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30 Jun 2009 09:02:04

Tuesday 30th June 2009

10pm Iain Murray on CentreRight: Whither the IEA?

4.45pm Seat and Candidates: Norwich North by-election will take place on 23rd July

4.30pm Harry Phibbs on CentreRight asks "Did Michael Jackson have a political message?"

Picture 54pm Greg Hands on CentreRight describes the "pantomime" of a visit to his constituency this morning by Gordon Brown and Ed Balls: How not to be Prime Ministerial on a Prime Ministerial visit

3.00pm Local Government: Cllr Margaret Eaton attacks Taxpayers Alliance.

1.45pm ToryDiary: Cameron's trump policy

1.30pm Alex Deane on CentreRight laments the fact that the State is set to spend 50% of UK GDP

Noon Graeme Archer on CentreRight recommends reading Nick Cohen's piece in Standpoint on expenses abuses

SHAPPS GRANT-111.45am ToryDiary: Grant Shapps exposes the lie of Brown's promise of "local homes for local people"

10.30am ToryDiary: Policy won't win us power, admits Oliver Letwin, but it will determine whether we're successful in government


Seats and Candidates: ConservativeHome research highlights the likely surge in female Tory MPs at the next election

FavouriteBlog About ConservativeHome: ConHome is the top blog choice for Tory MPs and candidates

Humfrey Malins MP on Platform: Only comprehensive reform of Young Offender Institutions will cut re-offending rates

Local Government: Nick Seaton welcomes David Davis's reignition of the grammar schools debate

Greg Hands MP on CentreRight: Obama goes to Moscow next week. Will Brown ever make it?

WATCH: David Cameron challenges Brown in the Commons:  "When is someone going to tell him he has run out of money?"

CAMERON SPEAKING "Deceit over cuts will lead to riots", says David Cameron

"Britain faces “riots on the streets” if Gordon Brown’s “dishonesty” over public spending enables him to win the next election, David Cameron said. The Conservative leader’s warning added to the escalating row over the Government’s spending commitments as the Prime Minister attempted to relaunch his premiership with a series of policy announcements. Mr Cameron accused Mr Brown of “deceit, dishonesty and deception” after Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, admitted that the Government would not publish a spending review before the next election. In what was the Tory leader’s strongest attack yet on Mr Brown’s integrity, he all but called him a liar." - Daily Telegraph

"This ramshackle, paralysed and incompetent Government is now either utterly delusional about the frightening scale of our economic crisis. Or it is taking the entire nation for fools." - Sun editorial

"The struggle between Labour and the Conservatives about the future of public spending has been pretty unedifying. Ever since Andrew Lansley, Shadow Cabinet health secretary, made clear the inexorable fall in government spending from 2010 on, the public has been assaulted by the extraordinary spectacle of both front benches pretending that public expenditure will not be reduced in the years ahead." - Tony Travers writing in The Times

"Yesterday Gordon Brown delivered the much-hyped preview of his legislative programme to be unveiled in the autumn. When the Queen's Speech is re-announced in October or November it will preview the dividing lines of the election campaign which will be held the following year. That is a lot of previews. Or to put it more starkly: the longest election campaign in recent history began yesterday." - Steve Richards writing in The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary on David Cameron's monthly press conference

> Yesterday in Parliament: David Cameron taunts Gordon Brown about his "relaunch without a price-tag"

Voters trust the Tories to make spending cuts

"As the need for spending curbs moved to the top of the political agenda, ComRes asked people which party they trusted most to decide where public spending cuts should be made: 31 per cent said the Tories, 21 per cent Labour and 14 per cent the Liberal Democrats. Some 16 per cent trusted no party, 10 per cent said they didn't know and 7 per cent named other parties." - The Independent

> Last night's ToryDiary: Conservatives 11% ahead in ComRes/Independent survey

Cameron tells Shadow Cabinet to give up their second jobs

"David Cameron has told his Shadow Cabinet members that they will be required to give up all outside interests by the end of the year. The Conservative leader published a list of payments to his senior colleagues yesterday, before new rules that require the disclosure come into force tomorrow. Michael Gove, the Shadow Schools Secretary, tops the list of earners, disclosing that he works for “an hour or so” a week writing a column in The Times, for which he is paid £5,000 a month." - The Times

William Hague forced to quit JCB role - Birmingham Post

"If you are one of those scandalised by the idea of MPs having outside interests, then you will regard Mr [Ken] Clarke's resignation from the board of The Independent as an act which will bring unquantifiable benefits to the public. I can't see it, myself... One of the great virtues of MPs having outside interests is that they potentially have the courage and independence that comes from not being financially dependent entirely on the goodwill of their party leader, via the unwilled generosity of the taxpayer." - Dominic Lawson writing in The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Shadow Cabinet to give up all outside interests by the end of December

Michael Gove happy Michael Gove brands Labour's new plan to punish disruptive pupils' parents a gimmick

"Giving schools new powers to punish the parents of disruptive pupils would be a sham, it was claimed last night as it was revealed that head teachers have completely failed to use existing sanctions... Tory schools spokesman Michael Gove said: 'Ed Balls has refused to give teachers the powers they need to deal with violence and disruption. His new gimmicks will not solve the deep problems we have with bad behaviour in schools'." - Daily Mail

Do not count on the Tories winning the election just yet

"The electoral position of the Tories is significantly weaker than that of Labour 12 years ago. Opinion polls have the Tory vote hovering between 36 and 40 per cent. This is nowhere near Labour’s poll position in early 1995, close to 60 per cent. The polls then probably overstated Labour support but the fact remains that the Conservatives have yet to win over the majority of voters... We are not saying that the Tories cannot win the general election. But it is by no means as certain as many assume." - Niall Ferguson and Glen O'Hara in The FT

Welsh Tories under fire over taxpayer-funded stay at luxury hotel

"Nine Tory AMs spent more than £6,500 of taxpayers’ money on a “fact-finding” trip to Brussels, staying in what bills itself as the city’s best luxury hotel. Details of the trip emerged with the publication of AMs’ expenses for 2008-09 by the National Assembly yesterday." - Western Mail

SNP anger at Tory vow on Trident

"A row broke out yesterday after Conservative leader David Cameron said maintaining Britain's nuclear deterrent would be "non-negotiable" for a future Tory government. The SNP said the decision – effectively giving the green light to the next generation of Trident nuclear submarines – meant an "obscene" amount of money would be spent on weapons of mass destruction." - The Scotsman

IPPR reports proposes slashing defence spending by £24 billion - BBC

Margaret Thatcher arrives home Margaret Thatcher heads home after two weeks in hospital

"Baroness Thatcher returned home yesterday after more than two weeks in hospital. The former Prime Minister, 83, who broke her arm in a fall earlier this month, left Chelsea and Westminster Hospital by a back entrance. She appeared briefly at the front door of her home in Belgravia, central London, to cheers and applause, before she was escorted indoors by a female helper." - Daily Mail

> WATCH: Baroness Thatcher arrives home from hospital in good spirits

The Queen publishes her annual accounts

"The Queen has been forced to raid her savings to shore up the crumbling royal palaces, it was revealed yesterday. According to her annual accounts, she had to take an unprecedented £6.4million out of a special reserve fund to boost her Civil List earnings." - Daily Mail

"Will David Cameron, should he form a Conservative government after the next election, give the Queen a pay rise? ...When those who voted for him are facing a life of pay cuts and punier pensions, would a Conservative government have the stomach to sign a much fatter cheque to the Queen and risk accusations that you need only to scratch the modernising veneer to reveal the traditional Tory party beneath?" - Times editorial

> Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: The Queen costs us each a mere 69p a year

"Expenses row" Labour MP recovering from heart attack - Telegraph


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29 Jun 2009 08:38:19

Monday 29th June 2009

10.15pm ToryDiary: Conservatives 11% ahead in ComRes/ Independent survey

7.15pm ToryDiary: Who can revive the IEA... and how?

5.30pm Parliament: David Cameron taunts Gordon Brown about his "relaunch without a price-tag"

Margaret Thatcher arrives home5pm WATCH: Baroness Thatcher arrives home from hospital in good spirits

4.45pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: The Queen costs us each a mere 69p a year - and she wants all MPs to know it

2.30pm ToryDiary: Any questions for you?

1.30pm WATCH: David Cameron accuses Gordon Brown and the Government of "a huge amount of deceit" over its public spending claims at his monthly press conference

Picture 111.45am ToryDiary: David Cameron questions Burkha-wearing teachers and offers Opposition time for the Royal Mail Bill at his monthly press conference

11.15am Seats and Candidates: 4,000 people have applied to be Tory candidates since the list was re-opened


Picture 210.30am ToryDiary Breaking News: Shadow Cabinet to give up all outside interests by the end of December Updated at 12.45pm with full list of Shadow Cabinet outside interests

9.30am Local Government: Social housing rule change proposed to thwart BNP

ToryDiary: Should the Conservative Party be apologising for the policies of the 1980s if it is to make electoral advances in the North of England?

Andrew Mitchell MP on Platform: Brown’s belated Iraq inquiry must probe reconstruction failures

Seats and Candidates:

Local Government: Brighton comes under fire from Peter Whittle

WATCH: David Miliband calls on the Iranian authorities to release the members of staff from the British Embassy in Tehran who have been arrested

Lord Mandelson Lord Mandelson claims the Conservatives are "the soft option on public sector reform"

Lord Mandelson is engaged in serious business. Today he joins Gordon Brown in launching Building Britain’s Future, billed as Labour’s programme for the rest of this parliament and a fourth term.... Lord Mandelson claims the Tories would spend less and – especially on the NHS – shy away from reform for fear of frightening voters or public-sector unions. “They seem to have entered a Faustian pact with public-sector producer interests,” he says. “They will repeal many of the benchmarks, tests and accountability introduced by us. David Cameron offers the soft option on public sector reform.” - FT

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Philip Hammond states that "protecting frontline public services" is the key when reviewing government spending

Other stories previewing the document being published today by the Government...

  • Brown aims for core vote with pledge to house local people first - Times
  • Patients to be promised six new rights to NHS treatment - Telegraph

...about which the Telegraph is unconvinced

"The country deserves better than this. Such empty posturing sells the electorate short. Labour can churn out all the eye-catching initiatives it wants but the reality is that stasis grips Whitehall and will only end when voters have had their say in a general election." - Telegraph editorial

Jackie Ashley asks: Just who are these New Tories?

"If the Conservatives get a big majority, life will certainly feel different: many current MPs will have gone and a new Commons will have arrived... those who have looked say the biggest "change" factor is the nature of the new Tories who will come in. They are, on the whole, much more right-wing than Cameron. They would be the most anti-European Commons in modern times. Many are libertarian and want the state hacked back." - Jackie Ashley in The Guardian

> At tomorrow's ConservativeHome conference, Inside David Cameron's Conservatives, Jonathan Isaby will be presenting some research assessing the likely members of the next intake of Conservative MPs

Welsh flag Welsh Tory Assembly Member calls for Welsh Parliament in federal British state

"The United Kingdom is in danger of disintegration and should embrace a federal structure of government and create individual parliaments in each nation, Conservative AM David Melding declares in a major book published today. He envisages a new constitutional settlement which could cut the number of MPs at Westminster to 300 and officially recognise the sovereignty over domestic issues of the parliaments of Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland." - Western Mail

Speaker Bercow was "in pay" of Tory donor

"Barely a week after Bercow duly won his bid to succeed Michael Martin, some Labour MPs are bitterly regretting their decision to back the maverick former Right-winger. This stems from the revelation that the feline Bercow was paid £40,000 to be an adviser to the Priory Group, a company specialising in mental health which runs a number of schools for children with special needs. For yesterday it emerged that one of the company's major shareholders is none other than Lord Ashcroft, the multi-millionaire who is almost single-handedly bankrolling the Tories' next election campaign." - Daily Mail

Margaret Thatcher to be discharged from hospital today

"The former Prime Minister has been given the all clear by doctors at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Lady Thatcher had a heavy fall at her London home more than two weeks ago and fractured her upper shoulder. After the break failed to heal as well as doctors had hoped, she underwent an operation to put in a pin into the shoulder." - Daily Telegraph

Tory MPs express concerns at extent of sharia courts in Britain

"At least 85 Islamic sharia courts are operating in Britain, a study claimed yesterday. The astonishing figure is 17 times higher than previously accepted.. Patrick Mercer, Tory MP for Newark and chairman of the Commons counter-terrorism sub committee, said: 'We have an established law of the land and a judiciary. Anything that operates otside that system must be viewed with great caution'... Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said: 'Everyone should be deeply concerned about the extent of these courts. They do entrench division in society, and do nothing to entrench integration or community cohesion'." - Daily Mail

Clarke MarkConservative candidate Mark Clarke successfully calls for review of sex attacker's sentence

"The sentence of a serial sex attacker who preyed on women in south-west London for more than two decades is to be reviewed by the Attorney General. Kirk Reid was jailed for life in June and ordered to serve at least seven-and-a-half years after his conviction for two rapes and 24 sexual assaults... Mark Clarke, the Tory parliamentary candidate for Tooting, was one of several people who complained to the Attorney General that the sentence was too light. He said: "I wrote to the Attorney General because when you look at the sentence, he essentially got three-and-half months for every attack. People get longer in prison for failing to pay their council tax." - BBC

> WATCH Mark Clarke being interviewed about the matter on London Tonight over the weekend

Peter Mackay: What does Dave stand for?

"Cameron's problem isn't Brown, though. It's the perception that we haven't as yet taken him to our hearts. How many times have you heard someone say: 'I don't know what David Cameron stands for'. Yet I can't think of any previous Conservative leader who has laid out his stall more comprehensively - not even Margaret Thatcher, whom I remember being far more careful about specifics prior to becoming Prime Minister. But no one acknowledges this.' - Peter Mackay in the Daily Mail

Boris Johnson: It would be wrong to sneer at the outpouring of public grief at Michael Jackson's death

"By the middle of this week, senior politicians will no doubt be chivvied in front of the camera to confirm that he was the prince of pop, or the people's prancer, and Gordon Brown will probably moonwalk into Prime Minister's questions. Now you or I may not share these emotions. We may not be the kind of people who queue to place flowers at the Neverland ranch, or hurl ourselves sobbing at the foot of his catafalque. We may not feel a sudden gap, a strange hollowness, in our lives. But some people do. Lots of people do." - Boris Johnson writing in the Daily Telegraph

Tory "plot" to axe child and OAP benefits for all - Daily Mirror

Ministers accused of spin over delayed Royal Mail sell-off plans - Telegraph

Brown facing new backbench revolt over scrapping 10p tax - Independent

Baroness Vadera tipped to be Britain's next European Commissioner - Times

MPs condemn police tactics at G20 protest - Guardian

James Purnell takes up role at Demos - Guardian

Ed Balls tieless And finally... Has Ed Balls had a makeover?

"Ed Balls took a leaf from David Cameron's book yesterday, adopting the open-neck casual look as he sought to boost his credentials as a Labour leadership contender. The Schools Secretary went tieless during an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr. With friends saying he has begun an active campaign to succeed the Prime Minister, Mr Balls provoked speculation he has had media training to help him achieve his goal." - Daily Mail

Weekend HighlightsCameron considers joint Downing Street HQ with Osborne

Conservative candidate Chloe Smith finally has a Labour opponent in Norwich North

Jonathan Isaby: Why not hold by-elections a set time after the vacancy occurs?

13th plum Tory seat becomes vacant with retirement announcement from Penrith's David Maclean

Tim Montgomerie: The next Conservative government must rebuild our armed forces

Melanchthon: Do you really want your MPs to work for you as a job?


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28 Jun 2009 08:59:57

Sunday 28th June 2009

9pm Melanchthon on CentreRight: Do you really want your MPs to work for you as a job?

7.45pm Seats and Candidates: Chloe Smith finally has a Labour opponent in Norwich North

4.15pm WATCH: Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw expresses surprise at some of the expenses claims made by top BBC executives

1.30pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: We still don't have dates for the by-elections in Norwich and Glasgow - Why not change the rules so that such contests are automatically held a set time after the vacancy occurs?

11.45am ToryDiary: Philip Hammond states that "protecting frontline public services" will be the key when reviewing government spending



Liam Maxwell on Platform: The State must give us back our data

Mark Wallace in Local Government: Councils must resist the demands of local NHS nanny-staters which would have the effect of banning Popeye for under-18s


DAVIS DAVID David Davis calls to bring back "inspiring" grammar schools

"I favour allowing parents to do the best possible for their children, including sending them to fee-paying schools. But we should also give the best possible chance to those who cannot afford that, and the best way to do this is to bring back grammar schools.There were no halcyon days in our past. But for those kids, with the capability but not the cash, the aptitude but not the opportunity, with all the talent but none of the chances, there is little doubt - grammar schools were best." - David Davis MP writing in the Mail on Sunday

> Wednesday's ToryDiary: Public school boys run Britain says David Davis during a defence of grammar schools

David Cameron sets up future showdown with Alex Salmond over Trident

"Tory leader David Cameron and Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, have gone to war over the deployment of a new generation of Trident nuclear submarines on the Clyde. Cameron warns the Scottish Government that if the Conservatives win the next election the SNP should not "obstruct" Trident and should accept that the prime minister has a mandate to govern the whole of the UK in reserved areas such as defence. Salmond however says it will be "perfectly legitimate" for the Scottish Parliament to try to exert influence over what happens in Scotland. In a BBC documentary to mark a decade of devolution, the SNP leader promises to campaign against a Trident replacement at "every available opportunity". - Sunday Herald

The Telegraph turns its attention to MPs' second jobs

"A survey has uncovered the outside interests of dozens of MPs who hold down paid positions, ranging from legal and media work to crofting, and even grave digging. One earns £750 an hour for helping to organise an awards ceremony for the drinks industry, while another is paid more than £1,300 a day to provide business advice." - Sunday Telegraph

The paper lists second income details for a number of individual MPs

More Tory MPs resign outside interests in advance of official publication of details

"Four Tories have now officially given notice that they intend to quit directorships, consultancies and other work worth tens of thousands of pounds before Wednesday, when all MPs will have to declare how much they are paid, and how many hours they put in, on extra-curricular jobs. It has now emerged that a shadow Treasury minister, David Gauke, has given up his directorship of Ivobank, while David Evennett, Edward Leigh and Edward Timpson have confirmed that they will do the same before Wednesday." - Independent on Sunday

Osborne denies that he received leaked information from the Bank of England governor...

"Shadow chancellor George Osborne denied on Saturday that Bank of England Governor Mervyn King had leaked confidential government bank recapitalisation plans to the party... "These are allegations that are simply not true. They are made by Labour cabinet ministers, sometimes by the Prime Minister in private to people," Osborne said. "I think it says more about his government than about the entirely proper and correct relationship between the opposition and the independent central bank," he said." - Reuters he expands on Tory plans to give more power to the BoE

"The Tories are considering giving more powers to the Bank of England to oversee financial institutions, George Osborne has confirmed... "The tripartite system between the chancellor, the Bank of England and the FSA has simply failed. I mean, it failed to spot the growing financial crisis, it has led to serious lack of coordination in dealing with problems like Northern Rock", Mr Osborne said. "You now see open bickering in the newspapers between some elements of the tripartite relationship. You know, none of that is healthy, not least when we're still dealing with a credit crunch." - BBC

Picture 1 Conservative backbencher defends expenses claim for astrology software

"Tory MP David Tredinnick charged the taxpayer for studying astrology and the influence of the planets... Mr Tredinnick, MP for Bosworth,  Leicestershire, defended the claims, saying it was necessary to pursue his interest in alternative medicine. He said that after his studies, he was inclined to believe there was some truth in the astrology and the influence of the planets on the earth and said the payments had been approved in advance by the Commons’ Fees Office." - Mail on Sunday

Claims of internal concerns about Conservative education policy

"The Swedish school plan was announced in a blaze of publicity less than a year ago... However, the party has yet to set the criteria that parents and private organisations will have to meet to be eligible for funding. A source involved in drawing up the plans listed a series of problems in adapting the Swedish system to Britain. They include the huge cost of land and property for building schools in the UK; fears the policy will be exploited by “wacky” religious groups; the scale of the plans; and Gove’s determination not to allow private operators to cash in." - Sunday Times

City benefactors donate millions to Tories

"The growing support from City donors was demonstrated last week with more than £500,000 raised at the Conservative Party Summer Fundraiser at Old Billingsgate. Hedge fund managers and City advisers have been among the most generous donors, pledging hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Conservatives." - Sunday Telegraph

How the Conservatives are exposing Labour's dishonesty on public spending

"As David Cameron cycled to the House of Commons on Wednesday morning he had one objective on his mind. How could he expose as false Gordon Brown’s pledge to keep increasing public expenditure? ...Cameron discovered that the red book figures showed expenditure on infra-structure such as schools, roads and hospitals would in fact fall from £44 billion next year to £26 billion in 2012. This simple fact was deployed with devastating effect at prime minister’s questions. Though Brown blustered about Tory plans for cuts, he could not deny the truth of data that had been produced by his own officials." - Sunday Times

Matthew Parris: David Cameron must bore or Britain on the subject of spending

"Should Mr Cameron simply hope that the Opposition have made their point, and change the subject? Or should he act the club bore and hammer tediously on about the Government’s failure to acknowledge either the mess we’re in, or the spending cuts that are thundering towards us like a runaway train? He should hammer on. He must bore for Britain. This is so much bigger than any other question facing the nation, so much more urgent, so much more disgraceful, so much more likely to impact on all our lives for a decade to come, that for Mr Cameron to turn aside from the issue in exasperation as Mr Brown fibs, and fibs, and fibs, and persistently refuses to look Parliament or the country in the eye, would be a dereliction of an opposition leader’s duty." - Matthew Parris in the Sunday Times

John Rentoul: Nick Clegg is ahead of the curve  on the need for cutting spending

"While he is not in favour of cuts in public spending this year – contrary to Brown's attempt to pretend that he is – he [Nick Clegg] is likely to fight the election on a more explicit programme of public spending cuts than the Conservatives. And it may be that a Cameron government, even a minority administration, will not only be required by its own watchdog to make deep cuts in public spending, and be able to do so with Liberal Democrat support, but it may not be unpopular if it succeeds." - John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday

John Bercow had to pay for the repair of a Commons door in 2000

"New Speaker John Bercow’s vow to improve the conduct of MPs suffered an embarrassing setback yesterday after it was revealed that he had to pay a repair bill for smashing down a House of Commons door. Hot-headed Mr Bercow told police to break into an office in the Houses of Parliament when they could not find the key. He was accused of vandalism and agreed to foot the bill for fixing it." - Mail on Sunday

Profile of the new Speaker - Sunday Times

Conservatives launch sexual health review

"The Conservative Party has launched a review of sexual health services and appointed a new head of policy to lead the investigation. Dr David Bull will lead the review along with shadow health minister and qualified nurse Anne Milton." - Nursing Times

> Friday's Seats and Candidates post: David Bull steps down as candidate for Brighton Pavilion to head up policy review

Daley-Janet-black-backgroun Janet Daley: Here's a Tory war cry – power to the people

"David Cameron has been advocating a "smaller state", a shift of power from government to people – which is fine. But he has been talking about it in largely abstract, philosophical terms. Now is the time for an unambiguously clear argument which connects up the anger at public profligacy with concrete mechanisms for allowing individuals to take control of that portion of their wealth which they hand to the state." - Janet Daley in the Sunday Telegraph

William Rees-Mogg: The next intake of Tory MPs could be as revolutionary as Labour's Class of '45

"When David Cameron describes himself as a liberal Conservative, he is speaking for the Conservative generation immediately younger than himself, as well as for his generation. The new generation instinctively rejects the unproductive apparatus of quangos and bureaucrats, of cameras and identity cards, of restriction and supervision. They are committed to the ideas of social liberty, and, if they are elected, they will fight for those ideas in Parliament." - WIlliam Rees-Mogg in the Mail on Sunday

Iain Dale: Sexuality is no longer an issue in the Tory Party

"Bill Clinton invented the phrase "don't ask, don't tell" relating to gays in the US military. That used to be the maxim of gays in the Tory party. Nowadays it's different. The shock factor has disappeared and if anyone feels the need to announce they are gay, the declaration is treated with a massive shrug of the shoulders and a collective "so what?" As I say, that's exactly as it should be." - Iain Dale writing in the Independent on Sunday

Coverage of David Maclean's announcement that he is to quit Parliament

"Tory MP David Maclean, one of the leaders of the battle against the disclosure of expenses details, is to step down at the next general election. Mr Maclean, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, said he could no longer carry out his job at "full pelt". - BBC

> Yesterday's Seats and Candidates post: 13th plum Tory seat becomes vacant with retirement announcement from Penrith's David Maclean

Government to give cancer patients right to see specialist within two weeks

"Patients will get new legal rights to see a cancer specialist within two weeks under government plans to be announced this week. The Sunday Telegraph has learned that the move - to be outlined in a document called Building Britain's Future - could see NHS patients forcing local GPs to send them to private hospitals with the costs borne by the NHS." - Sunday Telegraph

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has reacted to the story thus: “Just as Labour say they are going to scrap national targets they are proposing to create another target which threatens to distort clinical activity. Why should a two week initial referral be an entitlement, but not subsequent time to diagnosis or treatment? Or why not an entitlement to access to cancer drugs? The public are not looking for one aspect of medical treatment to be singled out, the NHS commitment is to deliver the best possible care throughout the patients’ journey.”

European Commission plans attempt to ban smoking outdoors - News of the World

"Historic day" as loyalist groups finally lay down their arms - Observer


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27 Jun 2009 09:03:15

Armed Forces Day 2009

9pm Melanchthon on CentreRight: "The way our society is going, before the end of the century - perhaps well before the end - we will be an Islamic state..."

David-maclean_1404598c 12.30pm Seats and candidates: 13th plum Tory seat becomes vacant with retirement announcement from Penrith's David Maclean

ToryDiary: The next Conservative government must rebuild our armed forces

Adrian Blair on Platform: This Armed Forces Day we must commit to delivering adequate medical and psychiatric support for our veterans

Local government:

ObamaCameron Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Barack Obama shows that moderation of style is more politically potent than moderation in policy

Cameron concedes Tories were wrong to oppose devolution - Scotsman

"In adversity, the Tories suspect they have stumbled over a core theme – honesty." - Andrew Grice in The Independent

Matthew Parris urges Dacid Cameron to "nail the blatant untruth on spending cuts, however dull it sounds." "There is no more urgent issue facing the country," he writes in his Times column.

On Radio 4's Any Questions last night Hillary Benn admitted that Labour will have to cut - BBC

Peter Oborne attacks Cameron for protecting shadow cabinet from expenses-gate

OBORNE "Michael Gove might be one of the more notorious milkers of the expenses system.  But he is also an admirable and original politician who is a huge asset to the Shadow Cabinet. Cameron probably feels that he can't do without such a brilliant man.  Much the same applies to Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, who has been so toughminded and forensic in opposition.  David Cameron rightly calculates that his frontbench team would be hopelessly weakened without these two hugely talented individuals.  By contrast, Sir Peter Viggers and Sir Anthony Steen are a couple of nonentities. Yet their expense cheating was arguably on a much smaller scale than Cameron's close allies Ed Vaizey and Michael Gove, who have been protected.  The truth is that Cameron has meted out justice not according to the scale of the offence, but according to how useful the culprit is to him politically." - Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail

"Can the Tories and the North ever go together?"

Anne McElvoy previews her Radio 4 series on the Conservatives' Northern challenge - The Independent

David Cameron was in Norwich again yesterday, campaigning in the crucial by-election - Eastern Daily Press

> Yesterday's Seats and candidates: First by-election polls puts Tories on 34% and Labour on 30%

The Conservatives' Latvian allies aren't Nazis, they are "sweeties" - The Times

Speaker John Bercow supported 'assisted repatriation' of immigrants in 1981 - Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: "Something of a relief" to leave Tory benches says John Bercow

Labour ready to abandon Tony Blair's public service targets

"Labour will next week offer people a new range of rights to health, social care, education and policing as it decisively abandons the target culture for public services championed by Tony Blair. The "power shift" – part of a relaunch of Gordon Brown's premiership – will include entitlements to personal tuition in schools, minimum GP waiting times and access to police working in their neighbourhoods." - Guardian

"Gordon Brown is to stake Labour’s survival on a swift return to economic growth and giving people more power over their public services, including the police, he tells The Times today."

Brown wants £60bn climate change fund

BROWN PUZZLED "Holidaymakers face higher air fares as part of a crusade to save the planet launched by Gordon Brown. Passengers may end up footing part of a £60billion-a-year climate change fund to help the world's poorest countries go green.  The cash - more than half the UK's annual NHS budget - would pay for technologies to cut carbon emissions.  Mr Brown said the pot, to be set up by 2020, would help keep annual temperature rises to below 2°C." - The Sun

Expenses-gate is undermining British diplomacy

"Accounts of MPs billing the taxpayer for duck houses and moat cleaning have been lapped up around the world and have posed a problem for British diplomats who have previously been vocal in criticising corruption. Mark Malloch-Brown, the foreign office minister, deleted sections of a speech he gave in Mozambique this month, fearing that his comments on higher standards of governance might be greeted with scorn." - FT


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