7.45pm WATCH: Why did inflation fall? The ONS explains all

5.30pm ToryDiary: "Any deployment of taxpayers' money into the housing sector, particularly so soon after a crash driven by too many people buying homes they could not afford, is enough to make good conservatives nervous. But Pickles' Equity Loan scheme does have some worthwhile differences which make it, at the least, better targeted than the Treasury's approach." Help to Buy isn't just one scheme – it's two very different things

12.45pm Alan Overton on Comment: Planning Appeals – small site developments and the case for change

11am LeftWatch: "An arrow hits me in the eye – I deal with it professionally and with panache, as usual." – The Battle of Hastings, as told by Chris Bryant

ToryDiary: "All in all, there is no good reason to believe that there will be a majority Tory government after 2015, and thus none, either, for the current wave of Conservative optimism.  But Tory MPs in marginal seats are cheered by the belief that they've a better chance of holding them, and we're all cheered by the cosmic uselessness of the Opposition." The Conservative economic poll lead soars. But Labour's overall poll lead stays

Stephen Tall

Stephen Tall's Other Half column: I look at your conference, where members sit passively, and wonder why you put up with it

In his weekly foreign policy column, Garvan Walshe explores the strange survival of Jordan's King Abdullah

Steve Barclay MP on Comment: "The latest estimate by the National Fraud Authority is that over £2bn is lost each year to fraud at local authority level. The true figure is likely much higher but still, that’s a staggering sum, equal to over £120 per household. Local government needs to stop the bleeding." Forget the ‘bedroom tax’ – here’s something that should outrage everyone in social housing

Local Government: Privatising libraries is better than closing libraries

The Deep End: It doesn’t matter how much shale gas we’ve got, we still need energy efficiency 

Cameron Long Wide
Cameron and Osborne open up 16 point lead on economic credibility

"40 per cent believe David Cameron and George Osborne are more capable of managing the economy than Ed Miliband and Ed Balls. Just 24 per cent said the Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor have the right answers – giving the Tories a 16 per cent lead. The poll is a massive blow for Mr Miliband, as it shows that the Tories are still seen to be better equipped to manage the economy, which is at last showing signs of improvement. Recent figures reveal the economy grew by 0.6 per cent in the second quarter of 2013." – Daily Mail 

>Today: ToryDiary - The Conservative economic poll lead soars. But Labour's overall poll lead stays

House prices rise as Help to Buy kicks in

"Estate agents and surveyors reported a marked rise in buyers’ inquiries last month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors will say today, fuelling expectations of the strongest house price rises since 2006. The appetite for property is being driven in part by the greater availability of mortgages for first-time buyers, who in June took out the biggest number of loans since before the financial crash, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Experts said that in some areas demand from househunters was outstripping supply." – The Times (£) 

  • Growing calls to drop the scheme – FT 

Immigration farce shows up struggling Miliband's problems…

Labour Rose Wilting"Even Mr Bryant’s grudging acknowledgement that the last government made a ‘mistake’ by failing to control migration from Eastern Europe smacked of dishonesty, given his previous dismissal of concern over the influx as just ‘huff and puff’. It’s not the silence on the economy, jobs, welfare, education and immigration that ought to worry Labour supporters: it’s that, when muddled shadow ministers do speak, they have absolutely nothing of value to say." – Daily Mail Leader 

>Yesterday: LeftWatch - Chris Bryant's immigration speech isn't just a car crash, it's a full on, bollard-smashing rampage

>Yesterday: Robert Halfon MP on Comment - Yes, Labour messed up migration. But there's nothing unConservative in criticising Tesco.

…while Chris Bryant's diary of the day reports a brave success. Seriously.

"8.05am Stuck in the box/radio studio just off the hallway at 4 Millbank doing Today with Evan Davies (with whom I was at university). He’s quite rufty tufty and spends most the interview asking about process points – who said what to whom. I hold my ground…11.15am Back in my office. My inbox is inundated with emails from people agreeing with me…" – The Independent 

>Yesterday: WATCH - Chris Bryant explains his about-turn on Tesco and Next

Fracking should go ahead country-wide, says Number 10

Growth ConHome"Yesterday the Prime Minister’s spokesman made it clear that no areas were off-limits. “He is saying it [fracking] should happen, could happen, across the country,” he said. “It should not be in one area. It should be where there is the possibility for shale gas exploration. But there should be dialogue and consultation with local people…The Prime Minister supports fracking. He sees huge potential benefits and he also sees the importance of involving local people in that discussion.”" – The Times (£) 

  • Fracking in Witney? Cameron's spokesman won't say – Daily Mail
  • Bring on the low energy prices – Daily Express
  • Mark Pritchard warns of grassroots opposition – FT
  • Tilbury plant closes as Government rejects biomass scheme – FT

>Today: The Deep End - It doesn’t matter how much shale gas we’ve got, we still need energy efficiency 

David McLetchie CBE MSP, former Scottish Conservative leader, dies

"Former Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie has died following a lengthy battle with cancer. The 61-year-old Lothian MSP passed away in the early hours of this morning at the St Columba’s Hospice in Edinburgh.  Prime Minister David Cameron led the tributes to Mr McLetchie, describing him as a ‘towering strength’…One friend said he had hoped to live long enough to cast his ‘no’ vote in next year’s referendum." – Daily Mail 

>Yesterday: MPsETC - David McLetchie CBE MSP, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has died

Will Britain sue Spain over Gibraltar?

"Government lawyers were last night deciding whether to lodge a case with the ECJ, or call for the European Commission to take action itself; senior sources told the Daily Mail that Mr Cameron demanded answers from the Foreign Office ‘by the end of the day’. He is expected to consult with the attorney general Dominic Grieve today, and could make a formal announcement tomorrow. Officials are also drafting plans for political retaliation to hit Spanish interests if Madrid fails to back down." – Daily Mail 

>Sunday: ToryDiary - Defence – a simmering problem that could boil over for Cameron

BBC assumes supporting free markets makes you a homophobe

BBC"‘They said, “This might not be up your street but we were wondering whether, as a free marketeer, you would debate Peter Tatchell on our programme about whether enough is being done to combat homophobia across Europe”. I was astonished. It made no sense at all. The researcher seemed to assume that because I believe in a free market economy I must also be homophobic. It seemed to reveal a deep-seated, unthinking bias against right-of-centre points of view. I am not homophobic at all.’" – Daily Mail  

We subsidise the railways, so why do they rip us off?

"The railways already are drowning in subsidy — £3.96 billion in 2010-11. If there is any justification for this, it is surely that the railways are run as a public service, available to everyone. That means a ticketing system that does not discriminate against people who only need to travel in one direction, do not have a child to take with them or who have to travel at short notice because, say, a relative is ill." – Ross Clark, The Times (£) 

BAE gives Saudi evidence in secret 

"A Commons inquiry into Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain has been condemned for taking secret evidence from BAE Systems. Human rights groups said that the refusal to publish minutes of the meeting with the defence giant risked jeopardising the transparency and impartiality of the investigation by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee." – The Times (£) 

UKIP carries out "rigorous vetting" on MEP candidates – but no Twitter checks…

UKIP_mag 3"Eager to avoid a repeat of the fiasco of May’s local elections, when candidates’ comments ranged from the bigoted to the bizarre, the party imposed a series of challenges that included psychometric testing designed to assess the candidates’ character and judgment. Some may question the rigour of the assessment, given that Godfrey Bloom, who last week referred to foreign countries as “bongo bongo land”, was among those to pass." – The Times (£) 

News in brief

  • Raise taxes to fund NHS, says poll of patients – The Independent 
  • MPs' tax avoidance attacks deters companies from the UK – Daily Mail 
  • Should there be a new tax on graduates over 45? – Jenni Russell, The Times (£) 
  • Man charged with using Woolwich videos to incite terrorism – Daily Mail 
  • Drivers face yet more fines – The Times (£) 
  • Duke of York's 11 ministerial meetings – Daily Mail 

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