byelection result

Picture 9

6.15pm ToryDiary: CCHQ launches latest phase of first-time Tory voter poster campign

5.45pm Thomas Cawston on CentreRight: How to delver more for less in the NHS

5.15pm ToryDiary: Whatever the polls say, the bookies still predict a Tory overall majority

5pm Seat and Candidates: Labour MP John Heppell to stand down

4.45pm Local Government: Windsor and Maidenhead serve notice to leave the Local Government Association

4pm LeftWatch: Jack Straw manages to read the wrong answer to a patsy question about the very county he represents in Parliament

3.30pm Patrick Nolan on CentreRight: How much would cancelling the NIC rise cost?

RoCJgs3.15pm International: Conservative America struggles to find room for the dissenting Mr Frum

2.30pm LeftWatch: Six weeks before the general election, Gordon Brown suddenly realises that Labour's uncontrolled immigration policy has been wrong

1.30pm ToryDiary: David Cameron launches pensioner pledge to rebut Labour smears about Tory policy as he says Brown should be ashamed of his record on the elderly

1pm LeftWatch update: Chris Grayling demands from Gordon Brown an apology and promise that Labour candidates withdraw misleading leaflets abour policing policy following ASA judgement

12.45pm WATCH: Justine Greening and anti-Heathrow expansion campaigners celebrate a legal victory after a judge ruled the Government must conduct a climate change impact review

Picture 712.15pm ToryDiary: Will the autumn Party Conference ever return to the seaside again?

11.45am Local government: The 50 Conservative councils freezing or cutting Council Tax

11.30am LeftWatch: Misleading Home Office adverts promoting Labour policing policy to be banned

11am LeftWatch: Meet the Lib Dem candidate who admits that his party are fence-sitters

10.15am ToryDiary update: Treasury figures suggest cost of cancelling NI increase would be more like £5 billion

9.45am ThinkTankCentral: Which is the most effective London think tank?

9.45am Alex Deane on CentreRight is alarmed to have uncovered that at least 101,272 non-medical personnel have access to our confidential medical records

ToryDiary: Reports confirm Tory desire to cancel NI increase – but how much will it cost and how will it be funded?

Seats and Candidates: Which retiring Conservative MPs should be given peerages?

DAVIES Philip Philip Davies MP on Platform: Why I am no enemy of democracy or liberty

LeftWatch: Labour's Lords reform plans in disarray

Local Government: Hammersmith and Fulham named Council of the Year

Parliament: George Osborne gives a tour-de-force on day two of the Commons Budget debate

International: Berlusconi faces regional election test as allegations of corruption mount against him

ThinkTankCentral: Report calls for all government policies to be examined for how they impact the family

WATCH: During a visit to Haiti, George Bush appears to wipe his hand on Bill Clinton's sleeve

We can’t go on like this… Tories rehire Saatchi brothers for election campaign

"The Conservatives have brought back Maurice and Charles Saatchi, Baroness Thatcher’s favourite advertising gurus, after the party’s existing advertising campaign was branded rubbish by the man behind their most famous poster. Activists, alarmed at the Tories’ declining opinion poll lead, voiced relief at the prospect of aggressive campaigns associated with previous Conservative election victories." – The Times

"There is no precedent for a political party taking on an extra agency this close to an election, suggesting that Tory nerves have been badly frayed by opinion polls which show that the lead they once enjoyed over Labour has shrunk." – The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Tory HQ plays down the significance of the re-engagement of M&C Saatchi

"Cam slam for 10% cider tax"

Picture 4 "David Cameron shows his support for cider drinkers yesterday – by downing a pint of the West Country's finest. The Tory leader spoke up for cider lovers after Chancellor Alistair Darling hit the drink with a ten per cent rise in duty. On a visit to Devon – the heart of Britain's cider country – Mr Cameron said: "Taxing all cider so heavily is wrong. The Government has made a big mistake. They don't understand the West Country, they don't understand this part of our country and they've got it wrong." – The Sun

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: The Conservatives spell out their opposition to the 10% duty hike on traditional British cider

YouGov daily tracker has Tory lead back at 4% in post-Budget poll

"The Sun's YouGov poll showed the Tory lead over Labour is now 37 points to 33 – and economic optimism has plummeted nine points since Tuesday's budget. More than half of voters do not believe Alistair Darling's plans will help our ailing economy back on track. And twice as many people (40 per cent) now fear their own financial situation will get worse in the coming year, not better (21 per cent). Four out of ten people thought the budget was not a fair one." – The Sun

> Last night's ToryDiary

…but Conservatives trail Labour in harder marginal seats

"The Ipsos Mori survey for Thomson Reuters provided further evidence that a hung parliament was on the cards at the forthcoming general election. It found that in constituencies set to determine the outcome of the election, Labour leads the Tories by four points among those certain to vote. The poll was taken in 56 Labour-held seats that the Tories need a swing of between 5% and 9% to win. David Cameron needs a national swing of about 7% towards the Tories to get a majority of MPs and form the next government." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: New Ipsos Mori poll of key marginals still points to hung parliament

Conservatives would cut ties with Muslim Council of Britain over Daud Abdullah

"A Conservative government would cut ties with the leading representative of the Muslim Council of Britain. David Cameron said that his party “won’t do formal things” with the Muslim Council of Britain unless the organisation distanced itself from Daud Abdullah, its deputy secretary-general." – The Times

David Cameron interviewed by the Muslim News

Eric Pickles confirms 2012 party conference will be in Birmingham

Eric Pickles cheerful "Birmingham is to host the Tory party conference in 2012, providing a major economic boost for the city. Conservative chairman Eric Pickles said the party was bringing its conference to the city for the third time, gathering at the international Convention Centre in 2012… Mr Pickles said: “Birmingham really led the way in 2008 in showing what modern conference facilities should be. You have a bit of rivalry with Manchester because they were good, but you’ve certainly shown what was possible in a way that a lot of our previous locations have just kind of drifted back a bit in time." – Birmingham Post

Alistair Darling: we will cut deeper than Margaret Thatcher

"Alistair Darling has admitted that Labour's planned cuts in public spending will be "deeper and tougher" than Margaret Thatcher's in the 1980s, as the country's leading experts on tax and spending warned that Britain faces "two parliaments of pain" to repair the black hole in the state's finances… Asked by the BBC how his plans compared with Thatcher's attempts to slim the size of the state, Darling replied: "They will be deeper and tougher – where we make the precise comparison I think is secondary to an acknowledgement that these reductions will be tough." – The Guardian

"The so-called safe pair of eyebrows is suddenly not looking as secure. His admission gives George Osborne a rare boost as he ponders how he can gain the upper hand on the Chancellor in their televised debate on Monday. It has been difficult to comprehend but the Chancellor has become one of Labour’s better hopes. He has somehow managed to use mind-numbing boredom as an effective weapon against the rage of those who argue Labour has bankrupted the country. Labour claim that while the “forces of hell” episode was acutely embarrassing it may have contributed to Mr Darling now being seen as a Chancellor willing to make his own decisions." – Andrew Porter in the Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Brown says Labour will go on spending; but Darling says Labour cuts will be "deeper and tougher" than Thatcher's

> WATCH: Alistair Darling's admission that Labour cuts will be "deeper and tougher" than those implemented by Margaret Thatcher

Eurozone agrees to Greek rescue deal

"Eurozone leaders on Thursday night agreed a rescue package for Greece including assistance from the International Monetary Fund as well as bilateral loans from fellow euro-member states." – FT

Unions now plan chaos on the railways

"Millions of train passengers face chaos after unions called the first national rail strike in 16 years. Four days of stoppages will start on the Tuesday after the Easter bank holiday weekend, hitting returning holidaymakers and millions of commuters… Theresa Villiers, the Tory shadow transport secretary said: “This national rail strike, the threat of a Tube strike, and Unite’s action against BA risks bringing our vital transport network to a complete standstill.’’ – Daily Telegraph

Spring of Discontent Watch The Sun

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Labour's union paymasters now plan to close down the rail network for four days next month

Tories echo Big Brother Watch's fears over access to medical records…

Stephen O'Brien "As many as 140,000 non-medical staff, including porters and housekeepers, have access to sensitive NHS patient files, it emerged last night. The astonishing lack of privacy protection has been revealed by a Freedom of Information survey. Government guidelines say only staff involved in 'providing and supporting patient care' should have access to confidential information. But trusts are interpreting the rules so widely that administrators, porters and IT staff are all cleared to potentially delve into a person's medical file. Last night Tory spokesman Stephen O'Brien said the revelation would 'send a shiver down the spine' of NHS patients. The survey of NHS trusts was carried out by the privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch." – Daily Mail

…as new Euro-intelligence agency claims new snooping powers

"Millions of Britons face being snooped on by a new European intelligence agency which has been handed frightening powers to pry into our lives. Europol can access personal information on anyone – including their political opinions and sexual preferences – if it suspects, rightly or wrongly, that they may be involved in any “preparatory act” which could lead to criminal activity… Timothy Kirkhope, Conservative leader in the European Parliament, said: “Europol’s new mandate has significantly expanded its powers. There is a real chance that the vague mandate will enable it to gradually extend its areas of intervention even further.” – Daily Express

David Curry to repay £28,000 for "love nest claims"

"A Conservative MP who claimed expenses on a taxpayer-funded house which he used as a love nest to meet his mistress has been ordered to repay £28,000. David Curry stood down as chairman of the Commons standards committee after The Daily Telegraph disclosed that he had stopped staying at the property on the orders of his wife." – Daily Telegraph

Sylvia Hermon quits UUP

"Lady Sylvia Hermon has announced her intention to run as an independent in the forthcoming election. The confirmation by the North Down MP follows weeks of intense speculation about her political future." – Belfast News Letter

Will DUP support Lady Hermon now that she’s left their rivals?Belfast Telegraph

> Yesterday in Seats and Candidates: UUP MP Sylvia Hermon quits party and confirms she will fight North Down as an Independent

Prince Charles praises Tory PPC during Afghanistan trip

Rory Stewart and Prince Charles "Prince Charles flew into the heart of Taliban territory this week to visit our brave troops fighting on the front line… He said: "I also wanted to see this project that we started about five years ago – the Turquoise Mountain Foundation. President Hamid Karzai and I are joint patrons. Rory Stewart has done a fantastic job there and I was so thrilled to get to that, the old historic part of Kabul, and his work there has again been quite remarkable." – The Sun

> Last night in Seats and Candidates: The Prince of Wales endorses "remarkable work" of Conservative candidate (in a strictly non-political context, of course)

Why the Speaker is unusually vulnerable at the general election

"Mr Bercow faces a fierce, personal and as yet unpredictable fight. Three independent candidates are standing, as are an activist in the British National Party and Nigel Farage, who in the autumn stood down as leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) to concentrate on the tussle in Buckingham. Perhaps predictably in this comfortable and overwhelmingly white constituency, all are on the right of the political spectrum." – The Economist

Independent titles bought by Alexander Lebedev

"The future of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday was secured yesterday when Independent Print Limited (IPL), a company owned by the Lebedev family, agreed to acquire the newspapers from Independent News and Media (INM)… David Cameron, the Conservative leader, said: "Our newspapers play a vital part in British democracy and it's good news that the future of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday has been secured by the Lebedev family." – The Independent

> Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight yesterday: Lebedev buys The Independent – will he make Greg Dyke editor?

Geoff Hoon admits mistakes iover lobbying stingBBC

Times and Sunday Times websites to charge from JuneBBC

Baroness Park of Monmouth, the 'Queen of Spies', dies aged 88

Baroness Park "One of Britain’s most senior female spies, who worked in Russia, Vietnam and the Congo for MI6, has died at the age of 88. Baroness Park of Monmouth, a Tory peer, spent more than 30 years in some of the most politically sensitive parts of the world. Known as the “Queen of Spies”, she spent years in Moscow, was posted to Hanoi and smuggled a defector out of the Congo in the boot of her battered 2CV car." – Daily Telegraph report | Daily Telegraph obituary

> Yesterday in Gazette: Baroness Park of Monmouth, 1921-2010


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63 comments for: Friday 26th March 2010

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