8pm WATCH: George Soros: "German insistence on austerity could destory the European Union"

5pm Teatime newslinks: The political debate over Stephen Hester's £1m bonus from RBS leads this evening's teatime newslinks

4.45pm Local government: Council byelection result from yesterday

4pm WATCH: Boris Johnson: "I’m at a loss to justify" Stephen Hester's £1million bonus from RBS

3.30pm Brandon Lewis MP on Comment: To ensure a more productive future, growth can come from outside the Treasury


2pm Do Not Underestimate Labour Association update at LeftWatch: Formation of Coalition was biggest gift to Labour in a generation

1.15pm Local government: Birmingham backs free schools and academies

1pm MPsETC: Tory backbenchers Bill Cash, John Redwood and Bernard Jenkin warn of the dangers of an "undemocratic" EU

Noon ConHomeUSA: New Florida polls and debate performance put Romney back on top

Warsi Sayeeda Sep 1110.45am ToryDiary: To Sayeeda Warsi falls the duty of countering Nick Clegg… and defending Margaret Thatcher's tax system

ToryDiary: David Cameron strongly criticises the €urozone economic model and reiterates his veto decision in Davos speech

Columnist Bruce Anderson: Clegg and Miliband are determined to steal the 'squeezed middle' from Cameron. What's his response?

Nick Hurd MP on Comment: Why National Citizenship Service is working

Local government:

Cameron launches scathing attack on EU’s failure to tackle debt crisis and blasts plans for City tax as 'simply madness'Daily Mail

  • The Sun says (2nd leader) Cameron would be more credible in Europe if he had a domestic growth plan.

Favourite to become next French president launches far left manifesto: "Opinion polls show Mr Hollande ahead of President Sarkozy by up to 20 points before the two-round election in April and May. Yesterday the socialist leader presented a 60-point manifesto that included increasing the top level of income tax, lowering the retirement age to 60, capping bonuses and abolishing share options and expanding the state sector." – Times (£)

> Yesterday's video: "This is a time for boldness, not for caution" says Cameron

Only one in four Tory MPs believes growth will improve over the next 12 monthsIndependent

21-page "farming, food and drink exports action plan" aims to get British cheese, sausages and salmon into key export markets – Guardian

Growth comment:

  • Pay London nurses more than Liverpool ones – Anushka Asthana in The Times (£) welcomes suggestions of regional pay bargaining
  • Without more airport capacity Britain won't fully benefit from huge tourist opportunities – Allister Heath in City AM
  • Elected mayors are too good a chance to miss – Independent leader
  • British voters are angry, and globalisation is part of the reason – Economist's Bagehot

Nick Clegg: Rich businessmen and Russian oligarchs who own homes worth £2 million or more should be made to pay a “mansion tax”Telegraph

Simon Heffer attacks Clegg for wanting to tax the wealthy

HefferSimon"Mr Clegg needs to be honest – not least with himself – about how the public services he reveres are partly paid for by the contributions of the wealthy who, quite often, do not use them. Perhaps someone should also tell him that not everyone who earns over £150,000 a year, or lives in a “mansion”, is a banker, or merits vilification for their “riches”. Many of them have led impeccable business lives, employ large numbers of people, pay substantial taxes, and are big net contributors to society." – Simon Heffer in the Daily Mail

  • Real tax cuts are paid for by reducing public spending – not squeezing ever more from equally hard-working wealth creators – Mail leader
  • "There are not enough very rich to pay all the bills. If the state spends more Mr and Mrs Average have to pay more. Meanwhile Mr  Rich may leave the country or simply hire a better accountant." – John Redwood

Osborne ready to follow Clegg and increases taxes on rich property owners

"George Osborne is ready to crack down on the super-rich who avoid stamp duty when buying expensive homes, it emerged yesterday. The Chancellor plans to raise millions of pounds by targeting those who dodge the 5 per cent levy by holding and trading their homes via offshore companies." – Times (£)

There is "intense irritation" at Clegg's speech amongst senior Tories, reports the FT (£)

Clegg's tax cuts ideas expose embarrassing paucity of George Osborne's own thinking – Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph

  • Despite what Clegg says the welfare reform bill will punish all manner of vulnerable citizens on the grounds that a bankrupt Britain has no choice – Guardian leader
  • Fifty former Lib Dem candidates urge Clegg to back Paddy Ashdown on benefits – Guardian
  • Cameron knows the crisis is in the cost of housing, not the generosity of benefits, which are meaner than most in the OECD – Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Clegg to Cameron and Osborne: Cut taxes on the poor or defend the wealthy. It's your choice.

Lib Dem minister Jeremy Browne says RBS' Hester should reject £963,000 bonusBBC

Screen shot 2012-01-27 at 06.45.05He's missed lending targets, the share price has plunged and he's axeing 3,500 jobs. But still RBS chief pockets huge bonus – Daily Mail

Treasury feared Hester and board would quit if bonus was refused – Robert Peston

  • Cameron is pandering to the mob over Sir Fred – Telegraph leader
  • HMRC's Dave Hartnett says that householders have a duty to ensure that other people do not evade paying their share of tax – Telegraph

Andrew Tyrie wins high praise for chairmanship of Treasury Select Committee and his determination to cut Mervyn King down to sizeFT (£)

Andrew Lansley renews attack on BMA

LansleyInCommons""Look back to 1948 when the British Medical Association denounced Aneurin Bevan as 'a would-be Führer' for wanting them to join a National Health Service. And Bevan himself described the BMA as 'politically poisoned people'. A survey at the time showed only 10 per cent of doctors backed the plans … but where would we be today if my predecessors had caved in," Mr Lansley said in a speech in Liverpool." – Independent

NHS waiting times soar by 40% in one year since four-hour target was scrapped – Daily Mail

Theresa May announces tough new laws to fight the growing scourge of metal thievesSun

The number of uniformed police in England and Wales has fallen by more than 6,000 in the last year to reach the lowest level for a decadeFT (£)

  • Half of all burglars go back to crime within a year of being punished – Telegraph

Salford votes 'Yes' for directly elected mayor in referendum

Screen shot 2012-01-27 at 07.40.48"The ‘yes’ campaign emerged as winners by 17,344 to 13,653 votes when the results were declared at 1.30am today. Some 140,793 didn’t vote at all. The council’s Conservative opposition, who ran their own ‘yes’ campaign, welcomed the result. Coun Karen Garrido, Tory group leader, said: “I’m delighted that the people have decided to vote for an elected mayor, which will make a big difference to Salford. It will hopefully break the 40-year rule by Labour.” – Manchester Evening News

Liverpool will also get super mayor after two-thirds of councillors endorse idea – Times (£)

Scottish First Minister criticised for "loaded" question on independenceNew Statesman …David Cameron may propose alternative question – Telegraph …but Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson backs Alex Salmond's choice of referendum question – Scotsman

  • Alistair Darling has poured scorn on Alex Salmond's claim that an independent Scotland could appeal to the Bank of England in a future financial crisis – Herald
  • Alex Salmond walks with the swagger of a man who feels that these could be the last days of the Union – Jason Cowley in the New Statesman

Ed Miliband: David Cameron can't even stop Chocolate Oranges

Screen shot 2012-01-27 at 07.06.52"Ed Miliband has attacked David Cameron for failing to stop the sale of cut-price Chocolate Oranges – something the PM complained about in opposition… "If he can't sort out the chocolate orange, he's not going to sort out the train companies, the energy companies, the banks, is he?" Mr Miliband said." – BBC

  • "Mr Miliband told The House magazine he wanted to secure public support for giving extra help to some people. “I think the welfare state is too inadequate in some parts,” he said. “If you look at child care, elderly care, social care, at people who are falling back on benefits who are in middle class jobs, I think they’re finding it really tough.”" – Express

Read Mr Miliband's full House Magazine article with Paul Waugh.

The question is not so much whether 20th-century capitalism is failing 21st-century society but whether politics can rise to the challenge of changing a flawed economic model – Ed Miliband in the New York Times

I can’t remember a time when Commons business was so light and the Lords so overloaded – Jack Straw in The Times (£)

The only way to make sure MEPs provide value for money is to abolish themExpress leader

Transport minister Theresa Villiers has a broken collar bone after a cycling accidentGuardian

And finally… Sir Mick Jagger heaps humiliation on David Cameron as he parties with rival Boris JohnsonMirror


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