6pm WATCH:

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5.45pm LeftWatch: Exposed – Labour MEPs voted against freezing the EU Budget as their shadow Europe minister claims they support such a move

4.45pm Local Government: Labour-run Newham condemned for "glitzy" £18.7 million office refit

Iain Duncan Smith on Breakfast4.15pm ToryDiary: Iain Duncan Smith explains how his department was preparing to implement his welfare agenda before the election by following the work of the Centre for Social Justice

3.30pm ToryDiary: Three questions about Coalition housing policy

3pm Patrick Nolan on CentreRight: Anti-business policies delay recovery

12.15pm LISTEN: Europe Minister David Lidington's eve-of-European Council interview with the Today Programme

10.45am Melanchthon on CentreRight: "It appears that when I and others said that Cameron and Hague were genuinely convicted Eurosceptics who understood what must be done and would not let us down, we were wrong."

10.30am WATCH: President Obama was heavy on policy as he appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

CameronUnionFlagToryDiary: David Cameron heads for Brussels summit with Tory eurosceptics' expectations at a low ebb

Chris Philp on Platform: Business (not government) can deliver new, real jobs – and with it prosperity and social justice for the nation

Cllr Spencer Drury in Local Government: Greenwich – A Labour Council leading the way in abolishing security of tenure

Parliament: Scottish Secretary shuns Tory's call for "English votes for English laws"

Mark Field MP on CentreRight: Why Conservatives should support flexibility on economic migration

WATCH: President Sarkozy's pension reform bill passes the final hurdle in the French Parliament

Boris Johnson lays down challenge to Cameron over housing benefit

CAMERON & BORIS Boris Johnson has challenged David Cameron over his plan to cap housing benefit payments and called for working families and those with children at school to be protected from the cut, The Times has learnt. The Mayor of London, who has condemned the policy as “draconian”, called on the coalition to back a programme costing tens of millions of pounds to help families in the centre of the capital to remain in their homes." – The Times (£)

"Ministers are locked in negotiations with the mayor of London's office searching for policies to soften the impact of the government's changes to housing benefit on the capital. The talks included discussion of a possible return to the system of landlords rather than tenants being paid the benefits, which may lower rents." – The Guardian

"David Cameron refused to budge over cuts to housing benefit last night as Ed Miliband defended handouts of up to £104,000 a year for jobless families. The Prime Minister insisted it was simply ‘not fair’ for claimants to live in taxpayer-funded properties that many who work for a living could only ‘dream of’." – Daily Mail

"The Coalition's proposals, as with its wider package of welfare reforms, might be radical, but they are also both necessary and – in the end – compassionate. We urge ministers to stand firm." – Daily Telegraph editorial

Miliband calls on Lib Dems to crush cutsDaily Mirror

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Ed Miliband challenges David Cameron on housing benefit at PMQs

Ministers to spell out growth plan for English regions BBC

Hague says British troops in Afghanistan face increased levels of violence

William Hague Commons "The Foreign Secretary said that troops would confront more sniper attacks and direct fire as they countered the Taleban and al-Qaeda insurgency. Issuing the coalition’s first quarterly report on Afghanistan, he said that security remained “extremely challenging” and progress against corruption had been only “modest”. Mr Hague said that British combat troops would be withdrawn by 2015. But as he spoke in the Commons, the outgoing head of the Armed Forces warned ministers against pulling out British troops too quickly." – The Times (£)

Sir Jock Stirrup to be ennobledDaily Telegraph

Philip Hammond may allow changes to UK airport security checks

"The transport secretary has signalled his willingness to change the regulations on security checks at British airports. Philip Hammond was responding to senior figures in the airline industry who had backed BA chairman Martin Broughton's attack on measures imposed by the US." – BBC

Door closing on ‘brightest’ migrants as most take menial work

Damian Green 2010 "The Government is considering the closure of a special immigration scheme for the brightest and best foreigners after it found that just one in four was in a skilled job. Highly skilled migrants with degrees and postgraduate qualifications were found to be working as shop assistants, security guards and supermarket cashiers, the UK Border Agency said last night. Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, said the findings would play a key role in influencing the level of a permanent cap on the number of skilled migrants from outside the EU allowed to come to Britain." – The Times (£)

Andrew Lansley to double number of young families getting support

"The health secretary Andrew Lansley will today pledge to double the number of disadvantaged young families who will get intensive support from a health visitor for the first two years of their baby's life. The Family Nurse Partnership has been shown in the United States to raise the life chances significantly of a child born into poverty, reducing their risk of abuse or neglect at home and improving their language ability and fitness to start school." – The Guardian

Robert Halfon MP: Individuals need protection from Google

Robert Halfon "Millions of private Wi-Fi addresses captured. Millions of passwords and email addresses plucked out of thin air. The Google Street View episode is starting to look very serious indeed. The first rumours came earlier this year, when Google admitted that “fragmentary” data had been picked up by some patrol cars. This was an innocent mistake, it said. But it wasn’t the whole truth. The news prompted me to request a debate in the House of Commons. Thanks to the backbench parliamentary committee, my debate is finally to be held today." – Robert Halfon MP in the Daily Telegraph

> Dan Hamilton on CentreRight yesterday: Privacy and the internet – a call to arms

Benedict Brogan: The biggest threat now facing free schools is the enemy within

"The Education Secretary's optimism is unshakeable. He considers creating new secondary schools that offer all the benefits of grammars, minus the selection, to be his mission. Wherever he goes, he finds parents and teachers clamouring for the chance to create a free school – free to teach, free to expand to meet demand, free to get rid of bad teachers and pay more to good ones, free from bureaucratic tyranny and union bullying. Yet around him, and in Downing Street, there are fears that momentum is fast being lost – and that it is largely due to resistance from inside Mr Gove's own organisation." – Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph

Partisan opponents of the Government question role of New Schools Network in setting up Free SchoolsThe Guardian

> Michael Gove announced the process for setting up Free Schools in June

Jeremy Hunt MP: An Olympian plan to accelerate innovation

"What can we do to turn today’s innovative East London companies into tomorrow’s global giants? We know what we shouldn’t do. In the 1980s, the Government tried and failed to make British Telecom and Cable & Wireless “national champions” by sheltering them from competition. We must do the opposite, strengthening competition to encourage innovation and the growth of dynamic new entrants." – Jeremy Hunt  in The Times (£)

Neil O'Brien: The cost of living is the next big squeeze

O'BRIEN-NEIL "If you are a member of the “squeezed middle”, get ready to be squeezed even harder. Inflation is running at about 5 per cent per year. The cost of many train tickets will be going up by more than 10 per cent in January. Remember that Labour Chancellor who talked about pressuring the middle classes “until the pips squeak”? With oranges costing a third more than they did last year, it seems to be happening quite literally." – Neil O'Brien in the Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Who are "the Squeezed Middle"?

The Daily Mail investigates how DfID spends its budget

"The extent to which Britain’s foreign aid budget has been wasted was laid bare last night. A Mail investigation reveals how the Department for International Development, which distributes overseas aid, has thrown away millions on consultants, office refurbishments and private school fees." – Daily Mail

Baroness Warsi was 'pressured' to skip France veil ban debate

"Baroness Warsi had been booked to appear in front of a global television audience of around 350 million people, as part of a two-person debating team opposing the motion that France is right to seek a ban on wearing the Islamic full-face veil in public. But the Conservative Party chairman cancelled her appearance at the "eleventh hour", in what has been viewed as an illustration of the Coalition Government's determination to distance itself from any possible links or suspicions of sympathies with radical Islam." – Daily Telegraph

Small Business reacts angrily to new pension plan

"Small businesses reacted with anger and dismay yesterday to the announcement of a vast national pension scheme forcing firms to pay an extra £3.2billion a year. In a drive to make Britain save more, ministers said that all companies will be required to enrol their staff into a retirement fund from 2012." – Daily Mail

Councils slow on care budgets says Audit CommissionBBC

UK's wind farm plans in disarrayThe Independent


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