11.15pm ToryDiary: Tory lead at 4% before dust settles on PBR

6pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Something else for Boris’s mantlepiece

Local Government: Baby P: Haringey councilors cling to their jobs.

BREAKING NEWS@4.20pm Parliament: George Osborne wins emergency three hour debate on PBR

3.45pm ToryDiary: George Osborne is "safe"

3.45pm Parliament: Richard Benyon criticises Parliamentary scrutiny of the Pre-Budget Report

3.45pm Matt Sinclair on CentreRight: In order to get out of the economic hole Brown dug for us, we’re borrowing twice as much as we did to beat the Kaiser

3.30pm Local Government: Tories and Lib Dems take turns to run Leeds.

Picture_52.15pm VIDEO from the Rory Bremner team: Brown signs a deal with Satan

2.15pm Matt Sinclair on CentreRight: Britain is in danger of becoming the sick man of Europe again

1.15pm ToryDiary: The end of Brown’s "strategic relationship" with the Daily Mail

12noon Parliament: The Earl of Caithness and Lord Selsdon pose questions about the constitution

Debtclock_2_211am ToryDiary: National debt counter launched on

11am Parliament: Peter Ainsworth asks about illegal timber imports

10am Parliament: Oral questions for Work and Pensions

10am Charlie Elphicke on CentreRight: Taxes may have to rise £2,000 more than Labour admit

ToryDiary: One way or another Labour calculates that it will profit from yesterday’s gamble

Andrew Morrison on Platform: Why the cut in VAT is flawed

Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: The progress of recessions 1973-2008

Greenhalgh_5 Stephen Greenhalgh in Local Government: Conservative councils should articulate their values in plain English

Seats and Candidates: Melanie Hampton selected for Mitcham and Morden

WATCH: Highlights of George Osborne’s response to the Pre-Budget Report in the Commons

Tories demand Pre-Budget debate

"The Conservatives are calling for a full parliamentary debate on the pre-Budget report as attention turns to how many people will gain or lose from it. The Tories say Monday’s statement was a Budget in all but name and needs every bit as much parliamentary scrutiny." – BBC

Osborne_george_nw The Conservative reaction to the Pre-Budget Report

"George Osborne condemned Alistair Darling for producing "a precision-guided missile aimed at the heart of a recovery", as he tore into the Government for planning tax rises to pay for billions in borrowing to help the economy out of recession. The shadow Chancellor delighted the Conservative benches as laid into what he called an "unexploded tax bombshell" which he said would explode when the economy started to recover after the next election." – Independent

"The Conservative leadership sidestepped what it saw as an attempt by Labour to portray it as the friend of the wealthy by refusing to oppose the tax rises on people earning over £100,000. Drawing the battle lines for the general election, it instead concentrated its fire on the soaring level of borrowing and debt and what it claimed was a tax raid on the middle classes." – Times

"The Tories also claim that reduced borrowing is dependent on wildly optimistic growth projections, higher than the Bank of England’s and those of independent forecasters. The Treasury is predicting that Britain is already halfway through the recession, and that growth will be back to 2% by 2010. The Tories claim such a forecast is unrealistic. The Tories also worry that Labour may have misjudged the effect of cutting VAT. Faced by the certainty of tax rises set out from 2010 onwards for most middle-income earners, consumers will save rather than going on a Christmas spending spree." – Guardian

"For the first time in a decade we are in tune with the electorate on the economy," an excited senior Conservative front bench MP said minutes after the pre-Budget report was unveiled. He had just seen an angry George Osborne denounce Gordon Brown’s "deceit" and Labour’s record levels of borrowing. The Shadow Chancellor’s fury delighted Tory backbenchers who shrieked their support. He talked about all Labour governments ending up bankrupt and finished with a joke about Denis Healey carrying on driving rather than returning from the airport to try and defend the pound if he had had to announce the figures Alistair Darling had been forced to reveal." – Daily Telegraph

Today’s editorials on the Pre-Budget Report

"Yesterday, the battle lines were drawn. The 18 months to polling day now have their theme. A tax and spend Labour government which has trashed the public finances is trying to defy the lessons of history by spending its way out of a recession, in the process saddling future taxpayers with a crippling bill. And a Tory opposition will seek to reclaim the badge of economic prudence through sound money, a smaller state and tax cuts that last. Now that is a fight worth waging." – Daily Telegraph

"What was most remarkable about yesterday’s PBR, though, was the possibilities it held out for future budgets. For over a decade, the two major parties have agreed that a tax cut here must be paid for by a tax rise there and that income tax rates should never go anywhere but down. That dogma is over; the argument now is over what comes next." – Guardian

"The death was announced yesterday of the political idea first advanced by Tony Blair. News of its passing was announced to parliament yesterday by the Chancellor of the Exchequer." – Times

"The fiscal package unveiled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the House of Commons yesterday under that insipid name was a colossal and highly risky piece of economic engineering. The implications are anything but dull, for upon it hang the economic future of this country – and, quite probably, the shape of the next government." – Independent

Brown_resolved "Gordon Brown says it is not his fault that we are worst placed in the Western world to weather this storm. We must blame America’s chaotic mortgage crisis — not our own overblown housing bubble or badly-run banks. And it will take seven bitter years before we get our heads above water again. But the Prime Minister cannot wash his hands of responsibility like that. Yes, the whole world is suffering. But Britain’s special weakness is, at least in part, down to Labour’s reckless 12-year spending spree on bloated and inefficient public services." – The Sun

"in the Commons yesterday, Chancellor Alistair Darling announced the most dramatic about-turn in government policy since the 1970s. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that New Labour  –  the enterprise-friendly party that once claimed to be ‘nothing less than the political arm of the British people as a whole’  –  is no more." – Daily Mail

Pick of the columnists

Johnson_boris_2 Boris Johnson: Why Gordon Brown the manic meddler had to take such a massive gambleTelegraph

Michael Brown: The most irresponsible budget I have ever heard – Independent

Michael White: Unflashy Alistair Darling is a hard man to hit – Guardian

Richard Littlejohn: This isn’t about saving Britain. It’s simply about saving Gordon! – Daily Mail

Simon Heffer: Alistair Darling’s pre-Budget report of political expediency – Telegraph

Rachel Sylvester: "Real" Labour regroups to fight the old battles – Times

Steve Richards: At last, Brown is forced to be bold – Independent

Polly Toynbee: At last, the party of social justice has woken up – Guardian

Max Hastings:  Brown and Darling have exploded a fiscal atom bomb under Britain – Daily Mail

Andrew Haldenby: The black hole in our public finances will grow even deeper – Times

How the sketchwriters saw it

Picture_4 "It was a Christmas play like no other. Alistair Darling had cast himself as Santa Claus. This was, to say the least, a challenge for a man who is more wooden than Pinocchio’s nose. Still, he came dressed for the part, his hair as white as the North Pole and clutching a brand-new socialist swagbag of goodies for all." – Ann Treneman in The Times

"Boring? Alistair Darling? Yesterday Britain’s dreariest functionary had a swagger to him, a jaunty, hat-doffing, stick-twirling, marching down the prom quality. He looked like the man who broke the bank – if not at Monte Carlo, at least the one in Threadneedle Street." – Simon Hoggart in The Guardian

"While Mr Darling was on his feet, a group of four Tory frontbenchers – George Osborne, David Cameron, Oliver Letwin and on the bench behind them, David Gauke – conferred between themselves like a group of contestants on University Challenge who are confident they have the intellectual edge. When Mr Osborne rose to offer us the results of their deliberations, he proceeded to demolish Mr Darling." – Andrew Gimson in the Daily Telegraph

"Fifty-five minutes it took but a half-competent sub-editor would have boiled it down to two words: ‘Abandon ship!’ Things are dire. Gordon Brown kept rocking to and fro, hugging himself like one of those orphans in Romania." – Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail

"David Cameron sat there looking palpably anxious. Lips furled in. Brow knotted; or knitted possibly. George Osborne – his pale Regency features like a nasty Keats – sat beside him knowing his future depended on the next 90 seconds. Without a cheer in the first minute he’d be lost." – Simon Carr in The Independent

Read all the Pre-Budget Report documents

The BBC has a useful link to all the documentation in pdf format

> Yesterday’s ConservativeHome coverage of the PBR:

Herbert_nick_nw Herbert: Human Rights Act has created a "rights culture"

"The Human Rights Act has undermined public safety and led to a "rights culture" developing in the UK, the Conservatives said. Shadow Justice Secretary Nick Herbert said the controversial act, brought in by Labour, has had the opposite effect of its intentions by devaluing human rights and led to "distorted priorities". – Daily Telegraph

Welsh Tories attack "Soviet-style" proposals for NHS reform

“The main problem with our health system was that for decades the governance of the NHS and its strategic direction has been set by ministerial whim – with no sense of long-term aims and objectives… “What [the health minister]  has effectively done is to ensure that a politician is in charge of day-to-day decisions. Not helping to set a broad strategic direction, but signing off stationery orders. Not focusing on public health but sitting in endless committee meetings. Not allowing clinicians and managers to take the lead, but getting in their way at every opportunity." – Welsh Tory health spokesman Jonathan Morgan quoted by Wales Online

Obituary of former Tory MP, Andrew RoweDaily Telegraph


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