Published:

Field Mark iv7.45pm WATCH: Mark Field MP: The anti-banker lynch mob mentality of the last few days makes Britain seem unfriendly for business

5pm Reaction to PMQs and the welfare reforms being voted on by MPs lead our 5pm newslinks

4.45pm Local government: Labour attack Boris for Council Tax cut

2.45pm On ThinkTankCentral, Tim Knox of the Centre for Policy Studies argues: A substantial Corporation Tax cut would send a bold pro-growth, pro-enterprise message

1.30pm WATCH: David Cameron: "It was the last Labour government… that agreed an RBS bonus pool of £1.3billion"

002 (1)1pm ToryDiary: PMQs: Miliband attacks on health and banking, but Conservatives launch benefits cap counter-attack

11.45am ConHomeUSA: Your guide to the best commentary on Romney's big win in Florida

11.30am Local government: Councils to keep council rents – not hand them over to Whitehall

11.15am Roger Helmer MEP on Comment: Climate alarmism is falling out of favour in the rest of the world – but Europe hasn't noticed

Osborne George Goodwin10.45am WATCH: George Osborne: "I think it's appropriate that [Fred Goodwin] loses his knighthood"

10.30am Local government: Boris to cut the Council Tax precept by 1%

10am Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Farewell to one of the true greats of the early SAS

ToryDiary: Some good news from (and for) David Willetts, who declares that "our University revolution has only just begun"

Also on ToryDiary: Let's remove honours by X-Factor

Columnist Jill Kirby: Tories need to “own” plans to increase the personal allowance

Chris Kelly MP on Comment: Why we urgently need a Euro-sceptic business campaign

Cllr Ravi Govindia on Local Government: Wandsworth publish performance information

WATCH: William Hague: How many people have to die before the world wakes up to the brutality of the Syrian regime?

David Cameron abandons attempts to stop €urozone leaders using EU institutions

Cameron EU statement"Senior Liberal Democrats have lined up to praise David Cameron after the prime minister bowed to pressure from Nick Clegg and abandoned attempts to block eurozone leaders from enforcing a new fiscal compact through EU institutions." – Guardian

  • "Sir Menzies said he welcomed Mr Cameron’s ‘pragmatism’, saying he had ‘pursued a policy of re-engagement with our European partners’. Mr Hughes welcomed the Prime Minister’s actions at ‘a much more successful and satisfactory summit’ than the December meeting." – Daily Mail
  • "Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, told the Commons the veto had been exposed as a “phantom”. He said: “With this Prime Minister a veto is not just for life, it's for Christmas…It talks like a European treaty, it walks like a European treaty, it is a European treaty.”" – Independent
  • David Cameron is drawing his battle lines firmly in the centre ground – Benedict Brogan for the Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday:

Tim Montgomerie: Tory rebels are keeping their powder dry for larger European battles

"Battle number one will be over the looming possibility that British taxpayers will be asked to pour billions more into the International Monetary Fund’s bailout fund… Battle two will come over the European Court of Human Rights… Battle three is the big one. If the eurozone collapses the European Union will be changed for ever… Countries will then choose different degrees of European integration – some will want lots and others, notably Britain, will want less." – Tim Montgomerie for the Daily Mail

  • The decision to let EU institutions police fiscal union is a massive missed opportunity for Cameron, and for Britain – Daniel Hannan MEP for the Guardian

Mr Fred Goodwin: RBS boss loses knighthood

Goodwin frontpage"A Whitehall committee of senior civil servants ruled that he was an “exceptional case” and previous precedent should be overridden. Mr Goodwin lost his honour for “services to banking” despite not having been convicted of any criminal offence nor being professionally censured, the normal requirements for annulling a knighthood, CBE, OBE or MBE." – Daily Telegraph

  • "It sends out the profoundly off-putting signal that Britain is anti-business and anti-wealth, a culture of harboured grudges, public vindictiveness and mob rule." – Independent editorial
  • Don’t penalise RBS just because we own it – Alistair Darling for the Times (£)
  • Ban bonuses, and Fred Goodwin could have kept his knighthood – Sir Simon Jenkins for the Guardian

Coalition attempts to draw up legislative programme for the rest of this Parliament

"The next Queen’s Speech is expected in May and will be dominated by a House of Lords reform Bill… MPs from both parties have been holding “Coalition 2.0” talks throughout the past year, ordered by Mr Clegg and David Cameron to draw up areas on which they can base a legislative programme for next year onwards. The group includes, for the Tories, Michael Gove… Owen Paterson… Greg Clark… and for the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey, the Business Minister, and David Laws, the former Cabinet minister." – The Times (£)

David Willetts: The Government's higher education reforms have not deterred applications

WILLETTS DAVID NW"Despite some dire warnings about the Coalition’s student finance reforms, we’ve already had more applications to university than in any year under the previous government. Once the decline in the total number of 18 year olds has been accounted for, their application rate is down only 1 per cent on last year, when a record number of people applied to get in… Already, more people have applied to start university in 2012 than there are places available. So yet again it will be very competitive." – David Willetts for the Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday - David T Breaker on Comment: At last, students are thinking before attending university

Welfare reforms suffer a seventh Lords defeat

Lords_Chamber"The government has suffered a seventh defeat in the House of Lords over proposed changes to the welfare system. Peers rejected plans to cut some of the benefits given to children on the lower rate of Disability Living Allowance. Ministers had wanted to reduce the amount of money paid to disabled children who do not need care at night… But peers backed an amendment limiting the cuts by 246 votes to 230." - BBC

  • "The government will seek to overturn seven defeats inflicted by the House of Lords to its Welfare Reform Bill later. Ministers will urge the Commons to reject peers' amendments to the bill, including those to disability allowances proposed on Tuesday." – BBC
  • David Cameron: I’ll fight all the way for dole cap – The Sun

Government to create first SNP peer in new wave of peerages to help combat Labour Lords majority

"The new round of peers is also likely to include one from the Scottish National Party for the first time in a bid to reach out to Scottish first minister Alex Salmond. … the Prime Minister is looking at creating between 10 and 20 peers later this year. It comes after a series of amendments by peers to health and welfare policies have threatened to throw the Government’s reforms off course." – Daily Telegraph

Charles Hendry: North Sea oil risks European meddling in an independent Scotland

HENDRY CHARLES"Charles Hendry, Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, said the strength of the United Kingdom means ministers can “fight hard” to ensure the EU does not introduce regulations that hit profits. He used a letter to Oil and Gas UK, which represents the industry, to emphasise the Government’s success in opposing a European ban on drilling in the aftermath of the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster." – Daily Telegraph

  • Oil set to become battleground in Scottish independence referendum – Guardian
  • Ministers 'misled MPs over need for nuclear power stations' - Guardian

Daniel Finkelstein: Directly-elected mayors will bring Britain closer to the American political system

"[C]andidates will have a direct relationship with voters and there will be a premium on independence. Mayors will experiment and compete with each other. There will also be more open competition within parties, as candidates attempt to win the nomination. Mayors will be judged on their executive ability, on their success in getting their cities to thrive economically and socially. And cities all over Britain will gain champions, identifiable and controversial champions." – Daniel Finkelstein for the Times (£)

Lansley pledges a million more people will have access to an NHS dentist - Daily Mail

  • The Health Bill has been a catastrophic mess – poorly presented, criticised from all corners and now emasculated. But the reforms at its heart are still urgently needed – Andrew Haldenby for the Daily Telegraph

Army to cut 20,000 jobs two years earlier than expectedGuardian

MoJ to use private debt collectors to help recover unpaid court finesGuardian

Britain misses out on £10bn contract to sell jets to India… and France benefits The Times (£)

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