11.45pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Newsnight's 'balanced' panel has four lefties and no righties
5.45pm Latest on CentreRight:
- Dan Lewis: The question I wanted to ask David Cameron on quangos today…
- Julia Manning: There's a lot more to NHS IT than patient records!
4.15pm Alex Deane on CentreRight: It would be wrong to drop the honourable member tag
3pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight notes the vast swathes of the country which are Labour-free zones: 94 reasons why Hazel Blears should keep quiet about the lack of Conservative councillors in Liverpool and Newcastle
- David Cameron to pledge a "bonfire of the quangos"
- Conservatives are considering giving the world's poorest "aid vouchers" to buy education
- Lord Saatchi: The enduring values of the Centre for Policy Studies
- Andrew Haldenby: Reforming quangos will strengthen the role of Parliament and help to restore MPs' credibility
- Diary of PPC: Anne-Marie Trevelyan on a week spent criss-crossing Berwick-upon-Tweed, the most northerly English constituency
- Those with military experience in the likely next intake of Conservative MPs
A Conservative Government "could transfer health records to Google or Microsoft"
"Health records could be transferred to Google or Microsoft under a Tory government, The Times has learnt. Patients will be given the option of moving their medical notes to private companies after the Conservatives said that they would replace Labour’s “centrally determined and unresponsive national IT system”… The drive is the first concrete proposal to emerge from the Tories’ “post-bureaucratic age” agenda, in which citizens would be given more government information in order to make choices about public services." – The Times
"In the US, Google Health and Microsoft Health vault offer popular services giving people control to access and move around their own medical records. However, a similar move in Britain would raise concerns about privacy and security. Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley believes, however, that a new NHS database poses far greater risks." – Daily Mail
"Open source, in a market in which competition works, is a good principle for an open society." – Times editorial
"Official Home Office data appear to suggest its moves to cut bureaucracy are working, with police spending a larger proportion of their time on what is called "front line policing". However, this definition includes time spent on "incident-related" paperwork, such as preparing files for court cases or filling in stop and search forms. This has actually increased by a fifth in just five years, new figures show… Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, said: "These figures will come as no surprise to any front line police officer, but it just beggars belief that the Government is yet again manipulating figures to make a false claim that things are getting better." – Daily Telegraph
Ken Clarke attacks the "absurd explosion" in public sector pay
"Public sector pay certainly has to reflect what is going on in the private sector to some extent and it had also got to reflect the current low level of inflation," he said. "When that is put to you by somebody like the head of the Audit Commission, you look at it as an option but you have got to put it alongside other options. Looking for constraint, you have got to decide whether that is really the best and fairest way of going about it." – Shadow Business Secretary Ken Clarke quoted in the Daily Telegraph
Alistair Darling signals public sector pay squeeze – Guardian
Politicians must now come clean on cuts
"Until recently, politicians of all parties have been frightened of talking about cuts – and have refused to say how, precisely, they would go about reducing the debt… The Conservatives, in contrast [to Labour], accept the need for cuts. But Tory policy half-emerges slowly and slightly mysteriously from a small group of David Cameron's advisers, and in many areas it remains opaque. The Conservatives clung on to Labour's spending targets for a ridiculously long time; when they talk about cuts, it tends to be in the whispered tones that one might reserve for a family scandal." – Telegraph editorial
"Q: Why do you think your party is so anti-European? Is it anything to do with right-wing xenophobia?
A: It's partly to do with a profound ignorance about the way Europe works. It is not on the way to becoming a super-state. Since the Conservative Party has said it wants to be part of the EU, it would make more sense for us to play our part in Europe more positively and strongly." – Lord Patten of Barnes answers readers' questions in The Independent
Sir Christopher Kelly keen on state providing housing for politicians
"MPs could lose all of their generous second home allowances and have their London accommodation provided by the state. The plan is being given serious consideration by the independent review of that is writing new Commons rules in the wake of the expenses scandal. The Committee on Standards in Public Life is understood to be studying a move to strip MPs of all control of public money relating to their second homes. Instead, the House of Commons authorities would rent properties from commercial landlords, and make them available to MPs during their time in office." – Daily Telegraph
Almost one in three MPs will have been educated at private school after next election
"Around third of new MPs elected next year will be from private schools while among Conservatives, the figure is closer to 50 per cent. The Class of 2010 report, compiled by the Madano Partnership, a communications consultancy, is a detailed analysis of 242 parliamentary candidates who have a good chance of becoming MPs at the next election." – Daily Telegraph
Tory MP calls for more helicopters in Afghanistan
"An armed forces expert last night called for more helicopters to be deployed to Afghanistan to curb the growing number of UK troop deaths from attacks on armoured vehicles. Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, a former infantry regiment commanding officer and chairman of Westminster's counter-terrorism sub-committee, told The Scotsman that recent deaths of soldiers in armoured vehicles proved the case for greater use of air transport to evade Taleban attacks." – The Scotsman
Philip Johnston: The next government must pass fewer laws
"Labour has brought forward truckloads of legislation simply to send out signals, to make a point or obtain a headline. That is not what it is for. This Government is evidently beyond redemption; the next should – must – commit itself unequivocally to less legislation." – Philip Johnston in the Daily Telegraph
"The Tories are shortly to unveil a far-reaching policy to put marriage at the heart of family life. A high-powered team of lawyers commissioned by Iain Duncan Smith's Centre for Social Justice is to issue a report later this month which is expected to shape Conservative policy on the family. It is said to recommend a sweeping overhaul of the law to strengthen marriage, including moves to make divorce more difficult and promote marriage preparation classes and 'family relationship centres', as well as tax breaks for married couples… The problem, however, is that his [David Cameron's] intention to repair the family is undermined by his support for gay rights." – Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail
Bruce Anderson: Why Whitehall civil servants will probably vote Conservative
"Labour inherited an admirable administrative machine… but the civil service was marginalised. In many departments, officials were barely allowed to work on policy. They found themselves reduced to the role of associate spin doctors as the new politicised press offices virtually took control. That is why so many of this government's policies disintegrate on contact with reality. That is why Whitehall is so demoralised." – Bruce Anderson in The Independent
David Miliband to call for Open Primaries for Labour candidates – Guardian
EU leaders wanting to see Lisbon Treaty enacted will make compromises to shore up Gordon Brown's position – Times
"Sarah Brown, the normally reticent wife of the Prime Minister, is coming out into the open to battle for her husband's political career. She is the cook behind the "lasagne offensive", which Gordon Brown has launched to improve working relationships with his cabinet ministers. She has also stepped up the frequency of her public appearances, displaying the easy social skills she honed as the founder a PR agency before her marriage – skills in which her workaholic husband is notoriously deficient." – The Independent
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