8pm Andrea Leadsom MP on Comment: A breath of fresh air on banking reform

6pm ToryDiary: Annabel Goldie fires starting pistol on 100-day countdown to the Scottish Parliament election

4.30pm Parliament Breaking News: Ex-Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick found guilty of making false expense claims

Picture 134.15pm International: Stephen Harper celebrates the fifth aniversary of his general election victory in Canada

3.15pm Steve Baker MP on Comment: These disappointing GDP figures give us three choices – denial, despair or deregulation

2.45pm LeftWatch: Ed Balls and Co spent like drunken sailors before the recession struck

2.45pm Peter Bone MP on Comment: The Government whips may live to regret stifling debate on the detail of the European Union Bill

1pm ToryDiary: Spending cuts are necessary but not sufficient

Picture 1212.45pm WATCH: George Osborne says it would be a "huge mistake" to change Budget plans on the back of the disappointing GDP figures

11.45am Professor Tim Bale on Comment: Rachel Sylvester is wrong about Cameron's strategy in opposition and the reasons why he failed to win an outright victory in 2010

11.15am Gazette: Former Conservative MP and MSP Phil Gallie has died

11am Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP on Comment: Will Southern Sudan become the world’s first new democratic nation since Kosovo in 2008?

9.45am ToryDiary: Osborne "will not be blown off course by bad weather" as economy contracts by 0.5%

9.15am Local Government: Edinburgh Council staff spend £185 a month calling the speaking clock

ToryDiary: Lack of clear mission and 'party of rich' label dog the Conservative Party on the doorstep

Glen John John Glen MP on Comment: Afghanistan could produce a greater security threat to Britain if the post-2014 settlement is not properly implemented

Also on Comment: Stephen Parkinson shares ten ways to help NO2AV in the next hundred days


Local Government: 

Gazette: Roger Helmer MEP steps down as Honorary Chairman of the Freedom Association

WATCH: Departing CBI boss Sir Richard Lambert says the Government is not doing enough to promote growth

Slowing economy to flag "stagflation-lite" fears

"After last week's shock rise in inflation, GDP data on Tuesday will show the economy slowed in the final quarter of this year, highlighting the dilemma facing the Bank of England… The median forecast in a Reuters poll is for UK growth figures, due out at 9.30 a.m., to have slowed to 0.5 percent in the last three months of the year, down from 0.7 percent in the third quarter and 1.1 percent in the second." – Reuters

  • Coalition 'putting politics before economy', says CBI's Richard Lambert – Daily Telegraph
  • Vince Cable defends coalition's economic record after CBI attack – The Guardian

David Davis writes that "control orders lite" will not make us any safer…

DAVIS DAVID "Heavy-handed measures such as control orders feed recruitment by our enemies and suppress recruitment of friends — as intelligence officers, agents or informers. That makes it difficult to carry out the sort of conventional intelligence gathering that we did in Northern Ireland. The only way to deal with this is very visibly to sweep away its primary causes, including control orders. A halfway house, or “control order lite”, will not do it. Regrettably that seems to be exactly what we are going to get." – David Davis MP in The Times (£) 

…as Theresa May poised to announce a new counter-terrorism package

"The coalition cabinet is to agree an "escalating series of measures" today to replace the controversial control orders imposed indefinitely on terror suspects who cannot be prosecuted. The delayed package of reformed counter-terrorism measures is to be announced by the home secretary, Theresa May, tomorrow and will include changes to stop and search powers and pre-charge detention as well as a replacement for the much-criticised control orders." – The Guardian

Cameron looks to Dutch in move to boost EU free market

David Cameron 2011 "In his first major EU initiative since becoming prime minister, David Cameron is forging an Anglo-Dutch alliance to revive liberalising reforms that would see the creation of a mini-free market in Europe allowing professional and service workers, from lawyers and accountants to builders and hairdressers, to ply their trades anywhere in the continent. Cameron discussed the idea yesterday with Mark Rutte, the premier of the Netherlands, during talks in Downing Street." – The Guardian

OBR raises doubts about fuel stabiliser

"David Cameron’s plans to reform fuel tax to ‘share the pain’ with motorists suffered a major blow yesterday as his new economic watchdog branded them unworkable. Robert Chote, head of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, said a ‘fair fuel stabiliser’ would bring chaos to the public finances. His intervention is the latest in an increasing spat between No 10 and the Treasury – and now the OBR – over fuel prices." – Daily Mail

Rachel Sylvester: Andy Coulson was inconsistent in his messaging for David Cameron

Rachel Sylvester "By persuading the Conservative leader to focus more on crime, immigration and Europe, Mr Coulson undermined the careful rebranding operation on which Mr Cameron had embarked. He kept traditionalists on side with ideas such as “prison ships”, he wooed the tabloids with policies on knife crime but he also frightened off swing voters — who are the key to electoral success — by playing the old Tory tunes. The long-term strategy of shedding the “nasty party” image was compromised for the short-term tactical advantage of a few positive headlines." – Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£)

Heat rises in phone-hacking inquiry

"Prosecutors have raised the stakes in the News of the World phone-hacking investigation after promising to take a more “robust approach” to pursuing illegal practices and lowering the hurdles to possible criminal trials." – FT (£)

  • David Cameron silent on fears his own phone had been hacked – The Scotsman

Chancellor may use £5 billion windfall to ease pain of spending cuts

George Osborne summer 2010 wide "George Osborne may have a Budget war chest of £1 billion to reprieve endangered programmes and promote growth as the Government begins to feel the full force of criticism at the speed and manner of the spending cuts. Conservative MPs believe that the Chancellor may have £5 billion or more in his coffers for March, which would trigger a battle over how to spend any unexpected windfall." – The Times (£)

  • Osborne forced to veto banks deal – FT (£)

AV referendum 'at risk' from delays in House of Lords

"The Tory leader of the House of Lords today warned there is a "real risk" that a referendum on changing the voting system may not be held on 5 May because of Labour's filibustering tactics over the parliamentary voting system and constituencies bill. Lord Strathclyde told peers on the 12th day of debate on the committee stage of the bill that failure to conclude in time would "raise questions of our ability to revise" as he warned peers that ministers would consider changing the rules governing debate in the Lords if the impasse is not resolved." – The Guardian

> Lord Strathclyde on Comment last week: Labour is preparing to deny the people of this country their say on whether AV should be used to elect MPs

Jeremy Hunt plans competition inquiry in News Corp's BSkyB bid

HUNT JEREMY OPEN NECKED SHIRT "The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said that he intends to refer News Corporation's bid for BSkyB to the Competition Commission. But he has given News Corp extra time to address concerns he has regarding "potential threats to media plurality". – BBC

  • Cameron-Murdoch meeting will not affect BSkyB decision, says No 10 – The Guardian
  • Did Cameron's dinner with Murdoch break code? – The Independent

PFI hospitals will bring taxpayers 60 years of pain

"Young people starting work this year will pay taxes for the Government’s Private Finance Initiative until they are nearly 70, an investigation by The Daily Telegraph has found. Official figures show that, under Private Finance Initiative [PFI] schemes, British taxpayers are committed to pay £229 billion for new hospitals, schools and other projects with a capital value of just £56 billion. Several contracts are due to run for 60 years, documents released under freedom of information requests show, meaning taxpayers will be paying for the projects for generations to come." – Daily Telegraph

Eric Pickles: Councils must put spending online or face legal action

"So far, 150 local authorities around the country have yet to abide by the new requirement for all council expenditure above £500 to be detailed on their website… 210 local authorities have posted their spending online. Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, said that the others had a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they spend taxpayers’ money." – Daily Telegraph

Other political news in brief:

  • Tory MP Peter Bone says time allotted to EU Bill is "a disgrace" – BBC
  • Judge sums up in Lord Taylor's expenses trial – Sky News
  • Public Accounts Committee: MoJ doesn't understand costs of prisons – BBC
  • Teachers hold strike vote in pension row – The Independent

Dominic Raab MP: It's time to end feminist bigotry

Dominic Raab Commons "Young British couples are tired of the equality bandwagon, dreamt up in the 1960s, pitting men and women against each other. We need consistent equality for men and women, an end to ‘soft’ feminist bigotry and support for hard-working families trying to juggle competing priorities in their hectic daily lives. Maybe it’s time men started burning their briefs, to put an end once and for all to what Emmeline Pankhurst used to call ‘the double standard of sex morals'." – Dominic Raab MP on PoliticsHome

Peter Sissons: The BBC became a propaganda machine for climate change zealots… and I was treated as a lunatic for daring to dissent

"My time as a news and ­current affairs anchor at the BBC was characterised by weak leadership and poor ­direction from the top, but hand in hand with this went the steady growth of political correctness…  the most worrying aspect of political correctness was over the story that recurred with increasing frequency during my last ten years at the BBC — global warming (or ‘climate change’, as it became known when temperatures appeared to level off or fall slightly after 1998)." – Peter Sissons' book serialisation continues in the Daily Mail

And finally… Nick Clegg can't sell his house

Nick Clegg on Marr "Nick Clegg has fallen foul of the stagnant property market and is still unable to sell  his home despite putting it up for sale in September. The three-bedroom semi-detached house is in one of the most desirable areas of the deputy prime minister's constituency in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, where homes are usually snapped up quickly according to local estate agents. It is close to two of the city's most highly-regarded secondary schools and  within easy reach of the Peak District, but a spokesman said it had failed to attract the attention of a single buyer. Curiously, neither the selling agent nor the asking price of the house has been  advertised and no 'for sale' board has been put up." – Daily Mail

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