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Monday 20th March 2006

7pm ToryDiary update: Tory proposals to 'clean up politics' are unveiled

Lunchtime ToryDiary update: Wind in the Willows replaces chocolate oranges at W H Smith (thanks to the Daily Mail).

BLOGS

Wakeuptobrown_3ToryDiary:

CONSERVATIVES PROPOSE DONATION CAP AND MP REDUCTION

BBCi: "Tory leader David Cameron will propose a cap on fundraising and an element of state funding, the cost of which could be offset by having less MPs."

The Independent: "Plans to cut the number of MPs and halve the Government's army of ministerial advisers will be outlined by David Cameron today."

ConservativeHome has had a campaign for a cap of £100,000pa, see yesterday's ToryDiary piece.

GORDON BROWN'S BUDGET

Sarah Ebner in The Times: "By the time you read this Gordon Brown should be putting the finishing touches to his tenth — and possibly last — Budget. I doubt he’s given much thought to the plight of the middle classes, but it’s time that he did; especially if he wants us to vote for him at the next election. In recent years we have been squeezed so much financially it’s become difficult to breathe."

Guardian economics editor: "For a start, there is little sign of the much-heralded productivity miracle, with migration far more significant than efficiency in boosting growth. Some policies have not worked terribly well: the R&D tax credit being a case in point."

STEVE HILTON'S SALARY

Telegraph
: "John Strafford, the chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy and a former member of the party's board of finance, said it was "extraordinary" for someone to be receiving so much in consultancy fees from party funds."

CONSERVATIVES SUPPORT TRIDENT REPLACEMENT

BBCi: "Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox said the UK must maintain its four Trident missile submarines "for as long as possible" before replacing them. "We have to replace [Trident] because there are states in the world still trying to get nuclear weapons.. the best guarantee of them not being used is for Britain to have an independent deterrent."

WHEN WILL BLAIR GO?

Guardian leader: "There is no better time ahead. He has already decided to leave. In the end it comes down to a choice of summers; announcing he will stand down this summer, or next year, or forcing himself on his party until 2008 or 2009. His closest allies - no doubt Mr Blair himself - know that the decision is really this year or next. He should go this year. Mr Brown's last budget speech as chancellor this week should be followed this autumn by his first conference speech as prime minister."
Iain Dale | Guido Fawkes

OTHER NEWS & COMMENTARY

Daniel Hannan MEP in The Telegraph: "Two years from now, the European constitution will be in force - certainly de facto and probably de jure, too. Never mind that 15 million Frenchmen and five million swag-bellied Hollanders voted against it."

The Guardian looks at the busbie debate: "Ben Wallace argues that the skins come from a necessary cull of Canadian bears carried out by the indigenous Inuit people each year."

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