Midnight ToryDiary: The future of Euroscepticism

9pm Seats and Candidates: Barking PPC Simon Marcus responds to Nick
Griffin's announcement of his candidacy there by emphasising the
Conservative message of unity over division

6.45pm ToryDiary: Cameron talks about his Christian faith on Songs of Praise

Picture 26.15pm WATCH: Jon Culshaw from BBC1's The Impressions Show performs his Gordon Brown rap

5pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Twenty of the best of #SaySorryBrown

4.30pm Seats and Candidates: The Conservative MPs who say they intend standing again – and those who have yet to confirm their intentions

11.45am Graeme Archer on CentreRight: "Following on from Jonathan’s disquisition yesterday on the utility of celebrity endorsements for political parties, a spy at CCHQ has leaked me some of the pre-prepared announcements which will be fed to the press in the run up to the election…"

Picture 511.30am Seats and Candidates: As Stephen Byers quits, how do you fancy being Conservative candidate for North Tyneside?

10am WATCH: John Bercow explains why he believes the proposed Kelly reforms to MPs expenses should be accepted in full

ToryDiary: Jeremy Hunt hardens his line on the BBC licence fee as he questions the value of "niche" television channels

Sheela Mackintosh on Platform: The gasping need for marriage information services

Mark Wallace in Local Government: Should we be worried about an impending exodus of local authority chief executives?

Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Wouldn't Gordon Brown be better apologising for things for which he actually holds some responsibility?

WATCH: Lorraine Mullally of Open Europe explains why the European Union needs to be more flexible as part of the TaxPayers' Alliance's Great EU Debate

George Osborne: We'll introduce a new model for PFI

George Osborne on Marr 2 "A Tory government will scrap Labour's controversial private finance initiative (PFI) and replace it with an alternative model for funding major infrastructure projects such as schools and hospitals, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, has told the Observer… "The government's use of PFI has become totally discredited, so we need new ways to leverage private sector investment," Osborne says. "Labour's PFI model is flawed and must be replaced. We need a new system that doesn't pretend that risks have been transferred to the private sector when they can't be, and which genuinely transfers risks when they can be." Osborne has instructed Philip Hammond, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, to identify alternative models for involving the private sector in building everything from bridges, to roads, schools, hospitals and government buildings." – The Observer

Cost fear over Tories' City watchdog

"Conservative plans to co-opt senior City figures into a new financial watchdog could send the wage bill soaring, after bankers warned that regulators would have to pay market rates for expertise. Shadow Chancellor George Osborne is considering plans to model the financial regulatory system on the Takeover Panel… When he met bankers last week, Osborne was warned that the scheme would be hard to apply unless the new regulators were willing to match the income that individuals stood to make in the City." – Mail on Sunday

David Cameron tells Songs of Praise about his Christian faith

David Cameron Manchester arms stretched "David Cameron has said he is a Christian who believes in God and goes to church, although "not as regularly as I should". The Conservative leader said Sunday School was one of his earliest memories, but said he does not "drop to my knees" and ask for help in a crisis. However Mr Cameron added his Christian faith is a "part of who I am". His comments on the BBC's Songs of Praise diverge from other party leaders who have not discussed their beliefs." – BBC

Ringleader of "Turnip Taliban" vows to press on with effort to deselect Liz Truss tomorrow in South West Norfolk

"In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph
, Sir Jeremy Wragge, 64, said he had embraced his role as Turnip Taliban commander so warmly that he had dug out a turban and had been wearing it about the house. Explaining his hostility to Ms Truss, who he initially supported, he said: "She was the best there was on the day. I was then very disappointed to hear that there was a skeleton in the cupboard. I'm not judging her on her past, it is the fact that Central Office did not disclose to us that there was a skeleton. When I rang up HQ they said you should have Googled her. I don't have time to Google. We were given a briefing sheet and it wasn't on there." – Sunday Telegraph

> ConHome's coverage of the South West Norfolk selection saga

Liam Fox dismisses new measures for military families as a "cynical manoeuvre"

FOX LIAM NEW "Gordon Brown has ordered a series of new measures to help military families get on the housing ladder and find jobs amid growing fears that the loss of public support for the war in Afghanistan could spread to the forces community…. But shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said the government action looked like a "cynical manoeuvre" in the run-up to a general election." – The Observer

Tories investigate their own Muslim website

"Although keen to win the Muslim vote, the Conservatives were distancing themselves from one of their own internet ventures yesterday after Mandrake informed them it included material apparently lifted from a website founded by a "hate preacher" banned from Britain. Officials were trying to contact the man they had employed to create the Conservative Muslim Forum's website to ask why it features chunks of text from IslamOnline, which was established by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who was described as "dangerous and divisive" by David Cameron." – Sunday Telegraph

71% of voters want British troops out of Afghanistan

"In a ComRes poll for the IoS this weekend, an overwhelming proportion – 71 per cent – supported this newspaper's call for a phased withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan within a year or so, while just 22 per cent disagreed… The IoS poll revealed that 46 per cent believed that Mr Brown has handled the issue of Afghanistan better than David Cameron would do as PM, while 39 per cent backed the Tory leader." – Independent on Sunday

"Why are we in Afghanistan? We all know Gordon Brown can’t answer. And for once, I don’t blame him. To beat the Taliban? To back the Afghan government? To close down terror camps? To stop the poppy trade? It’s all down to Barack Obama. He can’t decide — and while he ponders, his allies are twisting in the wind. There’s no point pretending. Britain has no independent mission in Afghanistan: We’re an adjunct of the US Army." – Fraser Nelson writing in the News of the World

> Last night's ToryDiary: Tories dip below 40% in ComRes poll as Labour fall back to 25% – and 71% of voters want a phased withdrawal of British combat forces in Afghanistan within the year

Tory lead increases in new YouGov poll

"A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times reveals that the Tories have stretched their lead from 11 points to 14 over the past month. The Conservatives are now on 41%, Labour on 27% and the Liberal Democrats on 18%." – Sunday Times

> Last night's ToryDiary: YouGov has Tory lead still at 14%

Speaker denies ordering £45,000 refurbishment…

Picture 1 "Commons Speaker John Bercow has insisted he did not order a £45,000 revamp of his grace-and-favour central London apartment in the Palace of Westminster… More than half of the costs were classed as "routine maintenance" and omitted when Mr Bercow made his announcement in August, said the paper. But in an email to Telegraph editor William Lewis, Mr Bercow said that the difference was accounted for by maintenance required by the House authorities and not requested by him." – Press Association

…as he says MPs will have to accept an element of "rough justice" over expenses reforms

"The Commons Speaker has defended the wholesale reform of the expenses system, saying MPs will have to accept an element of "rough justice". John Bercow will tell BBC One's Andrew Marr show that diluting Sir Christopher Kelly's proposals is "not an option"… Mr Bercow will tell the BBC show: "The public perception of the way in which we operate is so negative that it is necessary to accept a wholesale, fundamental and I think irrevocable change… there's an element of rough justice, but it is necessary." – BBC

Tory MSP attacks Holyrood guide in Scots dialect

Picture 2 "A row erupted last night over public funds spent on the new internet handbook produced by the Scottish Parliament which uses the little-used Scots dialect… Visitors on the Scottish dialect section of the website are met with the message: ‘Walcome tae the Scottish Pairlament wabsite’… It declares: ‘Ye hae mony weys tae mak yir views kent [known] whan ye hae strang feelins aboot issues. This leaflet will help ye finn oot mair aboot the Pairlament and weys tae involve yirsel in its
wark’… Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman and MSP Liz Smith said: ‘This is a language spoken by a few thousand people at most. When budgets are tight, I would question why public money is being spent on promoting the Scots language when more funds are needed in classrooms across the country'." – Mail on Sunday

The Queen's Speech will contain less than a dozen measures…

"Gordon Brown has been forced to abandon almost all the ambitious reform plans he made when he became Prime Minister two years ago. The Queen’s Speech on Wednesday will take a mere 20 minutes to unveil the new laws he hopes will inspire voters before the election. That’s half the length of his last Queen’s Speech. Labour’s final legislative programme will now contain fewer than a dozen measures. It has been stripped of controversial pledges to reform MPs’ expenses, cut the voting age to 16 and change the electoral system." – News of the World

…but will include a new clampdown on bankers' contracts

"Bankers who are paid “unjustifiable” multi-million-pound bonuses face having
their contracts ripped up and their banks fined, under new legislation to be
unveiled this week. The new rules, which critics are likely to suggest amount to a State-enforced
“incomes policy” for banks, will be contained in the Financial Services Bill
to be announced in the Queen’s Speech." – Sunday Telegraph

Mandelson attacks Cameron's vision of The Big Society

Lord Mandelson "David
Cameron said he wanted to eradicate poverty, help the disadvantaged and
unemployed by rolling back government and creating a new culture of
responsibility. He said he doesn’t believe in big government, but in
big society. Cut back government, he said in a speech last week, and we
will become a stronger society.  It’s part of David Cameron’s drive to
convince us that he is a new type of Tory. But it’s an old and familiar
Tory line. Of course we care about the less fortunate, they say. But
let private charity sort it out. What we need is to look after each
other, rather than looking to government for help. But it can’t answer
the question: What if charity isn’t enough? What about the people who
fall through the gaps? Those gaps are why government exists." – Lord
Mandelson writing in the Sunday Mirror

> Tuesday's ToryDiary: David Cameron explains how he wants to "use the state to remake society"

Stephen Byers to quit Parliament

"Stephen Byers yesterday became the latest Blairite former cabinet minister to announce he was quitting the Commons. Byers, a trenchant critic of Gordon Brown, said he was stepping down to “pursue other interests”. The former transport secretary said: “I have been in public office for 30 years. I now want to move on.” – Sunday Times

> Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight yesterday: Another leading Blairite quits Parliament

Patrick Mercer MP: Justice must be done for the IRA killer of Robert NairacMail on Sunday

Rebel Labour MPs plot openly in pact to oust BrownThe Observer

Brown U-turns on childcare tax breakSunday Times

Labour peer took £150,000 in expenses for house she rents from Tory colleagueSunday Times

Ed Balls to get new powers to target badly performing schoolsSunday Telegraph

Immigrant baby killer "bribed" with £4,500 to quit BritainMail on Sunday

And finally… How David Cameron delayed the Take That reunion

Picture 3 "David Cameron has revealed he almost prevented the reconciliation by accidentally blocking Robbie from the band’s dressing room. Mr Cameron had gone backstage at the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday to speak to the group before they performed at the BBC Children In Need Rocks concert. He told an audience in his Oxfordshire constituency on Friday that as he stood in the dressing-room doorway talking to Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Howard Donald and Jason Orange, he became aware of someone standing behind him. A source said: ‘He thought he wouldn’t be able to finish talking if whoever it was standing behind him came into the room so he carried on and after a few minutes, he realised that this person was still trying to come in. He turned round and saw that it was Robbie Williams, who had been desperately trying to get in to speak to the boys. Robbie told him, “It’s all right, we’ve only been waiting 14 years for a reunion – five more minutes won’t hurt.”’ – Mail on Sunday


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