6pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: The New Statesman's "Plan B" list is mis-directed – we need medium-term growth, not short-term growth
5.30pm Anthony Browne on our Columnists' page: The reporting of the Liam Fox case sides with the civil servants, who don't like Ministers receiving external advice
STATE PENSION AGE RISE
- "The welfare secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has announced that the timetable included in the bill currently going through parliament will be changed, with the rise in the state pension age to 66 delayed until October 2020. The increase was previously planned for April 2020." – Guardian
- "This measure, which will cost £1.1bn, will help some women penalised by the government's decision to accelerate the rise in the state pension age for women. Some 245,000 women and 240,000 men will benefit from the change, which will affect men and women." – Andrew Sparrow reports
- Iain Duncan Smith says: "We have listened to the concerns of those women most affected by the proposed rise in state pension age to 66 and so we will cap the increase to a maximum of 18 months. We have always made clear that we would manage any change fairly and ensure any transition is as smooth as possible." – Daily Telegraph
- James Gray MP, writing before the announcement: Iain Duncan Smith should find a way to lessen the blow women will face because of pension changes
- The Prime Minister tells BBC News: "Let me repeat again; I think that Liam Fox has done a great job sorting out the defence budget, making sure we have been effective in Libya and clearing up the mess left in the Ministry of Defence by the last Government."
- He adds: "A strong leader recognises that you have to take time to get all the information and answer all the questions. A weak leader is someone who jumps at it because of some artificial deadline. We get all the facts first and then establish a decision.” Both quotes PoliticsHome (£)
- Ed Miliband fires back: "This is becoming a distracted government. We've got a distracted Defence Secretary and a weak Prime Minister seemingly unable to make the right decisions in relation to Dr Fox." – PoliticsHome (£)
- "A major donor to Liam Fox's controversial charity paid for the defence secretary to take five freshly elected MPs on a first-class trip to Washington." – Guardian
NHS CARE FAILINGS
- "The Care Quality Commission says that too often staff pay more attention to paperwork than those they are looking after. Unacceptable care has become standard in some trusts, with doctors and nurses talking down to patients, ignoring their calls for assistance and failing to help them eat, drink or wash." – Daily Telegraph
- "I'm scared of growing old and ending up in hospital, neglected and humiliated" – Cristina Odone for TelegraphBlogs
- David Hughes asks "Why are people so happy with the NHS when it can treat so many patients badly?"
- Sharp rise in NHS patients waiting more than 18 weeks for care: Nearly 30,000 had to wait for treatment for longer than NHS target in August, a rise of 48% on previous year – Guardian
- "Slovakia's largest opposition party, after a bit of parliamentary gamesmanship, cleared the way Wednesday for the country to endorse changes to the €440 billion ($600 billion) euro-zone bailout fund that European political leaders have deemed essential to the bloc's efforts to beat back the sovereign-debt crisis." – Wall Street Journal Europe
- "Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi asked lawmakers to "renew" their support of his government by holding a confidence vote." – WSJ
SCOTTISH BOUNDARY CHANGES
- The FT Westminster blog has, so far, the most detailed analysis (if not necessarily accurate: they assume party support is evenly distributed within each seat) of the changes.
- They say: "The FT’s initial analysis of the Boundary Commission for Scotland proposal suggests both Coalition parties are likely to lose out, with the only Scottish Tory and three of the 11 current Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs likely to lose their seats as a result of the boundary changes."
HAPPY 86TH BIRTHDAY, LADY THATCHER!
- The Daily Mail has a very timely news story: "'The English are like bulldogs and Mrs Thatcher won’t be bullied': How Argentine ambassador warned Junta not to invade Falklands"
- Cameron trying to change the Act of Succession – without it, we'd be ruled by Germany, says Simon Heffer at RightMinds
- Movements in the blogosphere: Dan Hodges, the New Statesman's former star blogger has jumped ship (or been pushed) to the Telegraph Blogs. His inaugural post: "Did I jump? Was I pushed? Did I flounce? The answer to all three is yes."