3pm Local government: Why isn't Mayor Rahman more famous?
12.30pm ToryDiary: Ten things you need to know about the group that really runs the Coalition
12.15pm Local government: Why do tree surgeons need to be CRB checked?
10.45am WATCH: Chris Huhne appears in court for speeding case
Columnist Andrew Lilico: "Civil partnership" vs "gay marriage" – Why does it matter what you call it?
Chris Skidmore MP on Comment: Labour has become the anti-reform, anti-competition, anti-choice, and above all, anti-patient party
Majority Conservatism: The third part in our 'Building A Majority' series – Ending windfarm subsidies
Christina Dykes on Local government: Councillors deserve more help to become leaders of the Big Society and Localism
"Inside the United Kingdom, Scotland – just as much as England, Wales and Northern Ireland – is stronger, safer, richer and fairer." – Writing for The Scotsman, David Cameron makes the case for Scotland staying in the UK
- "I am 100 per cent clear that I will fight with everything I have to keep our United Kingdom together" – Express
- "In the speech in Edinburgh ahead of talks with Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, Mr Cameron's focus will be on what he calls the "entirely positive" and "practical" aspects of the union." – Independent
- Alex Massie at The Spectator notes that Cameron has chosen positivity over scare tactics: "A relentlessly negative, fear-mongering Unionist campaign might well secure a No vote but it would be a shabby, disreputable, desperate business. Mr Cameron, at least for now, draws the line at the use of political and rhetorical chemical weapons."
- "In the most recent YouGov poll on the subject, a month ago, voters in Scotland were almost 60:40 in favour of giving Scotland more powers but the figures were reversed on full independence, with 39% for and 61% against." – Guardian
- "The real sticking point of discussions is the SNP’s wish to include another option in the vote – for more devolution, or “devo max”, in which Scotland would stay in the UK but raise most of its own taxes. This would give the nationalists a fallback in the event of independence being rejected, and has the advantage of having been consistently supported by a majority of the Scottish electorate in most opinion polls.
The pro-union parties are determined to block this option because they would struggle to agree what form devo-max would take. But it would be risky for them to block an option that has voter support." – FT (£)
"Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, had intended to introduce an early repayment penalty which would have cost graduates thousands of pounds if they cleared their debts within 30 years of leaving university. The Prime Minister is understood to have dropped the scheme earlier this week amid warnings that it would be unfair on the hundreds of thousands of people expected to repay their loans early." – Telegraph
Police Federation attack David Cameron’s plans to tackle binge drinking as ‘dangerous’ and ‘unhelpful’ – Daily Mail
- Steve Richards in The Independent: Cameron's proposals might help ease the pressure on crazily overworked A&E wards on weekend nights
Andrew Lansley faces questions after leaked emails reveal at least 25 senior staff have salaries paid to private companies, avoiding tax – Guardian
UK unemployment stuck at 17-year high as economy flatlines – Guardian
"The Office for National Statistics said the number of British-born workers with a job crashed by 208,000 last year. But this is the exact opposite of what is happening to foreign-born workers, with numbers jumping by 212,000 last year." – Daily Mail
Francis Maude: The Civil Service has been shrunk to its smallest size since the Second World War as part of a £5 billion package of savings in Whitehall this year – Telegraph
"Last year we proved that efficiency works, with £3.75 billion in savings, a figure confirmed this month by the National Audit Office. We are starting to build a totally new way of running the operations of government — focusing on what people spend their money on rather than just how much they spend… I can today reveal that our efficiency drive means we are on track to save an additional £5 billion this year. These savings are not the result of tinkering and trimming. We are creating a much leaner, more effective Whitehall machine that manages its finances like the best-run businesses and demands the best return for public money." – Francis Maude in The Telegraph
- The Telegraph leader-writers pay tribute to Maude's work.
David Willetts to visit Falklands today in sign of Coalition's commitment – Times (£)
Some advice for Laura Trott, Cameron's new adviser on women's issues – Guardian roundtable
Zac Goldsmith says Cameron is too soft on big companies like BP, Costa Coffee and Tesco – Times (£)
Tory MP Aidan Burley could be charged over Nazi stag party as French prosecutors launch criminal investigation – Daily Mail
The leader of the Tory MEPs says Greece must default and devalue – Simon Richards at the Daily Mail wishes other Conservative politicians would follow Martin Callanan's lead and put the Greek people out of their misery.
- "Martin Callanan, the Conservative leader in the European Parliament, said Brussels should concentrate on preparations for Greece’s “orderly withdrawal” from the single currency." – Express
- Peter Oborne: Cameron should rescue Greece from €uro misery – Telegraph
- Andreas Whittam-Smith in The Independent: Creditor countries have begun to see that the solutions would be impossible to implement
We need a leveller up, not a leveller down – Camilla Cavenish explains why Les Ebdon is the wrong man to oversee universities access – Times (£)
> Yesterday's Jill Kirby column: Vince Cable's choice for university access tsar shows why Gove should be given control of higher education
Martin Kettle: The Liberal Democrats must abandon the doomed folly of Lords reform
"When the whistle blows for the start of the second half of the coalition's period in office, the Liberal Democrats will have a precious two years in which to prove to voters that they have made a positive difference in difficult but unavoidable times. That could, even now, be a much more runnable argument than many allow. But it will not deserve to succeed if they squander so much of the rest of their time in office on a half-baked and doomed folly that would not solve the constitutional problem and for which, in grim economic times, there is no demand anyway." – Martin Kettle in The Guardian
Labour last night defended its decision to ditch its opposition to elected police commissioners – The Sun
The Lords Communications Committee recommends tax breaks for newspapers – BBC
Academics calculate that knowing a cabinet minister is worth £113,000 a year to a lobbyist – Telegraph
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