6pm WATCH: IDS: "I lost faith in the ability of my civil servants to manage this programme"

4.30pm MPsETC: We need more social entrepreneurs as Tory MPs: Toby Young must do his duty

3.15pm George Bathurst on Comment: Cameron's defeat in the Syria vote shows how urgently Conservative Renewal is needed

2.45pm ToryDiary: Michael Gove defending teachers from their unions

12.15pm Culture Column Mark Wallace says Anne McElvoy's study of Conservatism's contradictions and northern roots holds some clues to our future

11.15am ToryDiary: "Dogs bark, cats meow and Whitehall IT projects go over budget." but IDS is pressing ahead with Universal Credit by 2017

ToryDiary: The fourth piece in our series debating the case for and against overseas aid explores the opinion polls: Heartless? Ignorant? The truths and myths about public opinion on international aid spending

Nick Boles MP on Comment: With power comes responsibility – Conservative councils must say Yes to Homes

International: Angela Merkel lines up with David Cameron to rein in Brussels – and to defeat Germany's new eurosceptic party

Local Government: Mike Hancock investigation cost Portsmouth council taxpayers £25,000

The Deep End: David Goodhart: Confessions of a liberal heretic

IndependentcreditUniversal Credit is "poor value" says National Audit Office

"The wide-ranging reforms to Britain’s benefits system have been beset by “weak management, poor governance” and a “fortress mentality” that has so far wasted £34m of taxpayers’ money, the Government’s own auditors conclude today …..Howard Shiplee, a former Olympics executive, has now been drafted in
and he said earlier this week that, while he had found “examples of poor project management in the past” and “a lack of transparency”, the department had now “put that right”. “Through new processes and people, we have strengthened all the basics of sound project management – governance, leadership and financial management,” he said." – The Independent

  • "The government's flagship welfare reform has been badly managed, is "overambitious" and poor value for money, the spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said risks were taken with the universal credit to hit targets, IT systems had "limited functionality" and an unfamiliar project management approach was used. A national rollout of the new benefit has been delayed due to IT glitches. Ministers said the idea was "brilliant" but acknowledged it had had a "reset"." – BBC
  • "Yet universal credit is worth fighting for. The NAO hasn't condemned it, yet. Making it a success would provide invaluable lessons in the kind of complex, interdepartmental project that is the future of government. Labour recognises this. Liam Byrne has renewed an invitation to make it a non-partisan project. Mr Duncan Smith should listen. It could be a proud legacy." – Leader The Guardian
  • "A team of troubleshooters is trying to put things right. But if it is not going to work, the Government should stop it and think again, lest the advances made in rolling back the welfare state are placed in jeopardy." – Leader Daily Telegraph

FTsyriaCameron urges US to proceed with military action on Syria

"David Cameron, the UK prime minister, urged Mr Obama to follow through on his planned attacks on Syria or risk a possible chemical “armageddon”, amid growing diplomatic and military tensions ahead of the G20. However, in spite of Mr Cameron’s tough talk, signs emerged on Wednesday that his failure to win parliamentary backing for British action might have diminished his influence at the summit: Mr Obama is not planning to hold any bilateral meetings with the British premier." – Financial Times

  • "The White House wanted the UK to hold a "quick vote" on Syria amid the clamour for an international response to the use of chemical weapons, a Cabinet minister has suggested. Ken Clarke told Channel 4 News "the Americans wanted us to make this vote very quickly" but the "trauma" of Iraq led to defeat for the call for action." – BBC

>Yesterday:ToryDiary:What Britain can do to help Syrians

GraylingGrayling reaches a deal with the Law Society on Legal Aid cuts

"Time-wasting court hearings will be scrapped and legal aid cut for prisoners, foreigners and the wealthy, under a plan to save £220 million given the go-ahead by the Justice Secretary today. Thousands of pre-trial hearings should be carried out by e-mail or video-link to avoid the need for lawyers and defendants to travel long distances “just to appear for five minutes in front of a judge”, Chris Grayling said. Mr Grayling has, however, agreed to ditch a plan to award legal aid contracts to the lowest bidder, which were condemned as “supermarket justice” by barristers…A ground-breaking deal with the Law Society for England and Wales comes after 14 weeks’ consultation, 16,000 responses and complex behind-the-scenes negotiations." – The Times (£)

HuntHunt concerned by failure to prosecute doctors offering abortions based on gender

"The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was accused of failing to uphold the law after it ruled that it would not be in the “public interest” to prosecute the two doctors exposed in an undercover Daily Telegraph investigation. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, on Wednesday night raised the case with the Attorney General. The two doctors were filmed agreeing to arrange terminations for women who requested them purely because they said they did not want to have a baby girl. One of the doctors did so despite likening the practice to “female infanticide” while the other told a woman her job was not to “ask questions”." – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:Jeremy Hunt MP on Comment: Why we will not repeat Labour's mistakes on NHS IT spending

BorisBoris could run for third term as Mayor

"Boris Johnson is considering running for a THIRD term as London boss, The Sun can reveal. The move — a U-turn on his vow to bow out as mayor in 2016 — could come if Tory rival David Cameron wins the 2015 general election. BoJo only has eyes for the party leadership and would not want to serve in any new Cameron cabinet, say pals. That has left him thinking he won’t stand as an MP when his second term expires. A friend said: “If Cameron wins a majority in 2015 he will be secure as Tory leader. Boris knows that, so he regrets ruling out a third term as mayor, and in that scenario it’s something he may go back on.” – The Sun

MPs demand rethink on Lobbying Bill

"The government's lobbying reforms are "flawed" and should be withdrawn for six months while they are improved, a committee of MPs has concluded. In a report, the cross-party Political and Constitutional Reform Committee said that the lobbying bill had been "unnecessarily rushed". The legislation failed to cover much of the lobbying industry, it said." – BBC

CarswellCarswell exposes anti Royal Mail privatisation campaign using names of dead to lobby MPs

"A union-backed campaign group which opposes Royal Mail privatisation is using the names and addresses of dead people and those with learning difficulties to target MPs, it emerged last night. One MP, Douglas Carswell, described his horror when he discovered many of the 351 ‘anti-privatisation’ postcards he has received over the past three weeks were bogus." – Daily Mail

Jesse Norman loses Downing Street job over Syrian rebellion

"David Cameron today fired one of his top policy advisers for failing to vote for the government in last week's vote on military intervention in Syria. Tory MP Jesse Norman has been kicked off the Number 10 policy board after refusing to back the Prime Minister's call for action against the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons. It is the first high profile sacking in the wake of the humiliating defeat, which the government lost by just 13 votes – but more are expected." – Daily Mail

Salmond challenges "anti Scottish" Cameron to TV debate

"Alex Salmond has suggested David Cameron is anti-Scottish because the Prime Minister does not support independence.The First Minister said he wants to increase the pressure on Mr Cameron to go head-to-head with him in a TV debate ahead of next year’s independence referendum. He said this would give the Prime Minister the opportunity to “articulate a case against Scotland”, while he would make the opposing argument for independence." – Daily Telegraph

PMQs reviews

"Yes, Mr Cameron was harmed by last week, his disconnection from his party and the paucity of his organisation exposed yet again. But Mr Miliband is also treading gently, suggesting he knows that the Syrian story is far from done, and fears that last week's vote has not helped him, and may well have done harm. Overall then, a fight between two wounded warriors, both nursing injuries and conserving energy for
another day." – James Kirkup Daily Telegraph

  • "Ed was trying to be statesmanlike but he just seemed to be on auto-pilot. Don’t forget that Ed’s big weapon last week was a “sequential road map”. I bet they were quaking in Damascus over that. Now he unveiled his sequential diplomatic roadmap with all the passion of a PowerPoint presentation. Dave unleashed another “utter revulsion” at him. Ed responded: “Nobody disagrees about our revulsion.” The words felt flat. Ed seemed to be reading from a script and Dave tried to keep to his, too." – The Times (£)
  • "Mr Miliband: ‘Nobody disagrees…’ Again there came this growling resistance from the House. Disgust might be too strong a term for it. It was more a noise that said ‘oh please, stop taking us for fools, stop wasting our time, mate. At least do us the favour of telling us what you really think’. MPs did not try to shout him down. They simply let him know he did not have their respect." Quentin Letts Daily Mail

>Yesterday:ToryDiary, Andrew Gimson's PMQs sketch returns after the summer recess: Both the Prime Minister and Ed Miliband would benefit from a lighter touch at PMQs

Even Ed Balls says the economy is healing

"Ed Balls was today forced to admit that Britain is on the road to recovery as the economy enjoyed its strongest growth spurt for more than 15 years. In a clear climbdown, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor said it was ‘welcome news’ that ‘at last economic growth is returning’ in the UK, adding: ‘After three years of stagnation, any growth is better than no growth.’ Mr Balls has previously mocked David Cameron over the state of the economy during Prime Minister’s Questions by making ‘flatlining’ gestures with his hands while the Conservative leader addressed the house." – Daily Mail

  •  "Labour chiefs were left red-faced last night after a report they commissioned said the party had left the country in “economic crisis”. Sir John Armitt, who helped deliver last year’s Olympics, was asked by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls to come up with a plan to improve Britain’s infrastructure. But his report welcomed the Coalition Government’s decision to set up the Office of Budget Responsibility in 2010 after Labour was ousted. It said: “The backdrop to this was the economic crisis, with government requiring an independent body to reassure the markets at a time of major fiscal consolidation.” – The Sun (£)


UNlogoUnited Nations send in human rights team to investigate spare room subsidy cut

"UN official Raquel Rolnik will visit Britain to carry out an inspection of housing conditions to check they provide 'an adequate standard of living'. The news provoked a furious reaction from MPs, who dismissed the bureaucrat as ‘over-mighty and unaccountable’….In the past Mrs Rolnik has criticised the ‘negative side-effects’ of the spread of home ownership and the sale of council houses in the UK….Jake Berry, Tory MP for Rossendale and Darwen, said: ‘This rapporteur is a self-professed enemy of home ownership and right to buy, and doesn’t represent the views of Britons who want to get on in life.’ " – Daily Mail

>Today:Nick Boles MP on Comment: With power comes responsibility – Conservative councils must say Yes to Homes

>Yesterday:Greg Clark MP's Letter from a Treasury Minister: Help to Buy is part of a Conservative tradition of prudent support to achieve home ownership

Miliband says he will press ahead with union funding changes…

"Ed Miliband will say to the boss of Britain's third largest union that he is determined to press ahead with reforming the Labour party's funding in the aftermath of his organisation's decision to slash its affiliation funds by more than £1m. The Labour leader is prepared to tell Paul Kenny that the unilateral action by the GMB to cut its annual funding by 88% has inadvertently made the case for reform of the historic link between the party and the unions." – The Guardian

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: GMB cuts its Labour affiliaton fees by 87% – and the balance of power shifts even further to Unite

…but he's "no leader" says David Aaronovitch

"In this moment of crisis it became clear — as it does — what Mr Miliband is. A personable man (and he is a very pleasant companion), politically he is not a presence at all, he is an absence. He is Oedipal Ed, the negator of the unpopular actions of the fathers; the anti-Blair, the non-Brown. His technique for victory to is follow behind the leader, wait for a slip-up and exploit his or her mistakes. He did it to his brother. He hopes to do it to David Cameron. He is neither hunter nor prey, he is scavenger. He is a political vulture. Mission creep? His mission is all about creeping." David Aaronovitch The Times (£)

  • Poor floundering Mr Miliband – Dominic Sandbrook Daily Mail

in brief

  • Get tough on illegal immigration says Labour – BBC
  • Boris to fine unsafe lorries – The Guardian
  • Glasgow has highest ratio of workless housholds – Daily Telegraph
  • Kwasi Kwarteng attacked for saying Rachel Reeves took "long break" – BBC
  • Police commissioner candidates spent £2 million on campaigning – The Times(£)
  • Sir John Armit proposes new infrasturcture Quango – The Guardian
  • Dartmoor to close – The Times (£)

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