5.45pm Louise Bagshawe on CentreRIght celebrates David Cameron's fourth anniversary as leader: "In every single set of nationwide local elections since Cameron became
leader, without exception from 2005 up to this summer… the Tories have not just won – they have gained to
a degree that made even Labour's "expectations management" look bad."
No sudden Afghanistan exit under Conservatives, says Cameron
"The number of British troops in Afghanistan is unlikely to fall if the Conservatives are elected next year, David Cameron has said. On a visit to the country, the Tory leader said he did not want to raise "false hopes" that there would be a reduction in troop numbers next year, even if Afghan forces took over control of districts in Helmand province. Troop withdrawals would depend on the success of the transfer of power to Afghan authorities." – Guardian online
"The Tory leader has travelled to Helmand, where he has spoken to locals at a market and addressed British troops at their Lashkar Gah base. He was also meeting military leaders and Afghan president Hamid Karzai in Kabul, as well as watching Afghan forces train. Mr Cameron has used the trip to promise to double bonuses paid to troops returning from Afghanistan." – Mail online
> Yesterday's related posts:
- ToryDiary: David Cameron promises to double allowance for soldiers returning from Afghanistan
- Bob Seely: David Cameron has said two important things in relation to Afghanistan this week
- WATCH: David Cameron says it is unlikely that British troops will start withdrawing from Afghanistan next year
Latest polls see Tories back at 40% and on course for a majority
"David Cameron has received a boost with an opinion poll by The Sunday Telegraph's ICM showing the Conservatives once again on course for a majority at the general election. The new survey sees the Tories hitting the key measure of 40 per cent with Labour 11 points behind on 29 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 19 per cent." – Sunday Telegraph
"The latest YouGov poll for The Sunday Times shows that the Conservative party is retaining a commanding 13-point lead, contradicting recent suggestions that Labour had narrowed the gap enough to make a “hung parliament” likely." – Sunday Times
George Osborne: For economic confidence to return, Britain needs a credible plan
"Far from "leading the world" out of recession, as Gordon Brown once boasted, Britain's recovery lags the rest of the world. Far from being "better prepared", as Alistair Darling once claimed, we have the worst public finances in the developed world. International investors are increasingly questioning Britain's reputation… Britain needs an urgent change of direction to tackle the deficit, reform banking, and go for growth. Above all, we need a government that stops doing everything for short term political gain and starts governing in the long term interests of the country – and for that, I fear, we are all going to have to wait for a General Election." – George Osborne writing in the Sunday Telegraph
Darling plans windfall tax on bank bonuses – Observer
Darling to cut public spending by £40 billion over three years – Sunday Times
William Hague: The French are outmanoeuvring Gordon Brown's Government
"France has triggered a fresh row over EU power-broking by excluding Britain from key-Europe wide talks on the future of farm subsidies to be held in Paris this week… tThe Conservatives said news of the talks was further proof that Gordon Brown's government was being outmanoeuvred within the EU by the French. William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, said: "While the French are pro-actively advancing their interests in Europe this Labour Government is yet again failing to exercise leadership." – Sunday Telegraph
Lord Taylor of Warwick "lied in house dodge"
"A Tory peer has been caught using someone else’s home address to claim tens of thousands of pounds in expenses. Lord Taylor of Warwick, a 57-year-old former barrister, told the House of Lords that his main home was a terrace house in Oxford which he neither owned nor lived in." – Sunday Times
Chris Grayling slams Baroness Scotland for shrugging off illegal immigrant cleaner as "administrative error"
"Baroness Scotland has sparked new controversy by dismissing her illegal employment of an immigrant – for which she was fined £5,000 – as no more than an 'administrative error'… Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'Baroness Scotland clearly doesn't get it. The Government expects employers to take responsibility for the legal status of the people they employ. To dismiss this as an administrative error is utterly unacceptable'." – Mail on Sunday
Baroness Warsi on being pelted with eggs
"They were like playground bullies. I invited them to calm down and engage in a civilised debate — a little optimistic given that there were eggs flying. The last Tory to be pelted with eggs in Luton was John Major in 1992, and he went on to win the general election, so maybe it’s a good omen." – Baroness Warsi writing in the Sunday Times
Andrew Rawnsley: The Tories have put all their chips on David Cameron
"He's been a talented leader of the opposition but the Conservative
party's one-man-band approach is beginning to look risky." – Andrew
Rawnsley in The Observer
Janet Daley: Why can't David Cameron seal the deal?
"The Tories' wobble in the polls shows that David Cameron needs to be respected as well as liked." – janet Daley in the Sunday Telegraph
Zac Goldsmith talks about democracy, his tax status and the Copenhagen summit – Sunday Times
Tories criticise cuts to Army Cadet Force
"The Ministry of Defence, which has a total annual budget of £37billion, has pulled the plug on weekend training for the Army Cadet Force… Youth worker Shaun Bailey was sent along by his mother after falling in with the wrong crowd on a west London estate. He is now a prospective Tory parliamentary candidate and is critical of the MoD’s decision. “It is penny pinching,” he said. “But we as a nation are broke. If some of our major procurement projects had not been so badly managed, maybe we would not have to cut something so socially significant.” – Sunday Express
Enemies eye chance to dethrone John Bercow
"John Bercow faces attempts to oust him as the Commons Speaker immediately after the general election amid crossparty anger about his conduct. Tory and Labour backbenchers are devising an extraordinary plan: to object to his automatic reappointment if there is a change of government." – Sunday Times
An interesting fact for followers of Labour's class war
"In the past 50 years the Conservatives have been led for longer by state-school-educated leaders than have Labour." – Anthony Seldon in the Sunday Express
George Osborne's brother becomes a Muslim – Mail on Sunday
Gordon Brown snubbed by soldiers' 'curtain' protest – Sunday Times
And finally… the Tory candidate with "the poshest name in British politics"
"He is favourite to win a key marginal seat for the Tories at the General Election. But the man billed as plain Richard Drax on Conservative political posters is the ultimate ‘Dave’s de-toff’. In fact, the Tory parliamentary candidate’s full name is Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, and he lives in a vast Elizabethan stately home. Quadruple-barrelled Mr Drax, believed to be a shoo-in for the ultra-marginal seat of South Dorset, has the poshest name in British politics." – Mail on Sunday
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