Conservative Diary

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A good day for Nick Clegg

ElectionBrief A good day for the Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg's decision to junk some of his party's favourite policies given the changed economic circumstances will have struck most voters as reasonable. Rather than specific policies, reasonableness and a moderation of tone is the LibDems' biggest advantage. Clegg will have reinforced that advantage today.

Frank Field offered some support for the Conservatives today. He turned up to David Cameron's Demos speech at the Conservatives' invitation. Report on speech here.  FF is too much of a Labour man to ever defect to the Tories but he should definitely be invited to play a role in any Conservative government. He could take a job on welfare, the teaching of British history, democratic reform but I'd give him a job related to immigration.

David Cameron gave an excellent performance on Five Live this afternoon. Cross-examined by Richard Bacon and callers for an hour he came across as measured, warm and consistent. We should not underestimate the vote winner that Cameron is going to be for the Conservatives once the election campaign is up and running properly and voters are focused on a choice between him becoming PM and Brown staying at Number Ten.

CCHQ needs to reassure grassroots Conservatives on the shortlisting process for John Maples and other 2010 retirees. ConHome readers reacted furiously to John Maples' decision to stand down now and so disenfranchise his local party members in their selection of his successor. Maples has flicked the bird at party members once too often. He should not have any role in drawing up the shortlists of three for his seat and the other 11th hour seats needing a candidate. CCHQ doesn't need a row with local parties so close to an election.

Tories are 16% ahead in a new poll tonight. Read more about the Angus Reid survey at

AngusReid Tim Montgomerie

> Yesterday's Weekend General Election Brief


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