Published:

Cameron6pm WATCH: David Cameron: "We should do all we can to tackle the poisonous ideology that is perverting young minds"

5pm Local government: Four Tory councillors in Hounslow defect to UKIP

4.45pm ToryDiary: Shale gas becomes an even more compelling opportunity – we must seize it

North3.30pm On Comment, The first part of Paul Maynard MP's two-part guide to winning in the North: The Surprise of the North

1pm LeftWatch: CCHQ goes on the attack over energy prices – you’d pay £61 more under Labour, they warn

12.15 On Comment, Adrian Pepper recalls how a wedding visit ensnared him in a temple to socialism: "It's easy for Conservatives to forget – as we face down the latest enemy within (militant Islamism) – that the old enemy within (militant socialism) is still propagating its dangerous hard left ideology inside our country. Socialism was slain by Thatcherism in the ‘80s. But we must continue to fight and win the battle of ideas in each and every generation."

11am ToryDiary: That Cabinet Office radicalism I mentioned? Its fruits are evident today…

9.30am LeftWatch: Balls's winter fuel gambit – Strategically flawed, tactically risky – and, in policy terms, absolutely right

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On ToryDiary, we begin our special series on the Spending Review: Before making spending decisions, the Government must learn to count

Grant Shapps writes his latest column for ConservativeHome: We're getting the big decisions right – and Miliband has nothing to offer

Columnist Marina Kim: Why we need a statutory register of lobbyists now

Natalie Elphicke on Comment: Taxpayer’s HomeBuild – time to unlock the housebuilder in all of us

Also on Comment, Alan Gibbons responds to Harry Phibbs' attack on his book: How can authors be ambassadors of love and respect?

Local Government: After Harrow and Brent, Labour implode in Redbridge

The Deep End: Never forget the victims of Communism

Scandal! 1) The Government announces a new crackdown on lobbying…

Mercer"Ministers announced there will be a crackdown on lobbying last night after three members of the House of Lords were embroiled in a new sleaze scandal. .. In what was branded a ‘new low for British politics’, Labour kicked out two peers and a third resigned from the Ulster Unionists after they were recorded offering to do parliamentary business in exchange for cash. … Tory Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude yesterday said the Government is set to legislate to create a statutory register of lobbyists in this session of Parliament – even though it was dropped from the recent Queen’s Speech." – Daily Mail

  • "The politicians may have spent yesterday insisting they are committed to cleaning up the Westminster cesspit. … But, disturbingly, their determination to try to silence the newspapers who continue to expose their wrong-doing suggests otherwise." – Daily Mail editorial
  • "The combination of an independent press and a culture of honesty is more powerful than any statutory register." – Times editorial (£)
  • "These measures are welcome and are clearly needed; but we are entitled to ask why they have not been introduced before." – Daily Telegraph editorial

> Today, by Marina Kim: Why we need a statutory register of lobbyists now

Scandal! 2) …and perhaps on dodgy peers, too

Lords"Peers could be expelled from Parliament under a drive to clean up Westminster, it emerged yesterday, as the lobbying scandal engulfed the House of Lords. … It would end centuries of tradition in which a seat on the red benches of the Upper House has meant a job for life." – The Times (£)

  • "The need for sweeping changes in the rules on lobbying is clear. But the implications of the latest round of disclosures do not end there. They also put reform of the bloated and debased House of Lords firmly back on the agenda." – Independent editorial
  • "We are left with lifetime legislators whom there is no means of getting rid of, and should not be surprised if they sometimes fail to come up to the mark." – Guardian editorial
  • "Lords reform may have to wait. But the case for recall and primaries is now surely overwhelming. This isn’t just about restoring the authority of Parliament; it’s about restoring honour and purpose to the act of voting." - Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan, Daily Telegraph

Scandal! 3) Speculation about the No.10 affair continues

"Those who know the identities of the former lovers dismissed the suggestion that the affair would shock voters in the same way as Sir John Major’s relationship with Edwina Currie, which was revealed when she published her diaries in 2002. … ‘When the news first broke people were calling and texting one another guessing who it would be,’ said one MP. ‘There will be a few people who will be mightily relieved today that it isn’t them risking exposure.’" – Daily Mail

Scandal! 4) "Baroness Williams has revealed that 'more than one' minister tried to sexually assault her during the 1970s"The Sun

Conservative veterans back David Cameron over gay marriage…


Mr and Mr"A group of Conservative stalwarts from the Thatcher and Major eras warn their fellow Tories today that they are standing in the way of history by opposing gay marriage. … Ahead of a two-day debate in the House of Lords that will decide the future of the same sex marriage Bill, the half-dozen former ministers urged their colleagues not to wreck it. … 'It would be wrong to hinder a measure whose time has come,' they say in a letter to The Times." – The Times (£)

"The Government could be plunged into a 'constitutional crisis' if members of the House of Lords reject plans for gay marriage this week, a senior peer has warned." - Independent

  • "Three reasons why I’m voting for gay marriage" – John Browne, Financial Times
  • "I backed same-sex weddings in New York for the sake of democracy. British lawmakers should too" – Michael Bloomberg, Guardian

…as Helen Grants warns Tory MPs, don't expect a marriage tax break in return

Helen Grant"She said the Lords should support plans to legalise same-sex marriage because it was the right thing to do, not in the hope that the promised tax breaks would follow. … The minister, responsible for the gay marriage reforms, said: 'I don’t think the two should be traded off really.'" – Daily Telegraph

IDS escalates his scrap with Europe – he wants to make the benefit rules even stricter

"Immigrants will be banned from claiming benefits in Britain until they have been here for six months, under plans being developed by Iain Duncan Smith. … Brussels claims that the ‘right to residency’ test on new arrivals from the EU, designed to prevent welfare tourists claiming benefits on arrival, are discriminatory. However, officials from the Department for Work and Pensions have told the Daily Mail that Mr Duncan Smith will defy the EC and make the system even stricter." – Daily Mail

We've saved £10 billion over the past year alone, says Francis Maude

FM"The Government has achieved savings of £10 billion over the past financial year, a 25 per cent increase on their target, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said today. … The Efficiency and Reform Group, run by the Cabinet Office and the Treasury, said it has effected the savings by cutting civil service costs." – Daily Mail

  • Civil servants strike over cuts – Guardian
  • "Ministers should be able to pick their own permanent secretaries, a leading think-tank has concluded…" – Financial Times

> Today on ToryDiary: Before making spending decisions, the Government must learn to count

But Jeremy Hunt wants to make sure that futher, future savings don't come from the NHS

"Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, has warned fellow ministers against trying to undermine the ringfence around the NHS’s budget, as the cabinet enters a final few weeks wrangling over the next public spending round.'" – Financial Times

And Tim Montgomerie doesn't want them to come from downgrading our nuclear defences

Nuclear"Whatever the Prime Minister's letter of last resort contains, we shouldn't be downgrading our defences in this age of nuclear proliferation. The only way to maximise our security is to enhance and extend our nuclear defences. Our enemies should always fear what we are capable of." – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Chris Skidmore MP: Soaring immigration has increased the pressure on the health service

"It cannot be a coincidence that 2004 — the year in which A&E attendance jumped so noticeably — was the year that Labour changed GPs’ contracts to let them opt out of out-of-hours care, and also the year that East European countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic acceded to the EU, allowing their people free migration to the UK. … We simply cannot go on discounting the effect that such immigration has had upon our healthcare services." – Chris Skidmore, Daily Mail

  • The number of cancelled operations has reached a nine-year high - Daily Mail
  • NHS waiting times getting longer due to cuts, health chiefs warn – Guardian

The Coalition's energy policy threatens to undemine the environmental case for HS2, warns Tim Yeo

Ti yr"Ministers' failure to set firm targets on cutting carbon emissions from electricity generation will destroy the environmental case for the HS2 rail project, one of the Tory party's few remaining 'green' MPs has said … Tory minister Tim Yeo told the Guardian that the billions to be sunk into the north-south high-speed rail project would not lead to lower emissions if the UK went on using fossil fuels to generate electricity." – Guardian

Boris bigs up Crossrail

"The project is responsible for about 55,000 jobs across the country, and it would have been utter insanity to cancel it – not just because of the jobs it creates, but because it is essential if we are to cope with the demands on our transport network. … Tube upgrades, new river crossings, Crossrail Two, and others. They are not just good for London, but for the whole of Britain." – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

The Tories' Free Enterprise Group recommends a sell-off of visas

"Visas should be auctioned to the highest bidder to encourage the rich to settle in the UK, a group of Tory MPs has said. … Only those who could afford to buy permission to move here should be allowed to do so, according to the Free Enterprise Group, which is on the right of the party." – Daily Mail

And MPs also suggest a sell-off of council houses… on eBay

Ebay"Council tenants should be able to buy their homes via eBay, MPs have said. .. Putting the 'right to buy' scheme on well-known online shopping sites was one way to boost 'digital engagement', they suggested. … Other initiatives suggested for promotion via supermarket websites and retailers like Amazon were the new 'help to buy' mortgage guarantee and the Green Deal home energy-efficiency package." – Daily Mail

Ed Balls announces a spending cut! Labour would axe Winter Fuel Allowance for the richest

Ed Balls

"In a speech aimed at winning back the trust of voters, the shadow chancellor will declare that “iron discipline on spending control” after 2015 is vital. … And in a boost to The Sun’s Ditch Handouts To The Rich campaign he will pledge to axe winter fuel allowance for the richest five per cent of OAPs. The universal perk is worth between £100 and £300 a year for all over-60s. But Mr Balls will say a “fairer approach to deficit reduction” is needed and the wealthiest must help out more." – The Sun

News in brief

  • One in five Britons is putting no money aside for retirement – Daily Mail
  • Secondary schools should use a lotteries to prevent middle-class families taking the majority of places, suggests charity – Daily Mail
  • Think-tank suggests a benefits boost for those who have made suffcient National Insurance contributions – The Sun
  • Met police in talks over law change to allow positive discrimination – Guardian
  • HMRC has forced nine companies to cough up after not paying interns – The Times (£)

And finally… the PM's passport problems

Passport"David Cameron almost missed his family holiday in Ibiza last week after leaving his passport in Downing Street. … The document, which the Prime Minister had assumed was being carried by his bodyguard, was rushed to Gatwick airport by police just in time." – The Times (£)

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