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11pm Seats and Candidates: Nusrat Ghani selected for Birmingham Ladywood

Queen 20096.45pm ToryDiary: Eric Pickles welcomes the Queen to CCHQ

6pm Parliament: Sir George Young invites Harriet Harman to dispute his predicted timetable for the general election

5.30pm ToryDiary: David Cameron boosts his personal press team in advance of the election

5.15pm Robin Simcox on CentreRight: Mohammed Atif Siddique and 'racism'

4.45pm WATCH: MP charged with false accounting Jim Devine protests his innocence and says his mistake was to refer himself to the police

2.45pm ToryDiary: Had we joined the euro, the British economy would now be a catastrophe (rather than a mere disaster)

2pm Local Government: Yesterday's by-election results

1.45pm Latest posts on CentreRight:

12.30pm WATCH: Keir Starmer announces that three MPs and a peer are being charged over their expense claims

Noon Parliament updateLord Hanningfield resigns from Tory frontbench and has party whip suspended

11.45m Peter Cuthbertson on CentreRight highlights a US campaign ad attacking a politician with a poor fiscal record

Picture 711.30am Parliament: Three MPs and one peer charged with false accounting under the Theft Act

11.15am Seats and candidates: Women and ethnic minorities feature prominently in CCHQ's shortlists for Stratford-upon-Avon and Surrey East

10.45am Natalie Elphicke on LeftWatch: The real statistical crime is that Labour is making it harder and harder for anyone to compare government performance over time

9.45am Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: As he awaits his fate from the DPP, David
Chaytor (he of the phantom mortgage) is currently introducing a Private
Member's Bill in the Commons

Chris Grayling 2010 square

ToryDiary: Conservatives will continue to judge crime statistics on police records rather than an opinion survey

WATCH: Chris Grayling insists there has been a big rise in violent crime over the last decade and that he will continue to say so

David Mundell MP on Platform: Strengthening devolution and answering the West Lothian Question will safeguard the Union for future generations

Seat and Candidates Search for 100 Peers: Dr Tim Evans

Local Government: Which London boroughs could the Tories gain in May?

Daniel Kawczynski MP on CentreRight: Getting at the truth behind the flamboyant and almost mythical figure that is Colonel Gaddafi

MPs must pay back £1.2m after inquiry that cost £1.1m…

"Political leaders attempted to draw a line under the row with the publication of Sir Thomas Legg's devastating review of the "deeply flawed" expenses system. But Legg's own inquiry came under fire for being "sloppy" and "illogical" after it emerged that more than half of the MPs who appealed against his rulings were either partly or fully successful." – The Guardian

…as six politicians await verdict of DPP on criminal charges over expenses

"Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, is due to announce later on Friday on live television whether to prosecute up to six parliamentarians with fraud and false accounting following a Scotland Yard investigation. Those facing possible charges are the Labour MPs Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, the Labour peers Baroness Uddin and Lord Clarke of Hampstead, and Lord Hanningfield, a Tory." – Daily Telegraph

How MPs offered private rooms to firms which then paid them thousands

"MPs were accused last night of using Parliament as a private dining club to advance their financial interests. Commons rules state that private rooms there are not to be used for gain by an MP or their party. But senior politicians have hosted parties for firms from whom they have received thousands of pounds." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: As Sir Thomas Legg's report on MPs' expenses is published, David Cameron must ensure again that the Conservatives provide the most robust reaction to the public anger

Tories say end of quantitative easing makes cutting the deficit yet more important

George Osborne blue background "George Osborne, shadow chancellor, argues that the Bank’s decision to put QE on hold will reduce demand for government gilts at a time when some international investors are turning away from the UK…. “This makes it even more important that the government now do what the Institute for Fiscal Studies and almost every independent body say they have so far failed to do: set out a credible plan to deal with our record budget deficit,” said Philip Hammond, shadow Treasury chief secretary." – FT

The Tories will have their work cut out clearing up the public finances

"Mr Osborne has said that he would hold an emergency budget soon after the election. The real choice for him is not when his measures would start to bite in earnest—that will be in 2011—but what precisely they should be. As the IFS spells out, Labour’s plan, though thin on detail, implies the sharpest cuts in spending on public services since the late 1970s. As the Tories have promised to ring-fence the NHS, an even sharper reduction in expenditure lies ahead for unprotected areas such as defence and transport." – The Economist

The public sector could save the economy, if only politicians let it – Andrew Haldenby in the Daily Telegraph

Tories will allow top schools to claim academy status

"The Tories are planning to make the best secondary schools independent of town hall control. The top 600 – 20 per cent of the total – would be allowed to convert automatically into academies and receive their cash direct from Whitehall instead of local authorities. Schools spokesman Michael Gove said this could mean an extra 5 per cent to 15 per cent on their budgets as they gain control of money currently spent on their behalf by local authorities." – Daily Mail

Bercow breaks unwritten rules with challenge to boost backbench power

Speaker Bercow 3 "The Speaker puts himself on a c
ollision course today with Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman over proposals to strengthen the power of backbench MPs. John Bercow said it was “impossible to overstate the importance” of the reforms for the image and working of Parliament after the expenses scandal. Voters would believe MPs were in denial if they failed to approve the “shrewd and innovative” proposals designed to relax the grip of the whips over the Commons, he said." – The Times

Cameron: Gay refugees from Africa should be given asylum in UK

"Gay refugees from Africa should be granted asylum in the UK, David Cameron has said. The Tory leader suggested that homosexuals should be allowed to stay in Britain if their lives would be put in danger were they sent home." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: David Cameron reaches out to the gay community

Michael Gove laments rise in anti-Semitic attacks

"Every one in public life – politicians, media figures, academics and community leaders – has to recognise that this growth in anti-Semitism is a stain on our society. History tells us that whenever Jewish individuals feel less safe, society as a whole is becoming less free. We must learn the lessons of the past." – Michael Gove quoted on the BBC website

George Osborne voices support for Israel Jewish Chronicle

Unionists back power-sharing deal with Sinn Fein

"Gordon Brown will return to Hillsborough Castle this morning to seal an agreement on saving Northern Ireland’s power-sharing institutions — a week after his deadline for a deal expired. The breakthrough was reached late last night when the Democratic Unionist Party announced that it would back an agreement with Sinn Féin over the transfer from London to Belfast of policing and justice powers." – The Times

Bagehot offers two explanations of Gordon Brown's conversion to electoral reform

"One is simply that the Tories are against it. That has enabled Mr Brown to erect one of his beloved “dividing lines”… Or, perhaps, the fact that this new move is a revival of a promise Labour made in 1997 is, in a way, part of its appeal. At bottom it is a bid to turn back the clock—to the time when Labour seemed capable of being a force for meaningful change." – Bagehot in The Economist

John Gummer supports bail plea by Austrian aristocrat on BAE chargeThe Times

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100 comments for: Friday 5th February 2010

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