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Saturday 29th August 2009

8.30pm ToryDiary: Tory lead increases to 17% in Ipsos-Mori poll - as Labour fails to gain from a boost in economic confidence

Picture 54.15pm WATCH: In a surprise visit to the country, Gordon Brown promises to speed up training of soldiers in Afghanistan

Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox has responded to the Prime Minister's visit by posing a number of questions: "What will happen to the extra 900 troops temporarily deployed to provide increased security for the elections - will they are or are they coming home? It has been almost two years since the order for the 158 ridgebacks was first announced so why are only so few making it to the frontline? Finally, what about the 2000 troops which were requested by the military to train the afghan national army last spring? The sooner the afghan army is trained the sooner our troops can start coming home."

Picture 44pm WATCH: John McCain pays tribute to Edward Kennedy and reflects on how they worked together when occasionally found common cause

Noon Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: The Beatles, Oasis and the demise of Labour Governments

11am Platform update: Tim Finch has responded to readers' comments on his piece on migration published last Saturday

ToryDiary: Should David Cameron announce tax rises before the general election?

Nicholas J Rogers on Platform: Funding special interest groups is not a legitimate activity for a responsible government

Seats and Candidates: Welsh Assembly member calls for positive discrimination to favour women candidates

Local Government: Doncaster Mayor says his CEO's salary of £175,000 is "a joke"

International: Centre right leaders on top of the polls in Europe's four biggest powers

WATCH: A clip from June this year, in which a combative Fraser Nelson, the newly-appointed Spectator editor, challenged Gordon Brown on spending cuts

CAMERON SPEAKING David Cameron condemns Gordon Brown's silence over Lockerbie bomber release

"David Cameron on Friday renewed calls for Gordon Brown reveal the full details of Scotland's decision to release the Lockerbie bomber. The Tory leader said it was not enough for the Prime Minister to have said he was "repulsed" by the hero's welcome received by Abdelbaset Ali al Megrahi in Tripoli. Mr Cameron pressed Mr Brown to disclose full details of the British government's trade talks and meetings with Libya." - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: David Cameron accuses Gordon Brown of "hiding behind the cloak of constitutional convention" over his refusal to voice an opinion on the release of the Lockerbie bomber

More coverage of Barnet Council's easyJet model for no frills government

"A Tory council is to emulate budget airlines such as easyJet by charging ratepayers extra for 'premium' services currently provided for free. David Cameron is expected to look closely at Barnet Council's 'no frills' plan to reduce council tax bills by restricting what services people get automatically." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday in Local Government: Barnet adopts EasyCouncil model

Cameron and Fox praise Sun campaign demanding British troops be properly equipped

"Tory leader David Cameron also supported our campaign... Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox accused the Prime Minister of leaving British forces to face an uphill struggle while he plays "the invisible man of politics". He told The Sun: "It appears that our Armed Forces are at war but Whitehall is not." - The Sun

VAIZEY-ED Ed Vaizey clashes with BBC executive over publication of stars' pay

"At the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, shadow culture secretary [sic] Ed Vaizey and BBC director of vision Jana Bennett disagreed over the publication of talent salaries. Vaizey outlined plans to force the BBC to publish details of salaries. He said: "We want to make it happen. Legislation seems a pretty big hammer to crack this nut with. So there are a range of different options that are worth looking at... If you think Jonathan Ross is worth the money, go out and argue the case. Imagine if I was arguing that MPs' salaries should be kept secret. We are moving into an age of transparency and the BBC, which is entirely funded by the taxpayer, has to take account of that change." - The Guardian

Polly Toynbee: I predict with confidence that the Tories can't fix broken Britain

"They who now attack would do well to watch their language. Broken Britain week laid out profound social problems still unsolved; but without policies to improve deep poverty and dysfunction, the Tories raise expectations that will return to haunt them. These speeches will be quoted back time and again as unemployment, child poverty, crime and educational failure are likely to rise on their watch, not fall. I predict this with confidence because everything worsens when unemployment stays high, as it now will whoever is in power." - Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

Labour and Lib Dem MPs renew calls for Lord Ashcroft to clarify his tax status...

"The tax status of the Tory donor Lord Ashcroft came under renewed scrutiny last night as MPs demanded the publication of secret details of his promise to live permanently in the UK. Britain's information watchdog was criticised for delays in deciding whether to force through the release of details about the assurances, given by Lord Ashcroft to the Government after his elevation to the peerage in 2000." - The Independent it emerges that Lady Ashcroft gave £20,000, not £10,000, to David Cameron's leadership campaign

"Lord Ashcroft’s wife was the biggest donor to David Cameron’s campaign to be Conservative Party leader, giving £20,000 — twice as much as previously recorded, The Times can disclose... However, the Electoral Commission records that Lady Ashcroft gave only £10,000, the most given by any of his benefactors during the leadership battle." - The Times

Fraser Nelson Fraser Nelson replaces Matthew d"Ancona at The Spectator

"The editor of The Spectator, Matthew d'Ancona, considered one of Fleet Street's bright hopes, suddenly exited the magazine yesterday, shocking staff... A protégé of the publisher Andrew Neil will be installed as the new editor: Fraser Nelson, 36, has been promoted from political editor of the conservative weekly. He will formally seize the helm on 7 September." - The Independent

> Yesterday afternoon's ToryDiary: Fraser Nelson is the new Editor of The Spectator

Peerage confirmed for ex-Speaker Michael Martin

"The former Commons Speaker, Michael Martin, has had his controversial peerage quietly confirmed - in the middle of the Parliamentary recess. He will take up the title of 'Baron Martin of Springburn, of Port Dundas in the City of Glasgow' after the honour was conferred by the Queen last week. Mr Martin was the first Speaker of the House of Commons to be forced to resign in more than 300 years. It is established practice for former speakers to be elevated to the Lords, but there had been calls for Mr Martin to be denied a peerage after his flawed response to the MPs' expenses scandal."- Daily Mail

> Jonathan Isaby broke the news on CentreRight yesterday: Michael Martin's peerage was quietly announced today

Labour blogger and parliamentary candidate created fake website to smear Tories

"An up-and-coming Labour star and prominent blogger has catapulted himself into controversy after creating a fake website which hoaxed the media – including The Independent. Alex Hilton, a prospective parliamentary candidate for Chelsea and Fulham, created a fake site and statement from the Mayor of Baltimore, Sheila Dixon, in which the "Mayor" attacked the shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling." - The Independent

Chris Grayling on the offensive over government's failure to deport rapist - BBC

Boris to switch off swathes of traffic lights to improve traffic flow - Daily Telegraph

Tony Blair: Cherie inspired me to become a Catholic - Daily Telegraph

Labour to slash spending on its academy programme - The Guardian

James Murdoch hits out at BBC and regulators at Edinburgh TV festival - The Guardian


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