6.30pm WATCH: Jeremy Hunt says that NHS "must learn lessons" from the Jimmy Savile scandal

5pm John Hayes MP on MPsETC: “I appreciate that not everyone starts with the advantage of a working class background and so I try to be benevolent towards those that don’t.”

DS4.15pm David Skelton on Comment: More needs to be done to help white, working class boys fulfil their potential

3pm What do you want Cameron to say in his Europe speech? Here's your opportunity to tell him. Take part in our special survey in advance of his BIG speech.

2pm ToryDiary: The Osborne Ultimatum

1.15pm Matthew Hancock MP on Comment: A modern Conservative party must be on the side of the low paid

12.15pm ToryDiary: The Government claims it isn’t thinking about cutting pensioner perks — but it should be

10.30am Marc Glendening on Comment: Is your Prime Minister a referendum cheat? Three questions that will reveal the truth about him…

ConferenceToryDiary: The Victory 2015 Conference. Saturday 9th March 2013. Will you be there?

MM2Maria Millar MP on Comment: Time and time again it has been the Conservative Party that has stood up for women

Local Government: New free school opens in Herefordshire

The Deep End's heresy of the week: A pause in global warming is no cause for complacency

WATCH: Barack Obama nominates Jack Lew as Secretary of the Treasury

Now the Germans are warning David Cameron against holding an EU referendum…

DC 2"A day after the US waded into the debate by advising against a vote, one of Angela Merkel’s closest allies went further still – warning a referendum was high risk and could lead the UK to economic disaster. … Gunther Krichbaum, the chairman of Germany’s European affairs committee, speaking on a visit to London, said Britain risked being ‘isolated’ and said leaving the EU would weaken its position in the world." – Daily Mail

  • "The Prime Minister, who is soon to deliver a hugely important speech on our future in Europe, must ignore the US, his own deputy and the EU elite, and – finally – let the people of Britain have a say over their own destiny." – Daily Mail leader
  • "This country is at risk of allowing itself to be stampeded by the Tory party and the Europhobic press into abandoning its place in Europe." – Guardian leader
  • "Instead of trying to caricature this predicament as a Eurosceptic fantasy, those who wish Britain to stay in Europe should be exploring positive ways to make it happen." – Daily Telegraph leader
  • Britain should stay and fight for a better Europe – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday, by Andrew Marshall on International: Listen to Mutti. What Cameron can learn from Merkel and what the Conservatives can learn from the CDU.

…as is José Manuel Barroso…

"José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, appeared to endorse American concerns when he said he feared that an internal fight in Britain could distract the EU at a time of economic crisis." – Financial Times (£)

…but it seems the Dutch are on side

DutchFlag"David Cameron will hit back at President Obama’s attack on his EU referendum plan by unveiling a major European ally — the Dutch. … Dutch leader Mark Rutte will back his bid to fight for powers and money to be returned to nation states." – The Sun

Mr Cameron is to visit India next month in an attempt to strengthen trade and investment tiesFinancial Times (£)

Might Mr Cameron put a stop to pensioner perks?

"Ministers are drawing up controversial plans to axe freebie perks for ALL new pensioners, rich or poor. … Winter fuel allowance, free bus passes, TV licences and eye tests would all be scrapped to eventually save billions. … Under the idea being worked on in the Treasury, poorer people who retire would be compensated for the loss by a boost to their pension credits. … Crucially, the move would allow PM David Cameron to say he has fulfilled his rash election pledge to ring-fence benefits for current pensioners until 2015 — as it would only apply to people who have not yet stopped working." – The Sun

  • "Scrapping universal benefits for well-off pensioners is well overdue. … Britain can no longer afford to lavish free travel and fuel allowances on those who live a comfortable retirement. … But a Treasury proposal to replace such benefits with “pension credits” for poorer OAPs sounds baffling." – Sun leader
  • Nick Clegg criticises David Cameron's pledge to protect pensioner benefits – Daily Mail

> Yesterday on the Deep End: Yes, young people really are being bled dry by their elders

Andrew Bridgen is amongst those advocating a pay-rise for MPs; the PM isn't

AB"Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said there was a ‘real danger’ good calibre people would be deterred from standing for Parliament because of the level of pay. He suggested the ‘vast majority’ of the public did not consider £65,000 to be a lot of money. … [According to a new survey], Tories said their salary should be £96,740, while Lib Dems thought the right amount was £78,361 and Labour £77,322. … A spokesman for David Cameron said: ‘The Prime Minister believes MPs’ pay is a matter  for Ipsa.’" – Daily Mail

  • "Our MPs have finally lost all grip on reality." – Sun leader

No.10 advisers proposed lowering the age of consent to 14; the PM said no

"Lowering the age of sexual consent to 14 and allowing public nudity were among ideas suggested by Downing Street officials drawing up new laws on personal freedoms. … Prime Minister David Cameron rejected the 'offensive' suggestion that the age of sexual consent could be reduced." – Daily Telegraph

Fraser Nelson: "The Tories have moral mission — and David Cameron should say so"

FN"The various ideas that Mr Cameron has had since becoming Tory leader (“Big Society”, “General Well-Being”, “greenest government ever”) have all been abandoned after much mockery. After seven years of leadership, no one speaks about “Cameronism”. If there are to be nine more years of the man, then he needs a mission." – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

  • "If David Cameron wants to win in 2015 he must find a big problem to take on. Championing care of the elderly fits the bill" – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

Jeremy Heywood's Plebgate testimony: "We decided to let matters rest"

 "Sir Jeremy admitted having suspicions that Mr Mitchell might have been the victim of a ‘gigantic conspiracy’ by the police but decided to do nothing about it." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Jeremy Heywood considered the possibility of a Plebgate conspiracy, but left it at that

Liam Fox criticises the Government's gay marriage proposals

Liam Fox"The former Defence Secretary Liam Fox has called gay
marriage proposals 'divisive, ill thought through and constitutionally wrong'
while promising to vote against them in the Commons." – Independent

The Sun attacks the Tories over yesterday's sex crime statistics

"The Justice Ministry’s new sex crime statistics are almost as shocking as the despicable offences themselves. … The Tories were once seen as the party of tough justice. … Thanks to the Coalition, that reputation is now in tatters." – Sun leader

  • One in every 200 women was a victim of rape or another serious sexual assualt last year, but only one in every 88 rape claims resulted in a conviction - Daily Mail

Party donor John Nash has been made an education minister

John Nash"A Conservative Party donor and venture capitalist
whose charity funds two academy schools was appointed an education minister
today. … Labour raised questions about a possible conflict of interest after
John Nash was named as the successor to Lord Hill of Oareford, who was promoted
to Leader of the Lords on Monday following the surprise resignation of Lord
Strathclyde." – Independent

  • "Non-EU postgraduate numbers in UK fall for first time in 16 years" – Guardian

> Today on Local Government: New free school opens in Herefordshire

> Yesterday on Local Government: Academy schools are breaking down social segregation not fueling it

Doubts over the Coalition's plans for a child care tax break

"Just three days after the plans to give every parent with children under five tax relief worth about £2,000 per child were revealed, the Coalition has been forced to postpone its announcement as haggling between senior ministers over the detail and funding of the scheme continues." – Daily Telegraph

Ministers face questions over taxpayer-funded consultations

Ice cream"Ministers could be investigated by the National Audit Office over their use of expensive public consultations. … A parliamentary committee urged the Government to rethink its use of reviews after a Times investigation revealed that 1,000 consultations into everything from ice-cream van chimes to scallops have taken place since 2010." – The Times (£)

West Coast Main Line fiasco blamed on DfT skills shortageFinancial Times (£)

  • After the controversy over his taxpayer-funded car, Simon Burns is taking the train into workDaily Mail

"Millions of pounds of Britain's foreign aid budget are to be spent on training an Ethiopian paramilitary security force that stands accused of numerous human rights abuses and summary executions." - Guardian

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: William Hague says that the UK could start arming Syrian rebels

"The Tory party needs a vibrant green conservative movement" – Ben Caldecott, Guardian

Quentin Letts: "Poor Cleggy was asked why he's so unpopular"

CoC"They have labelled Nick Clegg’s new phone-in radio show ‘Call Clegg’ and it was soon evident that listeners wanted to call him rather rude names." – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

"Nick Clegg confessed yesterday to owning an Incredible Hulk onesie." – The Sun

> Yesterday:

Tony Blair wants to form a commercial alliance with one of the world's wealthiest bankersThe Times (£)

An inquiry concludes that Alex Salmond gave "muddled and potentially confusing" answers during an TV interview about the EUDaily Telegraph

  • The Shetland Islands warn Mr Salmond: Don't ride roughshod over our claims to North Sea oil – Daily Telegraph

Councils are preparing for the Big Freeze

Snowflake"Town hall chiefs and airports last night insisted they were ready for the fortnight of ice and snow expected to start tomorrow. … After a relatively mild Christmas, temperatures are predicted to plunge to  -10C (14F) in some areas with the arrival of freezing air from Scandinavia." – Daily Mail

A joint police and NSPCC report into the Jimmy Savile scandal is to be published todayDaily Mail

"The police should start prioritising real crimes: We've ended up with Keystroke Kops who'd rather investigate imaginary Facebook 'crimes' than catch car thieves" – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by Peter Walker on Local Government: Met reform is policing model

And finally… Matthew Hancock needs a better alarm clock

"Skills Minister Matthew Hancock missed his chance to publicise a flagship policy to help unemployed youths become more employable – by oversleeping. … The red-faced minister was spurned by ITV's Daybreak after he was late for his primetime breakfast slot just before 7am. … He has admitted that he could not get out of bed on time, despite the broadcaster sending a chauffeur-driven executive car to get him from his West London home." – Daily Mail 


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