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9.45pm WATCH: Iain Duncan Smith defends the newly announced changes to child benefit

7pm ToryDiary update: Latest policy announcements from the conference in Birmingham

JI interviews DC 6.30pm ToryDiary Exclusive: David Cameron insists the Tories and Lib Dems
will fight the next general election as independent parties – but
appears not to entirely rule out a pact of some kind

5.30pm Dr Ashti Hawrami on CentreRight: Britain should embrace emerging markets in Iraq, not least to secure reliable energy supplies

4.30pm ToryDiary: George Osborne's child benefit change should be temporary

3.15pm Roger Helmer MEP on CentreRight: We’ve been handing powers to Brussels faster than Labour

3pm WATCH: Boris Johnson tells Tory Conference that new powers are needed to stop 3,000 Tube workers holding London to ransom

2.15pm ToryDiary: More details on George Osborne's benefits cap

Screen shot 2010-10-04 at 12.14.5412.45pm ToryDiary: Osborne announces that no family on benefits will be better off than the average family that works

12.15pm Local government: Boris Johnson's Conference speech

11.30am Louise Bagshawe on CentreRight: The New Statesman has failed to honour basic journalistic standards

ToryDiary: George Osborne announces that higher rate taxpayers will lose child benefit

ToryDiary: Boris Johnson calls for new union laws to stop small minorities triggering strike action

Cameron-poll-lift-2Also on ToryDiary: David Cameron enjoys best ever ratings from Tory grassroots

Martin Vickers MP on Platform: If the country wants to re-elect the Coalition in 2015, we will need to consider having single Coalition candidates

Local government: Nottingham City Council's war on conkers

Also on Local government: Lord Young's health and safety speech | Eric Pickles' full speech

George Osborne: We cut now or pay more later

Screen shot 2010-10-04 at 08.00.45 "George Osborne will today brace Britain for the speed and scale of the looming cuts by insisting that going slower would threaten the recovery and cost more in the long run… Trying to persuade voters of the urgency of coalition plans, he will say that the country has to act now or face a decade lost to debt. “Delay now means pay more later,” he will claim when he becomes the first Tory Chancellor to address the party’s annual conference since 1996. “Everyone knows it’s the most basic rule of debt.”" – Times (£)

The Mail reports the Chancellor's hope that Britons will work an extra hour: "George Osborne will today set out a robust defence of drastic government cuts, warning that the alternative is ‘a decade lost to debt’. The Chancellor will say that Ed Miliband’s plan to delay tough decisions on the economy and keep adding to the national debt would trigger deeper turmoil and put Britain ‘back on the brink’. He will urge the nation to pull together and ‘work the extra hour’ as he makes his strongest defence yet of the scale and speed of coalition spending cuts."

Allister Heath in City AM encourages George Osborne to ease Britain's increasingly uncompetitive tax burden: "The UK’s corporation tax rate of 28 per cent means that 18 out of 31 OECD countries now have lower rates. Even the planned rate of 24 per cent will not put the UK in front of the pack. Skilled workers look for low marginal tax rates; this is especially true of those based in London, many of whom have already left one country in search of better work. The 40 per cent rate was just about tolerable, although it was becoming increasingly uncompetitive. The 50 per cent rate is too high, especially when accompanied by other measures such as the hike in capital gains tax, the assault on non-doms and higher national insurance contributions (which take the real top rate to 51.5 per cent, one of the highest in the world)."

David Cameron more optimistic than Ken Clarke about danger of double dip recessionExpress

The Daily Mail splashes on Iain Duncan Smith's suggestion that it is "bonkers" for those on £50,000 to get benefits

"David Cameron suggested yesterday that some universal payouts, including child benefit and winter fuel allowance, were no longer affordable for all. The minister in charge of welfare reform, Iain Duncan Smith, went further, saying it was ‘bonkers’ to have people earning more than £50,000 receiving benefits." – Daily Mail

"Child benefit should be scrapped and the proceeds ploughed into protecting vulnerable public services and tax credits for low-paid families, a children’s charity urges the Government today. Martin Narey, chief executive of Barnardo’s, says in The Times that although he once supported all mothers receiving child benefit, that is “impossible to justify” with so many other welfare payments and services at risk." – Times (£)

Michael Fallon: We are Conservatives now; we will be Conservatives in May 2015, and at every election in between

FALLON MICHAEL "Conservative values certainly aren’t being compromised. We stand foursquare behind the defence of the realm and our national security; we will renew our nuclear deterrent – with or without Liberal Democrat support. We will restore sound public finances. We aim always to spread opportunity, enterprise and ownership more widely across the whole of Britain. And we will strengthen Parliament at the centre of our national life: fewer MPs with fairer constituencies, and a constitution better protected against further European integration." – Michael Fallon in The Telegraph

Tory Conference begins with bid to reassure party base

"In pre-conference interviews, Cameron soothed the party's right by highlighting his commitment to preventing any increase in EU powers, immigration caps and the promise to deregulate – three totemic issues for the right. The pre-conference emphasis on ending what the Tories call Labour's health-and-safety culture, an issue highlighted by Lord Young, also pleased the right. Similarly, Michael Gove's promise to give teachers greater freedom to impose class discipline is popular with the Tory old guard." – Guardian

William Hague says he will not nominate David Miliband for the post of European Union foreign minister, nor any other international jobFT (£)

Hague uses Conference speech to defend Coalition decision

Screen shot 2010-10-04 at 07.49.51 "The creation of the coalition was "right" and a better choice than a minority Tory government "muddling through", Foreign Secretary William Hague has said. He told the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that the AV voting system referendum would be held with the Conservatives honouring their word." – BBC

[Watch William Hague's speech].

As does Kenneth Baker in The Times (£): "Sceptical or disappointed Tory MPs should realise that a minority Conservative government or even one with a small majority could never have secured George Osborne’s Budget, Michael Gove’s education reforms or Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms. None of these can possibly be described as “appeasing the Lib Dems”. Tory MPs should also realise that they cannot leave the table and cash in their winnings as the benefits of these reforms will not be seen for three or four years."

PICKLES ERIC NW Eric Pickles, yesterday declared "home-rule" for England's 12 biggest cities, promising new legislation to introduce referenda on the election of mayors Guardian

> Yesterday's Local government: Eric Pickles will give City Mayors the power to co-ordinate anti-poverty programmes in their cities

Health unions query speed of government NHS reformsBBC

Michael Portillo: Labour made the right choice

"I have been trying to convince New Labour friends they have elected the right leader, the steely Miliband who mercilessly felled his brother rather than the wimpish one who flinched from ousting Gordon Brown. But they are inconsolable, and believe the party has made a terrible error. Even if so, Ed wouldn’t need to be very good should the reformed voting system still favour Labour. In 2005 it won a handsome majority with just 36 per cent of the vote." – Michael Portillo in the FT (£)

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