8pm WATCH Nick Clegg: we need a grown-up approach to growth

6.45 Local Government: Ken Livingstone and RMT use the same press officer

5.45pm Parliament: A-Listers are less likely to vote against the Government than the rest of the 2010 intake


3.45pm ToryDiary: A Good Week for Nick Herbert, Another Bad Week for Ken Clarke

3pm Dalibor Rohac in Comment: To form a more perfect Union?

2pm WATCH: Cameron ups the pressure on Mubarak to go

12.15pm Local Government:

11.15am Steve Baker MP in Comment: Britain’s low-carbon transport future will rely on petrol and diesel

ToryDiary: The Prime Minister champions expenses reform, but moves simultaneously to kill the Afriyie Bill today

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Local Government: Eric Pickles's fortnightly column – Local Government is full of ambition, leadership and imagination


Seats and Candidates: Nigel Adams MP announced as campaign manager in Barnsley Central as further action days take place

WATCH:  ‪William Hague warns against violence in Egypt

The press probe IPSA as Downing Street backs expenses reform

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"Downing Street threw its weight behind a radical shake-up of Westminster’s expenses watchdog yesterday as more MPs were shown to have submitted wrongful claims.  In a stinging assessment of the regime overseen by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), Sir George Young, Leader of the Commons, also said that it was “failing in many respects” to help MPs to do their jobs." – The Times (£)

"[IPSA's Chief Executive]…is known to be looking at reforming several key areas around travel and accommodation.  These are likely to include allowing MPs to make more use of taxis, a flat allowance for constituency travel, and reducing the 20-mile limit from the House of Commons for defining a "London" MP.  The rules which stops MPs claiming for rail fares for children over five unless they are the sole carer is also expected to be scrapped." – The Independent

"While the venality of some members of the previous Parliament has been well documented, there is no reason why their sins should be visited upon their successors. Ipsa has until April 1 to come up with reforms that are fair, simple, workable, transparent and cheap. If public confidence in Parliament is to be restored, this straightforward task cannot be flunked much longer." – Daily Telegraph Editorial 

"Big society" suffers setback in showcase Liverpool

"David Cameron's vision of a community-driven renaissance of the inner cities suffered an embarrassment today after Liverpool, a key partner in one of his project's four "big society" showcase areas, said it was pulling out of the initiative because of government-imposed spending cuts.  Liverpool city council leader Joe Anderson said the need to make £141m of savings over the next two years had put the future of hundreds of voluntary groups in the city at risk." – The Guardian

Yesterday in Local Government: Liverpool "daft" to pull out of Big Society Vanguard says Redmond

Liam Fox slams Germany and Italy over helicopters

FOX GESTICULATING "The Defence Secretary took the extraordinary step of naming and shaming Britain's European allies for not playing their part in the war against the Taliban.  He blasted the two countries for refusing to fully support the Nato mission by neglecting to pay for extra helicopters.  Dr Fox launched his unprecedented broadside as he gave evidence to a House of Lords committee on defence cooperation between nations." – Daily Mail 

Ministers' last-ditch deal on prison votes to only a few inmates

"Ministers are working on a last-ditch compromise deal over prisoner votes that would maintain the ban on all but a tiny number of inmates.  Sources say limiting the vote to those sentenced to six months or less would neuter the threat of ­thousands of legal challenges in the European courts, but would have ­little impact in reality.  Government lawyers warn there will be a bill for tens of millions of pounds in compensation if prisoners are not allowed to vote." – Daily Mail

"Two backbenchers yesterday called for the Government to ignore rulings from Strasbourg that denying inmates the right to take part in elections breaches their human rights. Rising Tory star Dominic Raab, MP for Esher and Walton, insisted that the European court did not have the power to order Britain to give the vote to prisoners. And Anne Main, MP for St Albans, urged the Government to refuse to pay any compensation." – Daily Express

Yesterday in Parliament: Tory PPSs will get a free vote on votes for prisoners next week

Hague search for internet security pact

"The foreign secretary clearly believes that global cyberattacks – whether they involve industrial espionage, damage to government systems or low-grade criminality – are increasing so fast that the issue must be addressed head-on.  In his speech to the Munich Security Conference today, Mr Hague will disclose for the first time a trio of examples of how outsiders have recently sought to steal Whitehall secrets and disrupt its communications network." – Financial Times (£)

Jo Johnson calls for end to Commons prayers

Screen shot 2011-02-04 at 08.14.10 "Customary prayers at the Commons should be scrapped as Britain is not 'an overwhelmingly Christian country anymore,' a Tory MP has declared.  Jo Johnson, MP for Orpington, and brother of London Mayor Boris, claimed ending the daily practice of saying prayers in the House of Commons chamber would improve the image of MPs among the public and save time.  Mr Johnson said 'institutionalised worship' was not 'a good use of everyone's time'." – Daily Mail

Out of control – the academy criticised at Conservative conference

"The headteacher was booed by pupils at assembly, a chair was thrown at a teacher, and students were allowed into the sixth form without GCSEs in English or maths.  Former teachers at Katharine Birbalsingh's school in south London have described a climate of low expectations and anarchic behaviour that lay behind her famous speech at last year's Tory party conference." – The Guardian

The Sun continues its war on Ken Clarke

"Ken Clarke is today exposed by The Sun for devising a secret plan to dodge a key Tory election promise on knife crime.  Leaked documents reveal the Justice Secretary ordered officials to draw up the sneaky move, sparking a bitter battle at the top of government over his plans for soft sentencing.  The Tories' election manifesto included a pledge to jail anyone carrying a knife, in a bid to clamp down on the teen murder rate." – The Sun

Coalition and Political News in Brief

  • Britain has become a safe haven for terrorists, Lord Carlile warns – Daily Telegraph
  • Equality watchdog to lose half its budget in programme of cuts – The Times (£)
  • EU's 'complacency' could ruin recovery, Unilever boss warns Brussels – Daily Mail
  • Poll shows Britons’ hostility to immigration – Financial Times (£)
  • Families face extra £72 on annual energy bill – Daily Mail

Ministers circle Speaker after latest Sally Bercow blunder

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"Many Conservatives are furious at her almost daily attacks on Government policy and individual ministers – she once called Chancellor George Osborne 'mental', described David Cameron as a 'merchant of spin' and last year criticised William Hague for the way in which he dealt with internet rumours about his private life.  One senior Tory said her interview and photo-shoot 'brought Parliament into disrepute' and was likely to hasten efforts to remove her husband as Speaker." – Daily Mail

"Later, Mrs Bercow suggested on Twitter, where she has 18,051 followers, that she had had second thoughts about the photograph. She wrote: “*dies of embarrassment* Oh b*****. I’ve been done up like a kipper. Mr B is going to go potty. #naiveSally”. The apologies did little to impress MPs. One Tory minister said: “There are limits but this goes too far. This is a fierce challenge to the dignity of Parliament. The sooner we are rid of the both of them, the better.” – The Times (£)

"Mrs Bercow is entitled to her energetic marital life; even to her sometimes eccentric political opinions. But might it not be worth her thinking twice before regularly translating her public profile into personal publicity? Mr Cameron got into trouble for hinting that Mr Bercow was somewhat smaller than life. But that doesn’t mean that Mrs Bercow should feel it her duty always to be larger than life." – Times Editorial

Clegg defends cuts and calls for 'rebalanced' economy

"Mr Clegg will say that the Government inherited from its Labour predecessor not only crippling debt but also a "failed economic model" fuelled by debt and overly reliant on financial services.  He will outline the Government's ambition to "rebalance" the UK economy, diversifying into sectors other than finance; spreading economic activity across the whole country; and encouraging "green" sustainable growth." – The Independent

Ronald Reagan: warming to the cold war warrior

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"I use the word “tricks” to describe Reagan’s methods, and that is what they were. But this does not mean that he was dishonest.  He understood that the President of the United States, being head of state as well as head of government, is inevitably an actor. The presidency is the greatest stage that modern politics offers. The man elected to occupy it must act as well as he possibly can, and he is no more “lying” by doing so than was Laurence Olivier when he played Henry V." – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Other Comment

  • On foreign policy don’t be vague, Mr Hague – Philip Collins, The Times
  • David Cameron has caved in to those waging war against the family – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
  • Spare no expense to halt the bombers – Frederick Forsyth, Daily Express

Cuts risk betraying a generation, says Miliband

"Ed Miliband has accused David Cameron of betraying a generation of young people with a cavalier approach to cuts that threatens to make them poorer than their parents.  The Labour leader said that the Prime Minister was fuelling a sense of national decline by using teenagers and children as soft targets for the spending axe.  Mr Miliband told The Times that he believes Mr Cameron is threatening to reverse at least 60 years of social and economic progress in which the next generation does better than the last." – The Times (£)

"The idea that either of us will have forgotten it all is clearly fanciful but [David Miliband] is now pursuing his own stuff, he is obviously thinking about what he does and where it takes him. And I hope that either back in the Shadow Cabinet or doing something else he will find something that uses his massive talents and I think he will.  We speak to each other, the families speak to each other, the cousins see each other.”" – The Times (£)

And finally…Miliband has a lizard's tongue

Screen shot 2011-02-04 at 08.58.33 "Ed Miliband has been likened to a lizard by experts because of the bizarre way he repeatedly licks his lips to stay calm when giving a speech.  They say the Labour leader's 'lizard tongue' helps him focus on his words and appear self-assured and methodical at the despatch box.  Body language experts studied the actions of all three political leaders and found Mr Miliband to be the most pensive, Nick Clegg the most passionate, while David Cameron came out on top for being charismatic and engaging." – Daily Mail

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