Conservative Diary

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Cameron attacks "secretive, power-hoarding and controlling" Brown

David Cameron's call for a Parliamentary Privilege Act is on the front page of many newspapers and is leading BBC news bulletins this morning.

The Tory leader wants urgent passage of the Act so that MPs could not escape prosecution in the event of future cases of expense abuse. It is not thought that new legislation could retrospectively prevent existing MPs using existing rules on privilege. He describes the three Labour MPs formally charged with theft - and attempting to evade justice by using rules on parliamentary privilege - as a "disgusting sight".

CAMERON-DAVID-RED-TIE Mr Cameron, somewhat controversially, also takes the gloves off with a personal attack on the Prime Minister's character. "He can't reform the institution because he is the institution  -  he made it." Mr Cameron will say in a speech later this morning. "The character of his Government  -  secretive, power-hoarding, controlling  -  is his character." Ouch.

The Conservative leader has pledged to reduce the number of MPs by 10%, freeze ministers pay and abolish the £10,000pa Communications Allowance as part of a bid to cut the cost of politics. He also promises to increase the power of backbenchers relative to the whips and in a video message - distributed on Saturday - called for the Commons to abandon its half-term and pass the 'Wright reforms' that would rebalance powers within parliament.

Mr Cameron has so far declined to embrace the 'power of recall' by which voters could 'sack' MPs in the middle of their terms of office if they were found guilty of serious ethical lapses. Perhaps he'll tell us more about that idea when he speaks at 11am. It is a vital way of ending the idea of 'a safe seat' forever.

Tim Montgomerie


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