3pm ToryDiary: Where Tory members most agree with all voters (and where they most disagree)

11.15am Luke Coffey, former Special Adviser to Liam Fox, writes that the Government made the right decision on the Joint Strike Fighter this week. In his article he describes staggering changes in the advice that MoD officials gave to ministers.

ToryDiary: Time to revive the idea of a tax break for married couples

Paul Maynard MP on Comment: Tory MPs should be more loyal, less panicky and Cameron should more clearly set out where he is leading us

Local government: Free schools mean levelling up, not down

Stay-at-home mums and carers set to be big winners in pensions shake-up

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"Millions of mothers who have chosen to take time out of work will no longer be penalised once they are pensioners, Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has announced. However, the overhaul is expected to hit wealthier workers, as the state second pension will be scrapped." –Telegraph

Rebekah Brooks holds fire on potential political targetsITV

"Mr Cameron became so close to the former Sun editor and News International chief executive that they were together at a party on Boxing Day in 2010, four days after he had been for dinner at Mrs Brooks’s home in the Cotswolds. During five hours of evidence to the Leveson Inquiry yesterday, Mrs Brooks painted a picture of a cosy friendship in which the Camerons and the Brookses were constantly in and out of each other’s houses (or official residences) and barely seemed able to go more than a few weeks without bumping into each other." – Telegraph

  • Culture secretary under pressure as email appears to show he asked Murdoch firm's advice on dealing with hacking scandal – Guardian
  • Gordon Brown had an 'extraordinarily aggressive' conversation with Rebekah Brooks after the newspaper she oversaw withdrew its support for him – Telegraph

Business is addicted to immigration, says Damian Green

"The coalition has promised to reduce the number of people coming into this country every year from over 240,000 to “tens of thousands” by 2015. Mr Green believes this is still an achievable goal. But there must, he says, now be a dramatic shift in culture to reduce this country’s dependence on foreign workers. “Business has got addicted to immigration. It’s the first thing they look for — ‘We’ve got a problem, let’s bring someone in from abroad’." It is not good enough, in his view, for bosses to say that a foreign candidate is better than a British one. “Individually it may be true that this candidate is better than that candidate but as a society that’s hopeless in the long run. We can’t carry on with a million people under the age of 24 entirely disconnected.”" – Damian Green MP talks to The Times (£)

Ministers must prepare for the worstDaily Mail leader says Queen's Speech did nothing to help business navigate the €urozone crisis 

An EU referendum is coming. Which party will get the credit? – Dan Hannan in The Telegraph

According to The Times (£) Dan Hannan might not be correct: "William Hague will this weekend seek to dispel rumours that the next Tory manifesto include a commitment to a referendum on Britain’s relationship with Europe. The Foreign Secretary has given an interview in which he will stress that no decisions have been taken on the content of the manifesto."

  • In a leader The Telegraph urges Cameron to give the British people a referendum

David Cameron wants to persuade Hollande not to fulfil promise to withdraw all French troops from Afghanistan by end of 2012

"British and American leaders want Mr Hollande to delay the French troop drawdown until at least 2013. They fear his current plan will spark a "rush for the exits" in Afghanistan and ruin the more gradual withdrawal timetable they want to agree at a Nato summit in Chicago next weekend." Telegraph

Tory Party faced with new rift as loyalist MPs prepare to oust 'awkward squad' from 1922 CommitteeIndependent

Nick Clegg begins two week focus on social mobility with address on power of pupil premiumGuardian

The wrong kind of leadership?

  • David Cameron mistakenly dedicated his early leadership to non-economic issues – Patrick O'Flynn in The Express
  • "The truth is that the Prime Minister and his Government colleagues seem to want power for its own sake, not because they aspire to do anything useful with it. Mr Cameron seems content to manage decline; Mr Clegg is happy to have a train set to play with, on which — as with Lords reform — he can make his engines crash all the time." – Daily Mail

Despite what Clegg said the burden of debt will increase by £400 billion during course of this parliament – Patrick O'Flynn in The Express

16226477Energy bills are set to rise by up to 20 per cent this winter, or £240 per yearExpress

  • The Government must ask whether green taxes which fund the Lib Dem obsession with windmills are in the interests of freezing families – The Sun

Matthew Parris: Politicians who break stupid promises are honourable men

"Implicitly, the Tories promised that Britain was dealing with a temporary interruption to the years of our enrichment. Once we’d fixed Labour’s deficit, the enrichment would resume. They never admitted that the deficit was the reason for the enrichment. They never suggested that without a deficit the enrichment would never return." - Matthew Parris in The Times (£) 

Dominic Grieve urges Twitter users to stay within law or face consequencesTelegraph

The inexorable march of the managerialists is creating resentment and social divisionCharles Moore in The Telegraph

Lord Browne warns that public sector pay constraints make it difficult to attract and reward top staffBBC

Labour is not ready yet – In The Independent Andy Grice writes: "Public hostility means that millions will turn their backs on politics for a while. However, many will tune back in, if only briefly, before the general election. For many, the only alternative they will see will be Labour. Mr Miliband and his party must be ready for that critical moment: people may take only a quick look. Labour is nowhere near ready yet." 

"I do not know whether Mr Cameron knows the price of a pint of milk. I do know that he is posh." – In the FT, Tim Harford isn't convinced that we learn much about politicians who know the price of milk.

British politics isn't giving voters much choice

"What if a lot of people feel that there’s no point in voting because whoever you vote for you get the same old mix of economic liberalism and social liberalism – Margaret Thatcher tempered by Roy Jenkins. Whereas what a large slice of the electorate wants is more like David Owen: one-nation economics plus a liberalism that is about common decency, not “anything goes”." - David Goodhart in the FT


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