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Tuesday 28th November 2006

7pm news update: "Blogs and other internet sites should be covered by a voluntary code of practice similar to that for newspapers in the UK, a conference has been told. Press Complaints Commission director Tim Toulmin said he opposed government regulation of the internet, saying it should a place "in which views bloom" - BBC

CCHQ press release: "Conservatives today expose the full extent of Labour’s reliance on the unions. Loan and donation figures from the Electoral Commission reveal... Almost 90 per cent of Labour’s donations now come from the unions, up from 34 per cent in the same period last year and still rising from 74 per cent in the previous quarter. In addition, new analysis shows that Labour is £2 million in debt to a trade union bank. The bank is 73 per cent owned by trade unions with senior union officials making up over half the non-exec board.

Maude_francis_5 Conservative Party Chairman, Francis Maude, said: ”Today’s figures show how Labour’s dependence on the unions continues to grow. The unions are clearly salivating at the prospect of Labour’s leadership election. We know that previous donations have yielded an array of pet policies and bungs with taxpayers’ money. Who knows what is being promised behind closed doors for the latest slew of cash revealed today? Labour has to deal with this cronyism in order to properly clean up politics”."

>>> See here for Guido on the Tories' own financial challenges.

4pm late afternoon ToryDiary updates: ConservativeHome named Publication of the Year and Shock survey reveals that academics lean left!

11am ToryDiary update: Kirkhope faces Eurosceptic challenge to his leadership of the MEPs


ToryDiary: C2s and 'security' boost Labour and Saudi Arabia's funding of Islamism

Newmark_brooks_1 Brooks Newmark on YourPlatform: Gordon Brown - Iron Chancellor or Enron Chancellor? Rachel Joyce urges the party to Localise the NHS and integrate health and social care

Seats and candidates: Finalists for Chatham & Aylesford


"The Tories squandered £5.5 million on their move from Conservative Central Office to rented offices in Westminster, increasing the party's reliance on secret commercial loans from rich benefactors... Lord Saatchi, the then party chairman, took the decision in 2003 to make the move when Michael Howard became leader to make a symbolic break with the party's past. But when they left Smith Square, the Tories' headquarters for more than 50 years, no tenant or buyer was in place. The building, the party's only substantial commercial asset, has been empty since." - The Telegraph


David Cameron and William Hague missed the CBI Conference to visit British troops in Iraq - see photo from this morning's Sun >>>

"David Cameron’s decision not to attend the first CBI conference since he became Conservative leader has been spun in some quarters as a calculated snub. It is unlikely that it was intended as such, nor would it be taken personally by Richard Lambert, the CBI’s new Director-General. But it was badly handled, with Mr Cameron pulling out after having accepted the invitation." - Times leader

"Mr Cameron bypassed what would once have been considered to be an invaluable opportunity to reaffirm publicly his party's relationship with the business community. It must have been difficult for representatives at the conference not to conclude that this was intended as a deliberate gesture, underlining Mr Cameron's determination to sever the party from its old image as the voice of big business." - Telegraph leader

"By standing up the CBI at the last minute, Mr Cameron let down not only his hosts but the many businessmen and politicians who had flown from all over the world to attend the conference... However, if Mr Cameron's visit to Iraq turns out to mark the beginning of a shift in Tory policy over that misbegotten war, won't it have been worth it?" - Daily Mail leader (not online).

Osborne builds bridges after Cameron's 'snub' - Telegraph

Cool reception as Tories produce a policy on global warming - The Times


The Guardian has an interesting suggestion that Labour plans a legislative pre-emptive strike against Tory plans to resource target seats over the next few years in the same ways in which Lord Ashcroft successfully funded target seats before 2005.


Davis_formal_7 "It is incredibly important to resolve the question of whether the Russian state was involved. If it was—given that a British citizen who had been given asylum and was therefore under British Government protection may have been murdered on British soil—that has enormous implications for the relationship between the United Kingdom and Russia and implications, too, for other émigrés in the United Kingdom who are opponents of the Russian Government. If the Russian state was not involved, that raises the almost equally disturbing prospect that such sophisticated capabilities are available to criminals in the United Kingdom and possibly therefore to other groups." - Shadow Home Secretary David Davis reflecting on the death of Alexander Litvinenko in the Commons yesterday

“The writer is not shy. The writer shows unreliable and poor judgment. The writer was not in control of their emotions and instincts at the time of writing.  There are signs that the writer is someone who does not like to give a clear-cut image of himself. There are signs that the writer can be evasive." - The conclusions of an analysis of Gordon Brown's handwriting - commissioned by George Osborne (The Times).

"Ministers have been accused of overturning the nation's morality in a searing attack on new gay rights laws by a leading Roman Catholic churchman.  Archbishop of Birmingham Vincent Nichols threatened to withdraw Catholic co-operation with the Government over schools, charity programmes and adoption agencies if the new sexual orientation regulations go ahead." - Daily Mail


Idea Channel TV are streaming the ground-breaking Free to Choose series as it originally aired in 1980 as well as an updated 1990 version.  Essential viewing!

18 DOUGHTY STREET TALK TV wins a positive review from BBC Online's Brian Wheeler

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