8.15pm ToryDiary: A narrative for the government (Draft #1)
5.15pm WATCH: Viral video launched to defend arts funding
10.45am ToryDiary: Douglas Carswell leads Eurosceptics' ridicule of Coalition's referendum lock
10.30am Mark Field MP on CentreRight: Why is Parliament being fixed for five rather than four years?
Local government: 105 Town Hall regulations that Hammersmith & Fulham want scrapped
Gavin Barwell MP answers ConservativeHome's Twenty Questions
including 'What is your earliest political memory?' His answer: 'Doing
my homework under candlelight during the Winter of Discontent.'
William Cash MP questions adequacy of David Lidington MP's referendum lock
"The Government will announce plans for a “referendum lock” on any future surrendering of British powers to the European Union… David Lidington, the Europe minister, told The Daily Telegraph: “This Bill will make sure that never again will powers be transferred in a new treaty from Britain to Brussels without the British people having a say in a referendum. “Our intention is that the British people will have the final say as to whether a new treaty is agreed or not.”" – Telegraph
"Eurosceptic Tory MP Bill Cash last night criticised the proposals, saying fresh powers were already being ceded by the Government. Last week Brussels gained new powers over the supervision of banks, which critics say could harm the City of London. Mr Cash, chairman of the Commons European scrutiny committee, said: 'Talk of a referendum lock is just milk and water – it is a million miles away from what is required." – Daily Mail
> Last week on ThinkTankCentral: Britain will not be able to stop EU ministers ganging up to impose damaging new rules on City of London
EU-imposed rules mean we don't have enough junior doctors – Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail
DEFENCE CUTS 1: The Sun warns against MoD plans to sack frontline troops
"War heroes are to be secretly sacked on the cheap as they fight on the frontline, The Sun can reveal. The Army is planning to select soldiers for the chop WHILE out in Afghanistan. But the troops will be told only AFTER they return home from tough tours of duty… In a parallel programme of cuts, many other troops will lose out on cash from redundancy packages and pensions." – The Sun
The Sun Says: "Military numbers may have to be reduced. But any cuts MUST be done fairly and honourably, not sneakily while our boys and girls are fighting thousands of miles away. And first for the chop MUST be the bloated bureaucrats. The very people who, over lunchtime gin and tonics in their London clubs, are planning to betray our soldiers."
DEFENCE CUTS 2: Pentagon warns UK that big defence cuts could damage transatlantic partnership – Telegraph
DEFENCE CUTS 3: SNP holds crisis talks with Tory minister in battle to save carrier contract jobs – Scotsman
> Iain Martin yesterday: Pacifist-leaning SNP demands two aircraft carriers
The FT: Britain does not need a Continuous-at-Sea nuclear deterrent
"During the cold war, when there was permanent threat of a sudden
Soviet attack on Europe, Britain needed a round-the-clock deterrent.
Today, such a threat does not exist. The question therefore arises
whether Britain can risk having short periods when there might be no
submarine at sea. Mr Cameron should make this compromise. By doing so,
he can extend the life of the current submarine fleet, which will not
have to patrol on the current punishing timetable. This would mean
capital spending on the replacement fleet could be pushed further into
the future. Compromising on round-the-clock deterrence would also allow
the UK to reduce the number of submarines it builds from four to
three." – FT leader (£)
Jeremy Hunt calls on wealthy to follow Lord Sainsbury's £25m lead and invest in the arts – Guardian
Andrew Mitchell has ordered a review of the work of the Commonwealth Development Corporation after reports of lavish expenses claims – BBC
"Officials at an anti-poverty quango are ' living it up' in luxury hotels at taxpayers' expense, devastating documents reveal. Executives at the Commonwealth Development Corporation also dined in London's finest restaurants, according to Freedom of Information replies seen by the Daily Mail. Taxpayers were billed more than £700 for a dinner for CDC non-executive directors at the Michelin- starred L'Autre Pied restaurant. Another executive at the government-owned quango, Anubha Shrivastava, claimed £530 for a one-night stay at the Four Seasons hotel in Hong Kong, and £661.48 for a twonight stay at the five-star Portman Ritz Carlton in Shanghai." – Daily Mail
Free hospital car park plan is 'doomed' – Independent
The Public Accounts Committee slams back-to-work programme but Chris Grayling promises reform
"A programme run by the private sector to get people on incapacity benefit to work has met devastating criticism from parliament’s spending watchdog… To date, contractors on the Pathways to Work programme have “universally failed by considerable margins to meet their contractual targets”, says the public accounts committee." – FT (£)
"The DWP last night insisted that the new initiative would be designed to avoid the mistakes of the Pathways project. A source said the project had been badly designed while Employment Minister Chris Grayling said Labour’s policies had been ‘misplaced’." – Daily Mail
Does George Osborne have a 'Plan B'?
"So far, the Government's response to union and Labour criticism of its policies has been to stick to the Thatcherite mantra: There Is No Alternative (TINA). But the public will only support this idea if the results are both prompt and beneficial. If the savage wielding of the surgeon's knife delivers a rapid recovery to the nation's finances, Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne will have pulled off their bold gamble. But if deep cuts have the same results in Britain that they appear to have had in Ireland, pushing the country deeper into recession, support for Mr Osborne's policies will collapse." – Independent leader
Labour MP Phil Woolas to appear in court accused of breaking electoral law
"A former Labour minister will face a legal challenge to his election seat following allegations he led a dirty tricks campaign… The former immigration minister faces allegations he told ‘devastating and far-reaching’ lies about his Liberal Democrat opponent rival Elwyn Watkins, the Liberal Democrat candidate, leading to an unfair result. The pair fought a close battle in the Oldham East constituency during the election campaign, with Woolas finally claiming a narrow majority of just 103 votes." – Daily Mail
SNP MEP criticises Alex Salmond’s decision to shelve independence referendum – Telegraph
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