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Monday 8th March 2010

11.15pm ToryDiary updatePopulus marginals poll suggests Tories within striking distance of majority

10pm ToryDiary updateYouGov poll for The Sun has Tory lead still at 5%

8.15pm Seats and Candidates: Another Labour MP in a marginal seat throws in the towel

7.30pm ToryDiary: Three opinion polls tonight... first has Tory lead at 7%

6.45pm Marc Glendening on CentreRight: The Guardian faces commercial ruin if the Tories win

MAY THERESA SMILING5pm Theresa May MP on Platform: Our agenda for women

3.30pm WATCH: There is a chasm between what politicians say and what voters believe, argues Daniel Finkelstein

3pm Latest on CentreRight:

Police-Helmet12.30pm ToryDiary: Labour's £18m police chiefs lobby against the Tories but not against the Government

11.15am LeftWatch: Ed Balls asks first-time voters: How did you vote at the last general election?

10.15am Charlie Elphicke on CentreRight: Conservatives and hi-tech campaigning

10am Seats and Candidates: Gareth McKeever reports on how campaigning is continuing apace in Westmorland and Lonsdale after his campaign office was burnt to the ground in a suspected arson attack

ToryDiary: The CBI and IoD back the Conservatives on early spending cuts

Also on ToryDiary: Boris Johnson's capitivating belief in human progress

Mandelson Peter Sky LeftWatch: No, Lord Mandelson, the unions have you by the balls and Labour pours another £11bn of poison into the wells

Peter Snowdon on Platform: The Conservatives may have come back from the brink of annihilation - but the party now faces the closest election battle in decades

Local government: Mark Wallace of the Taxpayers Alliance suggests a rewards scheme for council staff who some up with efficiency saving ideas

Also on Local government: Cllr David Meikle, a Conservative councillor on Glasgow City Council, reports on the resignation of the Labour council leader Steven Purcell follow a storm of allegations about chemical dependency and more

Tories offer to take private schools into state system

 "The Conservatives yesterday vowed to reduce the number of private schools by offering them a route into the state system. A David Cameron government would create a new breed of state-funded independent school with freedom to vary the national curriculum as well as teachers' pay and conditions." - Daily Mail

"Schools that opt to leave the Local Authority umbrella will be free in virtually every other respect, says Gove. “They will not be bound by the national curriculum, they will be free to pay good teachers more, they will be free to hire their own architects and builders, free to choose their own IT, free to shape pay and conditions in interest of their staff.” But the government will continue to have control in one important respect: admissions. “They won’t be free to select by ability,” says Gove “They will have to be comprehensive.”" - Michael Gove is interviewed for City AM

Gove Michael in officeCity AM's Editor describes Mr Gove as "an unusually gifted and principled politician."

A leader in The Times worries about Michael Gove's plans to 'traditionalise' the curriculum and give schools more freedoms 

> Saturday's ToryDiary: Gove will invite best minds to draw up a traditionalist core curriculum for Britain's schools

Conservatives and Labour deny rumours of 'VAT on food' - Express

Liam Fox says Brown's £100m plan to buy 200 new armoured vehicles for troops in Afghanistan falls short of previous commitment to buy 400 - FT

"Dr Fox’s comments came as Conservatives also attacked Mr Brown’s visit to frontline troops, with former Tory prime minister Sir John Major claiming Mr Brown used the military as a ‘party political prop’.
‘To use our soldiers as a cynically timed pre-election backdrop is profoundly unbecoming conduct for a prime minister,’ he said." - Metro | ITN report

As a result of Brown's malfeasance, men have died who ought to have lived - Bruce Anderson in The Independent

Chris Grayling embarrassed by questions about his future

Grayling Change "Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, was forced to admit that, unlike some of his colleagues, he had not been told by Mr Cameron that he would stay in his post if the Conservatives won the election. There has been speculation that Michael Gove, the shadow schools secretary who is close to Mr Cameron, could be given the job in a Tory government. Asked on Sky News why Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, had been guaranteed a job, when he had not, Mr Grayling insisted that the defence post was an important one, before looking embarrassed when it was pointed out that the Home Office was one of the great offices of state." - Telegraph

ConservativeHome comment: "More than two years ago David Cameron told the Today programme that Andrew Lansley would be his Secretary of State for Health. That very unusual commitment set a dangerous precedent and Mr Cameron has since given other commitments to other frontbenchers. The commitments to the likes of Osborne, Hague, Gove, Fox and Lansley have simultaneously undermined the likes of Chris Grayling (my top choice as Tory attack dog). Mr Cameron's desire to see individual frontbenchers master their briefs is a good one but it is best left unspoken."

Screen shot 2010-03-08 at 09.04.45 Philip Johnstone: David Cameron will have to finally address English resentment over devolution

"Ever since Scottish and Welsh devolution in 1998, the absence of England from the constitutional settlement has been a grotesque omission." - Telegraph

Tories red-faced after 'Samantha for Labour' gaffe - Guardian | Saturday evening's ToryDiary

Meet Michael Farmer, the Tories' £2.3 donor - Telegraph

Liberal Democrats are willing to take seats in either a Tory or Labour Cabinet

"Until now, the Liberal Democrats had indicated that they would be unlikely to take part in a formal alliance with another party, suggesting that a hung parliament would result in a minority government. But in an apparent change of tack, Vince Cable, the deputy leader, said that he would even be willing to serve as a cabinet minister in an alliance government." - Telegraph

> Saturday's LeftWatch: Clegg fears Liberal Democrats will split if he backs minority Tory government

"I would have given my arm and leg to be part of a three-way leaders' debate" - Charles Kennedy talks to the BBC about the massive opportunity that election debates have given to the Liberal Democrats


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