6.30pm Daniel Kawczynski MP on CentreRight: My complaint to Ofcom about the edition of Channel 4's Dispatches, Inside Britain's Israel Lobby

6.15pm Seats and Candidates: Moray PPC resigns from Tory/Independent council administration to publicly challenge it over flooding protection

5.30pm Seats and Candidates: Candidates selected for the two Oldham seats

Screen shot 2009-12-23 at 15.30.373.30pm WATCH: Happy Christmas from Eric Pickles (and get ready for a hard working 2010)

1pm LeftWatch: Gordon Brown's recession is the worst ever for business failures

11am LeftWatch: The Government fines universities for trying to meet its target on student numbers

WILLETTS DAVID NWToryDiary: David Willetts insists that marriage must not become the preserve of a middle class elite

LeftWatch: Labour's A&E waiting time targets "exposed as a sham"

Lord Astor of Hever on Platform: Our brave and inspiring Danish and Estonian allies are the unsung heroes of Helmand

Seats and Candidates: Julie Searle selected for Denton and Reddish

Local Government: Tory council bans reindeer

LISTEN: Eddie Mair forces ex-Defence Secretary John Hutton to admit that he was the unnamed Cabinet minister who said Gordon Brown would be "a ****ing disaster" as Prime Minister

Grayling reassures police that elected commissioners will not be party political

Chris Grayling head "The Conservatives have moved to quell fears among senior police officers about the “politicisation” of the service if elected commissioners are introduced under David Cameron… Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, has now made it clear he would not let potential police commissioners stand for election as part of a party political platform. He has also said the Conservatives will ensure there is a “power of recall” if the commissioner is considered to have not performed well." – Daily Telegraph

Anti-social incident cases top 3.5 millionPress Association

Grant Shapps accuses ministers of hypocrisy over Government's increased carbon footprint

"Government buildings are burning up more energy, despite Gordon
Brown's latest campaign to save the planet. Civil servants insist the
cause is their longer working hours but the Tories accuse ministers of
"hypocrisy" and of being less "green"… Grant Shapps, the shadow
Housing Minister, who obtained the figures, told The Independent:
"Gordon Brown lectures the world and his ministers lecture us about
energy efficiency while the carbon emissions from their own government
buildings are rising. It's about time they got their own houses in
order." – The Independent

Liam Fox insists a Tory Government would build new Trident submarines

FOX LIAM NEW "A new fleet of Trident submarines would be built in Barrow if the Conservatives came to power, the party has claimed. Speaking exclusively to the Evening Mail, shadow defence secretary Dr Liam Fox said he wanted to torpedo a Labour claim the Tories would not replace Trident. The Labour party in Barrow last month leafleted thousands of shipyard workers ahead of next year’s general election. The leaflet quoted a nationwide interview with Dr Fox where he said the Tories might have to consider refitting the existing Vanguard boats rather than building successor boats to save on costs." – North West Evening Mail

IBM signs deal with Essex County Council Tories

"A Conservative council has done a deal with IBM, the computer services company, to supply and manage public services. The agreement will be seen the start of a new wave of privatisations under David Cameron’s Conservatives." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's coverage of the story in Local Government

More coverage of the deal on TV election debates

"All parties should recognise that our democracy is in crisis, with the public feeling more detached from the political process than at any time since the introduction of universal suffrage. These televised debates, imperfect though they may be, can only help to re-engage voters with those who seek the honour of representing them. The Mail, for one, warmly welcomes them as long overdue." – Daily Mail editorial

"For Cameron, the frontrunner, the debates represent a challenge he must confidently expect to meet" – Michael White in The Guardian

"The debates planned for next year must eschew trite sloganising, and forensically explore Labour's record, while testing the proposed Conservative alternative. Otherwise, the exercise will be a turn-off in more ways than one." – Daily Telegraph editorial

"Anything that broadens the reach of political argument, however over-rehearsed and soundbitey, and injects the necrotic with adrenaline, must be a positive thing. These debates will prove a blessing, and not only for Nick Clegg." – Matthew Norman in The Independent

"Scotland’s First Minister — who is also the leader of the Scottish National Party — has insisted that if they are to be aired in Scotland, he should be included. He is wrong." – Times editorial

> Monday's ToryDiary: Party leaders agree to three televised election debates

Two leading commentators say David Cameron still lacks a narrative

Iain Martin "The Tory leader's biggest problem seems to be that nagging question I cited earlier: "What's the story he's trying to tell?" The Conservatives make a great many announcements on various subjects, but they lack a coherent and binding theme beyond the nebulous "change." Missing most of all is what might be termed a narrative of prosperity." – Iain Martin in the Wall Street Journal

"He differs from his three predecessors in his capacity to read the political rhythms and to project Conservative policies in a way that gives them a wider appeal. Within weeks of his conference speech, Cameron was outlining his policies for addressing poverty. He has plans for an extensive redistribution of power, which might prove to be attractive after a single government has wielded power for more than a decade… But so far Cameron has failed to link character, values and policies into a coherent narrative." – Steve Richards in The Independent

Boris declares frozen London "open for business"

of -6C in the suburbs and -2C in central London are expected to cause
major difficulties on icy roads and pavements… Boris Johnson urged
people to defy the extreme weather and declared London “open for
business”. – Evening Standard

Tory whip Jeremy Wright appeals against Legg payback demand

"Jeremy Wright, who has been ordered to repay nearly £800 he claimed for mobile phone bills, appears to be the first Conservative or Labour frontbencher to say that he is contesting a final demand from Sir Thomas Legg, the former civil servant who has reviewed claims submitted by all MPs." – The Guardian

Scottish Tories revive plan for fast-track community courtThe Herald

Huge cash cuts to hit teaching at universitiesThe Times

The public sector still expect a pay rise next yearDaily Express

Rift between Gordon Brown and Lord Mandelson threatens Labour revivalDaily Telegraph

Commons set for retirement of 120 MPsFT

And finally… Michael Gove will play Gordon Brown when David Cameron rehearses for TV debates

GOVE MICHAEL NW "Michael Gove, the shadow schools secretary, is being lined up to play the role of Gordon Brown in a series of mock debates intended to help David Cameron prepare for his general election television clashes with the prime minister. As a Scot and a polymath, who is equally at ease on Newsnight and Newsnight Review, Gove is seen as the perfect candidate to assume the role of Brown in what are being dubbed West Wing-style mock debates." – The Guardian


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