7.30pm WATCH: Obama confirms end of American combat operations in Iraq
Decentralisation minister Greg Clark MP on Platform: How we are turning government upside-down and inside-out
- Centre for Social Justice urges Treasury to make wiser cuts
- Adam Smith Institute paper argues for BBC to become a Pay-TV service
London needs a new airport – Boris Johnson in The Telegraph
The future of Britain's independent nuclear deterrent
"It's interesting that Nick Harvey, Fox's Liberal Democrat deputy, is being described as "Cameron's man at the MoD". It was Harvey who co-authored with Sir Menzies Campbell a report for the Lib Dems before the election called "Policy Options for the Future of the UK's Nuclear Weapons". This argued strongly for Trident to be included in the defence review and for more examination of cheaper, "good-enough" deterrence… Add together a Defence Secretary who is politically weak, a military leadership that isn't convinced of the value of a full like-for-like replacement, a Lib Dem leadership that wants a cheaper option, and a Chancellor who isn't in a mood to be generous. What do you get? More lateral thinking on Britain's nuclear deterrent than anyone is yet prepared to admit." – Mary Ann Sieghart in The Independent
Sir Richard Dannatt quits Conservative role after nine months – Telegraph
Ministers consider rates cap on legal loan sharking
"Ministers are to consider capping interest rates as a campaign launches demanding action to stamp out legal loan sharking… The campaign to end legal loan sharking, organised by the centre-left pressure group Compass, includes church groups and academics, debt advice groups and campaign groups such as Citizens UK. "Lenders can charge any price for credit, which means some companies charge £82 for every £100 lent. Annual interest rate charges of over 2,500% are also now common. Borrowing at these rates repeatedly tips customers into inescapable cycles of debt and poverty," it said in a statement." – Guardian
Osborne went to war on the banks today in the latest desperate bid to get them lending to businesses – The Sun
Cameron 'will not say sorry to Pakistan' over controversial terror comments – Daily Mail
And nor should he says Hilary Synnott in The Telegraph: "Should the Prime Minister now row back and ingratiate his visitor? Yes, it may matter, though time will tell. But no, there should be no apology for saying in public what has been said privately for years: the truth. What has really annoyed the Pakistanis is that the words were uttered in India."
"Pakistan is vital to the Afghanistan campaign, but this does not mean that David Cameron was wrong to speak frankly about the reliability of Pakistan as a partner in the war against terror. In India, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan was “exporting terror” and “looking both ways” in dealing with militant groups. His remarks have naturally caused a backlash in Pakistan, but that does not mean they are not true." – William Rees-Mogg in The Times (£)
You think we're unpopular now – just wait for next year, warns Chris Huhne
"Public support for the coalition Government is likely to collapse within the next 12 months as spending cuts bite, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said yesterday. Mr Huhne said he was 'pretty relaxed' about opinion polls which show support for the Liberal Democrats has slumped to just 12 per cent since the election – and suggested things could get worse." – Daily Mail
> Saturday's ToryDiary: How low can the Liberal Democrats go?
Max Hastings: "A year ago I suggested here that Britain, in its desperate financial predicament, needed a great prime minister. Mr Cameron has the gifts to fill that bill. But there are storms ahead, if his government pursues even half its professed agenda." – FT (£)
On the 48 hour week and the European Investigation Order the Coalition is breaking Tory promises not to give more power to the EU – Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail
Philip Davies MP reacts to £10billion cost of new Brussels red tape
“It’s absolutely astonishing and just goes to show how uncompetitive the EU is making British business. “The vast majority of businesses don’t have any dealings with the EU. It’s particularly galling that they have to bear the costs of the regulations. When people realise how much the EU costs they will come to the conclusion that we would be better off out.” – Philip Davies MP quoted in The Express
300,000 used student visas to enter Britain last year (up by a third)
"Last night, the Government said that the student visa system had been open to “significant abuse”. Damian Green, the immigration minister, said there would be a thorough review of the rules." – Telegraph
"Thousands of appeals against immigration decisions are succeeding without the Home Office bothering to defend its original rejections. The Times has learnt that the number of immigrants winning leave to remain in Britain when no official was present jumped by almost 50 per cent last year. More than 17,000 won appeals in such circumstances; five years ago the figure was less than 1,500." – Times (£)
'From football clubs to windfarms, co-ops represent practical examples of participation and should be fostered by David Cameron'
"The political attraction of the co-operative model for Cameron is clear. His pitch to the public is that the state has become far too big, far too bureaucratic, far too remote and far too divorced from the people it is supposed to serve. Co-operatives and mutuals represent practical examples of participation, be it a local community taking over a pub or football fans saving their club from going out of business." – Larry Elliott in The Guardian
Alex Salmond ready to make tough choices to balance Scotland's books
"Alex Salmond will consider axing free eyes tests and dental checks for all Scots and scrapping the phasing out of prescription charges, sources close to the First Minister have confirmed. Despite having previously opposed reviewing university funding, the SNP administration at Holyrood has also decided that reintroducing tuition fees should not ruled out to help balance the books. Mr Salmond and his ministerial team have identified three “sacred cows” that will not be touched as they battle to prepare for £1.7 billion of public spending cuts next year and £4.3 billion over the next four years." – Telegraph
Ed Miliband 'recruits' 1,300 potential campaign volunteers in 24 hours in an Obama-style text message drive – Guardian
Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit PoliticsHome.com for breaking political news and views throughout the day.