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9.15pm ToryDiary update: Julie Kirkbride says she can justify all her expense claims and wants to stand again at the next election Updated with news that she took out a mortgage to part-fund an extension in which her brother lives

Picture 126.45pm WATCH Two clips of Julie Kirkbride's TV interview this afternoon:

6pm ToryDiary: David Cameron condemns the BNP as "Nazi thugs"

5pm ToryDiary: Julie Kirkbride says she can justify all her expense claims and wants to stand again at the next election

4.15pm Local Government: Lib Dem councillor in Lewes defects to the Conservatives

3.15pm ToryDiary update: Julie Kirkbride "fighting for her political life" as 81% of members say she should go Updated with link to Jonathan Isaby's appearance on Radio 4's World at One discussing the ConHome survey

2.30pm WATCH: Labour party committee meets today to discuss the cases of four Labour MPs embroiled in the expenses scandal

12.30pm ToryDiary: Conservative fundraising outstripped Labour by more than a quarter between January and March

Ken Clarke and Lord MandelsonNoon Parliament: Ken Clarke does not want Lord Mandelson to have to answer questions in the Commons

9.30am Benedict Rogers on CentreRight invites us to support a new online campaign for Aung San Suu Kyi

ToryDiary: Julie Kirkbride "fighting for her political life" as 81% of members say she should go

Duncan Flynn on Platform: Why the Conservative Party needs to retain its greybeards on the green benches

Local Government: Town Halls ditching "cotton wool culture" with adventure playgrounds

WATCH: In his latest War Room Briefing, Eric Pickles invites voters to sign petitions demanding a general election and reveals how you can email him directly

Picture 4 David Cameron's speech on the redistribution of political power is welcomed by much of Fleet Street…

"Mr Cameron has shown he has grasped the enormity of what has happened these past three weeks and has formulated coherent proposals in response, in striking contrast to our curiously silent Prime Minister. He must have the guts, the energy and the tenacity to effect this transformation, should he win power." – Telegraph editorial

"In a speech that was both analytically precise and politically shrewd, Mr Cameron got beneath the surface of the expenses story to unearth the roots of popular disillusionment with politics: the sense that people have too little control over their own lives. But the Conservative leader then went on to do rather more than identify a cast of villains. He argued persuasively that the issue of MPs' expenses is merely the occasion of public anger rather than the cause." – Times editorial

"This is stirring stuff. Cameron talks the talk. His opposition to proportional representation and an elected Lords is admirable. Both are covert ways beloved of Westminster anoraks to promote coalitions and boost the patronage and thus power of party machines, the last thing Britain wants at present. Cameron's local primaries could become a real opening up of politics – as would elected mayors if he really believed in them." – Simon Jenkins writing in The Guardian

"Politicians are falling over each other to clean up Parliament after weeks of public humiliation over expenses. So far David Cameron is setting the pace, with Labour struggling to catch up." – Sun editorial

…but the Daily Mail was unimpressed…

"The Mail has long argued, power should be devolved from Whitehall – though we remain sceptical that 'localism' can be effective until town hall finance is radically reformed. But as for some of Mr Cameron's other proposals – broadcasting Parliamentary proceedings on YouTube, sending the public text-message updates on the passage of Bills, promising Commons debates on issues raised by popular petitions – don't these come straight from the Tony Blair Book of Political Gimmicks? Indeed, isn't this all a crazy exercise in displacement?" – Daily Mail editorial

"Returning power to the people is a sentiment with which few will disagree in this political climate, though one is tempted to wonder how far Mr Cameron is supplying alluring mood music rather than proposals which would ever see the light of day in the event of a Tory administration. His notion that 'ordinary people' should be recruited as Tory MPs is equally ill-thought through and crowd-pleasing. The last thing we need is more ordi
nary people in Parliament. We need exceptional MPs rather than the largely mediocre and morally dubious bunch we have at present." – Stephen Glover writing in the Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameron makes big promises on devolving power to citizens

…as Daniel Hannan (rightly) takes credit for setting the agenda David Cameron is pursuing

HANNAN DAN "David Cameron called for "a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power: from the state to citizens; from the government to parliament; from Whitehall to communities; from the EU to Britain; from judges to the people; from bureaucracy to democracy." Brilliant: I couldn't have put it better myself. No, hang on: this is exactly how I did put it in my book Direct Democracy, serialised in this newspaper four years ago. The solutions which David Cameron goes on to propose are drawn directly from that text, and from its sequel, The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain, which I co-authored with Douglas Carswell six months ago." – Daniel Hannan writing in the Daily Telegraph

> Last night's ToryDiary: Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell wrote David Cameron's speech today on devolving power

David Cameron reiterates the points made in his speech in today's Independent

"Most people in Britain feel that they are on the distant periphery of power, the movement of their lives directed by the orbit of a powerful centre. They're right, and the results of this power imbalance are hugely destructive to our society. When you feel that someone else, somewhere else is pulling the strings of your life it saps social responsibility and self-reliance, and severs community ties. We can only defeat this powerlessness with a new politics – and that must start with the most radical decentralisation of power this country has ever seen." – David Cameron writing in The Independent

David Cameron thought of fixed-term parliaments three years ago

"David Cameron has been considering fixed-term parliaments for at least three years, aides said yesterday… One of Mr Cameron’s aides insisted that he had been toying with the idea since becoming Tory leader. “David’s been thinking about this for a while. It fits into everything we’ve been saying.” – The Times

Party leaders agree to talks on reform of parliamentGuardian

GREENWAY John The Telegraph expenses investigation looks at the claims of retiring Ryedale MP John Greenway…

"John Greenway, a Conservative MP, spent £500 of taxpayers’ money on pot plants and bushes for his garden at his south London home before selling up for a £280,000 profit. Mr Greenway, the MP for Ryedale, also spent more than £3,500 on household goods and furnishings, including redecorating bills, a £399 flat screen television set and crockery from the Habitat store." – Daily Telegraph

…as further Labour figures attract scrutiny…

"More than 40 Government ministers who have recouped the cost of accountancy bills on their expenses should have paid tax on the claims in the same way as ordinary voters, HM Revenue and Customs has said." – Telegraph 

"Peter Hain, a former Labour Cabinet minister asked if he could claim on two mortgages for homes in his constituency… According to Mr Hain’s files, he asked if he could claim the mortgage interest on a £440,000 new home which be bought with his second wife Elizabeth Hayward in 2004 — as well as claiming for his former home six miles away." – Telegraph

…and Simon Heffer threatens to stand against Sir Alan Haselhurst

"I thought I was unsuited to politics when, 30 years ago, I and some chums were booted out of the Cambridge University Conservative Association for electoral malpractice. (Sadly, no money was involved: we had canvassed in an election, which was forbidden. I asked for it. Undergraduate high jinks, etc etc.) But Sir Alan's disgraceful and immoral use of his constituents' money has forced me to think again. It is an ugly job, but someone's going to have to do it." – Simon Heffer writing in the Daily Telegraph

> Last night on ConservativeHome: The Telegraph's Simon Heffer threatens to stand against Sir Alan Haselhurst

Peter Riddell: David Cameron is winning the tactical battle on expenses

"David Cameron has won all the tactical battles on the expenses row, leaving a frustrated Gordon Brown and his Government trailing well behind. Yet th
ere is more than a whiff of populist gimmickry about the “I am more a reformer than you” competition between politicians at present. The Conservative leader has displayed a steely mixture of ruthlessness and opportunism in his response to the public revulsion over the stories about MPs’ expenses. He recognises the demand for blood and has been willing to sacrifice MPs via summary execution." – Peter Riddell writing in The Times

OSBORNE GEORGE smiling George Osborne highlights contradictions of the economic forecasts from the Treasury and Alistair Darling

“The Treasury's own document shows that Labour are gambling Britain's economic credibility on fantasy forecasts for the recovery. While we all hope that this long recession will end later this year, Gordon Brown's claims that we will bounce back to boom time levels of growth has now been discredited by first the Bank of England and now the Government's own survey of independent forecasters. If the independent forecasters are right then the Government will have to borrow almost £73 billion more over the next four years than it forecast just a month ago." – George Osborne quoted in the Daily Telegraph

Chris Grayling lambasts the National Policing Improvement Agency's £70 million consultancy bill

"A policing quango spent more than £70million on consultants last year as forces across the country were made to axe officers to save money… The Tories said the figures showed the Government's skewed sense of priorities at a time when a recession crimewave is taking hold. Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling, said: 'What Britain needs is more police on the beat and not more officials behind the scenes'." – Daily Mail

Eric Pickles defends First Past The Post

"One of the great strengths of Britain’s tried and tested electoral system, FPTP, is its ability to “kick the rascals out”… Our political system needs reform, but only the traditional British voting system gives voters the power to force a change of government in a clear and decisive way." – Letter from Eric Pickles in The Times

Cameron's plans to cut number of MPs could backfire for Scottish ToriesScotsman

MI5 faces fresh torture allegationsGuardian

Four Labour MPs to face discipline panelIndependent

Frank Field: Demonising the BNP is not going to help defeat them Independent

Con Coughlin: North Korea's home-made nuclear bomb is a threat to the whole worldDaily Telegraph

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39 comments for: Wednesday 27th May 2009

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