Daily Archives: March 25, 2010

Jim Pickard

Alex and I share an office with George Parker, the FT’s political editor, and Jean Eaglesham, FT chief political correspondent. Read more

The betting markets have moved sharply against the Tories today. There was little movement on Budget day. But since 8.45am this morning the odds on a Tory majority have dropped five per cent on Betfair, the online betting exchange. It is one of the biggest one day movements since the non-election of 2007.

Now, Labour still seem well out of the running, at least according to the punters. But the Tory odds are heading towards the critical 50/50 mark, a remarkable shift given that the odds on a Cameron majority were close to 70 per cent just a couple of months ago. The chances of a hung parliament now stand at close to 40 per cent. Read more

Jim Pickard

Labour today promised £5m of regeneration money for 25 of Britain’s less salubrious seaside towns. By my calculations the move move will boost no fewer than 14 marginal constituencies just ahead of the general election. Read more

Nicholas Timmins

Tensions continue to rise over the transition between Labour and the Tories that may or may not take place after May 6. And after their furious row over the social care “death tax” there is increasingly little love lost between Andy Burnham, the health secretary and Andrew Lansley, his Conservative opposite number.

Lansley is cross with Burnham, the health secretary, for going ahead and appointing a new chair of Monitor, the independent foundation trust regulator, just ahead of the election. Burnham appears incandescent with rage at Lansley, for questioning his judgement.

Burnham vetoed earlier candidates to take over Monitor in the autumn, leaving it temporarily leaderless. Now, suddenly, he has given Steve Bundred, the outgoing chief executive of the Audit Commission, a four year, £75,000 per annum contract to do the job from May.

Last week he put in a courtesy call to Lansley to run through the short list of candidates. Lansley said he didn’t want to know the names. Read more

Jim Pickard

I’ve just had a freedom of information request back from the Cabinet Office giving me the dates of Tony Blair’s visits to Downing Street since he quit in June 2007. Read more

A revealing George Osborne interview this morning on the Today programme.

This exchange should put an end to any illusions over this election campaign offering a clear choice between two different approaches to cutting the deficit. The fog of politics is thick. Read more