6.30pm WATCH: Eric Pickles talks about CCHQ's online operations
6pm Matt Sinclair on CentreRight: How to cut public spending (and still win an election)
- 80% of Winter Fuel Allowance money goes to people NOT in fuel poverty
- Britain's £1bn health and safety industry is encouraging 'over-compliance'
9.30am Julia Manning on CentreRight: The public heard you Jack Straw: the only problem is getting caught
Two polls last night gave the Conservatives leads of 4% and 7% – Yesterday evening's ToryDiary
"Samantha Cameron beams last night after confirming she is expecting her fourth child with Conservative leader David. Sam, 38, said she and her hubby, 43, were "delighted" about the baby, due in September." – The Sun
"Like everybody else I send congratulations and wish the couple joy. But I tell you this – the subliminal message couldn't be better if they'd hired Simon Cowell to produce this event. It says: What could possibly cheer up this country more than a new start – and a new life?" – Bel Mooney in the Daily Mail
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Mary/Thomas/Lucy/Rory/Isadora are favourite names
Michael Martin attacked for handling of Damian Green affair
"Former Speaker Michael Martin has been condemned for failing to exert authority and stop an unprecedented police raid in the House of Commons. Two government departments and the police were also criticised by an investigation into the arrest of Tory MP Damian Green." – The Sun
Tory Facebook campaign gets a bad press
"It was meant to embarrass Gordon Brown: a website, cash-gordon.com, that would point to the prime minister's links to the Unite union and be one of the first shots in the "digital election". But instead it rapidly turned to embarrassment for the Tory party after it was revealed that the site's template came from a rightwing American group that opposes President Barack Obama's cap-and-trade system – and then became the target of a mass Twitter hack that led to it showing pornography, swearwords, Rick Astley videos, malware links, and redirecting visitors to the Labour party site." – Guardian
Tory online experiment foiled as hackers crash ‘Cash Gordon’ website – Times
> CCHQ's Cash Gordon site is here.
Edward Leigh MP warns of escalating shortfall in the defence budget – Express
The SNP would be unwise to truck with a minority Tory government – Lesley Riddoch in The Guardian
BBC investigation reveals that MPs, including ten Tories, broke rules on overseas trips from foreign governments – BBC
Who is worse for Labour: Stephen Byers or Tony Woodley?
"These are bad times for Stephen Byers. It may come to nothing, but there is dark talk that he should be suspended from the parliamentary party, or even the party itself for bringing Labour into disrepute. Some in Downing Street think he is doing more damage to the party than Tony Woodley, the joint general secretary of Unite. Either way between the BA picket lines and Byers announcing he is a cab for hire, Brown is losing more precious time than he would like voters to devote to taking "another long hard look" at the Tories." – Patrrick Wintour in The Guardian
The Sun Says: "Byers was a useless Transport Secretary. Hewitt was a smugly incompetent Health Secretary. Hoon was a disaster as Defence Secretary. On TV last night we saw them boasting of changing Government policy and getting special access to ministers. So much for Mr Brown's great promises of cleaner politics. Once again the Labour Party is in the gutter."
Nick Clegg calls for cross-party council for financial stability
"The Liberal Democrats called for all three main parties to work together after the election in a “council for financial stability”, to agree the basic timetable and scale of deficit reduction. Nick Clegg, Lib Dem leader, said cross-party consensus was needed on the big issues facing the economy, regardless of the result of the general election." – FT
"I cannot help feeling that all the recent talk of militant unionists and irresponsible bankers is a useful distraction for a bunch of politicians without much policy." – Philip Stephens in the FT
A Canadian model for David Cameron – In City AM, Tasha Kheiriddin recommends the tax and spending cutting Ontario government of Mike Harris as a model
Brown planning to make 'no VAT rise' pledge
"I get the impression that senior ministers would take a goalless draw from tomorrow's Budget. If polls do not show a widening of the lead for the Tories they would regard it as a success. But as far as Brown is concerned the Budget will not be his last word on economic policy. In the election campaign it is highly likely that he will pledge not to increase VAT for the whole of the next Parliament, a move that would put the focus on the Tories' plans and what Osborne plans to declare in his recklessly pre-announced "emergency Budget"." – Steve Richards in The Independent
Anyone got an idea for the Labour manifesto? – Rachel Sylvester finds Brown's policy cupboard bare – Times
The public sector pension bill
"The cost of gold-plated pension promises made to public sector workers has soared to nearly £1,200billion, a shocking report warned yesterday. This is the equivalent of sending a bill for £47,000 to every household in Britain, equal to nearly two years' salary for the average worker." – Daily Mail
Tax fears drive rich away from London – FT
A peer appointed to investigate the veracity of climate science has close links to businesses that stand to make billions of pounds from low-carbon technology – Times
Cowed Sarkozy reaches out to his enemies in post-election reshuffle – Independent
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