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11.15pm ToryDiary: Ken Clarke refuses to rule out VAT increase as Tories inch towards more honesty on their deficit plans

HiltonSteveLarge10pm ToryDiary: CCHQ fury at 'briefings against Steve Hilton'

3.45pm ToryDiary: Tory MP James Gray urges the people of Wootton Bassett to ignore a Muslim group that plans protest against British troops' "genocide" in Afghanistan

1.30pm WATCH: 'We cannot go on like this', warns Cameron in first message of 2010

Noon ToryDiary: Cameron promises to invite other main party leaders into war cabinet if he becomes Prime Minister

ToryDiary: Paul Goodman writes his first piece as Contributing Editor to ConservativeHome: "If you want change, you'll have to vote for it – and that means voting Conservative."

Also on ToryDiary: 70% of Tory members back ethnic screening of air travellers

Matt Showering on Platform: How Labour's welfare system punished me for trying to take responsibility and not depend on the state

KSY Local government: Bexley honours its Territorial Army unit

LeftWatch: Polly Toynbee's warning to Labour: Get rid of Brown or you are toast

ThinkTankCentral: Men hurt more than women in 'Full Monty' recession

In an optimistic new year message to Sun readers, David Cameron celebrates the Britain that raises money for Comic Relief and invented the iPod The Sun

The Sun Says: "Thank God David Cameron concentrates on the BEST of British in his New Year message to The Sun. He reminds us of our brilliant servicemen and women fighting for our security in Afghanistan. Of our generosity in raising a record £40million for Comic Relief despite being mired in recession. Of British inventors who gave us TV, penicillin and the jet engine. The Tory leader stresses that we are a country of talent, creating brilliant TV and films. And a nation with a great sense of humour."

The Times suggests that tensions are opening up within the close team around David Cameron

"Steve Hilton, director of strategy, is trying to prevent James O’Shaughnessy becoming head of policy in a Conservative administration, senior Tories have told The Times."

Francis Elliott of The Times pokes fun at the regular strategy briefings that Steve Hilton issues to Tory MPs

Tories will begin policy launch with NHS

LANSLEY ANDREW NW "The Tories will this month seek to win over wavering voters by countering their grim economic message with more upbeat, optimistic pledges as they publish their draft general election manifesto. The policy roll out is expected to start on Monday with the NHS – a theme due to be repeated relentlessly in the run-up to this year’s general election, which must be held by June." – FT

The Telegraph: Cameron needs a mandate for tough decisions

"Mr Cameron has to show he measures up to the most difficult political challenge in three decades. The polls show he is on target to win the election with a modest overall majority, but he cannot be content with that. The scale of the task requires a government with a powerful popular mandate if it is to ride out the inevitable turbulence." – Telegraph leader

Malcolm Rifkind: UK defence needs need a foreign policy review

RIFKIND NEW "The Tories will this month seek to win over wavering voters by countering their grim economic message with more upbeat, optimistic pledges as they publish their draft general election manifesto. The policy roll out is expected to start on Monday with the NHS – a theme due to be repeated relentlessly in the run-up to this year’s general election, which must be held by June." – Sir Malcolm Rifkind in The Telegraph

"The Tories’ big idea is that we, not the State, should help the weak. But the brutal truth is that we will only act if we can see suffering." – Matthew Parris in The Times

Headteacher of Eton hits back at Labour attacks Independent

The spending and surveillance state will get smaller in the immediate years to comeFT leader

Gordon Brown orders review of airport securitySky

SNP bucks the trend and boasts 4% increase in party membership Scotsman

Special relationship with UK stronger than ever, says US ambassadorGuardian

Berlusconi recovers from attack by writing album of love songs Daily Mail

And finally… Amanda Platell pays tribute to Margaret Thatcher in explaining why she wants to become a British citizen

"Margaret Thatcher gave Britain back its pride. She stood up to the unions, revived the economy through painful but necessary reforms and freed ordinary hard-working families from subservience to the state. Above all, she taught us that you can't spend what you haven't earned.  She promoted individual aspiration and equality of opportunity, and believed that the best building blocks for a stable society were traditional families. She knew, with absolute conviction, that it was strong families that created self-reliant citizens. And, of course, she was not afraid to challenge a foreign military power when it threatened British interests. Her determination to protect the Falklands was awesome, but perhaps even greater was the part she played in standing full square with Ronald Reagan against the evil empire of Russia." – Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail

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33 comments for: Saturday 2nd January 2010

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