7.30pm ToryDiary: New ComRes poll solidifies Tory lead, and backs Cameron/Osborne over Miliband/Johnson to turn the economy around Updated at 10.15pm with numbers from tomorrow's YouGov poll

5.30pm John Moss on CentreRight: Re-introducing the idea of negative income tax

Ed Miliband on Marr4pm LeftWatch: Ed Miliband pocketed a £20k pay-off for losing his Cabinet salary – despite being back on £140k as Opposition Leader

2.30pm Azeem Ibrahim on CentreRight: Hillary Clinton is right to worry about Defence cuts – they will weaken us

1.45pm: WATCH: Defence cuts deal struck

10.45am: ToryDiary: The defence budget deal shows up the pointlessness of the Star Chamber

ToryDiary: Triumph for Liam Fox

Also on ToryDiary: Ministers to make an Equitable Life payout of £1.5 billion, according to the Daily Mail

CALLANAN MARTIN Martin Callanan MEP on Platform: How Conservative MEPs and the ECR group have been seeking to keep the EU budget down

Seats and Candidates: Regional List candidates for Welsh Assembly elections named

Laurie Thraves in Local Government: Bonfire of the Quangos? More of a light toasting

Gazette: Daniel Hamilton joins Big Brother Watch as Dylan Sharpe moves to the NO2AV campaign

WATCH: Lord Lawson and Louise Bagshawe MP discuss whether David Cameron is a Thatcherite on Thursday's Newsnight

David Cameron steps in to quell military revolt over cuts to defence budget…

"David Cameron has intervened to halt a revolt by some of the most senior figures in the military over the scale of defence cuts. The Prime Minister made his move after being told by the new head of the Army that proposed reductions in the Forces threatened Britain’s mission in Afghanistan. General Sir Peter Wall, the Chief of the General Staff, made clear to Number 10 that he could not accept cuts in Army numbers and training which would hamper the Afghan operation. In the wake of Sir Peter’s warning, Downing Street sources last night said Mr Cameron had blocked a Treasury demand for a 10 per cent cut in the defence budget. " – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Clinton and Gates worry about Britain's defence budget – as Liam Fox savages Labour's record in detail in the Times

…as the schools budget is set to be protected…

"Ministers have agreed the schools budget for England and are to claim schools will be protected from across-the-board cuts, the BBC has learned. But other government departments have been asked to make even deeper cuts than previously agreed to help fund the schools budget." – BBC

…and cold weather payments remain

"Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said yesterday that he would reprieve the cold weather payments for pensioners. They will be kept at £25 for those on low incomes if the temperature drops below 0C (32F) for more than seven days." – The Times (£)

Disabled "will lose jobs in round of spending cuts"Daily Telegraph

Universities warned to expect £4.2bn cutsThe Guardian

Charles Moore: David Cameron must adopt the courage his schoolboy heroine showed

Charles Moore "Cuts are needed. Cutting only succeeds if it is a process by which people work out the difference between what matters and what doesn’t. On Tuesday, Mr Cameron might remember his youthful self who noticed Mrs Thatcher’s Falklands leadership, and address his equivalent. Defence can be an arcane subject, but every 15-year-old schoolboy should be able to understand why it matters." – Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph

Matthew Parris: Britain won’t feel different after the spending review

"We are in for a disappointment on Wednesday. The Comprehensive Spending Review, though it may generate a week of Hammer-horror commentary, will prove neither climax nor dénouement to this year’s or this Parliament’s political theatre." – Matthew Parris in The Times (£)

Telegraph: The Coalition must be careful not to alienate its natural allies over the cuts

"Taken as a whole, the cuts and tax changes already announced by the Government are bad news for the middle class. Reductions in child benefit, the introduction of market forces into the university system and a reduction in tax relief for lavish pension schemes are – in essence – justified by the deficit crisis. The problem is that some changes (to pensions) have been thought through more carefully than others (child benefit). Moreover, they leave the Chancellor open to the charge that he is making an example of better-off people in order to soften up the rest of the population for Wednesday’s spending review." – Daily Telegraph editorial

NHS could pay for new medicines on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis, says Andrew Lansley

Andrew Lansley 2010 "The NHS should pay for medicines on a “no-win, no-fee” basis, only on condition that they work, the Health Secretary suggests today. In an interview with The Times, Andrew Lansley confirmed his commitment to increase access to new treatments, while defending the scale of planned reforms to the NHS proposed by the Government. Mr Lansley said that “risk-sharing” deals, which offer money-back guarantees or cap the costs of drugs until they can be proved to work, could form a general principle for how the NHS pays for medicines by 2014." – The Times (£)

SNP administration at Holyrood to axe prescription chargesScottish Daily Express

David Cameron and unions set to clash over Lord Young's overhaul of health and safety laws

"The government was on a collision course with unions last night after Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to accept recommendations for health and safety laws to be scaled back. A report by Lord Young warned that the public had a low opinion of health and safety laws because of the way some public authorities had interpreted them in the past… Business groups lined up to welcome the changes as "long overdue", but the unions complained that the report did nothing to reduce the high levels of workplace death, injuries and illness, while one union leader described it as a "hatchet job". – The Scotsman

"Red tape surrounding school trips is to be slashed as part of a Government drive to inject ‘common sense’ into Britain’s health and safety laws." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Lord Young publishes his "common sense" review of health and safety legislation, promising to "free businesses from unnecessary bureaucratic burdens"

"Fatcat" civil servants will not be named thanks to Labour's data protection laws

"Minister have scrapped a pledge to name more than 3,000 top civil servants earning up to £130,000 – amid fears the move could breach data protection laws. The public sector ‘rich list’ was supposed to promote transparency by publishing the name, rank and salary of every civil servant earning more than £58,200. But Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude yesterday admitted the coalition had been forced to compromise." – Daily Mail

> Francis Maude MP on Platform yesterday: Our plans for government transparency continue apace – but we must uphold the highest possible standards of personal data protection

Will the middle classes pay for Clegg's "fairness preimum"?

Nick Clegg 2010 "Nick Clegg unveiled plans for a £7billion boost for poorer children as they go through nursery, school and university in a bid to show fairness is a top priority. Mr Clegg has persuaded George Osborne to fund the 'fairness premium' targeted at the worst-off 20 per cent in society, although it is unclear how it will be funded. LibDem sources have indicated it will be covered by additional savings in other budgets, raising concerns that middle class pupils and students will pay the price." – Daily Mail

"For all those disillusioned by what they see as Nick Clegg's "sell-out" to the Conservatives, here is another small reminder that this government is functioning more or less as a coalition should. The Liberal Democrats are junior partners, but they have made their presence felt." – Independent editorial

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: What will the right-wing papers make of Nick Clegg's new "fairness premium"?

Max Hastings says the "squeezed middle" is here to stay…

"Ed Miliband has been leader of Britain’s Labour opposition for less than a month, but already he is identified with a cliché: ‘the squeezed middle’, to whom he promised his party’s support. The phrase has enjoyed several years’ currency on both sides of the Atlantic. But its use by Mr Miliband was followed by chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne’s commitment to remove child benefit from the better paid, and then last week by a report from Lord Browne recommending the uncapping of university tuition fees." – Max Hastings in the FT (£)

…but David Willetts insists the Browne review does not "squeeze the middle"

"Whatever disagreements exist on policy, it is vital that the public debate about higher education is based on accurate evidence. But much of the speculation about the way the proposed reforms would affect the "squeezed middle" is misinformed." – Universities minister David Willetts writing in The Guardian

Eric Pickles urges councils against giving tax breaks for Scientology

Eric Pickles on Marr "Tolerance and freedom of expression are important British values, but this does not mean that the likes of Church of Scientology deserve favoured tax treatment over and above other business premises. The Church of Scientology is not a registered charity, since the Charity Commission has ruled that it does not provide a public benefit. Nor are its premises a recognised place of worship. Councils may award charitable relief. They should take into consideration the Charity Commission's rulings when weighing up whether to do so. I do not believe the majority of the public would want their own council to be giving special tax breaks to such a controversial organisation." – Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles quoted by the BBC

Councils will "make you pay for cuts"

"Families are facing higher charges for everyday council services as town halls seek to offset drastic spending cuts, it emerged yesterday… Town hall chiefs are pressing ministers for sweeping new powers to raise hundreds of millions of pounds in the face of imminent Whitehall cuts of up to 40 per cent. Baroness Margaret Eaton, who chairs the Local Government Association, has written to the Treasury calling for local authorities to be allowed to impose and increase fees and levies." – Daily Express

Minister instructs prisons to give inmates five meal choices Daily Mail

Peter Hain hints that Labour want the rich to pay higher taxes

HAIN Peter "One of Ed Miliband's closest allies has backed a tax increase for higher earners as Labour prepares to reveal new details about his plan to deal with Britain's budget deficit. Peter Hain, who was part of Mr Miliband's leadership campaign team, said an increase in tax on the wealthy would "square the circle", allowing Labour to avoid the Coalition Government's controversial cut to child benefit." – The Independent

"Former Welsh Secretary Mr Hain is party leader Red Ed's new policy chief. He also hinted that new Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson may be overruled by Mr Miliband to set the party's economic policy. It could mean paying back the deficit more slowly than Mr Johnson would like. Mr Hain said: "People forget Ed is an economist. He's got a very clear idea of where he wants to go on the economy and the deficit and we'll set that out. We'll both be offering a serious alternative." – The Sun

We’ll fight the Tories as hard as we fight the other parties, says Welsh Lib Dem leaderWestern Mail

Ann Widdecombe to continue on Strictly Come Dancing to honour late brotherDaily Telegraph

And finally… Revealed: the strategic cuts behind Cameron's swing from right to left

Picture 1 "A Tory Prime Minister's bold shift to the left was never going to go un-noticed. But surprisingly, this one went down rather well with his party. For amid all the talk of cuts strategies at the recent Conservative conference, David Cameron's hair – with parting switched to the left, slicker at the sides, and a little height on top – was met with approving whispers. And now the man behind the new 'do can be revealed as Lino Carbosiero, hairdresser to Madonna, Amanda Holden and the Osbourne household (that's right, it's with a "u" – Ozzy and Sharon, not George and Frances)." – The Independent


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