Cameron warns that an alliance between Labour and the SNP could break up Britain…

UNION FLAG torn“The prime minister claimed a minority Labour government propped up by the SNP would be the “worst outcome” for the whole country. In a speech in London marking two months before polling day, Cameron said: “You could end up with an alliance between the people who want to bankrupt Britain and the people who want to break up Britain.” – Sunday Times (£)

…As Miliband stays silent on ruling a pact with Salmond in or out

“The Labour leader ducked the issue during a keynote speech to party members in Edinburgh.  Instead, he signalled that Scotland would get more funding if he becomes PM than under the Tories…SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon removed the biggest obstacle to a deal by ditching her demand for the Trident nuclear deterrent to be scrapped in return for her party’s support. Alex Salmond, her comrade and predecessor as First Minister, later boasted that Scotland can “call the tune” in Westminster.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Hague: The choice – chaos or competence

HAGUE Marr“Be in no doubt. Ed Miliband wants power at any price. No deal will be too shabby, no alliance off limits. He is prepared to sell out to anyone just to get his hands on the keys to No10. He knows his party is in meltdown in Scotland and on its knees. He knows his personal popularity is at its lowest north of the border. He is grasping at straws but has found a willing wee helper to keep his dream alive.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – Competence v chaos. Cameron’s Key campaign message. Literally.

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Could the next British Government be sustained by anti-British MPs?

Claims that Cameron and Osborne are at odds over hitting the NATO defence spending target…

“The Chancellor is refusing to guarantee to protect the Armed Forces from cuts after the Election, saying it would undermine his attempts to reduce the UK’s debt…But the Prime Minister fears it will damage relations with US President Barack Obama, who urged him last month not to set a bad example to other Nato nations by cutting spending.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Osborne’s continuing leadership ambitions – Mail on Sunday
  • “As it happens, I don’t think the retired generals will succeed in their pre-election attempt to win mass support. The top brass’s collective reputation, after humiliation in Iraq and mission failure in Afghanistan, hardly inspires confidence.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)
  • No wonder Putin feels free to buzz Britain with its bombers – John Baron MP, Mail on Sunday

…As the Chancellor mulls budget plans and Cameron an early dissolution. More people to be taken out of tax, lower beer duty, and a tax avoidance crackdown coming. LibDems fret about being caught up in Conservative election giveaway

OSBORNE Horatius head“The Tories and Liberal Democrats are finalising a deal that would raise the level at which people start paying income tax “towards £11,000” a year from April, in a bid to win over workers on modest incomes. The move, a centrepiece of the budget on March 18, is designed to put between £160 and £200 in voters’ pockets ahead of the general election, boosting the chances of both coalition parties as the formal campaign kicks off.” – Sunday Times (£)

A crackdown on sharia courts? Early draft of the Government’s counter-extremism strategy

“A leaked draft of the Home Office’s new counter-extremism strategy, seen by The Telegraph, targets Sharia courts and calls for a ban on radicals working unsupervised with children over fears the young could be brainwashed. Other measures include a requirement that staff at job centres identify vulnerable claimants who may become targets for radicalisation, after public outrage at people who hate Britain being able to live off the state.” – Sunday Telegraph

Wollaston purses Hunt over NHS management report

Sarah Wollaston“Sarah Wollaston, a former GP who took over the chairmanship of the committee last year, said it was not reasonable or right that a report by former Marks & Spencer boss and Tory peer Stuart Rose, which was commissioned by Hunt a year ago and completed in December, was being kept from the public.” – Observer

Nicky Morgan: On International Women’s Day, here are our plans to fight abuse and sexism

“Soon the women of Britain will face a choice about who they want to govern our country — a right that Emmeline Pankhurst fought hard to secure. My hope is that when those millions of women cast their vote in the general election on May 7, they will judge the Conservatives on our record for women and place their trust in us to continue to lead the long march towards Emmeline’s goal — a society where women truly do “count just as much as men”.” – Sunday Times (£)

Miliband reveals new manifesto priority. Higher growth? More hospitals? Better schools? No: passing a law to guarantee TV election debates.

Red Ed Miliband“The new system would work on similar lines to the current rules for planning the number, length and timing of party political broadcasts, under which parties are consulted but not given the power to stop them happening. This could be done by establishing the body which negotiates the terms of debates as a trust in statute with responsibility for determining the dates, format, volume and attendees.” – Observer

  • No tub of lard for Prime Minister – Independent on Sunday
  • Conservatives: Clegg’s trying to wriggle out the debates himself. Yah boo sucks – Sun on Sunday
  • Labour pledges green premium bonds windfall – The Observer
  • Falkirk row resurrected as Miliband and Unite lock horns over Halifax candidate – Sunday Times (£)
  • Labour wants councils to raise cash from burials shocker – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • Lucy Powell and Chief Whip Rosie Winterton wrangled over music awards and Commons vote – Mail on Sunday
  • Blair 1) He sought £30 million UAE deal – Sunday Times (£)
  • Blair 2) He gave PR advice to African president after death of protesters – Sunday Telegraph
  • Blair 3) His critics are happy to pocket his cash – Guido Fawkes, Mail on Sunday

Debate Comment:

  • Debate words for Cameron’s mouth – Toby Young, Sun on Sunday (£)
  • Crosby has driven opposition to the debates – James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday
  • Prime Minister’s debate risk – Adam Boulton, Mail on Sunday
  • In this game of TV chicken, will Cameron be first to blink? – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

> Yesterday: Sanjoy Sen on Comment – I’m a new candidate. But most of my career has been in the oil industry. Here’s my view of its future.

Rodents to be given human rights under Green Party. They will also propose creating a fleet of hospital ships to serve the developing world, cutting the size of National Lottery prizes and banning the Grand National

Screen shot 2015-03-08 at 08.57.00“Animals would be protected under human rights laws and new taxes imposed on nappies under plans to be considered by the Green Party. The insurgent environmentalist party, which hopes to hold the balance of power after the General Election by winning up to ten seats, will also propose creating a fleet of hospital ships to serve the developing world, cutting the size of National Lottery prizes and banning the Grand National.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Farage says that his children are bullied “mercilessly” – Mail on Sunday

Hurry, hurry! You can get 33/1 on the Kenneth Baker/Gislea Stuart-supported LabServative Grand Coalition

“[Baker’s] comments have caused a stir among leaders, but bookmaker William Hill is now taking bets on the unimaginable, offering odds of 33/1. But they are a far stretch from odds for the SNP being involved in the coalition government which comes in at just 7/2.” – Sunday Express

Mail on Sunday claims that “Thatcher knew about paedophile MP Cyril Smith”

cyrilSmith_2398434b“Nick Clegg and David Cameron, both Ministers in the Cabinet Office, have been accused of ‘colluding’ in the latest cover-up of evidence that could expose VIP paedophile rings. The secrecy row will also focus attention on Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, who has become known as ‘Sir Cover-Up’ after blocking the release of dozens of messages exchanged by Tony Blair and George W Bush ahead of the Iraq war.” – Mail on Sunday

Nick Cohen: A story you won’t hear on the BBC – the scandal of its revenge against its own journalists who broke the Saville story

“The case of Jones and MacKean makes my point. I have reported on it in the Observer and Private Eye has covered it too. But the Tory press, which daily bashes the BBC, has avoided the story. You only have to look at the Telegraph to understand why it does not want to encourage insubordination. Its journalists must resign before they can protest against HSBC’s control of its news pages. The power of hierarchies is hard to break. But if you want to fight fraud in the City or the rape of children, it has to be broken. A start can be made by insisting that everyone from John Humphrys in the morning to Evan Davis at night tells the truth about the purge of the BBC’s truth tellers.” – The Observer

News in Brief