7.30pm Local government: TSSA donates another £10,000 to Livingstone's campaign
3.30pm ToryDiary: New Northern Ireland Conservative Party formed in challenge to UUP
3.15pm Professor Philip Booth on Comment: Last week should be the last Davos
12.30pm LeftWatch: Now pandering Miliband poses as a Euro-sceptic
11.45am ConHomeUSA newslinks: Florida voters decide today
11.15am David T Breaker on Comment: At last, students are thinking before attending university
Richard Harrington MP and Mark Garnier MP on Comment: The economy needs a new generation of new entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses
Local Government: 152 Councils have agreed to freeze or cut Council Tax so far
25 EU states will sign up to new fiscal treaty. The United Kingdom and Czech Republic will not.
"Twenty-five of the European Union’s 27 countries have signed up to a German-inspired treaty enshrining tougher fiscal rules to help underpin the euro… David Cameron, the British prime minister who in December vetoed inclusion of the fiscal discipline measures in the EU treaties, said he would not block signatories from using EU-wide institutions. But he warned he would take legal action if the new treaty undermined British interests." – FT (£)
- "The Czech Government said in advance of the summit that it was wary of ceding so much power to Brussels, with Petr Necas, the Prime Minister, keeping his “options open” on arrival in Brussels and Vaclav Klaus, the eurosceptic President, vowing to veto any treaty presented for his approval." – The Times (£)
> From yesterday - WATCH: David Cameron: "We need to get really serious about the growth agenda in Europe"
Cameron insists he is standing up for Britain…
"He… warned that any changes the others made under their alternative fiscal pact – excluding Britain – could not use EU institutions such as the Commission and EU court because they could only carry out policies applying to all 27. At the talks Mr Cameron did not try to push his case against using institutions, but warned: "We will only take action if our national interests are threatened – and I made clear today that we will be watching this closely."" – Daily Telegraph
- "David Cameron has warned France that the UK could reap the benefit if it went ahead with a national levy on bank transactions to help pay for the economic crisis." – PA
- The entente non-cordiale: Tension at EU summit as Sarkozy says Britain 'has no industry' – Daily Mail
> Yesterday on ToryDiary: A Teflon Prime Minister? His luck has held over RBS (so far). Will it also hold over Europe?
…but there is Euro-sceptic anger over Cameron change on fiscal union countries using EU institutions
"Mr Cameron faces criticism over his retreat when he makes a Commons statement about the summit today. Philip Davies, a Eurosceptic, warned the new stance would make the Prime Minister look more like John Major than Margaret Thatcher. "We saw in the opinion polls how popular he was in December. He would be equally unpopular if the British public thought he was going to backslide from that position," he said." – Independent
- David Cameron accused of 'appeasing' Nick Clegg over EU veto as Conservative MPs start to plot – Daily Telegraph
> Coverage from yesterday:
- MPsETC: The veto "is no more", it "has ceased to be", it is "bereft of life", it "rests in peace"
- Columnist Andrew Lilico: The Government has capitulated on the "veto" – so now what?
- MPsETC: The People's Pledge EU referendum campaign may not succeed, but it certainly deserves to do so
- Daniel Hannan MEP on Comment: Is a referendum on EU membership right in principle?
Fallout from Hester bonus refusal: taxpayers lose £900m as RBS shares fall
"The share price of RBS dropped by 3.5 per cent yesterday, wiping £580 million off its value. Lloyds, where the chief executive has also turned down his bonus, saw its share price fall by 4.1 per cent, stripping £921 million off its value. With the taxpayer owning 83 per cent of RBS and 41 per cent of Lloyds, that equates to a fall of almost £900 million in holdings — equivalent to £36 for every British family." – Daily Telegraph
- "David Cameron has urged the Royal Bank of Scotland to show restraint in its bonus packages for senior colleagues of chief executive Stephen Hester, echoing an earlier call by the business secretary, Vince Cable." – Guardian
- "When it comes to the economic realities, shabby, short-sighted populism does the country no favours – what price now Mr Cameron’s proud boast that Britain is open for business?" – Daily Telegraph editorial
- Ed Miliband has much bigger fish to fry than Stephen Hester – Mary Riddell for the Daily Telegraph
- Steve Richards: We are in a new era, but bankers haven't noticed – Independent
> From yesterday:
- Mark Field MP on Comment: The lynch mob's victory may be pyrrhic if RBS can't now attract the brightest and best
- Columnist Bruce Anderson: Cameron was in danger of sounding weak over the Hester bonus
- LISTEN: William Hague: "We have taken a lot of action on bonuses, they are now a fraction of what they were"
- WATCH: Ed Miliband: "We've got to have responsibility in the boardroom when… living standards are being squeezed"
Business tells Ministers to back off on bonuses
"Business leaders have accused politicians of harming the international reputation of the City of London by resorting to terms of populist abuse in the row over bankers’ bonuses. Sir Roger Carr, the president of the CBI, said that MPs were encouraging unfair and unbalanced hostility towards business." – The Times (£)
- "If corporate Britain is to thrive and attract the most talented people in our society, politicians must make it clear that business is valued and respected for the standards it sets as well as the wealth it creates." – Sir Roger Carr for the Times (£)
More detail on Ken Clarke axing of some compensation payments for victims
"Victims of violent street attacks left with a dislocated jaw or broken hand will be denied compensation under new cuts. Burns victims with permanent scarring will also be refused payment as part of reforms announced yesterday by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke. Payouts for minor injuries will be scrapped, while those for some more serious injuries will be sharply reduced to focus funding on ‘support services’ and the victims of the worst crimes, he said." – Daily Mail
Motorists to be hit with £100 speeding fines as they bear the brunt of Ken Clarke's new victim surcharge – Daily Mail
Reform of public sector pensions will leave many workers better off than before
"Millions of lower-paid public sector workers will receive higher pensions as a result of a recent government deal, which led to widespread strikes, claims the economic forecaster. They will also continue to earn significantly higher salaries than their private sector counterparts throughout this Parliament — with wages up to a fifth higher in some parts of the country." – Daily Telegraph
- "The reform of public-sector pensions will make "little or no difference" to the amount they cost the state, an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has concluded." – Independent
NHS reforms criticised by leading healthcare publications – Guardian
- Plans for NHS in England an unholy mess, say journals – BBC
Michael Gove to remove thousands of vocational qualifications from league tables
"Thousands of vocational qualifications – including courses in fish husbandry and nail technology – are to be stripped out of school league tables… More than 3,000 qualifications regarded as equivalent to GCSEs in current league tables – and said to be used by some schools to improve their rankings – will be reduced to 125. Just 70 will count towards the main performance measure of five A* to C grades at GCSE." – Guardian
First the Falklands… now Spain demands talks over the future of Gibraltar
"David Cameron is braced for fresh demands from Spain to start talks over the sovereignty of Gibraltar… Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s new centre-right Prime Minister, meanwhile, is to demand talks over the future of the colony without the involvement of authorities in Gibraltar… Madrid was unimpressed after Mr Cameron told a meeting at the Council of Europe last week that the future of Gibraltar depended on the wishes of the colony’s 30,000 inhabitants." - The Times (£)
"Government behaviour tsar": Parents who neglected basic duties are accused of causing London riots - Daily Mail
Ed Miliband pledges to fight Salmond 'toe-to-toe' over referendum saying 'separation would not help people of Scotland'
"Speaking in Glasgow, Mr Miliband said he wanted to set out a ‘positive vision’ for the Union. ‘I am not here to tell Scots that Scotland cannot survive outside the UK,’ he said. But he questioned whether independence was an ‘urgent priority’ for Scotland at a time of rising unemployment and steep inflation. It would ‘not help the working people of Scotland’." – Daily Mail
Liam Byrne: Labour 'must get tough on big business'
"Liam Byrne, the party’s policy strategist, says… Labour should back further assaults on the excesses of big business: “Business needs government to be more hands-on, not hands-off.” Banks must be made to provide credit to companies “and in return we ask for behaviour that does not resemble the worst excesses of robber barons”, he says." – Daily Telegraph
Days lost to strikes hit 20 year high – Daily Telegraph
Flood defences hit by government cuts, say MPs – Guardian
Plastic bag levy for Ulster piles pressure on Cameron to implement change in England – Daily Mail
Lobby reform chief faces inquiry into Twitter abuse for campaigners – Independent
> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.