6.30pm Alex Deane on Comment: BBC Question Time – a great, balanced panel

Baroness Warsi 20106pm On the day the Conservative Policy Forum was re-launched:

5pm WATCH: Culture Committee chairman John Whittingdale says the police have "serious questions" to answer over their handling of the phone hacking investigation

LOGO_ECR_TXTa4.15pm Parliament: Michał Kamiński to step down as leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists in the European Parliament

3.15pm WATCH: Vince Cable explains why the Government is making it harder to people to take former bosses to employment tribunals

1.30pm LeftWatch: "David Cameron used the death of his disabled son to detoxify the Tory brand"

1.15pm ToryDiary: Caroline Spelman promises to protect public access rights when the state relinquishes control of England's forests

1pm Local Government: Lib Dem councillor defects to Conservatives

Picture 3 Noon WATCH: Nick Clegg honours those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis in his Holocaust Memorial Day message

11.45am Natalie Elphicke on Comment: The Conservative Policy Forum – re-launched today – will enable the grassroots to help to define a Conservative vision for our country

11am Parliament: Can George Osborne fire MPs without their permission?

ToryDiary: Control Orders seek to address the symptoms of terrorism and extremism. But it's even more important to deal with the causes

Philip Booth 2010 Philip Booth on Comment: The Big Society will only come into being when the government stops trying to create it and instead unleashes a tide of philanthropy

Also on Comment: David Mowat MP argues that The Scotland Bill should be amended to scrap the Barnett Formula, which remains manifestly unfair to the English taxpayer

Parliament: Andrew Tyrie calls for BBC World Service funding to be protected ahead of DfID budget

Local Government: Windsor and Maidenhead cut Council Tax – again


Caroline Spelman: Don't believe all you're reading about the forest sell-off

SPELMAN CAROLINE NW "We are going to protect them, for now and for future generations. It’s enormously important that people are given the opportunity to scrutinise our proposals in full when the consultation document is published today. They will see that much of the speculation about our plans has been wrong. It has set hares running. It has raised fears about things that we categorically are not going to do." – Caroline Spelman in The Times (£)

  • Britain's oldest woodlands are not for sale – FT (£)
  • Lib Dem MPs threaten rebellion over forests sale – The Independent

Fleet Street gives its verdict on Theresa May's Counter-Terrorism Review

"The outcome of the Government’s review of counter-terrorism laws is, on balance, a sensible one. The aim was to rein in the more extreme interpretations of laws that were put in place to combat the terror threat, while ensuring that national security is maintained." – Daily Telegraph editorial

"Goodbye control orders, hello terrorism prevention and investigation measures: a knowing laugh rattled around the House of Commons yesterday as the home secretary set out her plans. The government has debated, reviewed, paused, scratched its head and changed the language, but it has not found a way to abolish in full the distasteful practice of restricting the liberty of terror suspects without the prospect of prosecution or trial." – Guardian editorial

"This rebranding does nothing… to alter the basic injustice of the control order regime. The founding presumption of British justice is that we begin innocent and have to be proven guilty." – Times (£) editorial

"Although much of the illiberal detritus of the New Labour years is to be cleared away, the Coalition has stopped short of ditching the most egregious manifestation of the previous government's authoritarianism." – Independent editorial

Picture 6 "Fortunately, the new regime does not appear to differ significantly from the old one and retains draconian powers of surveillance that should allow the authorities to continue to protect us from the terrorist threat. Most people will therefore be wondering what the point of Ms May’s tinkering really was. The suspicion is growing that it was simply to spare the blushes of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who pledged to abolish control orders at the last election." – Daily Express editorial

"The feeble compromise over control orders and curfews – simply renaming them and watering them down, so making them harder to police – would be risible if this weren’t so serious. Indeed, it achieves the remarkable feat of infuriating the civil liberties lobby and strict authoritarians in equal measure." – Daily Mail editorial

"Terrorism is indiscriminate. We are all at risk. That is why we could not afford to go soft on control orders that keep tabs on terror suspects. The Sun welcomes the Government decision not to scrap the orders. They will be varied but the key elements remain." – The Sun

> Yesterday on ConHome:

The public still trust Cameron/Osborne more than Miliband/Balls on the economy

Cameron and Osborne "David Cameron and George Osborne are trusted to see Britain through its economic problems more than Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, their Labour counterparts, according to a new survey by ComRes… The Prime Minister has the trust of 37 per cent – down from his 43 per cent rating last October. Mr Osborne, the Chancellor, has the trust of 25 per cent – down from 32 per cent… Only 18 per cent of people trust Mr Miliband to sort out the country's economic problems and only 14 per cent Mr Balls." – The Independent

  • Ipsos MORI puts Labour support at three-year high – Reuters

Ben Brogan: Ed Balls will only be a problem if George Osborne can’t fix the economy

"Interestingly, when presented with the open goal of the GDP figures yesterday, he [Balls] was the one under more pressure in interviews, as he tried to explain whether he did indeed back the Labour deficit reduction plan as drawn up by Alistair Darling and endorsed, eventually, by Ed Miliband. The Chancellor now has something clear to define himself against. But just because Mr Balls is wrong does not guarantee that Mr Osborne is right. As the recovery stalls, and inflation continues to climb, there are plenty wondering why he has not taken a bigger axe to public spending, which continues to rise, or why he has not produced the tax cuts they say are the only sure fire way of stimulating growth." – Ben Brogan of the Daily Telegraph

  • The truth about Osborne and Balls – Steve Richards in The Independent
  • Hard times ahead for three more years says Ken Clarke as he forecasts economic gloom – Daily Mail
  • Clegg admits to cuts' chilling effect – FT (£)
  • The economic outlook is bleak but we can pull through… If our leaders have courage to tell us the truth – Max Hastings in the Daily Mail
  • Osborne needs strategy out of growth muddle – Tim Leunig in the FT (£)

New education bill will give protection for teachers falsely accused by pupils

Michael Gove 2010 smiling "Teachers are to be granted anonymity when pupils make allegations against them, which will only be lifted if a charge is made. The proposals are set out in Michael Gove’s Education Bill, which also gives teachers new powers to search pupils. It will also be made easier for teachers to hand out detentions. They will no longer have to give parents 24 hours’ notice. And heads will have the final say on expulsions – stopping independent appeals panels from forcing children back into school." – Daily Mail

Eric Pickles: Public will lose faith in councils which fail to collect bins

"Councils which cancel weekly rubbish collections or snoop in domestic bins are destroying trust in local democracy, Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has said. Urging local authorities to abide by residents’ desire for better waste services, he warned that bin collection was the issue with the greatest potential to “fill middle England with rage”. In a speech to the New Local Government Network, Mr Pickles said that under the last, Labour government: “public policy on bin collections went horrendously wrong.” – Daily Telegraph

Cameron derails the £1bn gravy train for staff who sue the boss

"Workplace law is to be torn up to bring a £1billion a year employment tribunal bonanza to an end. David Cameron and Vince Cable will today trigger a battle with trade union leaders by unveiling plans to make it much harder for workers to claim compensation from their bosses. The Coalition will argue that unfair dismissal and compensation claims are increasingly being exploited by disgruntled staff and their lawyers." – Daily Mail

William Hague arrives for talks in Syria…

William Hague 2011 "Foreign Secretary William Hague has arrived in Syria for a two-day visit. Mr Hague will holds talks on Thursday with President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem. The Foreign Office said Mr Hague would discuss a range of issues, including the Middle East peace process, Iran's nuclear programme and the political situation in Lebanon." – BBC

…as he urges Egypt to move towards political reform

"Mr Hague said it was not for other countries to dictate who should be in power, or what their tactics should be, but told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Clearly, in so many of these countries people do have legitimate grievances, which are economic and political." – The Independent

Equitable Life policy holders say payout is a "slap in the face"

"David Cameron was accused of “cynically” raising the hopes of more than a million policyholders by promising when in opposition to “sort out” Equitable Life, only to limit payments to the level agreed by the last government.' – Daily Telegraph

Michal Kaminksi MEP reportedly quits ECR group leadership in Brussels after split with former Polish colleagues

Michal Kaminski Manc "The Tories' grouping in the European parliament was in chaos last night after its leader resigned claiming he had been hounded out by extremist fellow MEPs. Polish politician Michal Kaminski said he was resigning as chairman of the European Conservative and Reformists group on the news channel TVN 24. He said in an interview that he had faced "aggression" and "hatred" from his former colleagues in Poland's Law and Justice party." – The Guardian

Other political news in brief

  • Met police reopen investigation into phone hacking at News of the World – The Guardian
  • Gerry Adams leaves Commons – courtesy of the Queen – The Times (£)
  • Ex-Scottish Socialist leader Tommy Sheridan jailed for perjury – BBC
  • Scrapping the RAF's Nimrod fleet 'poses risk to British security' – Daily Telegraph

And finally… Ratcatcher called in to rid No.10 of vermin who made it on to News At Ten

Picture 18 "Whenever the television cameras arrived outside 10 Downing Street, he had a habit of scurrying into shot. But the scene-stealing rat’s days looked to be numbered yesterday after he made one too many surprise appearances on the news. After he was spotted darting behind ITN correspondent Lucy Manning and BBC political correspondent Gary O’Donoghue, rat catchers from Westminster Council were sent in to help flush him out – and any other vermin of his kind." – Daily Mail

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