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10pm Melanchthon on CentreRight: "Unlike the Editors, I don't believe it is fundamentally unConservative
to have all-women shortlists – but there would be profound implications
of doing so": All-Women shortlists and Equality before the Law

8pm ToryDiary updateA third poll tonight – commisisoned by Political Betting – also has the Tory lead at 17%

Picture 137.45pm Seats and Candidates: "Dave’s proposal would not be needed if so many Associations weren’t so resistant to change… We are kidding ourselves if we believe such change will be organic": Joanne Cash defends David Cameron's plans for all-women shortlists

6.15pm ToryDiary: New ICM poll also has Tory lead at 17%

4.45pm WATCH: David Cameron tells the Speaker's Conference of his determination to "whatever is necessary" to get more women elected to Parliament

4pm ToryDiary: Conservatives 17% ahead in new Ipsos-MORI poll

4pm ToryDiary: Britain's leading military chiefs sign up to James Bethell's vital campaign against racism and extremism

UNCONSERVATIVE 1.15pm Seats and Candidates: All women shortlists are fundamentally unConservative and they have no place in a party pledged to meritocracy and localism

12.45pm Local Government: Bedford Conservative group leader and deputy mayor suspended from party for two years

10.45am Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Congratulations to the Centre for Social Justice on winning another accolade

ToryDiary: David Willetts wants students to rate their lecturers and courses on a website for university applicants

Clive Aslet on Platform: Labour has done its best to ruin British agriculture – and by no means should we be relying on food imports from overseas

Parliament: Michael Gove challenges Ed Balls over his appointment of new Children's Commissioner for England

Nick Seaton in Local Government: The Cambridge Review of primary education is long-winded, ambiguous and too "progressive" even for Labour ministers

CentreRight:

Nothingbritish
WATCH: Andy McNab and Simon Weston feature among veterans in a new campaign video attacking the BNP for cynically exploiting the sacrifices of fallen heroes for its disgusting political ends

Generals join forces to resist "hijacking" by BNP

"The Armed Forces are in danger of being hijacked by far-right extremists “for their own dubious ends”, a group of former generals warn today. The British National Party is tarnishing the Forces’ reputation by associating itself with the sacrifices of servicemen, they write… “We call on all those who seek to hijack the good name of Britain’s military for their own advantage to cease and desist,” they write. “The values of these extremists — many of whom are essentially racist — are fundamentally at odds with the values of the modern British military, such as tolerance and fairness”… The generals’ letter forms part of a campaign, titled Stolen Valour, by leading military figures and Nothing British, an organisation that monitors the BNP." – The Times

Liam Fox echos Public Accounts Committee concerns about military accommodation

FOX LIAM NEW "More than 12,000 military homes are in worse condition than a year ago despite pledges to improve the standard of accommodation for soldiers, sailors and airmen. A damning report by the Public Accounts Committee reveals that those risking their lives are forced to live in homes without adequate showers and with wiring that is more than 36 years old… Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: ‘The Government’s treatment of our Armed Forces and their families has been one of failure and neglect. Despite their promises, too many service personnel and their families are living in homes that fail to meet the Government’s own decent homes standard. The last thing service personnel should have to worry about while on operations in Helmand is whether their family back at home is being taken care of’." – Daily Mail

Tories fear strike impact on Royal Mail sell-off price

"The threatened Royal Mail strike this week could have a "very serious
impact" on the value of the company, damaging the amount a Conservative
government could raise for taxpayers by privatising the postal
operator, the opposition party warned yesterday. Jonathan Djanogly, the
shadow business minister, told the Financial Times the strikes were "a
potential disaster for the company, in so far as it could lose
revenues". The industrial action in 2007 had lost Royal Mail a reported
£300m of business and the company "can't afford to lose that sort of
revenue again". – FT

Graham Brady highlights how anti-paedophile vetting endangers school exchange trips

BRADY GRAHAM "Vetting rules aimed at shielding children from paedophiles could put an end to the tradition of school foreign exchange trips. Ministers are insisting that both parents in British host families submit to child protection checks before they can put up an overseas pupil… Graham Brady, Conservative MP for Altrincham and Sale West, who has tabled Parliamentary questions on the checks, said: 'They can't protect British children by imposing the CRB check on British parents. It seems grossly disproportionate – the arrangement was working incredibly well for decades. It seems that they are doing this on the basis of no evidence of a problem'." – Daily Mail

Michael Gove outlines his approach to primary education

"Academic research shows that the quality of teachers is the most important factor in a child's education, which is why we must encourage the brightest graduates into the classroom. I want to give teachers the chance to deepen their knowledge of their subjects by making it easier for them to pursue higher-level qualifications… Ultimately, we need to give parents a bigger role in shaping their children's education, because the greater the parental involvement, the higher the level of attainment. For parents to be meaningfully involved, they need information about how schools are doing – and that accountability needs to be sharper." – Michael Gove MP writing in The Guardian

Welsh Tories reveal the cost of council workers' pensions

"More than a quarter of the average council tax bill goes on paying council workers’ pensions, figures obtained by the Welsh Conservatives reveal today… Shadow Local Government Minister Darren Millar said: “Council tax has doubled under Labour in Wales, yet these figures demonstrate that people are paying more and getting less. Instead of using council tax to pay for street cleaning, refuse collection, or local services, a quarter of every household’s bills is being spent on pension costs." – Western Mail

The three party leaders will today appear before the Speaker's Conference on making Parliament more representative of the nation

"The committee of 17 MPs, chaired by the Speaker, will question Mr Brown, the Tory leader David Cameron and the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg today. A row erupted on the eve of the hearing about its format. The three leaders will be questioned separately for 20 minutes each and there were Tory claims that Mr Brown had ducked out of the original plan for them to take turns at answering the same question. That would have been seen as a dry run for Britain's first televised debates at a general election. Labour sources denied the Tory claims, dismissing them as a "smokescreen" designed to cover the Opposition's initial reluctance to see a Speaker's conference go ahead." – The Independent

"Angry Tories last night accused Gordon Brown of “bottling” out of a Westminster clash with David Cameron and Nick Clegg." – Daily Express

Boris urges Lords to change Gary McKinnon extradition law

Johnson Boris Pointing "Boris Johnson has urged peers to vote today to change the law to prevent a repeat of the 'blunt and brutal' extradition of Gary McKinnon. Tories and LibDems in the Lords are expected to support the introduction of an amendment which would prevent those who commit crimes in Britain being sent overseas to face trial." – Daily Mail

Cameron aide sent Boris "mafia text message"

"Boris Johnson angered David Cameron’s inner circle so much with his performance at the Conservative Party conference that one member sent him a text message with a threat taken from The Godfather… Nick Boles, who is in charge of drawing up Conservative plans for government, quoted from The Godfather during the row, which was provoked by Mr Johnson’s support of a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. Having returned to London from the conference in Manchester on October 5, Mr Johnson received the Italian threat, “La vendetta è un piatto che va mangiato freddo”, by text message in the early hours of Tuesday. It translates as: “Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.” – The Times

Quentin Letts sketches Ken Clarke's latest outing at the Despatch Box

"Mr Clarke is Shadow Business Secretary. At the despatch box he remains a figure of warmth and bombast. He rolls his shoulders, pushes back his fringe, fiddles with his tie in an Oliver Hardy sort of way. His voice fog-squeaks and hits certain words with unexpected stress. In many ways he is still a great act. Even Labour and LibDem MPs watch him with affection." – Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail

Mike Baker: Are the Tories ready to run education?

"The plan to allow new schools to be opened on the Swedish model by parents' groups, charities and other organisations still sounds like policy tourism. Where is the detail? Are social entrepreneurs and parents' groups on standby? Have the differences between England and Sweden been taken into account, not least the very different nature of our existing private school system?" – Mike Baker writing in The Guardian

Allister Heath: Why Boris is wrong to attack the City

"Until now, I thought that Boris Johnson understood how the City works. Now, however, I’m not so sure: yesterday, he said he understood why so many people view Goldman Sachs “as a giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”. The reason? Because, says Boris, “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.” What? Since when do investment banks lend money to firms (and presumably, he means small firms, as those are the ones that tend to be most credit-crunched)? That is the job of commercial banks such as Barclays, not of firms such as Goldman. I have a lot of time for Boris, but such a basic error does not bode well for the rest of his argument, which soon falls apart." – Allister Heath's editor''s letter in City AM

UKIP to forfeit £350,000 in donations after Electoral Commission victoryDaily Telegraph

And finally… Samantha Cameron is in esteemed company in the race to be Celebrity Mum of the Year

Samantha Cameron "Glamour model Jordan is shortlisted for Celebrity Mum of the Year. She is up against Tory leader David Cameron's wife Samantha, who earlier this year had to deal with the tragic death of son Ivan. Ex-Spice Girls Mel B, Emma Bunton and Geri Halliwell are also on the list… The public can vote at www.bounty.com/celebmum." – The Sun

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35 comments for: Tuesday 20th October 2009

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