6.30pm LeftWatch: In just one day Alan Johnson offends Britain's biggest businesses, refuses to take journalists' questions and adds £10bn to Labour's fiscal black hole

3.15pm ToryDiary: The Coalition's four defences of its deficit reduction strategy

Screen shot 2010-10-18 at 12.22.2312.15pm WATCH: Theresa May explains how she plans to keep Britain safe from terror and other security threats

Noon Tim Collins on CentreRight: Boris Johnson is wrong about housing

11am Charlie Elphicke on CentreRight: The true cost of Labour's economic incompetence

ToryDiary: Don't believe the right-wing commentators who say this isn't going to hurt

Screen shot 2010-10-18 at 09.24.15 Charles Walker MP on Platform: Fewer MPs should mean fewer ministers too

Local government: £7 billion of council finance to no longer be ring fenced and Councils to have more power to ban cheap alcohol

Andrew Lilico of Policy Exchange on ThinkTankCentral: How to cut 25%

WATCH: Channel 4 predicts doom and gloom from spending review

Terrorism and attacks on computer networks are set to be named as among the biggest threats to UK security

"After months of study and debate, the National Security Council has produced a paper that identifies 16 threats to the UK. The most serious – which they are calling "Tier 1" – comprises acts of international terrorism, hostile computer attacks on UK cyberspace, a major accident or natural hazard such as a flu pandemic, or an international military crisis between states that draws in the UK and its allies." – BBC

"MI5, MI6 and eavesdroppers at GCHQ are deemed too vital to our security to be targeted for huge spending cuts, The Sun can reveal. Instead their £2.4billion budget will be boosted – with £650million extra ploughed into guarding us from attacks via the internet."

"The UK's national interest is threatened by a lack of strategic thinking at the heart of government, a committee of MPs has warned. The cross-party Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) identified a tendency for Whitehall to "muddle through" and pointed to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as examples where there has been a lack of over-arching strategy." – Express

Oxfam condemns Tory's plan for military link to aid

Images-1 "A plan to focus more Government aid on failed states which threaten Britain's security will put even more humanitarian workers at risk, the head of one of Britain's biggest charities has warned. Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, has pledged to increase aid spending by 40 per cent in Afghanistan in his drive to make humanitarian work contribute more to Britain's national interest." – Independent

35 business leaders back George Osborne's deficit strategy

"Addressing the debt problem in a decisive way will improve business and consumer confidence. Reducing the deficit more slowly would mean additional borrowing every year, higher national debt, and therefore higher spending on interest payments." – From the business leaders' letter to The Telegraph

The Guardian lists the infrastructural investments protected by George Osborne:

  • London's £16bn Crossrail link, which had been in peril.
  • The Mersey Gateway bridge.
  • Blt The Thames Gateway bridge.
  • Investment of £69m in the diamond synchotron – a particle physics project at Harwell in Oxfordshire.
  • £230m to help 2m homes in rural areas access faster broadband speeds by 2015.
George Osborne will axe child benefit for over-16s, leaving two million families worse off Daily Mail

Local authorities will be free to stop funding certain social priorities

Screen shot 2010-10-18 at 08.08.08 "Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will announce that he is abolishing the ring-fences for £7 billion of local government funding, letting councils spend the money as they please. Specific grants for schools, the police and fire services will be protected. But the rules that forced councils to spend money on other areas such as travellers, homelessness and the disabled, often by commissioning voluntary groups, look likely to be relaxed."- Times (£)

"Greg Clark, the decentralisation minister, has warned local authority chief executives that they must not “pull up the drawbridge” on the voluntary sector by passing on “disproportionate” cuts." – FT (£)

Boris Johnson: We need to be building more affordable homes NOW

"The last year of the Labour government was the worst for building new housing for 40 years. And when the economy takes off again, as it undoubtedly will, that shortage of new homes will combine with a growing population to produce the most almighty spike in prices – and young people will be less able than ever to buy a home." – Boris Johnson in The Telegraph

Bank levy will become permanent

OSBORNE GEORGE BLUE "Big banks have been given until next month to sign up to a tax code of conduct. Chancellor George Osborne is also due to introduce legislation this week to bring in a permanent levy on bank profits. The levy, which could raise up to £2.5billion a year, is part of a joint venture by the UK, France and Germany." – Daily Mail

Liam Fox has attacked Government colleagues for smearing him over his lifestyle because they do not like the spending settlement he has secured for the Ministry of DefenceTelegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Liam Fox dismisses newspaper smears as the "rufty-tufty" of politics

Jackie Ashley: There aren't enough women making decisions in the government

WomenCheryl Gillan, Theresa May, Caroline Spelman talk to Sayeeda Warsi inside Downing Street. Photograph by Andrew Parsons

 "There are just four women cabinet ministers. One is very junior, and comes from the Lords. One is Welsh secretary. As home secretary, Theresa May has some clout, but not on economic issues. Ditto Caroline Spelman at environment. The sole female minister with an economic portfolio is the relatively junior Justine Greening. The big spending review battles, affecting the budgets, families and opportunities of millions of women, were fought out by David, George, Nick, Danny, Iain, Kenneth, Andrew, Michael and Vince." – Jackie Ashley in The Guardian

Andrew Pierce: Has expense-abusing Bill Wiggin survived because he's an Old Etonian?

"Why on earth has Wiggin kept his £64,000-a-year government job as a junior whip? Surely nothing to do with the fact that Wiggin was a contemporary of Cameron’s at Eton?" – Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail

BBC debate on funeral plans for  Baroness Thatcher branded 'in poor taste' by angry listenersDaily Mail

Huhne backs nuclear power surgeFT (£)

David Laws is back making political arguments this morning…

LAWS DAVID "New policies are often hailed as being transformative; few really are. But the confirmation by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg on Friday that the coalition is to introduce a “pupil premium”, attaching more money to schoolchildren from low-income families, could prove to be just that." – David Laws with Centre Forum's Julian Astle in the FT (£)

…and Mr Laws, interviewed by Five Live, hints at return to government…

"Asked by BBC 5 live's chief political correspondent John Pienaar if he missed being a minister, Mr Laws replied: "Everybody in politics wants to be in the front line… "Everybody wants to have their hands on the levers. I don't think I'm exceptional in that regard politically. Everybody wants to be in the front line."" – BBC

The UK political mindset doesn't judge the Coalition for its actions but condemns its existence, and damns Clegg for compromising – Julian Glover in The Guardian

Melanie Phillips on the firing of inspirational teacher Katharine Birbalsingh: Home truths are practically unsayable in the state sector – over the years, other educational whistle-blowers have been punished for saying themDaily Mail

Blair left office with 76 prime ministerial giftsIndependent

Youngsters can get drunk for HALF the price of a bar of chocolateThe Sun


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