10.30pm WATCH:

10pm ToryDiary: ComRes has Tories ahead by 38% to 29%

9.45pm Seats and Candidates: Candidates selected for the two St Helens seats

8pm ToryDiary: Why we should welcome the televised leaders' debates

6.30pm ToryDiary: Christmas comes early for Brown and Clegg in the shape of election debates

5.45pm ToryDiary update: David Cameron welcomes televised election debates as "a step forward for democracy"

5.30pm WATCH: David Cameron reflects on his recent trip to Afghanistan – with new exclusive footage of the visit

Brown Clegg and Cameron5.15pm ToryDiary Breaking News: Party leaders agree to three televised election debates

2.15pm ToryDiary: David Cameron pledges continued £10 million annual funding for children's hospices

1.45pm ToryDiary: Conservatives should proudly help poor nations protect their people from extreme weather events

1pm Seats and Candidates: Maria Caulfield selected for Caerphilly

11.45am Graeme Archer on CentreRight considers the role of science in politics: "I'm worried that 'debate' about climate change has become pointless.
Rapid polarisation has turned discussion about the quality of evidence,
and the impact of that evidence on one's views about potential AGW,
into a football match."

10.15am Seats and Candidates: Rob Adlard selected to challenge James Purnell in Stalybridge and Hyde and Seema Kennedy selected for Ashton-under-Lyne

ToryDiary: Only a Conservative government will save Britain from a borrowing crisis, says George Osborne (BUT HOW?)

LChristine EmmetteftWatch: Labour's criminal record

Christine Emmett on Platform: Why small businesses need the Conservatives – and what we must be offering them

Seats and Candidates Diary of a PPC: Steve Baker settles in to his new home in Wycombe and makes the most of Christmas events as he prepares to step into Paul Goodman's shoes

Local Government: Telford and Wrekin increases grit capacity by 25%

WATCH: Eric Pickles tells Andrew Marr that the Conservative Party is ready for a general election whenever Gordon Brown calls it

Chris Grayling: Homeowners using self-defence against intruders should escape prosecution

GRAYLING-OPEN-SHIRT "Homeowners would be handed a licence to kill burglars by a Tory government. Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling raised the election stakes on crime by promising law-abiding citizens extra rights to defend themselves. If the Tories win the election, he said, they would tear up the law which lets householders use only 'reasonable force' to defend their families against intruders." – Daily Mail

"Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, said he was "uncomfortable" about the jailing of Munir Hussain, the businessman convicted of beating a burglar who tied up his family at knifepoint after breaking into their home. Mr Johnson said he was sure Justice Secretary Jack Straw would look again at the law on householders' right to defend themselves against intruders, despite previous reviews that have resulted in no change to the legal position." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Chris Grayling will strengthen legal rights of householders to defend their property and families from intruders

> WATCH: Chris Grayling tells Sky News that he will review laws to protect householders who defend themselves from intruders

Tories "buoyant" as opinion poll lead grows

"The Tory high command has fired the starting pistol on the party’s general election campaign as two weekend polls showed it re-establishing a comfortable lead over Labour. Eric Pickles, the Conservative party chairman, said on Sunday that campaigning – including a nationwide poster offensive – would begin in earnest in the new year. “We are up and running,” Mr Pickles said." – FT

"Britain has plenty of “reasons to be cheerful,” David Cameron said yesterday – as he prepared to use the festive break to put the Conservative party on a war footing." – Daily Express

> ToryDiary posts from the weekend:

Jackie Ashley: We could still see a hung ParliamentThe Guardian

School league tables will remain under a Tory Government

Traditional Teacher "A pledge to keep controversial tests for 11-year-olds and league tables will form a key plank of the Conservatives' election manifesto, their schools spokesman Michael Gove reveals today. "We will make it clear that the tests and league tables will be here to stay if you elect a Conservative government," he says in an interview with The Independent. The pledge threatens to plunge a new Conservative government into immediate conflict with teachers' leaders as both the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Head Teachers are planning a boycott of the national curriculum tests next year." – The Independent

Chris Grayling emphasises opposition to forced police for mergers

"The police service is preparing for its biggest shake-up in 50 years, with several forces considering mergers to cope with the public spending crisis… Chris Grayling, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: “We have no intention to return to previous Labour Party efforts to force mergers between police forces. We think strong, local policing is really important.” – The Times

William Hague expresses concern at how FCO has been forced to cut corners

William Hague serious square "British embassies are cutting counter-terrorism and security funding, banning hospitality, and imposing pay cuts and four-day weeks on local staff as a budget crisis engulfs the Foreign Office… The problems arise from the Treasury decision in late 2007 to stop shielding it from currency fluctuations, a few months before sterling’s 30 per cent decline against the dollar… William Hague, shadow foreign secretary, said the withdrawal of protection has had a “devastating impact”. “It has forced the Foreign Office to cut corners everywhere, with a serious impact on staff, on morale and on frontline diplomacy." – FT

Shadow ministers rake in cash before ban on earnings takes effect

"Shadow Cabinet ministers are squeezing in significant earnings, including one payment of £2,000 apparently for no work at all, before a ban on outside jobs. The latest register of MPs’ interests shows that David Cameron’s senior colleagues have been making full use of the last months in which they can boost their private incomes." – The Times

More than 100 peers claimed over £50,000 in expenses last year

"They include 18 members of the upper chamber who claimed more than £30,000 in housing costs – significantly more than the maximum of £24,000 which MPs receive to run a second home." – Daily Telegraph

Cameron should tell Ashcroft to reveal his tax statusTelegraph editorial

Peter Mandelson may contest next London mayor election

"Lord Mandelson recently sketched out possible retirement plans to live on a farm, but Labour insiders have become gripped by rumours that the business secretary may throw his hat in the ring for the 2012 mayoral election in London if the Tories win the general election." – The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Will Boris duck re-election? And will Peter Mandelson be his opponent?

Cameron accused of 'airbrushing' Tory Party's links to private educationDaily Mail

Tories warn of threat to unlicensed music in churches and village hallsDaily Express

Taxpayers' Alliance accused of using charitable arm to claim gift aid on donations from wealthy backersThe Guardian

Gordon Brown to accuse a small group of countries of holding the Copenhagen Summit to ransomBBC

And finally… Michael Gove's guide to buying the perfect Christmas present for the woman in your life

Michael Gove happy "We men always, but always, get it wrong when we stray from the tried and tested. So no adventurous make-up products, items from Ann Summers shops or indeed any lingerie, and certainly not in any amusing/recapture that lost moment/ provocative colours or designs. Opt for jewellery or clothes instead. But no cutting-edge designers. Just place yourself in the hands of the oldest, most established and respectable firm you can find, take a picture of your beloved so they know her look and style, let them know how much you wish to spend, and then let them persuade you to buy something much more expensive. This simple formula will guarantee you enjoy your Christmas day, I assure you." – Michael Gove in The Times


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