VIGGERS 10.15pm ToryDiary: Sir Peter Viggers to step down over new expenses allegations, as Bill Wiggin faces questions about a "phantom mortgage" Updated at 10.30pm with statement from Bill Wiggin

7pm Seats and Candidates Exclusive: Anthony Steen confirms to ConservativeHome that he is standing down, saying he had "become a distraction" Updated at 8.45pm with tribute from David Cameron

6.45pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: The Queen should shut the Palace gates in Nick Griffin's face

5,45pm WATCH: Tonight's Conservative Party Election Broadcast again features David Cameron engaging with voters at meetings around the country

BBC5.30pm Matthew Elliott on CentreRight: Why the BBC licence fee should be cut

2.45pm WATCH Two clips from today's Prime Minister's Questions

2.30pm Latest on CentreRight:

2pm Seats and Candidates: Anthony Steen poised to step down at the next election

LAWSON NIGEL TODAY12.45pm ToryDiary: Lord Lawson leads calls for Michael Martin not to be given a peerage

12.30pm ToryDiary: Gordon Brown dismisses David Cameron's calls for a general election at PMQs

10.30am Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Visiting Auschwitz was a timely reminder of the evils of the BNP

ToryDiary: David Cameron may not be Prime Minister yet – but on reforming MPs' expenses he's the one setting the agenda

Iain Duncan Smith MP on Platform: Reflections on a visit to Auschwitz amid political crises back home

Local Government:


CARSWELL DOUGLAS Douglas Carswell's campaign to oust the Speaker finally comes to fruition…

"Michael Martin has become the first Speaker of the House of Commons for more 300 years to be forced from office as he paid the price for mishandling the crisis over MPs’ expenses… Douglas Carswell, the Tory backbencher who organised the motion of no confidence which had 23 signatures by yesterday morning, said Mr Martin’s departure gave him no pleasure, but it was necessary. He said: “I believe we have found ourselves in a moral ditch and we need reform and change to get out of that ditch and restore dignity to politics. We need a new Speaker who understands that 'sovereignty of Parliament’ is shorthand for 'sovereignty of the people’." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Michael Martin quits

…as the race begins to succeed Michael Martin next month

"A 34-day beauty parade began in Parliament yesterday as MPs began sizing colleagues up for the requisite qualities of gravitas, probity and irreproachable expense claims as the most powerful Speakership in decades came up for grabs…. Mr Martin announced that he would stand down on Sunday, June 21, allowing the election for his replacement to take place the next day." – The Times

"Runners and riders will probably include Sir Alan Haselhurst, Mr Martin's deputy. But he is in trouble over gardening expenses. Sir George Young, an Old Etonian Tory, will have another try but he is simply too establishment. Sir Menzies Campbell might have had a chance before his £10,000 flat renovation became public… Given the need for the public – as well as the Commons – to have confidence in Parliament restored, I would vote for Frank Field or Vince Cable. They would certainly be the peoples' choice." – Michael Brown writing in The Independent

The Times backs Vince Cable

The Daily Mail warms to Sir Menzies Campbell

Simon Heffer in the Daily Telegraph backs Frank Field

Tory MP Nigel Evans is pressing the case for Ann Widdecombe

> Tim Montgomerie has stated his support for Frank Field, whilst Jonathan Isaby has backed John Bercow

Michael Martin’s departure as Speaker should only be the beginning

SPEAKER "Much, much more needs to happen if MPs are to get out of the expenses morass, let alone for the Commons to begin to restore its reputation. Michael Martin’s departure as Speaker creates an opportunity for a fresh start. But powerful though the change will be symbolically, it is only a small part of the story." – Peter Riddell writing in The Times

"Mr Martin's departure is welcome in so far as it removes an egregious symbol of the old, tarnished regime. But the truth is that the hard work of cleaning up the reputation of the Commons has barely begun." – Independent editorial

"MPs need to appreciate that Mr Martin's resignation is not an excuse for them to sweep the grave issues facing the Commons under its capacious carpets… As David Cameron and now Gordon Brown have made clear, those members who have broken the rules cannot be allowed to stand as candidates for any party at the next election." – Daily Mail

David Cameron endorses The Sun's demand for an early general election [wasn't it the other way round? – Ed] – The Sun

Conservative associations are ignoring David Cameron's advice to consider deselections…

"David Cameron’s call for the deselection of Tory MPs caught up in the expenses scandal is being ignored by local parties. A survey of constituency chairmen and agents by The Times found that almost all are standing by their discredited MPs, in spite of the party leader’s attempt to respond to public anger. Our findings suggest that the party may suffer an electoral penalty if voters remain determined to punish MPs blamed for abusing the expenses system at the next election." – The Times

… but Douglas Hogg announced yesterday he's stepping down

"A Tory MP shamed for claiming £2,200 taxpayers’ money for clearing his moat ­at his 13th century manor house announced his resignation from the Commons yesterday. Former agriculture minister Douglas Hogg, 64, is to stand down as MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham at the next election." – Daily Express

> Yesterday's story on Seats and Candidates

NEVILLE-JONES PAULINE NW Pauline Neville-Jones: The Intelligence and Security Committee review of 7/7 intelligence exposes why it is not up to the job

"The intelligence and security committee is not up to the role it needs to play. At the moment, the prime minister can have the last word on what it publishes and the committee does not have a staff able to carry out its own investigations. The perception and the reality of independence in such matters is crucial – the ISC should be reformed and a Conservative government will ensure this happens." – Shadow security minister Baroness Neville-Jones writing in The Guardian

The Commons will today debate the Tory proposal to freeze the TV licence

"The House of Commons is due to debate a Conservative proposal to freeze the television licence fee for one year. The Tories say a freeze is needed next year if the BBC is to maintain public support in tough economic times." – BBC

Conservative "U-Turn" on GP-led health centres

"The Conservative party has signalled its intention to continue the roll out of GP led health centres in what constitutes a major policy reversal. The party had previously warned the rollout of Lord Darzi’s centres could force hundreds of GP surgeries to close. But Conservative shadow health minister Mark Simmonds now says it has proved ‘not to be the case’ and the party has told Pulse it no longer has any plans to stop the rollout." – Pulse

1pm Update: A party spokesman has been in touch to refute the above story: "Our position remains the same that we oppose the central imposition of polyclinics in places where they would undermine local services – but we clearly are not going to commit to closing them down if we get into government next year.  Instead we will stick to our principle of allowing local communities to decide if there is a need for them. This is clearly not the same as 'continuing the roll out'.  It can also in no way be described as a 'policy u-turn'."

Dentists would be given power to fine patients who miss appointments under a Tory Government

"Dentists should be able to fine patients who miss appointments, the Conservatives said yesterday. They warned that under a Tory government, anyone repeatedly failing to attend treatment visits will be charged as part of reforms to restore access to an NHS dentist for up to two million patients." – Daily Mail

Stelzer Irwin Stelzer: David Cameron will need to show real steel as Prime Minister

"In recent weeks we have seen either the transformation of a nice guy into a tougher one, or the emergence of the steel that has been hidden behind an emollient exterior. "My way or the highway", Cameron in effect told his avaricious colleagues, albeit only after public outrage forced his hand: return the expense money you claimed, even if your claim was within the rules you concocted. Now Cameron has to apply that same steely determination in discussions with his Shadow Chancellor, and tell him to forget about going along with Labour's tax plans." – Irwin Stelzer writing in the Daily Telegraph

Alistair Darling predicts the recession will be over by ChristmasThe Times

£23 million dividend windfall for Conservative treasurer, Michael SpencerFT

70% of Britons want big cuts in the rate of immigrationDaily Mail

All Gurkhas set to be given settlement rights in BritainDaily Telegraph


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