5.45pm WATCH: Brown makes the case for Tony Blair to be EU President
3.30pm Harry Phibbs on CentreRight: "As everyone is urgently posting their Christmas presents in the hope they arrive in time may I suggest for those in need of inspiration a book by my friend Madsen Pirie? It is entitled 101 Great Philosophers and is only just over 200 pages so can be read in a day. Afterwards you need have no fear of finding yourself embarrassed at intellectual dinner parties. No longer need you worry if instructed to pick up Oliver Letwin from the station to attend your constituency annual dinner as to what to discuss on the car journey to the hotel."
12.45pm Lawrence Kay on CentreRight highlights Policy Exchange's success in moving Tory policy on housing
Noon Melanchthon on CentreRight updates his case for Tony Blair
Seats and candidates: Eric Pickles and not John Maples should draw up emergency shortlists
Tories warn of five-year war with EU over election of Tony Blair as President
"Europe will face a 'five-year war' with Britain if Tony Blair is installed as EU President, Conservative sources warned last night… Yesterday German diplomats suggested Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen as a key player in the appointment process, did not like the idea of 'having to listen to Mr Flash all the time'.
Former German president Richard von Weiszaecker, a conservative who is close to Mrs Merkel, added that Mr Blair's 'extraordinarily intensive backing' of the Iraq war would count badly against him." – Daily Mail
Timothy Kirkhope MEP warns that Blair would gallivant "around the world" rather than do the real work that Europe needs – Telegraph
Don't give Tony Blair the post of EU President, His presence would revive past battles rather than inspire a fresh approach – Charles Clarke MP in The Independent
On CentreRight yesterday evening Melanchthon urged a vote for Tony Blair as EU President: "If we must have a President, surely we want a good, strong, exciting, British one?"
British Legion poster defaced to attack Tony Blair – Photograph in The Telegraph
MPs demand five years to adjust to expenses overhaul – Guardian
Sir Christopher Kelly received pleas from 17 MPs who did not want him to ban them from employing relatives – Telegraph
"One of the wives who would lose her job if Sir Christopher Kelly were to ban MPs employing spouses has said she will take the matter to court if the new rules are brought in. Suzy Gale, who this year will have worked for her husband, the Conservative MP for North Thanet, Roger Gale, for 27 years, said: "I have taken advice from an employment lawyer and if this goes ahead I will be taking legal action for unfair dismissal or positive discrimination against whatever authority I can." – Guardian
MPs will no longer be able to cash in on lucrative resettlement allowances if they stand down at future general elections or are defeated – Telegraph
"Good riddance to the 200-odd MPs who may quit because they don't like the sound of the new regime" – Daily Mail leader
Labour's Tony McNulty will be told to repay around £13,000 and apologise to the Commons for claiming second home expenses on a house where his parents lived – Sky News
The Independent highlights Jonathan Isaby's campaign to encourage retiring Tory MPs to announce early
"Campaigners now hope to sidestep the threat of
all-women lists by writing to the 161 Conservative MPs who have not yet
announced whether or not they will stand at the next election, urging
them to do so before the end of the year. It could block Mr Cameron
from imposing any all-women lists before the next election. Jonathan
Isaby, the co-editor of the Tory members' website ConservativeHome, who
sent out the letters yesterday, said he had launched the campaign to
"ensure that their associations do not have to select under the
restrictive by-election rules", which dictate that the CCO can impose a
shortlist containing three or four names on local parties." – Independent
The Sun castigates Labour over Nimrod
The Sun Says: "Saying sorry sounds distinctly hollow after Government penny-pinching caused the deaths of 14 servicemen. Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth floundered again yesterday when cuts were blamed for the 2006 crash of a Nimrod spyplane in Afghanistan. An inquiry says 20 per cent defence budget cuts – applied with "Stalinist efficiency" – made the Nimrod a death-trap. Safety was sacrificed for savings, while danger signals were ignored through incompetence, complacency and cynicism… Labour's record on defence spending is appalling. Cash has been sprayed in every direction but the one that matters most."
The Government's chief drug adviser accuses Jacqui Smith of distorting the evidence on cannabis – BBC
"Ecstasy, LSD and cannabis are less dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes, the Government’s chief drug adviser claims today. Professor David Nutt is calling for a new ‘index of harm’ to warn the public about the relative dangers of various substances. He says alcohol should rank fifth, behind only cocaine, heroin, barbiturates and methadone, while tobacco should rank ninth, ahead of cannabis, LSD and Ecstasy." – Daily Mail
The BNP can expect to be on Question Time every year says BBC chief – BBC
Email from Schwarzenegger spells out F-U-C-K-Y-O-U – Independent
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