Published:

7pm WATCH: Crispin Blunt MP: The laws around squatting will be made "crystal clear"

4.45pm ToryDiary: William Hague caps off his busy summer in unapologetic fashion

3.30pm Karen Bradley MP on Comment: 100 apprenticeships in 100 days — the challenge in Staffordshire Moorlands

1.45pm MPsETC: Graham Brady casts back to the grammar schools row

11.30am WATCH: Mitt Romney's speech to the Republican National Convention

11am ToryDiary: From Tuesday only people with a Facebook, Twitter, IntenseDebate or alternative registration will be able to leave comments on ConHome threads

AugustToryDiary: The three big consequences of August 2012: Boundary review gone, Boris rising, rebelliousness growing

Also on ToryDiary: The end of August survey: Should we build a third runway at Heathrow? Is Boris prime ministerial? How do we win in the North?

Columnist Bruce Anderson: The government cannot wait for something to come along —
it must arrest the sense of drift by itself

Comment:

Lord AshcroftInternational: Lord Ashcroft's Republican Convention diary day four: Thursday

Local Government: All council spending should be published – even when undertaken by "arms length" boards

The Deep End: China’s urban wasteland is a bad model for British growth

WATCH: Clint Eastwood's speech to the Republican National Convention

More universities could be stripped of their powers to authorise visas

Damian Green"Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: 'We have had other examples where other universities have had their right to sponsor foreign students suspended, but in each of those cases they were able quickly to put it right and so were able to get back on the register of sponsors. … What we have found [in the case of London Metropolitan University] is a serious systemic failure where it appears the university doesn’t have the capacity to be a proper sponsor.' … The BBC said an immigration judge believed 'several universities are being looked at' and that it is common for students to disappear soon after arriving at British airports." – Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday:

> Today's post by Julian Brazier MP on Comment: Student immigration has its advantages — but it must be controlled

And another curb on immigration to be announced, after ministers join a UK Border Agency raid against "beds in sheds"

7898738480_27d3a3a278

"A clampdown on landlords who rent out 'beds in sheds' to illegal immigrants is to be announced by ministers today. Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, and Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, will publish guidance prohibiting the practice of renting out garden sheds to create “suburban shanty towns”. … On a visit to six suspected such properties with the UK Border Agency in Ealing, West London, the ministers discovered that 22 of 39 individual tenants were illegal immigrants." – The Times (£)

> See more exclusive photos of the raid here, on Grant Shapps' Flikr stream.

Squatting to be made a criminal offence

"…squatters will face up to six months in prison and lose their rights as squatting becomes a criminal offence from today. … The offence, which carries a £5,000 fine or maximum six-month jail sentence, comes after a government consultation last summer." – The Times (£)

Two business groups warn on the economy

Downturn"The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which has cut its growth forecast, told the coalition that it needs to display Churchillian resolve and deliver on overdue projects aimed at wresting the economy from recession. … It predicted that the economy would shrink by 0.3 per cent this year, while the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) will this morning forecast an even deeper 0.4 per cent contraction. The bodies previously expected growth of 0.6 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively." – The Times (£)

  • Civil service memo suggests that George Osborne is preparing the Spending Review for next year, and it could include £10 billion of extra welfare cuts – Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameroon commentators start attacking the Tory "Right". Are they speaking for Numbers 10 and 11?

> Today:

Charity claims that low-income earners could "lose out" under the Universal Credit

IDS"The study, commissioned by the single parents’ charity Gingerbread, found that a loophole could result in low-paid workers losing hundreds of pounds they gained from the Government’s drive to cut their tax bills. … It said that the poorest workers could lose as much as two thirds of the income they gained from increases in the amount they can earn without paying tax. … A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said that more money was being pumped into the Universal Credit to ensure that those in work benefited." – The Times (£)

Conservative Police Commissioner candidate stands down

Central office had been happy for John Pye, a former Air Commodore in the RAF, to run in Cambridgeshire without becoming a party member as part of its efforts to encourage non-politicians to enter the race. … But constituency associations in the county, who are being asked to raise thousands of pounds for the campaign, wanted him to sign up. … As a result Mr Pye announced on Thursday that he was standing down to avoid 'further disruption'." – Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday: WATCH: The Conservatives' video to explain the Police and Crime Commissioner elections

The Coalition's public service reforms could be frustrated by skills shortages among civil servants, suggests Institute for GovernmentDaily Telegraph

The examinations watchdog raised concerns about GSCE grading three years agoDaily Telegraph

Government warned that inefficient use of offices could be wasting £800 million a yearGuardian

Boris says that the Olympic Games have "done for" Alex Salmond and his dreams of independence

"During a question and answer session on Twitter, the London Mayor was asked for his opinion on Scotland's 2014 independence referendum. … Mr Johnson wrote: 'The Scots are never going to vote for independence…these games have done for Salmond…vote Hoy.'" – Daily Telegraph

Greg Clark MP and Lord Heseltine: Other cities should emulate London's star turn

Greg Clark"London’s triumph should be a clarion call to the other great cities of our country. London must not be to the rest of Britain what Hong Kong was (and in some respects still is) to China – an exotic exception to the way things are done on the mainland. Rather, we should extend what has worked in London to the rest of the country. Our aim must be for us to be a nation of cities possessed of London’s confidence and élan. There is no reason why this should be beyond us." - Greg Clark MP and Lord Heseltine, Daily Telegraph

Fraser Nelson: Cameron and Obama could soon be drowning in debt

Fraser Nelson"But this time, Labour and the Republicans have more in common than either party would like to admit. Both have chosen relatively dull leaders, but are hoping to fight an election based on the failure of their rivals. And their opponents, David Cameron and Barack Obama, are using similar tactics: massively increasing the debt while promising (and failing) to halve the deficit within one term. They use cheery phrases ('we’re all in this together') but govern an angry nation. For Cameron and Obama, a simple rule applies. If their next election is fought on personality, they win. If it’s fought on economics, they lose." – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

Philip Stevens: Cameron’s English lesson for the French president

"Voters can sense the absence of grip. Occupying the office – even with a certain confident panache – is not enough. The result has been policy paralysis and undignified U-turns. So far the country has just about gone along with tax increases, spending cuts and falling living standards. But its patience has worn perilously thin." – Financial Times (£)

Julian Baggini: Dover's port and its famous backdrop should be saved for the nation

"A parish poll, paid for by Dover council last year, resulted in 5,244 votes against the private sale of the docks – and only 113 in favour. Those objecting are backed by a cross-party alliance of MPs and peers, including Dover and Deal’s Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke and Labour’s Lord Glasman. But this is a decision that has much more than local importance. It’s actually a stern test of the depth of David Cameron’s commitment to the Big Society and an opportunity to rein in the excesses of market capitalism." – Julian Baggini, Daily Telegraph

Vince Cable's ally Lord Oakeshott takes aim at Nick Clegg…

Lord Oakeshott"Lord Oakeshott, the party’s former Treasury spokesman, said: ‘We have lost over half our market share – if you like to put it that way, if we had been Sainsbury’s – since the election, and any business that had done that would be looking very hard now at both its strategy and its management to see how we get some of that back because otherwise we are going to lose a large number of seats at the next election.’ … And in a clear shot at Mr Clegg, he said elections were ‘not just about the message, they are also about the messenger’." – Daily Mail

…as Paddy Ashdown urges Lib Dems to get behind their leader…

"As it is for our country, so also for our party. When we all overwhelmingly supported Nick Clegg's decision to lead us into government, we knew it would be difficult. We also knew that we were embarked on a course that would change our party as well as our country. Nick challenged us to leave our comfort zone and make the change from a party of perpetual opposition to one capable of carrying the burdens of government. … Without Nick, that decision would never have been made, and the historic opportunity to show who we really are would never have existed. It is the job of our leader to take us into government. I failed; Nick has succeeded." – Paddy Ashdown, Guardian

  • Labour must learn to forgive the Lib Dems – Polly Toynbee, Guardian
  • Lib Dems can’t just leap into bed with Labour – Roy Hattersley, The Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Why Tories shouldn’t be quick to pour scorn on Nick Clegg

…and Martin Sorrell backs Mr Clegg's proposal for a wealth taxDaily Telegraph

> Yesterday's post by Philip Booth on Comment: There’s no case for a wealth tax

Labour on the attack against free schools

"The government has wasted at least £2.3m on free schools that have either not opened or lacked local support from parents, and the true figure could be far higher, according to Labour." – Guardian

  • Opposition to free schools is nonsensical – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is looking at linking MPs' salaries to the average wage - Daily Mail

Mitt Romney's message to America: "My promise is to help you and your family"

The former Massachusetts governor pledged to the party gathering in Florida that he would 'restore the promise of America' by replacing Barack Obama's hollow message of 'hope and change' with job-creation and economic competence. … 'President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet,' Mr Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, said. 'My promise is to help you and your family'." – Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday: 

And finally… Clint Eastwood makes the Republican National Convention's day


Clint

"Appearing on stage earlier to pledge his support for Mr Romney, Hollywood star Clint Eastwood raised eyebrows with an off-the-cuff monologue to an imaginary Mr Obama in an empty chair. … Referring to the president, the actor told a rapturous audience: 'When somebody does not do the job, you've got to let 'em go.'" – BBC

> From today: WATCH: Clint Eastwood's speech to the Republican National Convention

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