As he renews the Conservative commitment to Trident, Fallon accuses Miliband of treason. (It’s hard to read his words in any other way.)

FALLON send for Carla Millar“He then becomes personal, accusing the Labour leader of “weakness” and a “lust for power” and making comparisons with Mr Miliband’s alleged betrayal of his brother, David, the former foreign secretary. “Ed Miliband stabbed his own brother in the back to become Labour leader. Now he is willing to stab the United Kingdom in the back to become prime minister,” Mr Fallon writes.” – The Times (£)

Other Conservative election news:

  • Cameron to announce 16,000 more apprenticeships – Daily Express
  • School girl upstages Cameron as he tries to promote new Tory reading tests – Daily Mail
  • One in three Conservatives candidates are women claim – The Sun (£)
  • McLoughlin late for transport meeting because his train was delayed – Daily Express
  • Osborne is Antonio Banderas – Daily Mail

> Today: MajorityConservatism – Commit a Conservative Government to the NATO defence spending target

Lord Ashcroft’s latest marginals poll raises a big question: is CCHQ losing the ground war?

“The polls, conducted at the start of the month, also suggest that Labour’s ground war is significantly outperforming Tory efforts to mobilise activists and send literature, despite the disparity in financial resources. Voters said they had heard more from Labour than the Tories in every single one of the ten seats.” – The Times (£)

  • ASHCROFT blue shirtCCHQ drafts mass mailouts to target farmers, veterans and women – The Guardian
  • Tories: ignore Ashcroft’s polls and fight, fight, fight – Toby Young, Daily Telegraph
  • There’s nothing like hearing the words “You’re hired” – Karren Brady, The Sun (£)
  • “Next week’s Tory manifesto is Mr Cameron’s last best chance to prove that he understands the limits of the free market as well as its value.” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – Party members’ top choice for a post-election coalition – not UKIP, but the LibDems

> Yesterday:

Non-doms: the day after.

MILIBAND Red Ed1) Oh yes, it will: First Labour announces that it will abolish non-dom status…

“On Wednesday Mr Balls cited “independent experts” as saying the abolition of non-dom status could raise £1bn, while Labour leader Ed Miliband scoffed at warnings by “some people” of an exodus of the wealthy.” – Financial Times

2) …Oh no, it won’t: then it backtracks…

“Miliband initially suggested he would ‘abolish’ non-dom status – but it emerged that Labour is effectively proposing a time limit on it of between two and five years. The Tories pointed out that five-year grace period would exempt up to six in every ten non-doms from the crackdown anyway, because many non-doms do not stay longer than five years” – Daily Mail

3) …As a tape emerges of Balls saying that scrapping the status would result in Britain losing money

BALLS attack dog“In a further embarrassment, it later emerged that just three months ago he himself had said such a move would be counter-productive – saying it would result in the country losing money.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour accuse Tories of editing Balls video – The Guardian

4) The Conservative response.  Whatever Miliband and Balls are saying, they’re wrong

“Either they are going to abolish non-dom status altogether, which would cost our country hundreds of millions of pounds in lost tax revenues and lost investment – the reason they did nothing on this during 13 years in office. Or they are just tinkering around the edges and making small adjustments to the rules on how long people can be non-dom.” – The Times (£)

5) What would the cost or saving be? No-one seems to know

Stuart Adam, of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, an independent think-tank, said: “We have very little idea about the revenue implications of Labour’s proposals. The thing we know least about is how people are going to respond to a tax rise.” – Financial Times

  • P.S: Labour has received £12 million from non-coms – The Sun (£)

Allister Heath: Labour’s socialist headbangers will clobber us all

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 08.04.12“Needless to say, it’s all delusional, dangerous garbage. New Labour is dead and buried; the socialist headbangers and their fantasy economics are back. The emerging consensus across the Left-wing parties – and, sadly, even among elements of the centre-Right – that the better-off can be taxed much more harshly without any adverse consequences is naive in the extreme.” – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – On non-doms, the two parties play tennis with their shoelaces tied together

More Labour news:

  • Labour pledges face-to-face careers guidance for every student  – The Guardian
  • Umanna attacks Government non-execs – Financial Times
  • I’m not super rich, insists Blair – Daily Mail
  • Cooper accuses Tories of breaking pledge over passport exit checks – The Guardian
  • Labour is a threat to school freedom, say head teachers – Daily Express

Farage: I will win in South Thanet

Farage as Santa1“The Ukip leader predicted he is on course to enter parliament, despite a ComRes poll suggesting he is behind and Lord Ashcroft’s survey of marginals showing the party has dropped by up to 10 points in some areas. Amid signs that Ukip is getting squeezed nationally, Farage has taken the last two days off his personal campaign to tour target seats in the West Midlands as well as Grimsby and the north-east.” – The Guardian

> Today:

Second Scots leaders debate: SNP plan ‘devo-max’ vote

“Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the SNP would vote for full fiscal autonomy for Scotland if the issue came before the Commons in the next year, in the first admission by the First Minister about when the nationalists wanted the powers transferred. The First Minister made the remarks as Scotland’s political leaders went head-to-head once again last night in a televised debate for BBC Scotland in ­Aberdeen – just 24 hours after a clash on STV.” – Scotsman

  • Cameron dismisses second Scots referendum – The Times (£)
  • Balls slaps down Murphy’s claim that Labour won’t have to make cuts – The Sun (£)
  • How Ruth Davidson stood up to Sturgeon – Iain Martin, Daily Telegraph
  • The North-East enjoyed the biggest rise in living standards post-recession – The Independent

Chris Deerin hails the rise and rise of Ruth Davidson – “an ordinary woman with extraordinary gifts”

DAVIDSON Ruth new“Well, yet again the star of the show was a member of the better sex. But as it turned out, it wasn’t Sturgeon. The cool, poised First Minister who showed up in Salford found herself struggling to cope on home territory as she and her Government came under sustained attack from people who know the flaws in both rather better than the Westminster leaders did. So it was that as the self-possession slipped, the supreme confidence wobbled and the weaknesses showed through, an underdog seized her chance.” – Medium

> Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue: SNP organiser defects to Labour over Nationalists’ covert support for the Tories

Stephen Glover: Stunts, bogus rallies and soundbites. The parties are cutting themselves off from scrutiny in this election

“Much as I respect my colleagues in broadcasting, the truth is that the rudest red-top tabloid will usually dig far, far deeper, and ask many more searching questions, than a superficial two-minute slot on television news. I don’t complain on behalf of newspapers. Even if we are deliberately excluded, resourceful journalists will do their best to find a way of reporting an event, and to reveal how staged it is. No, the main casualty is democracy – and the voter, who is constantly finagled and deceived.” – Daily Mail

  • Samantha Cameron cuddles baby – Daily Mail
  • Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, a.k.a Mrs Clegg, in her kitchen – The Times (£)

Election News in Brief

  • Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 08.12.27John Bell, Conservative candidate in Wirral south, hits back at Burnham’s five pledges to save Arrowe Park Hospital – Liverpool Echo
  • Voters back tax rise to fund NHS, poll shows – Financial Times
  • Plaid candidate said that English immigrants to Wales were ‘racists trying to get away from black people’ – Wales Online
  • DUP to run against Lady Hermon in North Down – Belfast Newsletter
  • “Gutted” fisherman highlighted by UKIP may not vote for them – Western Morning News
  • Hague’s final push – Yorkshire Post
  • Vera Baird criticises decision to allow new Newcastle strip club – but her force didn’t object – Chronicle Live
  • Heseltine: We’re talking about devolution for the West Midlands – Birmingham Post

> Today:

News in Brief

  • ASSAD sunglassesCounter-terror detectives take over investigation of ‘hit squad assassination’ of imam who was fierce critic of Assad’s Syrian regime – Daily Mail
  • Iran sends military ships towards Yemen – Daily Telegraph
  • China may build tunnel under Mount Everest – The Guardian
  • Putin opens rift in Europe with trade deal for Greece – The Times (£)
  • Boston marathon bomber found guilty – The Sun (£)
  • Oil slides on ballooning U.S stockpiles – Financial Times
  • Investors take cannabis seriously – The Independent
  • Friday to be hottest day of the year to date – Daily Express

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