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CAMERON and TREES 6.30pm ToryDiary: David Cameron warns that the Government risks defaulting on its debt obligations

4.45pm Latest posts on CentreRight:

4pm Seats and Candidates: Richard Hunt selected for Walsall South

3pm Policy Exchange's Anna Fazackerley on CentreRight: The Government should provide more support for part-time students

2pm Local Government update: Bromley council considering has no intention of "helping jobless parents pay private school fees"

Picture 71.45pm WATCH: In his summer War Room Briefing, Eric Pickles reflects on the Norwich North by-election and the Totnes Primary – and shares his five top summer campaigning tips

1.30pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: A humbling example of the bravery of our troops in Afghanistan

12.45pm Seats and Candidates: Former Welsh Woman of the Year Karen Robson selected for Cardiff Central

11.15am ToryDiary update: Policy Exchange reveals the real scale of joblessness to be verging on 6 million Updated with David Willetts' reaction to the record number of 18-24 year old NEETs announced this morning

10am Local Government: Bromley council considering "helping jobless parents pay private school fees"

ToryDiary: Policy Exchange reveals the real scale of joblessness to be verging on 6 million

Leadsom Andrea Andrea Leadsom on Platform: The lessons about banking regulation which stay with me from the collapse of Barings

John Bradley in Seats and Candidates: How Conservative social action is making a difference in Glasgow

Local Government:

Charlie Elphicke on CentreRight: Getting to grips with what hundreds of billions of government borrowing will actually entail (and alas it may include tax rises)

WATCH: Baroness Warsi looks at Joanne Cash's  "Step Up" social action project in Westminster North, helping boost local youngsters' chances of success in university and job interviews

FOX GESTICULATING Liam Fox seeks clarification of the UK presence in Afghanistan

"The new head of the Army yesterday denied a split with Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth over Britain’s future role in Afghanistan, amid new questions over the conduct and purpose of the conflict… Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, wrote to Mr Ainsworth yesterday to ask for a clarification of the UK presence in the Helmand area of Afghanistan. He asked Mr Ainsworth to explain remarks at the weekend that British troops would eventually begin a training and mentoring role for the Afghan army." – Western Mail

> Yesterday's Parliament post: The long recess means Liam Fox again has to resort to letter-writing in place of asking parliamentary questions about Afghanistan

> Martin Parsons yesterday on CentreRight: The Defence Secretary MUST resign over his attack on the head of the army

Chris Grayling demands details of Mandelson's meeting with Gaddafi's son

"Lord Mandelson was slammed yesterday after meeting Colonel Gaddafi's son days before it emerged the Lockerbie bomber could be freed… The Tories demanded a full explanation of what the two men talked about – and whether there was any link to news of the release. Shadow Cabinet minister Chris Grayling said: "We all know his track record as Labour's arch manipulator." – The Sun

Now Andy Burnham claims the Conservatives would turn the NHS into "the world's biggest quango"

"David Cameron is planning to take a "major gamble" with the NHS by "turning Britain's best loved institution into the world's biggest quango", the health secretary, Andy Burnham, warns today. In an attempt to maintain the pressure on Cameron, after a high-profile Tory MEP described the NHS as a "60-year mistake", Burnham declares that the Tories would also take the health service backwards by abandoning national targets… Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, said: "The real dividing line is between the Conservative party focused on delivering results for patients and a Labour government fixated on bureaucracy and set on using the NHS as a political football". – The Guardian

Andy Burnham has written this article for the Guardian

Nile Gardiner: Andy Burnham's anti-Americanism is sickening

"Andy Burnham’s ludicrous demand over the weekend for David Cameron to withdraw party conference invitations to senior US politicians who have criticised the National Health Service smacks of desperation, petty anti-Americanism, and extremely poor judgment… Does the Secretary of State for Health seriously believe it is in the national interest to keep these key Congressional friends of Great Britain out of the country because they don’t think America should emulate the NHS?" – Nile Gardiner in the Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Labour's latest salvo in the NHS "debate" is pathetic and smacks of desperation

Boris Johnson messy hair Boris "deeply disappointed" at new US Ambassador's continued refusal to pay congestion charge

"President Obama’s Administration became embroiled in a diplomatic
spat with Boris Johnson over the US embassy’s refusal to pay more than
£3million in congestion charge fines. The Mayor of London expressed
“deep disappointment” that the United States continued to ignore the
charge despite a change in its ambassador to the capital." – The Times

Greg Hands questions why Alistair Darling is spending so little time in London as he stands in for Gordon Brown…

"Shadow Treasury Minister Greg Hands was apparently shocked to discover Mr Darling was spending only two-and-a-half days in the UK capital while he was standing in for the premier. Mr Hands claimed the Chancellor seemed more concerned with his small majority in his Edinburgh constituency than the needs of the nation. "It seems as if the government has already given up and its ministers are now part-timers," said Mr Hands. "Nobody is here to defend Gordon Brown's failing regime, and even those temporarily in charge seem to be on holiday." – The Herald

…whilst The Independent is unimpressed with most of those manning the shop

"August is a strange month in politics. Often, as leaders try to regain some semblance of normal family life on holiday, the parties field their B-teams. This should be a chance for lesser-known stars to shine. All that this summer has done so far, however, is expose the paucity of talent in all three main parties… All in all, the drying-up of August has revealed the gene pool of British politics to be alarmingly shallow. It is devoutly to be hoped that the Great Post-Expenses Clear-Out of MPs at the next election will see the reservoir topped up with an unprecedented influx of fresh talent." Independent editorial

Dominic Grieve warns of likely increase in Britons being extradited under new EU rules

"Home Office officials have admitted that the number of people likely to be sent to face justice overseas is likely to treble once Britain signs up to a new EU agreement in April. The new rules will ensure that anyone who has a European Arrest Warrant issued against them will be automatically taken into custody. Dominic Grieve, the shadow justice secretary, warned that the adoption of the Schengen Information II system would lead to thousands of people being sent abroad, often for minor offences." – Daily Telegraph

Picture 3 Borders MSP selected for Westminster seat

"MSP John Lamont has overwhelmingly won a nomination by the local Conservatives to be the Westminster parliamentary candidate for the Borders.
Following his selection at a meeting of over 200 local party members met in St Boswells on Sunday, Mr Lamont told the Hawick News: "I am greatly honoured to have been selected as the candidate to represent the Borders in Parliament." – Hawick News

> Yesterday in Seats and Candidates: John Lamont MSP selected for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

David Hellier: George Osborne could face a revolt in the City over bonuses

"Tough on the City, tough on the causes of the credit crunch, seems to be Osborne’s pre-election mantra, though there must be a doubt he would continue with his anti-banker approach when, as seems likely, the Conservatives get into power. Says Osborne: “These banks need to live in the real world, where the country’s in a deep recession, and where the taxpayer has spent billions of pounds, not just bailing out some failed banks, but also underpinning the rest of the banking system.”. What would Osborne do to remedy the situation? Would he ban the City’s golden hellos? Would he ban bonuses? Would he ban guaranteed bonuses, currently being offered to some? I think not, unless he wants a City revolt on his hands." – David Hellier in City AM

> Saturday's ToryDiary: George Osborne wants controls on bonuses in the non-nationalised banks

Labour pressure group Compass unlikely to win George Osborne's support for its High Pay Commission

"It will seek the endorsement of George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, to maximise the pressure on the Government. Mr Osborne has pledged to stop banks from handing out large bonuses, but Compass will press him for a much wider commitment. He is unlikely to be persuaded. He believes a High Pay Commission would mean a prices and incomes policy for the whole economy." – The Independent

Theresa May NW Theresa May backs Gay Pride event at party conference

"Shadow equalities minister Theresa May is to be a guest at a Pride event scheduled for this year's Conservative Party Conference. Conference Pride will be held at Spirit Bar in the heart of Manchester's gay village on Tuesday October 6th. It is the first time a Tory conference has included a gay event. May commented: “I am delighted the Conservative Party is hosting this event which demonstrates we are a broad church welcoming new people every day." – Pink News

Stephen Pollard: Soft A-levels are just the symptom of a wider disease in education

"You know you are on firm ground when Dawn Primarolo says your case is
"preposterous". That was the response of the Minister for Children,
Young People and Families to a proposal by Michael Gove, the Shadow
Education Secretary, that "soft" A-level subjects, such as media
studies, should not be accorded the same weight in league tables as
"hard" subjects such as maths and physics." – Stephen Pollard in the Daily Telegraph

> Sunday's ToryDiary: Michael Gove plans "major overhaul" of exams and league tables to tackle the "deterioration of standards"

Polly Toynbee casts doubt on Tory schools plan

"Segregation is the Conservative way. Their flagship plan to introduce private schools into the state system follows a scheme introduced by Swedish conservatives in the mid-1990s, allowing parents or private providers to start a school, commanding funding from the local authority – regardless of whether new places are required. In Sweden small pockets of middle class schools sprang up, at high cost, breaking the even class mix in existing schools. When I interviewed the Swedish education minister, I found the current conservative government not keen to extend the scheme, regarding it as essentially irrelevant." – Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

Labour peer accuses minister who left segregated Muslim wedding of playing politics in an "underhand and dangerous" wayIndependent

Police cannot be trusted with fines, magistrates warnDaily Telegraph

A degree will now leave you with debts of £23,500Independent

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