10pm ToryDiary: Tory lead slips two points to 5% in latest YouGov/Sun daily tracker

5.30pm ToryDiary: Michael Gove promises to restore confidence in
'A' levels, increase the freedom of Academies and reduce the inspection
burden on top-performing schools

4.30pm ToryDiary: May, Spelman and Warsi must be leading Tory voices

FOX-LIAM-C&N3.30pm Parliament:

2.15pm ToryDiary: Winston Churchill dies from cancer, aged 69

1.45pm ToryDiary: "Election winners should be endurance champions, not flash-in-the-pan performers."

1.30pm WATCH:

12.45pm Interviews: Paul Goodman interviews Theresa Villiers

12.15pm ToryDiary: Who should be the Tory attack dog?

11.45am Alex Deane on CentreRight: "Some crimes going unsolved is the price we pay to live in a free society."

ToryDiary: Tories most trusted on family policy

6a00d83451b31c69e201310f4f7baa970c Peter Luff MP on Platform: How the next Conservative government can ensure that Britain's manufacturing base is strengthened

Ridley Grove on CentreRight: Why is Cameron using the Tory B team?

The Local government page has latest council tax news including a freeze announcement from both Westminister and Kensington and Chelsea and also a 2.3% proposed cut from Waltham Forest Conservative councillors

Seats and candidates: Search for 100 Peers: Martin Howe QC

WATCH: Home Secretary Alan Johnson attacks "unpatriotic" Lord Ashcroft

Tory lead is at 5% and 7% in two new opinion pollsYesterday evening's ToryDiary

Professor John Curtice examines the detail of The Independent/ ComRes poll: "It appears the recession has helped to persuade people that Labour can indeed run the economy effectively. Our poll shows that people now have just as much confidence in Mr Brown's ability to restore Britain to economic health as they do in Mr Cameron's skill. Also, voters are seemingly looking at Mr Brown afresh. Our poll suggests that he is now regarded only a little less highly than Mr Cameron. Labour's task now is to reinforce these two new impressions."

Steve Richards blames a Tory failure to 'bomb-proof' policies for the opinion poll wobble – Independent

Ken Clarke hammers Labour's economic record

"The UK is the last economy in the G20 to leave recession and is now
witnessing one of the weakest recoveries in the industrialised world. Our budget deficit is the highest of any developed country. One in
five of our young people cannot find work. Perhaps most striking of
all, one pound in every four our government spends has to be borrowed
from the markets." – The Shadow Business Secretary writing for the Daily Mail

Tories will accelerate schools' path to academy status

GOVE MICHAEL NW "The Conservatives hope to boost the educational standards of younger children by ousting governors and heads at poor-performing primary schools and turning them into academies. High-performing primaries would also be able to seek the semi-independent status of academies under a Tory government, on the grounds that they would be competent enough to be given more autonomy." – FT

"Schools already judged to be outstanding would be spared further Ofsted inspections under a Conservative government, unless their results fell dramatically, scores of teachers left, or huge numbers of parents complained, Michael Gove, the Tory shadow education secretary, said." – Guardian

Cameron: I don't want my son to go to Eton – Daily Mail

Coverage of Lord Ashcroft's tax disclosure

Screen shot 2010-03-02 at 08.36.28 "Ashcroft and his firms have donated more than £6.8m since 2001, according to the Electoral Commission. But since 2005 the vast bulk has been to the central party, not local associations." – Guardian

"He had promised to keep his tax status private until everybody else had to reveal theirs but Lord Ashcroft finally lifted the lid on his lucrative arrangement with the taxman yesterday… One mystery is whether the admission that he is a “non-dom” — a global jet-setter exempt from full British taxes — came as a surprise to David Cameron and his predecessors. Or did they know all along?" – Times

"Lord Ashcroft is a man who revels in his political notoriety. The deputy
chairman has been known to amuse staff at Conservative Campaign
Headquarters, where he has an office, with his impression of Blofeld, the
villain from James Bond. A toy white cat has even been provided as a prop." – Times

"The revelation of his non-dom tax status, dragged out through the Freedom of Information Act, is an acute embarrassment for the Tories. It proves the party's deputy chairman, who is playing a pivotal role in the election campaign, was passing laws in the House of Lords while avoiding tax on most of his fortune. It also adds to the impression in voters' minds of the Conservatives as a party for the very rich." – Independent

Cameron's attacks on Brown's character are turning off women, warns Rachel Sylvester

"If he continues to concentrate on a character assassination of the Prime Minister rather than on emphasising what he would do in No 10, he will turn off voters — particularly women. If he uses the sort of language in the TV debates that he has deployed in the Commons recently the electorate will be appalled. It would be a huge mistake for the youthful challenger to turn himself into the big clunking fist." – Rachel Sylvester in The Times

Australia's Tony Abbott is a model for David Cameron – Melanie Phillips in The Australian

Brown may get first chance at governing in event of hung parliament

Queen's-Speech-procession "If the constitutional rules of the game are followed, then unless and until Cameron can give the palace a pretty much cast-iron guarantee that he has the numbers to survive a vote of confidence on a Conservative Queen's speech, Brown will be perfectly entitled to stay right where he is. Moreover, while he's staying there, the PM will be perfectly entitled to talk to other parties about them joining him in coalition or supporting a minority Labour government in return for, oh, I don't know, a referendum on the alternative vote?" – Tim Bale in The Guardian

The Tories should consider electoral reform – Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the FT

"The prospect of a hung parliament on Monday sent the pound below $1.50 as gilts markets grew increasingly anxious that the forthcoming election could produce a messy result." – FT

BBC 6 Music should be saved, says Ed VaizeyTelegraph

Mandelson calls for tougher takeover rules to take account of employee interestsBBC

Brown accuses the Tories of "ramping up" public panic over crimeTelegraph

29% want English Parliament

"40 per cent of people in England feel that Scotland receives more than its fair share of public funds – an increase from 22 per cent in 2003. Just under half of those asked believe England's laws should continue to be made at Westminster and 29 per cent now back a new parliament for the country." – Telegraph


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