3.45pm David T Breaker on CentreRight: Eurosceptics should welcome Van Rompuy and Ashton, the "Jedward" of European politics
2.30pm Neil O'Brien on CentreRight on how to turn around the Government's record deficit: "Sorting out the deficit will promote growth and recovery, whilst the fiscal correction should be biased towards spending cuts to avoid choking off growth"
10.30am JP Floru on CentreRight: "If police chief constables are unhappy about Conservative plans for locally-elected police commissioners, I wish them good luck and goodbye."
- Gordon Brown says that Baroness Ashton's appointment as EU High Representative means that Britain's voice will be heard "loud and clear" in Brussels
- Baroness Ashton pledges herself to "quiet diplomacy" in her new role
David Curry is the subject of the Telegraph's latest expenses allegations
"David Curry, the MP who heads the committee responsible for policing Commons expenses, has claimed almost £30,000 for a second home that his wife has banned him from staying in, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. After learning of The Telegraph investigation last night, David Curry resigned as chairman of the parliamentary standards and privileges committee and now faces a formal inquiry into his claims. The Skipton and Ripon MP, 65, is accused of having an affair with a headmistress in his constituency and using a taxpayer-funded cottage to meet his lover." – Daily Telegraph
Acpo head warns police chiefs may quit over Tory plans
"Police chief constables may resign if a Tory government tries to place forces under local political control, the head of their professional body has warned. Sir Hugh Orde, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said colleagues would resist being told how to protect the public by locally-elected leaders. In an interview for BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Sir Hugh warned democracy would be undermined if there was even a "perception" of political influence over chief constables. "Operation independence is absolutely critical," he said." – BBC
George Osborne says Brown has lost control of Britain's debt…
"Pressure for tax rises and public spending cuts intensified yesterday as it was disclosed that the Government was forced to borrow an extra £11.4 billion to pay its bills last month, the worst October figure since records began… The Conservatives seized on the figures and the OECD intervention to question the Government’s economic competence, saying borrowing was 88 times higher than a year ago. George Osborne, Shadow Chancellor, said: “Today is a defining moment in the debate about Britain’s debt — the moment when we see that Gordon Brown has not just lost control of the public finances but lost the economic argument about the debt crisis.” – The Times
…as the CBI backs the Tory deficit strategy
"The CBI has backed Conservative plans to cut the budget deficit swiftly and sharply, rejecting Gordon Brown’s eight-year timetable to reduce the national debt as a “limp” approach that will prolong economic pain. Richard Lambert, director-general of the employers’ group, endorsed Tory fiscal policy and welcomed the non-confrontational stance on Europe taken by party leader David Cameron. Mr Lambert stressed the CBI’s apolitical nature but his comments mark a significant shift by the business community." – FT
David Cameron sparks row after warning the elderly will lose out under new care plans
"The Conservatives sparked a bitter political row last night by claiming two million pensioners would lose out under new Labour plans to reform the system of elderly care. David Cameron seized on the Government’s Queen’s Speech proposals which ministers maintain will help 300,000 pensioners get free personal care at home. The Conservative leader warned that establishing a national care service, which Gordon Brown announced in his party conference speech, would mean scrapping the attendance allowance and the disability living allowance… Mr Cameron said: “It is a good idea to help people in their homes but the Prime Minister appears to be proposing to abolish these benefits that people rely on.” – Daily Telegraph
> Yesterday's ToryDiary on the subject
Jeremy Hunt is lauded in an Economist profile
"Telegenic and successful in business, he is liked by the party’s high command. His ideas on broadcasting are drawing attention now, as disquiet about the dominance of the BBC grows. Recent revelations of opulence at the corporation during a time of general austerity, and growing resentment of the way it is crowding out private-sector rivals, have broadened support for a tougher line on the broadcaster than Labour, for the most part, has taken. Many Tories have long yearned to tame the BBC, which they think is riddled with liberal bias, and now scent their moment… His ability to shape a distinctively centre-right media policy is welcome after years of Tory reticence on DCMS matters. And his knack for making big news out of his “fun” brief at a time of recession and war speaks to his political skill." – The Economist
Tories call for local TV channels – Daily Telegraph
Former NHS chief supports Tory view that the Health Service should be "left to run itself"
"The man who headed the NHS for most of Tony Blair's tenure has come out in favour of the Conservative's policy of handing control of hospitals over to an independent board. Sir Nigel Crisp, NHS chief executive from 2000 to 2006, said politicians should focus on public health issues such as smoking, assisted dying and stem cell research ethics – leaving the Health Service to run itself day-to-day. An independent board to run the
health service has already been promised by the Tories. They say they will rebrand the Department of Health as the Department of Public Health to reflect ministers' hands-off role." – Daily Mail
Simon Hoggart sketches the Queen's Speech debate on education
"A handful of Labour MPs turned up on the day after the Queen's speech. And most of them could scarcely be bothered to stand up and ask a question. Nobody believes in this thing. It's not worth the parchment it's written on… Michael Gove, the Tory education spokesman, may have been watching I'm A Celebrity … because suddenly he accused Ed Balls, of being "the Katie Price, the Jordan of the government. All he is interested in is being on the front pages, so he has massively inflated what he has to offer!" Oooh, missus!" – Simon Hoggart in The Guardian
Labour beats a hasty retreat on sleaze law
"Labour was last night trying to patch up a damaging rift with the sleaze watchdog after Harriet Harman appeared to dismiss his calls for new legislation. Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, had earlier issued a rare public attack on the Government. He said he was 'disappointed' that the Queen's Speech failed to address his reforms of the scandal-hit expenses system." – Daily Mail
> Yesterday's ToryDiary on the matter
David Cameron gets "mauling from mothers"
"David Cameron was unexpectedly savaged by a group of mothers during an internet chat yesterday, reviving memories of Tony Blair being slow hand-clapped by the Women’s Institute. The Conservative leader was answering a series of wide-ranging questions via computer on the Mumsnet.com website. Mr Cameron was criticised for being under-prepared for the questions and dismissed for not answering quickly enough." – Daily Telegraph
David Cameron blames Mumsnet webchat delays on laptop – BBC
Steve Richards: The party leaders deserve a sunny Christmas holiday – but won't dare take one
"I wonder if any of the party leaders has booked a long holiday in the sun over Christmas and the New Year. In my view they would deserve one, but I am almost certainly in a tiny minority of about three voters on this issue. In the current climate most would probably fume with outraged indignation if they say saw Gordon Brown or David Cameron relaxing in the sun during the depths of a bleak midwinter." – Steve Richards writing in The Independent
James Harkin: How the arts establishment is courting the Tories – The Guardian
Lord Ashcroft's links to the Turks and Caicos islands in the spotlight – The Independent
Harriet Harman to be charged with driving without due care and attention – The Independent
Boris Johnson backs Jewish festival – Jewish Chronicle
BNP signs first non-white member – The Independent
And finally… The Daily Star tips Carol Vorderman to be an education minister in a Cameron Government
"Countdown star Carol Vorderman is set to be an education chief under David Cameron's Conservative government if he wins the next election. Number-crunching maths whiz Carol has met top Conservatives to discuss plans for her to get a seat in the House of Lords. She would then be in line to become an education minister. The news comes after it was revealed that posh property guru Kirstie Allsopp, 36, of Location, Location, Location, is being targeted for a key housing role if David Cameron wins the next election." – Daily Star
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