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Wednesday 29th July 2009

11pm Matt Sinclair on CentreRight: The rise of anti-Semitism

7pm ToryDiary update: Conservatives welcome Government review of Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

Picture 55.15pm WATCH: Lord Mandelson explains why he would favour a TV debate between the party leaders at the general election

4.15pm CentreRight:

3.45pm WATCH: Schwarzenegger makes "ugly" cuts in education, health, AIDS prevention and child welfare spending

2pm ToryDiary: Might we yet see the Cameron v Brown TV debate? Updated at 4.30pm with link to video of David Cameron's response and at 6.30pm with the text of the letter he has written to Gordon Brown on the issue

1pm CentreRight:

11am LISTEN: David Cameron in relaxed form discussing Midsomer Murders and Twitter

10.45am Seats and candidates: Wham! Leah Fraser takes out full page advertisement to slam Angela Eagle MP on expenses


Smith470 Chloe Smith MP on Platform: By voting for change, the people of Norwich North rejected the old politics and embraced a new era of openness and honesty

Seats and Candidates: The future Conservative MPs who have already represented their consituents as a local councillor

Cllr Ken Maddock in Local Government: My first few weeks as Conservative leader of Somerset County Council

Robert Halfon on CentreRight describes a bleak evening in Rwanda watching Shooting Dogs

WATCH: The Times's Daniel Finkelstein explains the hazards for politicians of choosing a holiday destination

New poll suggests a three-figure Conservative majority is on the cards

"The Tories have opened a commanding 18-point lead over Labour, enough to put David Cameron into Downing Street with a general election majority of more than 150, according to the latest ComRes poll for The Independent... The Tory surge will deal a further blow to Labour morale after a torrid spell for Gordon Brown which culminated in the party's heavy defeat in last week's Norwich North by-election." - The Independent

> Last night's ToryDiary: Tory lead increases to 18 points in new ComRes poll

HUNT JEREMY OPEN NECKED SHIRT Jeremy Hunt attacks Labour sell-off of school playing fields

"Ministers have approved the sale of more than 200 school and community playing fields, despite repeated promises to protect them. Even in the four years since London was chosen to host the 2012 Olympics, the Government has allowed the sell-off of 49 school sports fields...  Tory culture spokesman Jeremy Hunt said: 'Labour insist they are the guardians of school sport yet they have clearly failed, and are continuing to fail, on a key manifesto promise. The fact that more than 200 pitches have been sold with direct ministerial approval shows Labour's commitment to school sport is nothing more than an empty promise. Their actions simply do not match the rhetoric'." - Daily Mail

Fury at MoD attempt to slash injured soldiers' compensation

"The Government was condemned yesterday for taking legal action to slash compensation awards for two injured Army heroes... MP Patrick Mercer, a former commanding officer, branded the case a “an insult to our armed forces”... Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said: “The MoD and other departments must deal not only with injuries but their consequences.” - Daily Express

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Liam Fox demands "urgent" review of Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

Top accountancy firms channelling staff into the Conservative Party

"Analysis by The Independent has revealed that leading companies including PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and KPMG, have given the Tories nearly £500,000 since the start of last year as they attempt to build ties with the party that has a double-digit lead in the polls." - The Independent

New MPs' allowance defied Sir Christopher Kelly's advice

"MPs decided to press ahead with a controversial new allowance that lets them claim thousands of pounds without producing receipts in defiance of Sir Christopher Kelly, head of the official sleaze watchdog. Sir Christopher, who is investigating the discredited expenses system, told MPs they should supply invoices to back up every single claim before new parliamentary rules were introduced early this month. He is now expected to formally recommend that the allowance is scrapped in the autumn." - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's Telegraph story on MPs' expenses was taken apart by Dizzy here

Stelzer Irwin Stelzer: George Osborne has flunked reform of financial institutions

"He was among the first to suggest that the capital requirements of banks be raised as lending increased, so their strength would rise with the risks they took on. So far, so sensible. But it appears that Osborne, the radical reformer, had second thoughts about what should have been his signature discovery – if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big... Reforming the regulatory institutions will be of little use without fundamental reform of the structure of the financial institutions they are charged with regulating" - Irwin Stelzer in the Daily Telegraph

Daniel Finkelstein: Why a Conservative Government will have to raise taxes

"Logically, reform of public services and reducing public spending go together. The big practical difficulty is the timing. An incoming government has to make savings quickly. Serious reform of public services... can take years, sometimes decades." - Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

Chris Grayling calls for action to tackle burglaries

"The major burglary "hotspots" in England and Wales are revealed today... Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: "These figures show that in the worst areas there has been a burglary in almost every street in the past few months. This increase in burglaries is a big problem, and it's not just down to the recession. The jump in drug taking announced last week is also a big factor - since a large proportion of burglaries result from people trying to get money to feed a drug addiction. We desperately need real action to get police away from filling in forms at their desk in police stations and out on to the beat tackling the problem." - The Independent

Simon Heffer savages David Cameron (again)

"Labour is on the canvas and staring, its opponents feel, at an obliteration rather than a defeat... Yet the moral and intellectual flaws in Mr Cameron's leadership suggest, equally, that the honeymoon would be short, and the struggle thereafter long and not inevitably successful. With almost every statement he makes, he seems determined to alienate those who want to vote for him. His handling of his own party, as the expenses scandal illustrated, is sectarian and rooted in cronyism." - Simon Heffer in the Daily Telegraph

> Last night's ToryDiary: Simon Heffer launches strongest attack yet on David Cameron

Mandelson in U-turn over spending cuts

"Lord Mandelson performed a dramatic Labour U-turn on spending cuts last night -on Gordon Brown's first full day on holiday. The Business Secretary, who has become deputy Prime Minister in all but name, made it clear the recession will force the Government to rein in spending even in areas it wants to protect. His confession blew a hole in Mr Brown's repeated insistence that voters will face a choice at the next election between Labour investment and Tory cuts." - Daily Mail

Click here to watch Nick Robinson's Newsnight interview with Lord Mandelson

Esther Rantzen launches Independent bid for Parliament

"The broadcaster Esther Rantzen has officially announced that she intends to stand as an MP. The former That’s Life! presenter will be an independent candidate in the next election for Luton South." - The Times

"For such an eloquent and vociferous advocate of consumer rights, Esther Rantzen wasn't entirely convincing yesterday when asked to outline her manifesto for the voters of Luton South." - The Guardian

> Watch Esther Rantzen explain why she is standing for Parliament and see also yesterday's Seats and Candidates post: Luton South's Conservative candidate says voting for Esther Rantzen would risk letting Labour back in through the back door

VIGGERS PETER "Shamed" MPs increasingly failing to vote

"Shamed MPs who are standing down following the expenses scandal are increasingly failing to attend Westminster to vote... Former Labour minister Elliot Morley has voted just 18 out of a possible 78 times since it emerged he claimed for a nonexistent mortgage... Labour’s Margaret Moran has not voted in the House of Commons once since it emerged that she had claimed £22,500 for dry rot repairs at her partner’s house... The attendance rate of Gosport Tory MP Sir Peter Viggers (pictured), who tried to claim for a duck island, has slumped from over half to just 40 per cent." - Daily Express

Labour MP Stoate quits over limits on second jobs

"A Labour MP, Howard Stoate, has announced that he will stand down at the general election in order to continue working as a doctor following the introduction of limits on second jobs... Last month, The Daily Telegraph disclosed that he had claimed a total of £55,836 in second home allowances over four years, even though he had no mortgage or rent, and his constituency was only 15 miles from London. Much of the money was spent in DIY and home furnishing shops. Dr Stoate repaid his entire 2008/9 claims, amounting to £11,000." - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday in Seats and Candidates: Labour MP in ultra-marginal Dartford to step down

MPs slam Brown over 'ad hoc' reforms of constitution - The Scotsman

Union fury as civil service outsources jobs to India - The Times


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