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Wednesday 25th January 2006


1pm update in ToryDiary: Low key affair in the Commons

ToryDiary: Cameron wins his first LibDem defection

Platform: Dr Lee Rotherham makes the case for lower taxation -

"The country needs lower taxation. It needs it to fund long term private pensions. It needs it to boost the economy. It needs it as a motor to cut waste. It needs it as a lever to remove political correctness. It needs it as a means to force government to stop the slide towards a liability culture. It needs it as a mechanism to bring the poor out of poverty.  Today, the Westminster environment is confronted with a challenge as well as an opportunity. Lower taxation is a moral imperative. Now is the moment for the Conservative Party to stand up for its beliefs."


ToryDiary: What can the CamCons learn from the CanCons?

The newspapers are full of coverage of Canada's elections.  Here is a selection:

Telegraph leader: "Mr Harper succeeded by presenting a coherent platform of tax cutting, judicial reform, daycare payments, increased defence spending, political devolution and federal accountability."

Scotsman: "In the 2004 Canadian election, voters rejected Mr Harper, fearing that he was too brash, too western, too openly religious for comfort. This time, he promised not to cut spending on social programmes, preferring to concentrate on government reform and modest tax cuts. Typical of this Conservative-Lite approach was his promise to hold a free vote on the question of same sex marriage, which he opposes."

Times: "Mr Harper has said that he would reconsider a US missile defence scheme rejected by Mr Martin, as well as spend more on the Canadian military, expand its peacekeeping missions and tighten border security."

National Review Online: "Harper has pledged to beef up Canada's military, a force so inadequate it has been criticized by NATO for its antiquated equipment and inability to be effective. He has also promised to cut taxes, including a two-percent drop in the hated federal sales tax on virtually all goods and services."

Guardian: "Mr Harper's victory marks a remarkable comeback for Canada's Conservatives, who were almost moribund a few years ago. His enthusiasm for market policies, support for the Iraq invasion, his antipathy to the Kyoto agreement on global warming, and his backing for the US missile defence initiative were all causes for satisfaction in the White House yesterday."


Telegraph: "School leavers should be forced to do three or four months of community service, David Cameron, the Conservative leader, said yesterday.  In a speech to voluntary group leaders, he said he did not want to bring back National Service but wanted young people to have the same feeling of achieving "something we all did together".  But his proposals met resistance from student bodies who said many school leavers used the pre-university period to earn a wage so they could meet student debts. Some voluntary organisations were also critical, with one saying privately that the idea of compulsion was "barmy"."


Guardian: "The Limehouse declaration a quarter of a century ago didn't just herald the birth of a new party. It also set in motion events that many believe shook British politics and inspired the birth of a new Labour party. Julian Glover brings together the three surviving founders of the SDP."


Guardian: "Mark Oaten is under increasing pressure to stand down as MP for Winchester. A poll of his Hampshire constituents yesterday found 58% wanted him to quit, as against 42% saying he should stay, after he resigned as Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman at the weekend over reports that he had made secret visits to a male prostitute.  While the survey was unweighted - the Southern Daily Echo stopped people on the city's streets to ask their views - a total of 1,000 people were questioned."

Hughes_simon_2_1Scotsman: "Oaten, who quit the Liberal Democrat leadership contest just days before his affair with a male prostitute was exposed, will be asked to return to frontline politics if Simon Hughes wins the race.  Mr Hughes has admitted the scandal has been damaging for the party, but said his married colleague would be welcomed back to the front-bench.  "There's a tradition in British politics that we are understanding of people who get into personal difficulties," he said.  In a move to draw a line under another scandal, Mr Hughes also apologised for a homophobic campaign run by his supporters more than 20 years ago, which landed him a surprise by-election victory.  The 1983 battle for Bermondsey was renowned for smear attacks on Peter Tatchell, the Labour candidate at the time and gay rights campaigner."


ICM for The Guardian:

"Simon Hughes - not the frontrunner Sir Menzies Campbell - has emerged as the candidate best-placed to restore Liberal Democrat fortunes in a Guardian/ICM survey published today. As the three leadership candidates try to win the backing of party members in the ballot on March 3, Mr Hughes beat Sir Menzies and Chris Huhne among a panel of voters. Just over half, 51%, picked Mr Hughes, against 29% for Sir Menzies and 20% for Mr Huhne."

Populus survey for The Times:

"Sir Menzies, on 41 per cent — up from 17 per cent last summer — is the best known of the three leadership candidates. Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem president, is named by 34 per cent, and Chris Huhne, sometimes confused with David Cameron, the new Tory leader, is recognised by only 4 per cent. Mark Oaten, who has withdrawn from the leadership contest, is correctly named by 13 per cent.  Vince Cable, the Treasury spokesman, is correctly named by 6 per cent and Nick Clegg and Ed Davey by a mere 2 per cent each. Some confused Mr Davey with the retired England rugby captain Will Carling."

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