3pm ToryDiary: Osborne has no regrets as he starts the fightback
ToryDiary: How did John Major win 14,093,007 votes?
David T Breaker on Comment: We must never defend what the dumb and ignorant say, but we must always defend their right to say it
Local government: Thurrock Conservatives offer strong manifesto
Osborne has said he would be "very happy" for the government to consider publishing the personal tax returns of ministers – BBC
- FT leader (£): "Allowing politicians to hide their tax affairs would sit oddly with Downing Street’s stated aim to be the “most open and transparent government in the world”. Since the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, believes tax abuse to be “morally repugnant”, politicians should expect to face greater scrutiny."
- John Redwood suggests an alternative to full publication of tax returns: "All candidiates for UK elected office should be prepared to assert or sign a declaration that they are paying all the usual range of UK taxes and are UK onshore taxpayers. MPs have to declare outside earnings. The same rule could usefully apply to elected Mayors and Police Chiefs once elected."
- Philip Hensher in The Independent: "To open up the incomes of individuals to the public gaze is to discourage people from pursuing a private endeavour, and perhaps to erode any sense of the difference between the private endeavour and the public duty altogether."
International businesses thought my Budget was a good one, says Osborne, and that's what counts for British jobs and prosperity
In his first post-Budget interview the Chancellor says he knew his 'Budget for business' would be controversial but he is confident he took the correct big decisions: “I don’t have any regrets about the substance of the Budget, I’m unrepentant about it [being] an aggressively pro-business Budget … it cut the top rate of tax which was deeply uncompetitive, it lifted millions of low-paid people out of tax altogether, and it cut the corporation tax rate so that Britain is very, very competitive in the world.” See The Telegraph.
- The Sun is still attacking the Budget: "The Budget made it clear that the Tories’ low-tax aspiration applies only to the rich. Despite a minor tweak to the lower rate threshold, everyone else pays MORE, thanks to sneaky grabs on just about everything."
Osborne becoming weak link in new polling on economic trustworthiness – Daily Mail
"A ComRes/ITV News poll, published on Friday night, shows that the prime minister has a net trust rating on the economy of minus 22%, compared with minus 12% last October. The chancellor has a net trust rating on the economy of minus 39% compared with minus 22% in October. But the figures for Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are even worse. The Labour leader has a net trust rating on the economy of minus 43% against minus 46% last October. Balls is on minus 47% against minus 49% last October." – Guardian
- Kate Devlin in The Herald argues that Labour is failing to fully capitalise on Coalition woes
Francis Maude in new row after boasting Britain would be a 'tax haven' under Coalition – Daily Mail | Sun
Andrew Lansley says smoking should no longer be considered an acceptable part of normal life – Independent
Health Secretary to press ahead with measures to discourage smoking as ban on tobacco promotion in shops comes into force – Guardian
Will John Major's be the last ever Tory government? – Tim Montgomerie in the Daily Mail
- "Mr Cameron needs to steady the ship; this is not a turning point yet, but it could become one" – Andrew Grice in The Independent
- Ever since the budget, it's been back-to-back bad news for the PM and his chums.. The Tories are panicking. Rejoice! – Lucy Mangan in The Guardian
NUT leader vows to fight Gove's plans to sack bad teachers – The Sun
James Forsyth for yesterday's Coffee House: "Given what we know about just how crucial good teaching is to a child’s educational achievement then it is absolutely vital that the coalition does push these changes through. One of the most important parts of these changes is ending the process by which bad teachers are simply shuffled around the system."
The Liberal Democrats "do whatever they can to ensure that the Conservatives are deprived of popularity even though they are unable to achieve any themselves" – Patrick O'Flynn in The Express
Richard Kemp in The Times (£): "Against some very tough targets, I witnessed our intelligence services and police doing a remarkable job fighting these networks both here and abroad. They are highly skilled, dedicated and professional people, intent not on “snooping” on you or me, but on protecting our lives. To deny them the ability to match the technological advances of the criminals and terrorists they are up against is like allowing detectives fingerprint technology but forbidding them DNA. It is to condemn our security services to fight the last war."
"It is becoming more obvious with every passing day that neither the Conservatives nor Labour will win a parliamentary majority again unless they give the British people a referendum on membership of the European Union" – Express leader
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: After 90% of Thurrock demands vote on EU, Cameron can only unite Tory family with referendum promise
Secret courts 'would hand a victory to the terrorists', warns Patrick Mercer – Daily Mail
Tom Watson MP says Labour “owes” its union bankrollers respectful treatment and early warning of any policy changes – Telegraph
"Yorkshire's MPs are calling on the Prime Minister to reject Boris Johnson’s call for London to keep more of its tax revenue amid fears the proposal would worsen the economic divide between North and South." – Yorkshire Post | Background via City AM
- Winning mayoralties is the Labour Party's best chance of power this side of 2015 – Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian
London’s murder rate has fallen to its lowest for more than four decades – Times (£)
Former Scottish Labour MP Dennis Canavan has said he will back a “yes” vote in the independence referendum – Scotsman
Campaign against gay marriage is much better funded than alternative – Independent
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