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31 May 2009 08:41:53

Sunday 31st May 2009

8pm WATCH: Frank Cook, the MP for Stockton North, today apologised for claiming £5 on expenses for a church donation

Picture 21.15pm WATCH: Brown says electoral reform is under consideration

11am WATCH: During eleven minute interview with Sky, David Cameron says "recalling" MPs between elections is an idea worth studying

11am ToryDiary: David Cameron's use of allowances was entirely appropriate

ToryDiary: Grassroots divided on non-members standing for Conservative Party at next election

Seats and candidates: CCHQ must tell wannabe MPs that their chances are slim

Victoria Borwick on Platform: All public sector employees should have to disclose details of their pay, allowances and pensions

Local government: Mark Wallace says those elected on Thursday should deliver radical change NOW - and not wait for a General Election

Labour falls below Lib Dems in new poll - Sunday Telegraph | Yesterday's ToryDiary

News of the World and Mail on Sunday target David Cameron's mortgage claims

Picture 15 "David Cameron was dragged personally into the expenses row last night after it was revealed that he paid off a loan on his London home shortly after taking out a £350,000 taxpayer-funded mortgage on his constituency house... There is no suggestion that he broke any rules. But mortgage experts say that if he had kept the loan on his London home and borrowed £75,000 less on the Oxfordshire property, taxpayers could have been saved more than £22,000 between 2002 and 2007." - Mail on Sunday | News of the World

David Mundell's £3,000 camera expenses

"Shadow Scottish Secretary David Mundell has claimed more than £3,000 on MPs' expenses for cameras, photographers and photo-editing computer software to take hundreds of pictures of himself." - Sunday Telegraph

Andrew MacKay and other disgraced step-down MPs in line for pension bonanza

"MacKay, 59, the former parliamentary aide to David Cameron, will be able to draw his index-linked £40,000-a-year pension five years before his 65th birthday without reducing its value. He also has the option of taking a chunk of his pension as a tax-free lump sum of more than £200,000." - Sunday Times

Liberal Democrats challenge David Cameron on Lord Ashcroft's tax status - Observer

Picture 13Labour MP claimed for £5 donation made at Battle of Britain memorial service

"Frank Cook, a Labour backbencher, sought reimbursement on his office expenses after the memorial service in his constituency town of Stockton-on-Tees. It was rejected by the parliamentary fees office." - Sunday Telegraph

Listen to Frank Cook MP answer accusations about the donation - BBC

Mail on Sunday: Backbenchers are getting tossed away but frontbenchers survive

"The great Westminster expenses purge has been strangely inconsistent. Found to be flipping their properties or charging for luxuries, expendable backbenchers and unwanted old has-beens have been tossed off the back of the sledge to be torn to pieces by media and public alike. But there seems to be a quiet agreement that frontbenchers receive easier treatment. Cabinet members who have plainly overstepped the line of what is acceptable, such as Alistair Darling - who had the nerve to charge taxpayers for advice on how to fill in his tax return - remain in their posts. So does the Shadow Cabinet's Michael Gove, who would be hard put to survive were his property manoeuvres, furniture purchases and costly taste in hotels subjected to the coldly furious scrutiny directed at Andrew MacKay and his wife, Julie Kirkbride." - Mail on Sunday leader

> Yesterday's ToryDiary recorded big falls in the grassroots ratings of misclaiming shadow cabinet members

Cameron is in "tetchy" mood

"I'm told he's in a tetchy mood and talking more radically in private than in public. I think I know why. Cam senses an opportunity here, not just to win the election, but to reshape British politics. The nation is in flux - as it was with Attlee in 1945 and Thatcher in 1979. What will Cam do with this opportunity? His current agenda is NOT inspirational. That's why there's no hunger for a Tory government, as there once was for Blair. And I suspect THIS is what's eating Cam. He knows he could be riding the wave of public anger, but he isn't. He has acted decisively, almost brutally, over expenses - but is still some way from being seen as a purifying force. Do I think Cam has it in him to form a radical agenda that can transform Britain? Absolutely. But there's too many policies left over from his early hoodie-hugging days, where his motto was "softly softly catchee Gordie". Now it's more a case of "boldly, bravely, savee country". And his mission, now, will be to adapt to these changed times." - Fraser Nelson in the News of the World

Patten, Garel-Jones and Brittan are Tory "self-harmers"

PATTEN Chris "Right on cue, the self-harming elements of the Tory party have emerged to re-open its old divisions on Europe. Lords Patten and Brittan have insisted that the decision to leave the EPP is "a mistake" and will "reduce the Conservatives' influence in the European parliament". But what, exactly, have been the fruits of that influence so far? The answer is that there have been none. The EPP Conservatives have been utterly unable to dent the federalist consensus, or even to cause any diminution in its determination to find a way to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, even though that treaty has been rejected by the only electorate that has been given the chance to vote on it." - The Sunday Telegraph leader

Christopher Booker praises Ann Winterton's understanding of defence issues

15604 "She has become the House's best-briefed expert on defence issues, running rings round the ill-informed Tory front bench defence team, as Des Browne (that under-rated former defence secretary) acknowledged. In particular, she has been tireless in exposing the Ministry of Defence's disastrous misjudgments over vehicles given to the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the obsession of senior military commanders with expensive projects designed for imaginary wars in the future, at the expense of properly equipping our troops for the counter-insurgency wars which they are actually having to fight." - Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph

Labour set to lose all four of its last County Councils

"David Cameron’s Tories need to gain at least 250 seats in this week’s council contests to provide clear evidence that they are on course to win the next general election. Labour, by contrast, could lose half of the nearly 500 seats and all four councils it is defending." - Sunday Times

Cabinet must resign en masse and replace Brown with Alan Johnson - Michael Portillo in The Sunday Times

JOHNSON-ALAN-PINK-TIE Johnson attacks Cameron and Clegg as the "self-righteous brothers" in The Observer: "I am amazed about what an easy ride Cameron and Clegg have had over this whole issue."

Brown ready to sack Darling and appoint Balls as Chancellor - Sunday Times

> ConHome notes Brown's other survival ploy: A PR deal with the LibDems

Labour peer admits fiddling expenses to boost income - The Sunday Times

Janet Daley: British politics needs a choice

"So long as you cannot get a cigarette paper between the main parties on the critical social and economic issues of the day, there will be no "new politics" – in fact, there will be no democratic politics at all. There will just be public relations." - Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph

Stuart Wheeler offers £100k bet to Cameron on Euro referendum - Mail on Sunday

BNP candidates have bombarded internet sites with vile racist messages - News of the World


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30 May 2009 09:02:27

Saturday 30th May 2009

8.15pm ToryDiary: Labour fall to THIRD place

7.30pm ToryDiary: Brown considers PR deal with Liberal Democrats to end likelihood of Tories ever governing alone again

12.30pm WATCH: Sky News reports on David Cameron's call for 'phantom mortgage MPs' to be prosecuted

Noon: Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight argues that J P Floru's case against pulling out of the European Union is flawed

10.30am J P Floru on CentreRight identifies "UKIP's flaw": "UKIP’s flaw is the belief that EU countries will be queuing up to give us free trade access to their markets if we pull out.  I believe they would do quite the opposite. If we pull out they are very likely to start posturing and to refuse us free access.  Finding an enemy – perfidious Albion – would be a perfect deflection from their own economic failure."

DUNCAN ALAN NEW2ToryDiary: Duncan and Maude both down sharply in first shadow cabinet satisfaction survey since expenses-gate

Graeme Archer on CentreRight: The seductive Pythagorean madness of Proportional Representation

Arty McBain on Platform: Shame on The Times for its Communist propaganda

WATCH: Elliot Morley to step down after claiming for phantom mortgage

Labour down to 21% in General Election polling and UKIP second in European polling

Populus 23-42-15 Times | ToryDiary

82% of voters support recall elections, 56% support ban on second jobs - Times

Picture 10Phantom mortgage MPs must face fraud charges, says David Cameron - Interview with The Telegraph

The Telegraph has published a Q&A with David Cameron including this answer to a question on the type of new candidate he seeks: "What I hope we will get is people from different backgrounds and experiences to bring into the Commons greater variety. There aren’t enough people in the Commons with a small business background.There’s a shortage of people who really understand agriculture and farming.There aren’t enough people on the Conservative side who have worked in some of the key public services. I’d like to see people who’ve been successful head teachers. There are a variety of experiences you want to bring to bear to parliament but the core has got to be a belief in public service and that politics can change things."

Bill Cash MP

"The eurosceptic rebel had tried to ignore fury over the revelations, refusing to repay any money and claiming that “what is lawful is appropriate”. But the Tory leader said Mr Cash had very serious questions to answer in an apparent threat to expel him from the party. Mr Cameron said: “He needs to co-operate with those inquiries. Everyone knows the consequences of not participating.” ...Tory chief whip Patrick McLoughlin phoned him to deliver a final warning." - Express

"Tory Bill Cash is another MP who just doesn't get it over expenses. The arch right-winger is forever demanding public spending cuts yet he dipped into the public purse to subsidise his family." - Mirror opinion

Eleanor Laing didn't pay capital gains tax on second home - Telegraph

Humfrey Malins claimed £58,000 for flat in which his children lived - Telegraph

David Lidington is Mr Clean (but you pay for his soap)
- Telegraph

Nick Clegg: Expenses revelations MPs should not get tax free pay-offs - BBC

Labour on red alert as Derbyshire Tories scent victory at county council - Times

Picture 11 Patten, Brittan and Garel-Jones attack Cameron on Europe - The Guardian

Conservative candidate makes the case for proportional representation

"At the last general election the Conservative party polled 65,704 more votes than Labour in England, but ended up 92 seats behind. In Wales, the Conservatives received more than one-fifth of the votes and won just three seats. In Scotland we received 369,388 votes (15.8%) and a single seat. Without the proportional element from the Scottish parliament vote, Conservatives would have four rather than 17 MSPs (based on the 2007 election). By the same principle, we would have five rather than eight AMs in the Welsh Assembly." - Janice Small, Batley & Spen PPC, in letter to The Guardian

The Daily Mail makes the case against: "The irony is PR actually takes power away from voters, and hands it to discredited and often corrupt political elites. As David Cameron warns, people would no longer choose their government on the basis of the manifestos put before them in an election campaign."

"I’ll clean up politics and let Sun readers hold MPs to account" - Gordon Brown in The Sun

James Purnell: Now is the time for state funding

"Making the first intervention by a member of the cabinet on the contentious issue of party funding, Purnell says: "We need to take big money out of politics." He writes: "Amidst the current anger at politicians and politics we must bite the bullet on state funding for political parties – alongside cutting the overall amount the taxpayer spends on politics." - Guardian | James Purnell article

New Labour's victims are Middle Britons who obey the law, work long hours and are taxed almost to extinction - Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail

The Telegraph: Don't vote UKIP

"The recent history of Ukip raises serious questions about its competence, to put it mildly. The fiasco of Robert Kilroy-Silk's involvement with the party was just one of many bouts of vicious infighting. It has sought to make capital out of the expenses scandal, but is itself no stranger to financial controversy. One of its MEPs, Ashley Mote, was expelled from the party and later jailed for benefit fraud. (He hopes to appeal the verdict.) Another MEP, Tom Wise, is facing prosecution for alleged false accounting and money laundering relating to his EU expenses. He denies the charges. Meanwhile, one of its most distinguished former supporters, the economist Tim Congdon, has left Ukip, claiming that it has been "captured by the European institutions" and neglects its British Eurosceptic supporters. More worryingly, as this newspaper reported last weekend, it has "become a haven for elements of the far Right". In David Cameron's phrase, it attracts "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists"." - Telegraph leader

But also in The Telegraph Simon Heffer explains his support for UKIP: "I remain a resolute opponent of EU membership, which I regard as a massive and systematic fraud upon the taxpayer and a lethal weapon aimed at the heart of our democracy. I shall be voting, and voting for Ukip. They have had their problems since 2004, but these are nothing compared with what is happening in the main parties. If you want out, I advise you to do the same."

BBC offers £30,000 to Muslim Council of Britain after Charles Moore's Question Time remarks - Daily Mail

Luton's Muslim community turned on extremists in their midst yesterday, telling them they were 'sick and tired' of their behaviour - Daily Mail


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29 May 2009 08:26:26

Friday 29th May 2009

10pm WATCH: Jon Snow interviews Bill Cash

8pm ToryDiary: New Populus poll finds Conservatives benefiting from 'cleaning house' (but not until the General Election)

5.30pm WATCH:

5.15pm AmericaInTheWorld: Barack Obama's Press Secretary Robert Gibbs questions honesty of British press

3pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Underneath the smart suit is the same extreme message

1pm Local government: One by-election result

Noon: Parliament: Alex Johnstone: Scotland's reliance on public sector will slow its emergence from recession

11.45am Simon Chapman on CentreRight: Frank Field deserves to be Speaker

CASH WILLIAM11.30am Seats and candidates: Bill Cash has "very serious questions to answer" about his expenses, says Cameron

10am Seats and candidates: Should candidates adopted for hard-to-win seats be released for the new plum vacancies?


JulianBrazier_228x337 Julian Brazier MP on Platform: Rolling back excessive health and safety legislation will ensure youngsters don't miss out on sporting and adventurous activities

Local government:

WATCH: Simon Heffer wants apology from Sir Alan Haslehurst before ruling out challenging him at next General Election

The golden goodbyes that the 12 MPs giving up their seats will receive from the taxpayer - Independent

Bill Cash MP is latest target of Daily Telegraph's expenses series

 "A veteran Tory MP pocketed more than £15,000 of public money to pay his socialite daughter rent for her luxury London apartment. Bill Cash billed the taxpayer for letting the flat despite owning a home nearer Westminster. He handed over more than £1,200 a month to his daughter Laetitia - a close friend of heiress Jemima Khan - then claimed it back from his second homes allowance." - Daily Mail

"Shortly after the MP stopped claiming money for his daughter’s flat, Miss Cash, 35, who is hoping to become a Conservative MP and is on David Cameron’s “A list” of preferred candidates, sold the property for a £48,000 profit." - Telegraph

Two more Tory MPs to retire at next election

"Julie Kirkbride, Conservative MP for Bromsgrove, was apparently put out of her expenses-related misery during a conversation with David Cameron on Thursday morning. The party leader said it was Ms Kirkbride’s “own decision” to stand down at the next election. But the backbencher had vowed to fight on during a BBC radio interview only three hours before." - FT

Two mornings ago ConservativeHome published a poll of 1,144 members which found that 81% thought she should go, 6% should stay. With 2,027 votes now in the percentages have hardly altered; 80% thought she should go, 6% say she should stay.  Tomorrow we will publish the first league table of the shadow cabinet since expenses-gate.

"Maria Miller, Tory MP for Basingstoke, and the mother of three young children, said yesterday that the fall out from the expenses row might put mothers off a political career." - Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary on Julie Kirkbride's resignation
> Yesterday's Seats & Candidates post on Christopher Fraser MP's decision to stand down

The Sun lists the 12 MPs to have resigned so far over expenses-gate

Ed Balls says Cameron has been softer on expenses than Labour - Guardian

Conservative AM accuses Welsh Tory leader, Nick Bourne, of "lack of vision"

BOURNE NICK "A Conservative AM who lost his job in a shadow cabinet reshuffle has attacked his leader for making a controversial expenses claim for an iPod... [he also said:] "We have also been guilty of not standing up for what we really believe in because we were more afraid of voter hostility. Wales cannot afford this lack of vision. We need to start making our case now to prove to the people of Wales that we have a coherent long-term vision and the mettle to deliver it." - BBC

Barack Obama's former brother-in-law wants to become Tory MP - The Herald

Nick Clegg: MPs should be blocked from taking their summer holidays until they agree sweeping changes at Westminster - BBC

Jeff Randall: The range of excuses in the MPs' expenses affair has been breathtaking - Telegraph

Paul Routledge: Today's MPs are better than celebrity-style independents

"John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington claimed £0. That’s right. Nowt. I’d rather have him as my MP than Beirut hostage Terry Waite, tombstone-teeth Esther Rantzen, or “celebrity” David Van Day, who reportedly blew £100,000 on cocaine but couldn’t make it as a Tory councillor in Brighton." - Paul Routledge in The Mirror

"Success in showbusiness and the media may be evidence of ambition, eloquence and charm but it doesn't necessarily carry with it either a guarantee of incorruptibility or the aptitude for the kind of hard and thankless work that is the lot of the average backbencher." - Lance Price in The Telegraph

One-seventh of fearful Labour MPs apply for an escape route to the Lords

"In the clearest indication to date that increasing numbers of Labour figures believe the party is heading for a heavy defeat at the hands of David Cameron, the Guardian has learned that at least 52 MPs have formally approached Downing Street to be given places in the upper house. The MPs include current chairs of select committees as well as past and serving middle and junior ranking ministers, according to Labour sources. They account for a seventh of those elected at the last election." - Guardian

Two Labour MPs write to The Guardian seeking controls on opposition party spending - Guardian

Opponent of PR, David Blunkett, ready to accept Alternative Voting system - Guardian

"PR is a recipe for weak government, born out of the understandable anger of the moment. We must look beyond that anger and decide whether we want bold leadership with decisive answers to the major challenges of the moment – or a talking-shop parliament that regularly gives ministers a bloody nose so that everyone feels better." - David Blunkett writing for The Guardian

How to fix parliament? Stop MPs being ministers - David Green in The Telegraph

BNP's Nick Griffin paid £5,000 donation into his personal bank account without declaring it - Times

Britain's 281 smallest political parties have a combined total expenditure of £1.7m - ePolitix

Britain becomes increasingly Eurosceptic

EconomistPoll "Polling commissioned from YouGov by The Economist suggests that Britain is gradually becoming a more Eurosceptic place. Over the past quarter-century the proportion of people who think Britain’s membership of the EU is a good thing has fallen from 43% to 31% (with a spike in 1990 after sterling’s ill-fated entry into the Exchange Rate Mechanism). The share of those who think it a bad thing has risen from 30% to 37%."

Child rapists are avoiding jail as judges hand out “softer” sentences

"Shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Grieve said: “Dangerous offenders cheat justice and children are put at risk. It is hard to think of any circumstances where an adult who rapes a young child should avoid jail.” - The Sun

Tory research suggests that the proportion of teenagers from the richest parts of England who go to university is twice the rate in the most deprived areas - Telegraph


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28 May 2009 08:52:25

Thursday 28th May 2009

11.30pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Italians don't implement government regulation shocker

7.30pm Latest on CentreRight:

7pm WATCH: Ex-MP and now Independent journalist Michael Brown explains on Sky News why no MP will resign their seat now (Clue: it relates to money)

6.45pm Seats and Candidates: There are now ten Conservative-held seats seeking a new candidate

6.15pm WATCH: The BBC reports the demise of Julie Kirkbride and Margaret Moran - including David Cameron's reaction to Julie Kirkbride's decision to step down

Picture 55pm Seats and Candidates Breaking News: Christopher Fraser to step down as MP for South West Norfolk Updated at 5.20pm with full statement from Mr Fraser

4.45pm Seats and Candidates: Watford's Conservative candidate pledges monthly open meetings with voters if elected

3.45pm Jill Kirby on CentreRight: No more cuddly capitalism

3.15pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Lies on Lib Dem election literature

Julie Kirkbride interview1.10pm ToryDiary: Julie Kirkbride confirms she is stepping down at the next election Updated with full texts of her resignation letter and David Cameron's reply

12.55pm ToryDiary: Julie Kirkbride cancels visit to Bromsgrove, said to be considering standing down

12.45pm Seats and Candidates: Ex-hostage Terry Waite poised to stand against David Ruffley in Bury St Edmunds

11.45am WATCH: The Eastern Region Conservative MEP candidates introduce themselves via a campaign video

10am ToryDiary: John Redwood calls for a renegotiation of Britain's relationship with the EU followed by a referendum

ToryDiary: As Julie Kirkbride continues to defend herself, will the MPs' expenses scandal put people off going into politics?

Blair Murray on Platform: David Cameron will book a place in history if he successfully removes power from the whips and allows MPs to be more independent-minded

Andrew Morrison in Seats and Candidates: A preview of the forthcoming by-election in Glasgow North East

Crispin Blunt MP in Parliament: How the public health minister failed to address my concerns about the vaccine against cervical cancer

Local Government:

WATCH: Sky News's Glen Oglaza explains today's Telegraph allegations against Sir John Butterfill

The Telegraph puts retiring MP Sir John Butterfill in the spotlight over his failure to pay capital gains tax on the sale of his £1.2 million home...

BUTTERFILL "Sir John Butterfill, a Tory grandee, paid no capital gains tax after making a £600,000 gain on the sale of his taxpayer-funded house which he told the parliamentary authorities was his designated second home. For five years, Sir John submitted regular claims under the second home allowance for the cost of running his six-bedroom country house, which had a swimming pool and extensive grounds. He claimed £17,000 on servants’ quarters alone. At the time, he designated a small flat in his Bournemouth constituency, bought for £56,000, as his “main home”. When he sold the country property for £1.2 million in 2005, however, he informed HM Revenue & Customs that it was his “primary residence”, meaning he was exempt from capital gains tax." - Daily Telegraph he agrees to repay a five-figure sum

"A Tory MP has agreed to repay £20,000 in tax and mortgage payments, much of which was claimed from public funds towards servants' quarters in his home... Having discussed his claims with the Tories' internal scrutiny panel on expenses, Sir John said he had agreed to repay an estimated £20,000 in claims he said were, with hindsight, "inappropriate"." - BBC

Simon Heffer still considering standing against Sir Alan Haselhurst - Daily Telegraph

Bill Wiggin "sees off calls for re-selection" after expenses row meeting

"Leominster MP Bill Wiggin says he's staying put after admitting an £11,000 expenses error, seeing off calls for his re-selection at a lively public meeting. Challenged from the floor to stand down, Mr Wiggin said he wasn't going to go if he wasn't guilty. The MP said that re-selection would "send a signal" that he had done something wrong when he had, in fact, made an error - repeated 23 times on expenses claims meant to cover the mortgage on his London home but mistakenly attributed to his Herefordshire home." - Hereford Times

Lord Kalms calls on David Cameron to be tougher on expense abusers

KALMS STANLEY "Lord Kalms, a party donor and the founder of the Dixons retail empire, told the BBC on Wednesday that Mr Cameron needs to do more to exact “retribution” on his MPs. “I don’t think it’s enough,” the Tory peer said. “It’s just a starting point. Some of the claims were so outrageous as to be an abuse of the system. If the rules have been badly breached...  there’s no excuse.” - FT

The Tories believe voters will hit Labour harder in the ballot box next week

"David Cameron is confident the expenses scandal will hit Labour harder than his own party in the local and European elections being held a week today, senior Tory insiders said on Wednesday... “We’ve all [three main parties] taken a hit,” the Tory insider admitted... “It’s bad for us but it has been fairly crippling for Labour”. - FT

Stanley Fink heads the latest list of Tory donors...

"A multimillionaire City hedge fund manager has bankrolled the Tories to the tune of over £1m. Stanley Fink, the new co-treasurer of the Conservative party, who aims to raise £40m for the party's election campaign, once headed the world's largest listed hedge fund firm, the Man Group. He is the largest donor to any party revealed in the latest returns from the political funding watchdog, the Electoral Commission, covering the first three months of this year." - Guardian

"The figures showed that donations to Labour from individuals in the first three months of the year totalled £254,000, compared with individual donations to the Conservatives that totalled £2.977 million...  Mark Bamford gave £200,000 and the Bamford company JCB Research, the heavy equipment manufacturer, gave £56,000. Michael Farmer, the founder of an Anglo-US metal trading hedge fund, who is said to be impressed by Mr Cameron’s commitment to family values, gave £150,000. Lord Hesketh gave £81,487.50 in February, the businesswoman Holly Bellingham gave £72,000, the insurance broker Theodore Agnew gave £69,000 and Flowidea Ltd, a new media agency, gave £60,000. " - The Times

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Conservative fundraising outstripped Labour by more than a quarter between January and March questions are raised about how the BNP is funded

"The British National Party is facing an inquiry into its funding after its leader, Nick Griffin, paid a £5,000 political donation into his personal bank account without declaring it. The party’s finances came under scrutiny yesterday after it declared donations with the Electoral Commission of £21,132 for the first quarter of this year. No donations were declared between March and December last year. It has pledged to spend £500,000 campaigning for next week’s European and local elections alone." - The Times

Andrew Lansley to brand ambitious Alan Johnson "the postman who hasn't delivered"

LANSLEY ANDREW NW "He didn't want to be Health Secretary in the first place. He has been planning to move on to another job in politics for most of the time he's been there. He seems more focused on promoting his own ambition than promoting an agenda that will help patients.When you look at his record there has been a complete failure to deliver on crucial reforms started by Tony Blair, and a failure to deliver on major threats to our nation's health - whether that's obesity, the health of the poor, or the dignity of patients being forced into mixed sex wards. No delivery for patients and no delivery for health professionals - he is the postman that hasn't delivered." - The Press Association preview of a speech shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley will deliver to the RSA this morning

Chris Grayling attacks Labour's hollow rhetoric on knife crime

"Out of almost 4,000 convictions for being armed with a blade last year, only one person received the maximum sentence... Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, who was given the figures in a Parliamentary answer, said: “It is demoralising for the victims if there is an expectation of a tough sentence for offenders which does not materialise in reality. We have to create a disincentive for people who carry knives and the fact that the supposedly tough sentences just are not happening sends out all the wrong messages.” - Daily Express

Tory human rights plan "could lead to departure from EU"

"The UK could find itself parting company from the EU if Tory pledges to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) are carried through, the head of the Council of Europe has warned Conservative party activists." - Law Society Gazette

Tories rule online

"The Conservatives are streaks ahead of other political parties in terms of their internet presence, a new report has found." -

Fraser Nelson: David Cameron will need a scowl and a hatchet to stop us going bust

Fraser Nelson "David Cameron's scowl is coming on nicely. For weeks, he has never left home without it. Whether stepping into his car or the television studio he has been careful to suppress his jovial instincts and instead project anger and determination. Times have changed, and so we are witnessing a leader mid-mutation. The smiling Cameron's role was to detoxify the Tory brand, and seduce wavering voters. The stern-faced Cameron must persuade people that he is a man with enough resolve and ruthlessness to save the country... Britain no longer has a vacancy for a nice guy. And, unfortunately for Mr Brown, no vacancy for someone whose economic policies have led us to disaster. Something else is needed: someone with a sense of mission and urgency." - Fraser Nelson writing in the Daily Telegraph

Nick Clegg calls for constitutional reform before the summer recess

"Britain's politicians should be barred from taking their summer holidays until the constitutional crisis sparked by the expenses row is resolved and "every nook and cranny" of the political system is reformed, Nick Clegg declares today. In a provocative Guardian article, the Liberal Democrat leader outlines a 100-day action plan to transform MPs' expenses and accelerate the constitutional reforms started in 1997 by Tony Blair." - The Guardian

Bar the gates: No summer holiday before the overhaul - Nick Clegg's Guardian article

Gordon Brown "considering" recall law

"Gordon Brown today pledged to consider the idea of a U.S.-style 'recall' law for MPs that would allow voters to oust them if they stepped out of line... Mr Brown opened the door to the idea as he indicated plans to give power back to the people will be unveiled within weeks." - Daily Mail

Baroness Thatcher meets the Pope

Thatcher and Pope "Baroness Thatcher, whose first Papal visit was more than 30 years ago, has been introduced to Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. The meeting took place after the Pope's weekly audience in St Peter's Square. Lady Thatcher, was dressed in black as she had been on her first visit in 1977, with a dark handbag and star shaped brooch. They talked for several minutes and Lady Thatcher encouraged the Pope to accept the invitation from Gordon Brown to visit Britain." - Daily Telegraph

Boris Johnson moves to "sought-after" N1

"Boris Johnson has moved from his old house in Holloway to a new home in one of the most expensive streets in Islington. The Mayor of London and his family have moved from Furlong Road to a sought-after street - close to the Angel and Camden Passage - and now boast an N1 postcode." - Islington Gazette


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