8pm WATCH:

6.15pm Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: "Why should polygamy be any less honoured before the law than homosexual union (which I favoured)?"

6.15pm Alex Deane on CentreRight highlights a depressing editorial in City AM: "Labour’s proposed hike in the tope rate of income tax to 45 per cent won’t bring in any extra revenues.  It could even lead to a reduction in the tax take, as the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned.  Skilled workers and many firms will relocate to more competitive jurisdictions.  So the only options would be to increase direct taxation on average workers and raise value added tax, perhaps to 25 per cent.  Even then we will still be facing a crippling deficit.  Given how over-taxed the UK already is, this is a thoroughly depressing prospect."

5.30pm Local Government: Birmingham increases Council tax by 1.9% while Wandsworth manages a freeze.

4.45pm WATCH: Socialist MEPs heckle and walk out as Czech President Vaclav Klaus criticises EU integration in speech to the European Parliament

4pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight:  Does Parliament no longer regard the apostrophe as sacred?

2pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Was Mandelson out of the loop on bankers’ bonuses?

1pm ToryDiary: David Cameron "resents every penny" awarded to Abu Qatada

Picture_211.30am WATCH: Hillary Clinton urges dialogue between North and South Korea

11am Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: Two other ways to think about material public expenditure control

10.15am ToryDiary: Grant Shapps offers practical advice for those fearing repossession Updated with link to Repossessions Advice Pack 

9.30am Local Government: BNP gain in Sevenoaks gives the party its first council seat in South East England

ToryDiary: What does David Cameron need to do to woo "White Van Man"?

Graham Brady MP on Platform: How the financial crisis will mean a more political Europe

Seats and Candidates Search for 100 Peers: Nirj Deva

Local Government: Windsor council urged to run its own police force

AmericaInTheWorld: Barack Obama’s first foreign trip as President takes him to Ottawa

WATCH: Gordon Brown speaks after meeting Silvio Berlusconi in Rome yesterday

Ken Clarke calls for restraint in public spending as tax take falls

"The full impact of the recession on the public finances was laid bare yesterday as new figures showed tax receipts collapsing from both individuals and companies… Shadow business secretary and former chancellor Kenneth Clarke called on [Alistair] Darling to rein in public spending. "He should be slowing down the growth of public spending to the levels he’s admitted he’s going to have to reduce them to the year after," he told Radio 4’s The World At One. "The voters are going to have to pay the interest on all this mounting debt. This is a time for public-sector restraint." – Guardian

Inflation will cost pensioners hundreds of pounds next year, Tories say

"The poorest pensioners could be left £245 worse off next year because state pensions and benefits fail to reflect increases in their cost of living, the Conservatives have said… Because housing costs have fallen for many mortgage-holders while energy and food bills have stayed high, pensioners now face an inflation rate far above the national average. The Conservatives calculated that "pensioner inflation" is now as high as 8.6 per cent for single pensioners and 6.7 per cent for couples… Theresa May, the Tory shadow work and pensions secretary, said the variation in inflation was only the latest blow to pensioners, many of whom have seen their income from savings slashed by record-low interest rates. Mrs May said: "Pensioners are the forgotten victims of Gordon Brown’s recession. They’ve been clobbered by a double whammy of low interest rates hitting their pocket and inflation rates over three times higher than average." – Daily Telegraph

Bailouts add £1.5 trillion to Britain’s public debt

"Gordon Brown suffered a double blow yesterday when government statisticians recalculated Britain’s national debt at £1.5tn and the CBI accused the prime minister of lacking a coherent economic recovery strategy. As the prime minister warned in Rome that the world was being hit by an "economic hurricane", his fightback plan at home was complicated when the Office for National Statistics raised the prospect of Britain’s national debt rising to 150% of national income from its current 48%." – Guardian

"Borrowing to save the economy is like trying to sober up a drunk by giving him a large whisky" – Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail

Slump could last ten yearsThe Sun

Repossessions figures expected to show big riseSky News

Baroness Warsi accuses Government of ignoring polygamy in the UK

"There has been a failure on the part of policy makers to respond to
this situation. I think some of it has been done in the name of
cultural sensitivity and we’ve just avoided either discussing or
dealing with this matter head on. There has to be a culture change and
that has to brought about by policy makers taking a very clear stance
on this issue, saying that in this country, one married man is allowed
to marry one woman." – Baroness Warsi quoted on the BBC website

Michael Gove: Education is a priority we cannot afford to ignore in the recession

"The grim economic realities actually make education reform more vital than ever. Reforming schools is vital to strengthening our economy. And rather than slowing down the pace of reform, or even going into reverse, as the brightest Blairites now confess that Labour has done, we need to accelerate the drive to improve our schools." – Michael Gove writing in the Daily Telegraph

David Davis joins new attack on the Government’s erosion of civil liberties

"Almost 60 new powers contained in more than 25 Acts of Parliament have whittled away at freedoms and broken pledges set out in the Human Rights Act and Magna Carta, according to a new audit of laws introduced since Labour came to power in 1997. The dossier, compiled by the Convention on Modern Liberty, criticises police powers to detain terror suspects for 28 days without charge, new stop-and-search powers handed to police (allowing them to stop people without reason at airports and other designated areas), and restrictions on the right of peaceful protest… David Davis, the Conservative MP who resigned as shadow home secretary and called a by-election to campaign against what he described as the Government’s growing attack on British liberties, said the measures cited in the report give hundreds of bodies the power to "snoop, spy and bug" on the public. "It is a real, serious, systemic problem," Mr Davis said. "I cannot believe it is happening. It’s up to us to make sure it is stopped." Mr Davis said that he did not regret leaving his post as shadow Home Secretary to fight the cause "for a second". "We had to put a check on this process, dribbling away, salami slice by slice," he said. – Independent

Tory poll of NHS trusts suggests lessons of Baby P are not being learnt

"Two thirds of hospitals fail to conduct routine checks on injured children despite warnings after the death of Baby P, The Times has learnt. A poll of NHS trusts conducted by the Conservative Party suggests that staff at many accident and emergency departments are not able to check whether children are in contact with social services or subject to a child protection plan, even when they have suspicious injuries… Last month the Government announced the setting up of a database of 11 million juveniles in England for professionals working with children. The Tories have attacked the £224 million ContactPoint as “another expensive data disaster waiting to happen”. “A far better solution would be to make sure basic checks are maintained in A&E and that other hospitals learn from those that are doing well so that children who are really at risk are identified before it’s too late,” Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, said. “The NHS is doing its best, but many hospitals are getting incoherent messages about what to do to prevent tragedies like the Baby P case from happening again.” – The Times

Pupils let down by too much testing and too little learning

"A generation of schoolchildren have had their lives "impoverished" by rigid testing and an over-emphasis on the "three Rs", the most authoritative investigation into primary education for more than 40 years has concluded. The Cambridge Primary Review warns today that Britain’s schools are in "severely utilitarian and philistine times"… Michael Gove, the shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said: "I share the review’s concerns about a narrow curriculum damaging standards. One in five pupils failed to get even one GCSE last year because they never got a proper start in primary school." – Independent

Mike Penning accuses Government of failure on preventative dentistry

"More than 36,000 children are admitted to hospital with tooth decay every year and numbers are on the rise, according to figures obtained by the Tories. Tooth decay is now the third most common reason for youngsters to be admitted to hospital… Mike Penning, the shadow health minister, said: "Labour’s decade in charge of NHS dentistry has resulted in a significant deterioration in the country’s dental health. In particular, Labour have completely failed to make any meaningful progress in terms of preventative dentistry. Regrettably, with a new contract that woefully neglects prevention, these problems will only get worse in the future." – Daily Telegraph

Frank Field: Labour’s New Deal failed

"The recession calls for a totally new, two-stage programme of welfare reform. But first we must acknowledge that the Government’s New Deal and “making work pay” strategies have failed to get many unemployed people into work, even at the height of the boom. It has been an expensive failure – various tax credit schemes and New Deal projects have cost the taxpayer £75billion since 1997." – Frank Field writing in The Times

"Boris’s legacy will be the creation of a distinctive architecture for London" – Sir Simon Milton interview in Building magazine

Anti-gay US preachers banned from the UKBBC

Threat looms of prison officers strikingTelegraph

Government raid on pension funds to rescue schools building schemeTimes

"Stop Harriet Harman" campaign roars into lifeDaily Mail

Muslim schools "ban our culture"Daily Express

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

12 comments for: Friday 20th February 2009

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