10pm ToryDiary: Labour take 10% lead in ComRes poll for the first time since the election

7.15pm WATCH: Francis Maude: For 13 years Labour had the chance to reform party funding, but did nothing

5pm WATCH: David Cameron: "One of the great challenges of our time" is the "quiet crisis" of dementia

Fallon BBC DP2.45pm WATCH: Michael Fallon: "We had the trade unions directly controlling the last Labour government"

2pm ToryDiary: David Cameron announces investigation into cash for access allegations will be led by Lord Gold

1.15pm Local government: Boris publishes Transport Manifesto

Noon ConHomeUSA: Romney hits 40% for first time

11.30am ToryDiary: Where's the Party Chairman?

11am Local government: Labour councillor tweets that she hoped Thatcher had died

10.30am LISTEN: Tim Yeo: "It's clear that Britain is losing out" by not having a third Heathrow runway

ToryDiary: The victims of Cruddas-gate aren't the voters. They're the donors.

Columnist Bruce Anderson: Now Peter Cruddas has resigned, David Cameron should launch a counter-attack against Labour

J P Floru on Comment: Winning a majority with good policies for drivers

Johnson Boris CloseLocal government: Boris rules out third runway at Heathrow


David Cameron has lost whatever goodwill he had with the non-Tory press while offending the right-wing press on a succession of issues – Stephen Glover in The Independent

16196111Cruddasgate – The latest

  • David Cameron was engulfed in a sleaze storm last night as it emerged he and wife Samantha have hosted secret dinners in their Downing Street flat for millionaire Conservative donors – Daily Mail
  • David Cameron won't disclose Number 10 guests after donor row but Mark Field MP says he should – BBC
  • Labour demands to know who bought access to No 10 – Independent
  • Times leader (£): "Even if influence has not truly been bought, propriety and integrity have surely been sold"

Cruddasgate – The implications for funding of political parties

  • Paul Staines in The Times (£): "State funding of parties is not justifiable in these austere times and because it would lead to the corruption of incumbency, but the internet makes it easier for ordinary people to donate. Barack Obama showed that it was possible to raise tens of millions in small donations. So we should put a limit on individual, corporate and union donations of £10,000. And to make it worthwhile to give, we could make it tax deductible."
  • "[Cameron] reacted more quickly than Gordon Brown to the MP' expenses scandal and the public rewarded him for it. Now he has a chance to do the same on party funding" – Mary Ann Sieghart in The Independent
  • "British politics has failed to sort out a transparent and fair system of party funding which avoids putting parties into the hands of the rich and thus giving rise to the suspicion – perish the thought – that rich donors can get the budget written to suit themselves. Mr Cameron is not alone in this failure. But he is the man at the top. His party is the biggest beneficiary of this system. He either wants to clean up political funding by rich donors or he doesn't. Right now, he is saying one thing but doing the opposite." – Guardian leader

16196092Cruddasgate – The political implications for Cameron

  • "Millions of voters will now be wondering whether Chancellor George Osborne decided to scrap the top 50p tax rate after a few cosy lunches with millionaire backers" – The Sun
  • Tories lurching from 'one City spiv to the next in their search for a Treasurer' – Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail
  • Cameron has a worrying track record of appointing questionable people to important jobs – Daily Mail leader
  • "Mr Cameron and George Osborne have always been nervous about projecting an image of a party led by "two posh boys". Now the cash-for-access allegations may reinforce it" – Andrew Grice in The Independent
  • "Mark Field, the Tory MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, said: “Coming so soon after a Budget dominated by the top rate of tax, this affair plays to one of the Conservatives’ biggest weaknesses: that we still look after the rich. This is untrue, but the perception of this means that Mr Cameron will have to move quickly.”" – Times (£)
  • The Cruddas fiasco, the budget, and even alcohol pricing show how hollow are the Tory leadership's claims of shared sacrifice – John Harris for The Guardian
  • "Cameron and Osborne’s performance has been true to form since the start of the year; the Conservative party needs to bring in new blood to advise the Cameroons, rather than relying so much on a small coterie of socially identikit associates and on civil servants" – Allister Heath for City AM

PHILLIPS-MELANIEThe Sunday Times sting is a reminder that we need a free and investigative press – Melanie Phillips for the Daily Mail

Poll surge for Labour as anger over Osborne's 'granny tax' growsDaily Mail

Tim Montgomerie: Tories should consider restoring 10p tax band

"The Tory leader needs a tax policy that helps the low-paid and is associated with him rather than Nick Clegg. The restoration of the 10p tax band would be my suggestion and it could be funded by faster spending cuts." – Tim Montgomerie in The Times (£)

Jeff Randall: Lower spending not more taxation of the rich is the UK's problem

"The top one per cent of Britain’s earners account for nearly 30 per cent of all income tax receipts. They pay £45 billion a year. How much must they cough up in order to pass the decency test? 40 per cent? 50 per cent? I put this question to the Shadow Chancellor last week. He would not answer." – Jeff Randall in The Telegraph

Cameron set to tackle the stigma of dementia as he puts the crisis on the scale of HIV

"Launching a 'national challenge on dementia', Mr Cameron will set out plans to step up research into cures and treatments and to ensure that the health and social care systems are equipped to deal with the problem. Overall funding for dementia research is to reach £66 million by 2015, from £26.6 million 2010." – Daily Mail

Daniel Poulter MP: My experience as a doctor leads me to oppose making assisted suicide any easier under the law

Screen Shot 2012-03-26 at 08.34.07"A change in the law directly supporting the legalisation of assisted dying would run the risk of increasing pressure on the terminally ill and people with disabilities to end their lives… Instead of contemplating any change in the law, we should be focusing on the development of high-quality palliative care for patients and their families, to ensure that end-of-life care continues to meet the needs of the terminally ill." – Daniel Poulter MP in The Guardian

Boris Johnson promises to veto third Heathrow runway

"The Mayor said the runway would cause “intolerable traffic and fumes in the west of the city – and it will not be built as long as I am mayor of London.” The Tories ruled out the prospect of a third runway in their 2010 manifesto, but last week chancellor George Osborne used his Budget to acknowledge the need for airport expansion in the South East." – City AM

  • Tories may be on the final approach to a U-turn on Heathrow third runway – Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameron and Osborne execute a V-turn on their opposition to a third Heathrow runway

School playing fields will be given special protection under revised planning reformsTelegraph

  • Lib Dems threaten rebellion over rural planning reforms – Independent

New driver-less Tube trains will lead to cheaper tickets and challenge the power of “hardline union bosses”, promises Boris JohnsonThe Telegraph

Equality campaigners warn that localised pay will hurt womenIndependent

What should an industrial policy look like? – Michael Heseltine in The Times (£)

Francis Maude says Coalition has learnt lessons from last petrol tankers disputeThe Sun

Theresa May plans crackdown on sham marriages as backdoor way of entering UKExpress

Ruth Davidson's dithering is not helping protect the Union – Brian Monteith for The Scotsman

  • An independent Scotland could face the prospect of checks at its border with England, Home Secretary Theresa May has warned – BBC

Leadsom Andrea March 2012The Fresh Start group of Tory MPs, led by Andrea Leadsom MP, is urging David Cameron to consider battery of measures to prevent Britain’s financial services sector being hobbled by EU legislationFT (£)

  • South Korea/ EU trade deal 'may bring £500m to UK economy' – BBC

70 MPs have received iPads on expenses – at a cost to taxpayers of at least £28,000Daily Mail

David Miliband says he has the "humility" to realise that his return to frontline politics would be bad for LabourBBC

Bomb Iran and it will surely decide to pursue nuclear arms – Mehdi Hasan for The Guardian

And finally… Cameron is more of a hare than a tortoise

"Mr Cameron tore away from the rest of the field like an Olympic sprinter, leaving his wife, daughter and son trailing in his wake. But the ill-advised start swiftly caught up with him as like the proverbial hare he was overtaken by more sensibly paced runners, including some young children, eventually wheezing across the finish line in a time of 11 minutes." – Telegraph


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