11pm David T Breaker on CentreRight: Will Klaus sign the Lisbon Treaty?

8.15pm Neil O'Brien on CentreRight: Should we care about manufacturing?

5.45pm WATCH: Ed Balls defends his appointment of a new Children's Commissioner for England, despite her rejection by the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee

5pm Seats and Candidates update: Watch David Rutley's speech accepting the Conservative nomination for Macclesfield at the weekend

2.45pm WATCH: Gordon Brown says that there are fewer than fifty days before a deal on emissions needs to be agreed at the Copenhagen Summit

EVANS NIGEL2pm Nigel Evans MP on CentreRight wants Lord Mandelson to face questions in the Commons and welcomes the fact that the UK Youth Parliament is soon to be given use of the chamber for a day: The House of Commons is the people's chamber

11.45am Alex Deane on CentreRight: A criminal ruling on criminal records

11.30am Fiona Beveridge on CentreRight welcomes the decision ordering the Government to publish late abortion statistics

10am LISTEN: Nick Herbert explains that the Conservatives would allow a free vote on a bill in government time to repeal the hunting ban

ToryDiary: The angry mob and the good MPs – Why we must not allow the entire House of Commons to be dismissed as dehumanised "troughers"

Brooks Newmark on Platform: Exposing the true scale of Labour's hidden tax bombshell

Seats and Candidates Diary of a PPC: Robin Walker welcomes Ken Clarke to Worcester as he translates the messages from party conference into local campaigns on the ground

John Moss in Local Government: All Council tenants should be given a standard lease clearly setting out their rights and responsibilities

WATCH: Alex Salmond says that a hung Parliament could be "Scotland's opportunity"

Dismay for David Cameron as Vaclav Klaus relents on Lisbon treaty

Vaclav Klaus "The last man resisting the European Union’s Lisbon treaty indicated yesterday that he was ready to relent, admitting that he could not stall long enough to give David Cameron the chance to call a British referendum. Vaclav Klaus, 66, the Eurosceptic President of the Czech Republic, said that while he was personally against the treaty, it had become like an unstoppable train after being ratified in all 26 other EU countries… Asked by a Czech newspaper if British Conservatives were urging him to delay, Mr Klaus said: “It is true that I have next to me a personal letter written personally by Mr Cameron from July which is suggesting something like this, but I cannot wait until the British election and I will not. They will have to do them in the next days or weeks.” – The Times

"This is where Mr Cameron can demonstrate that he is indeed a man of his word, for he and his shadow foreign secretary, William Hague, have promised to increase our independence from Brussels. We need to know how they will do that, and soon: the EU's interference in British justice and domestic policy is now so overwhelming that some powers must be unilaterally repatriated. It will be the role of a future Conservative government to change our relationship with the EU; and if it takes a referendum of some sort to effect that change, then so be it." – Daily Telegraph editorial

> Saturday's International post: Is Klaus about to surrender?

> David T Breaker on CentreRight yesterday: How do you solve a problem like Lisbon?

Jeremy Hunt plans to reverse key planks of  Labour's Digital Britain bill

"The Conservatives would reverse two of the main proposals in the government’s Digital Britain bill and are considering plans to rip up the BBC’s royal charter, according to the Tory shadow culture secretary. Jeremy Hunt said a Conservative government would scrap a proposed 50p a month tax on all telephone lines, aimed at raising about £175m a year towards the cost of funding superfast broa
dband to UK homes, “as soon as possible” after the election, expected in May. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Hunt also promised to reverse government plans to force the BBC to share £130m of the television licence fee with other broadcasters." – FT

Royal income could fall victim to spending cuts, say Tories

Picture 4 "The Conservatives have indicated that they will not exempt the Queen's civil list from the general Whitehall public spending squeeze when the next 10-year settlement is reached next July. A spokeswoman for the shadow chancellor, George Osborne, has told Republic, the anti-monarchist campaign, that they expect the royal household to ensure that costs are kept under control at a time when departmental budgets are facing cuts. The Tory refusal to exempt the royals from the public spending squeeze follows the disclosure by the Guardian that parliament is explicitly banned under the 1972 Civil List Act from reducing the £7.9m annual civil list payment to the Palace." – The Guardian

Sir Richard Dannatt is put in his place by Liam Fox

"The former Army chief appointed as a Tory military adviser was warned about his place in the chain of command by the party's defence spokesman. General Sir Richard Dannatt has said he is being brought in because the Conservative defence team 'lacks expert understanding'. But in a tetchy television interview, Liam Fox insisted he remained in charge of policy, saying: 'Advisers advise, politicians decide'. He added: 'It takes a bit of training to be a politician'." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Liam Fox appears to put General Dannatt in his place

Tories attract new backers for plan to boost academies

"The Conservatives will step up preparations for sweeping education reform this week by matching new sponsors with specific failing schools. Michael Gove told his party’s conference this month that an incoming Tory administration would shut down the worst-performing secondary schools and create academies free from local authority control. In the latest sign that the Shadow Education Secretary has wrested the political initiative from Labour, he has persuaded two highly respected educational charities to sign up to the Tory plans to turn around 100 of the country’s worst schools." – The Times

Green groups question Conservative commitment to environmental issues

"Environmentalists are becoming increasingly concerned that a Conservative government could fail to live up to David Cameron’s early promise to put green issues at the heart of government. Mr Cameron made a string of ecological pledges after he became leader of the Conservative party, promising a “green revolution” and urging people to “vote blue, go green” in the 2006 local elections. But key figures from the movement have told the Financial Times that they were worried Mr Cameron would not be able to deliver a genuinely environmental agenda if he won the next election." – FT

Margaret Thatcher to receive statesmanship award by David Cameron

Margaret Thatcher 2009 "Baroness Thatcher is to receive an international statesmanship
award on Tuesday night from David Cameron. The Tory leader will give
Lady Thatcher a bronze bust of Sir Winston Churchill crafted by Oscar
Nemon who created the statue of the wartime prime minister in the MPs
lobby in the House of Commons. The statue is opposite one of Lady
Thatcher. The presentation will take place at a fund-raising dinner for
London’s Churchill Museum in the Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall and
receives no state funding… Mr Cameron, in his keynote speech
“Churchill, the 21st Century, and the world crisis”, will lavish praise
on the strong leadership of Lady Thatcher during the economic recession
and Falklands War." – Daily Telegraph

Tories moot privatisation of the Met Office

"A Conservative government would consider selling the Met Office to cut costs at the Ministry of Defence, the shadow defence secretary, Liam Fox, said today. The Tories are committed to reducing MoD spending by a quarter, Fox told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, and this could be done in part by selling ministry assets. While the weather forecasting bureau is run as a commercial entity, it operates within the MoD. Asked how a future Conservative government would make such cuts, Fox said: "It's also big structures, like the fact the MoD owns the Met Office, with all the costs, salaries, pensions." Asked whether he was considering selling it off, he said: "There's a very strong case to look at the assets of the MoD and say, do these deliver anything for the frontline?" – The Guardian

Brown set to back Kelly on jobs ban for MPs' spouses

"Gordon Brown and Speaker John Bercow are planning to back radical plans to ban MPs from employing spouses or having their second home mortgage subsidised by the taxpayer. But they are insisting that these changes would be carried out in a transitional way so that MPs' existing arrangements are not turned upside down overnight." – The Guardian

> Saturday's ToryDiary: A ban on MPs employing family members will produce new wave of retirements

Bruce Anderson: We can go too far in denigrating MPs

"MPs should not be treated as if they were Bob Cratchit being interrogated by Scrooge about a three-farthings' discrepancy in the petty-cash book. There have to be rules, more explicit than in the past. There has to be transparency. Thereafter, MPs should be trusted. It is probable that the two civil service knights cannot help thinking in terms of Whitehall hierarchies, in which office furnishings are determined by rank and improve with promotion. It is true that many of today's MPs also think in terms of promotion and that the knights of the shire have been replaced by the esquires of the suburbs. But if Parliament is to function properly, MPs must recover their independence of spirit. Although they will always be accountable, the real terms of their employment should not be determined by their salaries and expenses, let alone by the Civil Service handbook. Those terms are a matter between them and their constituents." – Bruce Anderson writing in The Independent

Boris Johnson: The barefaced greed of bankers and their bonuses beggars belief

Boris Johnson smiling "I know people who work at these banks are each individually talented, charming and generous-hearted. But they need to grasp why Goldman's was recently described as a giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, and why so many people nod approval at that description. Instead of planning to hand out gigantic bonuses to their masters and mistresses of the universe, they should be lending that money to liquidity-starved British businesses. It is monstrous that good businesses are going to the wall for lack of credit, while bankers are using their taxpayer-funded bonuses to pile back into the yachts and the villas. They should also find some way – preferably collectively – to show that they understand their duty to the wider community." – Boris Johnson writing in the Daily Telegraph

Stephen King: Cameron cannot look to the Thatcher years for his inspiration

"Apart from taking on the unions and winning, which led to a massive reduction in days lost through strike action, Tory policies in the 1980s delivered four new sources of stimulus which, at the time, went largely unrecognised, even by the Tories themselves. The first was a sustained fall in inflation. The second was financial deregulation. The third was a reduction in the size of the state: reduced government borrowing and a commitment to keeping government debt under control led to a sustained drop in interest rates which "crowded in" private-sector investment. And the fourth was a persistent fall in the exchange rate following the extraordinary highs reached in the early years of the Thatcher administration… David Cameron and George Osborne are unlikely to be quite so lucky." – Stephen King writing in The Independent

Lord Adonis wants to be questioned by MPs

"Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has said he wants to be able to answer MPs' questions in the House of Commons. Current rules say peers who serve as ministers can face direct inquiries only in the House of Lords. But Lord Adonis told BBC One's Politics Show he and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson would be "delighted" to face MPs in the Commons chamber." – BBC

> Friday's post in Parliament: MPs may soon get the opportunity to question Lord Mandelson and other ministers from the Upper House

London snubs Boris's airport plansCity AM

David Cameron "tried to place George Osborne ally in safe seat"Daily Telegraph

Peter Hain seeks to prevent BNP appearance on Question TimeThe Independent

Weekend Highlights
Lots of news in Seats and Candidates:

ToryDiary posts:

Nick Herbert MP on Platform: The international conservation challenges which a modern Conservative Government must pursue

Sajid Javid on Platform: We must slash corporate tax rates and burn regulations to improve conditions for small and medium sized businesses

Local government:

Parliament: Labour Chief Whip introduces attempt to ban BNP MEPs from House of Commons

Melancthon on CentreRight says MPs should stop appeasing:
"Party leaders believe that they can appease the Mob.  They can't – the
more you appease them, the more they will believe that you were in the


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