10.30pm ToryDiary: Nearly two-thirds of Tory members would back Nigel Farage against John Bercow

8.15pm WATCH: Nigel Farage explains why he is stepping down as UKIP leader and is challenging John Bercow

Half-Measures8pm AmericaInTheWorld: Obama is warned against "Rumsfeldian half-measures" in Afghanistan

5.30pm Earlier ToryDiary updated with CCHQ statement of support for John Bercow

5.15pm WATCH: Gordon Brown calls on NATO allies to do more in Afghanistan

11.30am ToryDiary: Tories in Buckingham will be free to vote for Nigel Farage but CCHQ worries about publicity coup for UKIP

11.30am Mark Wallace on CentreRight: The £3.4 billion budget for promoting a country called Europe

TimesVConHome ToryDiary: Murdoch's decision to charge for content will be the making of the blogosphere

ToryDiary: Iain Martin becomes Deputy Editor of Wall Street Journal Europe

Aid470 Caroline Boin on Platform: How taxpayer-funded foreign aid is being used to spread government-endorsed ideology

Local government: Poundbury takes a pounding

Local government: Ex-Gurkha wins by-election for Tories in Kent

LISTEN: Caroline Lucas MEP claims that David Cameron's emphasis on climate change produced surge in support for Green Party


'The public will not accept for much longer that our losses [in Afghanistan] can be justified' – Eric Joyce in The Independent

Nigel Farage to quit as UKIP leaderBBC

> Yesterday Mr Farage announced his intention to stand against Speaker Bercow at the General Election

Met chiefs insist they are in charge after Boris Johnson aide claimed Conservative oversightGuardian

George Osborne attacks Alistair Darling's support for a further stimulus

OSBORNE GEORGE BLUE "There's a fundamental contradiction at the heart of Alistair Darling's argument. He says that he expects, as we do, that Britain will come out of recession this year and yet he wants to go on with large increases in public spending next year, when he knows the country cannot afford it. His position has everything to do with the politics of a looming election and nothing to do with the economic interests of the British people." – The Shadow Chancellor quoted in The Independent

Allister Heath in City AM attacks Gordon Brown's surrender to the French and Germans on "crude" controls of bank bonuses

Andrew Lansley asks for cost of NHS job cuts report that Labour immediately rejected

Lansley-Big-Ben "Labour now claim to have rejected these ideas, but why were they
spending taxpayers’ money on management consultants to draw up this
report if they had no intention of using the findings?  Labour need to
come clean on how much money they have wasted on this whole exercise.” – The Shadow Health Secretary quoted on

Competition between hospitals has CUT inequalityFT

"The time for creative thought about the costs of the NHS is not nigh. It is here." – Times leader

David Cameron promises inquiry into the release of the Lockerbie bomberDaily Mail

Labour appointees run the quangocracy and the Tories must dismantle it

Writing in The Spectator Dennis Sewell lists the ex-Labour ministers given plum places in the quangocracy: "David Clark got the Forestry Commission, Chris Smith the Environment Agency, Geoff Rooker the Food Standards Agency. Larry Whitty, the party’s former general secretary, is chairman of Consumer Focus (where Dame Suzi is a fellow board member — that freelance consumer consultancy experience came in useful after all). Baroness Morgan won a seat on the board of the Olympic Delivery Authority, Lord Warner went straight into a paid NHS chairmanship. The list seems endless."

> Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: "Labour's twenty year rule of appointment-land will mean they'll lose office but not power next year"

Ministers should attend soldiers' funeralsThe Western Mail reports on David Davies MP's Platform piece of yesterday

Tories need to share Murdoch view on BBC – Amanda Andrews in The Telegraph

Jeff Randall: Cameron has most to lose from election debate

"Mr Cameron has most to lose from engaging in a debate. He is so close to No 10, he can smell the leather chairs in the Cabinet room. The soft option would be to try to slip into power, taking no chances, leaving his adversary to drown in the red ink of ballooning government deficits and unemployment bills. That he seems prepared to take up the challenge of a televised shoot-out is to his credit, and a sign of growing confidence." – Jeff Randall in The Telegraph

Andy McSmith predicts that the Greens will make a breakthrough at the General ElectionIndependent

Financial market reform is at heart of Barroso's bid to be re-elected Head of EUGuardian

New German election poll suggests Angela Merkel's support falling and Right and Left parties tiedTelegraph


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