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7.30pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight discovers Brown's resignation speech

19PCTORYLEAD 7.15pm ToryDiary: 19% Tory lead in News of the World/ ICM poll would produce Commons majority of 170

5.45pm Seats and Candidates: Six names battling it out for South West Norfolk

5pm WATCH: Downing Street confirms that Gordon Brown has two tears to the retina of his good eye

2.30pm WATCH: Daniel Hannan MEP tells the European Parliament why the Common Agricultural Policy should be scrapped

Noon Seats and Candidates: UNCONFIRMED John Horam MP to step down at the general election

11.30am ToryDiary: A recap on which shadow cabinet members got name-checked by David Cameron in his conference speech

ToryDiary:

Tony Baldry MP on Platform: Lessons from a VSO summer placement in Nepal

Local Government:

Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight: How £6 million of our money is being spent on scaring children into fighting climate change

WATCH: Sky's Adam Boulton reviews the Conservatives' week in Manchester for BBC1's This Week

George Osborne's maths called into question by think-tank – but the party strenuously denies the story as "nonsense"

George Osborne blue background "George Osborne's reputation as a would-be Tory chancellor was unravelling tonight after his claim that he would save £13bn by raising the state pension age was challenged by the respected thinktank that provided the basis for his figures. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said the shadow chancellor's proposed saving, outlined at the Conservative party conference this week, would take five years longer than estimated and fall £3bn short… However, the shadow Treasury minister, Greg Hands, later added: "This story is complete nonsense. From the moment the policy was launched we were clear that the savings would be realised once the men's and women's pension age reach 66." He said he believed the Guardian had used GDP in 2009 to calculate the effects of a policy that would not take effect until 2016 at the earliest. "To suggest our estimates of costs fall short or would cause a 'death spiral' is wrong and offensive." – The Guardian

The MPs' expenses scandal will be back on the agenda as the Commons returns next week

"The expenses scandal is set to engulf the House of Commons again on Monday when MPs will be sent an auditor’s letter about the claims they made over the past five years. The Times has learnt that up to 100 MPs will be asked to repay expenses, or prove that their claims were legitimate. About a dozen are likely to face demands to hand back significant sums, in some cases “tens of thousands of pounds”. Investigators working for Sir Thomas Legg, a former civil servant appointed by the Commons to audit MPs’ expenses, are understood to have focused on big mortgage claims, as well as extravagant charges for household services." – The Times

David Willetts says old-fashioned universities are letting students down…

WILLETTS DAVID NEW "Universities are badly failing students with unfit teaching and old-fashioned methods and will have to radically modernise lectures and facilities if they want to raise fees, according to the Conservatives' spokesman on higher education. David Willetts told the Guardian that vice-chancellors are not prepared for the pressure their students will put them under if fees go up and that many have failed to prove students are getting value for money." – The Guardian

…and insists the Government cannot duck responsibility for student loans crisis

"The full extent of delays to student loans and grants emerged yesterday as MPs called for an urgent parliamentary inquiry into the crisis. According to data from a Freedom of Information request, delays to money from the Student Loans Company (SLC) have left up to 175,000 students without financial assistance… David Willetts, Shadow Universities and Skills Secretary, said that the crisis at the loans company led back to the Government. “Senior officials were present at all the meetings where problems were discussed, so ministers cannot duck their responsibility for this year’s problems.” – The Times

Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw uses Twitter for personal attack on Cameron by using Tory leader's dead son Ivan to make point about NHS

"Gaffe-prone Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw sunk to a new low today after he appeared to make a political point out of the death of David Cameron’s son Ivan. Mr Bradshaw was forced to issue an apology after launching an attack on the Tory leader on the Twitter website, mocking his support for the NHS. He implied that Mr Cameron had no right to condemn ‘big government’ during his keynote speech to the Tory conference yesterday having made widespread use of the NationalHhealth Service himself." – Daily Mail

Gordon Brown didn't bother to watch David Careron's conference speech

"While the Conservative leader was issuing an invitation to join him on his "steep climb", the Prime Minister was facing the uphill struggle of a normal working day. "I didn’t watch it," he says. "I was busy." – Gordon Brown interviewed in the Daily Telegraph

The Times remains fascinated by the Camerons' conference attire

"In the past, Mr Cameron has worn suits from Timothy Everest’s M&S range (as has Gordon Brown) so it raised some eyebrows to discover that he was wearing a much more upmarket Richard James suit, worn by the likes of Lord Mandelson, David Walliams, Hugh Grant and Daniel Craig." – The Times

Charles Moore: David Cameron is the right man, but he was wrong about Gen Sir Richard Dannatt

Charles Moore "This was the week when the nation finally agreed that David Cameron would be a better prime minister than Gordon Brown. It was the week when he gained such command over his troops that he could proclaim that the Conservatives  – not Labour – were the party to relieve poverty, and get the biggest cheer of the afternoon. It was the week when, as Tony Blair once did to the Tories over crime, Mr Cameron definitively turned the political tables. Just rejoice, as someone once said. But since this column has argued for four years that Mr Cameron is the right man, with the right political strategy, it now claims the freedom to rain a little on the parade. The decision to promise a peerage and a ministerial job in a future Conservative administration to General Sir Richard Dannatt is a mistake." – Charles Moore writing in the Daily Telegraph

"The Conservatives were forced to insist that David Cameron believes he has a very strong defence team after Sir Richard Dannatt disclosed that the Tory leader had said they “lacked expert understanding." – The Times

The outside advisers drafted in by the ConservativesThe Guardian

Peter Oborne: The week the tectonic plates of politics shifted

"This week's party conference in Manchester was managed with great
skill. Many commentators predicted a great internal row about whether
David Cameron should support a referendum over the Lisbon Treaty. This
was averted – an important sign that unity has returned to the
Conservatives. On Thursday afternoon, David Cameron made the unfussy and
serious speech of a Prime Minister-in-waiting rather than a leader of
an opposition. There were none of the irresponsible spending commitments that
a panicky Gordon Brown threw out like confetti in Brighton in his bid
to endear himself with the trade unions. Unlike Brown a week earlier,
Cameron spoke like a national leader on Thursday, going out of his way
to stress that the Conservative Party represents the poor every bit as
much as the better off." – Peter Oborne writing in the Daily Mail

Andrew Grice: David Cameron deserves some credit, but…

"By deciding to answer the criticism that they were policy-lite, the Tories have taken a big risk. They deserve credit for doing so. Mr Cameron and George Osborne agonised long and hard about when to unveil some of the spending cuts needed to tackle Britain's "debt crisis"… Yet the Tories' honesty has its limits. Senior figures know that part of the black hole in the public finances will have to be filled by tax rises but they look the other way when you ask them whether they are going to admit it before the election." – Andrew Grice writing in The Independent

The Independent considers Lord Ashcroft's investment in political websites

"When Lord Ashcroft, the Tory donor, announced he was starting a new venture as a digital media mogul last month, buying up two of Britain's most influential political websites, the move was greeted with raised eyebrows in Westminster. His purchase of PoliticsHome, which publishes political stories from across the media as well as regular surveys, and ConservativeHome, a website for Tory members, suddenly gave him influence over a rapidly growing branch of the media. With both sites receiving about a million hits a month, his opponents suggested he could use the sites to further help the party that has already benefited from his fortune." – The Independent

The Guardian examines the TaxPayers' Alliance

"Since it was launched six years ago the alliance has become arguably the most influential pressure group in the country, yet neither the people who run it, or the backers who pay for it, have come under a great deal of scrutiny." – The Guardian

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: The Nobel award to President Obama is perverse and premature

"He has been President of the United States for less than nine
months. During that period he has made a very impressive and important
speech in Cairo on the West’s relations with the Muslim world. He has
launched big initiatives on reducing nuclear weapons, galvanising the
Israel-Palestine peace process and initiating a dialogue with Iran to
resolve historic differences. However, as of this date the number of nuclear weapons is the same
as it was. The Israelis and Palestinians have yet to talk and the
Iranians have been found to have a secret factory for enriching uranium
that could be used for nuclear weapons." – The Times

Alex Salmond relishes the prospect of a hung parliament

SALMOND-ALEX “There’s a vast, overwhelming majority of people in Scotland, regardless of political preference, who rather like the idea of the Westminster parliament being hung by a Scottish rope. I don’t think a Tory majority is a shoo-in by any means. I think a hung parliament or a balanced parliament of some kind is still more than an arithmetic possibility. It’s a strong possibility. I understand the electoral arithmetic that says, for example, the Tories could lead by six points but have no overall majority. And I also understand minority government. Common sense would tell you that people would regard it as a good time to maximise Scotland’s influence." – Alex Salmond interviewed in the Daily Telegraph

The Daily Mirror has scoured Facebook for embarrassing photos of Conservative Future membersDaily Mirror

Politicians should follow example of John Buchan, says Michael GoveDaily Telegraph

Ken Livingstone claims Boris Johnson tried to 'pay off' former Evening Standard editorThe Guardian

Hillary Clinton to visit Northern Ireland next weekDaily Telegraph

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32 comments for: Saturday 10th October 2009

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