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Wednesday 27th December 2006

Saddam to go to the gallows within 30 days as court rejects appeal - Times

BLOGS

ToryDiary: Willetts unveils British history's great institution-builders and Gerald Ford has died.

Guardian CAMERON FACES CASH-FOR-COMMONS-DINING INVESTIGATION

"An official inquiry was launched last night into claims of widespread abuse of House of Commons and Lords dining rooms by Conservative MPs and peers, including the party leader, David Cameron, to raise cash to fight marginal seats at the next election.  Sir Philip Mawer, the parliamentary standards commissioner, said he had begun an investigation following formal complaints about events held at the Commons dining rooms and prestigious rooms in the House of Lords over the last three months." - Guardian

Osborne_parliament_1 GEORGE OSBORNE LAUNCHES ATTACK ON RED TAPE LABOUR

"The Tories have launched a fresh attack on Government red tape, claiming Labour has introduced a regulation an hour, a target a day and a tax rise a month.  Shadow Chancellor George Osborne unveiled the figures, which showed there had been more than 30,000 new regulations, 3,000 targets and more than 100 tax rises since Labour came to power." - Sky News

TORY MEMBERSHIP WOES

"Although David Cameron saw 15,000 new members in the first weeks of his leadership, the momentum has not been maintained.  While he has attracted new members, particularly younger people and women, by projecting a softer, "caring" image, some traditional Tories have left, with prominent defections to the UK Independence Party (Ukip). Party sources said it was possible that overall membership had dropped below the 290,000 level calculated last January." - Telegraph

LABOUR MEMBERSHIP WOES

"Labour has to take urgent action to attract more members or the party could slip into terminal decline, a candidate for its deputy leadership warned yesterday.  Jon Cruddas, the MP for Dagenham, said Labour had lost 160,000 members between 2000 and 2006 - one every 20 minutes. The party said the figure failed to reflect a fall of just 3,348 last year, the lowest drop since records began in 1991." - Guardian

SCOTTISH TORIES SHOULD FORM COALITION WITH SNP AND GREENS

That's the recommendation of Robert Kilgour in this morning's Herald.  Kilgour of the new ThinkScotland online think tank writes:

"Goldie should bite the bullet and join a rainbow coalition with the Nats and Greens. This would provide the Scottish Tories with a meaningful role. Not only would they be in power, but they would be the guardians of the Union, threatening to bring down the coalition if any attempt were made at wrecking Scotland's traditional partnership within the UK. Of course, the Tories would have to agree to the referendum on independence, but they would do so on the condition that they would use their ministerial positions and influence to campaign for a No vote. Also, they would insist such a referendum could only be consultative. There could never be a Referendum Bill, as constitutional affairs are reserved. Indeed, even the funding of a consultative referendum could be challenged in the courts."

Related ToryDiary story from 9th June on how Scottish Tories could prop up a minority Labour administration at Holyrood.

MING CAMPBELL: WE CAN CUT CRIME

"The Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Menzies Campbell, today uses his new year message to call on his party to "sharpen its message" on crime. He is launching a campaign under the banner "We can cut crime", designed to develop new ideas and showcase Lib Dem successes on law and order.  With support for the Lib Dems stagnating and by some measures falling - this month's ICM poll for the Guardian showed the party at 18 points, down three - the move can also be seen as an attempt to refocus efforts on the domestic agenda." - Guardian

>>> Christmas Eve's ToryDiary: LibDems sink to 15% in new YouGov survey

Migration_watch_uk_2 'ONE IMMIGRANT A MINUTE'

"Foreign immigrants are arriving in Britain at the rate of one every minute, a startling new report reveals.  At the same time the number of UK citizens emigrating to live abroad equates to one every five minutes... The analysis of official Government immigration statistics by the MigrationWatch think tank found that 1,500 foreigners arrived in Britain each day in 2005, intending to settle for at least a year - just over one for every minute of the day." - Daily Mail

Dscf1618 JOHN BUTCHER HAS DIED

"Conservative MP for Coventry South West from 1979 to 1997, he passed away in the Lake District on Christmas Day at the age of 60 years." - icCoventry

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