Boris urged to return to the Commons for 2015

‘Boris Johnson is being urged by allies of David Cameron to fight the next election as a Conservative candidate. The Mayor of London would settle once and for all questions over his loyalty by pinning his own political fate to that of the Prime Minister, they say. George Osborne, the Chancellor, is said to have delivered personally the message that Mr Johnson should run, in what will be seen as an attempt to call his bluff.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Boris should return to the Commons at the next election

Labour loses it 1) 8 in 10 Labour target seats will be fought by union candidates

‘Ed Miliband’s attempts to reform Labour’s links with the trade unions were undermined yesterday as research suggested that around eight in ten candidates in the party’s target seats are union-backed. A Tory analysis shows that the unions have a firm grip on selections, with at least 78 per cent of candidates in Labour’s 106 target seats having union links. Nearly half are directly connected to the Unite union, which has donated more than £10million to Labour under Mr Miliband’s leadership.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Ed Miliband is a strong argument to vote Conservative

Labour loses it 2) Harman keeps digging

harman‘Harriet Harman again refused to apologise over alleged links to a pro-paedophile group last night, as former colleagues and liberal groups said sorry for their historical connections with the organisation. A spokeswoman for the Labour deputy leader insisted it was right that Patricia Hewitt, the former Labour Cabinet minister, apologised and took responsibility for the links between the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) and the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE).’ – The Times (£)

  • Dromey is fighting for his job – The Sun (£)
  • Hewitt backed lowering the age of consent – The Guardian
  • High Court judge resigned from NCCL in protest, so why didn’t others? – The Independent
  • These are legitimate questions – The Times Leader (£)
  • The arrogance of the left – The Sun Says (£)

Labour loses it 3) Shadow minister attacks free Waitrose coffee…it must be the Costa living crisis

‘The Labour party has accused Waitrose of stealing trade from small high street shops by giving a million free coffees and newspapers to its customers every week. In its latest salvo against big business, Labour said the myWaitrose loyalty scheme was having a “stark effect” on small coffee shops and newsagents across the UK. Andy Sawford, shadow communities minister, has written to every MP with a local Waitrose asking them to press the chain to make changes to the scheme in the “spirit of fair competition”.’ – FT

The document Britain signed guaranteeing Ukraine’s borders

Screen shot 2014-02-26 at 08.18.18‘A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin’s troops cross into the country. Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.’ – Daily Mail

Millions wait weeks to see their GP

‘Millions of patients wait as long as three weeks to see their GP, a Daily Mail survey reveals today. Only one in three manages to secure a same-day appointment, despite Government promises to make such slots routinely available. One in five cannot get a consultation within seven days. The survey suggests that two million adults wait between two and three weeks to see a doctor and half a million suffer a delay of three or four weeks.’ – Daily Mail

The Treasury looks at taxing empty houses

Homes For All Big‘Danny Alexander, the Treasury chief secretary s looking to target property investors who buy expensive homes only to leave them empty. The move comes as the coalition tries to put itself on the side of ordinary families struggling to find a home.’ – FT

  • London raises more stamp duty than Scotland and Wales combined – FT
  • ONS changes will help the chance of running a surplus – FT
  • The Government should go green – Geoffrey Lean, Daily Telegraph

Farage claims English can’t be heard on commuter trains

‘Nigel Farage yesterday said he felt ‘awkward’ when he could hear no English being spoken while on a train from London to Kent. The Ukip leader described how he was on his way home when he went several stops without hearing his native tongue. His comments followed a provocative speech in which he claimed some areas of Britain are being ‘taken over’ by migrants, while others have become ‘frankly unrecognisable’. ‘ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Sir Andrew Green on Comment: The latest immigration figures are grist to the mill for Eurosceptics

Crisis in child mental health

NHS_Logo‘Britain is failing its most vulnerable children in epic style with inadequate mental health services dwarfed by spiralling demands for help, according to one of the country’s leading child psychologists. Dr Tanya Byron, who advises the Government on aspects of internet safety and child mental health as well as running her own practice, says the situation is “a nightmare” with children waiting months for treatment while their health deteriorates.’ – The Times (£)

Parris: Too decisive a win for No could deepen Scottish divisions

‘Trying to frighten Scotland may prove counterproductive. Equally, the strategy may well — on reflection and in the end — rattle voters into an even bigger margin for no than what’s already assured. But that no will in the years that follow bring its own burden: the legend that in 2014 Scotland was cheated and bullied out of taking her rightful place in the world. For such a legend today’s Unionists are writing tomorrow’s script.’ – Matthew Parris, The Times (£)

Jerry Hayes recalls the characters and controversies of a Commons-gone-by

PARLIAMENT‘Looking back on my days as a Tory MP in the Commons is like reflecting on my childhood. All the days seemed to be sunny and the characters larger than life. But I’m sure that they genuinely were always far more interesting than today’s lot — many of whom are pretty vanilla. People moan about the standard of behaviour in the chamber, but it’s a teddy bears’ picnic compared with the Eighties…’ – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Joanna Dennehy given whole-life tariff for serial killings – Daily Mail
  • Rogues gallery of WW2 Nazi spies is released – The Times (£)
  • Eton sponsors new state boarding school – FT
  • Brooks understood illegality of paying police officers – The Guardian
  • Moazzam Begg faces Syria charge – The Independent
  • Dead whale travels across Kent by lorry – Daily Telegraph