Tories take the lead in national polls for the first time in two years

Opinion Poll graphic‘The Conservatives have surged into a lead in the opinion polls for the first time in two years. David Cameron’s party is now two points ahead of Labour as Ed Miliband faces growing pressure that voters do not seem him as the next Prime Minister…According to a new survey by Lord Ashcroft Polls, 34 per cent of people say they will back the Tories at the next general election, with only 32 per cent supporting Labour. Ukip is backed by 15 per cent, with the Lib Dems on just 9 per cent.’ – Daily Mail


Gove and Laws told to kiss and make up

‘David Cameron and Nick Clegg yesterday ordered their education ministers to stop feuding in public. The two party leaders met to defuse an increasingly ugly spat between those close to the Tory Education Secretary, Michael Gove, and his Liberal Democrat deputy, David Laws. The Prime Minister said he wanted to ‘deal with’ those who have been inflaming the row  over the Government’s schools  policies in which Mr Gove has  been branded an ‘ideologically obsessed zealot’ by senior Lib Dem sources.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Gove versus Laws fight is a particularly significant one

UKIP run to police over Twitter criticism

UKIP glass‘An education official was visited by police because he  had upset Ukip on Twitter. Officers knocked at Michael Abberton’s door to question him about a mocked-up poster he had placed online that criticised the Eurosceptic party’s policies. They asked him about his ‘intentions toward Ukip’ and suggested he should tell no one that the visit had taken place.’ – Daily Mail

  • UKIP MEPs miss crucial votes on defending British interests – The Times (£)
  • Debate, don’t censor, islamist extremists on Twitter – The Times (£)
  • Prime Minister: It’s unfair to sack ‘Sun Has Got His Hat On’ DJ – Daily Mail
  • Plain cigarette packs will drive voters to Farage – The Sun (£)
  • The EU’s £9.7 million limo bill – The Sun (£)
  • Boris: Thatcher was ‘tricksy’ over the EU – Daily Telegraph

Tensions rise over AstraZeneca takeover bid

‘Members of the Business Select Committee will on Tuesday demand that Vince Cable tightens Britain’s takeover rules to protect AstraZeneca from a possible £63bn hostile bid from Pfizer. The MPs, who have summoned the Business Secretary, the bosses of both Pfizer and AstraZeneca and trade union leaders to face questions on the deal, have said the UK’s takeover regulation is too weak to protect the “crown jewels of British industry.”’ – Daily Telegraph

Lawson: Cut the top rate of tax to 40p

cut taxes‘The highest rate of income tax should be cut to 40p as the economic recovery takes hold and public spending is brought under control, Lord Lawson of Blaby says. The former chancellor says that scrapping the 45p levy would raise extra cash and should be part of a wider package of measures showing the Conservatives’ “direction of travel” on tax.’ – The Times (£)

Better Together? Darling sidelined in favour of…Douglas Alexander

‘Alistair Darling has effectively been dumped as head of the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK following crisis cross-party talks. Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander has been drafted in to reinvigorate the Better Together campaign run by the former Chancellor amid growing concerns about his ‘lacklustre’ performance.’ – Daily Mail

  • The campaign needs a shot of adrenaline – Daily Mail
  • Lottery winners have given 80 per cent of the Yes campaign’s money – FT
  • Inside the SNP machine – FT

The North East hits back against left-wingers talking it down

GROWTH Krieg‘I was in a full blown fit of righteous indignation at an article in last weekend’s Guardian magazine which has the audacity to compare the North East of England to Detroit in the US. The comparison was made by a left wing writer, Andy Beckett, and hyped his case beyond credibility. He suggested that in five years the situation in the North East will get “somewhere near Detroit”.’ – Graham Robb, The Newcastle Journal

  • 100 reasons why it’s great up North – The Newcastle Journal
  • The Tories still don’t have a handle on ethnic minority voters – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Want a Tory victory in 2030? Fight to turn the North East blue

>Yesterday: LISTEN: The IoD’s Graham Robb tears into a Guardian comparison between the North-East and Detroit

Davies: Hold an early election to boot out the Zombie Parliament

‘Voters should be able to go to the polls in a snap election NOW so they can boot out the “Zombie Parliament”, a Tory MP has declared. Rebel backbencher Philip Davies spoke out as Westminster prepares for another 19-day holiday. The Commons is expected to rise this week, barely a fortnight after returning from Easter, because there is not enough work for them to do.’ – The Sun (£)

The race to chair the Defence Select Committee

Commons‘MPs will vote on Wednesday on who will take over from James Arbuthnot as chairman of the defence select committee, with eight Conservative MPs vying to take over what has become one of parliament’s more prestigious jobs. High profile backbenchers, including former prisons minister Crispin Blunt, the former shadow defence minister Julian Lewis and Keith Simpson, parliamentary aide to the foreign secretary, are all applying to take over the role.’ – FT

  • MoD underspends on kit – FT
  • Anonymous witness may testify against Bloody Sunday soldiers – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Adam Holloway MP on Comment: Why Colonel Bob Stewart, holder of a DSO, should be the next Chairman of the Defence Select Committee

Heathrow and Gatwick scrap over the future of airports

‘The battle between Gatwick and Heathrow over which airport should secure permission to build Britain’s next runway was stepped up on Tuesday, when both set out revised expansion plans. These detailed plans will be presented this week to the Airports Commission, the government-appointed body that last December recommended that the south-east of England should have one new runway by 2030, and shortlisted Gatwick and Heathrow as possible locations.’ – FT

  • Boris touts £30bn tunnel ring-road – FT
  • Where’s our energy policy? – The Times Leader (£)
  • Rising house prices threaten London’s hiring competitiveness – FT

Nurses arrested in new NHS scandal investigation

NHS_Logo‘A hospital under investigation by police and the NHS has suspended ten nurses – three of whom have been arrested over tampering with medication and falsifying records. Last night campaigners fighting for a full public inquiry into deaths and poor care at the hospital in South Wales, said the problem was bigger than the Mid Staffordshire scandal.’ – Daily Mail

  • Miliband promises GP appointments within 48 hours – Daily Mail
  • He should try reforming Labour-run NHS Wales first – Daily Mail Leader
  • Nice theory which won’t work – The Sun Says (£)
  • Growing numbers are too fat for the mortuary – Daily Mail

Hanningfield suspended for claiming ’Sign in, Sod off’ expenses

‘Shamed former Tory peer Lord Hanningfield is set to be suspended from the House of Lords for claiming more than £3,000 for work he did not do, it was announced today. The former Essex County Council leader was caught turning up at Parliament to ‘clock in and out’ to claim his daily allowance before leaving minutes later to go home.’ – Daily Mail

  • £200,000 refurbishment for Commons restaurant – Daily Mail

Tougher sanctions on Russia

Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 08.24.52‘The US and its leading European allies are preparing wider sanctions on Russia’s economy and are discussing a ban on the export of high-tech energy equipment, if Moscow is seen to disrupt Ukraine’s presidential elections on May 25. The west is still backing the presidential poll to re-legitimise Kiev’s leadership, even as separatist leaders in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, asked Russia to annex it, following what they claimed was a resounding victory in a self-rule referendum on Sunday.’ – FT

News in brief

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