10pm ToryDiary: Ken Clarke is back… as Shadow Business Secretary

5.30pm On CentreRight, Tim Montgomerie posts his fourth ‘What Bush Got Right’ entry: An improved US-India relationship

5.15pm WATCH: Gordon Brown calls for Gaza peace deal

3pm Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: Why neither loans nor recapitalisation nor underwriting is going to correct matters

Villiers_theresa_nw_22.30pm ToryDiary: Has Theresa Villiers subtly shifted Tory aviation policy today?

12.15pm ToryDiary: Hague repeats Cameron’s messages on the reshuffle

10.15am ToryDiary: Boris defends taxpayer-funded stay at Conservative conference

ToryDiary: Tory peers under fire over low attendance at votes in the Lords

Seats and Candidates Search for 100 Peers: Sir Desmond de SIlva QC

Dr Lee Rotherham on Platform: The hard sell of EU propaganda – the hidden case of Slovenia

Cllr Simon Renwick in Local Government: Why is Conservative Councillors Association membership compulsory?

Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Blogging for "Scunthorpe Man"

WATCH: Obama – and Washington – prepare for Tuesday’s inauguration

Another batch of Sunday papers full of speculation about Ken Clarke being appointed to the shadow Cabinet in a reshuffle this week

"David Cameron last night faced a growing rebellion over plans to give Kenneth Clarke a shadow cabinet job, with even a close ally warning it would be a “disaster”. The Tory leader will this week announce a reshuffle of his front bench. Clarke, the former chancellor, is expected to become shadow to Lord Mandelson, the business secretary… Prominent right-wingers yesterday launched attacks on Clarke for his pro-European views. John Redwood, a former cabinet minister, wrote in his blog: “Peter Mandelson would like nothing better.” – Sunday Times

"Former Chancellor Ken Clarke is under fire from fellow Conservatives after saying David Cameron would be ‘asking for trouble’ if he promised tax cuts at the next Election – then suggesting he would like Shadow Chancellor George Osborne’s job. His controversial comments are at odds with recent tax-cutting pledges by the Tory leadership, and came as Mr Cameron put the finishing touches to plans for a frontbench reshuffle." – Mail on Sunday

"David Cameron is to go ahead with a reshuffle as early as this week amid private fury at the long-running inquiry into party chairman Caroline Spelman. The Conservative leader has vented his frustration at the length of time a standards inquiry has taken to examine Mrs Spelman’s financial affairs. It is understood that Mr Cameron will not await the outcome of the investigation and will go ahead, whether or not she is cleared." – Independent on Sunday

"Since the Conservatives were last in power, the party’s assorted leaders have undertaken 10 reshuffles of the shadow cabinet. Not a single one made a difference to their prospects… In contrast, David Cameron finds himself in a novel position. The reshuffle he is about to unveil, possibly as early as tomorrow, matters. It will be judged according to an entirely different standard from the games of musical chairs conducted by his predecessors. In the aftermath, the question will be: does this have the look and feel of a government-in-waiting?" – Iain Martin in the Sunday Telegraph

> Relevant ToryDiary posts:

New polls confirm "Brown bounce" is well and truly over

"Brown bounce is over and the deepening recession is taking its toll both on the government’s popularity and that of the prime minister, according to a Sunday Times poll. The YouGov poll of more than 2,000 people, carried out online on Thursday and Friday, shows a sharp jump in the Conservative lead over the past month. The Tories are now on 45%, 13 points ahead of Labour’s 32%, with the Liberal Democrats on 14%. A month ago the Tory lead had shrunk to just 6%. The latest lead, which is the biggest in a YouGov poll since early October, suggests that the rise in popularity Brown achieved for putting in place the banking rescue has been replaced by the normal slide in popularity governments suffer in recessions." – Sunday Times

"The Conservatives have opened up a nine-point lead over Labour amid signs that voters are beginning to blame the Government for the economic downturn, an IoS poll shows today. With figures likely to confirm this week that Britain is officially in recession, the ComRes survey puts David Cameron’s party into an election-winning position. The Tory advantage is a leap from a one-point lead a month ago, when the "Brown bounce" was helped by a 2.5 per cent cut in VAT in the pre-Budget report." – Independent on Sunday

> Last night’s ToryDiary posts on the YouGov poll and ComRes poll

Boris under fire for using public funds on Tory conference hotel

"Boris Johnson was under fire yesterday, after it emerged that he used taxpayers’ money to pay for his hotel room at the Conservative Party conference last year. The Mayor of London spent £1,955.25 on accommodation for himself and a small group of advisers at the luxury Hyatt Regency hotel in Birmingham. Rules governing the Mayor’s conduct state that Greater London Authority money must not be used improperly for party political purposes. His office insisted that using public funds was justified because Mr Johnson was attending the conference in September in his capacity as Mayor, giving a speech to delegates." – Independent on Sunday

Tory MP Simon Burns to go on trial for careless drivingMail on Sunday

Scottish Tories call for a war on Government waste

"The SNP is to be urged to declare a war on Government waste that
would save the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds when the
horse-trading over its Budget intensifies next week. A plan for two new
public spending watchdogs designed to hold the Government and the
Scottish Parliament to account has been drawn up by the Conservatives."
Scotland on Sunday

"The Scottish Conservatives have offered to support the SNP’s budget
in return for the establishment of a £20m fund to regenerate run-down
city centres." – Sunday Times

Eric Pickles on the warpath over attempt to introduce bin tax without a Commons vote

"The Government has quietly adopted powers enabling it to introduce national pay-as-you-throw rubbish taxes of up to £100 without a vote in parliament… The Tories discovered the bin tax measure in a little-noticed clause of the Climate Change Act. “New taxes are being imposed by arrogant and out-of-touch rulers, showing contempt for the democratic process. The imposition of extra-parliamentary taxation is a constitutional outrage,” said Eric Pickles, shadow communities and local government secretary.” – Sunday Times

Dominic Raab on the growing power of the state

the past 12 years the police have clamped down on freedom of speech,
restricted public demonstrations and stifled peaceful protests, using
an array of new powers bestowed by a blizzard of legislation, hastily
enacted by parliament on the flimsy pretext of national security. Wave
upon wave of anti-terrorism measures have been introduced by an
increasingly authoritarian government, including proposals to extend
police detention without charge that even the former head of MI5
describes as draconian." – Dominic Raab writing in the Sunday Times

Jeremy Hunt blasts Andy Burnham over £3,000-a-head dinner party

"Ministers have been condemned for throwing a £3,000-a-head dinner party – to discuss the economic slump. Culture Secretary Andy Burnham ran up the £60,000 bill so he could discuss the effect of the credit crunch on ‘creative industries’ with 20 guests… Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘Hosting a £3,000-per-head party at taxpayers’ expense during a recession is an insult to all of Britain’s hard-working families. It shows Labour are completely out of touch with what is happening in Britain’." – Mail on Sunday

Virus "sends RAF e-mails to Russia"

"The Ministry of Defence is investigating a major breach in security
amid claims that all e-mail traffic from a number of RAF stations has
been sent to a Russian internet server. The e-mails were
allegedly diverted to the Russian sender by a worm virus that entered
the MoD systems 12 days ago bringing down computers and blocking e-mail
communications across the military. The allegations have been
relayed to Mark Pritchard, a Conservative MP, by an official who is
concerned that the MoD is failing to take cybersecurity seriously. Pritchard
said the official “told me he could not say whether there was any
evidence of active Russian involvement but that e-mail traffic from
some RAF stations was sent to a Russian internet server”. – Sunday Times and Mick Smith’s blog

Tory MP Andrew Tyrie calls for inquiry into Speaker’s conduct over "Greengate"Independent on Sunday

Lord Marland is frontrunner to become chairman of the English Cricket BoardSunday Times

Brown ready to risk billions on debt insurance for banksObserver

Margaret Beckett makes spurious claim about indications of an "upturn" in the property marketSunday Times

Ministers scrap plan to widen motorwaysObserver

Mandelson: British bosses are incapable of business successMail on Sunday

The Milibenns and Harriet’s Headbangers: Fraser Nelson’s guide to the Gangs of New LabourNews of the World

Vince Cable opens up about being disowned by his father over marrying an AsianObserver

And finally… Zac Goldsmith strikes gold on Obama victory

"Millionaire environmentalist  Zac Goldsmith has won around £150,000 on a series of long-term bets that Barack Obama would become American President. According to a source, he staked around £5,000 at odds of 20/1 as long ago as autumn 2007, when Obama was still an outsider even to be the Democrats’ candidate. The would-be Tory MP – who turns 34 on Obama’s inauguration day on Tuesday – is believed to have staked a four-figure sum at around 14-1 when Obama won the Iowa caucus on January 4 last year." – Mail on Sunday


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