8.30pm Charles Tannock MEP on CentreRight: "Russia’s use of gas as a diplomatic weapon by totally and unilaterally interrupting its gas flow to Ukraine has once again proved why we need a common EU external energy security policy… Whenever the words ‘common’ and ‘EU’ are mentioned in the same sentence they tend to provoke apoplexy among many Eurosceptics. However, David Cameron is in favour of such an EU policy, not only for its obvious benefits of minimising our exposure to Russian strong-arm tactics but for the impetus that it will provide to the green agenda."
Rupert Matthews on Platform: What would happen if Britain tried to leave the EU? (Part I of II)
- David Cameron visits North East as Nissan announces job cuts
- Boris in Panto: Jack’s Beanstalk is rising as fast as Brown’s taxes
Today’s must-read: Matthew Parris urges the Tories to cut, cut, cut
"The voters are less infantile than modern marketing strategies suppose. In straitened times people expect a responsible Opposition to search vigorously and openly for ways of saving taxpayers’ money, and not to be timid or sheepish about the search. In the year ahead the public will witness cruel retrenchments in the private sector, retrenchments affecting their own lives. There could be tremendous national resentment towards a public sector cocooned against equivalent sacrifices. If the Tories seem ashamed or evasive in their approach to this, voters will ask where they really stand." – Matthew Parris in The Times
Wall-to-wall coverage of the Young Tory who dressed up as Madeleine McCann
The Sun is typical of it: "Three young Tories were expelled last night over sick jokes about Madeleine McCann and Baby P. Matt Lewis chatted on Facebook with Conservative Future colleagues after going to a fancy dress party as Maddie in pyjamas and a blonde wig."
The Sun Says: "Despite David Cameron’s best efforts, there are still plenty of twerps in his party. He has rightly kicked out three young Tories who joked on Facebook about going to a fancy dress ball dressed as Madeleine McCann and Baby P. One Hooray Henrietta seemed to take it for granted she would become a Tory MP. It’s hard to know which is worse, the immaturity or the arrogance. The Tories are well shot of such idiots."
> ConHome initiated this discussion thread last night.
£1m boost to Tory finances
"Stanley Fink, one of the City of London’s most respected businessmen, is to give £1m to the Conservative party and has been appointed party co-treasurer with responsibility for general election funding." – FT
Jeremy Warner: Tories lack credibility on the economy
"Yet if the Government seems powerless to stop the rot, the Tories have wholly failed to offer a credible alternative. Indeed, the best they seem capable of doing is attempt to pre-empt the Government by suggesting policy remedies which are in any case likely to be enacted, shamelessly on one occasion after being pre-briefed by the Treasury on what it was intending to do." – Independent
David Cameron visits the North East
"Britain needs to find a better balance between North and South, David Cameron said yesterday on a visit to the North-East. We need to shrink the country,” he said. “We need to make it easier to get goods, people and services around so that we have a new, balanced economy.” – Northern Echo
Government plans national internship scheme – Sky
Tory government could face multi-billion compensation claims for scrapping airport expansions
"A future Conservative government would use new legislative powers to block the expansion of Heathrow and Stansted airports, which could leave taxpayers liable for multibillion-pound compensation payments to the contractors and airport group BAA." – Guardian
Simon Heffer: Bring back John Redwood and Michael Fallon
"Some of you may have heard the magnificent analysis John Redwood gave of the economic crisis on Radio 4’s Today programme this week; you may even have read his superb blog, which has been ahead of the proverbial curve for months in identifying what must be done. He is one of only two Tory MPs who really gets what is going on – the other is Michael Fallon… There is a war on. The Tories need their most effective performers. Ken Clarke, too, may be one of those. But he is not a patch on John Redwood in the present circumstances." – Simon Heffer in The Telegraph
"Palestinian unity is needed for peace" – Malcolm Rifkind in The Independent
Peter Oborne: Our MPs still aren’t being open about their expenses
"Those MPs who will drift back to the Commons on Monday – tanned from skiing holidays or visits to exotic beach resorts – have not merely lost their connection with how ordinary people live but, more worryingly, have lost all connection with ordinary morality. Seven months have now passed since Speaker Martin promised openness and transparency. There is no excuse for further delay." – Peter Oborne in The Mail
"Donations are drying up as the recession bites – exposing the nonsense of the Tory belief in charity replacing the welfare state." – Polly Toynbee in The Guardian
"British energy prices rising FOUR times faster than other EU countries" – Daily Mail
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