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Thursday 28th May 2009

11.30pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Italians don't implement government regulation shocker

7.30pm Latest on CentreRight:

7pm WATCH: Ex-MP and now Independent journalist Michael Brown explains on Sky News why no MP will resign their seat now (Clue: it relates to money)

6.45pm Seats and Candidates: There are now ten Conservative-held seats seeking a new candidate

6.15pm WATCH: The BBC reports the demise of Julie Kirkbride and Margaret Moran - including David Cameron's reaction to Julie Kirkbride's decision to step down

Picture 55pm Seats and Candidates Breaking News: Christopher Fraser to step down as MP for South West Norfolk Updated at 5.20pm with full statement from Mr Fraser

4.45pm Seats and Candidates: Watford's Conservative candidate pledges monthly open meetings with voters if elected

3.45pm Jill Kirby on CentreRight: No more cuddly capitalism

3.15pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Lies on Lib Dem election literature

Julie Kirkbride interview1.10pm ToryDiary: Julie Kirkbride confirms she is stepping down at the next election Updated with full texts of her resignation letter and David Cameron's reply

12.55pm ToryDiary: Julie Kirkbride cancels visit to Bromsgrove, said to be considering standing down

12.45pm Seats and Candidates: Ex-hostage Terry Waite poised to stand against David Ruffley in Bury St Edmunds

11.45am WATCH: The Eastern Region Conservative MEP candidates introduce themselves via a campaign video

10am ToryDiary: John Redwood calls for a renegotiation of Britain's relationship with the EU followed by a referendum

ToryDiary: As Julie Kirkbride continues to defend herself, will the MPs' expenses scandal put people off going into politics?

Blair Murray on Platform: David Cameron will book a place in history if he successfully removes power from the whips and allows MPs to be more independent-minded

Andrew Morrison in Seats and Candidates: A preview of the forthcoming by-election in Glasgow North East

Crispin Blunt MP in Parliament: How the public health minister failed to address my concerns about the vaccine against cervical cancer

Local Government:

WATCH: Sky News's Glen Oglaza explains today's Telegraph allegations against Sir John Butterfill

The Telegraph puts retiring MP Sir John Butterfill in the spotlight over his failure to pay capital gains tax on the sale of his £1.2 million home...

BUTTERFILL "Sir John Butterfill, a Tory grandee, paid no capital gains tax after making a £600,000 gain on the sale of his taxpayer-funded house which he told the parliamentary authorities was his designated second home. For five years, Sir John submitted regular claims under the second home allowance for the cost of running his six-bedroom country house, which had a swimming pool and extensive grounds. He claimed £17,000 on servants’ quarters alone. At the time, he designated a small flat in his Bournemouth constituency, bought for £56,000, as his “main home”. When he sold the country property for £1.2 million in 2005, however, he informed HM Revenue & Customs that it was his “primary residence”, meaning he was exempt from capital gains tax." - Daily Telegraph he agrees to repay a five-figure sum

"A Tory MP has agreed to repay £20,000 in tax and mortgage payments, much of which was claimed from public funds towards servants' quarters in his home... Having discussed his claims with the Tories' internal scrutiny panel on expenses, Sir John said he had agreed to repay an estimated £20,000 in claims he said were, with hindsight, "inappropriate"." - BBC

Simon Heffer still considering standing against Sir Alan Haselhurst - Daily Telegraph

Bill Wiggin "sees off calls for re-selection" after expenses row meeting

"Leominster MP Bill Wiggin says he's staying put after admitting an £11,000 expenses error, seeing off calls for his re-selection at a lively public meeting. Challenged from the floor to stand down, Mr Wiggin said he wasn't going to go if he wasn't guilty. The MP said that re-selection would "send a signal" that he had done something wrong when he had, in fact, made an error - repeated 23 times on expenses claims meant to cover the mortgage on his London home but mistakenly attributed to his Herefordshire home." - Hereford Times

Lord Kalms calls on David Cameron to be tougher on expense abusers

KALMS STANLEY "Lord Kalms, a party donor and the founder of the Dixons retail empire, told the BBC on Wednesday that Mr Cameron needs to do more to exact “retribution” on his MPs. “I don’t think it’s enough,” the Tory peer said. “It’s just a starting point. Some of the claims were so outrageous as to be an abuse of the system. If the rules have been badly breached...  there’s no excuse.” - FT

The Tories believe voters will hit Labour harder in the ballot box next week

"David Cameron is confident the expenses scandal will hit Labour harder than his own party in the local and European elections being held a week today, senior Tory insiders said on Wednesday... “We’ve all [three main parties] taken a hit,” the Tory insider admitted... “It’s bad for us but it has been fairly crippling for Labour”. - FT

Stanley Fink heads the latest list of Tory donors...

"A multimillionaire City hedge fund manager has bankrolled the Tories to the tune of over £1m. Stanley Fink, the new co-treasurer of the Conservative party, who aims to raise £40m for the party's election campaign, once headed the world's largest listed hedge fund firm, the Man Group. He is the largest donor to any party revealed in the latest returns from the political funding watchdog, the Electoral Commission, covering the first three months of this year." - Guardian

"The figures showed that donations to Labour from individuals in the first three months of the year totalled £254,000, compared with individual donations to the Conservatives that totalled £2.977 million...  Mark Bamford gave £200,000 and the Bamford company JCB Research, the heavy equipment manufacturer, gave £56,000. Michael Farmer, the founder of an Anglo-US metal trading hedge fund, who is said to be impressed by Mr Cameron’s commitment to family values, gave £150,000. Lord Hesketh gave £81,487.50 in February, the businesswoman Holly Bellingham gave £72,000, the insurance broker Theodore Agnew gave £69,000 and Flowidea Ltd, a new media agency, gave £60,000. " - The Times

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Conservative fundraising outstripped Labour by more than a quarter between January and March questions are raised about how the BNP is funded

"The British National Party is facing an inquiry into its funding after its leader, Nick Griffin, paid a £5,000 political donation into his personal bank account without declaring it. The party’s finances came under scrutiny yesterday after it declared donations with the Electoral Commission of £21,132 for the first quarter of this year. No donations were declared between March and December last year. It has pledged to spend £500,000 campaigning for next week’s European and local elections alone." - The Times

Andrew Lansley to brand ambitious Alan Johnson "the postman who hasn't delivered"

LANSLEY ANDREW NW "He didn't want to be Health Secretary in the first place. He has been planning to move on to another job in politics for most of the time he's been there. He seems more focused on promoting his own ambition than promoting an agenda that will help patients.When you look at his record there has been a complete failure to deliver on crucial reforms started by Tony Blair, and a failure to deliver on major threats to our nation's health - whether that's obesity, the health of the poor, or the dignity of patients being forced into mixed sex wards. No delivery for patients and no delivery for health professionals - he is the postman that hasn't delivered." - The Press Association preview of a speech shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley will deliver to the RSA this morning

Chris Grayling attacks Labour's hollow rhetoric on knife crime

"Out of almost 4,000 convictions for being armed with a blade last year, only one person received the maximum sentence... Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, who was given the figures in a Parliamentary answer, said: “It is demoralising for the victims if there is an expectation of a tough sentence for offenders which does not materialise in reality. We have to create a disincentive for people who carry knives and the fact that the supposedly tough sentences just are not happening sends out all the wrong messages.” - Daily Express

Tory human rights plan "could lead to departure from EU"

"The UK could find itself parting company from the EU if Tory pledges to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) are carried through, the head of the Council of Europe has warned Conservative party activists." - Law Society Gazette

Tories rule online

"The Conservatives are streaks ahead of other political parties in terms of their internet presence, a new report has found." -

Fraser Nelson: David Cameron will need a scowl and a hatchet to stop us going bust

Fraser Nelson "David Cameron's scowl is coming on nicely. For weeks, he has never left home without it. Whether stepping into his car or the television studio he has been careful to suppress his jovial instincts and instead project anger and determination. Times have changed, and so we are witnessing a leader mid-mutation. The smiling Cameron's role was to detoxify the Tory brand, and seduce wavering voters. The stern-faced Cameron must persuade people that he is a man with enough resolve and ruthlessness to save the country... Britain no longer has a vacancy for a nice guy. And, unfortunately for Mr Brown, no vacancy for someone whose economic policies have led us to disaster. Something else is needed: someone with a sense of mission and urgency." - Fraser Nelson writing in the Daily Telegraph

Nick Clegg calls for constitutional reform before the summer recess

"Britain's politicians should be barred from taking their summer holidays until the constitutional crisis sparked by the expenses row is resolved and "every nook and cranny" of the political system is reformed, Nick Clegg declares today. In a provocative Guardian article, the Liberal Democrat leader outlines a 100-day action plan to transform MPs' expenses and accelerate the constitutional reforms started in 1997 by Tony Blair." - The Guardian

Bar the gates: No summer holiday before the overhaul - Nick Clegg's Guardian article

Gordon Brown "considering" recall law

"Gordon Brown today pledged to consider the idea of a U.S.-style 'recall' law for MPs that would allow voters to oust them if they stepped out of line... Mr Brown opened the door to the idea as he indicated plans to give power back to the people will be unveiled within weeks." - Daily Mail

Baroness Thatcher meets the Pope

Thatcher and Pope "Baroness Thatcher, whose first Papal visit was more than 30 years ago, has been introduced to Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. The meeting took place after the Pope's weekly audience in St Peter's Square. Lady Thatcher, was dressed in black as she had been on her first visit in 1977, with a dark handbag and star shaped brooch. They talked for several minutes and Lady Thatcher encouraged the Pope to accept the invitation from Gordon Brown to visit Britain." - Daily Telegraph

Boris Johnson moves to "sought-after" N1

"Boris Johnson has moved from his old house in Holloway to a new home in one of the most expensive streets in Islington. The Mayor of London and his family have moved from Furlong Road to a sought-after street - close to the Angel and Camden Passage - and now boast an N1 postcode." - Islington Gazette


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