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7.30pm ToryDiary: Ken Clarke slides down Cabinet league table

Hannan Dan DP12.15pm Three videos:

11.45am ToryDiary: The four weaknesses in David Cameron's office

ToryDiary: The age of centralisation is over, declares Cameron

Toby Baxendale on Platform: What is "Right-wing"?

Laurie Thaves on Local government: Will Gove's vocational education revival work?


Forrest-gump LeftWatch: Ed 'Forest Gump' Miliband ahead in shock poll of Labour's electoral college

David Mowat MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions: “I’m a Conservative because… We recognise the limits of the State and understand the ethical case for free markets. This makes us the party of freedom and social mobility.”

George Osborne forces HMRC chief to apologise

"Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), said he was "deeply sorry" that taxpayers were being asked to pay back an average £1,428. His statement was issued after he caused fury by insisting the authorities were not to blame and declaring: "I'm not sure I see a need to apologise." 
George Osborne, the Chancellor, was said to have ben “incandescent” at Mr Hartnett’s original remarks. A source close to him said: “George is very relieved that he has now done the right thing and apologised.”" – The Sunday Telegraph

Screen shot 2010-09-12 at 07.23.47Observer cartoonist paints George Osborne as enthusiastic axeman >

See full drawing.

TUC report: Tory cuts 'will affect poor ten times harder than rich'"George Osborne's planned spending cuts hit the poor ten times harder
than they will the rich, a new study has claimed. Research
by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that single parents and
pensioners will take the brunt of the mooted public spending cuts and
that everyone but the top 10 per cent of earners will lose more from
cuts than from tax and benefit changes." – Scotland on Sunday

Observer splash dismissed by Department of Work and Pensions

"The Department for Work and Pensions has dismissed a report that ministers have agreed to cut £2.5bn from benefits paid to those who are too sick to work." – BBC

Aircraft carrier contracts worth £1.25bn have been signed even though the project may be cancelledBBC

Treasury minister faces Equitable Life backlash

"Chris Wiscarson, the chief executive of Equitable Life, has branded
as “outrageous” attempts by Mark Hoban, the Financial Secretary to the
Treasury, and a roster of other Conservative MPs, to undermine the
£4bn-£4.8bn compensation he believes the insurance company’s policy
holders should be receiving." – Sunday Telegraph

John Redwood attacks LibDem backbenchers' plan for land taxMail on Sunday

One Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister expects his party to fall to FIVE PER CENT in opinion polls

"One Lib Dem member of the cabinet recently gave me his private estimate of where the opinion polls will be in about a year's time. His forecast was: "25-5". By that, he meant the Tories will slump to 25% over the next 12 months and the Lib Dems will collapse to 5%… Neither the Tories nor the Lib Dems would dare precipitate an early general election which would see the Conservatives devastated and the Lib Dems obliterated. If they are doomed to become extremely unpopular, they are also doomed to hang together- or they will hang separately." – Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

"Nick Clegg has told his ministers to "mingle" at the Liberal Democrat conference next week, to avoid the impression that being in government has gone to their heads."Independent on Sunday

The Sunday Times interviews Eric Pickles


Screen shot 2010-09-12 at 08.38.54 ConHome picture of the Communities Secretary in his office, sat before a bust of Disraeli >>>

"In pride of place in his Commons office is a collection of ornamental rhinos and hippopotamuses, presumably linked to his nickname “hippo”. A small furry toy monkey swings from his Anglepoise lamp. Bizarrely, on top of the in-tray on his desk is a soft toy, a near life-size white, long-haired cat. Disappointingly, he doesn’t sit there stroking it, like a James Bond villain. The knick-knacks are certainly not a sign that Pickles is frivolous about his brief. Top of his agenda has been exposing, and tackling, government waste, starting with abuses in his own department. Last month he published a list of every item of spending of more than £500 in his department under the old administration, and in 15 quangoes. It revealed taxpayers had been subsidising trips to Blackpool beach, massages and jazz-listening sessions for mandarins. Pickles wants local authorities to publish similar lists of expenses, and will name and shame those that fail to comply." – The Sunday Times (£)

Sunday Times leader (£): "Inside every thin cabinet there is a fat northerner bursting to get out. Among the sleek, southern metrosexuals who make up the coalition government, Eric Pickles, as plain spoken as his name, is a welcome sight. The Yorkshire-born communities and local government secretary was “massively inclined” towards communism as a boy yet ended up as chairman of the Conservative party. He confounds all the clichés about what a Tory sounds like and looks like."

Matthew d'Ancona looks at the hypocrisy of Coulson's critics and concludes that he's indispensable to Cameron

Coulson Andy at DCMS "Cameron’s loyalty to Coulson is deep and based on a (justified) belief that his director of communications brings something to the table that none of his other lieutenants do: tabloid street-smarts combined with a sharp intellect. In the inner circle, only George Osborne has a comparable sense of how the media work: both the rough-and-tumble and the deeper nuances of press coverage. Less mercurial, showy and front-of-house than Campbell was in the Blair years, Coulson is still as close to indispensable as it gets." – Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

Labour MPs seek to ban Andy Coulson from entering Commons – Mail on Sunday

MPs who resigned over expenses have free passes to CommonsThe Sunday Times (£)

Ministers' loyal guard dogs (SpAds) must always remain invisibleObserver

Cigarette point-of-sale displays ban must go ahead, say leading doctors

"Leading doctors are urging the government to press ahead with controversial plans to force shops to put cigarettes out of customers' sight and only sell them from under the counter." – Observer

Lawyers step in over Kay Burley's account of a Tony Blair-like prime minister's 'affairs'Sunday Telegraph

And finally… Sir John Major, the former prime minister, is writing a book about music hall

""I am writing a book on the social history of music hall, which I am about half way through now," the Conservative former prime minister told Mandrake at a party to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Saatchi & Saatchi, in Chelsea. "Most likely it will be called The Rise and Fall of Music Hall."" – Mandrake in The Sunday Telegraph

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