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Friday 15th January 2010

10.45pm Martin Parsons on CentreRight: A new Conservative government must reverse 'managed retreat' policies around our coast

7pm WATCH: Betty Boothroyd gives some advice to John Bercow

ElectionBrief6.30pm Today's General Election Brief: Tories set for nine gains in Wales

4pm Parliament: More regulation, more public spending, more surveillance, more government... less trust

4pm Local government: Harry Phibbs is disappointed not to be nominated for a Councillor's Oscar... but he thinks he knows why

3.45pm ThinkTankCentral: Policy Exchange recommends privatisation of Channel 4 and a higher quality BBC

2.30pm LeftWatch: Voluntary sector dominated by Labour and Liberal Democrat sympathisers

1pm ToryDiary: The Thin Red Line will get even thinner under David Cameron

12.45pm Peter Cuthbertson on CentreRight: Can someone please tell the Speaker to stop sounding off?

Noon Seats and candidates: Conservatives promise £250,000pa to help disabled people become MPs and councillors

11.30am Matt Sinclair on CentreRight fires back against Nick Herbert: Supermarkets confront a million little local monopolies and cut prices for customers, allowing the income of the poorest Britons to go a little further each time

ToryDiary: The blogosphere has a new star in Lord Tebbit

Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 09.20.51 Nick Herbert MP on Platform: I am determined to curb the power of supermarkets

Seats and candidates: John Maples will play no role in the shortlisting of candidates under the by-election rules

Cllr Jim Harker on Local government: Keeping the Grand Prix at Silverstone

CUTTING AID: Cameron ready to use aid budget for national security goals

"The Tories "will examine the scope for allocating some funding from the international aid budget" to pay for military-backed stabilisation work." - FT

"David Cameron will on Friday set out Conservative plans for a new National Security Council that would co-ordinate all defence, counter-terrorism and international development work." - Telegraph

Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 08.22.30 CUTTING IMMEDIATELY: George Osborne warns that Tory cuts would start immediately - Telegraph

"Middle-class families would lose benefits worth £700million a year within days of a Tory government being elected, George Osborne declared on Thursday. The Shadow Chancellor said tax credits worth up to £545 a year to households earning £50,000 or more would be scrapped to help get the public finances under control. Child trust funds, worth £250 to every new baby, would be limited to the poorest third of families and those with disabled children." - Daily Mail

"Osborne would be due to hold an emergency budget within 50 days of the election. But the shadow chancellor believes Britain's £178bn deficit imposes such a burden on the public finances that he would not wait for the budget to implement the first round of cuts, which he would expect to make within weeks of a Tory victory." - Guardian

HUNT JEREMY ON DP CUTTING ARTS BUREAUCRACY: Jeremy Hunt says Tory government would introduce administrative cost limits and encourage US-style philanthropy for the arts - Guardian

The Independent publishes reactions from the arts establishment to Tory plans

CUTTING DEFENCE: Tories will have to make deep defence cuts

"The defence community is braced for change and harsh decisions. It will be a great misfortune if an incoming Tory government fails to exploit this mood quickly, ruthlessly, and constructively — which means with a determination to set strategic priorities rather merely distribute pain equitably. Neither we nor the Tories should be in any doubt that to sustain a serious army within declared spending levels requires cutting the Royal Navy and RAF to the bone." - Spectator

CUTTING EUROPE?: If the axe has to fall it should fall on Britain's contribution to the EU - Frederick Forsyth in The Express

BUT NOT CUTTING ENOUGH...says The Economist...

"The squeezes [George Osborne] identified amounted to £7 billion ($11.4 billion) a year. In 2009-10 the deficit is £178 billion. As for the rest, the Tories talk airily about the savings magically to be had from slashing bureaucracy and quangos, and from curing the country’s social ills. Meanwhile, the mask of the fiscal hawk is only one of several that Mr Cameron wears. In his incarnation as a modern, progressive Conservative, he promises to ring-fence the health budget and enact costly reforms elsewhere. In the guise of a traditional Tory, he clings to pledges to raise the threshold for inheritance tax and, despite a recent wobble, to recognise marriage in the tax system. He says he would bring down the deficit faster than Mr Brown (though not exactly how fast), yet at the same time gives reason to doubt he would be single-minded enough to do so. He and Mr Osborne have forced Mr Brown to discuss debt, yet are disappointingly quiet themselves." - Bagehot

Dennis Sewell says that the political cage fight between the Tories and the educational establishment will be the most thrilling contest of Cameron’s first hundred days - Spectator

CAMERON IN PARLIAMENT To the dismay of Tory MPs, Gordon Brown has managed to win or draw almost all PMQs clashes for the past three months - London Evening Standard

Annabel Goldie needs to change her tactics or the Scottish Tories need to oust her - Alan Cochrane in The Telegraph

Clegg warns of threat to union if Cameron wins keys to No 10 - Herald

Stephan Shakespeare addresses entrepreneurs about Post-Bureaucratic Age -

John Bercow has attacked critics of his wife's decision to run for office as "old-fashioned, cowardly and downmarket" - BBC

BBC provokes Tory anger after inviting Damian McBride to address staff on election - Times

Labour confusion over alcohol pricing

"Health Secretary Andy Burnham was reportedly planning to bring in minimum pricing which would double the cost of bargain alcohol. He triggered claims Labour was backing the radical plan by saying drink was "ludicrously cheap" and that public concern was rising. But Gordon Brown slapped the idea down by insisting there were NO plans for minimum pricing." - The Sun

Met Office forecasting saves the UK £350m a year - The Met Office Chief in The Times


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