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10.15pm LeftWatch update: Byers, Hoon, and Hewitt suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party

10pm ToryDiary update: Tory lead at 4% in YouGov/Sun daily tracker

7.45pm ToryDiary: Tory lead slips to 7% in Opinium/Express poll

6.15pm ToryDiary: Censorship at ConHome?

6pm Alex Deane on CentreRight: Tomorrow, it becomes a crime to incite hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation

5.45pm WATCH: Lord Adonis admits that he did have a conversation with Stephen Byers about the East Coast main line last year but denies they had a secret deal

Sir George Young Commons5.15pm Parliament: The detailed questions which the Government has to answer about the lobbying scandal as put by Sir George Young this afternoon

4.45pm LeftWatch update: SIr George Young demands that the Government treat the lobbying allegations seriously as Harman announces putting lobbyists' register of lobbyists on a statutory footing

4.15pm Latest on CentreRight:

3.45pm Ben Pickering on CentreRight: Lobbyists urgently need to persuade lawmakers they are capable of self-regulation

3.30pm ToryDiary: David and Samantha Cameron are expecting another baby

2.15pm WATCH: Sir George Young explains what action needs to be taken in the wake of the latest cash for influence scandal

1.15pm LeftWatch update: Eric Pickles accuses Brown of a "cover-up at the heart of government"

Damian Green 20101pm Parliament: Michael Martin heads the list of those to blame for the outrageous treatment of Damian Green in November 2008

12.45pm A new section on ConservativeHome:

12.15pm LeftWatch: Gordon Brown "satisfied there is no need for further government investigation" into Byers and the cash for influence scandal

TAXPAYERS ALLIANCE11.30am ThinkTankCentral: Clashes with Tories likely on EU, trade union power and international aid as The TaxPayers' Alliance publishes its manifesto

11.15am Patrick Nolan on CentreRight: The need for a credible plan to restore the public finances

10.45am Alistair Thompson on CentreRight: Why the "cash for influence" story will have given Gordon Brown reasons to be cheerful

10.30am ToryDiary update: CCHQ confirms that Cameron will continue union modernisation fund

10.30am WATCH: Tim Yeo calls for more to be done to prevent deaths arising from air pollution

10am Local Government: The Council officer paid £1 million in three years

ToryDiary: On Saturday Cameron promised to tackle the vested interests (today we learn he may continue to subsidise them)

FLIGHT Howard 2 Howard Flight on Platform: The key messages which the Conservatives must get across between now and polling day

LeftWatch: Which of Labour's retiring MPs will Gordon Brown send to the Lords?

Mark Wallace in Local Government: What local government needs from the budget

Parliament: Robert Key tells the Commons about the moment he cheated death as a 10-year-old schoolboy

CentreRight:

International: The Republicans may make short-term gains on the back of 'ObamaCare' but America has taken significant leftwards turn

WATCH: President Obama welcomes the passing of his healthcare bill

David Cameron demands probe into Labour's sleazy new cash for infuence scandal

Stephen Byers "David Cameron today sought to turn Labour sleaze into a damaging election issue when he called on Gordon Brown to investigate allegations that former cabinet ministers, including Stephen Byers and Geoff Hoon, had shown they were willing to use their access and influence to lobby in return for cash. Cameron called on Brown to investigate Byers's claims that he had successfully lobbied the transport secretary, Lord Adonis, and the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, to change important decisions on behalf of commercial firms." – The Guardian

"First of all the House of Commons needs to conduct a thorough investigation into these ex-Labour ministers. But also the PM would want to get to the bottom of the accusations being made about his Government. What it shows is a party in power for too long that has lost touch with what it is meant to be doing." – David Cameron quoted in The Sun

Breaking news at 9am: Stephen Byers has now referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner – BBC

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: David Cameron demands investigations into Stephen Byers and the ex-ministers offering to lobby their former colleagues for cash

> Saturday night's LeftWatch: Ex-Cabinet ministers embroiled in new cash for influence scandal

Cameron "live and unplugged" will be a defining feature of the Conservative election campaign

"I want lots of meetings like this," Cameron a rally in Shoreditch last Monday night. "Not with autocues and lecterns and soundbites and speeches, but real meetings where I set out what is wrong in this country and how we are going to put it right." Tory strategists, who have experienced a nervous month as they watched a narrowing of their decisive poll lead, believe that Cameron live and unplugged will be the defining feature of their campaign. The Conservative leader will display in these meetings across the country what his strategists believe is his most important election asset – authenticity." – The Guardian

The Gang of Six running the Tory election campaignThe Guardian

Labour death tax 'con' to hit middle classes, claims Andrew Lansley

Andrew Lansley 2010 "Millions of middle class families face a death tax 'double whammy' say the Tories because Labour's plans for funding care of the elderly will not prevent people having to sell their homes. Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley seized on small print in government documents which suggests the plans will cover less than half the costs of staying in a care home." – Daily Mail

“Labour claim that their death tax will pay for people’s care home costs and will protect their savings. But when we read the small print it becomes clear that this is not true. On top of being hit by Gordon Brown’s unfair death tax, many families will still have to pay tens of thousands of pounds towards their care. Families who have saved all their lives to provide for their loved ones will be hit by a cruel double whammy. Many families will end up having to pay even more than they do at the moment.” – Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley quoted in the Daily Express

Cuts to pension tax relief concern Tories

"The Tories have backed business protests at government plans to include complex cuts to pension tax relief for high earners in the pre-election finance bill that will implement this week’s Budget. Alistair Darling is facing a backlash from the life assurance and pensions industry, supported by tax experts, against proposals to restrict pensions tax relief for the wealthy." – FT

Ken Clarke: The Budget gives Labour one last chance to do the right thing and start cutting

Ken Clarke "On Wednesday, Alistair Darling has one last chance to do the right thing and put Britain's public finances back on course. Will he seize this opportunity to earn himself a decent political epitaph? It was Alistair who once fended off the forces of hell unleashed on him by Gordon Brown's cronies, when he told the truth about the scale of the crisis. But sadly, he now appears to have caved in, parroting the feeble line that you cannot start cutting wasteful spending now." – Shadow business secretary Ken Clarke writing in the Daily Mail

"The most potent line of attack from the Conservatives yesterday was to question how long Mr Darling’s shift at No 11 would last, should Labour be re-elected. “We all know that, even if Labour were to win the election, Alistair Darling would not be the Chancellor,” [Philip] Hammond added. Mr Darling ended his BBC interview with Andrew Marr yesterday by ducking a challenge to contradict that claim." – The Times

Alistair Darling aims to launch green investment bankDaily Telegraph

Average household £17,000 worse off since start of recessionDaily Mirror

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: George Osborne warns voters against being fooled by Labour's "five great deceptions" about the economy

Government spending accounts for more than half of the economy for the first time

"Official figures before the Budget on Wednesday disclose that public spending makes up 52 per cent of the gross domestic product. When Labour came to power in 1997, the state’s share was 40 per cent. However, it has risen steeply over 13 years in which Government spending and the size of the public sector workforce have increased significantly, paid for by higher taxes. At the same time, industry and private commerce have suffered in the recession. The figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) disclose that central and local government spending made up 52.1 per cent of Britain’s GDP last year." – Daily Telegraph

Tory plan for bank levy criticised by British Bankers' Association – Daily Mail

> Saturday's ToryDiary: David Cameron says a bank levy would be "fair and necessary" if not universally popular

> WATCH: David Cameron announces plans for a bank levy

David Cameron runs the Sport Relief Mile

David Cameron Sport Relief running "Thousands of fancy dress runners, well-known athletes and celebrities have joined forces to make a run for charity as part of the Sport Relief mile. More than 165,000 people completed the course in London, which was staged as part of the BBC-sponsored fundraising effort over the weekend… Tory leader David Cameron was among the first to cross the finish line in London, sprinting in ahead of athletes Christine Ohuruogu and Colin Jackson, and model Jodie Kidd. ‘It was very nice and it is the only time I have beaten Colin Jackson at anything,’ said Mr Cameron." – Metro

Andrew Tyrie leads call for inquiry into Britain's role in the torture of terror suspects

"Every time a new revelation emerges, it is damaging for public confidence in the Security Services and for the reputation of the UK. We must be sure we have got to the truth to be able to move on. A short, judge-led inquiry would be quicker, cheaper and far more effective in restoring the public's trust than allowing this corrosive state of affairs to continue. It is a mistake to imagine that this issue will go away on its own." – Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie quoted in The Independent

Boris Johnson: Why are we paying to educate EU students in our universities?

"This year British universities are educating 62,000 students from other EU countries, and applications for next year are up 36 per cent. They are flooding in from Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Italy, Sweden and elsewhere, and they are not only taking 5 per cent of the places, but they are also receiving colossal subsidies from the UK taxpayer. .. There is nothing like it anywhere else in Europe. The French and the Germans don't pay for the training of our nurses or bus drivers. Why are we paying for their students? The traffic is almost entirely one-way, in the sense that very few British students go to study in continental Europe. There is only one answer. We need a rebate." – Boris Johnson writing in the Daily Telegraph

Labour and Conservative leaders in Wales lock hornsWestern Mail

Gordon Brown to compare superfast broadband to invention of electricityThe Guardian

Civil servants 'given stress advice to deal with boredom at work'Daily Telegraph

And finally… Why Miriam Clegg won't be voting for her husband

Miriam and Nick Clegg "Gordon Brown and David Cameron can rely on their wives when they come to cast their votes. But Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will not have the same support as his Spanish wife is unable to vote in Britain, the Daily Mail has learned. Miriam Gonzalez Durantez – also known as Mrs Clegg – is restricted to voting at local and European elections, as she has not taken up British citizenship. The disclosure came as the 42-year-old declared her distaste for the phrase ‘political wife’, interrupting ITV presenter Marie Nightingale when she used the term to describe Ms Gonzalez Durantez." – Daily Mail

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32 comments for: Monday 22nd March 2010

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