10.30pm Harry Phibbs on CentreRight: Soldiers need proxy votes

10.15pm ToryDiary update: New Angus Reid poll has Tory lead increasing to 13%

10pm ToryDiary: Tory lead narrows to 3% in YouGov daily tracker

Picture 57pm Seats and Candidates: Former Conservative MP to stand in his old seat for UKIP

6.15pm Mark Wallace on CentreRight is aghast at one Scottish primary school's unbelievably irresponsible approach to educating pupils about the Holocaust

4.45pm WATCH:

4.30pm Local government: Which councils outside London could the Conservatives gain on May 6?

4pm Daniel Kawczynski MP on CentreRight: Why was a Labour MP allowed to use a room in Parliament to promote his book when I was told by the Commons authorities that it would be an abuse of taxpayer-funded facilities if I did the same thing?

2pm LeftWatch: Labour are deemed as incompetent and untrustworthy now as John Major's Government was prior to the 1997 general election

1.15pm LeftWatch: Left-wing Labour MPs, union leaders and bloggers want to plunge the country even deeper into debt

12.30pm Stephan Shakespeare on CentreRight gives a big Post-Bureaucratic Age welcome to Conservative plans for a Freedom of Data Act

11.45am WATCH: Jeremy Paxman takes Ed Balls to task for falsely accusing Michael Gove of twisting statistics in the Commons

11.15am Parliament: Sir Patrick Cormack calls for large shops to be forced to close on Remembrance Sunday

Picture 12ToryDiary: Samantha Cameron breaks her silence with first interview as she prepares to hit the election campaign trail

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

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

Seats and Candidates: Labour's sole remaining Old Etonian to quit the Commons

Local Government: Rossendale and Ryedale freeze Council Tax

ThinkTankCentral: The Conservative Environment Network is launched

CentreRight: The launch of the CEN is the next step in a centuries-old tradition of Conservatives caring for the environment

WATCH: Lord Guthrie hits back at Labour over cheap "They're all Tories" jibe

Andrew Lansley says the time for cross-party talks on social care is over as Labour moots 10% death tax

Andrew Lansley 2010 "Andy Burnham, the health secretary, announced he is considering three options to pay for a new "national care service" including a progressive estate levy. But the first cross-party debate on the issue, where he had spoken, ended in acrimony with the Conservatives rejecting overtures from both Labour and the Liberal Democrats to resume consensus talks over how to provide for the aged… Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley said: "We have had 13 years of a Labour government with absolutely no reform or help for elderly people. The time for talking is over. Each party should set out their policies and let the people decide in the general election which is the best approach. The choice is clear: five more years of Gordon Brown dithering over helping older people or real reform under the Conservatives." – Guardian

"Millions of middle income families are facing a 10 per cent 'death tax' levy to pay for social care of the elderly. Health Secretary Andy Burnham yesterday said he wanted to see those with bigger houses pay more to provide for the old. Up to 17million families would be forced to pay the tax – whether or not their loved one had required any care. A 10 per cent tax raid would leave the relatives of middle income earners with estates worth £500,000 with a £50,000 bill when their relatives die. This would be on top of an inheritance tax bill of £70,000." – Daily Mail

Chris Grayling says Labour will cut uniformed police numbers

Chris Grayling 2010 square "The Conservatives say ministers are planning to reduce the number of front-line police, despite a pledge to protect them from spending cuts. A Home Office study of nine forces has concluded that savings could be made by using more civilian staff… The Tories say that any increase in civilian staff would automatically imply a reduction in uniformed officers because the government has promised merely to maintain current spending, not increase it." – BBC

Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said: "The hypocrisy of this Government is just breathtaking. They have made a deliberate point of claiming in their pre-election campaign that they will retain the current number of uniformed police officers. Now it turns out that they have been privately working on plans that will lead to big reductions in the number of police officers." – Daily Telegraph

The City would prefer Ken Clarke as Chancellor to George Osborne  

"Clarke would make a better chancellor than George Osborne, according to our panel of City A.M. readers. Clarke, who held the job between 1993 and 1997 and is now shadow business secretary, topped the vote with 36 per cent and pushed Osborne – the official shadow chancellor – into second place. The City A.M./PHI Panel, which has been specially recruited to represent a cross-section of London’s financial and business community, were asked to pick their top choice from a list of six possible candidates for chancellor." – City AM

…but Bernard Ingham is convinced

"George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, is not a schoolboy. He may sound and even look like a lower sixth former but he is going on 39. He has been Shadow Chancellor for nearly five years after a short spell as Shadow Chief Secretary whose job is to learn about public expenditure control. He has also shadowed the Economic Secretary in the Treasury and has had experience of employment issues as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary. If anyone has served an apprenticeship to the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, he has. What is more, Osborne has grasped certain basic truths, which elude our tragically deluded Prime Minister, if not his Chancellor." – Bernard Ingham in the Yorkshire Post

Michael Gove announces "hitlist" of schools where management would be changed within 100 days of taking office

GOVE MICHAEL RED TIE "Last night Michael Gove, the Tory education spokesman, announced a “hitlist” of 75 primary and secondary schools that an Ofsted report showed to have been in special measures for more than a year. He promised that those running these schools would be removed in the first 100 days of a Tory government with the aim of their being reopened next year as academies. Providers of academies are said to be poring over the list to decide which schools they want to take over. The Conservatives insist that this would be only the “first tranche” of decentralising reforms." – The Times

…as he rails at how Whitehall targets skew headteachers' priorities

"The grim truth about Labour’s education policy was laid bare yesterday after it emerged the number of schools branded “inadequate” more than doubled in just six months. Ofsted inspectors classed one in 10 in the lowest category last autumn compared to one in 25 in the previous inspection. And the number of “outstanding” state schools in England plummeted, from 19 per cent to 9 per cent… Conservative Shadow Education Secretary Michael Gove said the culture of Government-set targets was “skewing” headteachers’ priorities." – Daily Express

Cameron's fury at Labour MPs' "Tory" jibe at military top brass

"Fury erupted in the Commons yesterday as Labour MPs attacked military heroes for criticising the PM. Angry David Cameron demanded an apology following claims that top brass spoke out on war budgets "because they are Tories". Banging his papers on the dispatch box, the Tory chief thundered: "Oh, it's because they are Tories, is it? "That is what this tribalist, divisive Government thinks of people who serve our country. It is a disgraceful slur." – The Sun

> Yesterday's ToryDiary on PMQs

Benedict Brogan: The Conservatives must show the killer instinct that comes naturally to Labour

"The Tories need to stop wondering in private about the unfairness of the media or the brutishness of Peter Mandelson. They need to come out and fight fire with fire, show the kind of ruthless killer instinct that comes naturally to Labour. But rather than match Mr Brown's dishonesty, they need only remind us every minute of every day why, when he tells us that "for better or for worse, with me: what you see is what you get", what we see is truly terrible, and far, far worse than any alternative." – Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph

March 24th Budget signals May 6th election

"Gordon Brown has given the clearest indication so far that he has decided on a 6 May election, revealing that the Government will set out what could be its last Budget just two weeks before he formally asks the Queen to dissolve Parliament. In a politically charged speech on the economy yesterday, made in the City of London, the Prime Minster confirmed that the Budget will be held on 24 March. It means that a snap election in April, which ministers had warned until recently could not be discounted, is now extremely unlikely." – The Independent

Eric Pickles Brighton "Now Gordon Brown has finally stopped dithering and announced a budget date he should follow suit and announce a date for the election. Of course, given the stranglehold the union barons have on the party he may be waiting on Charlie Whelan to give him the green light on a date." – Party chairman Eric Pickles MP quoted in The Scotsman

Latest YouGov poll has Tory lead at 5%The Sun | Last night's ToryDiary

Are we heading towards a hung parliament, and how would it work?The Independent

Three Labour MPs and Tory peer due in court today on expenses chargesBBC

A fifth Labour MP is being investigated over expenses Daily Telegraph

And finally… Brown turned down for Match of the Day 2 appearance

"Gordon Brown asked to be a guest on Match Of The Day 2 – only for the BBC to give the idea the boot, it was revealed yesterday. The PM scored a spectacular own goal when the BBC2 show's team dismissed the idea as "inappropriate". They ruled it was too close to a General Election and that the Beeb had to maintain impartiality. Match Of The Day fan Mr Brown had hoped to talk about England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup." – The Sun


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