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31 Jan 2012 08:30:23

Newslinks for Tuesday 31st January 2012

Cameron EU statement7.45pm WATCH: David Cameron: "We are not signing it, we are not ratifying it, we are not part of it"

7.30pm Local government: TSSA donates another £10,000 to Livingstone's campaign

6.15pm MPsETC: Cameron today: Off the hook on the veto.  On it over more IMF money.

5pm Unease over Cameron's EU veto and Ed Miliband's Eurosceptic posing lead our teatime newslinks

3.30pm ToryDiary: New Northern Ireland Conservative Party formed in challenge to UUP

3.15pm Professor Philip Booth on Comment: Last week should be the last Davos

1.15pm WATCH: Theresa May gets her heel stuck outside Number 10 Downing Street

Miliband Ed Yes12.30pm LeftWatch: Now pandering Miliband poses as a Euro-sceptic

11.45am Latest ConHome survey: Has Cameron's veto been diluted? What do you think of Nick Clegg's tax plans? Should military force be used to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power?

11.45am ConHomeUSA newslinks: Florida voters decide today

11.15am David T Breaker on Comment: At last, students are thinking before attending university

ToryDiary: Can Nick Boles and the new Tory generation help defeat the politics of envy?

Richard Harrington MP and Mark Garnier MP on Comment: The economy needs a new generation of new entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses

Local Government: 152 Councils have agreed to freeze or cut Council Tax so far

WATCH: David Cameron: "We are not signing this treaty, we are not ratifying this treaty"

25 EU states will sign up to new fiscal treaty.  The United Kingdom and Czech Republic will not.

EU and BRITAIN"Twenty-five of the European Union’s 27 countries have signed up to a German-inspired treaty enshrining tougher fiscal rules to help underpin the euro... David Cameron, the British prime minister who in December vetoed inclusion of the fiscal discipline measures in the EU treaties, said he would not block signatories from using EU-wide institutions. But he warned he would take legal action if the new treaty undermined British interests." - FT (£)

  • "The Czech Government said in advance of the summit that it was wary of ceding so much power to Brussels, with Petr Necas, the Prime Minister, keeping his “options open” on arrival in Brussels and Vaclav Klaus, the eurosceptic President, vowing to veto any treaty presented for his approval." - The Times (£)

> From yesterday - WATCH: David Cameron: "We need to get really serious about the growth agenda in Europe"

Cameron insists he is standing up for Britain...

"He... warned that any changes the others made under their alternative fiscal pact – excluding Britain – could not use EU institutions such as the Commission and EU court because they could only carry out policies applying to all 27. At the talks Mr Cameron did not try to push his case against using institutions, but warned: "We will only take action if our national interests are threatened – and I made clear today that we will be watching this closely."" - Daily Telegraph

  • "David Cameron has warned France that the UK could reap the benefit if it went ahead with a national levy on bank transactions to help pay for the economic crisis." - PA
  • The entente non-cordiale: Tension at EU summit as Sarkozy says Britain 'has no industry' - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: A Teflon Prime Minister? His luck has held over RBS (so far). Will it also hold over Europe?

...but there is Euro-sceptic anger over Cameron change on fiscal union countries using EU institutions

DAVIES Philip"Mr Cameron faces criticism over his retreat when he makes a Commons statement about the summit today. Philip Davies, a Eurosceptic, warned the new stance would make the Prime Minister look more like John Major than Margaret Thatcher. "We saw in the opinion polls how popular he was in December. He would be equally unpopular if the British public thought he was going to backslide from that position," he said." - Independent

  • David Cameron accused of 'appeasing' Nick Clegg over EU veto as Conservative MPs start to plot - Daily Telegraph

> Coverage from yesterday:

Fallout from Hester bonus refusal: taxpayers lose £900m as RBS shares fall

Screen shot 2012-01-31 at 08.28.16"The share price of RBS dropped by 3.5 per cent yesterday, wiping £580 million off its value. Lloyds, where the chief executive has also turned down his bonus, saw its share price fall by 4.1 per cent, stripping £921 million off its value. With the taxpayer owning 83 per cent of RBS and 41 per cent of Lloyds, that equates to a fall of almost £900 million in holdings — equivalent to £36 for every British family." - Daily Telegraph

  • "David Cameron has urged the Royal Bank of Scotland to show restraint in its bonus packages for senior colleagues of chief executive Stephen Hester, echoing an earlier call by the business secretary, Vince Cable." - Guardian
  • "When it comes to the economic realities, shabby, short-sighted populism does the country no favours – what price now Mr Cameron’s proud boast that Britain is open for business?" - Daily Telegraph editorial
  • Ed Miliband has much bigger fish to fry than Stephen Hester - Mary Riddell for the Daily Telegraph
  • Steve Richards: We are in a new era, but bankers haven't noticed - Independent

> From yesterday:

Business tells Ministers to back off on bonuses

"Business leaders have accused politicians of harming the international reputation of the City of London by resorting to terms of populist abuse in the row over bankers’ bonuses. Sir Roger Carr, the president of the CBI, said that MPs were encouraging unfair and unbalanced hostility towards business." - The Times (£)

  • "If corporate Britain is to thrive and attract the most talented people in our society, politicians must make it clear that business is valued and respected for the standards it sets as well as the wealth it creates." - Sir Roger Carr for the Times (£)

More detail on Ken Clarke axing of some compensation payments for victims

CLARKE HAPPY"Victims of violent street attacks left with a dislocated jaw or broken hand will be denied compensation under new cuts. Burns victims with permanent scarring will also be refused payment as part of reforms announced yesterday by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke. Payouts for minor injuries will be scrapped, while those for some more serious injuries will be sharply reduced to focus funding on ‘support services’ and the victims of the worst crimes, he said." - Daily Mail

Motorists to be hit with £100 speeding fines as they bear the brunt of Ken Clarke's new victim surcharge - Daily Mail

Reform of public sector pensions will leave many workers better off than before

"Millions of lower-paid public sector workers will receive higher pensions as a result of a recent government deal, which led to widespread strikes, claims the economic forecaster. They will also continue to earn significantly higher salaries than their private sector counterparts throughout this Parliament — with wages up to a fifth higher in some parts of the country." - Daily Telegraph

  • "The reform of public-sector pensions will make "little or no difference" to the amount they cost the state, an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has concluded." - Independent

NHS reforms criticised by leading healthcare publications - Guardian

  • Plans for NHS in England an unholy mess, say journals - BBC

Michael Gove to remove thousands of vocational qualifications from league tables

"Thousands of vocational qualifications – including courses in fish husbandry and nail technology – are to be stripped out of school league tables... More than 3,000 qualifications regarded as equivalent to GCSEs in current league tables – and said to be used by some schools to improve their rankings – will be reduced to 125. Just 70 will count towards the main performance measure of five A* to C grades at GCSE." - Guardian

First the Falklands... now Spain demands talks over the future of Gibraltar

"David Cameron is braced for fresh demands from Spain to start talks over the sovereignty of Gibraltar... Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s new centre-right Prime Minister, meanwhile, is to demand talks over the future of the colony without the involvement of authorities in Gibraltar... Madrid was unimpressed after Mr Cameron told a meeting at the Council of Europe last week that the future of Gibraltar depended on the wishes of the colony’s 30,000 inhabitants." - The Times (£)

"Government behaviour tsar": Parents who neglected basic duties are accused of causing London riots - Daily Mail

Ed Miliband pledges to fight Salmond 'toe-to-toe' over referendum saying 'separation would not help people of Scotland'

Miliband Ed Open Mouth"Speaking in Glasgow, Mr Miliband said he wanted to set out a ‘positive vision’ for the Union. ‘I am not here to tell Scots that Scotland cannot survive outside the UK,’ he said. But he questioned whether independence was an ‘urgent priority’ for Scotland at a time of rising unemployment and steep inflation. It would ‘not help the working people of Scotland’." - Daily Mail

Liam Byrne: Labour 'must get tough on big business'

"Liam Byrne, the party’s policy strategist, says... Labour should back further assaults on the excesses of big business: “Business needs government to be more hands-on, not hands-off.” Banks must be made to provide credit to companies “and in return we ask for behaviour that does not resemble the worst excesses of robber barons”, he says." - Daily Telegraph

Days lost to strikes hit 20 year high - Daily Telegraph

Flood defences hit by government cuts, say MPs - Guardian

Plastic bag levy for Ulster piles pressure on Cameron to implement change in England - Daily Mail

Lobby reform chief faces inquiry into Twitter abuse for campaigners - Independent


> 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.

30 Jan 2012 08:30:19

Newslinks for Monday 30th January 2012

10.15pm ToryDiary: Cameron beats Miliband and Clegg in YouGov survey of leadership qualities

7.15pm WATCH: David Cameron: "We need to get really serious about the growth agenda in Europe"

Field Mark on BBC5pm Mark Field MP on Comment: The lynch mob's victory may be pyrrhic if RBS can't now attract the brightest and best

5pm David Cameron's Europe veto change and a new push for an in/out referendum lead our teatime newslinks

4.30pm MPsETC: The People's Pledge EU referendum campaign may not succeed, but it certainly deserves to do so

Screen shot 2012-01-30 at MPsETC: The veto "is no more", it "has ceased to be", it is "bereft of life", it "rests in peace"

3pm LISTEN: William Hague: "We have taken a lot of action on bonuses, they are now a fraction of what they were"

2.30pm Local government: Tory councillor quits over Council Tax rise

1.30pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: The Government has capitulated on the "veto" - so now what?

1pm WATCH: Ed Miliband: "We've got to have responsibility in the boardroom when... living standards are being squeezed"

Noon ConHomeUSA: Romney keeps pressure on Gingrich as he hopes for knockout Florida win

Hannan510.30am Daniel Hannan MEP on Comment: Is a referendum on EU membership right in principle?

ToryDiary: A Teflon Prime Minister? His luck has held over RBS (so far). Will it also hold over Europe?

Columnist Bruce Anderson: Cameron was in danger of sounding weak over the Hester bonus

Adrian Hilton on Comment: The Conservative leadership is destroying its membership

Local Government: Government averts threat of huge EU fines

Think Tank Central: Average family pays £656,000 tax over lifetime, calculates the TaxPayers' Alliance

WATCH: Besieged Hester rejects bonus

Pressure on Cameron over Europe from his Cabinet...

DUNCAN SMITH AITW"Iain Duncan Smith and Boris Johnson both told Mr Cameron yesterday not to allow the European Court of Justice to enforce the new rules on spending in the eurozone after No 10 revealed on Friday that the UK will not fight the plans. Tory MPs will today join the launch of a cross-party campaign to demand a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU." - Daily Mail

...and the backbenches (not to mention the Mayor)

"Boris Johnson also delivered a warning to Mr Cameron, saying: “I’m anxious that the wrong approach may be taken on the eurozone.” Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP, tweeted: “Cameron is sleepwalking into the mother of all backbench rows if he thinks he can let FU [fiscal union] nations use the ECJ without recourse to Parliament.” - The Times (£)

  • The price of splitting up the euro may indeed be tremendous. But what is the long-term cost of keeping it together? - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Open Europe looks ahead to crime and policing repatriation decision

"Separately, Open Europe, a think-tank with strong links to Tory MPs, has published a report heralding the next big European row on the horizon: whether Britain should use a “one-off opportunity to unilaterally repatriate up to 130 EU laws on crime and policing”. - Financial Times (£)

  • Giving more power to Brussels over crime and policing won't strengthen co-operation. It would just lead to more bureaucracy and less democratic control. - Dominic Raab MP, The Sun

Charlie Kennedy warns that Liberal Democrats will not tolerate any repeat of the wielding of the British veto - The Guardian

Other EU news and comment:

  • We’re on the brink, warns Greece ahead of summit - Daily Telegraph
  • Now Sarkozy says that Britain has no industry any more - Daily Mail
  • Natascha Engel MP: Why I've joined the Peoples' Pledge to campaign for an EU referendum - The Guardian

Cameron: is he appealing to women? - Daily Telegraph

Hester gives up his bonus before Parliament takes it from him

Screen shot 2012-01-30 at 08.19.50"Stephen Hester bowed to pressure last night and gave up his controversial bonus. He told the state-owned bank’s board that he would not accept his 2011 award, worth almost £1million, saying he did not wish to become a pariah…His move was a direct response to Labour’s announcement yesterday evening that it would force a Commons debate on the payments at the bank, allowing MPs to vote on the bonus." - Daily Mail

Sources claim that the RBS Chief Executive won't quit...

"He was determined to remain at RBS, sources close to Mr Hester said, quashing speculation that he might quit and leave the Government having to find a new chief executive of the bank, which is 83 per cent owned by the taxpayer…George Osborne, the Chancellor, said last night: 'This is a sensible and welcome decision that enables Stephen Hester to focus on the very important job he has got to do, namely to get back billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money that was put into RBS.' " - The Times (£)

...Which will relieve Cameron

"Mr Hester’s decision will come as a huge relief to Mr Cameron, who waved through the bonus in the belief that the board might quit en masse; Iain Duncan Smith, work and pensions secretary, said that would have left the bank in a state of “chaos”." - Financial Times

  • An economic downturn is the worst time for politicians to rail against bankers’ pay - Times Editorial (£)
  • "The Government’s takeover of part of the banking industry in 2008 – combined with a stagnant economy and a flawed narrative about the real causes of the crisis – has triggered a cultural shift that will turn out to be disastrous for Western capitalism and prosperity." - Allister Heath, City AM
  • Mark Field: Hester is the victim of a 'lynch mob mentality' - Politics Home (£)

> Yesterday:

Osborne mulling over tax cuts

"Bigger-than-expected tax cuts for millions of workers are being considered in a bid to kick-start the economy…Last night one Government source said: “There is a growing recognition that putting more money in the pockets of low and middle income families would help stimulate the economy.’’ A second high-level source added: “George Osborne is desperate not to be seen to oppose tax cuts.” - Daily Express

> Yesterday: Columnist Ruth Lea - We are facing a national economic emergency. Where is the boldness?

Low-skilled migrants will be told to go home, says Damian Green

GREEN DAMIAN"Thousands of migrant workers will be asked to go home after a few years in Britain under policies to be made public this week. Immigrants from outside Europe who do not have valuable skills or high earnings will lose their right to live permanently in this country. Ministers indicated yesterday that a ‘transformation of immigration policy’ will leave room for only the ‘brightest and best’ to build new lives in Britain." - Daily Mail

Boris backs Lammy over smacking

"Boris Johnson has backed calls for parents to be allowed to smack their children to instil discipline. The Mayor of London spoke after a senior Labour MP blamed his party’s partial ban on smacking children for last August’s riots.  Former education minister David Lammy called for a return to Victorian laws on discipline, saying working-class parents needed to be able to use corporal punishment to deter unruly children from joining gangs and wielding knives." - Daily Mail

Charter to tackle noisy neighbours set out by Theresa May

"Communities will be allowed to "trigger" investigations into nuisance neighbours under plans to be announced by the Home Secretary today. In a speech on police reform in London, Teresa May will announce a "Community Trigger" scheme to be piloted this summer. Under the plans, authorities must take action to tackle nuisance behaviour if five people from different homes across across the same neighbourhood complain about the same problem." - The Independent

Mitchell: Millions of pounds must be pumped into strife-torn Somalia to avert catastrophe

Mitchell Thoughtful
"Mr Mitchell — talking to The Sun on a peril-packed trip to the nation's bandit country — explained why the Coalition's bitterly contested hike in aid spending is vital. He said: 'Somalia is on the same curve as Afghanistan was. There are more British passport holders engaged in terrorist training in Somalia than in any other country in the world. "If we ignore Somalia then it will continue on its spiral, destabilising the region and exporting terrorism, piracy, drugs, people and disease.' " - The Sun

Salmond on back foot over referendum question

"Alex Salmond has rejected suggestions that voters should be asked in the referendum on Scottish independence if they want to leave the United Kingdom. The Scottish First Minister said introducing the UK into the question would "confuse the issue" because the country would retain the Queen as head of state after breaking the political union…Mr Salmond responded to suggestions on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that voters should be asked if they want to leave the UK instead." - The Independent

Screen shot 2012-01-30 at 08.23.50Defence cuts (1): Chief of general staff says cuts creating 'gaps' and leaving soldiers unsettled and frustrated - Daily Telegraph

Defence cuts (2): Former army head says that another war in the Falklands is "unwinnable" - Daily Mail

Clarke to ban crooks’ compo payouts - The Sun

Taxpayers Alliance finds that families' lifetime tax bill is £656,000 - Daily Mail

Miliband speech to encourage Scotland to remain part of the UK - The Guardian

Private company to run NHS general hospital for first time - Financial Times (£)


> 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.

29 Jan 2012 09:03:25

Newslinks for Sunday 29th January 2012

5pm MPsETC: There needs to be a collective approach to ensure cyber security, says Mark Field MP

12.30pm Megan Moore on Comment: The Archbishop of York doesn't deserve to be called a "bigot" by Twitter's intolerants

ToryDiary: Tory voters want a mansions tax. Mail and Sun oppose Hester's bonus. Is Cameron on the wrong side of the wealth issue?

LEA RUTHColumnist Ruth Lea: We are facing a national economic emergency. Where is the boldness?

Daniel Byles MP on Comment: Britain must find £200 billion to keep the lights on

Local government: The 10 local authorities with the highest percentage of failing schools

WATCH: Cameron must stop RBS Chief's bonus, says Ed Miliband

ConHomeUSA video: Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich at Palm Beach County event

Cameron facing the heat over Hester bonus

Screen shot 2012-01-29 at 07.40.10

- Ed Miliband's tweet last night

  • "The Prime Minister's reluctance to interfere with the bonus system of taxpayer-owned banks is a far cry from his pledges while in opposition" - Independent on Sunday
  • "Cameron is the man who took on Gaddafi, vetoed an EU treaty, imposed cuts across Whitehall, risked his MPs’ wrath over expenses and challenged his party to transform itself. Why, then, did he let a bunch of bankers face him down? The line between realism and powerlessness is thin, indeed." - Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

16158698Size of Hester's future bonuses becomes issue

"The revelation that Hester could receive future bonuses worth almost eight times that figure will make it extremely difficult for No 10 and the Treasury to continue to resist calls to intervene. As a majority shareholder in the bank, the government could use its vote at the company’s annual general meeting to overrule all the payments, which are discretionary." - Sunday Times (£)

  • Now RBS boss to get ANOTHER £8m bonus as he racks up £35.5m (and counting) in earnings from the taxpayer in just three years - Mail on Sunday
  • "It has taken several days for the full obscene scale of Mr Hester's pay to be brought into the light of day" - Independent on Sunday leader
  • Pay fair tax and you can keep your bonus - Martin Ivens in The Sunday Times (£)

"Monstrous"; The People likens Stephen Hester to Addams Family’s Uncle Fester


- The People

  • Banker-bashing will hurt the UK economy, warns The Sunday Telegraph: "The British economy needs an efficient and effective financial sector – and it will not have one unless it can offer rates of pay that are competitive internationally. If not, the loss to the nation will greatly outweigh any proceeds from the present epidemic of banker-bashing."

> Yesterday's video: It is for Stephen Hester to decide whether he will accept his bonus from RBS, says Cameron

Leadsom AndreaConservative MPs Bernard Jenkin, Andrea Leadsom and John Redwood express concerns about EU veto developments - Sunday Times (£)

Tory MPs fear Cameron may be "backsliding" on his EU veto - Iain Martin in The Sunday Telegraph

In a leader The Sunday Telegraph regrets Cameron's decision to allow erosion of his veto.

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Has the veto died?

  • What Cameron should say at the EU summit - John Redwood
  • David Cameron must realise that the Strasbourg Court has no democratic right to overrule us - Alasdair Palmer in The Sunday Telegraph
  • "We could be on the brink of a new era of prosperity driven by China, India, Brazil and much of the rest of the emerging world..." says The Sunday Times (£) but the €uro must sort itself out.

Cameron rejects big increase in tax powers for Scotland - Scotland on Sunday

  • Alistair Darling, Annabel Goldie and Charles Kennedy are tipped by David Torrance to defend the Union - Scotland on Sunday
  • If the Union referendum were held south of the border, Alex Salmond would be more likely to get his way - Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has thanked the British people for sacrificing "blood and treasure" for the future of his country - BBC

Government ambitions to dramatically expand the number of private colleges risk being defeated by an overzealous Home Office crackdown on immigration - Independent on Sunday

Battered Lansley certain of victory in NHS fight - Sunday Times (£)

  • Andrew Lansley forced into further concessions on planned health reforms - Observer

HERBERT CLOSE UPIn article for The Sunday Times, Home Office minister Nick Herbert looks forward to elected police chief

"On November 15 the public will elect police and crime commissioners for the 41 forces outside London in England and Wales. We have already given the mayor of London direct responsibility for the Metropolitan police. For the first time the public will have a say over policing priorities. Commissioners will set the policing plan and the budget. Chief constables will answer to their commissioners who, in turn, will answer to their electorate." - Nick Herbert in The Sunday Times (£)

Plans for a second Coalition agreement have been jettisoned as ministers struggle to sustain their existing reforms - Independent on Sunday

His government may be flaky on detail, but the Prime Minister has the people behind him on welfare reform and Europe - John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday

Labour-run councils want the eight million people living alone to pay the same rate as couples or households with several working adults - Sunday Express

"What has possessed Labour council leaders to push for the abolition of the single person discount on council tax? By their very nature single-person households are highly likely to have a smaller income than one shared by a couple, on top of which this category includes widows, single parents and pensioners, the very people Labour is always making a song and dance about." - Sunday Express leader

Miliband David QTLabour in brief:

  • 30% of Labour voters back David Miliband for their leader; same as Ed - People
  • Ed and Yvette cook up 'lasagne-gate' dinner party plot to unseat Ed Miliband from Labour leadership - Mail on Sunday
  • Andy Burnham warns David Cameron against middle class aspirations like the happiness agenda when people are struggling - Observer
  • Ken Livingstone's campaign to be mayor of London hit by in-fighting - Sunday Telegraph
  • Smacking ban led to riots, says David Lammy MP, because parents fear children will be taken away if they discipline them - Mail on Sunday
  • Diane Abbott 'fell asleep in key Westminster debate on abortion laws' - Mail on Sunday
  • Frank Field wants lower welfare cap for single people and couples without children - Sunday Times (£)

The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee called on ministers to look again at reform of party political funding - BBC

Sir Richard Branson wanted us to join the €uro; he now wants to sell drugs in supermarkets - Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday


> 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.

28 Jan 2012 09:03:43

Newslinks for Saturday 28th January 2012

7.15pm WATCH: George Osborne talks to Faisal Islam about the lack of economic growth in Britain and the €urozone

4.15pm WATCH: Cameron: It is for Stephen Hester to decide whether he will accept his bonus from RBS

3.15pm LeftWatch: Boom! Labour concedes principle of regionalised state pay and benefits.

12.15pm ToryDiary: Archbishop of York compares Cameron to dictator on gay marriage


ToryDiary: Has Cameron's EU veto died?

Rehman Chishti MP on Comment: Syrian opposition parties need to unite otherwise Syria faces a bleak future

Local government: Lee Rotherham to stand for Police Commissioner in Lincolnshire

GayweddingDavid Cameron will be acting like a “dictator” if he allows homosexual couples to wed, Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu warns

"“Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” says Dr Sentamu. “I don’t think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can’t just [change it] overnight, no matter how powerful you are. We’ve seen dictators do it in different contexts and I don’t want to redefine very clear social structures that have been in existence for a long time and then overnight the state believes it could go in a particular way." - Telegraph

Cameron retreats on veto 'to appease Lib Dems'

  • "The Prime Minister agreed that the European Court of Justice could be used to enforce limits on state spending in the eurozone. Until now, Mr Cameron has insisted the institutions of the EU, part-funded by Britain, must not be used to enforce a treaty that he has refused to sign." - Daily Mail
  • "Tory Eurosceptics warned Cameron against diluting his opposition to the use of the ECJ. Bill Cash, the veteran Conservative Eurosceptic who chairs the commons European scrutiny committee, said: "There mustn't be any backsliding. There are serious concerns about the lawfulness of these proposals. The institutions are simply not allowed to use the European commission and the [European] court of justice in an unlawful manner."" - Quoted by The Guardian
  • "The fiscal pact agreed by the other 26 countries is likely to say that it must be written into European Treaties within five years, meaning the rules would then apply to Britain. Officials stressed that the UK would still have the power to block this closer to the time." - Times (£)

78% want the Government to ignore Brussels rules that could entitle European Union migrants to claim welfare benefits in Britain - Express

  • Bring home regional policy from the EU - John Redwood
  • Cameron has been sounding like a proper Tory lately but I was disturbed to hear him claim that Britain “has the best of all worlds” by being in the EU but not in the euro - Express

Eurozone countries 'must show the colour of their money' before IMF bailout funds are used, Osborne warns - Daily Mail | Sun

PM blames Labour for Hester bonus - Guardian

"The Chancellor said the bonus was not a decision for the government but RBS, and added that Mr Hester's bonus would be "a lot less" than what other bank chiefs would be paid. He said: “In the end he was hired after the crash to sort out the problems at RBS. He was asked to shrink – by my predecessor – the size of its balance sheet and the size of its workforce. "He is doing those things and in the end under the arrangement we have created it has got to be up to the board to make a decision on the bonus that he receives." - Guardian

16158279Sun, Mail attack Coalition on RBS bonus

  • The Sun Says: "If Mr Hester isn't satisfied by such a mind-boggling salary, he knows where the door is. No10 is sidestepping the issue, criticising the bonus while declaring itself impotent to interfere. But RBS is five-sixths owned by the taxpayer, so the suggestion the Government has no influence is ludicrous."
  • The Daily Mail is in full Class War mode: The £8m mansion RBS chief Stephen Hester gave to his ex-wife... while he rents £4m apartment
  • Instead of caving in to RBS boss Stephen Hester, the Prime Minister should have told him where to go like Denmark's fictional PM (pictured) did in BBC series Borgen - Tim Shipman in the Daily Mail
  • Charles Moore warns it must stand behind Stephen Hester after giving him a difficult job or people will come to distrust it - Telegraph

> Yesterday's video: Boris Johnson: "I’m at a loss to justify" Stephen Hester's £1million bonus from RBS

George Osborne: Capitalism is succeeeding in the Far East and it can, again, in the West - FT (£)

Osborne warns against long-term consequences of 50p tax rate

50P"George Osborne urged business to make the case for the scrapping of the 50% income tax rate as he gave his clearest signal yet of his desire to reduce taxes on the wealthy. The Conservative chancellor told a lunch of British executives in Davos: "I have always said this is a temporary tax. The long-term damage of this tax is potentially quite considerable, and that's why it is temporary." - Guardian

  • David Cameron should set out a powerful Conservative case for smaller government and low taxes - Telegraph leader

Financial Services Bill is unveiled by Osborne - BBC

"George Osborne on Friday set out details of far-reaching reforms to the regulation of Britain’s financial sector, ranging from plans to put the chancellor in charge in a future economic crisis to a new crackdown on payday loan companies." - FT (£)

Senior GPs come to defence of Andrew Lansley's NHS reforms - Telegraph

Companies running the government’s flagship £5bn back-to-work scheme will have to find work for hundreds of thousands more people than expected - FT (£)

CLARKE-KEN-dark-shirtKen Clarke was last night warned jails could soon run out of space — as the prison population reached 87,668 - Sun

"Overcrowding in prison "warehouses" is causing violence behind bars as tensions soar among inmates, prison officers warned last night. New figures show that the population of Britain's jails has jumped by 1,000 in the past three weeks." - Independent

Cameron and Harzai to sign "enduring strategic partnership" - Express

The mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence says the Coalition is not doing enough to tackle racism - BBC

"Doreen Lawrence has said David Cameron's government is not doing enough to tackle racial prejudice, which continues to blight society, and has warned that spending cuts will hit working-class and black Britons the hardest." - Guardian

Bash the poor and wave the flag – how this Tory trick works - Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian

Chris Huhne to be told he will have to resign if he is charged - Independent

Ed Miliband proposes a different welfare cap for different regions

"A cap on benefits should vary according to the costs of housing in different parts of the country, Labour is to propose. The plan would see the Government’s controversial £26,000 cap on a family’s welfare income increased in and around London and cut in regions such as the North East." - Times (£)

Miliband David QTDavid Miliband is still heartbroken at missing out on Labour's top job. And as Ed flounders, many senior figures are agitating for his return - Independent

Former Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish: 'Devo Max' question will kill off independence - Telegraph

Euthanasia and assisted suicide should be banned in every country in the Continent, the Council of Europe has ruled - Telegraph

Freedom of Information isn’t working. The more we shine the spotlight, the more things hide away in the dark - Matthew Parris in The Times (£)

And finally... Failures of love are not all mine

"The trick in human society is to find the balance between legitimate political agitation for change that you believe would make the world better, and tipping into provocatively aggressive proselytising. It’s correct to say to the wider community: recognise my right to exist, and consider these reforms that might increase human happiness. Campaigning becomes proselytising when those words are followed with: and you must convert to my belief system; you must believe that my view of the world is the only one that is true." - Grame Archer in The Telegraph


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