Cameron 1) Pledge that teens will work for benefits

Cameron1“Jobless youngsters will be forced to pick up litter or carry out other community work if they want to receive benefits, David Cameron will say today. In a major speech on Tory welfare plans, the Prime Minister will claim it is wrong for them to be allowed to go straight on to the dole. He will pledge that a future Tory government will introduce mandatory community work for unemployed youngsters in order to instil the ‘discipline of turning up for work each day’.” – Daily Mail

  • Young jobless will do ‘work experience’ from day one – The Times (£)

Cameron 2) New deal with Brunei to maintain armed forces presence

“Britain will continue to station troops in Brunei for a further five years to help maintain the armed forces’ permanent presence in South Asia, Downing Street has said. Prime Minister David Cameron renewed the long-standing agreement during a meeting with the Sultan of Brunei at Chequers. The stationing of UK troops in Brunei also allows them to undertake extreme environment training.” – Daily Telegraph

Cameron 3) Boost for Prime Minister as Conservatives take strongest poll position in nearly two years…

Opinion Poll graphic“The Conservatives have opened up a four-point lead over Labour after the biggest surge in their support for two years, a poll has suggested. A Guardian/ ICM poll showed that the Tories are six points up to 36 per cent, only one point short of their result in the 2010 General Election. Labour support fell one point to 32 per cent, while the Liberal Democrats were also down a point to 10 per cent.” – Daily Telegraph

…but party has failed to make headway amongst ethnic minority voters

“The Conservatives have made almost no progress among ethnic minority voters since the last general election, a new analysis suggests. Despite a drive to broaden the party’s appeal, the Tories still lag far behind Labour among large parts of multicultural Britain. According to a YouGov study of responses from 4,200 ethnic minority voters, Labour is 64 points ahead among Bangladeshi Britons and 59 points ahead among Pakistanis. The party has a lead of 57 per cent with black voters of Caribbean and African origin.” – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC in Comment: Labour ahead by one point in my latest poll

Rose report ‘put on back burner’

NHS“One of Britain’s most senior businessmen has delivered a highly critical assessment of how the NHS is run which has yet to see the light of day two months after it was submitted to ministers. Stuart Rose has concluded that mediocre managers are allowed to move from job to job without being held to account and that success is insufficiently rewarded or celebrated, people familiar with the contents of his report say.” – Financial Times

May orders police to reign in stop and search

“Theresa May will today promise to change the law if police do not halt the ‘excessive and inappropriate’ use of stop and search. The Home Secretary will warn officers that she wants to see a dramatic improvement in figures showing that only one in every ten of the searches ends in arrest. If police continue to misuse the powers – which are disproportionately targeted against ethnic minorities – legislation will be introduced to tie their hands.” – Daily Mail

  • Home Secretary’s National Crime Agency underperforming, claims committee – Daily Mail

Duncan Smith claims Universal Credit has saved £50 billion

MANIFESTO money“Iain Duncan Smith, work and pensions secretary, said the government’s welfare reforms had saved the taxpayer £50bn and “restored fairness to the system”, as he unveiled an extension of the universal credit payment. The flagship benefit reform, in which six existing income-related benefits or tax credits are combined into a single monthly payment, was on Monday rolled out to more than 150 jobcentres across Britain.” – Financial Times

  • Universal Credit: what are the new rules and how will they affect me? – The Independent

Conservatives criticised for not making sex education mandatory in primary school

“The Conservatives have been accused of putting children’s health at risk by refusing to make sex and relationships education compulsory in primary schools. The quality of sex education is worsening – putting teenagers at risk of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and exploitation – as ministers put the objections of a “small but vocal minority of parents” over the views of most experts, according to MPs.” – The Independent

  • MPs demand mandatory sex education in all schools – The Guardian

Montgomerie launches ‘The Good Right’ and a one-nation manifesto

MONTGOMERIE purple background“Many on the Right will not like the idea of a new consumption tax on the very wealthy but the prize is lower income tax on low earners. Many won’t like the idea of the State building more homes again – as Tory prime ministers once did. But if the only alternative is ever higher housing benefit bills?” – Manifesto, The Good Right

Sir Gerald takes Welby to task over Dresden

“The Archbishop of Canterbury should never expressed regret over the British bombing of Dresden – because it helped save ‘thousands’ of lives, an MP has said. Sir Gerald Howarth, a former defence minister, said the RAF attacks 70 years ago helped shorten the War. The Most Rev Justin Welby was criticised on Friday for telling an audience in the German city of his ‘profound feeling of regret and deep sorrow’ at the bombings, which killed thousands.” – Daily Mail

Rachel Sylvester: The ‘nasty party’ is back, this time online

image“What has been less noticed, though, is the dirty and dangerous guerrilla campaign that is being waged online. Although political advertising on television is outlawed in Britain, American-style attack ads have arrived by the back door because the ban does not cover social media or video-sharing websites. It is a loophole that is being exploited, ruthlessly, by the Tory party, which is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on 30-second YouTube ads pushed out to voters in the run-up to polling day.” – The Times (£)


>Yesterday: The Deep End: If Cameron loses in May it will be because he fought the 2010 and 2015 general elections in the wrong order

Tax 1) Leslie declines to return donation as donor not charged with tax evasion

“Ms Leslie indicated that she would return any donations from someone who had been found guilty of tax evasion. However, last night she issued a statement saying that as “there was no criminal prosecution of Hugh Sloane or of his company for tax evasion”, she would not be taking any action.” – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Charlotte Leslie MP’s column: Why young people should have the vote at 16

Tax 2) Chancellor gave viewers tax advice on the Daily Politics

money“A video of a young George Osborne advising voters how to use ‘clever financial products’ to avoid taxes has been unearthed. In the clip, recorded on BBC’s Daily Politics in 2003, Mr Osborne smirks as he advises a caller to the show how to cut inheritance tax bills and avoid paying for old age care. Mr Osborne even admits that he ‘probably shouldn’t be advocating this on television’.” – Daily Mail

Tax 3) Umunna dodges question about whether Labour should return money from tax-avoiding donors

“Chuka Umunna yesterday refused five times to say Labour would hand back money if a donor was found to have used aggressive tax avoidance. The party’s business spokesman dodged the question repeatedly by insisting he was ‘not aware’ of any such donation. He even refused to rule out Labour accepting the money if it knew in advance that a donor was aggressively avoiding tax, saying only that the party would ‘think twice’ before saying yes.” – Daily Mail

Tax 4) Fresh woe for Balls as window cleaner rubbishes claim never to pay cash-in-hand

“Ed Balls was accused of ‘total hypocrisy’ last night after his window cleaner revealed he has never asked for a receipt in 17 years. The Shadow Chancellor provoked controversy at the weekend when he lectured families on their duty to collect receipts and personal details from gardeners, cleaners and handymen, no matter how small the job done. Mr Balls said he always followed the practice – and had done ‘since I have been involved in politics’.” – Daily Mail

  • Miliband claims Labour more interested in ‘hedge funds’ than ‘hedge trimmers’ – The Independent
  • Balls counts the cost as receipt claim is shredded – The Times (£)
  • The Shadow Chancellor should focus his fire on more deserving targets – The Times (£) editorial
  • Everyone – except Balls – knows that cash makes the world go round – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
  • An undeclared £10 is not the same as a suitcase of Swiss cash – Michael White, The Guardian

Tax 5) Balls one of 12 Shadow Cabinet members who claimed expenses without receipts

BALLS "Couldn't give a toss"“Ed Balls and 11 other members of the shadow cabinet claimed expenses for cleaning, gardening or odd jobs without submitting receipts, seriously undermining the shadow chancellor’s advice that we should all insist on invoices for cash-in-hand jobs… Mr Balls, in common with his 11 colleagues, did not submit a single receipt for the work done, despite his insistence on Monday that he had obtained receipts for every single cash payment since he entered politics 21 years ago.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Jonathan Isaby in Comment: Why every taxpayer should oppose plain packaging for cigarettes

Miliband sends false NHS letters to send message to patients…

“Ed Miliband has been accused of misleading voters after Labour sent out letters made to look like they were from a hospital or GP surgery. Many were left upset by the mail, which could easily be mistaken for test results or notification of changes in local NHS provision. The letters come in envelopes saying that they contain important information about the NHS. It is only when people read the contents that they realise it is a message from the Labour leader.” – Daily Mail

  • Not even Ant and Dec can bring themselves to back him – Daily Mail

…as he pledges to force companies hiring non-EU workers to offer apprenticeships

MILIBAND Ed red background“All large companies bidding for government contracts or employing non-EU workers will be required to offer apprenticeships under a Labour government, Ed Miliband has said. The Labour leader announced that all school leavers who get “good grades” will be guaranteed the chance to start an apprenticeship. He said that by 2020 80,000 more apprenticeships will be on offer to school-leavers every year as it becomes the norm for companies.” – Daily Telegraph

Umunna claims UK should be more like France

“Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna claimed the French were “more productive”. Mr Umunna, who regularly visits his French counterpart, told BBC Radio 4: “We have got to deal with the productivity problem in this country”… French economic growth in the last three months of 2014 was a paltry 0.1 per cent – dwarfed by Britain’s 0.5 per cent. Mr Umunna insisted: “People can say what they want about France. But ultimately, coming back to the UK, we have to be more productive.”” – The Sun (£)

  • Productivity fuels hopes for recovery – Philip Aldrick, The Times (£)
  • Yorkshire has been creating more jobs than the whole of France – Tim Montgomerie, The Times Red Box

Dan Hodges: For Labour in particular, hypocrisy is the worst political sin

LABOUR dead rose“Hypocrisy is toxic. But if anything it is even more toxic for Labour than the Tories. That is because moral superiority is basically all Labour have left now. Ed Miliband’s party long ago gave up trying to convince the country Labour could govern more efficiently or prudently than the Conservatives. Their entire offer is now based upon convincing people they can do so more ethically. Which was always going to be a tough ask.” – Daily Telegraph

Liberal Democrat MP suggests Union Flag is not ‘woman-friendly’

“The use of Union Jack flags on the Government’s business advice website is putting off women, the Coalition’s ambassador for women in enterprise has said. Lorely Burt warned the branding on the “Great Business” website is not seen as “woman-friendly” and said the “proliferation of Union flags” made it seem like a military recruitment site.” – Daily Telegraph

Channel 4 slammed over UKIP ‘hatchet job’

UKIP glass“Channel 4 was last night accused of anti-democratic ´fear-mongering´ for airing a controversial drama about what life would be like with Nigel Farage as Prime Minister. UKIP: The First Hundreds Days painted a highly-critical vision of Britain under UKIP rule, including a country divided by race riots, mass unemployment and a crashing economy. Channel 4 said it ordered the drama – which lampooned UKIP, its leaders and its supporters – as a way of engaging people in politics in the run-up to the May General Election.” – Daily Mail

  • A metropolitan snideness marred the satire – Ben Lawrence, Daily Telegraph
  • Where are the dramas mocking the left? – James Delingpole, Daily Mail

Farage joins Palin at US conservative conference

“Nigel Farage will speak alongside Sarah Palin and some of America’s most extreme Right-wing conservatives at a conference in Washington next week. The Ukip leader will share a stage with a host of gun activists, Tea Party leaders and anti-abortion campaigners at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).” – Daily Telegraph

  • UKIP leader elects to campaign dressed as Rupert Bear – The Sun (£)

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