7pm Parliament: Speaker Bercow sets out a "Backbencher's Bill of Rights" to enhance the power of backbench MPs

4.45pm WATCH: Gordon Brown denies there is a rift between him and Barack Obama


4.30pm Obama highlights seven key changes in American foreign policy since Bush left White House

4.15pm Seats and Candidates: Five more safe seats feature in the latest tranche of constituencies seeking a candidate

4pm Roger Helmer MEP on CentreRight: Sustainable Energy – without the hot air

3pm International: Stephen Harper pulls all Canadian officials out of UN during Ahmadinejad's address

2pm Seats and candidates: Bracknell councillors unhappy at 'CCHQ's shortlist' to succeed Andrew Mackay + John Maples said to be "heavily promoting" some candidates over others


Noon: ToryDiary: Owen Paterson says that the Bloody Sunday Inquiry should report "as soon as possible"

11.30am WATCH: David Cameron meets ex-Liberal Democrats who explain why they have joined the Conservative Party


Jeremy Brier on Platform: Was the Lib Dems' seaside farce in Bournemouth the most hapless Party Conference in recent times?

Local Government: How can councils avoid being ripped off by construction contractors?

Star Chamber: A 10% reduction in the size of the civil service

International: Australian Liberal leader defends capitalism's achievements during red carpet trip to London


More coverage of David Cameron's plans for pensions


"David Cameron has hinted that a Conservative government may fast-track plans to raise the retirement age from 65 to 68… The current age people receive their state pension is already due to rise from 65  to 66 by 2026, to 67 by 2036 and 68 to 2046. The timetable was drafted by former Confederation of British Industry chief Lord Turner as part of his pensions review. He recently said that he wished he’d been bolder in accelerating the dates. Mr Cameron hinted that he agreed with the peer." – Daily Mail

"Banker bashing" unites the parties

"Gordon Brown and David Cameron have one thing in common. Both say Britain’s financiers need to be reined in and punished. Brown’s Labour government is tightening bank rules and curbing bonus pay, part of a crackdown coordinated with the Group of 20 nations, whose leaders begin a summit in Pittsburgh today. Cameron has promised a “day of reckoning” for the “irresponsible” rich if his party takes power… “The financial crisis has changed the landscape,” said Mark Hoban, the Conservatives’ spokesman on financial regulation. “When taxpayers have to stump up quite big sums of money to bail out banks, they expect a much more intrusive regulatory structure.” – Bloomberg

The growing political consensus in Britain on Trident

"Prime Minister Gordon Brown will use a speech at the United Nations Security Council on Thursday to offer the possibility of Britain’s reducing its fleet of ballistic nuclear missile submarines as part of a new global pact on nuclear weapons, aides to Mr. Brown said on Wednesday… Liam Fox, the Conservatives’ shadow defense minister, said in another BBC interview that Mr. Brown’s proposal seemed “reasonable and sensible,” as long as experts determined that a three-submarine force would be enough to keep one vessel at sea at all times." – New York Times

The case for keeping Britain's nuclear deterrent has never been strongerTelegraph editorial

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Liam Fox says there is nothing new in what Gordon Brown is saying about Trident

Gordon Brown is snubbed by Barack Obama…


"Gordon Brown lurched from being hailed as a global statesman to intense embarrassment tonight, after it emerged US President Barack Obama had turned down no fewer than five requests from Downing Street to hold a bilateral meeting at the United Nations in New York or at the G20 summit starting in Pittsburgh today. The prime minister, eager to portray himself as a leading player on the international stage in America this week, was also forced to play down suggestions from inside his own party that he might step down early, either due to ill health or deteriorating eyesight." – The Guardian

…and denies he is going blind

"In an interview on American television later, he quashed persistent speculation that he was slowly losing the sight in one eye, having been blinded in the other one as a teenager." – Daily Telegraph

Charles Clarke again calls on Brown to quit…

"Former home secretary Charles Clarke today warned that Labour would "crash" at the next election, and risked being out office for a generation, unless Gordon Brown stood down as prime minister. Clarke told today's London Evening Standard that with Brown leading the party Labour would be out of power for 10 or 15 years." – The Guardian

…and questions whether Labour can afford to fight an election

"It could be “almost impossible” for Labour to raise enough money to fight a general election campaign next year, a former cabinet minister warned on Wednesday amid new questions over Gordon Brown’s leadership… “There is a real challenge even to pay the wages of our current staff, and we need nearly £20m just to pay off our debts and keep going until next May,” the MP told a meeting of Progress, the Blairite think-tank, last night. “Raising the money to fight a general election campaign seems almost impossible in current circumstances.” – FT

Alistair Darling describes calls to oust Brown as "b******s"The Scotsman

> Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight yesterday: Charles Clarke sets the scene for Labour conference by calling on Brown to go (again)

Steve Richards: Labour has not been as scared of defeat since 1982

"For the first time since 1982, Labour gathers for a pre-election conference fearful that it might be slaughtered when the voters deliver their verdict in a few months' time. In the build-up to the 1987 and 1992 elections, there were varying degrees of misplaced optimism in Labour's ranks. More recently, the party's pre-election conferences looked forward to another inevitable triumph at the polls. No one will accuse Labour of giddy euphoria as it contemplates the forthcoming election." – Steve Richards writing in the New Statesman

Nick Clegg declares his ambition to be Prime Minister…

Nick Clegg confrence speech

"Nick Clegg has declared his ambition to be Britain’s Prime Minister and claimed that his Liberal Democrats now have a real chance of forming a Government. Closing a fractious Lib Dem conference, Mr Clegg claimed his party is replacing a “dying” Labour Party. The next general election will now be a two-horse race between the Lib Dems and David Cameron’s Conservatives, he said." – Daily Telegraph

…and gets a mixed response

"The Liberal Democrats can make the most headway by speaking with a distinctive voice, remaining independent and keeping ahead of the ideas curve of British politics. Despite the upsets, Mr Clegg's party emerges from this week's conference having achieved those key objectives." – Independent editorial

"Liberal Democrats came to Bournemouth hoping to clarify their message for the next election and instead they smudged it. Their conference was a disappointing affair, its lack of character unexpected. Nick Clegg ended with a coherent speech and a believable claim to compete for power. He delivered his lines well and with some passion. But in policy terms he edged away from daring, as if startled by the reversals of the week." – Guardian editorial

"This week has been an opportunity lost for the Liberal Democrats. As the week unfolded, the excitement dissipated. With an election on the near horizon, with the Labour Government’s lease on power coming to an end and the Tories not yet commanding enthusiasm, this week has been an object lesson in how not to seize the day. By the time Mr Clegg had done a tour of his prospective Cabinet it was clear he was intent on wasting the hour he had been granted of the nation’s time." – Times editorial

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Sometimes turning right, sometimes turning left and definitely turning nasty

> WATCH Three clips from Nick Clegg's conference speech:

Hugo Swire MP: It's time for a progressive alliance between the Tories and Lib Dems


"Calls for the Tories and Lib Dems to join forces to defeat Labour have been backed by Conservative MP for East Devon Hugo Swire. He urged Lib Dem members to form a "progressive alliance" in taking on the Government, after Tory leader David Cameron called for the two parties to work together… Mr Swire was not expecting Liberal supporters to become card-carrying members of the Conservative Party overnight, but said: "There is a growing consensus about the kind of change our country needs — a consensus that unites Conservatives and Liberal Democrats." – The Express and Echo

David Curry MP: The two parties have been debating public spending like two drunks tied to the same lamppost

"Up to now political “debate” has largely taken the form of Tory
jeering at Labour’s refusal to utter the word “cuts,” and Labour
sneering that the Tories can’t wait to take the axe to public services
they have never, deep in their political heart, really loved. The
parties have been lurching around like two drunks tied to the same
lamppost." – David Curry MP writing in the Local Government Chronicle

Ex-Bank of England man claims cuts would cause mass unemployment

"If spending cuts are made too early and the monetary and fiscal stimuli are withdrawn, unemployment could easily reach four million. If large numbers of public sector workers, perhaps as many as a million, are made redundant and there are substantial cuts in public spending in 2010, as proposed by some in the Conservative Party, five million unemployed or more is not inconceivable. Crime will inevitably rise and there will be widespread social unrest if this happens." – David Blanchflower writing in the New Statesman

Tory PPC to have triple heart bypass opNorth Devon Journal

Crispin Blunt campaigns to Save General Election Night Redhill and Reigate Life

British boycott anti-Semitic Ahmadinejad speech at UNDaily Telegraph

Could Tony Blair become the first EU president?The Independent

James Purnell urges bigger role for unelected ministersThe Guardian

London BNP man faces ban after "making up" murdersThe Times


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