6pm Adam Afriyie MP on Comment: This is what a hi-tech, prosperous and Conservative Britain could look like
5.15pm Local government: Despite Sir Stephen Bubb's blubbing the Big Society is getting stronger
4pm ToryDiary: Ten observations about Cameron and Clegg's Mid-Term relaunch
4pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: What recognition of the ability to pay should the tax system have?
Noon ToryDiary: Lord Hill replaces Lord Strathclyde as Leader of the Lords
11.30am Robert Buckland MP on Comment argues that the Leveson Bill is the bare minimum the public deserve: "Victims do not think that a self regulator can pass an inspection as independent and efficient without a proper, agreed system of checks. Unless the press works within a system that is truly independent and is underpinned by statute, then nothing will have been learned from the Leveson process."
9.30am ToryDiary: The full text of the foreword to the Coalition's mid-term review – "We will continue to put political partisanship to one side to govern in the long-term interests of the country".
Charlotte Vere on Comment: We Conservatives need a fundamental rethink to win the trust of women
Majority Conservatism: Six reasons why our political opponents think Cameron may well win in 2015…
"David Cameron and Nick Clegg are to unveil a series of initiatives to mark the halfway point in their government. Pledges on childcare costs, help towards care costs for the elderly and infrastructure investment are expected to be announced later, as part of the PM and his deputy's mid-term review. They will insist the coalition is "steadfast and united" as they outline priorities for the rest of their term." – BBC
Cameron insists Coalition still has a "full tank of gas"
"Far from running out of ideas, we have got a packed agenda, which concerns things like how do we build roads in Britain to make sure our economy keeps moving, how do we pay for the care for the elderly, how do we have a pension system that encourages saving – big things that are going to equip our country for the next decade." – The PM quoted in The Guardian
"Working parents are to be given thousands of pounds a year toward the cost of childcare. Radical proposals at the heart of a new Coalition deal to be unveiled today will see generous tax breaks being offered to families with children under five who need to pay for nurseries and childminders." – Daily Mail
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Harry Phibbs lists one hundred Coalition achievements
- At the midpoint of the Coalition's first term, the ship of government may not be a happy one, but it may yet be productive – Telegraph leader
- "Tory wets gave Thatcher more hassle than the Lib Dems give Cameron" – Owen Jones in The Independent
Cameron vows to curb EU migrants' benefits and only allow working immigrants into Britain in new relationship with Brussels
"Only working immigrants from Europe should be allowed into Britain, David Cameron suggested yesterday. The Prime Minister also said he wanted new restrictions that would mean incomers from the EU having access to state-funded benefits restricted as part of a new relationship between the UK and Brussels." – Daily Mail | Express
- Britain is hosting enough illegal immigrants (863,000) to fill three cities the size of Newcastle – Daily Mail
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Highlights from Cameron's two new year interviews
Peter Mandelson says PM shouldn't think he can 'put a gun to the heads' of EU leaders in an effort to repatriate powers – Guardian
- Cameron "seems not to have noticed that Germany and other eurozone partners are wary of a major treaty revision" – Lord Mandelson in The Guardian
- Peter Mandelson is still trotting out his discredited line about foreign investment depending on Europe – Dan Hannan
- Cameron's Europe speech reveals more about his weakness at home than his agenda abroad – Douglas Alexander MP for PoliticsHome
David Cameron brands UKIP members ‘pretty odd people’ – The Sun
Paul Goodman in The Telegraph: "The Prime Minister wouldn’t dream of calling Liberal Democrat members “pretty kooky” or Labour members “pretty common”. He should apply the principle more widely. It is not at all clever to slight members of a party that is scoring up to 16 per cent in the polls – out-rating his Coalition partner in the process – and gaining the support of roughly one in eight voters."
The Sun Says: "If avowed euroscepticism makes someone a loonie then Mr Cameron has plenty of opportunity to look such people in the eye. He need only glance over his shoulder to his own benches at Prime Minister’s Questions."
Nigel Farage tells the Guardian that David Cameron has been a huge gift to UKIP because of his pre-election lies on Europe, hunting and immigration – Guardian
- Douglas Carswell MP: "The only effective way to deal with UKIP is to campaign for an In / Out referendum"
Cameron says he is prepared to fight for the Falklands again – Daily Mail
Child benefit changes will cost £50 million to administer – Daily Mail
"How, as this paper has long argued, can it possibly be ‘fundamentally fair’ to remove child benefit altogether from couples where one person earns more than £60,000, yet leave untouched a household in which two parents earn up to £49,000 each?" – Daily Mail leader
"The reform establishes an important principle. The welfare state should be targeted at those who need it most. Giving the same child benefit to the millionaire and the poor is both grossly inefficient and vastly inequitable. The government should take heart and extend this credo to other areas. Removing subsidised heating and free bus passes from rich pensioners is the logical next step." – FT leader (£)
Downing Street will be delighted that Boris Johnson has come to its support, however. "What a relief!," he writes in his Telegraph column, "The madness of child benefit for all ends today".
Labour risks being seen as party for scroungers after opposing benefits squeeze, says former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – Daily Mail
Grant Shapps attacks Labour's welfare record in The Independent: "The benefits system has needed attention for a long time. The last Labour government spent billions on welfare, but their approach lacked results. During that administration, welfare spending increased by 60 per cent, but that increase was never reflected in the number of people getting back to work. In fact there were half a million more unemployed people by the time Labour left office, compared to when Blair was elected."
"In a letter to the Prime Minister seen by The Times, charity bosses complain that they have been left out of policy consultations and had their funding slashed by local councils. They say that the vulnerable people for whom they care are having state help eroded and being labelled as benefit scroungers." – Times (£)
Cameron can't say it but seven and a half years is plenty for a Prime Minister – Eamonn Butler for the Adam Smith Institute blog
Tories can't find a candidate to take on Ed Balls – Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail
Government-backed TV adverts to promote healthier eating habits in England are to be shown for the first time later – BBC
Scottish Tories backs NUS campaign to reverse college cuts – The Herald
"To a remarkable extent, Cameron's real hope lies not in what he is announcing today, nor in his speech on Europe later this month, but on the electorate not trusting Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to restore the economy." – Jackie Ashley in The Guardian
- "If the present political pessimism is lifted, and we begin to feel better off again, there’s every chance that Cameron can win an overall majority" – Peter McKay in the Daily Mail
"If David Miliband is going to come back to Labour politics he should do so soon"
"The Shadow Cabinet could certainly do with the elder Miliband’s presence around its table. With the not entirely beneficial exception of Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, the Shadow Cabinet is inexperienced and all but invisible. The absence of serious Labour figures is turning the next general election into a presidential contest by default, because Ed Miliband gets precious little help from his colleagues." – Times leader (£)
Prince Charles has expressed serious concern about the impact of ‘rushed’ Government plans to change ancient laws governing the Royal line of succession – Daily Mail
- Why didn’t they talk to Charles before this mad scramble? – Simon Heffer in the Daily Mail
FOCUS ON STATE FAILURE
- From Baby P to this hospital of horrors, the Welfare State is protecting callous and incompetent staff – Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail
- Why NHS scandal bosses can only make you sick – Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun
- NHS Board has unhealthy obsession with pen-pushers – Express leader
Police arrest 70 after Belfast flag riots – FT (£)
- Northern Ireland’s leaders lack moral authority to influence the violence but the Union is safe – Lord Bew in The Times (£)
We need an export-led revolution to save the UK economy – Allister Heath's indispensable City AM leader returns today.
Owners of Telegraph put recuperating Lady Thatcher up at the Ritz Hotel for as long as she wishes – Times (£)
And finally… The Independent profiles Jacob Rees-Mogg
"He was recently described by a Tory colleague as a "mini Boris" – charismatic despite being posh and an able politician who could explain complex arguments simply and intelligently – without recourse to vacuous sound bites. He has become a frequent guest on programmes such as Newsnight where he has rather effectively defended the Government on tricky subjects such as benefit reform and rejecting statutory regulation of the press." – Independent
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