9.45pm Melanchthon on CentreRight calls for a bold strategy of renegotiation: "The path of least distraction is to have a true and proper renegotiation, engaging with the concerns of good Conservatives of the past twenty years. That is the path that will allow Cameron the most political capital and energy to spend on dealing with the deficit, the broken society, and schools reform. For this reason, if no other, this is the path Cameron should take."
3.45pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Cameron didn't sell us down the river on Lisbon; Brown did
10.30am Jim McConalogue on CentreRight: "All three key political parties pledged a referendum. All three political parties have now abandoned that promise, in their own unique ways, and the electorate’s faith in politics – in return for the ability for a politician to do something in line with their wishes – is dying its death. The British people are sick of the traitors who govern them."
- Should Portsmouth City Council spend £970,000 a year subsidising a privately owned local newspaper?
- Nick Seaton: Scrap the Schools Adjudicator
David Cameron lays out plans to save millions in NHS reform
"David Cameron promised yesterday to cut the cost of running the NHS by a third while handing day-to-day management of the health service over to an independent body. The Tory leader guaranteed that up to £1.5 billion of savings on bureaucracy would be reinvested elsewhere in the health service. He also pledged to extend “patient power” and to create a rebranded Department of Public Health if his party won the next election… In a speech setting out his priorities for the health service Mr Cameron promised “real-terms growth” in health spending every year but insisted that money could be better spent." – The Times
Who will carry the can in a Cameron/Lansley NHS? – asks Sam Coates in The Times
The papers catch up with ConHome's story from Sunday about David Cameron's decision not to hold a post-ratification Lisbon referendum
"David Cameron is to announce that a Conservative government will not give voters a referendum on the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty… Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Mr Cameron signalled that the Czech ratification would change his policy. Asked to repeat his “cast-iron” promise, he declined. Instead, he accepted that its ratification would mean that a vote in Britain was no longer possible.” – Daily Telegraph
"David Cameron has been warned by his party's Eurosceptics not to downgrade the Tory policy of holding a referendum on the Lisbon treaty should it be ratified shortly by the last EU country yet to do so… The Bruges Group, a rightwing Eurosceptic thinktank, said that if the reports were right, it would make Tory Europe policy "incoherent, disingenuous and utterly unconvincing". Eurosceptic MP Bill Cash said: "We need a full referendum on Lisbon as we were promised and as we voted in the House of Commons. No ifs or buts." – The Guardian
"What I said is that we would hold that referendum on the Lisbon Treaty but it seems we are getting close to a point when it is part of European law. I had always hoped that President Klaus wouldn't sign but it seems that times are changing." – David Cameron quoted in The Independent
"Mr Cameron has painted himself into a corner from which he has now to extricate himself. For some time he has been claiming to have a fall-back strategy: well, we are about to see the colour of his money. The favoured option appears to be a binding "manifesto mandate" empowering him to renegotiate important aspects of our relationship with the EU. Such a plan has some merit but is a poor second-best to the referendum, so solemnly promised by both main parties, that might now never be called. For the majority of voters who, according to the polls, remain unhappy about our relationship with Europe, this is a scandalous state of affairs." – Daily Telegraph editorial
"When David Cameron promised the British people a referendum on the Lisbon treaty, there were no caveats, no footnotes, no time limits. He offered a "cast-iron guarantee", and to the readers of the Sun, no less: there would be a vote on Lisbon. And now there won't, so what's changed? …Each step in Cameron's approach towards the EU has been one of shameless contempt for the Eurosceptics who have loyally backed him… David Cameron's contempt for Eurosceptics, as dupes who can be strung along until he's safely in Downing Street is unambiguous, honest and consistent – in short, everything his European policy is not. More fool us if we let him mislead us again." – Former MP Barry Legg writing for The Guardian
- Bill Cash rejects "cherry-picking" renegotiation and calls for "full referendum on Lisbon as we were promised"
- The Blogosphere reacts to news that Tories are unlikely to hold any referendum on Lisbon or renegotiation
David Willetts forecasts "another university entrance crisis"
"Ministers are sleepwalking into another university entrance crisis. This year, far more potential students than usual have been left without a place and we can now see the problems are set to be even worse next year. It was obvious from the demographics and the state of the economy that more people would aspire to go to university. Ministers failed to tackle the issue in 2009 and are now repeating their mistakes for 2010. Young people rightly have high aspirations, but they are finding their pathways blocked. The Government has shown itself to be woefully ill-prepared." – David Willetts quoted in The Guardian
Alan Johnson admits the Government got it wrong on immigration
"Home Secretary Alan Johnson provoked fury last night by admitting at last that Labour has made massive mistakes over immigration policy. In his first major speech on the controversial issue, the Home Secretary confessed that the Government’s management of Britain’s border controls had been “maladroit”. “We struggled to contain the huge surge in migration,” he said…. Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Three months ago the Home Secretary said he isn’t losing sleep over immigration. Now he’s admitting that it’s putting massive pressure on many communities.” He added: “What we need is a tightly-controlled system, with much lower levels of immigration and an annual cap on the number of people who come to live and work here.” – Daily Express
How David Cameron once backed David Nutt on drugs
"David Cameron supported downgrading the classification of Ecstasy after hearing evidence from David Nutt, the former drugs adviser. As a backbench MP sitting on the Home Affairs Select Committee, Mr Cameron also supported state prescription of heroin and provision of safe injecting rooms. The committee heard evidence from Professor Nutt and another drugs expert, Professor John Henry, on November 27, 2001. Mr Cameron, who had been elected for the first time less than six months previously, led the questioning on the relative risks of cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy and heroin… Mr Cameron supported his position on ecstasy during the 2005 leadership election even after his refusal to detail his past drugs use had become a major issue in the contest. However, he changed tack last year after the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs announced it was reviewing the drug’s classification." – The Times
Theresa May highlights an increasing dependency on housing benefits
"One in five families receive housing benefits, new figures show. The Tories claimed it highlighted a growing "dependency" on state help… London (23.2 per cent), the North East (21.8 per cent) and Scotland (19.3 per cent) were the highest-claiming regions of the average £81.03 a week support, according to figures compiled for the Department of Work and Pensions… Theresa May, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said the annual cost of Housing Benefit had risen by £2.7 billion since 1997. "These are truly shocking figures and once again provide more damning evidence of Labour's complete failure to tackle welfare reform," she said." – Daily Telegraph
Michael Martin criticises Commons officials over Damian Green police raid
"Lord Martin, the former Speaker, today strongly criticised two Commons officials for the part they played in the decision to allow the police to search the parliamentary office used by the Tory MP Damian Green. In evidence to a Commons committee investigating the affair, Martin repeatedly said that he was "disappointed" with actions taken by Jill Pay, the serjeant at arms, and Malcolm Jack, the clerk of the Commons. He also appeared to criticise Harriet Harman, the leader of the Commons, and Gordon Brown, the prime minister, for deciding that the committee set up to investigate the police raid could not start work until criminal proceedings were concluded." – The Guardian
"The Metropolitan Police has "strongly refuted" a suggestion that a senior officer tricked a Commons official over the search of a Tory MP's office." – BBC
David Cameron teams up with Gary Lineker to launch Tickets for Troops
"David Cameron yesterday launched a massive Forces freebie – after declaring Britain has been "too slow" to thank our war-weary troops. The Tory leader teamed up with soccer legend Gary Lineker for the Tickets For Troops scheme. Under the deal, heroes will get entry to hundreds of top sports fixtures – including Premier League clashes, cricket, horse-racing meets and boxing bouts. Tickets to movies, rock gigs, classical concerts and even ITV's X Factor will also be available. Mr Cameron told The Sun yesterday: "We thought about what we could do as a country and a society to show more respect, value and help for these incredibly brave men and women who put their lives on the line. – The Sun
Sir Christopher Kelly warns MPs against cherry-picking his report
"Sir Christopher Kelly will tell MPs they must accept all of his plans to reform their expenses, the Daily Mail has learned. He will make clear the crackdown, which includes stopping them claiming mortgage interest and forcing them to stop employing their wives as office staff, is not 'a menu of options' but a 'total package' that must be accepted. A Westminster source said: 'Kelly will say IPSA [the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority] must implement his proposals, not muck about.' Allies of Sir Christopher fired the warning shot as MPs stepped up their plotting to derail the proposals." – Daily Mail
"The new MPs' expenses system aimed at cleaning up the House of Commons will be delayed until after the general election. The disclosure sparked accusations last night that MPs and the Parliamentary authorities are attempting to put off the introduction of the reforms to MPs' expenses and allowances. Downing Street has confirmed that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the body charged with implementing the new system, will not start work until April at the earliest." – Daily Telegraph
"MPs are facing the prospect of a fresh round of agonising over their expenses when Sir Thomas Legg demands that a small group of them repay tens of thousands of pounds in mortgage claims. Legg's letters, due to be sent out through the course of the week, are likely to contain demands for very high repayments." – The Guardian
Tory MP apologies over expenses scandal Holocaust analogy
"David Wilshire, the disgraced Tory MP, has offered an "unreserved" apology for comparing politicians caught up in the expenses scandal to Holocaust victims. The backbencher issued a statement after David Cameron, the Conservative leader, ordered him to withdraw his “ludicrous” comparison, amid suggestions that he could have the whip removed if he failed to comply." – Daily Telegraph
Boris to announce 32,000 new homes
"Boris Johnson will today announce plans to speed up the delivery of public land in London to create up to 32,000 new social homes beyond current targets. The mayor will launch an exercise to calculate how much land is owned by authorities such as the London Development Agency, the Metropolitan Police and the emergency services. He will also unveil a new London-wide housing company to offer planning and development expertise to councils that want to put forward their own land for affordable housing." – FT
Welsh Labour figures attack Tory plan to cut number of MPs
"Tory plans to slash the number of MPs would leave North Wales more isolated from Westminster and Cardiff Bay, Labour’s top brass in Wales claimed yesterday. Welsh secretary Peter Hain and first minister Rhodri Morgan both warned that cutting 10% of MPs from the Commons would have ‘devastating consequences’ for democracy, especially in North and rural Wales. Mr Hain claimed the move could reduce the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 30 while the average size of constituency by population would rise by 40% from 56,000 to 77,250." – Daily Post
William Hague says that the Tory revival has reached South Yorkshire
"There are more people than I can ever remember in South Yorkshire who do want a Conservative government. In Penistone and Stocksbridge, there are no Labour councillors but six Conservatives. If you look at neighbouring Rother Valley, Labour is struggling like never before. It indicates historical animosity towards our party has broken down. This country needs change – the only way is through the Conservatives." – William Hague quoted in The Star
Ballot plan to elect Deputy Speakers
"The three deputy speakers of the House of Commons should be elected in a secret ballot of all MPs, rather than nominated by party whips, a Commons report said yesterday. The report from the procedure committee endorses a proposal put forward in July by John Bercow – himself the first Speaker to have been elected by secret ballot." – The Scotsman
RBS and Lloyds in major shake-up – BBC
And finally, Gordon Brown gives GQ magazine his verdict on David Cameron and Boris Johnson
"Gordon Brown has described David Cameron as a "very good politician" but admitted he did not think the pair would ever "hang out". In an interview the Prime Minister also described Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London as a "subset of the entertainment business". Speaking to Piers Morgan for GQ magazine, he refused to say whether he liked Mr Cameron, instead saying: "I think he's a very good politician". He conceded however that he would not "hang out" with the Conservative leader, adding "I have my own friends." When asked about, Mr Johnson, Mr Brown said: ''I have to work with him in his new job as Mayor of London. But do people in Britain want politics to be some game played by a few people who are part of an elite and have to perform in a certain way to be acceptable? I don't think people want politicians to be some sort of subset of the entertainment business.'' – Daily Telegraph
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