Prime Minister attacks rail companies mulling significant price increases…

Cameron1“Rail firms came under fire this weekend for planning a series of fare hikes of up to 87 per cent just ten days after the general election – despite the main party leaders pledging to freeze prices. The Prime Minister has requested First Great Western (FGW) ‘urgently review’ its decision to almost double some fares on the route between London and the Cotswolds – which passes through his Witney constituency. Mr Cameron has promised to freeze fares in real terms for the whole of the next parliament, while Labour has also pledged to bring in a ‘cap’ on price hikes.” – Daily Mail

  • Cameron supports Kate’s decision to use private healthcare – Daily Mail

…as he reassures doubters that his calm is not evidence of complacency

“David Cameron launched an impassioned defence of the Conservative election campaign and his own hunger for power yesterday after growing accusations that the party’s negative attacks are turning off voters. In an animated retaliation against the claims, the prime minister said he made no apology for warning that a “toxic tie-up” between Labour and the SNP risked “wrecking our economy and taking us right back to square one”. His comments mark a deliberate display of anger from Mr Cameron, who has faced accusations from Tory donors that he is not eager enough for victory.” – The Times (£)


>Today: ToryDiary: If he stays in Number Ten, Cameron must change – by sharing power with his top team. Brady should be Chief Whip.

>Yesterday: Tim Bale in Comment: Cameron looks more like a captive than a captain of his party

Boost for Tories as 5,000 small businesses endorse party’s economic plan

BUSINESS innovation“The Conservatives have received a major endorsement from British businesses after the leaders of 5,000 small companies signed a letter backing David Cameron and warned that Labour would pose a risk to the economic recovery. The firms, which employ nearly 100,000 people across the country, have signed a letter which states that they “would like to see David Cameron and George Osborne given the chance to finish what they have started”. In a major intervention 10 days before the general election, the businesses praise Conservative economic plans and say that the Tories are “genuinely committed to making sure Britain is open for business”.” – Daily Telegraph


On the campaign trail with Rees-Mogg

“Meeting Jacob Rees-Mogg is almost a disappointment. There is no valet. No top hat. No Bentley (just a Lexus). And nanny is nowhere to be seen. The burden he has carried with admirable grace all his life – never failing to capture the attention of an endless stream of piss-takers, from The Oxford Student newspaper to Ali G – is that he just so happened to emerge from the womb, in May 1969, as a fully formed 45-year-old Tory MP.” – The Independent

Richest have doubled their share of income tax in five years

money“The number of taxpayers with incomes over £2m surged to 5,000 between 2010-11 and 2014-15, pushing up revenues from this group from £3.5bn to £8.9bn, according to estimates from HM Revenue & Customs. The figures show the responsiveness of the wealthy to changes in tax rates: more income was reported when the 50p rate introduced in 2010 was cut by 5p in 2013. They also fuel uncertainty about the impact of future tax rises. Both the ruling Conservatives and the Labour opposition have promised that “those with the broadest shoulders” will contribute the most to deficit reduction.” – Financial Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Reasons to be Tory 6) Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse

Housing 1) Estate agents offer ‘Cameron price’ and knock-down ‘Miliband price’ due to mansion tax fears

“The prospect of a Labour government is knocking up to 10 per cent off the price of some of Britain’s most expensive homes, it has been claimed. Wealthy buyers are demanding a lower ‘Ed Miliband’ price to compensate for any future mansion tax bills introduced by the Labour leader if he becomes Prime Minister. Estate agents in London are now said to be offering a higher ‘Cameron price’ and lower ‘Miliband price’ for the same property. Mr Miliband has pledged to introduce an annual levy on homes worth more than £2million to raise money for the NHS.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour will exempt first-time buyers from Stamp Duty – The Times (£)
  • Candidate accused of ‘vile rant’ when challenged on £1.5m home – Daily Mail

Libby Purves: This broken election won’t fix broken Britain

HOMES Manifesto“Some things currently rusting and falling off their hinges are obvious — like the toxic irrationality of inflated house prices. Successive governments have been afraid to do anything sharp for fear of upsetting homeowners basking in the fact that many houses “earn” more every year than the average wage. Instead, the boom has been aggravated by failure to provide for a rising population, plus an unwise encouragement of greedy buy-to-let landlordism, made lucrative by lack of rent controls and secure tenancy. The inexcusable pimping-out of the capital stokes it further, with London property used as investment by foreign buyers who don’t trust their own regime.” – The Times (£)

  • Why ‘Right to Buy’ has been wrong for Britain – Stephen Howlett, Financial Times

Housing 2) Labour’s rent control plans attacked from left and right

“Labour’s flagship pledge to bring back rent controls could make “very little difference” and contains “pretty scary” loopholes which could see vulnerable people evicted from their homes, a left-wing pressure group has warned. Ed Miliband has announced plans to help “generation rent” by banning landlords from increasing the amount they charge by more than the rate of inflation as part of a new offensive on the cost of living. Under the plans, tenants would sign three year contracts during which rent would be pegged to rising consumer prices.” – Daily Telegraph


  • Miliband profits from the cowardice of free marketeers – Iain Martin, The Times (£)
  • If Ed has his way, renters will end up in crowded slums – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

Boris Johnson: Miliband could savage our cities faster than any bomb

BORIS blue and red“The story of rent controls has been the same everywhere they have been tried. Until they were abandoned, rent controls in Seventies Britain led to a catastrophic fall in the number of rented properties available, and they did nothing to stop unscrupulous Rachmanite landlords. Rent controls accelerated the woeful degradation of much of New York’s housing stock, and in so far as there has been a boom in New York property, it has taken place in housing not subject to rent controls. The Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck has said that rent control is “the most effective technique presently known to destroy a city – except for bombing”; and the reason he has come to that conclusion is that experience has shown that it is an idiotic way to tackle the problem of high rents.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Boris launches ‘ruthless attack’ on Miliband, face to face – The Sun (£)


>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “He would do more damage to this country than he did to his brother…”

Labour fears loss of millions if Co-op severs party link

“With the polls suggesting a hung Parliament, and possibly a second election within a year, the last thing the cash-strapped Labour Party can afford is to lose any financial supporters. But the party leadership is now desperately worried that the Co-op will sever its link, with the loss of millions of pounds. Last year, the mutual posted a £2.5billion loss, the biggest in its 150-year history. The crisis saw the resignation of the financially illiterate Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers, a Methodist minister dubbed the ‘Crystal Methodist’ after being caught snorting illegal drugs. Now Iain McNicol, the party’s general secretary, has urged his members to join a campaign to try to block the Co-op’s new management from ending its association with Labour.” – Daily Mail

Police ignored sex abuse cases to pursue Labour’s ‘priority crimes’, claims whistleblower

Police shield“Police ignored the sexual abuse of hundreds of young girls because they were too busy chasing Labour crime targets that would earn bonuses for senior staff. Whistleblower Tony Brookes, a former detective who tried to investigate the abuse, said money was diverted away from protecting the children from rape, trafficking and beatings in order to pursue so-called ‘priority crimes’. The offences, which included car crime, were considered crucial for satisfying a target culture introduced by the last Labour government.” – Daily Mail

Umunna says UKIP ‘hates modern Britain’

“Ukip ‘hates modern Britain’ and is infected with the ‘virus of racism’, rising Labour star Chuka Umunna has claimed. The shadow business secretary said Nigel Farage had ‘a problem with race’ following his remarks last about ‘fully black’ and ‘half black’ Ukip supporters. Mr Umunna’s remarks come after Mr Farage dragged into a fresh racism storm after National Front members turned up to campaign for him in his South Thanet constituency. The row started after a group of far-Right supporters calling themselves the East Kent English Patriots supported Mr Farage at an event in Broadstairs on Friday evening.” – Daily Mail

UKIP’s deputy chairman vows to step up if Farage steps down

UKIP glass“Ukip’s Suzanne Evans today said she will step in as party leader if Nigel Farage quits because of ill health. Mr Farage has revealed that he is suffering from a recurring spinal injury that means he is on medication and making twice weekly hospital visits. The Ukip leader has also pledged to be ‘gone within 10 minutes’ if he fails to win in Thanet South where he is standing to become an MP. Asked what she would do if Mr Farage asked her to ‘carry on the mantle’, Miss Evans today told Murnaghan on Sky News: ‘Well if he said that to me, of course I would, yes.” – Daily Mail

Lib Dems 1) Clegg wants to lead his party ‘come what may’

“Nick Clegg wants to remain leader of the Liberal Democrats “in all circumstances” after the general election, he said yesterday. The deputy prime minister said that he had “bags of energy” to lead his party and resisted questions about his fate if the Lib Dems were to suffer a wipeout on polling day or failed to return to the government benches. Speaking on Sky News’s Murnaghan programme, Mr Clegg said: “I have bags of energy; I’m really optimistic about the prospects of the Liberal Democrats. Of course I want to continue to serve my country that I am so proud to have served for seven or eight years now.” – The Times (£)

  • Clegg has cast the choice in Tory terms: continuity, or chaos – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
  • Labour left without a Clegg to stand on – The Sun (£)

Lib Dems 2) Cable demands the Chancellorship in a second Con-Lib coalition

CABLE Marr purple shirt“So how, and more to the point, why, does Cable want another five years of more of the same? ‘Because I’ve realised it is possible to be business-like with them. I can envisage a scenario in which I would stomach working with the Tories if the situation required. You have to let your head rule your heart.’ He knows full well the significance of what he is saying. ‘It’s important coming from me because I’m the one seen as having the least affinity with the Tories.’ Cable is also quick to make clear he does not rule out working with Labour. But he ‘envisages’ remaining in a government led by Cameron, not Miliband. Cable says he would stop ‘the nasty tail of Right-wing MPs wagging the Tory dog’ if Cameron scrapes home.” – Daily Mail

>Today: Local Government: Liberal Democrats propose scrapping referendum veto on big council tax rises

>Yesterday: David Jones MP in Comment: In any post-election coalition negotiations the Right’s voice must be heard. Send for IDS and Grayling.

Sturgeon scoffs at Miliband’s pledge not to deal with the SNP

“Nicola Sturgeon this afternoon scoffed at claims by Labour leader Ed Miliband that he would never do a deal with the SNP to become Prime Minister – insisting he will ‘change his tune’ after the election. The Scottish First Minister said Mr Miliband simply ‘won’t have the votes to say that he is going to do what he likes come what may’ and reiterated her call for Labour to ‘work together to lock the Tories out’. It came after Mr Miliband this morning repeatedly insisted he would not enter into any deal with the SNP after the election – either as a formal Coalition or a looser pact to put him in Number 10.” – Daily Mail

  • Red Len endorses Lab-Nat alliance – The Sun (£)
  • First Minister pressured to ‘come clean’ on plans for plebiscite – Daily Telegraph
  • EVEL could trigger second Scottish referendum – The Times (£)
  • SNP candidates plan to avenge 300 years of ‘ill-treatment’ – Daily Telegraph


  • Sturgeon could decide who governs Britain – Mure Dickie, Financial Times
  • Britain will be run down, weakened and broken up by a Lab-Nat pact – Andrew Lloyd Webber, Daily Mail
  • The Scottish Nationalists need a tougher audit – Financial Times editorial

Dodds claims that EVEL could cost Tories DUP support

DUP logo“David Cameron risks forfeiting the support of the Democratic Unionists in the next parliament after the party warned the Tories are in danger of “abusing” the House of Commons in their handling of Scotland. In a blow to the prime minister, who is hoping to rely on the DUP in a hung parliament to keep him in Downing Street, the party’s leader at Westminster, Nigel Dodds, warned of the dangers of fuelling “nationalist paranoia” in Scotland.” – The Guardian

  • Nobody who backs the UK can deny the legitimacy of the SNP – Nigel Dodds, The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Warning issued over UK defence procurement errors – Financial Times
  • GPs to ask all patients over 75 if they’ll agree to a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order – Daily Mail
  • Anti-corruption campaigner who brought down Rahman to stand for Mayor – The Times (£)
  • Royal Navy deploys drones to save Mediterranean migrants – Daily Telegraph
  • Nepal death toll rises above 3,200 – The Independent
  • Jim Wells resigns as Northern Ireland health minister – The Guardian
  • UK warns BP over potential foreign takeover – Financial Times

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