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Thursday 12th February 2009

Picture_1 10pm WATCH Lord Pearson and Lord Ahmed debate whether Geert Wilders should have been allowed into the UK

5pm Alex Deane on CentreRight on the Conservative Party's failure to denounce the Government's refusal of entry into Britain of Geert Wilders: "We either believe in freedom of speech or we don't"

3.45pm Today's earlier ToryDiary on Geert Wilders has been updated with a statement from Chris Grayling

3.15pm WATCH two clips of Gordon Brown at this morning's session of the liaison committee:

3pm Parliament: John Redwood takes Government apart over Banking Bill

2pm Parliament: Edward Timpson and Daniel Kawczynski vote against front bench over Royal Mail - updated to include statements for ConservativeHome from both MPs explaining their rebellion

12.45pm Dan Hamilton on CentreRight accuses the Government of inconsistency over its decisions on which controversial figures to allow into Britain

Johnson_boris_812.30pm Local Government: Boris uses the F-word in furious phone call to Keith Vaz

12.30pm Graeme Archer on CentreRight considers the limits to his political space

11am ToryDiary: Tories choose silence on Geert Wilders

ToryDiary: Conservative plans for the railways revealed

Nick de Bois on Platform: Why Labour's employment legislation means even cancer patients are made to worry unnecessarily about redundancy

Seats and Candidates Search for 100 Peers: Sir Reg Empey

Local Government: 

Simon Chapman on CentreRight highlights the story of a five-year-old child being told off for discussing Jesus with her classmate: "You can sing carols about Jesus, children, but you can't talk about him"

WATCH: Morgan Tsvangirai sworn in as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe

Commons_david_cameron David Cameron accuses Brown over resigning FSA deputy chairman Sir James Crosby...

"Cameron said it was "extraordinary that Mr Brown ever made such an utterly inappropriate appointment... [He was] knighted by the prime minister for his services, he relied on him for advice, he was going to sort out the mortgage market," the Conservative leader said. "Why can't the prime minister admit for once he made an error of judgment? James Crosby had the decency to resign, even the bankers have apologised, why can't the prime minister admit he was wrong to appoint him in the first place?" - Guardian

...but fails to elicit an apology from the Prime Minister

"Politicians find it easy to apologise for things they had nothing to do with - such as the slave trade and the Irish potato famine - but not for anything they got wrong. Gordon Brown can't do it. If he let the swing door go and it biffed you in the face, he'd say: "I am well aware of the very real issues involving swing doors. I will say that keeping the door open was not an option." - Simon Hoggart's sketch of PMQs in The Guardian

CCHQ employee edits Wikipedia entry after David Cameron taunts Brown over Titian

"During Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Mr Cameron said: "The Prime Minister never gets his facts right: he told us the other day he was like Titian aged 90. The fact is, Titian died at 86." Records on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, show that at 12.34pm – four minutes after the end of PMQs – the entry for the artist was altered to support Mr Cameron's claim. While previously his birth and death dates were set at 1485 and 1576, meaning Mr Brown could have been correct, they were changed to 1490 and 1572. The editor's IP address – the unique string of numbers identifying internet users – belonged to a computer in Conservative Campaign Headquarters in south-west London. A Conservative Party spokesman said: "It is not our business to change entries in Wikipedia. In this case an over-eager member of staff took it upon himself to put right an incorrect entry." - Daily Telegraph

Boris asked to clarify evidence on Damian Green arrest

"The Mayor was quizzed by the Home Affairs Committee last week about his role in the furore surrounding the arrest of Mr Green, the shadow immigration minister, by police investigating leaks of information from the Home Office. In a letter unanimously approved by the cross-party committee, Mr Johnson was asked for "urgent clarification" after MPs complained that he had given "no fewer than four different accounts'' of his conversations with David Cameron, the Conservative leader, about Mr Green's arrest. Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the committee, said members were concerned about the Mayor's apparent lack of preparation for his appearance before them, after he appeared confused about the chain of events, and the level of "respect and courtesy". - Daily Telegraph

Why George Osborne looks so pale

"Every time I pass George Osborne in the House of Commons he looks whiter and more worried. This is encouraging. Considering the task facing the next Tory government, the only rational response is mild panic. When this 37-year-old became Shadow Chancellor, it was assumed that the economy was not an issue and that his mission would be to play politics with Gordon Brown. It is now clear that, rather than ‘sharing the proceeds of growth’ as he blithely assumed, Osborne will have the toughest task facing any Tory Chancellor in post-war history. The outlook is murderous." - Fraser Nelson in Spectator Business

May_theresa_blk_jacket Theresa May on the fall in employment for British-born workers...

"The employment of British-born workers fell by 278,000 last year, while the employment of foreign-born staff rose by 214,000, official figures showed... The Conservatives said the figure showed Mr Brown's slogan, which he made at the Labour party conference in September 2007, had been hollow. Theresa May, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “Today’s figures once again expose what a cynical piece of political spin the Prime Minister’s claim of British jobs for British workers was. “Labour failed to tackle the skills gap in the economy when unemployment was rising and now the public are paying the price.” - Daily Telegraph employment minister admits he couldn't live on benefits

The Employment minister Tony McNulty has admitted that he could not survive on the basic unemployment benefit paid to people made redundant. As dole queues surged to a 10-year high of 1.97 million, he acknowledged that it was "very, very difficult" to exist on jobseekers' allowance (JSA)... Mr McNulty's admission came in a BBC Radio 5 Live interview when he was asked how he expected people to make ends meet on £60 a week. He replied: "We just need to work with them to try and get them back into work at the earliest opportunity." Challenged about whether he could survive on that income, he conceded: "I don't think I could. I'd be the first to say that." - Independent

Tory plans for local government pension funds

"Local government pension funds could be merged under proposals being considered by the Conservatives, LGC has learned. The party is investigating the scope for "locally led amalgamations" of England and Wales' 89 funds in a bid to slash the administration costs of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). After party leader David Cameron slammed the "apartheid" between public sector final salary schemes and private sector pensions, the move could be interpreted as a positive move to secure council workers' retirement income." - Local Government Chronicle

There is Health'n'Safety everywhere - except in the banking system

"If we are to restore our economy, we must free it up from the enormous burden of petty regulations, many emanating from Europe and gold-plated by us. Health and safety has become a whole new industry, taking reasonable precautions to unreasonable lengths: you cannot eliminate all accidents in our lives and it is futile trying to do so. Ministers should summon up their reserves of courage, lighten or even abolish much of the health and safety legislation and face down the criticism that will emanate from special interest groups. The quicker we deal with this, the sooner we will be competitive again." - Former deregulation minister Lord Young writing in Spectator Business

Widdecombeingarden Ann Widdecombe blasts Kent police over gay essay competition

"A police force has sparked anger by holding a gay essay-writing contest that is open to children under 14. Kent Police has organised it to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History month – and there is an under-14 category. Youngsters are asked to write an essay explaining what the celebration’s slogan “All different, same respect” means to them... Ann Widdecombe, Tory MP for Maidstone and the Weald, said: “I’d have thought the police had other things to worry about, like catching burglars. Why don’t they get children to write an essay on combating crime? It strikes me as an extraordinary waste of police ­resources.” - Daily Express

Gordon Brown faces questioning form the Commons' liaison committee today - BBC

Dutch MP vows to defy Home Office ban and fly to Britain to show anti-Islam film - Daily Mail

Alan Johnson warns of "two years of recession" - Spectator

Police will not investigate "peers for hire" - Daily Telegraph

Statistics chief inflames row over foreign workers - Times

Congress reaches deal on Obama's stimulus plan - BBC

And finally... 59-year old refused cigarettes at Tesco

"A supermarket refused to sell ciggies to a 59-year-old man walking with a Zimmer frame — because he had no ID. Smoker James Earl was left stunned but amazingly bosses at Tesco have stood by the decision. They said the store in Lytham St Annes, Lancs, is trying out a company policy where all customers have to prove they are over 18. James, who is registered disabled, said: “I honestly couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I’ve never heard of anything so bizarre. I turn 60 this year and I certainly look my age. I walk with a Zimmer frame.” - The Sun


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