Conservative Diary

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Ed Balls' anti-marriage message is killing Brown's relationship with Paul Dacre

Today's General Election Brief.

DAILY-MAIL We are moving towards clarity on the married tax allowance. Despite what my good friend Iain Martin blogs, the Tory policy on marriage is becoming clear. As a first instalment or downpayment on David Cameron's marriage policy we are likely to get a £600m Transferable Tax Allowance within the early years of a Conservative government for all children under the age of three with married parents. In a family green paper the Centre for Social Justice sets out the reasons why the two parent family is such a force for social well-being. The Daily Mail continues to blast Labour for neglecting marriage, as in an editorial today. It accuses Labour of being "deluded" and "opportunist". The Conservative policy is praised as "creditworthy". The family is one of the top concerns of the paper's Editor, Paul Dacre. Brown is undermining the last hope he had with Dacre by allowing Ed Balls to trash the Tory plan to save the two parent family.

The Tories promise to make teaching a noble profession. Jonathan blogged on the Tories' education manifesto earlier. Central to today's launch was the idea of recruiting the very best graduates for the classroom. The media have had fun with the fact that Tory maths adviser Carol Vorderman got a 'Douglas Hurd' (Cockney rhyming slang) at university but education is the Tories' biggest idea and you can't have good schools without good teachers. Recruiting the best and sacking the worst will be an affront to the unions and may require larger class sizes but my guess is that most parents will strongly approve.

Reducing Britain's carbon footprint is lowest priority of Conservative MPs. This website released the results of a survey of 141 candidates in our most winnable seats that showed broad support for Cameron's emphasis on the NHS, poverty-fighting and civil liberties. Only 8 of the 141 regarded climate change as their top priority, however. Read the results here.

Fifty candidates gathered to have their photographs taken with Cameron today. The FT has the story. I bet Brown won't be featuring on much Labour literature.

Tim Montgomerie

> Yesterday's General Election Brief.


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