2pm MPsETC: Analysis of newspaper mentions finds Chris Grayling, Damian Green and Grant Shapps are most visible ministers outside of Cabinet, while David Davis, John Whittingdale and Nadine Dorries are most visible backbenchers. Read all about it.
Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Romney and Santorum strengthening in Iowa campaign's last days
10.45am ToryDiary: Please "Report" objectionable comments
Columnist Andrew Lilico: In praise of speculators
Local government: Councils hike care charges while hoarding reserves
Patients will be able to choose GP near work or school under trial scheme
"Commuters in busy urban areas who would prefer to consult a GP close to work will be able to register with a practice there under a pilot scheme. Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, has said he wants people to have more choice over which GP to consult and where, without the current restrictions of practice boundaries." – Guardian
- Letting hospitals earn more revenue is good for the NHS – Mark Britnell in The Times (£)
> Andrew Lansley was ranked 17th in the end-December Cabinet league table, published on ToryDiary yesterday.
Fifty people a day suffer a violent or sexual attack by a convict spared jail in the ‘soft’ justice system – Daily Mail
David Cameron must do more to scrap rat-infested barracks – Frederick Forsyth in the Express
'I was shot five times by the Taliban … then ended up in hostel where thieves stole my medals'
"Thousands of Britain's war heroes are living on the streets after being shamefully abandoned by the country they served, a Sun investigation has revealed. Shockingly, we found an army of homeless men — including soldiers just back from Afghanistan — now reduced to living in sheds, by railway lines and even using their survival skills in woods." – The Sun
The Sun Says challenges Cameron to make "the lost army" a priority.
"Britain has been accused of padding its aid budget with "made up money" so it can claim to have met its millennium promise of increasing the amount it donates to the world's poorest people." – Independent
The Independent reports that five new rebels include David Nuttall, Andrew Percy, Mark Reckless, Zac Goldsmith and Steve Baker.
- "In praise of MPs who refuse to be told what to do" – Independent leader
Whitehall departments may start charging public sector trade unions for the cost of processing their members' monthly subscriptions – The Sun
Scottish Secretary warns Alex Salmond to set out plan for independence referendum within months… or else – The Times (£)
"Scotland's first minister is so dominant that by sheer force of personality he may realise his most cherished political dream" – Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian
Coalition faces court fight over refusal to ban circus animals – The Independent
Westminster council considers benefit cuts for work shy
"Persistent offenders or jobless people who fail to look for work could lose the right to council tax benefit under radical plans being considered by a flagship London council. Westminster is exploring the idea following the government’s decision from 2013 to devolve responsibility for administering the benefit to individual councils, which will set their own criteria for eligibility." – FT (£)
The Express blasts higher taxes on air travel
"The global economy and our own is dependent on the free movement of people whether for holiday or business. It would be a tragedy to return to a time when air travel was the prerogative of the very rich." – The Express
Europe may kick off a trade war with its new scheme to tax airlines on carbon emissions – WSJ leader
- "Travelling in London is nearly three and a half times more expensive than Paris and 10 times dearer than in Rome, according to research by the Campaign for Better Transport." – Telegraph
Divorce isn’t an option for David Cameron and Nick Clegg – Paul Goodman in The Telegraph
Damian Collins MP keeps the pressure on corruption in FIFA
"In the last year 11 of the 24 members of FIFA's ruling executive committee have faced allegations of corruption; no real progress towards reform has been made within FIFA, and there has never been an independent investigation into all of the bribery allegations made against them. One man is ultimately responsible for this; Sepp Blatter." – Damian Collins MP at the Huffington Post
Some end-of-year questions for Ed Miliband from John Redwood
- "How does borrowing more get you out of a crisis brought on by borrowing too much?
- How much more would you like the state to borrow, given that the Coalition is planning to borrow an extra £563 billion over five years (Public sector net borrowing)?
- Why should we have things today and make our children pay for them tomorrow when they have to pay back the borrowing?"
Read them all on Mr Redwood's blog.
- CBI chief uses new year message to back George Osborne's spending cuts – Express
- Miliband’s nightmare: the worse the economy, the better for Cameron – Nick Wood for RightMinds
"Blue Labour thinker Lord Glasman says Oxbridge background of leaders mean it struggles to connect with working class" – Guardian
The Times (£) reviews Mr Miliband's new year message: "Mr Miliband thus ends the year with a rallying cry to his party and to the country. In times of trouble, he says, we should “not lower our sights but raise them”. There is, to be sure, little by way of detail to Mr Miliband’s message. But he is right that it is time to set Labour on a new course. And he is right too that the British people will soon tire of the Lib-Con coalition’s call for fortitude in adversity."
Meryl Streep gets glowing reviews as Margaret Thatcher
""Virtuoso," "translucent," and "compelling" were among the words used by U.S. movie critics this week to describe Streep's turn as Britain's polarizing, and only female, prime minister. "Is there anything that Meryl Streep can't do as an actress? One can only marvel at her virtuoso performance as Margaret Thatcher," said Rolling Stone reviewer Peter Travers." – Reuters
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