6pm WATCH: Immigration minister Damian Green announces that children will no longer be detained in Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre

5.30pm Parliament: David Davies calls for Prince William to be made Duke of Monmouth on his marriage next year

4.15pm ToryDiary: A few thoughts on the Coalition's NHS programme

Griffiths Andrew3pm Andrew Griffiths MP on Comment: Making drugs legally available would be wrong, dangerous and reckless

1.45pm: ToryDiary: Quilliam to close

1.15pm Tim Collins on Comment: Mark Field may now question the desirability of home ownership, but it is what 85% of us want

12.30pm WATCH: Former Home Office MInster Bob Ainsworth says that drugs should be legalised as prohibition has failed

11am Seats and Candidates update: Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election confirmed for January 13th after writ is moved in the Commons

10.15am Local government: Has the north been harder hit in Council grant settlement?

George Osborne outside Treasury ToryDiary: George Osborne says 20% VAT is here to stay as he and Janet Daley clash over tax cuts


Local Government:

Parliament: 27 Tory rebels back Douglas Carswell's attempt to amend the Loans to Ireland Bill

Seats and Candidates: The Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election looks set to take place on January 13th

WATCH: Alistair Darling admits that Labour never recovered from losing credibility after the "election that never was"

Cameron heads to European Council to call for budgetary restraint…

David Cameron waist up "David Cameron will fight today to stave off attempts by Eurocrats to snatch a multi-billion handout that will saddle British taxpayers’ with a colossal financial burden for the next decade. The Prime Minister will tell European leaders that he wants “restraint” when the EU’s long-term budget is decided." – Daily Express

"David Cameron will push his European Union partners to adopt a measure that would prevent non-euro countries from being pulled into future eurozone bail-outs at Thursday’s EU summit, according to European diplomats." – FT (£)

…while at home he condemns the parliamentary expenses watchdog

"David Cameron has risked stoking the row over MPs' expenses by condemning the new tougher regime run by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). The Prime Minister branded the watchdog's rules "anti-family" and warned that it must improve by April or he would force changes. The comments appeared to soothe Tory backbenchers who have been up in arms over IPSA's new system. However, they are likely to prove controversial after the National Audit Office (NAO) embarrassed the House of Commons again by refusing to give a clean bill of health to its 2009-10 accounts." – Press Association

> Last night's ToryDiary: David Cameron pleases Tory backbenchers as he says IPSA must change or it will be changed

Government to stop detaining children in asylum centres

"No children will be detained in asylum centres this Christmas and the practice may be banned within months, the deputy prime minister will say today. Nick Clegg will hope the decision will lift the spirits of Liberal Democrat activists by making good the pre-election pledge to stop the detention of children in asylum centres." – The Guardian

Liam Fox: The MoD is making cuts but must maintain the integrity of the Forces

Liam Fox Daily Politics "Given the financial difficulty faced by the country at large, and the MoD in particular, we have no choice but to cut running costs to ensure we prioritise the front line above all else. During the Strategic Defence and Security Review we made some very difficult decisions to help rebalance our Forces to meet future threats, but also to make a start on bringing our budget back into balance. We should all be very clear; the transformation in defence will be a process not an event." – Defence Secretary Liam Fox writing in The Times (£)

  • Fox concedes there's a “downside” to the 2015 Afghan troop withdrawal deadline – FT (£)
  • Liam Fox's Sri Lanka trip makes Foreign Office furious – The Guardian

Ken Clarke: Radical reform is needed to break the cycle of crime

"The  first priority of this Government is the safety and security of its citizens. We all have a right to feel safe in our homes and on our streets. When that safety is threatened those responsible should face a swift and effective response. But the truth is that the justice system is not doing nearly enough to support this aim." – Justice Seceetary Ken Clarke writing in the Yorkshire Post

  • Ken Clarke seeks to curry favour with law and order crowd by hitting out at prisoners' 'daft' human rights demands – Daily Mail
  • David Cameron faces Tory rebellion over prisoner voting – Yesterday's Evening Standard

Massive NHS shake-up as thousands of managers axed… but the pen-pushers will survive with jobs running new system

Andrew Lansley 2 2010 "Thousands of NHS managers due to be sacked as part of plans to streamline the NHS will now have to be kept on to help run the new system, the Government admitted yesterday. Announcing plans for a massive shake-up, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley confirmed that primary care trusts would be abolished by 2013 and their responsibilities for overseeing medical services devolved to groups of GPs. But because GPs have neither the expertise nor the time to micro-manage budgets they will need to employ experienced administrators. This is likely to lead to a ‘revolving door’ in the NHS." – Daily Mail

  • Andrew Lansley's NHS scheme misses a trick – Telegraph editorial

> WATCH: Andrew Lansley explains the thinking behind his healthcare reforms 

Cameron would alter budget to protect NHS

"David Cameron is prepared to rewrite the Government’s spending plans in order to protect his pledge on increasing the health budget, Downing Street signalled yesterday. The Prime Minister vowed to honour his promise of above-inflation annual rises in health spending amid fresh warnings of the risks posed by the Government’s NHS reforms." – The Times (£)

  • Ed Miliband accuses Government of breaking NHS spending promise – Daily Mirror

£500 on electricity bills to pay for green energy

"Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, will outline government plans today to encourage energy companies to develop low-carbon power plants, including nuclear power stations and wind farms. Energy analysts say the Coalition's plans will put Britain on course for a "high cost, low carbon" electricity market where consumers pay the price for environmentally friendly generating technology." – Daily Telegraph

  • The biggest energy market shake-up in 25 years – Chris Huhne MP writes in the Daily Telegraph

Nadhim Zahawi bids for a St George's Day bank holiday

St George's England flag "An MP has launched a bid to make St George's Day a national holiday. Nadhim Zahawi is also bidding to give the Welsh a day off on March 1 – St David's Day – in a Bill launched at Westminster yesterday. Tory Mr Zahawi said it would put both nations on a par with Scotland, where St Andrew's Day is a bank holiday. He said: "It is through national days we can celebrate what makes our nation so great." – The Sun

> Nadhim Zahawi MP on Platform yesterday: It is time to make St George's Day a bank holiday in England

Benedict Brogan: Protests from the shires won’t derail David Cameron’s dream of speed

"To get from London to Birmingham at high speed, you have to go through 16 Conservative MPs. Or rather, you have to go through their constituencies, which is what David Cameron wants to do with his new 250mph rail line. On Monday, the Government will confirm the precise route it will take, and set in motion a protracted battle with some of the wealthiest and most politically powerful areas in the country." – Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph

> Recent relevant ToryDiary posts:

Other Coalition news in brief:

  • Ireland loan won't add to UK deficit, says Osborne – Daily Telegraph
  • Coalition wields axe over Christmas as 100,000 jobs to go by spring – The Guardian
  • Peers say fixed term Parliaments are bad for democracy – The Times (£)
  • English, Welsh and Northern Irish 'face Scots degree fee rise' – BBC
  • Housing cheats cost taxpayers £5 billion a year – Daily Telegraph

Former Labour Cabinet Minister wants all drugs decriminalised

Picture 1 "All illicit substances, including heroin and cocaine, should be legalised, according to a former drugs minister who will today become the most senior politician to push for a dramatic change in the strategy for tackling Britain's drug problems. Bob Ainsworth will argue that it is better for addicts to receive their fixes on prescription rather than relying for their supply on the international criminal gangs that make billions of pounds from the trade." – The Independent

Balls criticises Miliband live on TV

"Ed Balls shattered Labour's fragile truce yesterday by launching a bitter attack on Ed Miliband. In an astonishing move, the shadow home secretary criticised his leader's performance at Prime Minister's Questions on live TV." – The Sun

Other Comment:

  • Leo McKinstry: Why lower taxes are the answer to Britain's problem – Daily Express
  • Nick Clegg seeks a surge of optimism and relief from the Judas jibes – Michael White in The Guardian
  • Coalition? This is a Tory government – Mehdi Hasan in the New Statesman

Lib Dems back down to 8% in the latest tracker pollYouGov


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