HAMMOND-PHILIP-BIG-BEN 9.15pm ToryDiary: Philip Hammond to announce plans to boost civil service productivity and efficiency

7.15pm Robin Simcox on CentreRight: "Over £113,000 worth of taxpayers' money has been given to Hizb ut-Tahrir-linked
schools. No amount of Labour spin should detract from that."

6.45pm WATCH: Two clips of the evidence given to the Chilcot Inquiry today by Sir Christopher Meyer, former Ambassador to Washington, in which he recounts :

SaveElectionNight graphic5pm Parliament: The Campaign to Save General Election Night is
raised in the Commons again as a ComRes poll shows overwhelming backing
from MPs and PPCs for overnight counts

2pm WATCH: Jonathan Isaby features in a BBC Daily Politics film about Tory activists angry about selection procedures

SPELMAN CAROLINE NW1.30pm Caroline Spelman MP on Platform: The Government's attempt to avoid scrutiny over the new local government settlement shows that Labour are running scared

10.30am ToryDiary: Scottish Tories reiterate opposition to blanket minimum pricing for alcohol


Nick de Bois on Platform: In these testing economic times we must urgently argue the case for less – not more – intervention and regulation


Local Government: Haringey Council placed two-year-old with blind 82-year-old foster carer

International: Six frontbenchers quit Liberal frontbench in protest at Malcolm Turnbull's climate change deal with Kevin Rudd

AmericaInTheWorld: Obama will attend Copenhagen conference after tumultuous week for climate change campaigners


Cameron and Gove clash with Brown and Balls over funding of Muslim schools

Picture 13 "Two private schools are at the centre of a bitter political clash after David Cameron, the Tory leader, alleged that the schools in Slough, Berkshire, and Tottenham in north London had received £113,000 of public money after being set up by an "extremist Islamist foundation". He claimed in Prime Minister's Question Time that the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation (ISF), which runs them, was a "front organisation" for the hardline group Hizb ut-Tahrir." – The Independent

"In a letter to Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove, Mr Balls said: “I can confirm that the allegations you make are unfounded.” He added: “We asked Ofsted to carry out inspections at both schools. They were both inspected in October 2007 and found to be meeting the independent school standard for the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development of pupils.” – Daily Express

GOODMAN PAUL FACE “Conservative communities spokesman Paul Goodman told Newsnight: “A charity controlled by an extremist organisation that supports attacks on our troops in Afghanistan has been funded by Ed Balls’ department. Ed Balls is throwing up chaff. We know perfectly well that the person who headed up this charity has spoken on Hizb ut Tahrir platforms and her husband is the main media operator for Hizb ut Tahrir in the UK.” – The Times

"Balls is not playing a straight bat. He says the Foundation has told him "that it no longer has any links with any of the individuals who are alleged to have connections with Hizb ut-Tahrir". Firstly, as Balls ought to recognise, that's not the point. The point is the situation prevailing at the time the money was paid… Secondly, Balls' statement is deficient. At least one of the Foundation's remaining trustees (who's also headteacher of one of the schools), Farah Ahmed, has close links to HT." – Andrew Gilligan in the Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: David Cameron tackles Brown over Government funding of Islamic extremists at PMQs

> Robin Simcox on CentreRight: The Conservatives may need to rethink their policy on Hizb ut-Tahrir

George Osborne: How we can improve the devolution settlement

George Osborne on Marr 2 "Ken Calman recommends that the regulations of airguns, administration of Scottish Parliament elections, control over speed limits, budgets for animal health measures (except those to control outbreaks of exotic diseases), legislative responsibility for marine nature conservation and the power to allow the prescribing of illegal drugs to treat illnesses should all be devolved from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament. We agree, and the Conservative Party will now look at the best ways of devolving those powers. Annabel Goldie, David Mundell and I have had many conversations about how we make the Scottish Parliament more responsible for the financial consequences of the decision it takes. We want to achieve a better balance and to do so we will use the recommendations in the Calman report as a starting point. We believe that the Scottish Parliament needs to have greater powers over raising and spending taxes and borrowing." – George Osborne writing in The Scotsman

> Yesterday in Parliament: David Mundell broadly welcomes proposals for devolution of further powers to Scotland – but insists an incoming Conservative Government would publish its own White Paper on the matter

How a Cameron Government would make policy

"There is one promise that David Cameron makes regularly that even the shadow Cabinet doesn’t believe he intends to keep: that he is going to end the era of ‘sofa government’ and bring back ‘Cabinet government’. Their experience over the past four years has taught them that real power in the Cameron Tory party rests not in the shadow Cabinet room but in the suite of offices that Cameron, George Osborne and their advisers inhabit. Rather than bringing back Cabinet government, Cameron intends to bring in a whole new style of government…. Mr Cameron’s Whitehall surgery would create three new groups, all designed to end turf wars. The first is the policy board, a seven-strong Dragons’ Den-style panel where new ideas are tested. Mr Cameron, George Osborne, Steve Hilton, William Hague, Francis Maude, Nick Boles and Oliver Letwin are the permanent members of this committee… Strikingly, this structure will continue in government, effectively handing to this group of seven the policy-making powers traditionally vested in the Cabinet." – James Forsyth in The Spectator

William Hague promises inquiry into UK torture collusion

William Hague serious square "The Tories are poised to order an inquiry into allegations of British complicity in torture if they win power. Shadow foreign secretary William Hague yesterday piled pressure on the Attorney General to refer claims of collusion in the abuse of terror suspects to the police. Scotland Yard is already investigating claims that MI5 was complicit in the abuse of Binyam Mohamed  -&
#0160; a British resident who says he was tortured while being held in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan. It is also investigating MI6 over the case of a non-Briton. Mr Hague suggested that a Tory government would agree to demands for a wider inquiry  -  likely to be an independent probe headed by a judge  -  if the claims have not been thoroughly investigated by then." – Daily Mail

Tory war chest gets £5million boost

"The conservatives raised more than £5m for their election war chest in just three months – far more than all the other political parties put together. A series of wealthy donors, including one of Britain's richest men, gave lavish donations, while Lord Ashcroft, the Tory deputy chairman, spent a further £90,000 on the drive to capture crucial marginal seats. The Electoral Commission announced that the Conservatives received £5,269,186 between July and September, compared with £3,045,377 given to Labour and £816,663 to the Liberal Democrats. Fifteen other parties received £401,372 between them." – The Independent

"The Tories were accused of hypocrisy last night after accepting donations from a senior executive of the investment bank whose collapse triggered the global credit crisis. Millionaire Christian Meissner, the former European head of Lehman Brothers, gave £31,500 to the party this summer." – Daily Mail

Picture 21 "Trudie Styler, the wife of the rock star Sting, has donated money to David Cameron’s Conservatives. Ms Styler donated £3,500 to the Conservative Party earlier this year, Electoral Commission records show… Ms Styler’s donation was made to the Richmond Park branch of the Conservative Party. The Conservative candidate in the constituency is Zac Goldsmith, a millionaire environmentalist and friend of Ms Styler." – Daily Telegraph

Osborne criticises secret BoE loans

"A row broke out yesterday in the House of Commons after chancellor Alistair Darling and FSA boss Hector Sants defended the decision to keep secret the £61.6bn of emergency loans handed by the Bank of England to RBS and HBOS last year at the peak of the financial crisis…  Shadow chancellor George Osborne criticised the secrecy of the loans, and said Lloyds TSB shareholders had been mislead because they did not know the central bank was propping up HBOS when they were asked to approve Lloyds TSB’s takeover of the firm." – City AM

Mandelson's links with Gaddafi's son questioned by Tory MP

HANDS GREG "A Conservative MP raised questions over Lord Mandelson's contacts with the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, after it emerged that the two men met recently at a country house social event. The Spectator magazine reported that Lord Mandelson and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi were guests at a shooting party at Lord Rothschild's Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire… Conservative MP Greg Hands said: "This extraordinary revelation, if true, raises serious questions for Peter Mandelson. Once again, he is mixing up his private associations and his public duties. For years, he has been at the centre of Britain's relationship with Libya. People will question why the First Secretary thinks it is appropriate to enjoy country house weekends with the man who escorted al-Megrahi home to a hero's welcome in Libya." – Evening Standard

Conservatives promise 'free' £6,500 home energy refits

"Every household under a Tory government will be entitled to claim at least
£6,500 in energy home improvements that will mean lower power bills… Grant Shapps, the shadow housing minister, in a speech today will say:
“Imagine if you could walk into your favourite store, buy some clothes or do
your weekly shop and then at the checkout, as you hand over your Clubcard;
the cashier offers you the prospect of permanently lower utility bills. There’s nothing to pay, now or even later. Your home will be retrofitted and
all you’ll notice is that it costs less to heat and power it”… The new system is paid for by the retailers working with banks to finance the
improvement in exchange for a steady return over a long period of time. The
small payback will be visible on customers’ bills over each billing period." – Daily Telegraph

Fathers-to-be to attend antenatal classes under Tories

"Fathers-to-be will be invited to attend at least one antenatal class with their partner and midwives, under plans to be unveiled by the Conservatives today. In a speech at the Royal College of Midwives, Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, will say that fathers and grandparents should be encouraged to be more involved in the birth of a child… Under a Tory government, women would also be encouraged to bring the father of their unborn child, or another close family member, along to at least one meeting with midwives." – Daily Telegraph

Tories propose no-notice pupil detentions

GIBB NICK "The Conservatives
would change the law to allow teachers to hand out no-notice detentions
to be served the same day, as part of a crackdown on behaviour, the
shadow schools minister, Nick Gibb, revealed today. The
same-day detentions would take place even if they disrupted the plans
of students and parents. Removing the legal obligation to give pupils
and parents 24 hours' notice of an after-school detention would mean
schools could make the punishment worse by inconveniencing students,
Gibb told delegates at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust's
annual conference in Birmingham. Schools would not have to adopt
the policy but would be encouraged to do so under a Tory government.
"The punishment needs to happen there and then so there's an immediacy
to it," Gibb said. "If it does inconvenience the child, then that adds
to the punishment. Improving behaviour in schools has to be a major
priority for any government."

Candidates show their primary colours as the race hots up in Gosport

"The Tory candidates hoping to become Gosport's MP have been throwing their weight behind their bids. The four hopefuls have put in hundreds of hours meeting residents and campaigning across the constituency in General Election-style – even though this is purely a race to represent the Conservatives at the next poll… Two of the candidates – James Bethell and Sam Gyimah – have both moved to the area since it was announced they were in the final four… But because Caroline Dinenage and Julia Manning both have work commitments, they've only been able to spend their weekends in the borough although they have been hitting the streets whenever they get the chance in the week." – Portsmouth News

> Seats and Candidates: Final four for Gosport

More on Phillip Blond in advance of today's ResPublica launch

Picture 4 "Never trust an insurance company, trade union or thinktank that resorts to a pretentious Latin name, political veterans warn. Yet David Cameron will today drop in on the launch of ResPublica, the new tank launched by Phillip Blond, the "Red Tory" poster boy whose pamphleteering skills have helped him raise millions… Will ResPublica's new brand of civic conservatism be the answer ‑ or just another intellectual bubble? Blond's stint at the ex-Blairite, pro-localism thinktank Demos (where Osborne and David Willetts now sit on the board) ended abruptly: he may not be a team player. Labour, which regards Blond as a renegade, even opportunist leftie, today took the trouble to publish an analysis of the gap between his remedies and hard-nosed Tory policies." – Michael White in The Guardian

Telegraph: The Tories are to be commended for incentivising people to do more to help the environment

"The Conservatives have shown this week just how sure-footed they have become on green issues, with plans to reward householders with cash vouchers for recycling waste and to offer grants for people to improve the energy efficiency of their homes (which remains by far the most cost-effective way of conserving fossil fuels). Commendably, the Tories appreciate the importance of incentivising people to do more to help the environment, rather than penalising them if they do not." – Daily Telegraph editorial

Speaker's Conference wants detailed stats on who parties reject as candidates

"Controversial plans were unveiled yesterday to force political parties to make Parliament less white, male, middle-class and heterosexual. Under proposals backed by Commons Speaker John Bercow, but labelled as 'insulting' by former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe, parties will be made to declare publicly how many women, ethnic minority, gay and disabled applicants they reject as potential Parliamentary candidates. Parties also face demands to ensure at least half the MPs leaving Parliament at the next election  -  in what is expected to be the biggest exodus since 1945  -  are replaced by women." – Daily Mail


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