6pm WATCH: Peter Cruddas talks of being "humiliated" by the Tory Party, and the impact it has had on other donors

2pm LeftWatch: Chuka Umunna, "the unions' representative in Parliament", hits choppy waters

11.30am James Duddridge MP on Comment: Why I'm investing in 12 companies across Africa

ToryDiary: "Large numbers of new engineering jobs, and many more in the supply chain. Cheaper energy for households who have seen bills go through the roof in recent years. Raw materials and lower running costs to bring manufacturing back onshore. Less reliance on gas imported from Vladimir Putin and the House of Saud. But that will only happen if government, the media and – most importantly – local residents are convinced of the positive reasons to do it." Shale gas is too important to abandon the debate to its scaremongering opponents

On ToryDiary, we ask the question again: Why can't we be told how many members the Conservative Party has?

Cameron Penny on Comment: "In a ludicrous reduction in the level of transparency to which I currently submit, the Bill wouldn’t mean I’d have to register as a lobbyist. As an employee who lobbies on behalf of an employer whose business is lobbying; they would have to register, I wouldn’t." Why this isn't the lobbying bill we need

Michael Fallon wonders how shale gas supporters will feel when it's in their backyard

Growth ConHome"Mr Fallon is a huge enthusiast for fracking, arguing it offers the promise of lower energy bills and millions of pounds in compensation for local communities. But in the private briefing, he candidly admitted that prosperous homeowners who find fracking on their doorstep in the Tories’  Middle England heartlands could be in for a shock. Mr Fallon, MP for Sevenoaks in Kent, said that exploratory studies for fracking were already poised to start in the North of England and are set to spread the length and breadth of southern England." – Mail on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary – Shale gas is too important to abandon the debate to its scaremongering opponents

Planning minister wants to see shops converted into houses 

Boles Nick"Nick Boles, the planning minister, believes local authorities should give up trying to revive town centres that are blighted by rows of boarded-up shops. Instead, he says, some of the empty properties should be converted into affordable homes. In a policy that could change the face of town centres across England, the government wants councils to concentrate their efforts on revitalising shopping in struggling areas on just one or two “prime” streets. The proposed relaxation in planning restrictions on converting retail premises into private housing could mean terraces of shops being turned into housing." – Sunday Times (£) 

Mark Harper vs Doreen Lawrence on immigration spot-checks

"Last week, Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence and who is now a Labour peer in recognition of her fight against racism, said she thought ‘racial profiling’ was involved in the checks. But Mr Harper insisted: ‘We weren’t stopping people based on their race or their ethnicity. We were only stopping people and questioning them where we had a reasonable suspicion that they were an immigration offender.’ He also said no ethnic details about people questioned were recorded, with officers noting only people’s nationality, name and date of birth." – Mail on Sunday 

Childcare vouchers for working parents

FAMILY"The government is to press ahead with controversial plans to offer parents wanting to return to work childcare payments of up to £1,200. Ministers say the £1bn scheme, which will help parents who earn up to £150,000 each, will make it easier for those with young children to return to work. It has been criticised, however, for excluding mothers who stay at home to bring up children." – Sunday Times (£) 

MoD's £500 million on external advisers and consultants

"Defence chiefs have spent more than £500 million on lawyers and consultants while making thousands of troops redundant. Most of the money has been siphoned off a budget that should have been used to pay for equipment in Afghanistan. Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveal that the amount spent by the Ministry of Defence on ‘External Assistance’ – lawyers, management consultants, accountants and IT experts  – has doubled in the past  two years." – Mail on Sunday  

Labour's frontbench isn't working

Labour Rose Wilting"Labour are in a funk. Backbenchers are publicly questioning Ed Miliband’s style of leadership, their big guns are silent and the Tories are setting the political agenda. If this carries on, it could turn into Miliband’s summer of discontent. Part of the problem is that he doesn’t have enough support from the Labour frontbench.  While he is in France working on his conference speech, no one on the Labour side is stepping up." – Mail on Sunday

>Yesterday: ToryDiary - Labour are rattled by the Conservatives hiring world class election strategists

Baroness Warsi remembers India's massive contribution to World War One

"The centenary offers an opportunity to address the historical blind spot we have when it comes to recognising the contribution of Commonwealth soldiers. After all, think of the First World War and you think trenches and Tommies, poems and poppies. You don’t think of Aussies landing on the scorching shores of Turkey. You don’t think of men from the West Indies travelling to Egypt. And you certainly don’t think of sepoys in turbans, serving on the Western Front. But they deserve to be remembered." – Baroness Warsi, Mail on Sunday 

  • Knowledge of WW1 history replaced by Blackadder myths – Mail on Sunday 

£500 million extra for A&E

"Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has found extra cash to help out units swamped by an admissions rush. The emergency fund will pay for staff to cut growing casualty queues. Money will also be pumped into community services so more patients are treated at home. About 100 patients a day are currently forced to wait more than an hour in ambulances outside A&E because medics are too busy to treat them. Five out of six units do not have enough consultants during busy spells and many rely on junior doctors." – Sun on Sunday (£) 

  • Why the NHS should provide a seven day service – Sunday Times (£) 

French prove unhelpful over EU reform

Cameron fence"Francois Hollande has warned the Prime Minister that France will not agree to concessions being made by the rest of the EU just to help his own domestic “agenda,” The Sunday Telegraph has learned. Mr Hollande’s tough stance, spelled out privately in the “margins” of official meetings in Paris, Brussels, Northern Ireland and elsewhere – is an opening play in a high-stakes game of diplomatic poker. Nevertheless, it represents a big obstacle for Mr Cameron to overcome as he plots his EU strategy for the next few years." – Sunday Telegraph 

Yesterday: LeftWatch - No support among Labour Euro candidates for In/Out EU referendum

Peter Cruddas: The Conservative party should put things right

""I would like a relationship with the party again, but it’s not going to be on their terms. I am not feeling conciliatory.” What does that mean? “I need closure and I’m in a confrontational mood because I’ve been through the wringer. I think they realise they’ve made a mistake and I’ll give them a chance to put it right. If they don’t then I’ll have to think about my next options and I’ve got two or three of them.”" – Sunday Telegraph 

Leak suggests Crosby is planning an anti-UKIP drive

UKIP_mag 3"The Conservative party’s campaign chief, wants to launch a “below-the-radar” operation to undermine UKIP politicians by catching them making embarrassing comments. He plans to monitor every council meeting attended by UKIP members and to launch an in-depth investigation into all 139 of the party’s newly elected councillors. Crosby appears to be considering using third parties to assist and brief the press and has warned that the plan will be wrecked if anyone finds out the Tories are behind it." – The Sunday Times (£) 

Pickles in trade union subs legal battle

Pickles Red Blue"The dispute centres on Mr Pickles’s decision to end the automatic collection of union subs from civil service salaries. The system, known as “check off”, allows employees who want to sign up to a trade union to have their monthly subscription deducted from their pay packet automatically. Earlier this year, Mr Pickles issued guidance to councils urging them to end “check off” or start charging unions for the cost of administration. He is the first Cabinet minister to try to bring an end to the scheme within Whitehall." – Sunday Express 

  • Town halls spending money fighting smoking invest in tobacco firms – Sunday Express 

Revealed: How Mugabe bought another election

"Robert Mugabe used £500m of diamond money to rig the country’s elections, intelligence documents obtained by The Sunday Times reveal. The documents, dated June 3, detail how Chinese and Zimbabwean diamond companies pumped cash into a war chest used by Mugabe to manipulate the results of the election and intimidate the population. Yesterday Zimbabweans prepared for another five years of autocratic rule after the country’s electoral commission announced that Mugabe had won the presidential elections with 61% of the vote." – Sunday Times (£) 

News in brief


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.