10pm ToryDiary: Labour to make retaining the hunting ban a "key plank in its election strategy"

7.45pm WATCH: David Cameron says that the British people feel let down that the Government has not given us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty

5.15pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Speaker Bercow attacks the "evil of the BNP"

David Cameron poppy3.45pm ToryDiary update: David Cameron demands an apology from David Miliband over his smears against Michal Kamiński

3.15pm Local Government: Pickles urges Councils to ditch CEOs (according to Municipal Journal)

2.30pm Jim McConalogue on CentreRight: Is the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty legal?

1.45pm WATCH: On Question Time Jacqui Smith tries to defend her failure to return the £116,000 she took in housing allowances – despite having broken the rules on MPs' expenses

12.30pm ToryDiary update: Jack Straw says proposed election cost-cutting is "simply unacceptable" but Dominic Grieve wants the report published to ensure that nothing else is being covered up

Noon Seats and Candidates: Twickenham PPC Deborah Thomas demands answers from Vince Cable over the Lib Dems' use of an offensive image of a child in their propaganda

Michal Kaminski Manc9.45am ToryDiary: Poland's Chief Rabbi nails the smears against Michal Kamiński once and for all

ToryDiary: Dominic Grieve slams the threat to democracy posed by possible cuts to election costs

Cheryl Gillan MP on Platform: As the Welsh Conservatives recover from the 1997 "near death experience", Labour is having to resort to the politics of the playground

Local Government:

Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight: The EU Emissions Trading Scheme cost British consumers £3 billion in 2008

WATCH: Labour MP Tony McNulty apologises to the Commons after being forced to pay back nearly £14,000 in expenses

Tories plan to sell off all of strike-hit Royal Mail

Royal Mail logo "The Conservatives are backing the total privatisation of Royal Mail and believe bidders will be more willing to come forward if the dispute ends with the union forced to accept modernisation. The move risks further inflaming the increasingly bitter dispute as the second wave of national strikes kicked off today after last-ditch talks collapsed on Wednesday… en Clarke, the shadow business secretary, has held talks on the sale of Royal Mail with potential bidders, and the party believes there is still a desire in the private sector to take over the company. The Conservatives' resolve has hardened over the last few days as union leaders and management remain deadlocked." – The Guardian

Postal strike enters second dayBBC

> Mark Field MP wrote on Platform last week that the national postal strike was "suicidal"

Tony Blair's chances of EU presidency "fading"

BLAIR AND EU STAR "Tony Blair’s chances of becoming the European Union’s first president were fading fast last night as opposition to his selection grew across Europe and France and Germany failed to throw their weight behind him. The case for the former Prime Minister came under attack from European leaders on the Right and the Left at a summit in Brussels, despite an appeal from Gordon Brown to Labour’s sister socialist parties in Europe to “get real” about the merits of Mr Blair." – The Times

President Blair would do nothing for Britain – Jeff Randall writing in the Daily Telegraph

Blair is the only man for the job – Steve Richards writing in The Independent

Only third of voters want Tony Blair to be EU presidentDaily Telegraph

Baroness Ashton mooted for European "Foreign minister" role…The Independent

…as is David MilibandThe Guardian

> WATCH: Brown makes the case for Tony Blair to be EU President

> Yesterday on CentreRight Melanchthon renewed his case for President Blair

EU grants Czech Republic Lisbon treaty concession

European leaders have granted the Czech Republic an opt-out from the EU charter of fundamental rights in a move intended to force the country's Eurosceptic leader to finally ratify the Lisbon treaty. The Czech Republic's refusal to sign – it is the only member state yet to ratify the legislation – has held up the implementation of the treaty and the naming of an EU president. EU leaders meeting in Brussels approved the UK style opt-out, overcoming an obstacle placed in the path of ratification by the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, earlier this month." – The Guardian

George Osborne attacks Brown on the economy as US recession is declared over

George Osborne poppy "Pressure mounted on Gordon Brown after the United States came out of recession yesterday, leaving the UK as the only major world economy experiencing negative growth…  Shadow chancellor George Osborne said: "These figures are very good news for the world economy, but Britain now stands out as the only major economy still in recession. Gordon Brown's claim that we were 'best placed' now lies in tatters. His recession plan has failed. The rest of the world is moving on and we are left behind." – The Scotsman

Nadine Dorries wins damages from Damian McBride

"A Tory MP has received damages from one of Gordon Brown's former spin doctors after he targeted her as part of the "smear emails" scandal. Nadine Dorries is believed to have been paid damages of £1,000 by Damian McBride, who had been one of the Prime Minister's closest advisers. He resigned following his admission that he had composed emails designed to smear Tory rivals. The Mid Bedfordshire MP said that she hoped Mr McBride's decision to settle the case and pay her £2,500 legal costs would strengthen her hand in bringing legal action against No 10 itself. She added that she hoped the victory would stop people believing there was "no smoke without fire" when they heard rumours about her." – The Independent

Michael Gove laments decline in foreign language teaching

"A dearth of trainee modern foreign language teachers is hampering a Government drive to ensure all children start learning another language from the age of seven… "When ministers dropped the compulsory study of language up to age 16 a few years ago, the other half of the deal was improved provision in primary schools," said Michael Gove, the Conservatives' education spokesman. "But these figures show that the number of trainee primary teachers with a specialism in languages is actually falling, as is the number of language specialists overall. For all the Government's promise of improving modern foreign languages, in reality things are going in the wrong direction." – The Independent

People of Gosport to choose new Tory candidate

"The Tory candidate to replace expenses scandal MP Sir Peter Viggers will be selected by the people of Gosport. It's only the second time in the country that a candidate will be selected by the public, not the party. A total of 73,683 postal ballots will be sent out to the residents of the town, costing the Conservative party an estimated £38,000. The 'open primary' system has been used in America for years, but it was only in July this year that the Tory party first selected a candidate for MP by using the system." – Portsmouth News

"Through open primaries, the Tories have been able to turn stories of backwoodsmen clinging to their privileges into stories of a party experimenting with new forms of democracy." – Martin Bell backs open primaries in the Daily Telegraph

> Wednesday's Seats and Candidates post: Gosport will be the next constituency to run an all-postal primary

Grant Shapps: Turn Nimbys to Yimbys on housing

SHAPPS GRANT "Labour strategies are actually preventing house-building, and upsetting communities that could be seen as part of the solution… But there is a better way. Scrap targets, abolish most regional quangos and allow local communities the freedom to build again. Because the Regional Spatial Strategies are bogged down by legal dispute, there is evidence that they are actually preventing homes from being built right now." – Grant Shapps writing for The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Grant Shapps promises incentives to turn NIMBYs into YIMBYs

> Yesterday on CentreRight Lawrence Kay highlighted Policy Exchange's success in moving Tory policy on housing

Director in Boris Johnson's business and Economic unit sacked for racist languageThe Times

Lord Ashcroft rejects "politically motivated" accusations from the Prime Minister of BelizeThe Independent

All peers to sign up to new code of conductThe Times

UK Youth Parliament to hold sitting in the Commons chamber todayBBC

Five ways Britain can get the most from Russia – Advice in The Times for David Miliband from former Ambassador to Moscow turned would-be Conservative candidate Tony Brenton


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