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10pm Sally McNamara on CentreRight: A New EU-Backed Berlin Wall

CleggNickDeclaring 

8.15pm WATCH Two more clips from Nick Clegg's conference speech:

6.15pm WATCH: Nick Clegg appeals to Labour voters to support the Lib Dems, claiming the Conservatives only offer "fake change"

6pm ToryDiary: Sometimes turning right, sometimes turning left and definitely turning nasty

3pm WATCH: Daniel Hannan tells the European Parliament that unless the EU stops undermining national Parliaments, they might as well be turned into museums

2.30pm Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight: China and Climate Change

1.30pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: When you thought things couldn't get worse for the Lib Dems -  a study suggests they would lose out under PR

12.45pm ToryDiary: Liam Fox says there is nothing new in what Gordon Brown is saying about Trident

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12.15pm Dan Hamilton on CentreRight posts a beautifully-crafted Merkel election video

11.30am Local Government: Boris IS axing western extension of the Congestion Charge next year (contrary to today's splash in the Evening Standard.)

11.15am Latest on CentreRight:

10.30am Mark Wallace on CentreRight: "Ignorance of the law has never been a defence" – Baroness Scotland damned by her own words

ToryDiary: Could Vaclav Klaus ensure that Britain gets its chance to reject Lisbon under a Cameron Government?

Nick Herbert MP on Platform: The consumer should be king and free trade must flourish – but we have a right to know when we are buying British

Local Government: Welsh Labour back councillor Communications Allowances (which Tories are opposing)

WATCH:

David Cameron waist up

David Cameron distances himself from "1980s-style" cuts

"David Cameron yesterday buried the Conservative party's Thatcherite past when he promised to steer clear of a confrontational "1980s-style approach" in cutting public spending. In remarks that may upset supporters of the former prime minister, Cameron questioned what they regard as one of her central achievements: that she rolled back the state. "We never in the 1980s actually managed to cut public spending," the Tory leader said. "The rhetoric was out there about the weight and the burden and all the rest of it, but … this is a far more serious problem than we faced in the 1980s." Cameron, who has pledged to reduce spending at a faster rate than Labour, indicated he would adopt a more measured approach than Thatcher. "This is something we need to do with the public sector, not to the public sector," he told an FT conference in London. "This is very important: this is not some 1980s-style approach about cutting public spending." – The Guardian

Tories maintain pressure on Baroness Scotland with repeated calls for her to go

"The most senior law officer in England and Wales avoided the sack despite becoming the first individual in the country to be sanctioned for breaching immigration rules that she helped frame as a Home Office minister… After the Border Agency announced its findings, Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said: "We can't see how Baroness Scotland can credibly stay in her job. She was the minister who steered this law through the House of Lords and who insisted upon its stringent application"… David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, said that it should be "automatic" for ministers to resign after they broke the law." – Daily Telegraph

"Baroness Scotland provoked outrage last night after comparing her breach of immigration law with a minor motoring offence… 'It's like driving into the City and not paying the congestion charge,' she said. 'It is not a criminal offence. I made an administrative, technical error for which I am bitterly, bitterly sorry'." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's posts on the issue:

Tories say basic pension will be linked to earnings, despite cuts

"David Cameron has said that the huge budget deficit will not stop a Tory government restoring the link between earnings and the level of the basic state pension… Restoring the link would cost the taxpayer more than £1 billion a year. As the Tories pledge deep cuts in public spending if they win the election, there has been speculation that a Conservative government would delay or even drop the restoration. But at a City conference with pension managers, Mr Cameron made clear he will stick with his pledge. The Tories will match Labour plans to restore the link as soon as 2012 and no later than 2015." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: David Cameron pledges to honour the restoration of the link between pensions and earnings

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Boris tells Cameron: Don't kidnap my staff…

"Boris Johnson, the Conservative mayor of London, warned David Cameron today that he would mount a "Stalingrad-like resistance" against any attempts to poach members of his top team at City Hall ahead of the next general election. Johnson went on the offensive amid rumours that his economic adviser, Anthony Browne, is set to quit his post in the next few weeks to stand as a Conservative parliamentary candidate… He said: "What I can certainly confirm to you is that we have to reason to believe that the Tory high command is eyeing with great jealousy some of the top talent there is in City Hall." Johnson said that, having seen the "many things we have been doing", such as cutting waste, "I think they are probably going to try and burgle a few of them and obviously I am going to mount a Stalingrad-like resistance". – The Guardian

…and backs voluntary admission charges for museums

"Visitors to London's free museums should make voluntary payments upon entry, Boris Johnson has said. The Mayor of London said museums and galleries here should adopt a model from New York, where a system of "recommended" or "suggested" fees is used by places such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art." – Daily Telegraph

Chris Huhne forced to excise "skinhead" attack on Wiliiam Hague from conference speech

"A senior Lib Dem had to hastily re-write his conference speech yesterday after an early draft described William Hague as a “skinhead”. The contents of Chris Huhne’s speech were briefed to a handful of media outlets, and contained an attack on the Shadow Foreign Secretary’s Europe policy." – Western Mail

"Initial copies of the speech – which accused the Tories of jumping into bed with a group of "wackos and weirdoes" in the European Parliament – described Shadow Foreign Secretary Mr Hague as "a skinhead who has gone round the beer cellars of Europe and come up with the dregs"… But last night Ilford North MP Lee Scott, a friend of Richmond MP Mr Hague, said: "This Nazi slur is an insult on William as a human being. It's not only offensive, it's outrageous." – Yorkshire Post

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: The Lib Dem attacks on the Conservatives get even more personal

Brown set to announce cut in British nuclear fleet

"Gordon Brown is preparing to surrender one of Britain’s four Trident submarines to help to cut nuclear arsenals around the world… The Prime Minister will insist that scaling back the Trident fleet when the current programme is replaced has nothing to do with the economy but is instead part of efforts led by President Obama to slash nuclear stockpiles and force countries such as Iran to abandon efforts to build atomic weapons. It means that the future of Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent is in doubt whoever wins the next election. Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, suggested recently that Britain scale back the Trident fleet from four vessels to three." – The Times

Tory election win could see era of Swedish-style "free schools"

"A win by the Conservatives at the next election could open the door to an upsurge in “no frills”, bargain-basement private education, researchers claim. Tory plans for 220,000 new places in state-funded Swedish-style “free schools” will bring major change to the sector, a report claims." – Times Educational Supplement

ASHCROFT Michael

Lord Ashcroft buys up political websites

"Lord Ashcroft, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, has bought majority stakes in two influential political websites… ConservativeHome, a Tory website representing the voice of the party’s grassroots, and PoliticsHome, which publishes political research and stories from across the web, are now 57.5 per cent owned by the peer who oversees the Conservative Party’s “target-seat” campaign. Both sites receive around a million hits a month." – The Times

> Sunday's ToryDiary: Lord Ashcroft and Stephan Shakespeare form new company to expand ConservativeHome

> Yesterday's statement from PoliticsHome

Clegg to take on 'fake change' Tories…

"Nick Clegg will today attempt to counter the Tory threat to dozens of Liberal Democrat MPs by insisting that voting Conservative is not the only way to remove Gordon Brown from Downing Street. The Lib Dem leader will put his party on general election alert as he closes a conference overshadowed by controversy over his plans for a "mansion tax" and in-fighting over tuition fee policy… The choice at the next election is fake change from the Conservatives or real change from the Liberal Democrats," he will insist. "Power is yours to give to whoever you choose. So don't turn away, don't stay at home, don't vote Conservative just because you think it is the only option." – The Independent

…as Vince Cable faces mutiny over tax plans…

"Vince Cable faced a mutiny by his own colleagues yesterday after the party’s new tax policy led to accusations that the Liberal Democrat star performer is high-handed and uncooperative. In another awkward day for the party, Nick Clegg also faced defiance from frontbenchers on the conference floor with Steve Webb, the pensions spokesman, depicting his electoral strategy as “the audacity of gloom”. Liberal Democrat MPs, including several frontbenchers, ambushed the party’s Treasury spokesman and deputy leader after it emerged that he had failed to consult them over plans for a mansion tax on properties worth more than £1million." – The Times

…and senior Lib Dem volunteers demand commitment to scrap tuition fees

"We have yet to have that discussion but, as a clear majority of members of the FPC, we think it would be valuable to clarify now that we predict that our commitment to scrap tuition fees, as part of our plans to create a fairer society, will indeed be included in the manifesto and that the party will be united in strongly campaigning on this in the run-up to and at next year's general election." – Guardian letter from 18 members of the party's policy committee

FINKELSTEIN DANIEL

Daniel Finkelstein has some advice for the Lib Dems

"2012 could be the great Liberal moment. And the party can seize it if it begins to prepare now. It should do two things. The first, and most important, is to realise that Mr Clegg’s stated strategic goal of taking over the centre Left is at odds with his tactic of targeting Labour seats at the next election. Labour retains sufficient regional strength that an attempt by the Liberal Democrats simply to wipe them out seems almost certain to fail. They may, to be sure, win a few seats in Labour areas next time. But, after that, progress will stall. And the targeting will have had a huge cost. It will make the sort of soft merger of the forces of the centre Left — the informal, coalition-in-all-but- name that the Liberals must hope to lead in a few years’ time — much harder to form." – Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

Anthony Seldon reportedly being lined up for peerage by David CameronDaily Telegraph

Margaret Hodge returns to the GovernmentThe Independent

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28 comments for: Wednesday 23rd September 2009

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