9.15pm Video: On Sky News, Eric Pickles defends his front-loading of cuts to local government

Gove on Marr 7.30pm ToryDiary: Michael Gove deserves high marks for his big decisions

6.30pm Gazette: Lord Ashcroft's tribute to "50 Great Heroes"

2.45pm LeftWatch: Where are the Lib Dem defectors to Labour?

1.30pm WATCH: Ed Miliband concedes anti-Thatcher strikes of 1980s damaged the Labour Party

ToryDiary: George Osborne as the Christmas Grinch, the childsnatcher and the Artful Dodger


Parliament: Tory peers want 40% turnout for AV referendum

Stephen Hoffman on Comment: The Sinister World of the European Arrest Warrant

Seats and candidates: Equalisation of constituency sizes will create unnatural seats like "Devonwall", says report

Local government: Essex Children's homes face closure

The Mail on Sunday lifts the lid on divisions within 10 Downing Street

Coulson Andy at DCMS "Downing Street communications director Andy Coulson has apologised to David Cameron and offered to resign for the damage to the Government caused by his involvement in a newspaper phone-hacking row… But the Prime Minister and Chancellor George Osborne refused to accept his resignation and offered him total support in his battle to clear his name… The dispute has led to a vicious feud between Mr Coulson and Mr Cameron’s senior policy adviser, Steve Hilton. Mr Hilton is said to have used the row to try to persuade Mr Cameron to get rid of Mr Coulson. The row has led to two rival factions among the staff at No 10 – the ‘pro-Andy faction’, made up mainly of Mr Coulson’s loyal Press office team, and the ‘anti-Andy faction’ led by Mr Hilton and his aides." – Mail on Sunday

David Cameron subjects rebel Tory MPs to foul-mouthed threatsMail on Sunday

Bill Cash is the latest MP to be "Flashmanned" by David Cameron who, writes James Forsyth, thinks that "loyalty to him is his definition of Conservatism" – Mail on Sunday

WHEELER STUART The Independent on Sunday examines Stuart Wheeler's defection to UKIP and his charge that Cameron has betrayed the Right: "Whatever the truth, the loss to the Tories is more than just financial. More damaging is Wheeler's very vocal disenchantment with David Cameron, who, he says, has betrayed the right wing. "Before the election, everyone said Cameron can't come out as being too Eurosceptic. They all said: 'Just you see what he does when he comes to power.' Well, he's there now, and he's made no efforts whatsoever to curb the influence of the EU. He has given up, and it's disastrous for our country."

Matthew d'Ancona applauds the radicalism of the Coalition

"Remarkably, Cameron and Clegg were able to forge a full-blown coalition deal. Even more remarkably, the government founded upon that agreement has already embarked upon a full-tilt programme of spending cuts, dramatic welfare reform, a transformative blueprint for schools, and radical change to the higher education system. Last week, the European Union Bill to impose a referendum lock on future EU treaty changes returned to the Commons. This week, the NHS Bill will launch perhaps the most sweeping changes to the health service since its foundation in 1948." – Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

NHS Confederation chiefs issue stark warning over damaging effect of NHS reformsObserver

> ToryDiary: Read Paul Goodman's positive verdict on Andrew Lansley's risky NHS reforms

Osborne is eyeing new bank taxThe Sunday Telegraph

"Soaring petrol prices will plunge Britain back into recession, government watchdogs warn. Treasury advisers fear the sky-high cost of filling up will force families to make massive cutbacks. But to calm fury over bonuses, government sources have stressed a tough deal on bankers' bonuses will be agreed within 10 days." – News of the World (£)

Labour opens up 6% lead in Sunday Times/ YouGov poll

Screen shot 2011-01-16 at 07.24.21


  • "Ed Miliband is now more popular than Nick Clegg among voters who had backed the Liberal Democrats at the last general election. Lib Dem fortunes have plunged to such depths after eight months of coalition government that 41% of men and women who voted for the party last May would today back Labour at the ballot box. Just one-third said they would stick with Clegg." – The Sunday Times (£)
  • Government approval rating drops to -22% – YouGov
  • Labour 4% ahead in ComRes/ Independent on Sunday poll

Oldham Conservatives accuse David Cameron of running a "slow" by-election campaign to boost the Liberal DemocratsTelegraph

"Imagine the excitement at No10 as the Oldham by-election result came in. “Open the champagne! Just what we wanted! The Tory candidate finished a poor third and our vote down by half. Tremendous!”
What is the point of having a candidate if you aren’t going to support him?" – Neil Hamilton in the Sunday Express

> Seats and candidates: Would the Coalition have won in Oldham East had it fielded just one candidate?

MPs revolt as Cameron bids to block £1K pay riseMail on Sunday

"A further four MPs and two former cabinet ministers are facing fraud investigations after one of their disgraced Commons colleagues reported them to the police. The allegations were made by a Labour MP who believes he has been unfairly singled out over his own fraudulent expenses claims. The politicians — who cannot be named for legal reasons — include a former Labour cabinet minister, two Labour MPs, two Conservatives and a Liberal Democrat. It is believed to be the first time since the scandal emerged in May 2009 that an MP has accused his colleagues of wrongdoing." – The Sunday Times (£)

Former Speaker Betty Boothroyd annoyed by "greedy" MPs and the way they "disgraced" the Commons – BBC

Janet Daley comments on the quality of David Cameron's speechmaking

Daley-Janet-black-backgroun "David Cameron has yet to find the voice he will need if the country is to believe that what he is asking of it will be worth the price. Even when the voters agree broadly with his message about the economy and support many of his programmes, they do not rise to his delivery. There is something that does not ring true in his manner: the words seem to come from his mouth but not his heart. One never gets the sense of seeing beneath the self-conscious pose, the pre-meditated attitude, to the real man." – Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph

What would be the impact of the Alternative Vote? – Tim Montgomerie in The Sunday Telegraph

Danny Alexander is said by fellow Lib Dem Adrian Sanders to be more like Margaret Thatcher than David CameronMail on Sunday

MILIBAND ED PRESS CONF Ed Miliband has appealed to disaffected Liberal Democrats to work with him against the coalition governmentBBC

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Ed Miliband says Labour failed because it was managerialist. But he seems to think that the real reason is that it wasn't left-wing enough

Andrew Rawnsley and John Rentoul warn Ed Miliband to restore Labour's economic credibility

  • The British public is not going to hand Labour the keys to Number 10 until it restore its economic credibility – Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer
  • "A Labour Party that goes into the next general election offering to spend more, borrow more or tax more is not going to win, and those perceptions have already attached themselves to the leader." – John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday

"Union bosses want a fight, regardless of what the rank and file think"

"Some things never change. The obstinacy of Britain's union leaders is one of them. For the past 20 years, they haven't had much opportunity to call "everybody out". Now they sense that the Government's plans to cut the public sector have provided them with the chance to take Britain back to the bad old days of strikes and stoppages." – Alasdair Palmer in The Sunday Telegraph

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