Osborne9pm ToryDiary: Now George Osborne is dragged into the Greenpeace sting

7.30pm WATCH: Theresa May: Chris Heaton-Harris has been guilty of some silly bragging

5.30pm Peter Cuthbertson on Comment: Would political journalists be wiser to nip this creepy use of hidden cameras in the bud?

5.15pm Timothy Barnes on Comment: Hands up if you understand the PCC elections!

2.15pm ToryDiary: More encouraging employment news, but Mervyn King warns of shrinking growth

John Bercow

11.45am ToryDiary: In defence, for once, of Bercow

11am MPsETC: Tory MPs and press wonder why George Osborne promotes gay marriage but does not introduce tax allowance for married couples

10.30 ToryDiary: Chris Heaton-Harris MP’s remarks typify David Cameron’s wind farm troubles

Tory Diary: Why low turnout in tomorrow's police commissioner elections won't matter

Columnist Jill Kirby: The database state is not dead, just privatised

Lord Flight on Comment: What the Conservatives might learn from the US Presidential Election

On Thinkers' Corner, Roger Scruton discusses Europe and the Nation

Local Government: Helping the homeless

The Deep End: Jeremy Clarkson's worst nightmare is just around the corner

David Cameron has postponed his long-awaited EU referendum speech, reports claim

Cameron"He originally planned to deliver it as a 2015 election manifesto promise at October’s Tory conference, along with a vow to win back key powers. But on Foreign Office advice, he delayed the speech until December. Mandarins warned him that many of the other 26 EU countries will be enraged by any British sabre-rattling. … If next week’s budget summit fails, a second one will be held, probably in March 2013. … Senior No10 sources last night admitted the PM’s EU speech may slip to January next year — but no later." – Sun

  • MEPs have refused to talk to finance ministers in EU budget talks - Daily Mail

> Today on Thinkers' Corner: Roger Scruton discusses Europe and the Nation

> Yesterday:

15 Tories write an open letter to David Cameron to urge a tax break for married couples

"With more than half the current parliament completed and no sign of the promise being implemented, the MPs have demanded action in next year’s Budget. .. The MPs backing the letter include Tim Loughton and Sir Gerald Howarth, who left the Government in September’s reshuffle. Another signatory is Nick de Bois, secretary of the 1922 Committee of back-bench MPs. It is understood the letter has the private backing of several Cabinet ministers." – Daily Telegraph

The Treasury expresses disappointment at yesterday's inflation figures

Osborne_with_bberry"The cost of living has risen sharply, fuelled by increases in food prices and the trebling of tuition fees. … The Treasury said the figures were ‘disappointing’ as experts predicted the Consumer Prices Index would break through three per cent by the New Year." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday: 

Chris Heaton-Harris, who is running the Conservative campaign in Corby, has been filmed saying he encouraged a rival, anti-windfarm candidate to stand

"Chris Heaton-Harris, who is campaign manager for the Tories in Corby, was recorded saying he encouraged an anti-wind farm candidate to join the election race against the Tories, adding: 'Please don't tell anybody ever." … The footage, covertly recorded by the environmental group Greenpeace, captures the MP saying the independent anti-wind farm candidate, James Delingpole, had announced his candidacy as part of a 'plan' to 'cause some hassle' and drive the wind issue up the political agenda." - Guardian

John Hayes sparks another war of words over windfarms

John Hayes

"Energy Minister John Hayes last night set off the
second Coalition row about renewable power in just two weeks. … The Tory
insisted that only a ‘small proportion’ of the wind farm projects in the
planning system would be needed. … He said that when those already built and
approved are taken into account: ‘We will have reached our ambitions in respect
of the renewables target – end of story’. … The remarks infuriated his
Liberal Democrat boss, Energy Secretary Ed Davey, who accused his deputy of
‘grandstanding’." – Daily Mail

The Financial Times reports that the Government is prepared to delay its welfare reforms

"The government is prepared to delay its flagship welfare reform amid fears the complex changes may need to be more thoroughly tested before being extended to all benefit claimants, the Financial Times has learnt. … There is growing confidence in Whitehall that the October 2013 deadline for the opening phase of moving new claimants on to the system will be met. However, senior government advisers believe it may be necessary to delay the start of the second phase due in April 2014." – Financial Times (£)

Chris Grayling says that Abu Qatada fiasco is a reason to change human rights laws

"Mr Grayling told the Commons: 'All of us believe the law should not operate in this way and this case underlines my view that there is a very real need for major changes to the way the European human rights framework operates.'" - Daily Telegraph

Maria Miller speaks out against European plans for boardroom quotas…

MAria Miller"In a major speech on women's role in the economy yesterday, Mrs Miller dismissed a drive by the European Commission to impose a minimum 40 per cent quota for women on company boards. … She said more still needed to be done on both equal opportunities and pay, but insisted policy would not be driven by 'political correctness'." – Daily Mail

  • "Quotas for women on boards best way to raise talent" – Larry Elliot, Guardian

…and is to announce a £2 million scheme to help those who want to set up childcare businessesDaily Telegraph

Michael Gove stands up for external exams…

"The Education Secretary will argue that externally-marked exams are 'fairer' than coursework because pupils are not blighted by the 'low expectations' of teachers who know them." – Daily Telegraph

  • Around a quarter of the Department for Education's workforce faces redundancy, as Mr Gove plans cuts – The Times (£)

…and he wants to promote handwriting in schools…

"A draft copy of the English curriculum – which is just six pages long – highlights the importance of writing. … It says that at Key Stage Three, pupils aged 11 to 14 should be taught to 'write accurately, frequently and at length, with increasing fluency and sophistication' through 'personal and business letters using the correct form' as well as other forms including stories, poems and essays." – Daily Mail

…but comes under attack over school closures

“Judged solely on its record, the case for
keeping Harrowden Middle school open looks a no brainer. … Yet it is
facing closure in 2014 with heads claiming it exposes an unintended consequence
of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s drive to create more independently-run
academies. As a result, councils have fewer options when it comes to deciding
which schools should close – they can only choose out of the ones they still
control.” – Independent

Patrick McLoughlin is waging war on unecessary road signs

PM"Unnecessary signs which clutter up the roads are to be scrapped. … They are an ugly, confusing and potentially dangerous blot on the landscape, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said yesterday." – Daily Mail

The Government is likely to cancel aid to RwandaIndependent

John Bercow "row" with Commons expenses watchdog — four of its board members quit

"In a dramatic move, four of the founding board members of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority announced they were stepping down because of concerns about interference by Mr Bercow. … They are said to have been deeply unhappy about Mr Bercow’s demand that they re-apply for their jobs in a process partly overseen by a former MP who repeatedly voted to block publication of MPs’ expenses." – Daily Mail

Tory MPs respond to George Osborne's Times article from yesterday, which supported gay marriage

"Tory backbencher Stewart Jackson said: 'The focus should be less on these social liberal obsessions  of West London and more on  blue-collar issues like the cost of living, mortgages and reducing taxes for families. … 'The social liberal values of Notting Hill don't translate well outside the M25.' … Former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth has written to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond warning that military chaplains face being disciplined if the Government forces through its plans." – Daily Mail

And the newspapers respond too:

  • "He is playing a dangerous game. Six hundred thousand people have signed a petition opposing same-sex marriage. All faiths will mobilise against it because Church leaders are unconvinced by the Government’s promise that they will not be allowed to conduct such ceremonies in any case." – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "Mr Osborne appears to believe that being 'socially liberal' is the key to electoral success. … In fact, most voters believe fixing the economy and dealing with bread and butter issues about living standards are by far the most important tasks facing the Government." – Daily Express editorial

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: There he is! The submarine Chancellor surfaces to display his social liberalism in the Times

The Sun speaks to the Tory candidate hoping to defeat John Prescott in the police commissioner elections

"Down-to-earth Mr Grove, 49, has gone from gutting chickens to building up a successful building services firm and hopes his 'Stop Prezza' manifesto to represent victims will trump Two Jags’ long record as an MP and minister in the last Labour government. … The Sun joined Mr Grove during a day’s campaigning near Hull when he told us: 'I don’t have John Prescott’s profile but I’m convinced he is beatable.'" – Sun

> Today on Tory Diary: Why low turnout in tomorrow's police commissioner elections won't matter

A former head of MI5 supports secret trials

BMWriting in The Times today, Baroness Manningham-Buller says that because secret material cannot be used in court, the Government is forced to settle claims whose merits have not been scrutinised by a judge. – The Times (£)

Ian Birrell: There is something profoundly wrong with a Britain where only the 'little people' pay taxes

"How hollow the words of Chancellor George Osborne now sound, who insisted last year: ‘We will be as tough on the richest who evade tax as those who cheat on benefits.’ … Instead, the tax authorities — so ready to crack down on small business owners or the self-employed — indulge the wealthy with sweetheart deals that amount to little more than a slap on the wrist." – Ian Birrell, Daily Mail

Iain Martin: David Cameron may have suffered a sartorial slip in his white tie, but at least he was in the right clothes – Iain Martin, Daily Telegraph

Jill Kirby: Nick Clegg is not going to give working mothers a helping hand

Jill"Despite a coalition agreement that the Liberal Democrats would stand back to allow the Conservatives to bring forward plans for a marriage-based tax allowance, no such allowance has been forthcoming. The Chancellor, who used a newspaper article yesterday to declare his support for gay marriage and pro-choice abortion, does not appear to be in the mood to help traditional families." – Jill Kirby, Daily Telegraph

Ed Davey pledges to use "full force of the law" against any enegy firms involved in price-fixing

"Ministers yesterday vowed to fine energy firms that fiddle gas prices — as it emerged electricity costs may also be fixed. … Energy Secretary Ed Davey told MPs that families could be compensated if rigging by traders on wholesale markets is proved. … He pledged to use the “full force of the law” to make dodgy energy companies cough up." – Sun

Lynne Featherstone: Childbirth is still a barrier to women's career successDaily Mail

Labour MP Simon Danczuk accuses the former Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith of sexually abusing childrenDaily Mail

Labour accuse Vince Cable of "sabre-rattling"

Cable"In a speech on Tuesday, Chuka Umunna said the business secretary had picked counter-productive fights with coalition colleagues. 'This is disastrous for a department whose work is so cross-cutting,' he said." – Financial Times (£)

Jury rules against former Labour MP Margaret Moran in expenses caseDaily Mail

Yep, the NHS is hiring a "head of brand" for £97,000 a yearSun

One-in-four pensioners who pay for their own care face losing their home and savings, claims reportDaily Mail

Nearly half of Britain's daily post bag is junk mailSun

Nadine Dorries's latest jungle trial: eating lamb's testicle and ostrich anus


"The Tory member for Mid-Bedfordshire was presented with a five-course meal made up of the 'vilest meat on the planet', beginning with baked spider and camel’s toe. … She moved on to ostrich anus, gagging throughout but managing to swallow it, before munching through a testicle. Only a fermented duck egg defeated her." - Daily Telegraph

Lord Ashcroft: Why we owe all of our Victoria Cross heroes a debt of gratitude

Lord AShcroft"I feel protective towards the graves of those 177 men whose VCs are now in my collection. It is for this reason that I am today pledging up to £1,000 per plot to restore any of these specific graves if, for whatever reason, they have fallen into major disrepair. … I hope that my pledge, so soon after Remembrance Sunday, will encourage others, including the Government and concerned groups or individuals, to find the funds to restore every derelict grave of a VC recipient to its former glory." - Lord Ashcroft, Daily Mail

  • The Daily Mail's news report about Lord Ashcroft's pledge


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