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6.45pm Local government: The truth about the London fire strike

4pm ToryDiary: Open thread to suggest questions for the end-October ConHome survey

2.30pm WATCH: George Osborne welcomes higher than expected economic growth and endorsement by S&P of deficit strategy

11am LeftWatch: "The vicious Tory determination to make the poor suffer"

FAMILY10am David T Breaker on CentreRight: We need house prices to go up

On ToryDiary Paul Goodman interviews Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin: "There were two Conservative MPs who stood as independents at the general election – and they're not here now."

Matthew Offord MP on Platform: The settlements are not the defining issue of the Middle East peace process

Local government: Will Labour councils cash in on rent hikes – while blaming the Government?

Parliament:

Thee opinion polls overnight show tightening

Coalition pensions plan gets warm welcome

Pensioner "After years of hearing about the pensions crisis, things may be changing. In 2015 the Government plans to increase our ludicrously low state pension to a flat-rate basic level of £140 a week. If only this had been done years ago, our pensions crisis might have been under control." – Ros Altmann of Saga in The Express

"The Coalition is not losing its capacity to surprise. The plan to introduce a flat-rate pension of about £140 a week by the end of this parliament was as unexpected as it was radical. There was no hint of the proposal in last week's Comprehensive Spending Review, which suggests that the details have not yet been nailed down; we suspect that doing so will be far from straightforward. Nevertheless, as a statement of intent, it is welcome." – Telegraph leader

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: IDS plans a citizen's pension of £140 for all

London firefighters ready to strike on bonfire night

"London firefighters are to strike on Bonfire Night as part of a dispute over changes to shifts. The Fire Brigades Union said last night that thousands of its members would walk out from 10am on November 5 until 9am on November 7 — the busiest period of the year for firefighters. The London Fire Brigade usually attends twice as many calls on November 5 than on any other night of the year. They put out twice as many serious fires and five times as many smaller fires than on other nights." – Times (£)

Zahawi Nadhim "Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, a member of Parliament’s All Party Fire Safety and Rescue Group, said: "They are endangering the lives of people for the sake of a change to their shift patterns." He called for Ministers to impose no-strike laws on firemen. The police are already banned from striking. ‘I would support anti-strike legislation if it stops putting people’s lives in danger."" – Daily Mail

> Yesterday evening's ToryDiary: The Coalition should introduce emergency protections for users of essential public services

Is David Cameron diluting his pledge to cap immigrants?Daily Mail

> Yesterday evening's ToryDiary: As long as Cameron reduces net immigration to the tens of thousands the Coalition should be flexible on economic immigration

Cameron willing to give Merkel new EU Treaty in return for budget freeze

"The prime minister will indicate in Brussels on Thursday and Friday that Britain is prepared to link Germany's demand for a new treaty to Britain's call for a freeze in the EU budget. Germany's Angela Merkel wants a new EU treaty to place the €110bn (£98bn) bailout for Greece and the wider €750bn bailout fund for others on a legally watertight treaty basis." – Guardian

> Last week's ToryDiary argued that Mr Cameron should use Mrs Merkel's demand for new Treaty as an opportunity for fundamental renegotiation of the UK-EU relationship

Liberal Democrat minister Andrew Stunnel defends housing reforms

"Stunnel, the Lib Dem minister inside the department of communities, has hit back, saying "most of what has been written about the plans is inaccurate", and telling party members "not to believe what the Labour party, and their friends in the media, want you to think we're doing". He promised the government would be "building more affordable housing units this year than in any year under Labour, and in the plans announced in the spending review we will be adding more each year than they did altogether"." – Guardian

The Government's plans to reform housing benefit may have created a poll tax-sized problem – Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£)

In The Guardian, Polly Toynbee sees the policy as a "final solution" for the poor.

The King's Fund warns of £6bn NHS budget shortfallIndependent

"The radical reorganisation proposed by Mr Lansley will drain more money from patient services – between £2bn and £3bn according to the independent think-tank, the Kings Fund. This is in addition to the inevitable diversion of management and clinical energy. Something has to give, and it will be the quality of front-line care, whether through rising waiting times, hospital closures or rationing of expensive drugs and treatments." – Philip Stephens in the FT (£)

The Express continues its assault on foreign aid spending

15773010 "Britain is dishing out more foreign aid than any other European country despite having to make the biggest spending cuts since the Second World War. Our colossal donations outweigh those of Germany and France and come as Britain’s economy is expected to show worrying signs of slowing down in growth figures due out today. Last night a Tory source said: “People will be rightly dismayed that they are forced to fork out more than people in countries whose economies have more financial clout. They are struggling as much as their European neighbours, yet they have to prop up the foreign aid budget for everyone else.” – Express

Vince Cable mocks his Tory Cabinet colleagues' failure to forecast the credit crunch and recessionIndependent

Vince Cable issues warning over bankers' bonuses – Telegraph video

John Redwood: Tories called for better financial regulation in 2007Letter to The Guardian

Britain to invest in 70,000 jobs in wind energyFT (£)

Lady Thatcher to stay in hospital as she continues to recover from fluBBC

How will you celebrate when Margaret Thatcher dies? Sick question asked by 'vulgar' website is condemned – Daily Mail

George Osborne should introduce a 'Rooney tax'

"The lesson from Rooney's negotiations, according to my economics monographs, is that we would be quite entitled to levy a higher rate of tax – call it the Rooney rate – on superstars. It's hard to see what harm it would do. RPattz is unlikely to throw in his job to work at Tesco. Tevez is unlikely to retrain as a corporate lawyer. As for Rooney, it might even encourage him to spend more nights indoors with Coleen." – Aditya Chakrabortty in The Guardian

And finally 1… Tony Blair's wife Cherie flogged the ex-PM's autograph for £10 on eBayThe Sun

And finally 2… Scruffy Gordon Brown

"Catty Peter Mandelson has slagged off scruffy Gordon Brown — saying he couldn't even fix his own tie. Mandy also dubbed the former PM "a cross between a snowplough and a combine harvester". His comments were caught on film by a documentary maker during the election campaign. In one clip, Lord Mandelson discusses how to boost Mr Brown's image. He says: "I've given up. I'd settle for the tie being straight. I just cannot understand why he cannot tie a tie like anyone else and centre it like anyone else and have it remain there."" – The Sun

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41 comments for: Weblinks for Tuesday 26th October 2010

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