Labour 1) Ashcroft polls suggest near wipeout for Labour in Scotland

Scottish flag“The Scottish National party is just a percentage point away from seizing the seat of Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy in May’s general election and is on course to oust Charles Kennedy, former Liberal Democrat leader, according to new polls. The detailed constituency polls commissioned by Lord Ashcroft, the millionaire Conservative peer, offer fresh evidence of an extraordinary swing in support that could give the SNP a central role in deciding who forms the UK’s next government” – Financial Times

  • Scottish Labour MPs demand no SNP pact – Scotsman
  • SNP to take Brown and Darling’s seats – Scotsman
  • Cameron rejects Sturgeon’s call for pre-election talks with the civil service – Herald
  • Maternity leave minister returns to help SNP avoid ID database defeat – Daily Telegraph
  • Ashcroft says Labour and Tories face dead heat on election day – Daily Telegraph


Labour 2) Shadow cabinet fears Osborne giveaway Budget

“George Osborne is preparing his own raid on pension savings to fund a pre-election tax cut for workers, senior Labour figures fear. Labour is braced for a giveaway budget in less than two weeks’ time with many in the party expecting the chancellor to raise the level at which national insurance is paid — equivalent to an income tax cut for most people. This would damage Ed Miliband’s claim that poor households are failing to benefit from the economic recovery, say shadow cabinet sources” – The Times (£)

Labour 3) “Conspiracy let in 3.6 million people to create multicultural Britain”

Blair and Brown“Immigration during Labour’s time in power boosted the UK population by 3.6 million, according to a report published today… A study by Migration Watch UK argues that the surge in immigration under Labour was partly because of incompetence and partly a conspiracy by some in the party to make British society more multicultural. It hints that Labour may have opened up the UK for electoral advantage, because migrants from Asia and Africa were more inclined to vote Labour” – The Times (£)

  • Wolverhampton grapples with the shadow of Enoch Powell – Financial Times

Cameron accused of chickening out of TV debates

“So David Cameron has made his ‘final offer’, his final condition on which he will or won’t sign up to the TV debates. And it is a clever way of appearing to care about the TV debates while ensuring that they don’t happen at all. In a letter to the BBC, the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications Craig Oliver has said he will only agree to one debate – lasting 90 minutes, between seven party leaders” – Isabel Hardman, Spectator

  • There is no excuse not to hold a leaders’ debate – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • Tories consider limited child benefit to three children – BBC

Goodwin says UKIP already has four seats “in the bag”

FARAGE eating“UKIP already has four seats ‘in the bag’ at the general election, one of Britain’s leading election forecasters has said and should win at least two more. Matthew Goodwin, an associate professor of politics at Nottingham University, also said that UKIP will ‘indirectly damage’ the Tories in 69 seats at the election, and Labour in 59 constituencies. Prof Goodwin said UKIP would be second in 60 seats in the north of England, putting the party well placed for a major breakthrough at the 2020 general election” – Daily Telegraph

  • Civil war breaks out in UKIP as Farage scraps migrant cap – The Sun (£)
  • Farage’s turnround on immigrants is too little, too late – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
  • Revealed: UKIP’s election masterplan…for 2020 – Sebastian Payne, Spectator


Chiefs told to quit if defence spending is cut again

“Britain’s military chiefs should be prepared to resign en mass if the next government decides to cut defence spending again, a former head of the Royal Air Force said yesterday. Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon said that General Sir Nicholas Houghton, the chief of the defence staff, and the heads of all three services would face a ‘very, very difficult decision’ about what to do should any further reductions be made to the military budget” – The Times (£)

Johnson accused of garden bridge duplicity

BORIS angel devil“The sparkling new ‘tiara on the head of our fabulous city,’ as Joanna Lumley, cheerleader for the garden bridge, has called it, is turning out to be a rather costly crown. In a confidential letter obtained by the Guardian it has emerged that the public will be liable for the bridge’s annual £3.5m maintenance bill in perpetuity – on top of the £60m of public funds already committed to the project. The news goes against everything London’s mayor has pledged to date” – Guardian

News in brief

  • US ambassador to South Korea wounded in knife attack – Daily Mail
  • Nemtsov’s daughter says he was punished for his politics – The Times (£)
  • SFO launches investigation into Bank of England liquidity auctions – Guardian
  • Mother and lesbian lover convicted of killing girl, eight – Daily Telegraph
  • Stepbrother of Becky Watts charged with her murder – Daily Mail
  • Mitchell ordered to pay £80,000 in damages to Downing Street cop – The Sun (£)
  • Blackman challenges IPSA demand for expenses repayment – Daily Mail
  • Royal St George’s votes to allow women members – Financial Times