7pm WATCH: Ed Miliband squirms as Sky News' Joey Jones exposes how his aides tried to cover up the fact he was travelling First Class today 

4.30pm Local Government: Conservative council candidate nominates Independent candidate standing against him and his Tory colleague

Picture 43.30pm WATCH Two videos of David Cameron's speech on immigration this morning:

3pm LeftWatch: IPPR accused of using push polling to produce bogus results in poll on Alternative Vote

1.15pm Local Government:

12.30pm ToryDiary update: David Cameron tells his audience, the media (and Vince Cable) that his speech on immigration is "Liberal Democrat policy"

11.30am Roger Helmer MEP on Comment: The Comprehensivisation of our universities will, tragically, result in decline and mediocrity

10.15am ToryDiary: Vince Cable attacks Cameron's immigration speech as "very unwise"

ToryDiary: Cameron enters local election campaign with speech on immigration

Also on ToryDiary: Why Andrew Lansley is getting a raw deal

Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Victims of crime have more to say than "vengeance"

Parliament: Martin Callanan MEP starts a monthly report from the Conservative group in the European Parliament

Local Government:

WATCH: Speaking in Paris last night, David Cameron says coalition forces will do all they can to stop the murder of Libyan civilians by Colonel Gaddafi

Andrew Lansley says sorry to nurses after vote of no confidence

Andrew Lansley 2 2010 "Andrew Lansley offered nurses a string of apologies yesterday and promised to reshape legislation to change the NHS after becoming the first Health Secretary to receive a no-confidence vote from the profession. After a day of angry warnings from nurses about the damage being done by the proposals, Mr Lansley admitted he had suffered a rebuke and accepted blame for failing to communicate his aims clearly." – The Times (£)

"Asked how he felt about being the only health secretary to receive a vote of no-confidence from nurses, he said: "It's not something I sought out. "I think it's a rebuke and from my point of view I take it as a rebuke and I think listening to nurses this afternoon it was very clear some of the reasons why that happened is because they thought I was too focused on general practitioners when I was taking about clinical commissioning, GP commissioning." – The Independent

The NHS is crying out for a period of sanity and realistic spending – Andrew Haldenby in the Daily Telegraph

> WATCH: Andrew Lansley tells nurses: "I am sorry if what I'm setting out to do has not communicated itself."

William Hague urges extra support for Libyan rebels

William Hague summit Union jack square "An international fund should be set up to provide financial support for the Libyan rebels trying to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi, the British foreign secretary has said. William Hague was speaking at a meeting in Qatar, following weeks of unrest and international air strikes against the regime in Libya. He told those attending that if the creation of a fund was successful, "we will have saved lives, helped Libyans choose their own future and helped restore stability in a vital part of the world". – BBC

"Mr Hague insisted that this would not break the terms of the United Nations arms embargo — but was careful to distance Britain from any move to arm the anti-Gaddafi faction. He said that he would sanction only “non-lethal” supplies to the rebels amid speculation that Britain will limit its contribution to providing body armour and communications equipment." – The Times (£)

  • Musa Kusa gets 6-month UK visa – The Sun
  • Tony Blair defends 2004 desert meeting with Gaddafi – BBC

David Davis plans "Blue Book" alternative manifesto…

DAVIS DAVID "He [David Davis] and fellow Tory backbencher Brian Binley are soliciting contributions for what they are calling the Blue Book. It is described as an alternative manifesto to Cameron's, reflecting a belief that the government has been over-run by the Lib Dem Orange Bookers, the voice of that party's right wing. Blue Book Tories watch in frustration as anti-euro rightwing parties make inroads across the continent while the Tory poll rating drops, the government agrees another EU bailout and gives prisoners the vote on Strasbourg's orders. The Blue Book will air their remedies." – The Guardian

…as he and others call on the Government to defy ECHR ruling on votes for prisoners

"David Davis said: ‘Parliament should not and in my view will not back down in this matter.We are in the right both morally and legally and the court is guilty of extending beyond its remit. It can instruct Governments but it cannot instruct a Parliamentary democracy.’ Conservative MP for Witham Priti Patel said: ‘David Cameron has been vocal about his personal view on this issue. This is a strong opportunity for him to show decisive leadership and say enough is enough. This is morally wrong as well as democratically wrong and we must say that we will not take instruction from an unelected group of European judges'." – Daily Mail

"It presents David Cameron with the thorniest of political challenges. But it also offers him a superb chance to rally the country and prove he is not merely a gifted coalition chairman, but a great Conservative leader." – Daily Mail editorial

  • Votes for prisoners must be fought all the way  – Daily Telegraph editorial

New EU plot to tax our foodDaily Express

Unemployment falls but jobs market remains 'fragile'

Chris Grayling 2010 square "The number of people out of work decreased by 17,000 to 2.48m in the three months to February, and the unemployment rate fell 0.1pc on the quarter to 7.8pc, the Office for National Statistics said… Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister, said the ONS figures were a "step in the right direction" but said tackling youth unemployment remained a priority." – Daily Telegraph 

"It is private sector growth, not the State, which will ultimately bring jobs. Already, those seeking work are better off visiting an employment agency rather than a JobCentre. In a globalised age, it is the role of government to ensure that young British workers are at least as attractive an option for employers as those from anywhere else." – Times (£) editorial

  • How over 65s are filling a third of new positions because they are too poor to retire – Daily Mail
  • Consumer morale up from record low – Reuters

> WATCH: Chris Grayling: The employment figures are moving in the right direction

More tributes paid to Sir Simon Milton

"LGA chairman Baroness Eaton (Con), said it had been “a privilege” to succeed Sir Simon and described him as “one of the most innovative and forward-thinking council leaders of modern times”. – Local Government Chronicle

> Gazette: Tributes to Sir Simon Milton, 1961-2011

Sports stars line up to give their backing to NO2AV campaign

NO2AV logo "Campaigners against Nick Clegg’s plans for changing the Westminster voting system gained a massive boost last night by winning the backing of top sporting stars. Double Olympic gold-medallist James Cracknell, jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, cricket star Darren Gough and Formula One boss Sir Frank Williams endorsed the “No” campaign to halt the switch to the controversial Alternative Vote. The stars spoke out over next month’s national referendum on whether to scrap Britain’s historic first-past-the-post voting system for electing MPs." – Daily Express

  • Osborne clashes with his Liberal Democrat deputy at the Treasury over AV – BBC
  • Osborne in 'dirty tricks' storm over AV referendum – The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary posts:

Gordon Brown 'clear favourite' to be next head of IMF

"Gordon Brown is emerging as the favourite to become the next managing director of the International Monetary Fund. The former prime minister is in the U.S. as finance ministers from around the world gather for a series of spring meetings… Senior officials at the IMF are awaiting a decision by current managing director Dominique Strauss-Khan on whether he will run for French presidency. Mr Strauss-Khan's term comes to an end in June 2012. But he would have to leave early if he is to enter primaries within the French socialist party." – Daily Mail

Baroness Warsi hints that Tory conference could return to Blackpool

Picture 2 “We would love to come back to Blackpool. Some of my earliest conferences were in Blackpool and I know the Prime Minister also has fond memories of Blackpool. He made his bid for leadership here and I had the privilege of introducing him. Both myself and the Prime Minister would be delighted to consider Blackpool and all the improvements the council is doing to Blackpool strengthens the town having the conference again. When our current contracts with Birmingham and Manchester come up for reconsideration, then Blackpool will be one of the places we will seriously be considering, and as a northern girl I will certainly be supporting that.”  – Conservative co-chairman Baroness Warsi speaking to the Blackpool Gazette

Steve Richards looks back on last year's TV election debates

"Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the first, historic, televised party leaders' debate and yet already the image of the three leaders standing behind podiums playing for the highest stakes seems far more distant… In advance I was opposed to them. When they were broadcast I was exhilarated and impressed – peak- time politics largely unmediated and attracting big audiences, most of the issues debated and, at times, almost a hint of spontaneity when the three leaders interacted with each other. In retrospect, I was right in the first place. The debates and the hysteria around them were a damaging distortion." – Steve Richards in The Independent

Julian Astle: Reports of the Lib Dems’ death have been greatly exaggerated Daily Telegraph

Other political news in brief

  • Philip Hammond calls for procurement revamp – FT (£)
  • Fox rejects reprieve for Lossiemouth jets – The Scotsman
  • Public sector credit card cost reduced by just 1% – Daily Mail
  • Shooting badgers to be legalised – The Guardian
  • Obama to address MPs and peers in Westminster Hall on May 25th – BBC
  • Obama urges spending cuts and raised taxes – BBC
  • Berlusconi signals he won't seek re-election in 2013 – Daily Telegraph

And finally… Welsh Lib Dems publish manifesto riddled with spelling errors

LibDemDead "Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams says she regrets a number of spelling and grammatical errors in her party's manifesto… There are a series of errors on the Welsh-language contents page, including incorrect spellings of the Welsh words for environment, sports and politics. The leaders' foreword contains the mangled sentence: "We have people up and down Wales are ambitious to go green, but a Government that subsidising pollution and ignoring the needs of rural areas"… Ms Williams said: "It just goes to show, doesn't it, that we really need to do something about literacy and numeracy in our country". – BBC


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