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6.30pm Latest on CentreRight:

5.45pm ToryDiary: Eric Pickles gears up to lovebomb the Liberal Democrats (again and again and again)

5.30pm WATCH: Hillary Clinton starts work as US Secretary of State

Red_tory_24.45pm ToryDiary: Introducing ‘Red Toryism’

3.30pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Jacqui Smith as Labour leader? Don’t bet on it

3.15pm Local Government: From Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs column and Clarke appointment prompts Tory councillor’s defection to UKIP

3pm Parliament: No guarantee of rail construction jobs for British workers

1.15pm ToryDiary: Theresa Villiers to ensure MPs can vote on Heathrow expansion

12.30pm Parliament: Lord Lucas wants better regulation of bailiffs

11.30am Local Government: Cllr Robert Light on Lab/Lib Dem coalition takes charge at Kirklees after opposing parental choice

Duncan_alan_new_211.15am Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Good on Alan Duncan!

10.45am ToryDiary: David Cameron to set out the four aims of "Progressive Conservatism"

10.45am Parliament updates:

9.45am Alex Deane on CentreRight: When I first liked Barack Obama

ToryDiary: Business leaders warm to the idea of a Conservative Government

Zehra Zaidi on Platform: The EU pesticides ban will result in lower yields and higher prices

Seats and Candidates Search for 100 Peers: Brian Walden

Overnight postings on CentreRight:

Local Government: Municipal Lingo No. 2 – "Housing Units"

WATCH:

International: US Republicans urged to abandon "narrowness" and "losing fight" on gay rights

AmericaInTheWorld: "Barack Obama’s campaign and election story was bigger media event than 9/11"

Clarkekenlong Ken Clarke’s six-week old off-the-record comments have been "twisted by Labour"

"Ken Clarke’s reported warning that David Cameron risks being seen as a "right wing nationalist" by Barack Obama are old comments which Labour has twisted to distract from its failure to address Britain’s economic problems, the Conservatives said. The new shadow business secretary warned that new US president Barack Obama would not want Britain to be run by a "right wing nationalist", in a speech urging greater engagement with Europe last month before he returned to the front benches. Labour seized on the comments last night as evidence that Mr Clarke’s presence in the shadow cabinet would deepen Tory divisions over Europe. But the Tories said that it was "absurd" to interpret the speech as criticism of the Conservative leader, and insisted that Mr Clarke accepted the party’s policy against joining the euro." – Daily Telegraph

> Last night’s ToryDiary

The Guardian’s parliamentary sketchwriter is delighted to see Ken Clarke back on the frontbench…

"The important topic at prime minister’s questions yesterday was, naturally, the return of Kenneth Clarke to the Tory frontbench. He sprawled there looking cheerful, like a man enjoying a pie after a hard day’s bird-watching. You felt his contentment would have been complete if he’d been allowed a pint and a cigarillo." – SImon Hoggart in the Guardian

…as is Ann Widdecombe

"The long overdue return of Ken Clarke to the Conservative front bench is a tribute not only to his own qualities but also to David Cameron’s leadership." – Ann Widdecombe in the Daily Express

Fraser Nelson interviews new shadow home secretary Chris Grayling

"I had an inkling when I read in the Sun on Monday that I’d be moved," he says… No one is in the slightest doubt why he was promoted. Mr Grayling has a reputation of being the deadliest hitman on the Tory front bench. He has been behind many of the most embarrassing Labour moments, exposing the NHS’s appalling treatment of Margaret Dixon in the last election campaign and orchestrating the disclosures which led to David Blunkett’s resignation." – Spectator

Vaizey_edEd Vaizey: BBC stars’ salaries should be revealed

"Ed Vaizey, the shadow culture minister, will use a speech at today’s Oxford Media Convention to call for greater transparency in the amounts paid to top stars such as Jonathan Ross. "The BBC actually pushes up the price of talent with its interventions," Mr Vaizey will say. "So we will ensure that the BBC publishes fully audited accounts which will include details of the salaries of all its top talent. The BBC should be prepared to defend salary and indeed all expenditure decisions it makes." – Daily Telegraph

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski protests over police demand to see constituency correspondence

"A Conservative MP claimed police entered his Commons office yesterday without a search warrant demanding to examine private constituency correspondence" – Independent

> Last night’s ToryDiary

Interest rate cuts have robbed "innocent" savers of £22billion, say Tories

"Savers have lost an astonishing £22billion as a result of interest rate cuts. The plunging income from interest on nest eggs has left them the "innocent victims" of the recession, the Tories said. They urged ministers to temporarily abolish the starting rate and basic rate of tax on savings income to help raise their returns. Tory Treasury spokesman Philip Hammond told MPs that the "welcome relief" of falling interest rates for homeowners and businesses came at a price because it penalised all those dependent on savings and investments for their income." – Daily Mail

David Mundell: Make English take Scottish banknotes

"An attempt to make shops in England take Scottish banknotes was launched yesterday. The Conservative MP David Mundell said his private member’s bill aimed to end the "confusion" among some businesses in England about the status of Scottish banknotes." – The Scotsman 

Johnson_boris_pointing Boris visits Hillingdon to debate Heathrow expansion

"Hundreds of angry residents packed out a theatre in Hayes to debate the proposed third runway at Heathrow Airport. With tensions at boiling point following the government’s decision to allow the controversial expansion plan, Mayor of London Boris Johnson held a question time for residents to air their views." – ThisisLocalLondon.co.uk

Four in ten serious criminals being let off with a caution

"The number of cautions being given to violent criminals has risen by 82 per cent in just five years. Cautions given to burglars have increased by a quarter over the same period while cautions for robbers and sex offenders have gone up by almost half. Shadow police minister David Ruffley, who unearthed the most recent rises, said: "Police cautions are being used instead of prosecutions. More serious offenders are facing ‘cautions not court’." – Daily Telegraph

FSA chairman demands change in banking system

"There must be profound changes in the banking system if a repeat of the current crisis is to be avoided, the Financial Services Authority has said. Lord Turner, head of the City watchdog, said parts of the regulatory system were "seriously deficient." – BBC

Picture_3 Iain Martin demands dramatic action to break a national cycle of despair

"As a free-marketeer what I am about to say pains me. But there had best be a full nationalisation of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds/TSB/HBOS. The former is regarded by the market as broken and we own 70 per cent of it, anyway. The latter is in nearly as much trouble. Let us stop pretending they operate as independent institutions. The alternative is to just let them die. However, the atmosphere is so febrile there would be queues round the block at all banks. We are well beyond the point at which it might be safe to conduct an uncontrolled experiment in chaos theory." – Iain Martin in the Daily Telegraph

Brown backs down over plan to keep MPs’ expenses claims secret

"Gordon Brown was forced yesterday to retreat over controversial proposals to keep details of MPs’ expenses claims secret by exempting them from the Freedom of Information Act. The move, which met with delight from freedom of information campaigners, followed the collapse of a deal between Labour and the Conservatives which would have been certain to succeed in getting the order passed by the Commons. The Tories tried yesterday to deny the existence of a deal or understanding but this was firmly refuted by government and Labour backbench sources. A vote was due today but the U-turn was announced in the Commons as it became clear the wave of hostility against the plan was growing." – Guardian

Peter Oborne: No wonder MPs don’t want us to see their expenses – a lot of them are just plain criminal

"There are a very large number of Labour MPs, right up to Cabinet Minister level, who are corrupt. They have unhesitatingly used the very generous system of MPs’ expenses to fill their own pockets. They know that if the details are ever published, the public outrage would be so great that they could be forced to resign. Indeed, in a number of cases they would be open to criminal investigation." – Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail

Mandelson to decide on fitness of ex-KGB man to own the Evening StandardTimes

Obama "set to close Guantanamo"BBC

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5 comments for: Thursday 22nd January 2009

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