Dugher denies Labour campaign resignation threat as the party’s poll lead falls…

DUGHER Michael“Furious Shadow Minister Michael Dugher told the Labour leader he wanted to resign, claiming he could no longer work with Douglas Alexander, who is masterminding the party’s General Election strategy. Mr Dugher is said to have told Mr Miliband: ‘Douglas is totally bloody impossible. Everybody says it. You have got to do something about him.’ ” – Mail on Sunday

  • Labour opinion poll support falls to lowest level since 2010 election – The Observer
  • Has Labour ditched Arnie Graf? – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
  • 147,000 ‘ghost’ members vanish from Unite after disputed election – Sunday Times (£)
  • Miliband’s divided party: a guide – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer
  • Why I, a lifelong Labour supporter, believe that Miliband will never be Prime Minister – Kevin Toolis, Mail on Sunday
  • Kinnock misses Benn funeral – Mail on Sunday

…While Miliband makes a new pitch: lower tuition fees under Labour. And he still hankers after a graduate tax.

“Labour is planning to slash university tuition fees by at least £3,000 a year — and possibly by as much as £5,000 — in an attempt to win over middle England voters alarmed by education costs. Ed Miliband, the party’s leader, is expected to pledge he will cut the £9,000 maximum fee, which sparked riots when it was being debated in 2010, to £6,000…In addition, Miliband will leave the way open for the whole system of tuition fees to be scrapped later and replaced by a tax on graduates, which supporters see as a fair way of stopping students running up huge debts.” – Sunday Times (£)

Osborne and Alexander dismiss claim that an independent Scotland will keep the pound

Scottish flag“Last night, in a joint statement, Mr Osborne and Mr Alexander said: ‘There will not be a currency union in the event of independence. The only way to keep the UK pound is to stay in the UK. Walking out of the UK means walking out of the UK pound. A currency union will not work because it would not be in Scotland’s interests and would not be in the UK’s interests. “The UK would not put its taxpayers at risk of bailing out a foreign country and its banks. Parliament would not pass it, and the people would not accept it.” – Sunday Express

James Forsyth: Osborne’s budget has transformed the Tory mood

“The cause of this optimism is the narrowing in the Labour lead first revealed in last week’s Mail on Sunday poll. With 14 months still to go to the Election, the Tories are within touching distance. This has transformed the mood in the parliamentary party. MPs who only a few weeks ago were complaining about how the ‘toffs at the top’ didn’t get the aspirational voters the Tories so desperately need, are now praising the leadership.” – Mail on Sunday

A hundred Conservative MPs to make personal manifesto pledge to quit the EU

RECKLESS Mark“The Prime Minister has promised the Tory manifesto will spell out his pledge for a referendum by 2017 on Britain’s links with Europe after trying to win back key powers from Brussels. But Tory rebels will go further and make their own personal manifesto vows to campaign to withdraw from the EU – regardless of any concessions by Brussels.” – Mail on Sunday

Matthew D’Ancona: Cameron’s real enemies are the Tory Eurosceptics

“If Cameron wins with a majority of any sort, or negotiates a second coalition that includes the fulfilment of his pledge to hold a referendum before the end of 2017, the Conservative Party’s energies will be utterly absorbed by Europe, as never before, for up to 18 months. It is a foretaste of this which last week’s debate truly provided. Clegg and Farage made all the principal points for leaving and staying – most of them familiar. But they were surrounded by coiled springs wearing blue rosettes, awaiting their turn.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Farage hands Putin propaganda coup over EU and Ukraine – Sun on Sunday
  • Farage grasps the transatlantic mood and flourishes his isolationism – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)
  • Pespiring Farage must make cool Clegg sweat – Tony Parsons, Sun on Sunday
  • UKIP really are fruitcakes, says Warsi – Mail on Sunday

Warsi says that election fraud could cost the Conservatives a second term in government

WARSI Sayeeda“Four years on, does she think the threat of electoral fraud has gone away? “No it hasn’t.” So she’s still worried about the same alleged problem? “I am,” she replies. “There are reforms we have put in place.. and I think some of them will help but there is a real issue in the way in which postal votes are used.” Does she have any regrets for highlighting the alleged ethnic dimension? She fixes an intense stare on me. “No, I don’t.” And it’s still “predominantly within the Asian community”, in her view? The communities minister nods. ” “I’ve never minced my words. If you don’t define what a problem is accurately you’re never going to resolve it.” – Mehdi Hasan, Huffington Post

> Today: ToryDiary – Warsi’s wise warning over election poll fraud

Theresa May: Domestic violence is no second-class crime

“In too many forces domestic violence is treated as a “second-class” crime. Officers don’t have time for victims and don’t know how to treat them with dignity and respect. They can’t spot dangerous patterns of behaviour. They don’t collect the evidence properly so it is harder to bring a successful prosecution. This is simply unacceptable. One victim in the report heard an officer say: “It’s a DV, we’ll be a few minutes and we’ll go to the next job.” When I read that I was furious. There needs to be a change of police culture, from the top down.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Grayling repeats that there is no ban on books in prison

Grayling470“There has been no attempt to curtail prisoners’ access to books, Chris Grayling has insisted in an open letter to poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. The justice secretary said he had only ever been involved in one discussion on the availability of reading material behind bars – and that was to allow EL James’ erotic thriller Fifty Shades Of Grey to be circulated in women’s prisons. The row over posting books to prisoners has been triggered by a ban on sending parcels, which Grayling stressed was a vital security measure.” – The Observer

Courtiers warn over Queen’s health during state opening of Parliament negotiations with Downing Street

“They objected after the Prime Minister told the Palace he intended to move the Queen’s Speech to June 4, giving her and Prince Philip – 93 on June 10 –just 24 hours to recover before they travel to France for a three-day visit to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Downing Street then suggested bringing the Queen’s Speech forward a day to June 3 – only for the Palace to point out it would clash with a garden party she is hosting.” – Daily Mail

The Mail on Sunday picks out Sajid Javid as a future Tory leader

Javid Debt Ceiling“He refuses to say if he has his eyes on No10, but does not see his Anglo-Asian roots as a bar. ‘Britain is the world’s most tolerant country. If you have talent, colour and gender is less important.’  Could a state educated child from an under-represented minority who had old fashioned hard work and morals drummed into him by a shopkeeper father become PM by raw ability and doggedness?  Javid’s heroine Maggie did. He clearly dreams he could, too.” – Mail on Sunday

Camilla Long sketches the first same sex weddings

“Because every public event must now resemble The X Factor, a number of couples were competing to star in Britain’s first gay marriage: each wedding had an official waiting in a side room to press a button that connected to the general register office, which I imagine lit up to the sound of Let It Go as each marriage rang through.” – Sunday Times (£)

> Yesterday: ToryDiary Lawfully wedded

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