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June 2007 newslinks

28 Jun 2007 08:58:48

Thursday 28th June 2007

9.45pm Seats and candidates: Graham Robb selected for Sedgefield

Cameron_as_kitch 4.30pm Seats and Candidates: Campaign Together

Go to now to sign up for helping the Conservative cause.


  • Daniel Finkelstein on Comment Central compares the extent to which Blair and Brown have aged in the last decade with some celebrities. He also reminds us that David Miliband's blog is still in existence and urges him to continue writing it as Foreign Secretary.
  • The Psychiatrist, Dr Michelle Tempest, sets out the three issues she believes Alan Johnson will have to address as Health Secretary.
  • 18 Doughty Street (clip) had Brown biographer Francis Beckett and John Major's former Chief Press Secretary Jonathan Haslam on last night to discuss Brown's first 100 days. Also, Cally's Kitchen reviews his visit to their studio.
  • Alistair Campbell watches the handover of power on television and wishes Brown well. Bryan Appleyard hopes Brown doesn't "try his utmost".
  • Jeffrey Archer, yes that one, gives some insights into what he does with his time.
  • The Social Affairs Unit have four interesting book reviews today.

3.45pm ToryDiary: How should Cameron respond to Brown?

12.30pm Seats and Candidates: Asian radio entrepreneur to be Ealing Southall candidate

BBC: Blair questioned again by police about cash for honours

10am ToryDiary: David Cameron embraces the And theory and Could a junior doctor be the next MP for Sedgefield?



ToryDiary: How to beat Brown

YourPlatform: Andrew Haldenby on how Brown mustn't be the heir to Blair

Blog of the week: Nick Bourne AM, now to be leader of the Welsh official opposition, blogs regularly on the main issues in Cardiff and the Conservative Party.


7622gordonbrownap "In order to convince the electorate that he leads a "new" government, he has to distance himself from the very administration in which he was the second most powerful figure. So it was that he bit the bullet and conceded that, over the past decade, Labour has failed to deliver on the socialist staples of health, education and housing." - Telegraph leader

"If his philosophy is right now, the people and the policies will have a chance to shine. If his outlook on politics and society is misplaced, no Cabinet reshuffle or slick think-tank agenda will save him at the ballot box." - Times leader

"Mr Brown, who spoke with heavy authority outside No 10, will never achieve - or want to achieve - his predecessor's easy populism. He will not weave his magic over Westminster as Mr Blair did one last time yesterday. But in a fundamental way he has suggested this week that the New Labour strategy he helped create will not change." - Guardian leader

Gordon_brown "Instead of top-down state control, it’s time for real social responsibility — trusting people, not telling them what to do the whole time. Gordon Brown says he wants to be different — and I’d like to believe it. But looking at his record over the past ten years, it’s hard to see how he can be the change this country needs." - David Cameron in The Sun

"British politics has reached a genuine turning point. Since he became leader, Mr Cameron has been able to sit back and let Mr Blair and Mr Brown tear each other apart. He must now settle down to a long game of guerrilla political warfare with the most ruthless fighter in Westminster. The election may come as early as next summer, or as late as 2010. But the battle for Middle England starts now." - Fraser Nelson in the Spectator

"What, then, could Mr Brown do to convince the country that it now has a down-to-earth government of honesty and change? The answer is “plenty”." - Anatole Kaletsky in the Times

Brown's nine pitfalls - Peter Riddell in the Times

The chinks in Brown's armour - Guardian


"_40083062_davies_203 There are two piles of letters in Quentin Davies's office - a small one with a note saying "praise" on the top, and a large one labelled "vitriol". The man who defected to Labour because he disliked David Cameron's "PR agenda" handed a propaganda coup to Gordon Brown this week." - Telegraph interview with Davies

"David Cameron must now count him a lost sheep. Never mind, these are win-win situations. Every time a Conservative MP crosses the floor to join Labour there is a small but measurable increase in the average IQ of both parliamentary parties." - Matthew Parris in the Times

"Quite what Quentin Davies is doing with this lot I have no idea, though for the avoidance of doubt he should now do two things. He should dispel any possible suggestion of corruption by announcing that he will in no circumstances accept a peerage, and he should offer to be the Labour candidate for Sedgefield, so the people of Grantham can have a proper Tory." - Boris Johnson in the Telegraph

Cameron "It's bound to be a difficult time. But my tip for Dave? Don't beat yourself up about it, love. There's no way you could have known. Like so many men in a similar situation, the pressure of leading a double life only made Quentin perform more brilliantly as the loyal Tory MP he outwardly was." - Catherine Bennett in the Guardian

"Ed Balls, a key aide to Gordon Brown who is guaranteed a top job in the new government, boasted to a reception that Quentin Davies would not be the last to cross the floor of the House of Commons." - Telegraph

"Why did Mr Cameron not have the sense to acknowledge the written submissions that Mr Davies made to him about his unhappiness with certain policies and aspects of Mr Cameron's style? Why did he not have someone senior in the party talk to Mr Davies and try to bring him round? Why did the party not send someone more convincing than Alan Duncan, the trade spokesman, to take on Mr Davies on Newsnight?" - Telegraph leader

>>> Nigel Evans MP wrote about Quentin Davies last night


_39155793_nick_bourne203 "The Tories’ new status as the largest opposition group in the National Assembly means they will gain new resources and more airtime. But more importantly, they can position themselves as a credible alternative to Labour and Plaid – a confidently Welsh party bound by neither left-wing nor Thatcherite ideology." - Western Mail


"Migrants from 130 countries with a high risk of TB are being cleared to live in Britain without any health checks, it has emerged. Once here, those with the disease are entitled to free treatment on the Health Service. The Conservatives said last night that the loophole was fuelling 'health tourism' and any migrant found to have TB should be placed immediately on a plane back home." - Daily Mail

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary...

27 Jun 2007 09:01:07

Wednesday 27th June 2007

6pm BritainAndAmerica: Will the relationship be less special after Blair?


5.45pm YourPlatform: Nigel Evans MP offers us his forthright thoughts on Quentin Davies

4.45pm ToryDiary: Rolling post on the Government reshuffle


  • The Times' Sam Coates has been busily blogging on their News Blog today as a one-off. His 18 posts include anecdotes from the Parliamentary press corps and PMQs, and he reveals the press team and website of Blair's new office.
  • The TPA, which now has an office in the West Midlands, believes the fraud in Birmingham City Council is symptomatic of the lack of financial control in local councils and asks for whistleblowers from other councils to come forward.
  • 18 Doughty Street have made a video about the prospect of Brown at PMQs, showing boxers in red, blue and yellow vests fight it out. This short clip from last night's programming shows a discussion about whether the spate of TV programmes about becoming a tycoon is a sign that entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.
  • ToryRadio has podcasted Brown's acceptance speech, Dizzy is worried by his voice and wonders if we're seeing the resurrection of Operation Gobble

4pm ToryDiary: Brown to replace Benn with Bercow?

3.30pm ToryDiary: David Cameron speaks to WebCameron about today's PMQs and Gordon Brown and And so it begins... (or is that 'continues')

1.15pm ToryDiary: Vaizey attacks "incredible" decision of BBC to cut coverage of Blair's farwell statement to Commons

LIVE BLOG of Tony Blair's last PMQs


BritainAndAmerica: George W Bush salutes Tony Blair on his final day as Prime Minister and Younger Americans lean left

ToryDiary: LibDems collapse to 12%


YourPlatform: Graeme Archer: How well have we got on with our ex-leaders? and Benedict Rogers: David Cameron deserves loyalty and patience

Seats & Candidates: ConservativeHome Seats & Candidates' downloadable database 2.0


_40083062_davies_203 "His defection was timed to cause the maximum damage to the Conservatives, who he has represented in Parliament for 20 years. The journey to Labour has been long and tortuous, and based on frustrated ambition as much as political principle." - Telegraph

"Gordon Brown engineered a pre-emptive strike against David Cameron yesterday by personally securing the defection of senior Tory Quentin Davies." - Guardian

"Gordon Brown did not leave the delicate negotiations that brought Quentin Davies into the Labour fold to colleagues or aides. He did it himself. " - Times

"The EU fanatic, MP for Grantham and Stamford, jumped ship in a bid to bolster his flagging political career. He said: €œI believe Gordon Brown is taking this country in the right direction." - The Sun

"Quentin Davies will be lucky to have as much as 24 hours of fame. But what a 24 hours. Defections are all about immediate headlines, and they seldom have a lasting impact, either on the political landscape or on the attitudes of voters." - Peter Riddell in the Times

"No, Mr Davies'™s decision,€” as is clear from his resignation letter,€” is personal. He doesn't like the Cameroons. They have ignored him." - Alice Miles in the Times


Tonyblair1 "Tony Blair will say farewell to Downing Street and domestic politics today, bringing to an end a remarkable decade in power which began with extraordinarily high hopes but ended with opinion divided over his legacy to the country." - Telegraph

"Tony Blair intends to quit Parliament immediately and forge a lucrative career as an international envoy, campaigner and roving celebrity statesman." - Times

"Taxpayers are to foot a £750,000 bill for a clear-out of Tony Blair's special advisers, the Conservatives have claimed." - Daily Mail

"The moment has been anticipated so long, it's easy to lose sight of its strangeness." - Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian


7622gordonbrownap "Gordon Brown is to reward a team of loyal young ministers who have helped plot his route to No 10 when he begins to announce his government later today." - Telegraph

"Gordon Brown'€™s accession to the premiership has spurred a rush of donations to Labour coffers with four businessmen, including leading private equity figures, contributing more than £500,000 to the party in recent weeks." - FT

Reform125wide "A new report today shows that Gordon Brown should make a decisive break from the policies of the past decade if the UK is to overcome its deep-set problems of economic and social division.  The report shows that the key policies of recent years,€“ higher spending, increased taxes and a greater role for central government, have blocked public service reform and created new pressures on vulnerable groups, such as young people.  Successful public service reform and lower taxation would help to deliver “a new politics” which empowers citizens rather than government." - Reform

"In the final hours before he takes over as Prime Minister Gordon Brown has taken time out from his helter-skelter schedule to meet a special panel of Mirror readers." - Mirror

"If Mr Brown makes tax a main battlefield, and throws some bones to the hard-pressed middle classes for whom Mr Osborne plainly couldn't care less, he will find it harder to lose his election, whenever he calls it."  - Simon Heffer in the Telegraph


"Sir Menzies Campbell yesterday vowed to make his age a plus point for the Liberal Democrats as he defended his leadership following a tumultuous week." - Guardian


"More than £1bn was yesterday wiped off the share price of BAE, Britain's biggest arms company, after it was forced to announce that the US department of justice has opened a criminal inquiry into allegedly corrupt deals with Saudi Arabia." - Guardian

"BAE Systems'€™ shares fell 8 per cent on Tuesday as investors finally took fright at ongoing corruption allegations surrounding Britain's biggest arms manufacturer." - FT


"The Democratic party is so alarmed by the prospect of competing against Fred Thompson, a Republican who portrays himself as a successor to Ronald Reagan, that it is advising campaigners how to attack the former actor and Tennessee senator." - Telegraph


"Richard Lugar, senior Republican on the Senate's foreign relations committee, said the war put vital US interests in the Middle East at risk and could end in disaster unless a coherent withdrawal plan for US forces was agreed "very soon". - Guardian


"An overwhelming majority€ of Labour AMs backed a coalition deal with Plaid Cymru today. Labour's Assembly group met to discuss the deal Rhodri Morgan has negotiated with Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones." - icWales

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary...

26 Jun 2007 08:59:27

Tuesday 26th June 2007

Midnight ToryDiary: LibDems collapse to 12%


5.45pm ToryDiary: Resign and fight a by-election says Quentin Davies' Chairman

5.40pm ToryDiary: What others say about the defection

5.25pm Update: Tony Blair to stand down as an MP tomorrow - BBCi

4.53pm ToryDiary: David Cameron's response to Davies

4.12pm ToryDiary: Keep those seatbelts fastened



  • The Difference is holding a large poll on various policy ideas which Cameron could use for his "blizzard of ideas". It also has an interesting post supporting the Conservative position that opium crops in Afghanistan should be licensed.
  • Open Europe have incisively fisked of Blair's entire speech to Parliament about the EU treaty negotiations yesterday.
  • Ben Brogan says Cameron's Chief of Staff is having reconciliation talks with Angela Merkel
  • Matt Wardman points out the flaws in the Alexa website hits company and is experimenting to see how easy it is to skew its rankings.
  • Curly's Corner Shop goes back to 1983 and reflects on how Blair will remember his first election.
  • PragueTory notes the dip in BAE's share price and how the prospect of a US investigation could harm the government.
  • Watlington has restarted blogging with a post pondering whether Brown's ascent will transform Cameron from Prince Hal to Henry V.

12.45 ToryDiary: Two issues for David Cameron

10.45am Seats and Candidates: Hendon open primary

ToryDiary: Conservatives 5% ahead in Communicate Research poll

Seats and Candidates: Finalists for West Lancashire open primary

YourPlatform: Tom Richmond on the balance between too much policy substance and too little


Eu_flags_2 "Tony Blair yesterday dismissed Tory calls for a referendum on a European treaty as "completely and utterly absurd". In his final statement to the Commons as prime minister, he said the talks last week showed Britain was no longer on Europe's margin. The Tories were just going though the motions in condemning the deal." - Guardian

"Mr Cameron lashed out as a string of European leaders lined up to admit the treaty is the same as the constitution dumped two years ago." - The Sun

"For some, the draft treaty is a betrayal, the surrender of British independence and a step towards a superstate. That seems over the top. My reading of the confusing 31 pages of conclusions points, rather, to a messy series of compromises." - Peter Riddell in the Times

"Once again, we see that, as well as being undemocratic in itself, the EU traduces democracy within its member nations. That is why the referendum matters so much. And that is why you should add your name to our petition." - Dan Hannan in the Telegraph

>>> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameron - Let the people decide and Telegraph launches petition for a referendum



"Tony Blair’s nomination for the post of international envoy in the Middle East is likely to be confirmed as early as today despite grumbles from Europe and last-minute wrangles over his job description." - Times

"The rush by his team to try to announce some kind of role by today, the last day of his premiership, seems designed to ease the sting of surrendering high office more than to solve the problems of the Middle East." - Bronwen Maddox in the Times


"Tory leader David Cameron threw down the gauntlet to Gordon Brown yesterday with a challenge to call a General Election “right now”." - Express

"The prospect of Gordon Brown calling an early general election receded after the latest monthly poll for The Independent gave the Tories a five-point lead over Labour. According to CommunicateResearch, David Cameron's party has extended its lead by one point in the past month. It dampened speculation that Mr Brown will seek a personal mandate from the voters sooner rather than later." - Independent

"Of course, for all Mr Brown's braggadocio, he knows that Labour is no more capable of fighting a snap election than the Tories, because both parties are strapped for cash. Indeed, one of the purposes of the whole early election tease is to get the donations rolling in - a task that will prove more difficult for Labour following the police investigation of the cash-for-honours affair. Nevertheless, there remains a powerful case for an early election on the simple grounds of democratic legitimacy. Mr Brown will never have the genuine authority of a prime minister until he has faced the voters. The sooner he does that, the better." - Telegraph leader


Darfur "On one thing, at least, the US and France are fully agreed: the world’s response to the mass murder in Darfur has been appalling. Speaking in Paris, Condoleezza Rice said that the international community had not “lived up to its responsibilities”. President Sarkozy was blunter: “Silence is killing.” The lack of decisiveness and action were unacceptable, he added. Indeed, they are. And Mr Sarkozy deserves credit, not only for recognising that France has, until now, been dragging its feet over Darfur, but for taking a lead in pressing for effective measures to halt the slaughter." - Times leader

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary...

25 Jun 2007 09:01:41

Monday 25th June 2007

6pm ToryDiary: Telegraph launches petition for a referendum

4.30pm Seats and Candidates: Dewsbury open primary and Rochester & Strood postponement

4.15pm ToryDiary: Let the people decide says Cameron


  • Nadine Dorries MP highlights how pro-choice advocates have "rigged" the British Medical Association's choice of motions at its conference, and repeats her call to sign this petition to the BMA urging that the "1967 Abortion Act should be reviewed in the light of advances in scientific understanding and changes in public opinion"
  • Open Europe has a useful list of European leaders who have been telling their respective countries that the EU treaty is virtually the same as the old constitution
  • Richard Spring MP writes a brief post about his recent visit to Sederot, an Israeli town "livng in fear"
  • The Telegraph's Health section has an article written by a junior doctor who is starry-eyed about Cameron's stance on the NHS and the junior doctors fiasco
  • Oliver Kamm believes Defamation Law needs to be adapted to take into account the age of the internet, an issue with which he has some experience
  • Ellee Seymour reckons Harriet Harman had the best blog of all the Deputy Leadership candidates
  • Fraser Nelson has written a transcript of what he wishes Cameron had said to John Humphrys about social mobility this morning

3.30pm ToryDiary update: A question for Tony Blair

Lunchtime BritainAndAmerica updates:


11.45am ToryDiary: A General Election within one year? (Watching the Mail and Sun watching Brown)

ToryDiary: David Cameron on social mobility (but not on Europe) and New Labour leadership team find solution to Party funding problem

20070625markpritchardp YourPlatform: Mark Pritchard MP: Conservative MPs must remain cool under fire


Gordonbrown150 "Gordon Brown put his party on a "honeymoon" general election war footing yesterday as he used his coronation as Labour leader to promise a decisive break with the Blair era." - Telegraph

"Gordon Brown was yesterday anointed Labour leader, promising he personifies both "the change from the old politics" and the chance for "a public life based on values" for which he said the country has been yearning." - Guardian

"Gordon Brown gave the first indications on Sunday of the shape of his new cabinet and how he intends to overhaul Whitehall, declaring his determination to meet the challenge of change". - FT

"In about two days, we will have a prime minister who was not elected to that office by anybody. His Cabinet (if all goes according to his plan) could well include members of a party that has not been elected to national government in living memory." - Janet Daley in the Telegraph

"Gordon Brown has long seemed like the St Simeon Stylites of British politics. This 5th-century holy man is best known for the manner in which he detached himself from the rest of humanity." - Tim Hames in the Times


200607_136238_g_n_153_harriet20harm "Harriet Harman, Labour's new deputy leader, yesterday vowed to use her victory to be a "champion for women" and put family policy at the heart of the party's pitch to the electorate." - Guardian

"Gordon Brown moved quickly to limit her influence as Labour's new deputy leader, announcing that she would have a party role rather than a top government job, and would not succeed Mr Prescott as Deputy Prime Minister. Aides said that she would not deputise for Mr Brown at Prime Minister's Questions, and she is not expected to follow Mr Prescott's lead by taking charge when Mr Brown goes on holiday." - Times

Profile - Guardian


"David Cameron has been warned that he could face another grammar school-style revolt if he gives the green light to a fresh wave of house building in the South East." - Telegraph   


"A "rainbow" alliance of Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives is the most popular coalition option for governing Wales, according to a poll." - BBCi


"Gordon Brown was under pressure to perform a U-turn over Europe and grant a referendum on the proposed EU treaty night, after Ireland said it would call a national vote." - Telegraph

"Tony Blair, with Gordon Brown by his side, will today reject Tory calls in the Commons to stage a referendum on the wide-ranging constitutional package agreed by EU leaders early on Saturday." - Guardian


"One of life's more desolate occupations is former prime minister. When Tony Blair leaves Downing Street on Wednesday he may keep a car and a bodyguard, but there will be no more scrambled telephones, massed cameras or summits." - Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the Guardian


"No more money should be diverted to the 2012 Olympics from arts and heritage funds if the Games exceed their £9 billion budget, MPs will say today. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee reveals in a highly critical report that it has deep concerns about the impact the loss of funds has had on the arts in Britain." - Times


"Barack Obama, the Illinois senator aiming to become America's first black president, has accused evangelical Christian leaders of "hijacking faith" and politicising religious beliefs in an effort to divide the country." - Telegraph


Three weekend highlights from ConservativeHome:

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary...