Published:

6pm WATCH: Cameron to Miliband – "Lansley's career prospects are a lot better than yours"

Screen shot 2012-02-08 at 17.54.015pm Reactions to PMQs and the continuing row over Abu Qatada's release from prison lead our teatime review

3.30pm Rob Leitch on Comment: "We are simply thrashing about. Truth be told, the party leadership is split on whether to push ahead unrepentantly or alternatively to kick the Bill into the long grass at the least damaging time." Cameron and Lansley's health reforms show woeful political judgement

2.15pm Local Government:

1.15pm ToryDiary: Not exactly clear support for Lansley from Cameron at PMQs

Screen shot 2012-02-08 at 13.15.3411.30am ConHomeUSA: Hat-trick of victories in GOP race for Rick Santorum

11.30am WATCH: Daniel Hannan – The EU wants everybody to copy it

ToryDiary: The ECHR – Cameron is trapped in a bind which he himself has approved

Columnist Jill Kirby: Shared access is a sideshow – the Government must do more for marriage

Samuel Kasumu on Comment: The Conservative Party must do much, much more to become a party for ethnic communities

Local Government:

WATCH: Has Lembit Opik made the worst pop video ever? Judge for yourself

Tory fury over Abu Qatada – and the ECHR

Screen shot 2012-02-08 at 05.04.35"Abu Hamza and five other dangerous terror suspects could follow Abu Qatada in being freed to walk Britain’s streets. Unelected Euro judges are preparing to rule if the six – who are accused of running terror camps and extremist websites or plotting atrocities – can be extradited to the U.S. And, in the wake of Europe’s ruling that fanatic Qatada cannot be kicked out of Britain, Whitehall officials are braced for defeat." – Daily Mail

Theresa May is vehement…

"From the start the Home Secretary, whose garb of a billowing black coat looked faintly judicial, didn’t mince her words. She disagreed “vehemently” with the European court. “It simply isn’t acceptable,” she insisted, blood-red nail polish flashing at us. “The right place for a terrorist is in a prison cell. The right place for a foreign terrorist is a foreign prison cell far away from Britain.” – Ann Treneman, The Times (£)

…Though not as vehement as Conservative backbenchers

  • "Mark Pritchard (Con, The Wrekin) said that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) was ‘undermining British justice’. He urged Mrs May temporarily to suspend our membership of it.
  • Stewart Jackson (Con, Peterborough) was ‘appalled and disgusted’ by the decision of an immigration court to release Qatada on bail.
  • Eleanor Laing (Con, Epping Forest) said ‘enough is enough’. Bob Stewart (Con, Beckenham) made a yarny speech about how war regulations were suitable, given the hostility  of Qatada.
  • Anne Main (Con, St Albans), who can be the living, snorting, embodiment of a busty strop – magnificently so – opined that the ‘rights of terrorists now trump the rights of British citizens’.
  • Dominic Raab (Con, Esher & Walton) held that it was ‘time for Britain to say no to Strasbourg’.
  • Philip Davies (Con, Shipley) said ‘a proud, sovereign country’ was being denied the right to deport a wrong ’un.
  • David Ruffley (Con, Bury St Edmunds) suggested that we should simply ignore the ECHR. Italy did." – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

The Home Secretary seeks a solution "within the existing legal regime"

May Theresa in black"She said Britain is urgently seeking a fresh arrangement with Jordan that would enable Qatada to be sent there. Mrs May is also considering a bid to overturn the Euro ruling with an appeal to the court's Grand Chamber, presided over by its most senior judges. She added: "We will do everything we can within the existing legal regime to deport Qatada." But there are fears negotiations with Jordan could take months. And few in Whitehall believe a case taken to the Grand Chamber would be successful." – The Sun

BBC tells its staff: don’t call Qatada extremist – Daily Telegraph

The right-of-centre press lines up to give the ECHR a kicking:

  • "Remember the Tory manifesto pledge to abolish the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights? Nothing’s happened yet. Remember a month ago David Cameron accused the European Court of “distorting” and “discrediting” the concept of human rights? Still nothing’s happened." – Daily Express editorial
  • "We are left in the farcical situation where a man convicted in another country, and who is a source of concern to our own security services, and who is not a British citizen, will nonetheless be at large." – Times (£) Editorial

> Yesterday: WATCH – Theresa May: "The Government disagrees vehemently" with Abu Qatada decision

Another Lithuanian rapist moves to the UK and settles down without authorities finding out about his criminal pastDaily Mail

‘Shocking’ number of girls still undergoing female genital mutilation in the UK, warns Home SecretaryDaily Mail

Cameron fumes at "awkward" Tories

CAMERON-PENSIVE"David Cameron has been left fuming after massed ranks of Conservative MPs pushed the government into taking a tougher line on Europe and scaling back green subsidies, with allies of the prime minister warning that the initiative was “counterproductive”. Mr Cameron’s mission to “detoxify” the Conservative brand is in danger of going into reverse, with one-third of his parliamentary party actively lobbying the prime minister to revert to a more red-blooded strain of Conservatism." – Financial Times (£)

  • Tories in 5-points polls slip – The Sun

Prime Minister to shore up rather than shoot Lansley…

"David Cameron is to rally behind his health secretary Andrew Lansley on Wednesday and insist that the coalition will force its health and social care bill on to the statute book despite growing opposition within the NHS and the Conservative party. Speculation over Lansley's future in the cabinet was sparked by an unnamed No 10 insider being quoted saying he should be "taken out and shot". The briefing was described as unauthorised, but No 10 acknowledged it may have taken its eye off the ball, allowing opposition to the bill to re-emerge." – Guardian

(…But there's more briefing against the Health Secretary in the Times)

"The text was duly sent to Mr Lansley’s office with instructions to keep alterations to a minimum. It didn’t work. On receipt, Mr Lansley started personalising the speech further as only he knows how: he began inserting paragraphs about the new NHS “outcomes framework”." – The Times (£)

  • David Owen "tasteless" Ivan Cameron aside – Daily Telegraph
  • I want reform, but this health Bill is a disaster – Alan Milburn, The Times (£)
  • The Health Secretary has won the right to see his NHS reform Bill be given the chance to work – Norman Tebbit, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – If the Liberal Democrats want to run health policy, they should take responsibility for it

Care report news: Pensioners 'passed like parcels' by care agencies, say MPsDaily Telegraph

Care report comment: The benefits to older people of integrating care services can be seen in Torbay. But they may vanish into a funding gap – Sarah Wollaston MP, The Guardian

Cameron promises better training for apprentices The Independent

Punishing bankers won’t create jobs, says Osborne

"George Osborne issued a stark warning last night that excessive attacks on high salaries and bumper bonuses for senior bosses could damage our economic recovery.  In an apparent swipe at the craze for “banker bashing” at Westminster, the Chancellor raised fears that an “anti-business culture” in the UK could scare off investment.  He insisted “rewards for success” should be the foundation for economic growth and job creation." – Daily Express

  • Treasury warms to £10,000 loans scheme to ease strain of paying for childcare – The Times (£)
  • We can’t count on others messing up – Allister Heath, City A.M
  • There’s only half an answer to high pay: growth – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)
  • Greece misses bail-out deadline – Financial Times (£)

Yesterday: ToryDiary – George Osborne says anti-business hysteria should be shunned and rewards for success permitted

Nick Gibb warns that literacy in our schools is at "Dickensian-era levels"

GIBB NICK"Dickensian levels of  illiteracy still plague parts of England despite decades of increases in state spending on education, a minister declared yesterday. Schools Minister Nick Gibb said ‘shadows of Charles Dickens’s world’ persisted in the country’s poorest areas despite major social advances.  Expectations of children moving through the school system were too ‘modest’, with teachers settling too often for a ‘good enough’ standard, he claimed." – Daily Mail

Tory councils band together to mount legal challenge to £34bn high-speed rail scheme

"A rebel alliance of 18 mainly Tory councils is to mount a legal challenge against the Government’s controversial £34billion  high-speed rail plans. Members of  the '51m' group of local authorities opposed to the British bullet-train HS2 scheme have served a formal letter on Conservative Transport Secretary Justine Greening warning that they will mount a challenge by way of judicial review unless she rescinds her decision to proceed with it." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday: Local Government – Tory councils serve notice of legal challenge to HS2

Anne Milton says that beer could be watered down to tackle binge drinking

"Alcoholic drinks in Britain could be watered down under controversial Government plans to deal with binge drinking, a health minister said yesterday. Anne Milton made clear that the Coalition wanted to see a ‘significant’ reduction in the number of units in beer, wines and spirits across the drinks market.  She warned that the Government was ‘deadly serious’ about slashing the numbers of deaths in Britain caused by alcohol." – Daily Mail

“It’s almost like being a football manager, being Welsh Assembly Conservative leader,” says Andrew RT Davies, amid reports of discontent over his leadership

Screen shot 2012-02-08 at 08.27.09"The Conservative group in the National Assembly is “unequivocally” behind leader Andrew RT Davies, he insisted yesterday amid reports of discontent. Mr Davies has been the subject of anonymous briefings against his leadership from some Tory AMs in the past two weeks following the cancellation of his party’s conference at a fortnight’s notice. But Mr Davies, elected leader just eight months ago, told a press conference yesterday that his party in the Assembly was “united” and rumblings against his leadership was part of the job." – Wales Online

  • English Tory MPs to campaign against Scottish independence – Daily Telegraph

Sarah Teather faces calls for the sack after she fails to back welfare reforms

"David Cameron was urged last night to sack Lib Dem minister Sarah Teather after she REFUSED to vote for flagship welfare reforms. Furious Tory MPs said Ms Teather — who has blasted the £26,000-a-year benefits cap — must be axed for failing to show last week for all seven votes. And insiders rubbished claims she could not make it back to London from Sheffield — a two-hour train trip — where she was said to have been on "ministerial business"." – The Sun

Why is Nick Clegg being so coy about his reform of the Lords? – Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph

Hilton nudge triumph – it's transformational!

"Basic psychological tricks can make tax-dodgers behave honestly and potentially raise billions of pounds in extra revenue for the Treasury, a controversial new government unit claims to have proved for the first time.Much derided when it was set up by David Cameron after the election, the Behavioural Insights Team, or "Nudge unit" as it has been dubbed, has now produced the first evidence that its ideas work in practice." – The Independent

"An army under fire from elf'n'safety and a busybody culture making babies of us all"

Screen shot 2012-02-08 at 08.28.52"The plague virus of health and safety is seeping into the military, as into every aspect of British life. We are conditioning ourselves to believe that with proper management, we can eliminate risk…For the past month, I have been shooting a documentary for BBC TV, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War. Again and again during filming, small incidents and exchanges have reminded me how much the world, and especially our society, has changed its attitude to risk since 1982." – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

Argentina goes to UN over British ‘militarisation’ of FalklandsThe Times (£)

Defence cuts threaten ability to run concurrent campaigns, MPs say The Guardian

Alistair Burt urges Russia to help stop the slaughter in SyriaDaily Express

Andy Slaughter researcher says the Queen is a benefits scroungerThe Sun

Parliamentary creche costing £34,000 a child branded a waste of money as it's nearly two thirds empty Daily Mail

Electoral Reform Society support for Holyrood to call shots on referendumHerald Scotland

MPs "will reject Cable's choice for universities watchdog" in parliamentary showdownDaily Mail

Family vigil at Ian Paisley's bedsideBelfast Telegraph

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