8pm MPsETC: Tory MPs to Telegraph: Indians need our aid

6pm WATCH: Some of the broadcast interviews Tim Montgomerie gave last week on the NHS Bill

5.30pm Andrew Lilico: Religious toleration is about how religions tolerate

5pm Leading our teatime round-up today are three Lib Dem victories: (1) Stopping Cameron acting against ECHR and deporting Abu Qatada, (2) Allowing Cable to appoint social engineer Les Ebdon to universities access post and (3) Blocking marriage tax breaks.

4pm Len Shackleton: Cameron is wrong to pressurise firms into putting more women on company boards

HALFON-robert2.45pm AUDIO: Reacting to Abu Qatada's release, Robert Halfon MP says UK should suspend ECHR membership until Court returns to its founding principles

1pm Local government:

Noon ConHomeUSA: Santorum builds for head-to-head contest with Romney

11am Peter Cuthbertson on Comment: Conservatives should be the party of religious freedom

ToryDiary: Osborne unlikely to agree to new wealth taxes to fund lower income tax

6a00d83451b31c69e2014e8c4b7e9e970d-500wiPaul Goodman on Majority Conservatism looks at big barriers to the Conservatives winning a majority in coming years: Why Labour won four of the last five elections: a 2024 letter to Prime Minister Miliband

Columnist Bruce Anderson: He's not back at square one but Cameron has lost many of his NHS gains

Simon Burns MP: Paul Goodman is wrong. The NHS Bill DOES cut bureaucracy.

Greg Clark MP on Comment: Directly-elected mayors in Britain's big cities will put Whitehall in its place

Local government: Gove must tackle Surrey's failing schools too

Athens burns as Greek Parliament approves austerity packageCity AM

Pickles Eric Dec 11 2Eric Pickles says Cabinet is 100% united in wanting to see NHS Bill passedScotsman

"Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary tipped as a possible emergency replacement for Mr Lansley, said the Health Secretary was a “decent man . . . and he knows what he is doing”. He said Mr Lansley would go down in history as the “architect of the modern NHS”, adding: “It is completely wrong to make a judgment about someone when they are right in the middle of the storm.”" – Times (£)

  • Simon Hughes: Andrew Lansley should "move on" from his role after NHS reforms in England are completed – BBC
  • Clegg fears new Lib Dem backlash against NHS Bill if Tory unity breaks – Telegraph
  • Paper published in Lancet says taxpayers have got more for their money out of the NHS, undermining government claims – Guardian
  • Why is Dave risking such ill feeling over health reform? – Peter McKay in the Daily Mail

Lansley defends idea of competition inside NHS

LANSLEY ANDREW NW"On Monday Mr Lansley risks inflaming his critics by declaring that “in healthcare, the term ‘competition’ is often used pejoratively by vested interests with something to fear from change. But the vast majority of the NHS, including the many world-beating services we have which already compete with other health providers on a global scale, recognise that there is nothing to fear from competition.” – FT (£)

  • "Many recoil in horror when words such as efficiency and profit are even mentioned in the field of healthcare" – Iain Martin in the FT (£)

Osborne set to approve £500 million of RBS bonuses

OSBORNE BLUE TIE"David Cameron has decided not to reopen the row over RBS bonuses, fearing that the bank would lose key staff. Separate discussions are to be held with the bank over its long-term bonus and pay plans. However, ministers are keen to rein in the payment of bonuses in the wider public sector. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, and Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, have written to all government departments asking them to review their bonus structures." – Telegraph

Cameron and Osborne will hold crunch talks with Clegg and Alexander to discuss Lib Dem demands for new levies on the wealthy to fund tax cuts for ordinary workersTelegraph

The Chancellor has ruled out major changes to his plans to slash child benefit payments for higher earnersDaily Mail

Jackson stewartThe Express meanwhile covers Tory frustration at lack of progress on marriage tax breaks: "Tory MP Stewart Jackson, who stepped down from the Government last year as a ministerial aide, said deferring the introduction of marriage tax allowances represented a “failure of leadership” by David Cameron. “I urge George Osborne to reconsider this decision,” he said. “Not to introduce this feels like kow-towing to the Liberal Democrats.”"

The taxpayer-funded bill for MPs’ salaries and expenses, plus the cost of their staff, is expected to reach a total of £164.7million this financial year, up by £46.7millionExpress

  • Cameron told to "get a grip" on over-spending MPs – Express leader

Cameron insists Alex Salmond must negotiate with Scottish Secretary over referendum, not Number 10Scotsman

Whitehall has been ordered to produce three “positive” Games-related stories every day for nearly three monthsTimes (£)

RAABDom Raab MP: Gender quotas are wrong and don’t work – it’s time to treat people as individuals

"When it comes to gender pay and promotion, the key issue is no longer institutional sexism – although lurking prejudices will never be eliminated in a free society – but more the challenge for ambitious women of combining the dual roles of bread-winning and child-caring." – Dom Raab in City AM

Boris Johnson: We should give Abu Qatada a one-way ticket to Jordan

"This is a man who came to this country illegally. He has preached hate and violence. By common consent, he is at no risk of torture in Jordan; indeed he is guaranteed a fair trial. It is lunacy to waste police time on allowing him and his family to use taxpayers’ money to go shopping in London. He should be given a one-way ticket back, in steerage." – Boris Johnson in The Telegraph

It's hard to see quite where Cameron is heading – Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian

PHILLIPS-MELANIEStand aside, Vince. We need a minister who'll stop the rot in our universities – Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail

Why does the public sector find it so difficult to cut spending?John Redwood

Planning reforms would not promote growth, says reportIndependent | FT (£)

City mayors and police commissioners have the power to re-engage a wearily cynical electorate – Ian Birrell for The Guardian

Blair warns Labour that it must attract support of big company CEOsFT (£)

David Miliband sets out a strategy for restarting global momentum towards action on climate changeFT (£)

Britain's other regions must be made more competitive, not London less – Allister Heath in City AM

Trevor Kavanagh says Sun journalists are being "treated like members of an organised crime gang"


"They are subjects of the biggest police operation in British criminal history — bigger even than the Pan Am Lockerbie murder probe. Major crime investigations are on hold as 171 police are drafted in to run three separate operations. In one raid, two officers revealed they had been pulled off an elite 11-man anti-terror squad trying to protect the Olympics from a mass suicide attack. Instead of being called in for questioning, 30 journalists have been needlessly dragged from their beds in dawn raids, arrested and held in police cells while their homes are ransacked." – Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun

  • The Telegraph has sympathy for Kavanagh and The Sun: The hacking inquiry is too heavy-handed, its leader-writers conclude.


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