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6.30pm WATCH: Benefit and births controversy takes Flight

Screen shot 2010-11-25 at 17.28.46 5.45pm LeftWatch: "Eugenics is the dirty little secret of the British left"

2pm WATCH:

12.45pm Graeme Archer on Comment: "To have to devote time to a grudge match against sporty Andy Burnham on the utterly parochial topic of how schools organise their competitive sports activities must strike Michael Gove as one perfect example of how British politics – top-down command and control that would make a Soviet Collective blush – doesn't work."

Picture 12Noon Parliament: Tobias Ellwood publishes the comprehensive case for adopting permanent Daylight Saving Time

11.30am Local Government: Tory elected mayor of Torbay may seek re-election as an Independent next year after failing to be readopted

11.15am WATCH: Andrew Roberts and Jonathan Powell contribute to seven minute Fox News video about the Bush/Blair relationship

10.15am LISTEN: Philip Hammond outlines how the Government is investing £8 billion in the railway network

ToryDiary: There's more to David Cameron's well-being message than "Hullo clouds. Hullo sky."

On our redesigned Comment page (formerly Platform): David Willetts MP: Under Coalition plans poorer graduates will pay less

Picture 15
Also in Comment: Lord Ashcroft: Conservatives should not give Ed Miliband the attention he craves

Parliament: Bill Cash fails in his attempt to make future early elections subject to a Commons motion passed by a simple majority

Local Government: School Admissions Code to be "simplified" promises fudged Education White Paper

Seats and Candidates: Craig Williams selected for Cardiff West at the Welsh Assembly election

LeftWatch: Labour MEP says now is the time for Britain to join the euro

ThinkTankCentral: 2020health calls for high-tech monitoring of the chronically sick

WATCH: Simon Hughes explains how he is agonising over how to vote on tuition fees

Philip Hammond announces £8 billion of rail investment…

Philip Hammond on Marr "The government has confirmed this morning that it's going ahead with new rolling stock orders and electrification worth £8 billion, including 2,100 new vehicles for Thameslink, Crossrail and other operators. The transport secretary Philip Hammond is authorising 1,200 vehicles for Thameslink and the infrastructure upgrade of their route across central London, at a cost of £6 billion." – Rail News

…as David Cameron signals go-ahead for High Speed Rail 2

“I have seen the map. This is incredibly difficult when high-speed rail is thundering through your constituency, because you, yourself, may not see the benefit from it. We can’t put a stop in every constituency – the whole point about high-speed rail is that it’s got to go fast. So, it’s going to stop in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, with one or two extra stops along the way – no more.” – David Cameron quoted in the Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday in Parliament: Tory MPs raise concerns about High Speed Rail 2

Theresa May to give police power to order violent partners to leave home for 48 hours

"A scheme to protect women from domestic abuse by removing violent partners from the family home is to be piloted in three police force areas from next summer, the home secretary, Theresa May, is to announce today. The go-ahead for domestic violence protection orders forms part of an updated Home Office strategy to tackle sexual and emotional crimes against women and girls." – The Guardian

The Daily Express calls for withdrawal from the EU

Picture 14 "The Daily Express today becomes the first national newspaper to call for Britain to leave the European Union. From this day forth our energies will be directed to furthering the cause of those who believe Britain is Better Off Out. The famous and symbolic Crusader who adorns our masthead will become the figurehead of the struggle to repatriate British sovereignty from a political project that has comprehensively failed." – Daily Express front page leader

> Last night's ToryDiary: The Daily Express becomes the first national newspaper to support Britain leaving the EU

Cameron hints at early return to government for David Laws

"David Cameron has said he wants David Laws back in his cabinet “soon”, in what would be a remarkably swift rehabilitation for the Liberal Democrat forced to quit the government in an expenses scandal… Mr Cameron was asked on Wednesday at a parliamentary press gallery lunch whether he wanted to see Mr Laws back in the government. He replied simply: “Yes, and soon.” – FT (£)

"Mr Laws has now been out of office for almost six months. In the coming months and years, as the Government faces a ferocious backlash from the Left, it will need its most articulate champions to the fore. Mr Laws is one of them. Provided the ongoing standards inquiry into his expenses claims does not throw up any further infractions, his return to a frontline ministerial job should be expedited." – Daily Telegraph editorial

Reaction to yesterday's Education White Paper

  • Fraser Nelson: The problem for Gove is that structures beget standards – Coffee House
  • Zoe Williams: Michael Gove's missed the obvious target for reform, Ofsted – The Guardian
  • Allison Pearson: Michael Gove's education reforms haven't come a moment too soon – Daily Telegraph
  • Max Hastings: Gove declares war on failure in our schools – Daily Mail
  • Steve Richards: Gove needs to rewrite his homework – The Independent
  • CBI welcomes schools plans – City AM

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: The martyrdom of Michael Gove

> James Groves on CentreRight: The Education White Paper is a good start, but there's much further to go

British foreign policy to change "reflecting Arab concerns on Middle East"

William Hague serious square "British foreign policy will change to reflect Arab concerns over the Middle East peace process as part of the Coalition's efforts to seal a strategic agreement with the Gulf during the Queen's visit to the region. Whitehall officials said Foreign Secretary William Hague's decision to reach out to Gulf states in an effort to secure better diplomatic and trade ties meant Britain had to "take on board" Arab foreign policy goals." – Daily Telegraph

Details of latest political donations unveiled

"Labour and the Conservatives are continuing to build substantial war chests ahead of next year’s Welsh and Scottish elections, official figures showed last night. According to the Electoral Commission, the Conservatives took the lion’s share of donations between July and September, receiving £3.7m. Labour was given £2.3m in the same period, more than £1.9m of which came from the trade unions." – Western Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: The Conservative Party tops the latest quarterly donation league table

David Cameron welcomes Ed Miliband back with a baby gift and an insult – Simon Hoggart's PMQs sketch in The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary on PMQs

Other political news in brief

  • Student protests: Anger flares up as police control the protesters with ‘kettling’ – The Times (£)
  • Bank bonuses: Osborne writes to EU finance ministers seeking support for common rules – FT (£)
  • Sentencing: Policy Exchange calls for community sentences overhaul – BBC
  • NHS: Postcode lottery revealed with publication of health atlas – Press Association
  • BBC: Coalition 'tried to force BBC to run government adverts' – The Independent
  • Benefits: UK has most young people on incapacity benefit – The Sun 
  • Benefits: DWP overpayments cost £1.1 billion – BBC
  • World Cup Bid: Cameron and Prince William to boost 2018 bid next week – Daily Star

Other comment

  • Ben Brogan: Bold reforms are all very well – but now David Cameron must deliver – Daily Telegraph
  • Tim Montgomerie: The Church should heed a lesson from the Tory party – The Times (£)

Martin Callanan insists Tories remain committed to ECR group in Brussels

CALLANAN MARTIN "The newly-elected leader of the Tory group in parliament says there is "no chance" of him and his colleagues pulling out of the ECR. Martin Callanan, elected leader of the 25-strong group on Tuesday, was responding to media reports that the ECR was "about to implode." This comes after the decision of ECR leader Michal Kaminski and two MEP colleagues to withdraw from the Law and Justice party in Poland following a disagreement over policy." – The Parliament

> Tuesday"s ToryDiary: Martin Callanan elected to lead the Conservative MEPs

> International: Tory allies in Polish Law and Justice Party set for split

MEPs get £3,000 pay rise after EU judges' rulingDaily Mail

UKIP MEP urged to apologise over Nazi jibe Press Association

> WATCH: Godfrey Bloom expelled from the European Parliament after shouting 'Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer' at German social democrat

New leader of UK's biggest union promises 'alliance of resistance' to cuts

"Len McCluskey, the newly elected leader of Unite, Britain's biggest trade union, today put himself and his union at the forefront of "an alliance of resistance" that he promised would rock the establishment and force the coalition government to step back from its plans to "decimate the very fabric of the welfare state". – The Guardian

> Sunday's LeftWatch: New union leader's militant ambition to take over Labour Party

And finally… David Cameron's gags which had journalists rolling in the aisles at a lunch yesterday

David Cameron conference smiling "Recalling health minister Simon Burns’ dislike for the speaker, Cameron recounted how Burns had somehow managed to persuade his driver to reverse into Bercow’s parked car. The pint-sized speaker, spotting the mishap, came running down into the courtyard where he confronted Burns straight off: “I’m not happy!” he declared. “Which one are you then?” demanded Burns. After a brief anecdote in which he recalled hauling President Barack Obama out of the girls’ bathroom at the G20 summit, Cameron moved onto Europe. After one long, tough negotiation about bailout mechanisms, he said, Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi “tried to lighten the mood with a joke,” Cameron recalled. “The first line of it was ‘why did the chicken cross the road?’ But the next line was so dirty that the interpreter refused to translate it!” – City AM

…although The Independent reports that campaigners are demanding he apologise for comparing John Bercow to a dwarf

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43 comments for: Weblinks for Thursday 25th November 2010

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