10pm ToryDiary: Latest ComRes poll puts Tory lead at 16%

DUNCAN ALAN NEW8.45pm  ToryDiary BREAKING NEWS: Alan Duncan demoted from Shadow Cabinet Updated with statement from Alan Duncan

6.30pm LISTEN: Jonathan Isaby tells Radio 4's PM Programme why people should support the campaign to Save General Election Night

5.15pm Local Government: New report challenges "tenure for life".

5pm ToryDiary: The Telegraph is wrong: today's YouGov poll does not show that the Tories are doing badly in the North of England

2.30pm Simon Chapman on CentreRight wants us to know exactly how much tax we are paying

12.45pm ToryDiary: Boris chooses the wrong mosque for his message about Islam

12.30pm ToryDiary: Can a Libertarian also be a Conservative?

10.30am LISTEN: William Hague comments on the latest developments in UK-Libya relations, as Ed Balls admits "none of us wanted to see the release of al-Megrahi"

SaveElectionNight graphicToryDiary: As an increasing number of Returning Officers seek to count ballot papers on Fridays, rather than the Thursday night, join our campaign to Save General Election Night!

Also in ToryDiary: Beyond Afghanistan, Liam Fox makes the case for investment in defence

Calum Irving on Platform: Could Conservatives ever support a minimum price for alcohol?

Seats and Candidates Diary of a PPC: Karl McCartney works hard, campaigns hard and plays hard during a hectic week in Lincoln

Roderick Bluh in Local Government: How Swindon has saved £10 million on procurement

CentreRight posts:

WATCH: Gordon Brown backs down over Libya compensation claims of IRA victims

CAMERON LOOKING LEFT In the latest of its Path to Power series looking at the Conservatives, the Telegraph publishes a detailed survey of attitudes to the party…

"Our poll sets out the challenge facing Mr Cameron in an attempt to answer some of the questions the public still has about this would-be government. With less than nine months to go before the next general election, these results will be uncomfortable reading for the Tory high command. The party’s apparently unassailable double-digit lead over Labour disguises doubts about Mr Cameron and what he will do if elected. At its most basic, the poll confirms what Westminster suspects – that while Labour is fatally unpopular, the Tories are not, yet, popular enough to be certain of the kind of decisive victory secured by Tony Blair in 1997." – Benedict Brogan writing in the Telegraph

…explains the party's daunting electoral task…

"Before 1997, the lowest number of Conservative MPs elected was in the post-war election which saw Clement Atlee defeat Winston Churchill. They won 210 seats. In the last three elections they have failed to get through the 200 barrier. What it means is that the Tories have never won an election from a starting point as weak as Mr Cameron’s." – Daily Telegraph

…and questions whether the party has yet made a breakthrough in the North of England

"A geographical divide also showed that Labour still polled better in the North, with only 33 per cent of voters backing the Tories compared with 35 per cent backing Labour." – Daily Telegraph

> Last night's ToryDiary: YouGov poll for the Telegraph puts Tory lead at 13% – but the details suggest David Cameron will struggle to attain a big majority

Business votes with feet in rush to Tories

"Business is focusing its lobbying efforts on the Tories rather than Labour for this autumn’s crucial pre-election round of political party conferences, figures released to the Financial Times suggest. The Conservatives sold out their flagship conference “corporate day” in early August, three weeks earlier than last year, with 80 companies paying £1,000 a head to hob-nob with George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, and other leading Tories at the Manchester event." – FT

Davis-David-red-tie David Davis "urges final blitz on Afghanistan"

"A Conservative backbencher has called on Britain to deploy “all the soldiers we can” to Afghanistan for a make-or-break push to regain military control within the next 18 months. Former shadow home secretary David Davis, 60, said if there was not “serious progress” in Afghanistan by the time of the US mid-term Congressional elections in November 2010, the public in Britain and America would be demanding withdrawal." – Daily Star

> David Davis wrote exclusively for ConservativeHome yesterday: We must deploy all the troops we can to Afghanistan now and stop trying to fight the war on the cheap – but if no progress is made in 18 months, the public will demand our withdrawal

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: David Cameron emphasises that British troops are fighting a "necessary war" in Afghanistan to stop terrorism at home

Gordon Brown weakened by U-turn on IRA victims' campaign for compensation from Libya

"Gordon Brown last night promised he would back the battle for compensation from Libya for the relatives of IRA bomb victims, after leaked letters showed he had initially refused to take up the issue because of fears it might harm relations with Col Muammar Gaddafi… Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was a “stunning admission” that the Government had not supported the victims’ families, adding that the decision should have been a “matter of course, not as a result of public pressure”. Liam Fox, the shadow Defence Secretary, said a Tory government would reopen negotiations with Libya on compensating IRA victims." – The Independent

> Last night's ToryDiary: William Hague accuses Brown of losing moral compass over U-turn on IRA families and Libya

Scots Tories demand truth over al-Megrahi medical reports

"The Tories and Labour last night demanded the truth over allegations that Libyan-paid doctors contributed to evidence that freed the Lockerbie bomber…  Tory leader Annabel Goldie blasted the inconsistencies. She said: "We have continually said there must be a full disclosure of all medical documents. Until the Scottish Government, which has had every chance to comply with this, does so, suspicions will remain." – Scottish Sun

Gaddafi son attacks British MPs

"Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi's son has branded as "disgusting" and "immoral" the British politicians asking questions about the release of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing. In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Saif al Islam came to the defence of Gordon Brown and his "friends" behind the release of Abdelbaset al Megrahi." – Sky News

OsborneOnMarr George Osborne on slashing MPs' pensions and payouts to 'fat cat' civil servants…

"Major cuts would be made to MPs' pensions under a Tory government, George Osborne announced yesterday. The Shadow Chancellor said MPs would be banned from joining the current gold-plated scheme based on age and time served. Mr Osborne also laid out plans to slash retirement payouts to 'fat cat' civil servants." – Daily Mail

…and backing an FSA veto for excessive City bonuses

"George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, said the City watchdog should veto excessive City bonuses this year. Mr Osborne said the Financial Services Authority (FSA) should act not only against banks which are part-owned by the state, such as RBS, but also against those which have received a Government guarantee, such as Barclays." – Daily Telegraph

> WATCH: George Osborne interviewed about the economy and bankers' bonuses on this morning's Andrew Marr Show

GOVE MICHAEL RED TIE Michael Gove responds to Labour's policy change on academies…

"The government is to abandon its policy of charging charities, businesses and individuals a £2m sponsorship fee to run academies, in a fundamental change to the scheme designed to sweep away accusations that Labour has privatised schools… Michael Gove, the shadow schools secretary, said: "The government's academies programme is running on empty. New academies do not have the proper freedoms to make a decisive difference to children's education. What we need to drive up standards is a radical reform programme to give schools meaningful autonomy and hence real choice." – The Guardian

…and questions spending on school consultants

"Local authorities have spent £170 million on consultants in a government scheme to refurbish and rebuild schools in England, the Conservatives say… Shadow Children's Secretary Michael Gove questioned whether it was value for money. He said that since Building Schools for the Future (BSF) began in 2004 a new school had opened in just 15 local authorities." – BBC

Labour will not protect NHS and overseas aid budgets

"Health and overseas aid budgets will not be spared from a programme of public spending cuts that will be rolled out by ministers over the next two months, the Guardian has learned… David Cameron, intent on softening his party's harsh image, has said health and international development budgets will not be reduced, a position that has infuriated the Tory right." – The Guardian

Alan Johnson is accused of a cover-up over Gary McKinnon's legal battle

"Alan Johnson was last night accused of presiding over a cover-up after refusing to release crucial legal papers in the Gary McKinnon case… Last night, Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'I just can't understand what the Home Office are trying to hide. There is a legal debate raging about a high profile case. Why on earth would they try to avoid setting out in detail their own legal position. It just makes no sense'." – Daily Mail

GREEN-DAMIAN-RED-TIE Damian Green reveals the police's £25 million annual translation bill

"Police are spending up to £70,000 a day on translation to deal with migrants caught up in crime, The Daily Telegraph can disclose… Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister who obtained the figures, said: “This reveals one more hidden cost of the failure to control immigration numbers under this Government. Many public services have been put under pressure by the scale of immigration, and the police are no exception." – Daily Telegraph

Tories set to curb powers of £300m Yorkshire quango

"Conservative council leaders are planning a radical overhaul of Yorkshire's £300m-a-year development agency ready in the event of David Cameron leading the party to victory at the next election. Plans to strip Yorkshire Forward of a string of powers for housing, transport and planning and slash its budget have already been discussed in the region in advance of a promised shake-up of quangos if the Tories win, the Yorkshire Post can reveal." – Yorkshire Post

Labour will share a platform with Nick Griffin on Question Time

"Labour has been forced to drop its policy of not sharing a platform with the BNP after the BBC confirmed that it is to invite Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time." – The Times

> Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight yesterday: It is important we confront the BNP but also that we take away their issues

Tories’ new Merseyside chairman aims to energise party

"Merseyside Conservatives have voted in a city investment director as their new party chairman. Carl Cross, who works at Rensburg Sheppards, came out top in an election last week. He said he plans to energise the party on the doorstep and hopes to scoop the Sefton Central and Southport seats for the party." – Liverpool Daily Post

Sleaford and North Hykeham attracts "more than 100" applications from would-be Tory candidatesLincolnshire Echo

Boris Johnson: Brussels is a shining symbol of where the real power lies  – Daily Telegraph

Jackie Ashley: A Tory dystopia looms, yet ministers meekly sit and waitThe Guardian

Cabinet ministers believe Brown is doomedThe Sun


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