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Thursday 31st May 2007

6.15pm ToryDiary: Partial retreat on grammar schools

4.30pm stories from this morning's Independent (the website is back up):

Michael White's verdict on Andy Coulson - Guardian

4pm BritainAndAmerica: Bush's successor will be America's first billion dollar president


> Guido Fawkes believes that the appointment of Coulson will help CCHQ play hardball with Brown
> The Telegraph's Richard Holt describes getting arrested in Iran for being in a car with unmarried women
> Bryan Appleyard says that if the prevailing scientific orthodoxy on global warming is correct then even massive carbon emissions cut wouldn't make any difference
> The Telegraph's Toby Harnden is excited by Fred Thompson's presidential bid
> John Redwood MP defends Osborne's speech on taking on Blair's reforms
> 'Large' of the Little and Large team reports on the LibDems' loss of credibility in Wales
> Justin Hinchcliffe picks up on some of the latest tricks by Ken Livingstone's favourite Venezuelan president
> Cllr Phil Taylor highlights why Paul Myners is the wrong man to head up the Low Pay Commission
> Burning Our Money calls for expense-abusing Sir John Bourn to resign

3pm Seats and Candidates: Dewsbury shortlist

1pm ToryDiary: Cameron recruits former News of the World editor as communications chief

12.30pm ToryDiary: Have your say in the May survey of readers

11am on Iain Dale: Tories to appoint Andy Coulson as new Director of Communications

ToryDiary: It's time to move on and First born


YourPlatform: Adam Tugwell is concerned about school transport for disabled children

Blog of the Week: This week's featured blog is that of Ed Vaizey MP. Many of his posts relate to his work as Shadow Minister for Culture rather than constituency issues but there is also a mix of random anecdotes and commentary on news and other blogs. It's all written in a personable style and the design is easy on the eye.


"I entered politics because I was grateful to have been given a chance in life and wanted others to have the same opportunity. In my maiden speech 10 years ago, I made it clear I wanted state schools to be so good that the independent sector would struggle to compete. When I was told this week that I had to choose between the frontbench job I loved and the freedom to speak for the children whose life chances are blighted by poor quality education, there was no real choice." - Graham Brady MP in the Telegraph


Caledonia_investments "The Tories' increasing success in wooing funds from the City was underlined yesterday, when one of the UK's biggest investment trusts said it would seek shareholders' agreement to donate £60,000 to back David Cameron's bid to gain power. The pledge by Caledonia Investments, the first political donation in its recent history, was accompanied by a scathing attack on Labour." - Financial Times


Grant_shapps "Government statistics have ignored thousands of cases of Clostridium difficile in Britain and misrepresent the threat posed by the potentially fatal bug, a report by a Tory MP claims. More than 25,000, or almost one-in-six, of all cases of the bug have gone unreported because the Government only logged cases in the over-65s, according to the report by Grant Shapps." - Press Association

>>> Click here for Grant's interactive "Germ Map" and here to download the report's raw data.


"David Cameron was accused of picking a "needless fight" last night as battle lines were drawn between Tory high command and the Right wing of the party." - Daily Mail


"George Osborne sought yesterday to seize the standard of post-Blairite public service reform. As the Paramount Chief cut a swath through Africa, no one commands the battleground back home. Mr Osborne’s raid is an attempt to divide Labour, but it also risks dividing the Conservative Party." - Peter Riddell in the Times

"Mr Osborne might want the new prime minister to break with public sector reform. But it is not about to happen. Mr Brown has been integral to this over the past decade. He has shown no fear of involving the private sector." - Guardian leader

"Because there is no challenge from the Socialist Campaign Group, Brown is free from bashing the last remnants of the unelectable left and therefore doesn't have to attack the values they have failed to modernise. Values that deserve our support. On the other flank he is free from Blairism." - Neal Lawson in the Guardian


Sir_eric_howells "A former Welsh Conservative chairman who threatened to support an unofficial candidate in May’s Assembly election has been expelled from the party, a spokesman said today. Sir Eric Howells, an honorary life president of the party, had been suspended by Tory chiefs in London in January." - icWales


"But all are selling themselves short compared with Tory former ministers. Kenneth Clarke has a package well in excess of £200,000. He is non-executive deputy chairman of tobacco giant BAT, and holds non-executive directorships of the Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust and Independent News and Media. The BAT job is worth £150,000 a year, the other two £30,000 each. Labour has some catching up to do." - Guardian


"With six candidates in the race, each is trying to establish an early lead and a momentum that makes victory inevitable. Even at this stage, therefore, the contest has become fractious. The party whips have reminded all contenders that they must stick to agreed party policy, but the temptation to lurch to the left is strong." - Times leader

"The Blair years might as well never have existed for the deputy leadership candidates during their debate on Newsnight as they vied to see who could be more unreconstructed." - Alice Thompson in the Telegraph

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