5pm ToryDiary: Tories 13% ahead in new Angus Reid poll

4.45pm ToryDiary update: Conservatives plan to introduce system of temporary bans on ‘legal-high’ drugs

4pm Local government: From Private Eye's Rotten Boroughs column

Photo 3.45pm LeftWatch: Senior Downing Street advisor is fully financed by Unite

3.30pm WATCH A CLASSIC MOMENT IN UK POLITICAL HISTORY: Brown admits he was wrong about something

Also on PlayPolitical: David Cameron says Labour is 'wholly owned by the Unite union' during PMQs clash with Brown

3pm Harry Phibbs on CentreRight: Most Unite members oppose donations to the Labour Party

12.30pm Stephan Shakespeare on CentreRight: Attacks on YouGov are plain silly

Screen shot 2010-03-17 at 12.06.41 12.30pm ToryDiary: FOUR TIMES, Brown refuses to back union members who cross picket lines, in a triumphant PMQs for Cameron

11.30am ToryDiary: Cameron promises national mentoring programme for black entrepreneurs in bid to deliver equality of opportunity for all

11.30am Patrick Nolan on CentreRight explains Reform's recommendation of less hospital beds

10.45am Alex Massey on CentreRight: 'What must be done to create a flourishing system of truly independent state schools'

ToryDiary: Chris Grayling says there is "a very strong case" for banning "meow meow" drug

6a00d83451b31c69e201310fab7eb0970c-250wi Philip Dunne MP on Platform: Now is the last chance for ex-pats to register to vote for change

LeftWatch: Ed Miliband rebuked by Advertising Standards Authority for exaggerating risks of climate change

Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: The Electoral Commission tells Returning Officers that failing to take reasonable steps to count votes on General Election Nights could see them prosecuted

Local government: Inquiry needed to find out the truth about Glasgow Council, argues Cllr David Meikle

Seats and candidates: Mark Reckless gives local shops free ad space on his website

ThinkTankCentral: Reform recommends 30,000 hospital beds should go as part of NHS delivering more community-based care

International: Australia's Liberal leader develops a distinctive mix of social and economic conservatism

Conservatives 5% ahead in latest YouGov/Sun pollYesterday evening's ToryDiary

"The Conservatives have failed to establish a lead in the north of England or Scotland among the unskilled working classes or among the under-25s. In contrast, Labour’s 1997 landslide was underpinned by support from all age groups, all geographic regions bar the south-east, and all demographic groups apart from the richest." – FT

The decline in sterling’s trade-weighted value matches the slide in the Tory lead over Labour – City AM

Ken Clarke declines to specify the Tories' target for deficit reductionFT

U-turn from Labour as it admits taxes may go up – Telegraph and from the Daily Mail: "A rise in VAT is looming after the general election following a Labour U-turn yesterday over its claim that no new tax rises will be necessary to tackle the record black hole in Britain's finances."

George Osborne: This is the election of our generation

OSBORNE GEORGE NW "“We need to up the energy levels,” he says. “This is the election of our generation. This is an election that is going to determine the direction that Britain takes for the next generation.” From economic decline to social decay, “there couldn’t be bigger issues at stake”. He thumps the table. “We need more fire in our belly – the Conservative leadership, the Conservative Party, the whole Conservative family needs to take the fight to Labour, to understand that we’ve got weeks to go in an election which will determine the future and the fate of this country over the next generation. I am up for that, David is up for that, he is working every hour God sends, I am too, and so too is the Shadow Cabinet.” – George Osborne interviewed in The Telegraph

Eric Pickles wants to re-open all party talks on funding of politics as part of plan to reduce union influence

"Meanwhile the Tories said they would reopen talks on party funding, in what is likely to be seen as a threat to stem the flow of union money to Labour. "We do favour a limit on donations, not just on trade unions but on everybody, and that would go a significant way in ensuring that the political scene is more even-handed," said Eric Pickles, party chairman." – FT

Mandelson forces re-opening of seat shortlist in protest at union infiltration – Times

"If you follow [Unite's] campaigns in local selections it often squeezes out hapless Blairites. But just as often it squeezes out leftists too. It favours the more traditional union men it can rely on to toe the line when toeing the line is required. And it is doing this on behalf of the leadership, not as a rebellion against it." – Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

Screen shot 2010-03-17 at 07.41.38 The Sun Says: "Thirteen Cabinet members are in hock to Unite because they take its money towards election expenses. They include Gordon Brown, Ed Balls, Alan Johnson, Bob Ainsworth, Ed Miliband and Douglas Alexander, who runs Labour's election campaign. In all, 169 Labour MPs and candidates belong to Unite. Of that total, 148 accept Unite cash. The Prime Minister himself is taking money from a union intent on DESTROYING British Airways and WRECKING the holidays of hard-working families."

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Michael Gove lists the ways in which Labour has rewarded its union paymasters

The FT believes "Euro-pragmatism" is winning in the Conservative Party

"The closer they come to power, Mr Cameron, George Osborne, his shadow chancellor, and William Hague, shadow foreign secretary, have all strained to emphasise Euro-pragmatism over Euroscepticism, while not alienating their ever more Euro-alienated rank and file. Even Liam Fox, the Tory defence spokesman and equal to Mr Hague in his antipathy towards Europe, has spoken warmly of closer defence co-operation with France." – FT

Liam Fox's appeal for return of £22,476 in expenses is rejectedBBC

Tories admit Caroline Dinenage billboard picture was

Screen shot 2010-03-17 at 07.40.37 Cameron, like Blair, is unwisely ruling with a small clique – Matthew Norman in The Independent

Will this election be dominated by the online pundits? – Jon Harris investigates for The Guardian

Dog insurance plan dropped after one week by LabourReuters

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Alan Johnson humiliated by u-turn on dog tax

Benefit claimants owe an "immense" £1.85bn in overpayments but the government is recovering less than £300m a year, MPs sayBBC


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