8.30pm ToryDiary: Tory MPs' message this evening at the '22 on IPSA: "Sort it – or Cameron will regret it"

6.30pm WATCH:

4pmToryDiary: David Cameron fights to regain the media offensive over tomorrow's tuition fees vote. And gets a little help from the IFS

3.30pm ToryDiary: All Party Islamophobia Group "to dispense with the services of Engage"

12.45pm ToryDiary: Miliband has the best line at PMQs.  But he's still as wooden as his dispatch box.

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Noon ToryDiary: Concerned at misunderstandings of fees policy, CCHQ launches myth-busting website

9.45am ToryDiary: Today's splash isn't a one off protest; The Sun is beginning a campaign against Ken Clarke's prisons policy

ToryDiary: Should the Conservatives pitch for the ANTI-voters – and, if so, how? (Part One)

Screen shot 2010-12-08 at 09.01.14 In Comment:

Local Government: Idris Francis – Turning off speed cameras causes negligible increase in speeding

Parliament: A testing day for the Government in the Commons –

LeftWatch: Miliband and Johnson cobble together holding position on a graduate tax


A three-way Liberal Democrat split on tuition fees now looks inevitable…

Nick Clegg on Marr 2 "Nick Clegg tonight resigned himself to a Liberal Democrat split in the vote on planned increases in tuition fees, as he told his MPs he and other wavering ministers in his party would vote in favour of the plans but accepted many of them would not "walk through the fire" with him.  After a parliamentary party meeting in Westminster, Clegg appeared to have partially ameliorated the split by persuading ministers who had once indicated they could not vote in favour of the planned increase. Aides to the deputy PM said there would be at least 24 of the party's 57 MPs voting in favour. But abstentions and votes against the measures leave Clegg facing a three-way threat in his party." – The Guardian

"There are some in and out of the Westminster village – and some more on the streets of our cities – who believe that the Liberal Democrats are the weakest link in this Coalition, and think that, if they force us out, they can bring it all down. We aren’t and they won’t. Whatever happens tomorrow, I don’t believe our party unity will be weaker – it may even be stronger..The dividend for this will not be felt this month, next year, or even in the next two or three years. It will be felt at the next election." – Paddy Ashdown, Daily Telegraph

…And Andrew Percy joins the Conservative student finance rebels

"Newly elected Tory MPs Lee Scott and Andrew Percy said they could not vote in favour of the plan, joining former minister David Davis in a small Conservative rebellion. Scott is parliamentary aide to the transport secretary, Philip Hammond." – The Guardian

We can't escape the tuition fees hurricane – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

Ken Clarke is mauled by the right-wing press over his criminal justice plans

Screen shot 2010-12-08 at 07.45.45 "Thousands of thugs are to doge jail after the Tories yesterday ditched their vow to get tough on crime.  Justice Secretary Ken Clarke axed minimum sentences for murder and automatic jail for carrying knives.  He cut 6,500 prison places on the day when Damilola Taylor, stabbed to death aged 10 in Peckham, South East London, would have been 21.  Mr Clarke's whopping prison cuts mean thousands who would have been put behind bars are to escape being caged – while murderers, sex beasts and other violent offenders can expect shorter sentences." – The Sun

Ken Clarke comment –

Yesterday –

Andrew Lansley confirms that Oliver Letwin's been tasked with helping him on NHS reform

Lansley2 "The government is to press ahead with its radical reform to give GPs control of up to £80bn of the NHS budget, in spite of marked criticism of the scale and pace of the changes, Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, has said.  In an interview with the Financial Times, he ack­now­­ledged that the Treasury had expressed concern about financial control during the transition, and that Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet's policy guru, had been despatched to check that implementation would go smoothly."  But he added: “Oliver is the minister for government policy, so I don’t think anybody should be terribly surprised if he spends his time getting involved in government policy. The bigger the policy, the more important it is for him to be involved.” – Financial Times (£)

Ministers push for wealthy Britons to leave more to charity and the arts

"A US-style plan to increase philanthropic donations by the rich, with new incentives to encourage millionaires to leave 10% of their estates to charities and the arts, will be at the heart of a government review to be launched tomorrow…Jeremy Hunt joins forces with his ministerial colleagues Francis Maude and David Willetts to pledge that the government will help Britain to catch up with the US, where the arts are funded through billions of dollars in philanthropic donations." – The Guardian

"Big Society" – Giving just that bit more – Francis Maude, Jeremy Hunt, and David Willetts – The Guardian

Coalition News in Brief

The Daily Mail splashes on the OECD schools report – "In a damning indictment of Labour, OECD condemns British education which is now inferior to Estonia's"

Screen shot 2010-12-08 at 07.45.13 "Britain has plummeted down worldwide education rankings in the last decade, according to definitive figures which shame Labour’s record on schools.  Despite doubled spending since 2000, the education of teenagers has ‘stagnated at best’.  The verdict is a damning indictment of Tony Blair’s mantra that his three top priorities in government were ‘education, education, education’.  Britain has now fallen behind such relatively poor nations as Estonia, Poland and the Slovak Republic in reading, maths and science.  Although spending has risen from £35.8billion to £71billion, the education of teenagers has failed to register any improvement and in some areas has deteriorated rapidly." – Daily Mail

"The challenge facing Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, is to break the grip of that establishment, both within his Whitehall department and in the school system. His policies of giving heads more powers, expanding the academies programme, allowing the creation of free schools and improving teacher quality are all bang on the money. But they have got to be driven despite through the awkward squad. Mr Gove and his team are inexperienced ministers who would benefit from the services of a hard-nosed colleague who can deploy some political muscle. The alternative is a further dangerous decline in educational standards." – Daily Telegraph Editorial

Yesterday in LeftWatch: New OECD league table is a damning indictment of Labour's record on education

In Afghanistan, Cameron and Karzai shrug off talk of rift

"David Cameron and Afghan president Hamid Karzai were quick to play down criticism of Britain's military performance, published by WikiLeaks, as the Prime Minister made an announced visit to Kabul.  The leaders admitted that comments made by top Afghan officials, including President Karzai, in confidential cables about British troop numbers in the country's Helmand province contained some truths.  But Mr Cameron yesterday shrugged off the revelations which suggested that President Karzai's government thought British troops were "not up to the task" of securing Helmand, a Taliban stronghold in the south of Afghanistan." – The Independent

David Cameron "snubbed by Pakistan" claim  – Daily Mirror

Vince Cable demands details of FSA's secret report into RBS collapse

"Vince Cable is hauling in Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, to demand details of the regulator's secret report into what went wrong at Royal Bank of Scotland The business secretary fired off a letter to the FSA chairman as pressure mounted on the City regulator to publish the work it commissioned from PricewaterhouseCoopers into the events that led to the £45bn taxpayer bailout of the Edinburgh-based bank." – The Guardian

On Monday evening, Bercow v McLoughlin…

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"Commons Speaker John Bercow was embroiled in a fresh favouritism row after he was accused of helping the Labour front bench.  Mr Bercow rebuked Tory Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin during a heated exchange last night when an attempt to impose a time limit on this week's crunch tuition fees debate was blocked.  The chief whip complained about the way Mr Bercow coached Labour MPs and then began to walk out of the Chamber as the Speaker reprimanded him." – Daily Mail

…And yesterday, Bercow v Burns

"Bercow didn’t just yell at Mr McLoughlin. He screeched balefully. At length. Threw a bate.  I have long predicted that one day the country would see a different side of this greasily orotund Speaker and that is what happened on Monday night. The tone was vicious, shrill, unhinged. I’m sure he wasn’t drunk but he has been looking tired and a bit puffy-faced recently.  Yesterday the questionable behaviour from Bercow continued. He snapped at another Tory minister, Simon Burns from the Department of Health." – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Simon Carr: Whatever you do, don't speak out of turn on the Speaker's time – The Independent

Yesterday – WATCH: John Bercow and Government Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin have a very public disagreement in the chamber

Lord Adonis backs Government on elected Mayors

"When I was Transport Secretary, hardly a week went by without the Mayor of London or one of his appointees beating a path to my door. Crossrail would not be proceeding but for Ken’s and Boris’s ceaseless agitation; Boris can also take much credit for the remarkable deal secured by Transport for London, protecting the Tube upgrades amid the cuts elsewhere. By contrast, when I was putting together the plan for the North-South high-speed rail line, which could bring huge benefits to the Midlands and the North, I had practically to orchestrate a response from many of the cities concerned.  I therefore support the principle of directly elected mayors for the 12 largest provincial cities in England, set out in the localism Bill published tomorrow." – Andrew Adonis, The Times (£)

Other Comment

  • Ireland should leave the Euro – Megan Greene, Financial Times (£)
  • So which one of these man is the real threat to America? – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

Miliband joins campaign for voting reform

"Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, will tomorrow join eight other shadow cabinet members in backing the Labour Campaign for the Alternative Vote, brushing aside concerns that support for AV would be seen as a distraction from Labour's declared main task in May of doing well in the Scottish, Welsh and English local elections A clutch of shadow cabinet members are backing AV, including Sadiq Khan, Hilary Benn, Tessa Jowell, Liam Byrne, John Denham, Peter Hain, Alan Johnson and Douglas Alexander." – The Guardian

Brown rues ‘alien’ invasion of CityFinancial Times (£)

Mike Hancock wrote to Home Office to help second Russian womanDaily Telegraph


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