4.30pm ToryDiary: What would you do with

3.45pm CentreRight updates:

ToryDiary: Neither controlling nor laissez-faire

Seats and candidates: Jill Skalla steps down as Colchester candidate

PlayPolitical videos: McCain portrayed as Dr Strangelove in attack ad and Bush condemns China’s restrictions on freedom of the press and of detention of political and religious dissidents

Philip Hammond warns that Government must make intentions clear on stamp duty

"In his letter, Mr Hammond, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said floating a stamp duty suspension without confirming it one way or the other had "created a significant incentive for people to delay the purchase of a property in the hope of avoiding the payment of stamp duty on the transaction". "The uncertainty can only undermine the market further, reducing the volume of transactions when they are already at historic lows," he said." – BBC

Download a PDF of Philip Hammond letter.

Brown and Boris spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on attending Olympics

"Gordon Brown, who is flying out to attend the closing ceremony, will
be accompanied by 20 aides at a cost of £114,000, the Daily Telegraph
reports.  Many bodies involved in organising the 2012 London games are
sending representatives.  London mayor Boris Johnson is taking 13 staff
at a reported £167,000, while the London Development Agency has spent
£3m to hire out a private members’ club in Beijing for the duration of
the Games." – Sky

"The London Development Agency, whose remit is to attract investment to the capital, has spent £3m to hire out a private members’ club in Beijing for the duration of the Games. New London Mayor Boris Johnson considered axeing the venue altogether after being horrified at the original £4.6m budget." – Telegraph 

An A-Z of Boris’ first 100 days – Andy McSmith in The Independent

Has Livingstone’s congestion charge worked?

"London’s roads, it emerged yesterday, are just as snarled up as they were before the congestion charge was introduced five years ago. So was it a costly mistake? Quite the opposite. The charge netted £137m last year and has cut the number of cars entering the central zone each day by 70,000. Unfortunately, road diggers and construction mean those who do drive in spend too much time in jams. This is bad for pollution levels, despite the crackdown on noxious vehicles that Ken Livingstone’s administration put in place. It is frustrating for drivers. But it is not an indictment of the £8 charge, which remains the best way to deter cars from entering the capital." – Guardian leader

David Cameron’s roof turbine may be a waste of energy

"Putting up a small wind turbine on the roof of a suburban home may be a waste of time, according to a new report. It may not generate enough renewable energy even to make up for the carbon emissions produced when it was made." – Telegraph

China should be watched, but not feared – Malcolm Rifkind in The Telegraph

Cloned e-passports fiasco renews calls for £4.7bn ID card scheme to be axedTimes

Computers will never be secure, Hackers will always beat security systems – Phil Hendren (Dizzy Thinks) in The Times

Gordon Brown to launch Number10TVFT

Another LibDem u-turn: Vince Cable to shy away from local income tax plan

ConservativeHome comment: "The SNP are meeting heavy resistance to their own plans to introduce a local income tax in Scotland with potential losers much unhappier than potential winners are grateful. That factor and concerns about implementation costs may have forced Vince Cable’s shift of policy."

Youngsters who commit minor crimes should not face prosecution in courts, under a new Liberal Democrat crime strategyBBC

Can it be right for a hedge fund manager to make £28m on the back of so many people’s misery? – Alex Brummer in The Daily Mail

And finally… Carol Vorderman for Chancellor? Jeremy Clarkson for Transport Secretary?

"Britons think Sir Alan Sugar would make the ideal PM.  The Apprentice tycoon, 61, topped a poll to find the “dream cabinet”… In the poll of 3,000, actor Stephen Fry was Deputy PM, while Countdown’s Carol Vorderman became Chancellor and U2’s Bono and explorer Michael Palin jointly led the Foreign Office.  Terry Wogan was Home Secretary, Gordon Ramsay got Health and Jeremy Clarkson Transport." – The Sun


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