6.30pm ToryDiary: Ray Lewis said to be set to resign resigns

6pm ToryDiary: Cameron accuses Brown of bottling it over expenses

5pm CentreRight: Alex Deane thinks it’s time to panic about knife crime, Peter Cuthbertson highlights a video exposing MEPs for claiming their daily allowances and heading straight home

4pm Parliament: Hague urges Miliband to send a strong message to Mbeki

"The Conservatives won’t come close to winning this by-election. But
it presents an extraordinary opportunity to invite the nation’s media
to visit this archetypal Labour area and take that look around
themselves – to see how Labour has betrayed the poorest in our society."

12.30pm Simon Chapman on CentreRight: The social justice by-election

11am Douglas Carswell MP on CentreRight: There’s something wrong with our judges

10am Local Government: Eric Pickles talks to Stephen Greenhalgh about the Conservative Councils Innovation Unit

9.45am ToryDiary: More shadow frontbench office donors revealed

"It seems to me that most MPs simply fail to understand the level of
public disbelief at the stream of revelations over the extensive
enrichment of parliamentarians courtesy of the allowances and expenses
system… This sorry spectacle conclusively shows that MPs are no longer fit to
have any say in any aspect of the process regarding their remuneration."

Platform: Mark Field MP’s take on MPs keeping the status quo on expenses yesterday

Parliament: Pay us more, says David Maclean MP, because we take life or death decisions

CentreRight: Matt Sinclair on the cost of crime, Louise Bagshawe on the retention of the John Lewis list

Local Government: Latest by-election results

PlayPolitical: David Cameron campaigns with David Davis in H&H

Geldof backs DD

"Bob Geldof will join ex-Tory frontbencher David Davis’s fight on Friday against Labour’s alleged erosion of ancient liberties. The Boomtown Rats singer will join Mr Davis on the campaign trail in his extraordinary ‘freedom’ by-election. His endorsement is embarrassing for the Government, since Mr Geldof
worked closely with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on the issues of Third
World aid and debt." – Mail

Donors revealed

"The names of dozens of prominent donors and companies who are giving
hundreds of thousands of pounds to fund the Tory frontbench team are
revealed in the latest MPs’ register of interests, published yesterday. The
register is the first to come out since a ruling by John Lyon, the
parliamentary standards commissioner, that the Conservatives must
disclose who is financing their staff and research." – Guardian

Ray Lewis

"Announcing an independent inquiry into the allegations of sexual and
financial misconduct against Lewis, Johnson suggested that they were
politically motivated. He heaped praised on Lewis, and refused to
contemplate what might happen if the allegations were to be proved. The
mayor of London also suggested that Lewis would be able to carry on in
his post as deputy mayor for young people while the investigation was
going on." – Guardian

> Ray Lewis hit by allegations

Politics of envy

"Here is an irony to be savoured: just as the Conservative Party has
switched to the view that large disparities in income are a Bad Thing –
and that relative rather than absolute poverty is the enemy – the
Joseph Rowntree Foundation has produced a report which suggests that
the Left (or at least the thinking bits of it) are now moving in
precisely the opposite direction." – Dominic Lawson in the Independent

Aircraft carrier contracts finally signed

"The government yesterday signed contracts for two aircraft carriers,
the biggest ships ever built for the navy, in a move which raised new
fears about the pressures on Britain’s defence budget, for the army in
particular. The contracts, worth nearly £4bn for BAE Systems and VTGroup, were welcomed by ministers." – Guardian

Fox’s reaction: "The Government must give assurances that the next stage of the programme will not suffer any further delays, and that a sufficient number of escort vessels will be provided to protect the carriers.  The Government must also ensure that the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft comes into service as soon as possible."

Frank Field’s six point plan for redrawing the boundaries between the state and the individual  Telegraph

  1. Individual control over public expenditure
  2. Galvanising support for mega capital projects
  3. Establishing our own sovereign wealth fund
  4. Revolutionising what is meant by state education
  5. Saving the globe through individual action
  6. Primary elections in all safe seats

Treasury humiliated as Audit Office rejects accounts

"Britain’s spending watchdog is refusing to approve the Treasury’s
accounts, compounding a miserable year for Alistair Darling, the
Chancellor of the Exchequer. Senior officials spoke last night of a collapse of morale at the Treasury after a string of U-turns and interference by No 10." – Times

Darling is bound by Brown’s legacy – Peter Riddell in the Times

The Beeb’s "corporate imperialism and institutional self-regard"

How to save the BBC by Anthony Jay – Centre for Policy Studies

"Jay says that in order to be rescued from itself, the
BBC needs to undergo a "spiritual conversion". The corporate
imperialism and institutional self-regard are a millstone. "It must
seek respect not for what it is, but for what it does." This can best
be achieved, he argues, by chopping out or selling off everything,
except Radio 4, "a unique speech" station, and one television channel.Despite
its official bleating, the BBC is not underfunded. By comparison with
rivals, it is, as Thompson once admitted, wallowing in a "Jacuzzi of
cash"." – Jeff Randall in the Telegraph

Anthony Jay writes for the Mail

Dannatt deserves a promotion – Allan Mallinson in the Times

Glasgow East could be most important by-election ever – Martin Kettle in the Guardian

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