5.45pm ToryDiary: Cameron will urge MPs to veto recommended pay rise
5pm Patrick Nolan on Comment: A fairer system of parental leave requires new thinking
4.15pm WATCH: Downing Street rat appears during BBC News report
3.30pm Charlie Elphicke MP on Comment: Less employment law = more jobs and money
12.45pm Local government: Photographs from Downing Street reception for Conservative council leaders
10.45am ToryDiary: Will the next big Liberal Democrat revolt be over the health bill?
Paul Goodman on Parliament: "I'm writing about [John Bercow] today because he's been in the news, and he's been in the news partly because of his temper. I wonder if the origin of that temper is frustration, and whether the source of that frustration is anger, welling up in turn from rejection – from being spurned by those who wouldn't applaud him, promote him, consider him as a future leader…"
Local government: Labour's Lord Beecham calls for councillors allowances hike
- Government considers a fuel discount for people in remote areas but fair fuel stabiliser looks unlikely – BBC
- "With the average price now at 128.1p a litre (£5.81 per gallon), the AA yesterday urged an immediate duty cut and angry truckers threatened fuel protests to make ministers see sense." – Express
- "[Danny] Alexander’s rural communities project would see fuel duty cut by 5p a litre in parts of the Highlands where, he said, residents have no choice but to travel by car." – Daily Mail
- "Escalating fuel costs could have devastating effects on employment and the economy. So perhaps the real question is not whether the country can afford to have a fuel stabiliser, but whether we can afford not to have one." – Daily Mail leader
- "High fuel prices are damaging the recovery and costing jobs, losing the Treasury even more in tax receipts. The Tories promised a fuel stabiliser. David Cameron hints there will be one in the March Budget. If it can happen in March, why not today?" – Sun Says
- On the Today programme the Prime Minister said that the government was still looking at ways of bringing relief to the motorist.
Public spending is still going UP
"The overall trend of current spending growth this year has been one of strong growth in cash terms, with a real increase of around 3% depending on your choice of inflation index." – John Redwood
Hit squads are to be sent into hospitals in an attempt to drive up standards of treatment for the elderly – Independent
Humiliated, ignored and even forced to walk on broken legs – why my granny's final years should shame Britain – Johann Hari in the Daily Mail
Cameron to make speech on modernisation of public services
"On education, he will insist that the Government remains committed to the creation of "free schools" independent of local authority control, in the face of opposition from Labour and the trade unions. He will also announce an expansion of the policy, disclosing plans to create free school academies for 16 to 19 year-olds, run by charities and companies. Later this year, the Coalition will publish a White Paper on further reforms, setting out plans for charities, companies and community groups to fund, run and even own some public services. The paper will call for an "injection of third-party capital and expertise" into public services including education, social care and criminal justice." – Telegraph | Daily Mail
Melanie Phillips attacks Cameron's attitiude to his own party
"The implication by a Conservative Prime Minister that there is no place within the Conservative Party for those Tories who want to protect British sovereignty from being extinguished by the EU really is quite extraordinary. But then, there is much excited talk among those closest to Mr Cameron about forming a kind of ‘coalition party’ to fight the next election. This would redraw the political map and disempower the ‘right’ — who just happen to represent the values of millions of conservative voters — for ever." – Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail
The Equality Duty has no worthwhile purpose but will cost £30m – Telegraph leader
Clegg will outline government plans to build on Harriet Harman's reforms to allow parents to share their parental leave – Guardian
- Firms attack Clegg's plans to extend paid paternity leave – Daily Mail
- "A spokesman for the British Chambers of Commerce told The Times (£): “A fully flexible system like this will leave small and medium-sized businesses unable to plan effectively because it will allow employees to take time off in very small chunks or to vary their working patterns. This Government was elected on a pro-growth mandate, but with all this red tape many smaller businesses just don’t believe the Government wants them to grow.”
Grooming and sexual exploitation of children needs more Whitehall focus says Barnardo's – BBC
Simon Hughes could back Labour against cuts to Education Maintenance Allowance – Telegraph
Many left-liberals can't stand what is happening to their party and will be tempted by Ed Miliband's repositioning of Labour – Jackie Ashley in The Guardian
"[Simon] Hughes, who has been appointed by David Cameron as Advocate for Access to Education and charged with ensuring that poorer families are not put off sixth form or university, said that Mr Miliband misunderstood the Lib Dem party. The Lib Dems had not made a mistake by going into coalition but had grasped an historic opportunity, Mr Hughes said. The party understood that working in coalition meant compromises over policy and it would not be swayed by Mr Miliband’s call. “We are committed to making a difference over the full five years — the sooner Ed and his Labour colleagues realise this the better,” he said." – Times (£)
Despite the Mail on Sunday report, Andy Coulson has not offered to resign – Telegraph
On Radio 4's Today programme Mr Cameron said he had given Mr Coulson a "second chance" after he resigned from the News of the World when he had discovered improper activities at the newspaper. The Prime Minister said that he had received no complaints at how his media operation performed its job and he believed it was operating in a transparent and ethical way.
Internet debate can be coarse, but it really does hold journalists and politicians to account – Boris Johnson in The Telegraph
The Coalition's anti-centralisation must see BSkyB and other "arthritic" private companies attacked as vigorously as the BBC – Julian Glover in The Guardian
George Galloway launches bid to become MSP
"George Galloway branded First Minister Alex Salmond and Labour leader Iain Gray "the political equivalent of the Krankies" yesterday as he officially re-entered Scottish politics. Announcing he will stand for election at Holyrood in May, Mr Galloway said there were too many "non-entities" serving as MSPs and that the time had come for a "heavyweight parliamentarian"." – Scotsman
"BBC viewers spotted an unwelcome visitor on the steps of No 10 last night – a giant rat. The rodent scurried along Downing Street as political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue spoke into the camera during a live news broadcast." – The Sun
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