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Friday 27th February 2009

5.15pm Mark Field MP on CentreRight: "Far from upholding the free market values and the honour of the law of contract, those who support Sir Fred’s entitlement as it was back in October will only help to undermine capitalism and all it does to create wealth."

Lord_howe_25.15pm Parliament: Lord Howe says the Foreign Office is underresourced

5pm WATCH: Ivan Cameron's doctor pays tribute to "strong couple", David and Samantha

5pm Parliament: Is Lord Falconer going to get a monster pension?

4.15pm ToryDiary: Cameron's Conservatives aren't serious says John O'Sullivan

3.45pm ToryDiary: European Elections will be first test for Conservatives and Unionists

Picture_132.45pm WATCH a George Osborne double bill:

2.45pm Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: "Would all these Labour MPs and government ministers saying that it is "unacceptable" for Goodwin to receive his pension be happy for other employers to treat dismissed staff in the way they propose to treat Goodwin?"

11.30am CentreRight updates:

10.15am Louise Bagshawe on CentreRight: Sir Fred chaired the Low Pay Commission

10am Parliament: Why aren't our bins collected more frequently?

ToryDiary: Will recession impact the debate on civil liberties?

Jonathansheppard Jonathan Sheppard on Platform: Why any Conservative must support Royal Mail reform

Local government:

Parliament: Philip Davies MP worries that schoolchildren are getting 'Romeo and Julian' lessons

Today's must-read: Our public debt is hitting Armageddon levels

"Most economists and ministers now believe that a prudent fiscal policy means not allowing public sector debt to exceed 40 per cent of GDP. But the Government is under no obligation to manage the public finances with this target in mind. Indeed, Britain is not even bound by the 60 per cent limit in the Maastricht treaty, as Margaret Thatcher managed to win an opt-out from the relevant article. This is just as well, given what has happened since last year. With the debts of the nationalised and part-nationalised banks now on the public sector balance sheet, the ratio of public sector debt to GDP in the UK exceeds that of Italy and Japan. And it is set to grow much higher. On the basis of the planned levels of borrowing, it could exceed 65 per cent of GDP in 2010-11." - Steve Bundred, Chief Executive of the Audit Commission, writing in The Times

Immigration is voters' top concern

"A Daily Telegraph/YouGov survey shows that it is the top concern that people want an incoming Conservative government to deal with. Fifty-two per cent said they wanted a Tory administration to reduce immigration. This week immigration figures revealed that one in nine people living in Britain was born overseas, highlighting a significant change in population make-up under Labour." - Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Poll also finds Tories 10% ahead

Agreement reached on 'Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force'

"The Conservative Party and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) have confirmed their plans to fight elections in Northern Ireland on a joint ticket and under a new name. After painstaking behind-the-scenes negotiations the ballot papers will carry the title 'Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force'." - Belfast Telegraph

0000d6e010dr "Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party Sir Reg Empey said: "I am delighted that my party has agreed to work more closely with the Conservative Party. This is something entirely new in Northern Ireland, something which would allow us to become more fully and demonstrably an equal partner within the UK family."" - Telegraph

Theresa Villiers makes the case for her high speed rail plan

“We believe that this will cement Birmingham’s place as a major European city and provide a major boost for jobs across the West Midlands. As well as regeneration gains, particularly around the stations for the new line, a top-class transport link that effectively shrinks the distance between the nation’s two largest cities will help integrate the economies of the Midlands and the south-east. Faster and better links to London help the rest of the country tap into higher relative levels of prosperity in the south-east, providing a boost for vitally important manufacturing industries such as car production, which are suffering so badly in the current recession.” - Birmingham Post

You knew all about my £693,000 a year pension deal, Sir Fred tells Labour - Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Did Labour authorise Fred Goodwin's pension windfall?

Nick Bourne reshuffles his Welsh Tory team, moving chief rival - BBC

Labour minister, Caroline Flint MP, warns unions against boosting the BNP

"A minister has warned Labour MPs and trade unions they will play into the hands of the British National Party if they continue their campaign against companies they claim recruit "foreign workers" to undercut pay levels." - Independent

Teenage pregnancy levels highest for a decade - Times

Ministers admit they handed over terror suspects in Iraq to US, sparking claims of extraordinary rendition - BBC

Councils in England will be forced to publish information on how much their chief executives earn - BBC

Taxpayers_alliance "Gold-plated pensions gobble up £1 in every £5 of council tax we pay, a report will reveal today. The bill for UK town hall pensions hit a massive £4.5 billion last year — with the average council paying about £10million. The typical Band D tax is due to rise to a record £1,414 in April — with £282 spent on council workers’ deals. And the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which uncovered the figures, claims that about 3,500 councillors are now on index-linked, final-salary pensions." - The Sun

Clean streets, safe neighbourhoods and strong schools should be recipe for Republican revival in US cities - Heather MacDonald in The Guardian


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