9pm ToryDiary: "There
is constructive criticism and there is destructive criticism. There is
a time for debate on the Right and a time to either be silent or gun
for Labour. At the moment there's too much ill-discipline on our side
of the fence." Click here.
Local government: The battle for Stevenage
Ribal Al Assad on CentreRight: A free and democratic Syria is the best way to undermine Iran
Tories 7%, 7% and 10% ahead in latest opinion surveys – Yesterday evening's ToryDiary
The Independent finds frustration with Labour and the Conservatives: "Fifty per cent of people regard it as "unthinkable" to elect Mr Brown for another five years, while 44 per cent disagree with this statement. Almost one in four Labour supporters believe electing Mr Brown for another term would be "unthinkable". However, 51 per cent say they personally feel no enthusiasm for the Conservative Party, with 42 per cent disagreeing. Remarkably, a quarter (24 per cent) of those people who intend to vote Tory say they have no enthusiasm for the party."
"It's not enough for Cameron to be the anybody-but-Gordon candidate" – Dominic Lawson in The Independent
Liam Fox: 'Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons'
"Dr Fox said Iran is the "biggest single emerging threat that we face" but claimed not enough is being done to prevent it becoming a nuclear weapons state. He warned that it was essential to thwart Iran’s attempts to arm itself with nuclear weapons or risk Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey following suit." – Telegraph
Tories to stop National Insurance increase
43% support the move, 43% oppose it – The Sun/YouGov
Daily Mail comment: "From the man targeted by Labour as the Tories’ weakest link comes the boldest policy of the election campaign so far. Shadow Chancellor George Osborne deserves great credit for his courage in pledging to reverse part of Labour’s increase in National Insurance."
"The Tories finally have a “retail offer” for voters – something to sell on the doorsteps to rival the Lib Dem promise to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000. The shadow chancellor’s announcement should also nail the lie that Labour cares more about people’s jobs than do the Conservatives. Alistair Darling’s NI increases are a tax on jobs, pure and simple. By also shelving Darling’s proposed rise in employers’ contributions for staff earning up to £20,800, Osborne has acted to protect jobs and to boost recruitment prospects for those currently looking for work." – Patrick O'Flynn in The Express
"Few will believe that Osborne can cut tax and the deficit too." – Polly Toynbee in The Guardian
David Cameron ready to be as 'widely disliked' as Margaret Thatcher – Telegraph
Rachel Sylvester: Old Tory themes can scare some voters
"One Conservative strategist compares his party to an orchestra. “To begin with you heard most from the flutes and violins, but it was inevitable that we would have to bring in the trumpets and trombones as well.” The problem is that voters serenaded by the gentle tunes of a string quartet will be scared off by the brass section blaring out Land of Hope and Glory." – Rachel Sylvester in The Times
Tories blasted by Wall Street Journal
"Mr. Cameron’s mistake has been to paint his party a paler shade of Brown at the very moment when the weaknesses of Labour is being exposed by the economic downturn. That’s a pity for the Tories, and all the more so for a British electorate that is hungering for—dare we say it?—change." – Wall Street Journal
'I am not brilliant. Not a great original' – Douglas Hurd talks to The Telegraph
"Tony Blair faced new questions over his secretive business empire last night as it emerged one of his companies has been licensed to operate in low-tax regimes abroad. Gibraltar, Lithuania and Liechtenstein are among the countries in which the former Prime Minister's new investment firm has obtained permission to trade." – Daily Mail
A compulsory levy would be introduced by Labour to help pay for social care for adults in England – BBC
Joanna Lumley hits out at Government minister who ‘smeared' her – Times
MPs are allowed to keep their families on the payroll – Independent
And finally… Amanda Platell blasts Cameron's tough guy look
"I'll resist the temptation to accuse Dress Down Dave of cynical calculation in his sartorial choices. But when your father-in-law is worth an estimated £20million and you have to deny reports of a personal fortune of £30million, parading around in a £1 belt is a bit, well, silly. Cameron's wealth has no bearing on his suitability to be our next prime minister. But his judgment has. And this faux 'man of the High Street' is as phoney as those air-brushed billboards that were such a failure." – Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail
"There’s no escaping it: Mr Cameron and George Osborne don’t look like statesmen. They look like minor members of the Hubert Laneites, the spoilt, dough-faced gang of mothers’ boys from Richmal Crompton’s classic Just William stories. I for one can’t look at Mr Osborne without picturing him in short trousers and school cap, tears rolling down his blancmange-smeared cheeks as he complains shrilly to the housemaid that that ruffian William has pinched his pea-shooter."- Michael Deacon in The Telegraph
Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit PoliticsHome.com for breaking political news and views throughout the day.