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6.45pm Parliament: Should the House of Lords leave moral issues as the unique preserve of the Commons?

5.15pm WATCH:

FOX GESTICULATING4.15pm ToryDiary: Liam Fox lambasts Government over "inexcusable" failure to get armoured trucks to Afghanistan as quickly as possible

3pm Seats and Candidates: Eric Pickles is bullish about the party's chances of "love-bombing" the Liberal Democrats out of swathes of the West Country

1.30pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: The Times erroneously reports there is something of the knight about Anthony Steen

12.30pm WATCH: Footage of Vladimir Putin baring his chest again as he rides, swims and fishes during his summer holiday in Siberia

Picture 1010.30am ToryDiary: John Redwood redefines the NHS debate as "Conservative devolved efficiency" v "Labour's centralised waste"

ToryDiary: 58% of Tory members support relaxation of smoking ban

Azeem Ibrahim on Platform: Every quango should be put before a "Dragon's Den" to question its role and very existence

Richard Harrington in Seats and Candidates: How the Watford Conservatives' innovative summer work experience programme has been mutually beneficial both for my campaign and for more than fifty local youngsters

Local Government:

Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight notes William Hague's lasting legacy to the English language

LISTEN: The pro and cons of Open Primaries are discussed by Frank Field MP and John Strafford of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy

Picture 8 Sarah Wollaston wins UK's first ever all-postal Open Primary and becomes Conservative PPC for Totnes

"The professional political class was dealt a blow last night after a GP with no political experience stormed to victory in Britain's first open parliamentary candidate ballot. Dr Sarah Wollaston, a married mother-of-three, edged out two experienced local politicians to be selected as the Conservative candidate for Totnes in Devon. Almost 8,000 voters from across the political spectrum voted for Dr Wollaston, who has worked as a family doctor for 23 years… Dr Wollaston defeated current Mayor of Torbay Nick Bye and leader of East Devon Council Sara Randall Johnson." – Daily Mail

"The Conservative Party turned a local political disaster over the extravagant expense claims of Anthony Steen into triumph by asking every voter in the constituency to help to decide who should replace him as the Tory candidate at next year’s election… An operation by the Liberal Democrats, who encouraged Tory opponents in Totnes to vote for Mr Bye, believing him to be the weakest candidate, failed when he came last." – The Times

"Today's turnout exceeded my wildest expectations and just shows that if you trust the people they embrace democracy. I hope Totnes represents a new type of politics, which rejects negative campaigning, and sees openness as a way to restore confidence in public life. I hope over time that the primary process becomes a permanent fixture in British politics." – Party Chairman Eric Pickles quoted in The Guardian

"All credit to Totnes Tory activists for letting this rank outsider to their club slip through into the list of finalists. But this was not the candidate who would have best survived the “And what did you do, Mummy, in the last three general elections?” test — and that is the test that would-be candidates had to survive in my day." – Matthew Parris (who chaired the Totnes hustings) writing in The Times

> Yesterday's coverage on Conservative Home:

Plaudits for the Open Primary system

HANNAN DAN "Once one party adopts open primaries, the others will more or less
have to follow. People won’t realise it for a while, but today has
changed British politics – changed it utterly, permanently and
benignly. Dr Wollaston’s victory is a giant step towards making our
government accountable to the people." – Daniel Hannan on his Telegraph
blog

"Higher education minister David Lammy said Labour should end the "tightly-knit" system where only party members selected candidates. Former Transport minister Tom Harris agreed. He said: "The new candidate will have the support already of a large number of voters who will feel they have a vested interest in her success at the general election and beyond." – The Mirror

"Now that its experiment in popular democracy has been succesful, the Conservatives should repeat it and Labour should follow suit… Dr Wollaston’s selection must not become an historical curiosity, an eccentric experiment in the wake of a scandal. It should become a template and then a norm." – Times editorial

"The political class in Britain has been sent a message it will ignore at its peril: voters want more say, but without the time-sapping party structures. All political parties must now take note of the Totnes effect." – Herald editorial

Peter Riddell gives the system a cautious welcome in The Times

Picture 9 How the Conservative are targeting Liberal Democrat heartlands in the South West

"While attention has been focused on David Cameron's attempts to win back key marginal seats from Labour, particularly in the Midlands, his election strategists have marked a siege on the Liberal Democrats in the South West as the second front crucial to delivering a Conservative majority at the next election. Far away from the political hot house of Westminster, they are diligently pumping a healthy slice of Lord Ashcroft's millions into claiming the region. It is part of a plan to wipe out the steady gains the Lib Dems have made since the party first appeared on ballot papers in 1992." – The Independent

Tory candidates warned not to be "nasty" to Labour MPs over expenses

"Eric Pickles, Conservative chairman, has warned Tory candidates to take care when using the expenses issue for fear of unleashing wider public anger against all politicians… Mr Pickles predicted that the issue of MPs' expenses, which was exposed by The Daily Telegraph, will be a major theme at the next election." – Daily Telegraph 

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Eric Pickles warns against "nasty" use of MPs' expenses in campaigning

Nadine Dorries will seek to strengthen the law against "back door euthanasia"

"A Tory MP is to launch a fight in the Commons for the law against assisted suicide to be strengthened. Nadine Dorries is opposed to moves to impose 'creeping euthanasia by the back door'. She will lay down a private member's bill in the autumn to fight apparent attempts by the Government and prosecutors to effectively make it legal to help someone take their own life." – Daily Mail

GRAYLING-OPEN-SHIRT Chris Grayling repeats call to scrap early release scheme

"Flagship court orders to control violent offenders will only affect 125 dangerous criminals a year, the Home Office admitted yesterday. The new violent offender orders (VOOs) come in to effect from Wednesday but officials estimate only a handful of the thousands of eligible offenders will be handed one… Chris Grayling, shadow Home Secretary, said: "If the Government is serious about preventing violent crime, it should scrap its early release scheme instead of letting offenders at risk of committing violence out into the community." – Daily Telegraph

A former Labour special adviser describes the "Sisyphean task" of reforming the civil service

"Reform of the Civil Service by an incoming government, led by Gordon Brown, Mr Cameron or anyone else, would be a Sisyphean task… If Mr Cameron really wants to reform the Civil Service, he should make senior civil servants, from Grade 3 and above, directly accountable to his ministers, appointed by the government, and subject to pre-appointment scrutiny as in the United States." – Paul Richards writing in The Times

SNP dismiss poll suggesting likely Tory gain of Perth and North Perthshire

"The SNP reacted angrily last night to claims by their Conservative rivals that the latter are favourites to land the Perth and North Perthshire Westminster seat at the next general election… The Tories claim that a poll conducted by Crosby/Textor/Pepper, for the campaign group Flying Matters, puts the Conservatives well ahead of other parties, and suggests the SNP will lose the Perth and North Perthshire seat… But the SNP dismissed the findings of the poll and described them as “fantasy figures.” – The Courier

Chris Patten keen to become EU Foreign MinisterFT

John Bercow spends £20,000 on making Speaker's apartment "child-friendly"Daily Telegraph

Harriet Harman demands tougher rape lawsThe Times

Lord Adonis unveils high-speed rail plan to ground short flightsThe Guardian

Labour imposes all-women shortlists on half of seats where MPs are retiringThe Times

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17 comments for: Wednesday 5th August 2009

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