10pm ToryDiary: Tory lead down to 4% in YouGov/Sun tracker

Screen shot 2010-03-09 at WATCH: Cameron 'fixes' his hair, live on Sky News and David Cameron talks to the BBC's Nick Robinson about Lord Ashcroft

4.30pm Alex Deane on CentreRight: Why aren't samples from Johnson and his Cabinet colleagues on the DNA database?

4pm WATCH:

12.30pm ThinkTankCentral:

12.30pm Paul Goodman on CentreRight: How Parliament should confront anti-Muslim hatred and violence

11.45am Roger Helmer on CentreRight: Debt relief can do more harm than good

11.30am ToryDiary: Owen Paterson refuses to be diverted from the
task of building a party that represents the everyday corncerns of
people in Northern Ireland

ToryDiary: Chris Grayling vindicated as independent evaluation concludes violent crime has risen by 44% under Labour

Gove5 Michael Gove on Platform: The Conservative plan to improve school standards

Local government: The Government's banal money saving tips – from Manchester and Lewisham council leaders and a look at entryism of Islamic extremists into Tower Hamlets Council via the Tower Hamlets Labour Party

LeftWatch: 'Labour has betrayed Jamie Bulger's mum' says The Sun

Stephan Shakespeare on CentreRight: This election is about the economy

Sally McNamara on CentreRight: Unknown EU foreign minister wants her own airplane now

Tories 5% and 7% in two new national polls and on course for a majority in marginals poll

5&7 Yesterday evening's ToryDiary

61% of voters say that they don't have faith in any of the three main parties' policies on immigrationExpress

> Last week's ToryDiary: CCHQ approves strong immigration message for campaigning in marginal seats

David Cameron says Tories no longer reliant on big donors like Lord Ashcroft

"I have sorted out the funding of the Conservative Party. I have made it a lot less reliant on a few wealthy people. I've broadened its base. I've paid off loans, including a very large loan to Michael Ashcroft so the party is not in his debt one piece." – David Cameron quoted by the BBC (includes video)

Lord Ashcroft's interests in ConservativeHome and other media organisationsGuardian

Ken Clarke says Cameron's shadow cabinet does not make many decisions

"When asked whether Mr Cameron makes decisions in shadow cabinet, Mr Clarke replied: 'Not a lot.' He added: 'They keep the Cabinet informed and the things that come to Cabinet you discuss are things that just need to be resolved at that level.'" – Daily Mail

Ex-President Bush in Tory phone plea on NI devolution

"Ex-US President George W Bush has asked David Cameron to try to get the Ulster Unionists to back devolution of justice and policing in Northern Ireland. The NI Assembly is due to vote on the transfer of the powers from Westminster, a day after the UUP confirmed it would reject it. The Conservatives have an electoral pact with the UUP, prompting Mr Bush's call to Tory leader Mr Cameron." – BBC

Guardian-loudspeaker-#6 "Not the least of the entertainments* between now and polling day will be seeing how the Guardian manage to keep up their exhausting warnings of the dire consequences that will inevitably follow any Conservative victory. Nothing but nothing will be too trivial for the paper and that's fine: free press and all that… Today's effort is only marginally less ridiculous. Apparently the Northern Ireland "peace process" will be wrecked if the Tories get in…" – Alex Massie in The Spectator

> Yesterday on CentreRight, Marc Glendening noted that The Guardian faces financial ruin if the Conservatives win

Unions threaten to "unleash hell" on incoming Tory government

"Britain is in the grip of a wave of militancy by millions of public sector workers as unions threaten to 'unleash hell' on an incoming Conservative government. Alarming figures reveal the number of days lost to strike action in the public sector is now 15 times higher than in the private sector, prompting concerns about the growing readiness of union leaders to flex their muscles. These figures are particularly startling as it is private sector workers that have so far borne the brunt of the recession, taking the vast majority of pay cuts, pay freezes and redundancies." – Daily Mail

Rachel Sylvester uses her Times column to examine Labour's reliance on the unions: "Like Lord Ashcroft, Unite has been generous financially, contributing £3.6 million to Labour last year, nearly a quarter of the total donations the party received. Since March 2007 it has given more than £11 million. Two years ago Labour was able to get its accounts signed off and avert bankruptcy only by getting a written guarantee from Unite that it would continue to provide significant funding. It has been there for the party in its darkest days, just as Lord Ashcroft was for the Tories."

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: No, Lord Mandelson, the unions have you by the balls

Conservative-endorsed report calls for science boost

"The profile of science in the UK must be raised to help diversify the economy and boost growth, a report endorsed by the Conservatives has urged. The report's author, entrepreneur Sir James Dyson, called for more support for science teachers and tax breaks for high-tech firms to conduct research." – BBC

Michael Gove's plans for 'socially comprehensive' schools are simply a way to offer public funds to ailing private schools – Melissa Benn in The Guardian

Tories will change name of Wales Office to Welsh OfficeWestern Mail

And finally… Grant Shapps' fourth child was born on Twitter… except it wasn't

SHAPPS GRANT-1 "Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps’ phone was red-hot last week, with well-wishers keen to join in the celebrations on the birth of his and wife Belinda’s fourth child. However, there was one small but rather vital thing missing – a baby…" – Read how a Tweet from Grant Shapps created a welter of good wishes for his 'fourth child'…


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