Cameron 1) Right to Buy one of the ‘greatest Conservative ideas of the last century’

HOMES Manifesto“Allowing council tenants to buy their homes was one of the ‘greatest Conservative ideas of the last century’, David Cameron said last night. The Prime Minister pledged to ‘keep backing’ Margaret Thatcher’s flagship Right To Buy policy, and said its critics were hypocrites because they were usually homeowners themselves. His comments follow speculation that the Tories want to extend the policy, perhaps by including 2.5million housing association tenants.” – Daily Mail




Cameron 2) Fresh research maintains pressure over defence budget

“Spending on third world aid is on course to be greater than the defence budget within 15 years, according to official research, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. The forecast from the House of Commons library show at current rates Britain’s international development budget will exceed military spending by 2030/31. Separately scores of Conservative MPs are likely to try to force the Government to commit to spending two per cent of the nation’s income on defence spending after 2015/16.” – Daily Telegraph


  • Why is Cameron not talking about defence? – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
  • The Prime Minister speaks loudly but is waving a small stick at Russia – Kim Sengupta, The Independent

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: After Nemtsov’s murder, Putin’s banditry must be confronted

Cameron 3) Five years in prison for officials who ignore abuse

Aid shield“Teachers, social workers and councillors who turn a blind eye to child sex abuse will face up to five years in jail under plans for a new criminal offence. It comes as David Cameron today vows to eradicate the ‘culture of denial’ surrounding the issue. The Government has decided to act following an official report that found at least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling sexual abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.” – Daily Mail


Cameron 4) Tory rift widens over immigration

“Damaging splits have opened in the upper ranks of the Tory party over David Cameron’s plan to make a manifesto commitment to slash immigration. The Prime Minister and Home Secretary Theresa May have become increasingly isolated in their determination to fix a new measure for bringing net migration under control. Mr Cameron is considering including two different targets in next month’s manifesto – including a specific target to slash net migration from outside the EU, which, unlike EU migration, ministers can fully control.” – Daily Mail


  • MPs, not immigrants, are the real problem – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)


>Today: David Burrowes MP in Comment: Immigration detention should no longer be out of sight and out of mind

Iain Martin: Watch out for Cameron’s last-minute change of direction

Camerons thinking copy“What to watch out for in the final month – if the numbers don’t move – is Cameron cutting loose. After all, he specialises in last minute escape acts (in his A-levels, finals, leadership race, in the formation of the coalition with the Lib Dems and in the Scottish referendum). I’m not suggesting that he will jettison “The Long-Term Economic Plan” but he may need to do something interesting, bold and disruptive, which was not in the Tory election plan.” – Daily Telegraph


  • Brits crouch and cuss but vote for more of the same – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times


May defies Cabinet over migration cap…

“Theresa May today binds a future Tory government to a net migration target that it has failed to meet in this parliament. A day after senior Conservatives warned the home secretary that the prime minister’s “no ifs, no buts” pledge on reducing the annual figure to 100,000 had been “unrealistic” and “a mistake”, Mrs May hits back at cabinet colleagues she accuses of not doing enough. In an interview with The Times, she says that the issue “touches all government departments”, including education and health.” – The Times (£)

  • We made a difference, insists May – The Times (£)
  • Home Secretary leads politicians in attack on ISIS apologists – Daily Mail

…whilst Clark confronts it over ban on extermist speakers

CLARK Greg Krieg“Greg Clark, the universities and skills minister, warned at a cabinet meeting last month that Home Office plans to force universities to ban non-violent “extremists” could prove unworkable, sources said. Mr Clark appeared to question whether the move on extremism was necessary. His intervention triggered fury from David Cameron and Theresa May, the home secretary. The fracas was described as a “rare example of genuine disagreement, openly expressed” in cabinet, by one witness. It suggests that divisions over the issue extend wider than the disagreement between Conservatives and Lib Dems that emerged over the weekend.” – The Times (£)

  • Curtailing free speech at university is beyond belief – Greg Hurst, The Times (£)

Morgan hits out at Ofqual’s decision to ‘liberate’ GCSE chemistry pupils from lab tests

“Teenagers taking GCSE science will no longer have their practical work assessed through coursework, it was confirmed yesterday. The exams regulator Ofqual is pressing ahead with the reform despite fierce opposition from many in the science community… Education Nicky Morgan has also publicly criticised the move, recently saying it was ‘in danger of holding back the next generation of scientists.’ But Ofqual has insisted that the change will ‘liberate’ teachers from repetitive practicals and offer more variety to pupils.” – Daily Mail

  • Kent Council leader claims failure to approve new grammar is denying children places – Daily Telegraph


  • Poor children need the best schools to escape education apartheid – Peter Lampl, The Times (£)
  • Morgan needs comedy lessons – Donald Macintyre’s sketch, The Independent

McVey welcomes fresh fall in unemployment

Building shield“The UK unemployment rate is now half that of Eurozone (11.2 per cent) and 4.2 percentage points below the European average (9.8 per cent), according to figures released by Eurostat yesterday. Britain has also overtaken the United States, where unemployment rates have fallen from 6.6 per cent to 5.7 per cent in a year. “Employers across the UK are feeling more confident, investing in people of all ages and these figures today show that the UK is at the top of the jobs growth league of all the major economies,” said Esther McVey, the employment minister.” – Daily Telegraph

Pickles lay down law to charities as election looms

“Charities have been warned that they will be stripped of grants if they campaign against the government. Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, was denounced yesterday by charity chiefs, who said that he was using the threat to stifle democracy. He was accused of a “squalid attempt” to make them “dance to the tune of government” during the election period. In a written statement last week, Mr Pickles said that research by the Institute of Economic Affairs had “exposed the extensive practice of taxpayers’ money being given to pressure groups and supposed charities, in turn being used to lobby the government and parliament for more money and regulation”.” – The Times (£)

Hayes says Highways Agency will notify owners of animals killed in accidents

HAYES John“Pets killed on roads will have to be collected, identified and their owners notified by the Highways Agency after a successful campaign inspired by a woman who was not informed her dog had died until four months after he was found. Transport minister John Hayes, who made the announcement, said it was ‘absolutely essential’ that every possible and practical measure is taken to identify domestic animals killed in road accidents and their owners contacted.” – Daily Mail

Johnson accused of putting words in the mouth of the Muslim Council of Britain

“Boris Johnson made up a “serious false accusation” about the Muslim Council of Britain when he alleged that it claimed jihadists as part of “mainstream Islam”, the organisation has said. The MCB says it never actually made comments attributed to it by the Mayor of London and has written to the newspaper in which he made the allegations. Writing in his column, Mr Johnson accused the group of “eliding anti-jihadism with Islamophobia” and attributed criticism of recent comments he had made about Islam to a “spokeswoman” of the Muslim Council of Britain.” – The Independent

Bank of England’s handling of Forex enquiry criticised by Norman investigation

NORMAN Jesse“The Bank of England failed to investigate properly its role in the alleged manipulation of the foreign exchange market after setting “very low tests” for the probe, according to a leading barrister. The barrister’s opinion, commissioned by Jesse Norman, a prominent Conservative backbencher and member of the Treasury select committee, calls into question whether the Bank’s newly revamped governance structure is robust enough to hold its officials and employees to account.” – Financial Times

Extent of McCluskey’s power over Labour revealed

“Nearly half of all Labour candidates and MPs standing in the Election have links to “Red Len” McCluskey and his Unite union. All but two of the MPs on Labour’s Shadow Cabinet are either Unite members or have received donations from the party’s biggest funder. Leader Ed Miliband has had nearly £120,000 in donations in recent years. Deputy Leader Harriet Harman, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham are Unite members, as is Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna.” – The Sun (£)

McBride claims Labour leader’s ‘paranoia’ prevents him working with Shadow Cabinet…

MILIBAND Red Ed“Ed Miliband’s “paranoia” is stopping him utilising talented colleagues such as Ed Balls and Andy Burnham to help win the election, Gordon Brown’s former top media adviser has said. Damian McBride said the Labour leader did not consult more with the best “talent” in his shadow cabinet because he feared being “undermined”. The former Labour spinner said Mr Miliband had made a mistake trying to “assert his status as the boss” and turning to “very lightweight” MPs instead of being more open to the party’s biggest brains.” – Daily Telegraph

… as left-wing think tank denounces Miliband’s fee cut

“Ed Miliband’s flagship plan to cut university tuition fees to £6,000 will not help bright youngsters from poor homes, Britain’s biggest anti-poverty group warned last night. In a scathing assessment, the left-leaning Joseph Rowntree Foundation said the Labour leader’s vow to bring down fees from £9,000 ‘sounds progressive… but sadly it isn’t’. The charity said there were ‘better ways’ to use the £3billion-a-year cost of the policy to help the poor, such as increasing spending on sixth-form colleges in poorer areas.” – Daily Mail

  • Murphy vows to maintain free tuition in Scotland – The Scotsman

Families attack Burnham over Morcambe Bay enquiry…

“Joshua’s father James Titcombe, who was appointed to the CQC in 2013 to try to prevent a repeat of such tragedies, is also understood to have protested. In an email to Dr Kirkup, seen by the Daily Mail, Mr Titcombe wrote: ‘I do want to put on record that I am very surprised and disappointed that the investigation hasn’t interviewed Andy Burnham. I have… raised with you on many occasions, the evidence from people who were working in the system at the time that there was a culture of “no bad news”.” – Daily Mail

…as he criticises Liberal Democrat decision to kill Saatchi Bill

NHS_Logo“The Liberal Democrats’ decision to stop MPs voting on a new law to allow doctors to test treatments on dying patients is “odd and wrong”, Labour has said. The comments from Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, leave Nick Clegg’s party politically isolated over its controversial decision to withdraw support for the Medical Innovation Bill. The Bill – which was passed by the House of Lords – would have allowed doctors to test cutting edge new treatments on patients to help find cures for cancer and other serious illnesses.” – Daily Telegraph

Lammy claims some property crime is ‘as good as legal’

“Half of the 450,000 burglary victims a year complain they do not ever hear back from cops and only two-thirds of all burglaries now get reported. The findings are from a major study by senior Labour MP David Lammy, for the centre-right think tank the Policy Exchange. London Mayor candidate Mr Lammy today sounds the alarm over “a property crime endemic sweeping Britain which is going largely unaddressed”. The MP for Tottenham added: “Worse still, it is disproportionately affecting Britain’s deprived communities.”” – The Sun (£)

  • Experts reject candidate’s proposal for soft sentences for luxury shoplifters – Daily Mail

Paul Johnson: It’s time we were told the truth about tax

money“Let’s further agree that increasing tax can be a respectable and responsible policy option. I would go further. It is refreshing to see a party lay out plans for tax rises before an election. Every general election since 1992 has seen the chancellor announce large tax increases within a year of polling day, none of which were spelt out to the electorate beforehand. It is preferable for the electorate to know what is planned than for increases to be sprung on them after they have voted.” – The Times (£)

UKIP 1) Farage: I wouldn’t be a very good Prime Minister

“Ukip’s rise in popularity has been built on railing against rising immigration numbers. But Nigel Farage has conceded foreigners have brought one benefit to Britain: The food has improved. In an interview apparently designed to soften his image, the Ukip leader admitted he would ‘not be very good’ as Prime Minister and revealed how the pressure of fronting the party of ‘DIY politics’ means he does not have a normal family life.” – Daily Mail

UKIP 2) Party start recycling apologies for homophobic behaviour

UKIP logo“Ukip seems to be re-using old statements apologising for homophobia by its supporters after a rush of similar incidents in recent months. The party has twice released the same statement in response to two separate incidents, both weeks apart – prompting jokes that the party could be “running out of ways to say sorry”. In the most recent incident, the ‘Christian Soldiers in UKIP’ group handed out a leaflet at the party’s spring conference in Margate arguing that sexual education in schools was “sexual grooming”.” – The Independent

  • Ex-wife of UKIP candidate claims rallies were making her children racist – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Opposition to a pre-election pact with UKIP among Party members reaches a new high

News in Brief:

  • Fix Parliament or it will close within 20 years, warns Bercow – Daily Mail
  • Expert claims Syria is world’s first ‘climate change war’ – The Independent
  • Detention centre staff investigated after being filmed abusing detainees – Daily Telegraph
  • Tube strike planned to defend driver who failed two breathalyzers – The Sun (£)
  • BBC boss insists the licence fee – or equivalent – must remain – Daily Mail
  • Unionist tactical voting campaign rallies support behind Scottish Labour and Tory candidates – Daily Telegraph
  • Miliband only the fourth most influential person… in Doncaster – The Sun (£)
  • Northern Ireland braces for austerity – Financial Times