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30 Nov 2007 09:00:19

Friday 30th November 2007

Ipsos_3 5.15pm ToryDiary: Tories 9% ahead in new Ipsos-MORI survey

3pm PlayPolitical's pick of latest White House '08 videos:

10am BritainAndAmerica: The special relationship within the special relationship

- Tim Montgomerie, Editor of, writes for The Weekly Standard about Tory-GOP relations.

Columnist Theresa May: The questions Harriet Harman still has to answer

ToryDiary: Labour's reputation for competence and integrity is lost and Nominations for Internationalist

Gove_michael_in_parliament Interviews: Any questions for Michael Gove?

John Leonard on Platform: Strengthening and sanitising our democracy

Seats and candidates: Nigel Huddleston selected for Luton South

Tories 11% ahead

"The Conservatives have opened up their biggest lead over Labour since Margaret Thatcher was at the height of her powers as Prime Minister almost 20 years ago.  An exclusive YouGov poll for The Daily Telegraph puts the Tories on 43 per cent - 11 points ahead of Labour, who have sunk to just 32 per cent.  Only two months ago the Tories trailed Labour by 11 points and were facing the prospect of a landslide defeat in an early election." - Telegraph

"The poll was conducted between Monday and Wednesday, but it’s important to note that in YouGov’s online polls at least half the responses tend to come in on the first day. While the story of David Abrahams’ donations to the Labour party was broken by the Mail on Sunday, the story has progressed through the week and most of the respondents to this poll would have filled it in before this had become the major crisis for the Labour party that it undoubtedly had become by mid-week. That means this probably isn’t reflecting the full damage that the funding row will end up doing…things are likely to get even worse for Labour." - UK Polling Report

Yesterday's ToryDiary on the poll.


  • The Met police to begin investigation with Yates of cash-for-peerages returning
  • Harriet Harman blames Brown camp for her role in dodgy donations
  • Peter Hain admits undeclared donation
  • Scottish Labour Transport spokesman quits after soliciting donation from tax exile

Ello_ello How The Sun sees it >>

"Gordon Brown was facing a full police investigation into Labour’s donations scandal as his campaign team admitted yesterday that it had links with David Abrahams." - Times

"The detective who led the cash-for-honours investigation is to play a key role in the latest inquiry.  Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner John Yates will have "oversight" of the investigation, to be formally launched today when police receive a dossier from the Electoral Commission." - Daily Mail (on this page there is a useful summary graphic of where the police investigation might lead)

"The Labour fund-raising scandal has escalated into open warfare between Gordon Brown and his party deputy Harriet Harman after she blamed the Prime Minister's inner circle for her decision to accept an illegal donation." - Telegraph

"There were "real doubts" about whether Harriet Harman could retain her jobs as Labour party chair and Commons leader, the Tories said last night, after it emerged she solicited the name of a proxy donor from Gordon Brown's leadership campaign team." - FT

"Pious Harriet Harman asked for £5,000 from a go-between she had never met — after winning her deputy Labour crown.  Last night she did Mr Brown no favours by revealing she did so on the advice of his campaign manager.  This plot is thickening faster than quick-dry cement.' - The Sun Says

"Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain has said he failed to register a £5,000 deputy leadership campaign donation, blaming an "administrative error".  In a statement, Mr Hain said: "In the light of recent events, it has come to my attention that a donation from [party fundraiser] Jon Mendelsohn to my deputy leadership campaign was mistakenly not registered with the Electoral Commission."" - BBC

The Guardian identifies the five key figures in the whole scandal: Chris Leslie, John Mendelsohn, Jack Dromey, Peter Watt, Lady Jay.

"Wendy Alexander faced calls for her resignation as leader of the Scottish Labour Party last night after admitting breaking the law by accepting an illegal campaign donation." - Scotsman

"Charles Gordon quit as Labour transport spokesman at Holyrood just hours after an investigation by The Herald revealed his involvement in securing a payment from a multi-millionaire tax exile." - Herald


And as Labour falls apart...
Bush and Murdoch want to be associated with Cameron

Not ConservativeHome's opinion but that of The Independent in a leading article: "Bush, having famously dismissed the present leader of the British Conservative party as "never heard of him" at a time when the Tories were persona non grata in Washington for their distancing over Iraq, has almost certainly been told about Cameron now. Like the Murdoch press, the White House likes to back a winner, whatever it thinks of him personally."

"Tony Blair’s close relationship with Mr Bush also helped keep the Tories at bay. But this dynamic has changed under Gordon Brown’s premiership, not least after Lord Malloch-Brown, the Foreign Office minister, said Washington and London should not be “joined at the hip”." - FT

Yesterday's two ToryDiary entries on the visit:

David Cameron's Balkans speech

"David Cameron urged action to prevent "a new crisis in the Balkans by Christmas" in a key Washington speech where he also tried to assure America he represented "a new generation" for the Conservatives.  Speaking at the liberal Brookings Institution thinktank, Cameron said that the United States, Europe and Nato had to act swiftly "to pave the way for Kosovo's independence, and to ensure that the threats to stability are contained".  Some of Nato's dedicated operational reserve should be used to reinforce a military presence in the region now, he said." - Guardian

Paul Goodman MP is unconvinced by the nature of Government-sponsored oversight of Britain's mosques - Telegraph

Chris Mullin MP attacks Tory-military links

"There is an umbilical link between the military wing of the Tory party and the military - puzzling to me really because when last in office the Tories cut defence spending and we have increased it, albeit modestly.  Since the Tories at every election promise to cut taxes and public spending they don't seem the obvious party to increase defence spending." - quoted in

New Australian PM pledges to withdraw his nation's troops from Iraq by mid-2008 - BBC

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary...

29 Nov 2007 00:29:08

Thursday 29th November 2007

9.30pm ToryDiary: YouGov gives Tories 11% lead

Dcpconf_2 8pm ToryDiary: Cameron reflects on thirty minute meeting with President Bush

5.45pm ToryDiary: Cameron reaffirms special relationship

5.30pm ToryDiary: Something to look forward to...

2pm ToryDiary: Another day, another Labour scandal?

2pm Seats and candidates: Simon Hoare adopted in Cardiff South and Penarth and René Kinzett selected for Swansea West

ToryDiary: Nominations for Local Hero and Brendan Nelson is new leader of Australian Liberals

Louisebagshawe Columnist Louise Bagshawe: Football clubs must pay to protect rail passengers from yobs

Bernardjenkinmp Bernard Jenkin MP on Platform: A defence policy for the UK that matches commitments and resources

Related link to Bernard Jenkin's piece: "Britain is in danger of losing its status as a global military power unless the armed forces are given an extra £15billion over the next five years, a Tory pressure group warned yesterday." (ThisIsLondon)

Mccain The CNN/ YouTube Republican debate

BritainAndAmerica: McCain shines during YouTube/ CNN GOP debate

PlayPolitical: Romney and Giuliani clash on immigration then Romney and McCain clash on waterboarding

Vince Cable's Bean jibe wins him the PMQs honours

"The big winner of Prime Minister’s Questions was Vince Cable. Yes, Vince! Not Gordon Brown, the man who has launched a thousand inquiries but often doesn’t seem to know right from wrong. Not David Cameron, the boy wonder who is mastering the art of fighting dirty. But Vince - the man who escaped from a Dickens novel only to find himself cast in the role of acting leader of the Lib Dems." - Times

George Osborne calls on Mendelsohn to resign - Guardian

"Gordon Brown faced the threat of a lengthy inquiry with echoes of the cash-for-honours affair as Jon Mendelsohn, the man he appointed as general election fundraiser, admitted knowing for two months about the circumstances of David Abrahams' hidden gifts. Brown has acknowledged that obscuring the true source of the cash was "unlawful"." - Guardian

'Harriet Harman's political career was hanging by a thread last night over the £5,000 donation to her deputy leadership campaign by David Abrahams.   And her husband Jack Dromey, the party treasurer, came under attack from senior party figures after claiming he knew nothing about the secret donations scandal." - Daily Mail

And now... Labour's Scottish leader, Wendy Alexander, becomes embroiled in new donor questions - Scotsman

The two things Brown must do next...

"Mr Brown must abandon his obsession with micro-management and concentrate on the big issues.  That means becoming more collegiate, allowing his Cabinet greater autonomy.  He must also acquire his own man of affairs, a heavyweight figure - possibly from outside politics altogether, in line with his ambitions for a government of all the talents - with the clout and authority to ensure the Brown writ runs.  Crucially this figure must be able to tell the Prime Minister when he is getting things wrong. Mr Brown still has time to change. The question is: does he have it in him to change?" - Telegraph leader

Giles Chichester elected Chairman of Tory MEPs delegation - | Yesterday's ToryDiary

Bill Newton Dunn, the Conservative MEP who became a LibDem MEP, defends Saj Karim's right to defect in a letter to The Guardian.

A teddy bear called Mohammed

Boris Johnson urges Britain's Muslim leaders to take the opportunity of the imprisonment of Gillian Gibbons to show that they are moderate - Telegraph

"The proposed Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (Minab) says it has come up with minimum standards for Islamic institutions.  The standards include counter-extremism programmes, community relations schemes, support and proper conditions for imams and greater condemnation of "un-Islamic" activity." - BBC

Cameron_mrmrs The new women in the Conservative Party are confident, successful and don’t defer to their husbands - Times

Michael White on Cameron's Washington visit - Guardian

"Hague has said the visit is about "engaging with political America - not just with the Republicans, with Democrats as well"." -

"Western forces, which could include British troops, must be sent into the Balkans to prevent Russia sparking a new European war, according to David Cameron.  Speaking in Washington, the Conservative leader will issue a stark warning that Russia's increasingly assertive foreign policy is jeopardising Britain's national security." - Telegraph

Anticipating ConservativeHome's coverage of the visit.

Have you had your say in November's ConservativeHome survey? - If not, click here.

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary...

28 Nov 2007 00:36:12

Wednesday 28th November 2007

9.45pm ToryDiary: Mr Bean posters

5.45pm ToryDiary: DC in DC

5.15pm PlayPolitical: Watch Cameron question Gordon Brown's integrity at PMQs and also up is John Howard's concession speech

4.45pm ToryDiary: Away from the Labour meltdown, Gove and Herbert are building the case for a Conservative government

Gilessmall_2 3.15pm ToryDiary: Giles Chichester is new leader of Tory MEPs

11.45am ToryDiary: Live PMQs blog from noon - Cameron questions the integrity of the man Vince Cable calls Mr Bean

11.45am Seats and candidates: Jeremy Brier selected for Luton North

ToryDiary: November readers' survey is now live and Nominations for New Media

Patrick Cusworth on Platform: Free speech does not mean that we are therefore encouraged to promote or support those who preach a dogma of hate

Columnist Peter Franklin: We need a Cabinet Minister dedicated to delivering financial stability

Blair_with_lab_background These are difficult times for Labour supporters and to help them remember happier days here's a link to PlayPolitical's Collection of Tony Blair videos

BritainAndAmerica: Mark Steyn on Barack Obama


"Gordon Brown is facing the prospect of a criminal inquiry into Labour's fundraising scandal after he admitted that the party has received hundreds of thousands of pounds in "illegal" donations.  The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that it had been asked to look into whether there were grounds for a police investigation into £673,975 given to the party by David Abrahams, who used four go-betweens to hide his identity." - Telegraph

PlayPolitical: Video of Brown attempting to defend himself

"The woman named as the fourth go-between in the Labour donor row has spoken of her dismay that David Abrahams had used her name to give £25,000 to the party.  Janet Dunn, a Tory voter whose husband Anthony has worked for Mr Abrahams in the past, said she was told only on Monday night that the donation had been made in her name in 2003." - Telegraph

Sunsays "Harman was apparently so desperate for cash to pay off her campaign debts that she threw caution to the wind.  The funding fiasco is going to cost cash-strapped Labour £650,000 in repaid donations.  It may yet cost Harriet Harman her job.' - The Sun Says

PDF: Theresa May's 19 questions for Harriet Harman

"If this row had come out of a clear blue sky, it would be very bad news for the Prime Minister. Coming as it does after a series of catastrophic displays of government incompetence which have sent Labour crashing in the polls, it is potentially devastating." - David Hughes in The Telegraph

Telegraph: "Tony Blair regrets attacking the Tories so hard over allegations of "sleaze" in the final years of John Major's government."  You bet he does!

Daniel Finkelstein predicts how things could get worse for Brown - The Times

How long before Labour MPs turn on Brown?

"George Osborne, shadow chancellor, claimed: "Everything Gordon Brown promised about his premiership - competence, honesty and change - has been blown away in the last few weeks."€  Mr Brown's response to claims his government is on the slide is to laugh. But with opinion polls suggesting otherwise and an election getting closer, his backbenchers may soon stop seeing the funny side." - FT

Cameron_speaking Good reviews for David Cameron's speech to CBI

"Compared to Alistair Darling's faltering performance in front of an audience best described as lukewarm, the leader of the opposition made all the right noises. He came over all business-friendly on enterprise, regulation, public spending, tax, education, infrastructure and the environment without ever really pinning his colours to the mast." - Business comment in The Telegraph

"Exploiting Government turmoil over planned hikes to capital gains tax, the Tory leader vowed to reduce the main rate of corporation tax if he wins the next election." - Daily Mail

Cameron shifts Tory emphasis on nuclear power

"David Cameron, the Conservative Party leader, signalled a key change of approach towards nuclear power yesterday by saying that it should be able to compete on a level playing field with other forms of energy.  Previously, the Tories had said that they viewed nuclear as a last resort." - Times

"Four sites were earmarked for the new generation of nuclear power stations yesterday as Gordon Brown gave the clearest signal so far that he will give the go-ahead in the New Year for a major expansion of Britain's nuclear power output." - Independent

Has Team Cameron over-briefed the meeting with President Bush?

"The White House, although wary of some members of the Government such as Lord Malloch-Brown, the former British Ambassador to the UN, is determined not to upset the British Prime Minister who remains an important ally. One source in London yesterday suggested that Mr Cameron’s aides had been ordered to “shut up” about the visit." - TimesThis is a story which has Tom Baldwin's name attached to it.  It should be treated with great scepticism, therefore.

Stelzer_10_small Irwin Stelzer: Tories must be more different

"Voters are eager for an alternative to a tired Labour Party. The Tories' problem is that they won't have very much to offer when it comes to running the economy. Never mind that any good ideas - and even bad but popular ones such as reducing inheritance tax - will have been stolen by whoever replaces poor Alistair Darling.  More important is the box into which the Tories have put themselves by promising to spend as much as Labour if they are entrusted with the keys to the Treasury.  They have also promised not to lower taxes lest, and this is the risible excuse, lower taxes produce economic instability.  They have promised to follow the same tax-and-spend policies that Brown has inflicted on a public groaning under the burden of successive tax increases, watching its money disappear without any significant improvement in public services." - Telegraph

New Labour, New Union Flag

"The culture minister, Margaret Hodge, has said she will consider a redesign of the union flag to incorporate the Welsh dragon. Her surprising commitment was made in the Commons during a debate on the frequency with which the union flag flies above public buildings." - Guardian

Rising immigration could double population of Britain by 2081 - Daily Mail

Seventeen years ago today, Margaret Thatcher left Downing Street - BBC

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary...

27 Nov 2007 03:57:41

Tuesday 27th November 2007

Hague_2005 3.45pm: Speaking about the British teacher, Gillian Gibbons, who faces 40 lashes, a large fine or time in jail, after allowing the children in her class in Sudan to name a teddy bear Mohammed, Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague said: “To condemn Gillian Gibbons to such brutal and barbaric punishment for what appears to be an innocent mistake is clearly unacceptable.  We call on our government to make it clear to the Sudanese authorities that she should be released immediately.”

1.45pm ToryDiary: Labour has become indifferent to the law says Cameron

ToryDiary: Nominations for Culture Warrior and Scotland's Tories are relevant again (but at what price?)

Sam Freedman on Platform: Conservative education policy is going in the right direction

Columnist Andrew Lilico: On advisory juries


Police fail to provide security for Oxford Union debate with Nick Griffin - Guardian

Howardmichael"Michael Howard, a former leader of the Conservative Party, added his voice to the criticisms yesterday. "The Oxford debating union should not have given these people that platform," he said. "Obviously, they are entitled to their views – everybody has a right to free speech – but there is a separate question as to whether you give people like that a platform, and that is undesirable." - Independent

Tories open up 13% lead over Labour

Comres_2 "The Conservatives have opened a commanding 13-point lead over Labour, their biggest for 19 years, according to the latest monthly poll by ComRes for The Independent."

Yesterday's ToryDiary: Labour crashes to 27%

Peter Riddell counsels that it's all about the economy in the long-term - Times

Douglas Alexander and Harriet Harman implicated in Labour donations scandal - Telegraph

"Peter Watts, the party's general secretary, has resigned claiming that, although he had been aware that these gifts were given through second parties, he had not realised that there was a legal requirement to report them. This seems an extraordinary admission of incompetence from a senior party official." - Telegraph

"Do ministers really expect us to believe that they accepted £540,000 in donations from three individuals in the North without inquiring into their background?  This latest episode in a long catalogue of party funding scandals is yet further evidence that this Government cannot be trusted to regulate the way politics in Britain is funded. Despite constant promises to clean up its act, Labour continues to behave in a manner certain to undermine what little respect remains for our politicians." - Edward Heathcoat-Amory in The Daily Mail

Tories 'would halt early prisoner release by building extra prisons' says Nick Herbert - Daily Mail

Idcarddm2611_228x339 ID cards review

"Plans to bring in identity cards will be "reassessed" in the wake of the child benefits fiasco, a Government minister said last night.  Michael Wills, the data protection minister, said the loss of the personal details of 25million individuals had been "deplorable".  He said a review will now be carried out into the way officials store and use data - putting the future of the £5.6billion ID cards scheme under review." - ThisIsLondon | Also see Sky News

Devolution doldrums

"More than half of Scots do not think devolution has given them a stronger voice, a survey revealed yesterday.  A total of 55 per cent of those questioned seven years after the historic settlement said that their influence over government had not changed as a result." - Scotsman

MPs warn that national parliaments might be marginalised by EU Treaty - BBC

17 years ago today, John Major became Prime Minister - BBC

PlayPolitical: Four videos about John Major

More rioting in Paris - Guardian

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary...

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