5pm WATCH: Michael Fallon says there is "unease" about Lib Dems now opposing the NHS reforms they voted for

1pm Oliver Cooper on Comment: Inequality will widen until banking is reformed


ToryDiary: "Osborne needs a rocket up his rear" says Tory MP who fears Chancellor has become leading obstacle to profit-making groups delivering public services

Robert Leitch on Comment: What should be the primary duty of an MP?

Local government: Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, the Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, rates the government's localism record

Parliament: Conservative MPs insist Hamas must respect the State of Israel's right to exist, and accept Quartet Principles

Also on Parliament: 21 Tory rebels object to supplementary vote for election of city mayors

Obama says "no" to private meeting with Clegg during his three day UK visit

Clegg-Unhappy "Aides to the Deputy Prime Minister tried to secure an audience and a photo opportunity with the President as part of his first state visit to Britain. Mr Obama is due to meet the Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband for an hour at Buckingham Palace, so the Liberal Democrats had hoped that the White House would agree to a similar meeting with Mr Clegg… There would have been a precedent for Mr Clegg to have a private audience with Mr Obama as Liberal Democrat leader. When George Bush visited the UK in 2003 he had a private meeting with the then Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, even though Mr Kennedy had been strongly critical of the Iraq war and Guantanamo Bay." – Independent | Times (£)

  • Boris vows to confront Obama over the US embassy's £5m bill for unpaid congestion charges – Metro
  • White House affirms special relationship ahead of visit: “The United States and the United Kingdom, of course, enjoy a special relationship,” said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications. “There’s no closer ally for the United States in the world than the United Kingdom.” – FT (£)

Nigel Lawson warns about Huhne's "foolish" climate change plan

Lawson-Nigel "While the economic recovery is real, it is scarcely robust; and in the circumstances it beggars belief that the government is continuing, as it did again earlier this week, to impose ever tighter decarbonisation targets on the British economy – that is to say, the mandatory substitution of higher cost energy for lower cost energy. The government likes to boast, as did its Labour predecessor which launched this foolish policy, that the UK is the only country in the world that has imposed severe and legally binding carbon reduction requirements on its economy. The claim is correct; but why the government should boast about it is puzzling, since the reason why the UK is the only country to do this is that no other country wishes to incur such pointless self-inflicted economic harm." – Lord Lawson in the FT (£)

> Greg Barker MP on ConHome yesterday: Blue Green, Not Red Green

DUNCAN SMITH DECEMBER 07 IDS promises "serious fight" if Alex Salmond tries to take Scotland out of UKThe Herald

Daniel Korski predicts a new Eurosceptic generation of Tory MPs might lead Britain out of the EU by 2025Spectator

"Vince Cable has warned that the political class has not yet prepared the public for the scale of the underlying problems facing the UK economy and the coming squeeze on living standards"Guardian

Huhne Chris Newsnight Now Chris Huhne is accused by Lib Dem councillors of lying over '£60,000 election expenses'

"Two former Lib Dem councillors have come forward with recorded evidence they say proves the Energy Secretary spent more than he was allowed to in the bitter fight to keep his ultra-marginal seat last May." – Daily Mail

Allies of Gordon Brown have reacted angrily to David Cameron’s refusal to back him to become head  of the International Monetary FundDaily Mail

"Brown is not without his fans. But to be a really serious [IMF] candidate he needs the backing of Downing Street – and there are no signs of that happening." – Alex Brummer in the Daily Mail

Ed Miliband relaunches his leadership with promise to define new national mission

"David Cameron may have become prime minister a year ago, but he failed to win the majority or the mandate he desired. That was because he did not have a story about our country that addressed these concerns. And every day in government he offers a more pessimistic, austere prospectus for the future… At the next general election, we must be the optimists, the party with a positive, patriotic mission for our country. When we have won great victories – in 1945, 1964, 1997 – it has been by defining a new national mission. That is what we can, must and will do again." – Ed Miliband in The Guardian

After rape crisis week, Labour MPs plan parliamentary committee to vet government policy for effects on women

Cooper Yvette Yvette Cooper quoted in The Guardian: "There is a toxic mix of paternalistic Toryism and laissez-faire liberalism at the heart of the government which hits women hard. Some still subscribe to the traditional Tory view of women and family life, and there is a deep and widespread hostility to state or public sector action – from tax credits to childcare – which help women get on. The result is that for the first time in generations, the clock is being turned back on women's equality."

  • YouGov found that most women wanted Clarke sacked for his rape remarks but men supported him – PolHomePulse
  • Andrew Grice: Crispin Blunt is real culprit in rape row: "It was the accident-prone Crispin Blunt, a junior justice minister, who sparked the affair. Answering Commons questions on Tuesday, he unwisely chose rape as his example, while defending plans to raise from a third to a half the "discount" on sentences for people who plead guilty soon after being charged. If he had cited burglary, the furore would never have happened. Mr Blunt's remarks resulted in a Daily Mail front page headline saying: "Soft justice for rapists", which provoked the questions to Mr Clarke during that fateful interview." – Independent
  • Dear Ken Clarke, Not caring what the people think has never turned out well – Bruce Anderson in The Telegraph

Ex-Labour minister Elliot Morley gets 16 months for dishonestly claiming more than £30,000 in expensesBBC

Farewell to David Cairns

Cairns David "Labour leader Ed Miliband led tributes to former Scotland Office minister David Cairns at his funeral yesterday. He joined Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray among the mourners, along with former chancellor Alistair Darling, former home secretary John Reid, ex-Scottish secretary Jim Murphy and shadow Scottish secretary Ann McKechin." – Scotsman

The most senior judge in England and Wales questions injunction 'flouting' in Parliament BBC

And finally… Boris shows his tweet side by hosting impromptu Q&A session on Twitter

"Boris Johnson may not be particularly known for his technological prowess but he can now claim to have mastered Twitter. The Mayor logged on to his account, then held an "impromptu" question and answer session with Londoners from his office yesterday afternoon. Within minutes the topic was trending on the site, as users asked Mr Johnson about his private life, the future of Boris bikes and even if he wears a wig. A total of 720,000 people took part. Twitter fans asked the Mayor hundreds of questions and he answered 15 during his 30 minutes on the site." – Evening Standard