7.30pm ToryDiary: Labour 15 and 17 points adrift of the Tories in two new polls

12.45pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: The Hungarian Church which discriminates against couples for not having children

10am LISTEN: Labour's new candidate for Reading West, Naz Sarkar, is humiliated in an interview with a BBC local radio presenter


Nigel Evans MP on Platform: Everyone must rise to the challenge of doubling the rate of plastic packaging recycling by 2020

Local Government:


WATCH: Sir Jock Stirrup explains how a shortage of helicopters is causing British casualties in Afghanistan

More coverage of Ken Clarke's hints of possible tax rises for families under Conservative government

Ken Clarke "Ken Clarke, the shadow business secretary, has raised the prospect of tax rises for millions of families under a Conservative government. The former Cabinet minister will have alarmed some senior Tories with his hint that David Cameron may be forced to raise taxes soon after an arrival in Downing Street. But it will also be seen as part of a "softening up" process before next year's election in which the Tories would traditionally have hoped to promise tax cuts." – Daily Telegraph

"In 1993-94, total spending was £283 billion; today it is £623 billion.
Had it risen over the same period in line with inflation, this year it
would be £404 billion… For such an outlay, we were entitled to see spectacular
improvements in educational attainment, health care and infrastructure;
we have not. Mr Cameron has conceded that a Tory administration would
need to take tough decisions, with deep cuts expected in some
government departments. However, something far more radical is required
if the principal cause of this country's predicament – excessive public
spending – is to be tackled. That is the real debate our politicians
should be having." – Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday's ToryDiary

Tomos Livingstone on the Tories' tax worries

"No wonder senior Tories are cautious; in two years’ time they could be the most unpopular administration in living memory. They’ll try to put the blame on Gordon Brown, but that won’t work for long. It might be a while before Mr Cameron has much to celebrate." – Tomos Livingstone in the Western Mail

Parties clash over Afghanistan policy

"Another British soldier has been killed in Helmand, the Ministry of Defence said today , as the row between Labour and the Conservatives over policy in Afghanistan became increasingly acrimonious… David Cameron, the Tory leader, today claimed the problem was not so much money, but the government's lack of "commitment" to victory in the battle against the Taliban. Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, said it was the Tories that were letting the troops down because they were playing party politics with the issue." – The Guardian

"It has been fashionable these last few years to view Afghanistan as the "good" war and Iraq as the "bad" war. This judgement is probably correct, but Afghanistan has been the right war fought in the wrong way, pursuing the wrong strategy, at the wrong time. What we now see as phase one of the Afghan war, the overthrow of the government in 2002, was brilliantly executed. From then, everything has gone wrong." – David Davis MP writing in The Independent

Get Out Now is a soundbite, not an option – Matthew Parris writing in The Times

David Cameron pays a trip to a bingo hall during his latest campaign visit to support Chloe Smith in Norwich North

Picture 4 "David Cameron tried his hand at bingo yesterday but insisted he was not gambling that the Tory's number would automatically come up in Thursday's Norwich-North by-election… Fellow Norfolk MPs Richard Bacon and Henry Bellingham have been among the army of volunteers helping out at campaign HQ in Magdalen Road, and each day has seen up to 40 MPs in the city, helping out with door-knocking and the delivery of leaflets." – Eastern Daily Press

"Environmental campaigners have criticised Conservative Party leader David Cameron for using a helicopter to travel to a meeting with university biofuel researchers. Mr Cameron flew from London to Norwich where he met experts from the University of East Anglia working on cutting-edge research aimed at turning crop waste into fuels." – Press Association

> There are still several places available on tomorrow's ConHome coach from London to campaign in Norwich North.  Eric Pickles has now indicated that he will be joining us for lunch and there will be Krispy Kreme doughnuts all round! Please email us if you would like to join the trip.

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP faces grassroot backlash

"The Euro MP who lost the
Tory whip has challenged David Cameron to re-think the party's new
Brussels alliance this summer as he faces a backlash from party
grassroots in Yorkshire… In a letter to the Yorkshire Post, Brian Peacock, writing on behalf of
himself and his wife Elizabeth, former MP for Batley and Spen, said:
"His decision to stand as an Independent for the position of
vice-president thus opposing the Conservative supported candidate from
Poland, and the consequent withdrawal of the Conservative whip has
handed the initiative for Yorkshire representation to UKIP and the BNP"… Conservative supporter David Hanna,
from Halifax, has also accused Mr McMillan-Scott of "blatantly
disregarding the wishes of the public". He said he was "disgusted" by
the MEP's "arrogant" actions." – Yorkshire Post

> Thursday's ToryDiary: Edward McMillan-Scott MEP must be expelled from the Conservative Party

Sir George Young and Andrew Tyrie publish proposals for House of Lords reform

"All new peers should be appointed to the House of Lords for a fixed
term limited to three parliaments – up to 15 years – as the next step
towards a democratically elected second chamber, a report recommended. The
report published by Conservative MPs Sir George Young and Andrew Tyrie,
sets out a series of reforms which the authors say could be introduced
quickly without provoking a time-consuming clash with peers or
distracting Parliament from the task of dealing with recession." – Press Association

How former Labour minister Lord Sainsbury is helping David Cameron prepare for power

"He’s the supermarket baron who has bankrolled the Labour Party for more than a decade, Tony Blair’s most loyal minister, who survived more reshuffles than almost anyone else and has donated £4.5 million under Gordon Brown. Now Lord Sainsbury of Turville is helping David Cameron to prepare for power. The Institute for Government, which he set up last month, is running training sessions for Shadow Cabinet members. His staff are acting as match-makers between senior Tories and the Civil Service… “The end game is to make sure the country is run better, not just to support the Labour Party,” the former science minister explains." – The Times

Andrew Grice: The public still has some doubts about David Cameron

"The Tory leader is seen by voters as "good with words" but people wonder whether he would live up to them. If Labour's policies are vague, then the Tories are a vacuum; the public has little or no idea about them. They see Mr Cameron as enjoying the luxury of opposition and able to avoid the hard choices he would have to make in government. That's hardly his fault, but it suggests a nagging doubt about him and his party." – Andrew Grice in The Independent

Stryker Maguire: The US Republicans are looking to David Cameron for inspiration

"The Republicans' admiration for Cameron is born of desperation as well as respect. They like the way he's rebranded the "nasty party" into something cuddlier and closer to the political centre. In fact, so desperate are they to claw their way back from the political wilderness, they probably give Cameron more credit than he deserves. Be that as it may, Cameron has become the most talked-about Conservative leader since Margaret Thatcher in American political circles." – Stryker Maguire writing in the Daily Telegraph

Peter Oborne: Has David Cameron the integrity to derail 'President' Blair's Euro bandwagon?

"The Tory leader could very easily stop the Blair Brussels bandwagon stone dead. If he sent out a clear message to European leaders that Blair is unacceptable to an incoming Conservative government, that would be an end to it. Yet Cameron has done no such thing. Although he has allowed William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, to attack Blair, Cameron himself has not expressed his opposition, and remains highly unlikely to do so." – Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail

MUNDELL DAVID Mundell rejects swift replacement of Barnett formula

"A call by an influential Lords committee for an independent body to review how Scotland's share of public spending is calculated has been dismissed by both Labour and the Tories… The committee, which included the former Scottish Secretaries Michael Forsyth and Ian Lang as well as the former Chancellor Lord Lawson of Blaby, suggested that a UK Funding Commission should be established to create a new grant system… David Mundell, the Shadow Scottish Secretary, said: “We have said that the Barnett Formula is past its sell-by date and needs to be looked at but we have no immediate plans to change the formula, sorting out the UK economy remains our priority.” – The Times

MPs prepare for 82-day summer recess

"MPs will leave their offices on Tuesday to begin one of the longest recesses for years… By the end of this session, Parliament will have sat for only 128 days. It is the shortest, outside of a general election year, since the Second World War." – Daily Mail

James Purnell gives his first post-resignation interviewGuardian

John Hutton says Brown is "heading for trouble" unless he changes economic messageExpress

Nick Clegg repeats call not to renew TridentIndependent

Life peers to get right to resign BBC

Ex-Newsnight Scotland editor to stand for SNP in Glasgow North East by-electionBBC

Scottish Labour MP readmitted to hospital Scotsman


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