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Saturday 24th March 2007

Widdecombeingarden 9.45pm ToryDiary update: Common sense on climate change (from Ann Widdecombe)

Breaking news: An article by Jonathan Oliver in tomorrow's Mail on Sunday says that "sleazy" Tory fundraising dinners in the House of Commons are set to be banned by Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Sir Philip Mawer.

7.45pm Seats and candidates update: Julie Moody adopted for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland

6.15pm Seats and candidates update: Final four for Morecambe and Lunesdale

5.15pm Seats and candidates update: David Mowat selected for Warrington South

4pm Seats and candidates update: Angela Watkinson survives James Brokenshire's challenge

11am ToryDiary update: Dan Hannan is Nott impressed with the BBC

BLOGS

ToryDiary: Will The Sun finally set on Brown?

LIBERAL CONSERVATISM

"The Tory leader, who is sending personal letters to 140,000 people who voted Liberal Democrat at the last general election, highlighted the common ground between the two main opposition parties in a speech yesterday. His move will fuel speculation that he is preparing the ground for a Con-Lib pact in the event of a hung parliament." - The Independent

Campbellming "Sir Menzies Campbell is set to hit back at David Cameron as they battle for crucial votes in the south of England... Sir Menzies will say: "Political parties are more than their leaders and if the Conservative Party aspires to liberalism, Mr Cameron must convince his members of it.  "He must ensure that they are ready to leave behind the baggage of Europhobia, homophobia, and xenophobia. Not just in policy, but in language and instinct too. "The evidence suggests that he has some way to go to achieve that." - Daily Mail

THE BUDGET CONTINUES TO UNRAVEL FOR BROWN

"Gordon Brown’s public standing as the likely next prime minister has fallen sharply, according to a new poll for The Times.  The Populus poll, undertaken on Wednesday evening and Thursday as voters digested the Budget measures, shows that more than twice as many people think that they will pay higher rather than lower taxes than before." (Even The Sun has noticed this poll).

Osbornebrown ""We've won," he says, pointing to the newspaper headlines. "Look who is in trouble today. The papers are all about Gordon's tax raids, Brown on the back foot, empty gestures, stealth taxes, robbing Peter to pay Paul." He laughs. "This Budget is unravelling."" - George Osborne interviewed in The Telegraph

"Gordon Brown was accused yesterday of helping to shatter faith in politics amid new claims that his Budget concealed £15 billion of "stealth taxes".  Amid mounting signs that the Chancellor's attempt this week to pose as a tax cutter had backfired, the Conservatives published new research showing 40 separate new tax increases hidden away in the Budget.  The raft of tax rises, including five separate VAT increases, would raise £15 billion - more than double the cost of Mr Brown's high-profile 2p cut in the basic rate of income tax, the Tories said.' - The Daily Telegraph

"The Chancellor has given the Tories a headache over whether to match Labour's spending totals. If they do, it will be difficult for them to make any extra spending promises without making "cuts" in Labour's plans. It won't be easy to find savings because the three-year government-wide spending blueprint to be published in October will be tight. If the Tories don't match Labour's figures, Mr Brown believes, he can rerun his "cuts-versus-investment" argument.  Having raised road tax and petrol duty himself, he thinks it will be difficult for the Tories to win public support for other green taxes to make room for the further tax cuts that Tory right-wingers are now demanding after he stole their party's traditional clothes." - Andrew Grice in The Independent

CAMERON: LOOK AT MY GREAT SHADOW CABINET

"I really believe that not enough attention is given to what individual members of the Shadow Cabinet do and what the team does as a whole," he said.  There's so much emphasis on the leadership. I wish we had more attention on the what cabinet ministers are doing, because they are doing a great job.  With the Shadow Cabinet, we've got a very strong team. Who wouldn't want Andrew Lansbury running the health service rather than Patricia Hewitt?  Who wouldn't want David Davis - a very strong and experienced minister - running the Home Office rather than the complete shambles it's in under John Reid?  We have a full-time Secretary of State for Wales in Cheryl Gillan, rather than a part-time one in Peter Hain, although to be honest I think half a Cheryl Gillan would be better than two Peter Hains."" - David Cameron quoted in the Western Mail

DAVID CAMERON'S WIND TURBINE MAY HAVE TO BE MOVED

"David Cameron might have to dismantle the roof-top wind turbine on his home because it has been put up in the wrong place.  The windmill has breached the original planning application and despite being up for less than a week could have to be taken down again." - Daily Mail

Mandelsononbfastwfrost MANDELSON TO STEP DOWN IN 2009

"He once said he was a fighter not a quitter, but Peter Mandelson announced yesterday that he was stepping down at the end of his term as Britain's trade commissioner in Europe.  One of the architects of New Labour, Mr Mandelson, 53, surprised ministers by announcing he will be quitting when his five-year term ends in 2009 and delivering a thinly veiled attack on Gordon Brown, his long-term political foe..." - The Independent

50years_2 THE EU AT 50

"Politicians love making speeches about how we can't be "half-in, half-out". Yet that is something like what we, the British, now are, and we seem to prefer it. Since we fell out of the ERM and later declined to join the single currency, we have proved for the first time that it is positively advantageous to us not to do what Brussels wants, and yet we do not have to destroy "Europe" in the process. It is a precedent of huge importance.  Most of this country's moves toward greater European integration have been born of weakness. The theory, in our economic decadence of the 1960s and 1970s, was that "when you want a seat in the lifeboat, you don't haggle about the price". Today, we don't need the lifeboat. More money is managed and traded in London than in all the entire euro zone put together. There is nothing that more European integration could bring us that we cannot get by other means." - Charles Moore in The Daily Telegraph

"On the edges of the Continent, a half-circle running from Spain to Ireland to Finland and down to Eastern Europe is a zone of strong economic growth. In the middle, the big powers of France, Italy and Germany cry out for deeper overhauls. As long as those economies are weak, voters will be anxious about global competition and, in turn, skeptical about opening Europe further. This explains the current unease about further EU enlargement, particularly to Turkey, and the backlash against freeing trade in services and cross-border takeovers." - The Wall Street Journal

JOHN PRESCOTT PROPOSES SLAVERY MEMORIAL DAY

"A slavery memorial day should be held every year in Britain to remember the pain of the country's black population, John Prescott has said.  The Deputy Prime Minister said the event - which he likened to Holocaust memorial day - should be held in June.  He said that a slavery memorial day would give Britons the opportunity to think about what they can do to help modern Africa as well as focusing on modern day slavery - human trafficking." - Daily Mail

BLAIR: THATCHER WAS RIGHT ON FALKLANDS

"Tony Blair has said that the Falklands war took "a lot of political courage" to fight but he would have done the same thing in Margaret Thatcher's shoes because it was "the right thing to do"." - The Guardian

ROGER HELMER INTERVIEW

ToryRadio interview with Roger Helmer MEP in which he highlights his sceptical response to the climate change consensus.

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