Published:

6pm From Sue Cameron in the Daily Telegraph: Sorry, but police and political cover-ups won’t cut it any more.

5pm From Michael Crick in the Spectator: Why are the police still investigating Plebgate a year on?

4pm From Matthew Parris in the Times (£): I wish I had trusted my instincts on Plebgate

3pm From Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph: Mitchell – a lie gone round the world before truth had its cycle clips on

2.30pm Local Government: Spare room subsidy cut is saving far more than thought as many come off benefits altogether

2pm From Robert Harris in the Sunday Times (£): They lynched Mitchell, they can lynch you

1pm From Simon Heffer in the Daily Mail: When the police lie about politicians, we should all be very worried

Noon From John Kampfner in the Guardian: I know from experience that the police can make things up

11am From Matthew D'Ancona in the Sunday Telegraph: The sacrifice of Mitchell sets a dangerous precedent

10am From Ken MacDonald in the Times (£): Mitchell’s long wait for justice is an outrage

9.30am ToryDiary: Yes, it's Mitchell Is Innocent Day on ConservativeHome

Screen shot 2013-09-19 at 09.32.21
ToryDiary: Andrew Mitchell should be returned to the Cabinet at the first opportunity

MPsETC: Today's Tory MPs awayday will be told that the 40/40 strategy is now a 50/40 strategy

Culture Column: Paul Goodman on Gordon Confesses – or: an hour in Gordon Brown's hell

Chris Grayling MP on Comment: Here are the reforms I'm announcing today to support and manage offenders

Cllr David Millican on Local Government: Transparency and probity lacking with Ealing’s Labour politicians

The Deep End: Time for a grown-up debate on early years education

Fleet Street follows up ConservativeHome's exclusive revealing the Party's membership of 134,000

Screen shot 2013-09-19 at 08.51.39"Conservative Party membership has almost halved since David Cameron became party leader in 2005….Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps wants to send MPs a league table of their own constituency's standing – in order to "concentrate a few minds". The Conservative figures were released after a campaign by the influential website ConservativeHome, which is run by former Conservative MP Paul Goodman. Writing on the website, Mr Goodman called the release of the figures "a victory for ConservativeHome", adding: "But, more importantly, it is a victory for good sense – and the party's interests." – BBC

  • "In a release to the ConservativeHome website the party said there are now 134,000 constituency members, down from the 253,600 who voted in the 2005 leadership contest. They suggested that the total membership figure was 174,000 after friends, donors who are not members, and young Tories were taken into account. However the true membership figure for 2005 is also likely to have
    been higher as it can be assumed that not all eligible members voted in the leadership election." – The Independent
  • Shapps"Mr Shapps said: ‘Today, in a world where you can choose between the traditional town hall meeting or a debate on Facebook, individuals are opting to create their own patterns of association, membership and sense of belonging. If parties are to build from the ground up, we must do the same." – Daily Mail
  • "Senior constituency figures have warned of an exodus of members to the benefit of the eurosceptic UK Independence party, which has been performing strongly in elections and opinion polls. Former MP Paul Goodman, who spearheaded the ConservativeHome campaign for the figure to be published, suggested it was part of a move towards more openness on the issue." – The Guardian
  • "The party had earlier this year refused to release the figures amid claims that the number may have fallen below 100,000. Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP, has previously warned that the party is “haemorrhaging" members because of David Cameron and his “remote clique” at Westminster." – Daily Telegraph


YougovConservatives neck-and-neck with Labour on YouGov first time for 18 months

"Latest YouGov / The Sun results 18th September – Con 36%, Lab 36%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%; APP -21 Today's YouGov/Sun results (September 17-18) show the Conservatives and Labour neck-and-neck for the first time since February 29-March 1 2012, 18 months ago." – YouGov

  • "Ed Miliband faced a fresh leadership crisis last night after The Sun’s exclusive poll showed young voters prefer David Cameron’s Tories. The PM has opened up a two point lead on his embattled rival among 18-to 24-year-olds — the so-called “Generation Y”. The bruising news comes as Ed prepares for the start of Labour’s autumn conference on Sunday. In contrast, David Cameron has plenty to celebrate. As well as closing the overall gap on Labour, Tory support is at its strongest since April 2012." – The Sun
  • Ed Miliband is doing very well – Peter Oborne Daily Telegraph

>Today: MPsETC: Today's Tory MPs awayday will be told that the 40/40 strategy is now a 50/40 strategy


MayOperation Alice: Jack Straw challenge Theresa May over the delays

"Former Home Secretary Jack Straw has urged Theresa May to seek answers over the police inquiry into the so-called plebgate incident in Downing Street. Scotland Yard has been investigating the row a year ago between police and then Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell. In a letter to the the current home secretary, Labour MP Mr Straw says she should find out why the probe had "inordinate and unjustified delays"." – BBC

  • And still Andrew Mitchell waits for justice – Dan Hodges Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Andrew Mitchell should be returned to the Cabinet at the first opportunity


ClegglogoClegg boasts of blocking popular Conservative policies…

"Nick Clegg delivered what was branded an ‘electoral suicide note’ last night as he boasted of blocking a string of 16 Tory policies. The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out how he had prevented the Government from cutting inheritance tax, scrapping the Human Rights Act and reining in green energy. In an attempt to echo Margaret Thatcher’s famous declaration, Mr Clegg cried ‘no, no, no’ as he cast the Liberal Democrats as a perpetual brake on Conservative excess." – Daily Mail

  • "Nick Clegg has ushered in a new era of brittle coalition politics as he denounced Tory "dogma" and reeled off a list of controversial policies blocked by the Liberal Democrats in what he characterised as an "endless battle" with their partners in government." – The Guardian
  • "We got a lot of talk about what he doesn’t like — which mainly seemed to be his Conservative coalition colleagues. And there were his boasts — that he’d blocked reform of the European Convention on Human Rights and kept the green levies. They may have got a big cheer from Lib Dems in the hall but in the real world they are disastrous policies." – The Sun Says

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Nick Clegg turns up the volume


Guardianwomen…while his Party worries about its problem with women…

"The Liberal Democrats may have to consider introducing positive discrimination to boost their number of female MPs after the next election and combat a "deeply frustrating" lack of women in parliament, one of the party's cabinet ministers has said. The party has traditionally rejected all-women shortlists as out of keeping with its values, but Ed Davey told the Guardian that the Lib Dem record on female MPs was "not good enough" and alternatives may have to be considered after 2015." – The Guardian

…and military chiefs warn against "reckless" Lib Dem defence policies

"Plans by the Liberal Democrats to halve the Trident nuclear deterrent are a “reckless gamble with the UK’s national security”, a cross-party group of Britain’s most senior military and defence figures warn today. The coalition party’s “hare-brained” proposal to deploy two submarines with unarmed missiles — rather than replace a fleet of four fully-weaponised vessels — could even result in a pre-emptive strike against the country, they claim." – The Times (£)


HuntHunt to put failing hospitals under new management

"Managers from top-performing NHS hospitals are to be sent into failing ones in England to try to improve them. Bonus payments will be available to trusts if their managers and senior doctors raise standards at failing sites, in a move that has echoes of the "super-heads" scheme for schools. Eleven trusts were put in special measures in July following a review into trusts with high death rates." – BBC

Hospitals ban staff from wearing face veils

"At least 17 NHS hospitals have banned front line staff from wearing the veil, The Telegraph has learned, as ministers called for new guidelines to ensure all patients can have “face to face” contact with those who care for them…Dr Dan Poulter, the health minister, has ordered a review of all current health care guidance on the issue and asked clinical regulators to draw up clear rules to ban the wearing of the face veil by health care staff while they are in contact with patients." – Daily Telegraph


BorisSome Conservatives criticise £600 million free school meals plan…

"Plans to hand free school meals to the under-8s across the country were mired in chaos last night after senior Tories denounced the proposal to pay for the lunches of affluent children…London Mayor Boris Johnson rejected the plans, saying that better-off families should pay for their children’s food. 'I am in no means against getting parents who can pay for to pay for it,’ said Mr Johnson. ‘I have no problem with the concept of dinner money.’ " – Daily Mail

  • "Jonathan Simons, chair of Governors and co-founder of the Greenwich Free School, spoke for many educational professionals when he urged head teachers to be allowed to spend any spare cash. "A head might decide that the money would be better spent on free breakfast clubs, ironically not an option under this year plan." Mr Simons, who is also head of education at the Policy Exchange think tank, added: "Allocating more funds to the pupil premium would hand some of the poorest children in the UK and additional £500 each." – The Independent

…but others say "take ownership"

"Henry Dimbleby, who proposed the idea…said that Michael Gove, the Tory Education Secretary, is “passionate” about the plan….Some Conservatives have already sought to take ownership of the policy. Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, who has campaigned on living standards, urged his party to “own this policy and shout about it from the rooftops”." – The Times (£)

>Today:The Deep End: Time for a grown-up debate on early years education


OsborneThere's no housing boom Osborne tells IOD…

"George Osborne on Wednesday insisted he was not inflating a housing bubble, despite official data showing property prices in England have broken through their pre-crisis peak. The chancellor told an audience at the Institute of Directors annual conference that there was no housing boom under way even though the ONS data showed the average price of a UK house has now surpassed its peak of five years ago with the average price reaching £245,000. Osborne said he was "alert to the risks but let's not pretend there's a housing boom"." – The Guardian

…while Boris tells them the economy has had its "Costa Cordia moment"

"Speaking at the Institute of Directors annual convention on Wednesday, the mayor of London said: "It's fair to say that the UK economy has finally reached its Costa Concordia moment. "Because after two-and-half years of parbuckling the labour is complete and the rotation has been accomplished and though the damage is still, I think, manifest and the caissons have not yet been entirely drained of debt, I think you would agree that the keel is off the rocks and at last we can feel motion, relief." – The Guardian

PCCs setting new police performance targets

"Police forces in England and Wales have been set 178 performance targets by police and crime commissioners, despite a Home Office vow to cut red tape. Last week Home Secretary Theresa May told senior police officers they "have only one target, to reduce crime". BBC analysis shows 18 of the 41 PCCs have set targets or performance measures and others broader objectives." – BBC

UKIP attacks health tourism

"Migrants from outside the EU would have to have medical insurance to enter the UK under plans by the UK Independence Party to curb "health tourism". UKIP says the current system in which hospitals recover costs from foreigners not entitled to free care is not working, with abuses being ignored." – BBC

  • "Council house applicants whose parents or grandparents were born locally should be given priority on waiting lists, according to a new policy from the UK Independence Party." – The Guardian


IndependentbedSpare room subsidy cut increasing rent arrears

"More than 50,000 people affected by the so-called bedroom tax have fallen behind on rent and face eviction, figures given to The Independent show. The statistics reveal the scale of debt created by the Government’s under-occupancy charge, as one council house tenant in three has been pushed into rent arrears since it was introduced in April." – The Independent

Tory councillor urges David Attenborough to kill himself

"Ealing councillor Phil Taylor, responding to an article by the broadcaster blaming too many people and not enough land for Africa’s food shortages, tweeted: “I do wish this silly old fart would take a one-way trip to Switzerland. Practice what you preach.” – The Independent

>Today: Local Government: Cllr David Millican Transparency and probity lacking with Ealing’s Labour politicians


WoodwardEd Miliband's millionaires outed

"The probe was carried out by this quarter’s edition of Spectator Life magazine ED’S MILLIONAIRES: Harriet Harman, Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, Liam Byrne, Hilary Benn, Emily Thornberry, Chuka Umunna, Jon Cruddas, Tom Baldwin, Sir Charles Allen, Neil Kinnock, Glenys Kinnock, Roland Rudd, Margaret Hodge, Shaun Woodward, Michael Meacher, John Mills, Assem Allam, Andrew Rosenfeld and Tristram Hunt." – The Sun

Jacob Rees-Mogg attacks Plastic Bag Tax

"The endless supply of free plastic bags is a small part of this convenience: customers do not need to remember their shopping bags and have an easy way of transporting goods both from the shop to their car and then into their homes. That an administration wants to make something that is easy more difficult is entirely the wrong approach to governing. The aim ought always to be to help people to lead their lives as free from state intervention as possible. Nothing should be stopped that is essentially trivial for the minor convenience of the ruling class or because of a desire of politicians to burnish their caring credentials." – Jacob Rees-Mogg Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Labour veteran demands EU referendum be rejected – Guardian
  • Salmond refuses to debate Darling – The Sun
  • Privatised Royal Mail "will bring seven day service" – Guardian
  • Tony Blair's daughter held at gunpoint – The Times (£)
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