Picture 22

11pm WATCH: Sky News's Adam Boulton on the significance of The Sun backing the Conservatives

10.15pm ToryDiary BREAKING NEWS: The Sun deserts Labour to back the Tories

9pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Tackling anti-social behaviour is a favourite of Prime Ministerial conference swansongs

5.30pm David T Breaker on CentreRight: Guess who doesn't love the NHS?

5pm WATCH: Four clips of highlights from Gordon Brown's speech:

4.45pm Iain Murray on CentreRight notes the irony of the choice of entry and exit music for Gordon Brown

4.15pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Twitterworld's reaction to Brown's big speech

4pm Ryan Robson on CentreRight: Middle England has turned its back on Gordon Brown

Picture 10

3.45pm ToryDiary: Live blog of Gordon Brown's Labour conference speech

2.45pm Local Government: Fiona Pilkington's suicide: What are councillors for?

12.45pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight offers Some random observations from his first Labour conference

11.15am ToryDiary: David Cameron responds to Pilkington tragedy: "Everything will be done differently by a Conservative government"

11.15am WATCH: Sky News's Joey Jones previews Gordon Brown's conference speech

10.45am Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: When was the last time a speech made a difference?


Kwasi Kwarteng on Platform: Britain needs a manufacturing base – and pure free markets cannot be relied on to deliver it

Nick Seaton in Local Government: School governors should be waste busters

Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Have you an idea about reform of the Lords, Parliament or the EU which you'd like to pitch at a Dragon's Den event at conference?

WATCH: Peter Mandelson's speech to Labour Conference in its entirety

Liam Fox: The Conservatives would send 2,500 more troops to Afghanistan


"A Conservative government would increase British troop numbers in Afghanistan by up to 2,500 and deliver more helicopters, armoured vehicles and “other key battlefield enablers”, the Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox indicated yesterday. Claiming that continued British involvement in Afghanistan was a “national security imperative”, Dr Fox told an audience at the International Institute for Strategic Studies: “A Conservative government would be sympathetic to a request for an increase in the number of British troops to help" – The Times

"I believe the goal of security is achievable. The current war in Afghanistanin that context is winnable. This is the message we must get across to the British electorate-many of whom think any military action in Afghanistan is doomed from the outset. From many quarters we are constantly told that the war in Afghanistan is "unwinnable", "impossible", or a "losing battle". To support this claim we are told that Afghanistan is a "graveyard of empires" as if any military, regardless of its intentions, objectives, or capability has some sort of predisposition to strategic and tactical failure once they cross the border into Afghanistan." – An extract from Liam Fox's speech reproduced in The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Liam Fox accuses the Government of failing in its three main responsibilities in Afghanistan

Cameron cleared over four-letter radio interview

"A radio interview in which Tory leader David Cameron repeatedly swore did not breach broadcasting regulations, Ofcom has ruled. Mr Cameron was forced to apologise over a live interview he gave to Absolute Radio presenter Christian O'Connell on July 29… The incident prompted 20 complaints about offensive language to Ofcom, but the broadcasting watchdog ruled the show was "not in breach" of its code for broadcasters." – ITN

Lansley demands urgent investigation after cancer vaccination death


"A 14-year-old girl has died after being given a cervical cancer jab as part of a national immunisation programme, but the exact cause of death is unknown… Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the tragedy needed to be investigated "as a matter of urgency". He said: "This again raises the question which we have asked for some time, as to why the government won't publish the assessments it made of the relative merits of the two HPV vaccines and why we therefore use a different vaccine to most other comparable countries."  – BBC

Welsh Tories unveil home insulation plan

"Welsh Conservatives yesterday unveiled a £120m plan to cut carbon emissions by improving insulation in thousands of homes across Wales. The party proposes fitting loft and cavity wall insulation to homes if it has a role in the Assembly Government after the next election in 2011. It is estimated the four-year programme could cost £120m at today’s prices and create up to 2,500 jobs." – Western Mail

David Aaronovitch: The Tories should beware the Irish, not Labour

"There is a significant chance that by December — with all 27 member states having ratified Lisbon — the EU could be discussing candidates for president and foreign affairs chief. And here is the formal position of Her Majesty’s Opposition: if, by the general election, the treaty is in force, it “would lack democratic legitimacy in this country and we would not let matters rest there”. So the question — if the Irish Republic votes yes just in time for the Tory conference in Manchester — is what on earth “we would not let matters rest there” actually means. If scrutiny of the Opposition is any part of the modern journalist’s trade, it is the question that will be asked and reasked until it is answered. What “matters” will not rest?" – David Aaronovitch in The Times

Poll puts Labour in third place behind the Lib Dems…

"Labour has been pushed into third place for the first time in a generation according to a new poll that heaps pressure on Gordon Brown ahead of his fightback speech to his party conference today. The Prime Minister will make a last-ditch bid to save his embattled leadership by highlighting his actions to rescue the economy from a major banking collapse." – The Scotsman

> Last night's ToryDiary: New Ipsos-Mori poll puts Labour in third place behind the Lib Dems

…as Labour activists are told the country's worst-kept secret: the general election will be on May 6th 2010

Picture 14

"While Brown has until June 3 to call the vote, local elections are already scheduled on May 6. A 34-page Labour document titled, “General Election Handbook Part 1 — A day-by- day planner for your general election campaign,” was issued to candidates and campaign chiefs this week at the conference. The document’s description of an April campaign suggests that Brown is planning to hold the general election the same day as voting for local officials. “This would appear to confirm a May 6 election,” said Justin Fisher, professor of political science at Brunel University and an expert on election campaigns." – Bloomberg

Brown to take fight to 'middle England' when he addresses the Labour conference today

"Gordon Brown takes his “fightback” to the streets of middle England on Tuesday, with a crucial Labour conference speech aimed at challenging the Tories on crime and family breakdown." – FT

"Gordon Brown is expected to announce a crackdown on anti-social behaviour in his keynote speech to the Labour party conference. He will say: "Whenever and wherever there is anti-social behaviour, we will be there to fight it." – BBC

"Gordon Brown will announce that local councils are to be given new powers stop pubs and clubs opening for 24-hours a day. The move will be part of a wider package of crime measures that the Prime Minister will unveil in his crucial pre-election party conference speech. He has previously indicated that he is unhappy with parts of the licensing law changes that were brought in while Tony Blair was Prime Minister but has stopped short of overhauling the legislation." – Daily Telegraph

> ConHome will be live blogging Gordon Brown's speech this afternoon from 2.15pm

Alistair Darling slams Tory economic policy

"Alistair Darling warned Britain that victory for David Cameron at the next General Election would herald a return to “Tory dark ages”. In his keynote address, the Chancellor sought to draw a stark distinction between the 12 years’ experience he and Gordon Brown had in office with the youthful inexperience of the Conservative leader and George Osborne, his Tory shadow, whom he insisted had contributed ­“little that is grown-up” to the economic debate." – The Herald

"Words by Machiavelli, choreography by Pan's People, and yet it worked" – Quentin Letts' verdict on Mandelson's speech

Picture 9

"Pure panto. A growling, scowling, toot-the-flute Peter Mandelson delivered a hypnotic speech yesterday afternoon, a caricatured cocktail of menace and guile. All it lacked was a black eye-patch, stumpy leg and the pirate’s cutlass. Oh, and a bouquet of gladioli for the blushing diva himself. There were self-puncturing jokes, swishes of kitten claw and a series of exaggerated waist swivels, arm gesticulations and eye flashes worthy of a Michael Jackson impersonator." – Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail

…but Ken Clarke is unimpressed

"The Conservatives said the speech showed the government was "empty" at a time of national crisis. "It is sad that Peter Mandelson did not appear to have a new idea or policy to offer," said shadow business secretary Ken Clarke. "The speech largely consisted of school-boyish attacks on the Conservative Party." – BBC

Lord Adonis: Cameron is trying to offer "better Blairism"

"David Cameron is stealing Tony Blair’s rhetoric, Lord Adonis told The Times’s fringe meeting at the Labour conference yesterday. The Transport Secretary said that the Conservative leader flipped between Blairism — “often a shorthand for a pro-business, pro-market approach” — and dire warnings to scare voters. “Cameron is trying to offer a better Blairism when he’s trying to be sunny,” he said. “Then when he’s not, it’s the age of austerity and broken Britain.” – The Times

What’s the point of the Labour Party?

"As Lord Mandelson said in his speech on Monday, “you win elections on the future, not the past”. This is the test for Gordon Brown, prime minister, when he rises to speak to his conference on Tuesday – one that he has failed dismally so far. He must explain why he thinks that his party deserves a fourth term and what he would do with it. This means setting out a clear vision about what he wants the state to do, and what he wants it to stop doing. Mr Brown must stop endlessly reciting his credentials and finally set out a direction." – FT editorial

Peter Riddell: Gordon Brown and Labour may get little credit for economic recovery

Picture 15

"Gordon Brown and the Labour Party may get little credit, and few votes, even if there are clear signs of an end to the recession and the start of economic recovery early next year, a new poll for The Times suggests… The poll shows that only 24 per cent of the public say that Mr Brown will deserve a great deal of credit if there are clear signs that the economy has come out of recession and is recovering at the beginning of next year. Forty-seven per cent say that he will deserve a little credit and 27 per cent no credit at all." – Peter Riddell in The Times

Rachel Sylvester: Gordon Brown is finished – and the Labour Party might be tooThe Times

Steve Richards: Operation Fightback is a clever idea, but signs of panic aboundThe Independent

Angela Merkel faces demands for tax cuts as coalition talks begin

"Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was under pressure to take make quick tax cuts and take a tough stand on Turkey's bid to join the European Union as she launched coalition talks. Negotiations between her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the smaller pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) opened in Berlin a day after voters gave the parties 332 seats, enough for a working majority, in the Bundestag." – Daily Telegraph


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.