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30 Apr 2010 09:00:56

Friday 30th April 2010

8.15pm ToryDiary: The Times will endorse the Conservatives

8pm ToryDiary: Third debate fails to move opinion in YouGov/Sun tracker

7.30pm LeftWatch: The Guardian endorses the Liberal Democrats

3000 6pm Seats and candidates: Let's raise £3,000 over the bank holiday weekend for knife-edge LibCon marginals... starting with Romsey and Southampton North

6pm Local government: A Conservative Government would hand "sweeping powers" down to Boris

5.15pm WATCH: Cameron launches his 'contract' with voters

5pm LeftWatch: East End Tories urge police to probe Labour vote fraud claims

2.30pm Election gallery: The spoofs of Labour's new poster have started...

Nick Wood's High Noon: The Contract with Britain is a great idea 

Screen shot 2010-04-30 at WATCH: Tony Blair returns to campaign trail with denial that Brown has failed

1.15pm On CentreRight:

12.30pm On CentreRight, Matthew Elliott reviews the TaxPayers' Alliance's Debt Clock Tour

11.45am The Lucher on CentreRight: Winning the election is not the same as winning a mandate

11am LeftWatch: Labour is rubbish, shout bin men

10.30am Stephan Shakespeare records the reaction of the YouGov Debate Focus Groups: Will voters turn away from Labour to the ‘untrustworthy’ Conservative Party or the ‘inexperienced’ Lib Dems?

Screen shot 2010-04-30 at 07.34.36ToryDiary: Tories launch 'Contract with Britain', setting out doorstep policies, for final week of campaign

Also on ToryDiary, Paul Goodman: "If Cameron can form a government as a result, he will hailed as a Tory Houdini, as the Great Survivor, as Marathon Man - the leader who escaped the grammar schools debacle; who fought off a 2007 election with that noteless conference speech; who recovered from the blunder of letting Clegg into the debates...and who hauled himself off the floor, like Eric Liddell in "Chariots of Fire", gathered speed, powered first over the finishing line, and won the debates..."

Grant Shapps on Platform: How progressive Conservatism combines individual responsibility with a big belief in society

Local government: The battle for Ipswich... The battle for Waveney... The battle for Hillingdon

Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Proportional representation would tug Britain to the Right

David Cameron is the winner in the five post-debate polls - ToryDiary

ConHome's expert panel assesses tonight's leaders' debate - ToryDiary

Key political verdicts from commentators

NewsMontage "David Cameron simply refused to engage with Mr Brown, scarcely glancing in his direction and dismissing his attacks as desperate stuff from a dseperate man. He attacked Labour's record but turned his real fire on Nick Clegg - on his party's policies on immigration, the euro and welfare reform." - Nick Robinson, BBC

"Mr Cameron was the only Man With A Plan last night. The Tory leader's courage, clarity and sense of purpose must have swept away any doubts that his party can lead us out of trouble. Mr Cameron ruthlessly exposed how Brussels fanatic Mr Clegg would put us in peril by dumping the Pound for the euro - madness as financial chaos engulfs the EU." - The Sun Says

"Cameron was very assured, delivering his best debating performance when it counted most. He was optimistic, reassuring, steady – key qualities for a leader who needs to pull back voters who have flirted with the Liberal Democrats all this month. He pressed a lot of liberal buttons about schools, the family and the poor. And at the finish he precisely encapsulated how he wants the contest to be seen: more of the same (Brown) versus uncertainty (Clegg) versus change (him). He will have felt very good as he wound down afterwards." - Martin Kettle in The Guardian

"Suddenly tonight it feels like weeks of uncertainty have been replaced by the likelihood that Dave is going to do it." - Benedict Brogan in The Telegraph but Matthew Engel in the FT is not so sure: "Instant opinion favoured David Cameron over Nick Clegg. But it was hard to see anything in this performance likely to give him the overall majority he craves."

Clegg was winner over the course of all three debates - Steve Richards in The Independent

Allister Heath: Economic questions were not answered in debate

"On the economy itself, the quality of debate was weak. The assumptions shared by David Cameron and Nick Clegg appeared to be that all banks (even prudent ones) and the financial system are evil, the services sector is inferior to manufacturing (“actually making things”), foreign takeovers are bad and imports of Chinese goods even worse. The protectionist and demagogic undertones were deeply worrying." - Allister Heath in City AM

"In one sense, last night’s debate was very gloomy. Immigration has been a bubbling issue of the campaign and none of the three candidates answered in an entirely honourable way. Nobody, it seems, dares to offer a liberal sentiment. But, in another sense, the debate was not gloomy enough. The cuts will be huge and they will be painful." - Times leader

My advice to David Cameron? I've made savings, so can you - Boris Johnson interviewed in The Telegraph

Labour deploy Tony Blair in final week of campaign

BLAIR ON OBAMA "Tony Blair is to be unleashed on the Labour election campaign tomorrow in marginal seats in south-east England as the party seeks to undo some of the damage inflicted on the campaign by Gordon Brown's encounter with a pensioner in Rochdale." - Guardian

Labour's record on immigration

"Mr Brown would have us believe that many immigrants are, in reality, British people returning to this country. Yet in 2008, 86 per cent of all immigrants – 505,000 – were non-British, about the same proportion as in 2007. Net foreign immigration – the difference between foreign nationals leaving and arriving – was 251,000. Net British emigration was 87,000. So the balance of foreign nationals in the population has changed by 330,000 in one year. In 1997, that total was 61,000. In other words, immigration is five times what it was when Labour took office – which makes it a subject worthy of debate, not least because this policy was never endorsed by the people." - Telegraph leader

Mrs Duffy refused to dance to anti-Brown tune played by ‘The Sun’ - Independent

Mervyn King: The winner of the election could be out of power for a generation

"Voters will be so angry about forthcoming tax hikes and public spending cuts that the party winning next week’s General Election could end up being thrown out of power for 30 years. The stark warning comes from Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England. Mr King, in private remarks that emerged yesterday, has raised serious alarm about a potential public backlash over austerity measures needed to curb the Treasury’s record debt." - Express

And finally... Clegg's starring role as the Noel Coward toff we suspect he'd rather forget - Daily Mail


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

29 Apr 2010 09:00:03

Thursday 29th April 2010

11.15pm ToryDiary update: Populus poll also has Brown trailing in a poor third

11.15pm WATCH: The leaders clash on the Lib Dems' proposed amnesty for illegal immigrants at tonight's debate

TV Debate Panel photo
10.45pm ToryDiary: ConHome's expert panel assesses tonight's leaders' debate

10.30pm WATCH: The opening statements from tonight's leaders' debate

10.15pm ToryDiary: YouGov and ComRes both report Cameron winning debate as do Angus Reid

From 8.30pm
Live blog of the Final Leaders' Debate

Eric Pickles 2 2010 7.45pm Tea with Pickles: The Lib Dems have no cause to feel secure in the West Country

6.15pm ToryDiary: Tories 6% ahead of LibDems in YouGov tracker (which has Labour unchanged after BigotGate)

5pm ToryDiary: Two polls from the Con-Lab marginals and Lib Dem targets

4pm WATCH: David Cameron appeals directly to Scots to vote Conservative next week

3.30pm ToryDiary: The Party must be asked to endorse any post-election agreement with Clegg (or anyone else)

3.15pm WATCH:

Picture 32.45pm ToryDiary: The Economist declares for the Conservatives

1.15pm Robin Simcox on CentreRight notes an unwelcome intervention from the European Court of Justice

Picture 2
1pm ToryDiary: Cameron's three goals in Birmingham

12.45pm Andrew Lilico on Platform: Denial must end. Do not bail out Greece.

12.30pm CentreRight: Harry Phibbs on Mind the spending cuts gap and Say goodbye to the sub-Prime Minister

Nick Wood's High Noon: "Bigotgate" looks nastier and is far more serious than the Prescott punch

Noon David T Breaker on CentreRight: Debt, fairness and why we need "smart taxes"

Screen shot 2010-04-29 at 11.42.48 11.45am Light relief on Election gallery: Will Downing Street have squatters after 7th May?

11.45am Local government: The battle for Hackney

11.30am LeftWatch: Lib Dem candidate calls for inquiry into harvesting of organs in Haiti by Israeli army medics - the same call which got a Lib Dem frontbencher sacked

11am Jill Kirby on CentreRight: How do you feel about privacy now, Gordon?

10.45am LeftWatch: Labour candidate who gave Nazi salute now smears Gillian Duffy

ToryDiary: The Shakespeare Report - How should tonight's debate be measured?

Isaby graphic

LeftWatch: If this election is about character, Gordon Brown's actions yesterday showed that he is doomed

Jonathan Delaney on Platform: The Conservatives must remind voters that we are the genuine "party of liberty"

Seats and Candidates: John Stevenson boosted in Carlisle by the support of former Lib Dem candidate

Local Government:

WATCH: The final preparations are made for tonight's leaders' debate hosted by the BBC in Birmingham

One story dominates the front pages

Bigotgate front pages Gordon Brown
"Gillian Duffy had only popped out to buy a loaf of bread. But by the time she got home, following a chance encounter with the Prime Minister, the 65-year-old widow had become the woman who could seal the outcome of the general election." - Daily Telegraph

"It was the day that the great unspoken issue of the election - immigration - exploded in Gordon Brown's face. What should have been a routine encounter with a Labour-supporting grandmother turned into an unmitigated disaster for the PM. Seconds after telling her she was a 'good woman', Mr Brown was caught by a TV microphone privately attacking Gillian Duffy, 66, as a 'bigot' for daring to raise immigration with him - laying bare his contempt for the concerns of millions of voters." - Daily Mail

"The meeting with Gillian Duffy wrecked Gordon Brown's preparations for today's televised leaders' debate and threatens to haunt him to polling day – and beyond. Pictures of the humbled Prime Minister arriving at Mrs Duffy's pebble-dashed terraced house in Rochdale, Lancashire, to apologise for calling the lifelong Labour supporter a "bigot", were beamed around the world. What he said indoors during the 39-minute meeting remains unknown." - The Independent

"Instead of pressing the party’s record on the economy before tonight’s final trial by television, the election machine was reduced to desperate firefighting as Lord Mandelson led a series of Cabinet ministers on to the airwaves." - The Times

Steve Richards 2 "I assume, although I am not wholly certain, that most voters will side with the voter, and not the leader caught by a microphone and then caught again being filmed on a radio show listening to the tape, looking as if he was being tortured. The look was accurate. Acutely aware of how this would play, Brown was in political hell. The entire sequence was destined to happen at some point. Because Brown is obsessed with the media he assumes he is media-aware. He is not." - Steve Richards in The Independent

“The thing about general elections is they reveal the truth about people. What people will see is the contrast between what he was saying publicly and what he was saying privately." - George Osborne quoted in the Daily Express

"She was magnificent, she was eloquent. And she spoke, I suspect, for millions" - Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail

The danger was lurking right under Brown's nose - Andy McSmith in The Independent

Typical Gordon Brown: get in a hole and start digging - Matthew Parris in The Times

The outburst was reminiscent of The Thick of It - Brian Reade in the Mirror

"The saga was a deeply depressing tragicomedy: in a more edified world, we should be talking about public spending cuts and all of the other extraordinarily serious economic, social and cultural issues facing modern Britain. Instead, the nation appears to be only interested in image and personality; what matters are not the issues but politicians’ reactions to them, the way they project their emotions in public, the way they smile." - Allister Heath in City AM

Benedict Brogan "Months ago, the likes of Steve Hilton and George Osborne were predicting – and praying – that it would all come down to the campaign, and the likelihood that Mr Brown would somehow crack under pressure. They kanted to focus voters' minds on the hard truths about Mr Brown – his temper, his indecisiveness, his policy failings. Until Mrs Duffy popped up, they were having to confront some hard truths of their own, not least that Mr Cameron's decision to agree to the televised debates that gave Mr Clegg equal billing, against the advice of many around him, was probably the single biggest strategic mistake of his leadership." - Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's coverage on ConHome:

Leading businessmen warn against Lib-Lab coalition

"A group of 55 entrepreneurs has spoken out against the prospect of a Liberal Democrat-Labour coalition, claiming that it would be "disastrous for British business". In a letter to The Times, the signatories claim that they have "created many tens of thousands of jobs in the UK" but that the "ever-increasing tax burden and red tape is destroying the very innovation the UK needs to succeed". Dismissing the idea that Lib Dem involvement in a future government might improve the situation, they say that the policy of Nick Clegg's party is "even worse". - The Times

"A hung parliament could lead to a Greek-style financial crisis, business leaders and economists have warned. They said of a run on the pound and loss of faith in Britain’s ability to tackle its deficit, which is on a par with that of Greece. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said the crisis was spreading ‘like ebola’ across Europe." - Daily Mail

David Cameron has Ed Balls in his sights

Ed Balls "David Cameron said he wants a "Portillo moment" by ousting Ed Balls - as he targeted the Children's Secretary's constituency yesterday. The Tory leader was in the newly-created seat of Morley and Outwood in West Yorks, where Mr Balls has a notional majority of 8,669." - The Sun

> Seats and Candidates: Antony Calvert launches new fundraising website in his bid to give Ed Balls a "Portillo moment"

Guardian poll of Lib Dem targets shows the party gaining at Labour's expense

"The Liberal Democrats are on course to sharply increase their number of MPs, largely at Labour's expense, a Guardian/ICM poll suggests today. The unique ICM poll of voters in seats within the Lib Dems' grasp suggests the party's vote is climbing more strongly in Labour-held marginal seats than in Conservative ones." - Guardian

> ToryDiary: Today's other opinion polls

Tories deny speculation about post election deal with DUP

"The Tories have swiftly dismissed speculation about a possible post-Election pact involving the DUP. A Financial Times report had suggested a deal could be on the agenda if Conservative leader David Cameron needed extra votes to form a Government. "It is complete fiction. We are not in the business of allowing the DUP or their Scottish and Welsh nationalist allies to hold a Conservative Government to ransom, promote instability throughout the United Kingdom and weaken the Union.” - Belfast Telegraph

Norman Lamont: Repeat until polling day – it’s the economy, the economy, the economy. It’s the only message the Conservatives must get across - Lord Lamont in The Times

Robert Chote: The questions the leaders must answer tonight

"When the leaders of the three main parties face off on the economy in their third televised debate tonight, their views on tax and public spending are likely to be the bloodiest battleground. Here are a couple of questions for them, one looking backwards and one looking forwards... Given the scale of the fiscal repair job over the coming Parliament, should we have spent less or taxed more in the run-up to the financial crisis so the public finances would have been in better shape when it hit? Do you really think it is plausible to rely on cutting public spending for as much of the fiscal tightening as your plans imply?" - Robert Chote in The Times

Nick Clegg faces toughest test in final TV debate - Nick Watt in The Guardian

SNP lose court battle over leaders' TV debate - Reuters

Europe feels shockwaves as bailout falters - The Guardian

Spain hit as Greek 'illness' spreads over Europe - The Times

And finally, Boris gives a masterclass in how to behave on the campaign trail

Boris Johnson rosette "Boris Johnson really could teach Gordon Brown a thing or two (or 300) about “real” people on the campaign trail. Yesterday, in Ealing, Boris went walkabout amid scenes of unscripted chaos and never, once, did he blame anyone else for anything, even when he was photographed with a candidate named Bray in front of a horse’s ass... When someone from Poland talks to you, answer back in Polish. “Dzien dobry!” cried Boris at the Pole, who was thrilled. When someone hands you a mobile phone, do not throw it (habits of a lifetime, etc) but talk into it." - Ann Treneman's sketch in The Times


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

28 Apr 2010 09:00:05

Wednesday 28th April 2010

10.15pm WATCH: Channel Four News has encapsulated the events of "Bigot-gate" in 60 seconds

8.45pm ToryDiary update: Harris poll puts Tory lead at 2% over Lib Dems

8.30pm Seats and Candidates: More UKIP chaos as leader Lord Pearson urges people in three Somerset constituencies to vote Conservative and not for the nominated UKIP candidates

8.15pm ToryDiary update: ComRes puts Tory lead at 7% over Labour

8pm ToryDiary: YouGov has Labour back in third place on 27%

7.45pm WATCH: Guido gives his unique take on today's events with a special Guy News musical tribute

7.30pm Tea with Pickles: The Life and Times of the Prince of Darkness

7pm WATCH: Ex-leader Nigel Farage dominates UKIP party election broadcast, which is opened by Frank Maloney and Lord Pearson

6.15pm LeftWatch update: Now Brown sends email apology to Labour Party members

Picture 2 6pm ToryDiary: The Spectator warns Cameron against a coalition with the Liberal Democrats

6pm ToryDiary: How a Tory government would regulate and police the banks

5.15pm ToryDiary: Let's cut immigration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands

5pm Local government:

5pm WATCH: Gordon Brown's statement outside Gillian Duffy's house

4.30pm LeftWatch update: Full text of Brown's statement outside Gillian Duffy's house (and link to text of the original encounter)

4.15pm LeftWatch: Police investigating Tory claims of postal vote fraud in Derby

Picture 22
3.45pm LeftWatch update: Brown emerges from 45-minute meeting with Gillian Duffy saying he is a "penitent sinner"

3.15pm WATCH/LISTEN: Gordon Brown's radio apology to Gillian Duffy (including video footage of him listening to the tape of his remarks) (NB Brown is now inside Mrs Duffy's house in Rochdale apologising to her in person)

3pm WATCH: Gillian Duffy's reaction on being told Gordon Brown called her "bigoted"

2.15pm LeftWatch: Brown is duplicitous, contemptuous of the public and always seeking to blame others for his mistakes - what the Gillian Duffy incident tells us

1.15pm Alex Deane on CentreRight: Alan Johnson's argument on CCTV is both irresponsible and intellectually dishonest

Picture 16
Hat tip: Tory Rascal

Picture 19 12.30pm LeftWatch: Gordon Brown describes lifelong Labour voter he meets as "bigoted" updated with link to full video of the incident

Noon Paul Goodman on CentreRight: Could John Bercow hold Britain's fate in the hollow of his hand?

Nick Wood's High Noon: David Cameron must press home that only a Conservative government would deal with the deficit as a matter of urgency - unlike Labour or the Lib Dems

11.45pm ToryDiary: The funniest thing so far from Election 2010?

11.30am LeftWatch: Outgoing Labour MP backing Respect candidate against former parliamentary colleague

10.45am WATCH: Closing statements from Ken Clarke, Peter Mandelson, John Thurso and John Swinney in yesterday's Daily Politics debate on business

Picture 9
ToryDiary: How to deal with the deficit becomes a big issue before the leaders' debate on the economy

The Shakespeare Report: The voting system is now going to be part of how people think about 'change'

LeftWatch: Nick Clegg tells the world: "I want to be Prime Minister"

Fiona Bulmer on Platform: The left wing critics are wrong - Free schools will drive up standards in all schools

Seats and Candidates update: Latest record of the seats David Cameron has been visiting during the campaign

Local Government:

CentreRight posts:

WATCH: David Cameron is challenged by a voter over Tory policy on special needs schools

Overnight polls show Tory lead of 4%, 4% and 8% - ToryDiary

Coup for Tories as knife victim's sister, former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella, backs Cameron

"David Cameron promised to fix Britain's 'broken society' as he put fighting crime and antisocial behaviour at the heart of the election campaign yesterday. The Tory leader announced that former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella will head an initiative to stamp out knife crime. Miss Kinsella, whose 16-year-old brother Ben was stabbed to death in 2008, will help run a series of mentoring projects for young men in deprived areas." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: People power can mend Britain's broken society, says Cameron

Tories vow to get tough on classroom discipline with new expulsion powers for heads and pupils forced to wear uniforms

Michael Gove 2010 smiling "The Tories today declare war on the ill-discipline plaguing Britain’s schools as they vow tough new powers for teachers, uniforms in the classroom and bigger fines for parents whose children play truant. Education spokesman Michael Gove said Labour had fuelled a devastating breakdown in standards of behaviour and promised reforms to put old-fashioned values back at the heart of the education system. In an interview with the Daily Mail, he said he wanted to see a ‘sense of purpose and order’, like that seen in many private schools, reintroduced across the state system." - Daily Mail

Liberal Democrats fail to attract party funding despite electoral surge

"Donations to the Liberal Democrats during the second week of the election campaign were dwarfed by those to the Tories and Labour despite Nick Clegg's party surging in the polls, it was revealed today. The Electoral Commission said the Tories had received £2.2m – including £25,000 from the bakers Warburtons shortly after David Cameron visited the firm's Bolton headquarters – while Labour had raised almost £1.5m and the Lib Dems £120,000 in that period; this was, however, £100,000 more than they raised in the first week." - The Guardian"

The Liberal Democrats have pocketed a donation worth nearly £100,000 from a company based in a tax haven and owned by Indian businessmen believed to have ‘non-dom’ status. More than half the cash Nick Clegg’s party has taken in major donations since the beginning of the election campaign has come from Alpha Healthcare, figures showed yesterday." - Daily Mail

Nick Clegg accused of hypocrisy over home profit

Nick Clegg on Marr "Nick Clegg was accused of hypocrisy tonight after claims he made a €360,000 profit on his home in Brussels at a time when he was receiving a daily allowance to cover accommodation from the EU as an MEP. The Eurosceptic thinktank Open Europe claimed his decision to make a profit on the home was at odds with his opposition to MPs making capital gain on second homes as MPs, when their mortgage costs were covered by the taxpayer through expenses" - The Guardian

Clegg refuses to rule out backing Brown - BBC

Tory candidate dropped for remarks about homosexuals

"David Cameron admitted that his party must do more to reassure gay people after a Tory candidate in Scotland was suspended today for describing homosexuality as “not normal”. Philip Lardner, was dropped as the Conservative candidate for North Ayrshire & Arran nine days before polling day for comments made on his official election website." - The Times

> Yesterday in Seats and Candidates: Tory candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran suspended for criticising homosexuality

Tories eye pact with smaller parties

"David Cameron’s campaign team is exploring the possibility of a deal with unionist politicians in Northern Ireland and Scottish and Welsh nationalist MPs in the event of a hung parliament, in an attempt to avoid giving in to Liberal Democrat demands for electoral reform." - FT

Business leaders "want Ken Clarke as chancellor" - Reuters

Latest on how the Labour Government has been wasting billions

"Labour is wasting billions a year on public relations firms, management consultants and taxis, a Government report reveals today. Despite Gordon Brown's pledge to cut Britain's record-breaking debt, Whitehall splashes out £11 million a year in taxis alone. An eye-watering £1.6 billion a year is lavished on a small army of management consultants drafted in to advise ministers and officials. Office furniture costs £57 million and £881 million goes on hiring temps." - The Sun

Police spend almost half of time not tackling crime

Chris Grayling 2010 square "Police spend almost half their time on paperwork, in meetings and drinking tea instead of tackling crime and other incidents, figures show. Officers are tied up with "non-incident" duties, which also include training, appraisals and handling complaints, for 39 per cent of their time – the equivalent of three hours in every shift... The Tories said another five years of Labour would mean officers spend the same as a full working year bogged down in bureaucracy. Chris Grayling said: "The reason so many communities are under policed is the massive culture of bureaucracy and paperwork that has been put in place by Labour." - Daily Telegraph

Hamish McRae: Like it or not, an age of austerity beckons

"There will, after the election, be a period in which the government is allowed to settle. Up to now the world's financial markets have taken the view that as soon as the election is over the next government will come forward with credible plans. Global investors are pretty sophisticated and have been well aware that it simply is not possible for a government in the final months of office to outline such plans and, in any case, not much could have been done until growth was re-established. But now the clock is ticking." - The Independent

Alice Thomson: The rural vote is being left to rot in the fields

Picture 13 "The front of Labour’s manifesto shows England’s rolling hills bathed in sunlight. But Gordon appears to loathe the soil. He may be the grandson of a Fife farmer, but he can’t do wellies; urban politics is his life. He vanished in the foot-and-mouth crisis and only resurfaced to suggest wind farms. The Tories appear no more interested. David Cameron is embarrassed to be seen in his Barbour, and no longer mentions his marrows. Their most high-profile rural policy is to reverse the hunting ban. The manifesto says as much about pets as livestock." - Alice Thomson in The Times

Ex-police chief defends Damian Green arrest

"The former police chief who arrested a Tory MP in a leaks probe has defended his actions, saying documents were stolen from the home secretary's safe. Bob Quick defended his investigation of Damian Green after he established a civil servant was leaking documents. Neither Mr Green nor the official were charged. " - BBC

And finally... party manifestos outselling JK Rowling

Picture 12 "Sales of party manifestos are outstripping those for the last election - and even outselling authors such as JK Rowling, new figures have revealed. Book retailer Waterstone's says sales are up 160% on 2005, and there are still eight days to go before election day. The biggest rise compared to five years ago is for the Lib Dems with curious voters driving a 250% boost. But figures show the Conservatives are ahead with 38% of the total manifesto sales so far at Waterstone's, followed by the Liberal Democrats on 32% and Labour on 30%." - Sky News


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

27 Apr 2010 09:01:39

Tuesday 27th April 2010

10.30pm ToryDiary update: Tonight's polls have the Conservatives 4%, 4% and 8% ahead

9.15pm Seats and candidates: How much are you prepared to donate to stop Nick Clegg holding the balance of power?

8pm ToryDiary update: Tories 8% ahead in first poll of the evening... and 4% in second

6.15pm Tea with Pickles: A brush with the Prince of Darkness... or is that the Prince of Stability?

3.45pm WATCH THE TORIES' LATEST ELECTION BROADCAST: An Election Broadcast from the Hung Parliament Party

LARDNER PHILIP3.30pm Seats and candidates: Tory candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran suspended for criticising homosexuality

3.15pm WATCH: Labour's fourth election broadcast warns of Tory cuts to benefits for higher earners

1.30pm Mark Wallace on CentreRight: What Whitehall REALLY thinks about Britain

12.30pm ToryDiary: People power can mend Britain's broken society, says Cameron

Nick Wood's High Noon column: The Tories' Hung Parliament message will only work if it is endlessly repeated until polling day

11.15am WATCH ONE OF THE MOMENTS OF THE CAMPAIGN: Adam Boulton to Peter Mandelson: Don't accuse the media of ignoring the issues when you won't tell voters how you'll cut the deficit

NineDay ToryDiary: A nine day plan to win a majority

Also on ToryDiary: Conservative options for a Hung Parliament

Quentin Langley on Platform: How to read the polls

Local government: The battles for Weymouth and Portland, Swindon and Sunderland.

WATCH: Jeremy Hunt explains why a Hung Parliament would be "bad for everyone"

Overnight polls give the Conservatives leads of 1%, 3%, 4% and 6% - ToryDiary

William Hague and Sir Reg Empey yesterday launched the UUP-Tory manifesto - Belfast Telegraph

Top heads back Tory pledge to free state schools

Screen shot 2010-04-27 at 08.07.24 "In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, 31 heads and governors back a Tory pledge to give high-performing state schools autonomy within months of a general election victory. They will be allowed to convert into semi-independent academies as early as September this year if the Tories win, giving them more power over the curriculum, qualifications, staff, budgets and admissions." - Telegraph

In The Times, Stephen Poillard explains why Michael Gove's schools policies mean he'll be voting Conservative for the first time; "Only one party offers to transform opportunities for the poor and the struggling middle classes."

Hung parliament would bring Britain to its knees, warns Cameron - Daily Mail

"Mr Cameron accused Mr Clegg of “holding the country to ransom” to benefit the Liberal Democrats, saying he was “interested in one thing and that is changing our electoral system so that we have a permanent hung parliament, we have a permanent coalition, we never have strong and decisive government.” - Independent

FT: Conservatives will stop Cameron agreeing to proportional representation

"Senior Tories told the Financial Times that Mr Cameron would be unable to get his MPs to agree to the legislation needed for a referendum on PR – a system the right fears could condemn it to a perpetual period in opposition. “You’ve got two centre parties and one on the right . . . I can’t see a system to allow the other two control getting through the party,” one MP said. Another said Mr Cameron’s “wishy-washy policies” had failed to cement the Tory support base, leaving him “dancing to the Lib Dems’ tune”. Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory leader, told the BBC he did not believe his party would “want to deal out the future of Britain for the rather messy business of swapping chairs after the election”." - FT

> ConHome survey from February 2010: "10% of Tory members said they would "accept proportional representation as the price of a coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats." 86% said no."

Cameron says he is most pro-BBC Tory leader ever

BBC "Dozens of stars, including Harry Enfield, Jo Brand, Eddie Izzard and David Tennant, publicly opposed Conservative plans for the corporation at the weekend. But the Tory leader told the Radio Times: "I'm probably the most pro-BBC Conservative leader there's ever been... I would never do anything to put the BBC at risk. Conservatives should be as proud of establishing the BBC as Labour are of establishing the NHS."" - Express

City AM impressed with George Osborne after interview

"The shadow chancellor has no wish return to the days when the government picked “winners and losers”, but he does want to change the tax system so it rewards businesses that might relocate elsewhere. “Some countries like Holland and Belgium have made changes to their corporate tax regime that have encouraged pharmaceutical businesses to locate intellectual property out of the UK. It’s one thing asking: ‘Can Britain compete against China in low cost manufacturing?’ But it’s another asking ‘can we compete against Holland and Belgium over intellectual property?’ You bet we can.”" - City AM

A Chancellor Osborne would be much more radical than is usually realised - Allister Heath in City AM

George Osborne has attempted to distance himself from forecasts that Scotland could suffer cuts of up to £4 billion in the next three years - Scotsman

Dominic Lawson: Tories have been most boosted by tax cuts

Tax cut "It is when the Cameron team has played to more traditional Tory themes that the opinion polls seem to respond most favourably. Thus when George Osborne pledged to remove inheritance tax from all estates up to £1m, the polls registered a high level of enthusiasm, so much so that a panicky Gordon Brown forced Alistair Darling to double the inheritance tax threshold for married couples to £600,000. Then, in the first week of the current general election campaign, the Tories seemed to score a palpable hit with their pledge not to implement a planned increase in national insurance tax, backed by the serried ranks of Britain's businessmen." - Dominic Lawson in The Independent

Conservative promises to protect the arts remain unconvincing - David Hare in The Guardian

Cameron was confronted by hostile voters as he hit the campaign trail on the south coast - Metro

Ed Balls says Clegg has no right to decide leader of Labour Party

"Mr Balls told BBC2's Newsnight "I don't think that it is for Nick Clegg to start telling the British people who the Prime Minister should be. Nick Clegg at the moment is giving the impression that he himself can decide who will be the prime minister of this country. That is decided by the British people in the ballot box. You cannot give the impression that politics is like a game of trumps where you can play your hand and bluff away. The hands have not yet been dealt."" - London Evening Standard

Nick Clegg: I could work with Labour, just not Gordon Brown - Guardian

Clegg accuses Labour and the Conservatives of colluding in a “secret amnesty” for illegal ­immigrants - Herald

Clegg is more posh than David Cameron - Daily Star

Should the Leader of the Opposition be the one with more votes or more MPs? - Martin Kettle in The Guardian

SNP to begin BBC leaders' debate legal bid - BBC

The two Foreign Office officials who ridiculed the Pope - Daily Mail


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