6pm Parliament: MPs back ban on votes for prisoners by 234 to 22

5.30pm WATCH: Ex-minister and prisoner Jonathan Aitken debates the merits of prisoner voting with convicted axe killer John Hirst

4.45pm Seats and Candidates update: Ex-Labour MP Eric Illsley sentenced to a year in jail

4.30pm Local Government:

3.15pm Charles Tannock MEP and Greg Hands MP on Comment: Israel needs our support and friendship more than ever

2pm Seats and Candidates update: James Hockney to be Conservative candidate at the Barnsley Central by-election

1.15pm Local government: Dishonest reporting from the Local Government Chronicle

Hancock47012.30pm Matthew Hancock on Comment: We can ensure growth whilst making cuts to reduce the deficit

12.15pm Parliament: Ex-Labour MP Jim Devine convicted of fiddling his expenses

11.30am Local government: While Lib Dem councils say it is impossible Ribble Valley and Medway are protecting the front line

11.15am ThinkTankCentral: The Adam Smith Institute condemns the Government's proposals for selling off state-owned forests – for being too timid

ToryDiary: George Osborne's expert bank-lancing act

Also on ToryDiary: Have your say on forestry privatisation, votes for prisoners and lots more in ConHome's latest monthly survey

Comment: David Davis MP: Today's vote on prisoners' rights is an historic opportunity to draw a line in the sand on European power

ToryDiary: David Davis – an apology

Also on Comment: James Arbuthnot MP: Egypt, Israel and the Middle East Merry-Go-Round

Local Government: Lib Dem council leaders attack Pickles over spending cuts

Also in Local Government:

Parliament: Baroness Warsi defines the Big Society in 51 words

Seats and Candidates: Barnsley Central by-election to take place on March 3rd

Gazette: Tracey Crouch elected to the Executive of the 1922 Committee

WATCH: Lord Green, Lord Brittan and Stephen O'Brien MP explain the Government's plans for promoting growth through international trade

The Right-wing press call on MPs to take a stand on votes for prisoners

Prisoners votes "Today, if MPs have the courage to grasp their destiny, could be of great significance in the history of this ­sovereign nation. Indeed, it could see Britain taking the first step towards regaining ­control of its own laws and stopping the remorseless undermining of our Parliament and judicial ­system by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)." – Daily Mail editorial

"If the Commons votes to retain the ban, its decision must stand. If necessary, Parliament could pass a law instructing the courts to deny compensation to prisoners who sue on human rights grounds… The time has come for Parliament to make a stand. If it fails this test, its impotence will be confirmed." – Daily Telegraph editorial

"Today Parliament has a rare chance to tell Europe's human rights court to get lost. The Sun urges every MP who has this nation's interests at heart to seize the opportunity." – The Sun Says

  • David Cameron hopes MPs will oppose court ruling on prisoners' votes – The Guardian
  • UK will not defy European court on prisoners' votes, says Kenneth Clarke – The Guardian

> Yesterday on ConHome:

Universities that fail to admit more disadvantaged students could be fined

Traditional Teacher "Universities will be threatened today with large fines and cuts to their tuition fees if they fail to make dramatic progress in admitting more disadvantaged students. Institutions that fail to meet tougher targets for recruiting poorer students could be fined up to £500,000 and be banned from charging fees above £6,000 a year. The sanctions for the Office for Fair Access (Offa), which will police admissions targets set by each university, will be confirmed in a letter from ministers." – The Times (£)

  • Nick Clegg attacked by Tories over university admissions – Daily Telegraph
  • £6,000 help for poorer students as Clegg hopes to appease critics – The Independent
  • Clegg attacks Oxbridge £9,000 tuition fees plans – BBC

Government suffers fourth Lords defeat on AV bill

"The government has suffered a fourth Lords defeat over its bill setting up a referendum on the UK voting system. Peers backed plans for a compromise aimed at ending a row over the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill… Ministers wanted the number of voters in each constituency to be within 5% of around 76,000 – peers backed moves to make that 7.5% in "exceptional" cases." – BBC

  • Ministers cancel Brazil trip to try and save voting reform referendum plan from defeat next week – Daily Mail

ID cards go up in flames in first step to tackle 'database state'

"Identity cards will be consigned to history today as the database recording the biometric details of thousands of people goes up in flames. Hard disk drives from the national identity register, which underpinned the ID card scheme, will be shredded and incinerated in a symbolic demonstration of efforts to rein back the "database state" and restore civil liberties." – The Independent

The latest from William Hague's tour of the Middle East

William Hague 2011 "The foreign secretary is visiting the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on the last day of his tour of Arab nations… He is expected to reiterate calls made in Tunisia, Jordan and Yemen for political reform and greater respect for human rights. But he will also focus on the growing importance of trade and investment links between the UAE and the UK." – BBC

  • Israel on the defensive after Hague's rebuke over 'belligerent' language – Daily Mail
  • William Hague's call to revive Middle East peace process faces obduracy – The Guardian

Andy Coulson takes the rap in the big society blame game

"In the first meeting of the government's special advisers this year the then head of communications, Andy Coulson, gave a presentation in which he talked about the three words that would be important in 2011 – enterprise, aspiration and jobs. "What?" said the policy panjandrum James O'Shaughnessy to whoever was within muttershot. "No big society?" We knew Coulson was not big on the "big society"… Francis Maude appeared to allow himself to blame the newly departed Coulson for the communications problems that have accompanied the idea. Chairing the weekly big society meeting, he criticised No 10's press operation for failing to spread the message." – The Guardian

Nick Clegg to clarify extent of public services reform

"Nick Clegg will try to draw lines in the sand over the government's public services reform programme by insisting that he will not allow private providers to run schools for profit, or skew the health market in favour of the private sector. In a speech to the Guardian public services summit in St Albans, the deputy prime minister will promise to take a hard line against blanket privatisation." – The Guardian

Lord Ashcroft says he can disclose more "embarrassing morsels" about Labour aide

ASHCROFT Michael "Lord Ashcroft, the millionaire Conservative peer, has threatened to reveal embarrassing “morsels” about one of Ed Miliband’s senior aides. The peer, a former Conservative deputy chairman, suggested he could disclose fresh information about Tom Baldwin, the Labour director of strategy. In a long-standing feud, Lord Ashcroft has previously alleged that Mr Baldwin was a regular user of cocaine. Mr Baldwin is a former Times political journalist who joined Mr Miliband’s team last year. He has never commented on Lord Ashcroft’s claims of cocaine use. Writing in The Spectator, Lord Ashcroft suggested he had more information about Mr Baldwin he could reveal." – Daily Telegraph

Bruce Anderson: Cameron’s ‘little platoons’ get lost in the woods

"The prime minister has made two related errors. He has been too reasonable and he has been guilty of political naivety. He seems to believe that the facts will speak for themselves. It is easy to understand all this. Mr Cameron has embarked on the most radical domestic programme since Attlee. If it is seen to be working, the Tories will surely receive electoral reward. If it appears to be failing, the tongues of men and angels will not save them." – FT (£)

Other Coalition and political news in brief

  • Le Pen daughter applauds Cameron on multiculturalism – FT (£)
  • Lib Dem Treasury spokesman sacked over banking outburst – City AM
  • Flood-defence plans are submerged by Whitehall cutbacks – The Independent
  • Call NHS Direct if you want to visit your doctor – Daily Telegraph
  • Disgraced ex-Labour MP may be jailed today – Press Association

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