6pm WATCH: Farage – the key issue is that Britain's contributions to the EU will continue to rise

Screen shot 2013-02-08 at 18.00.454pm Christopher Howarth on Comment: David Cameron’s EU Budget deal is a success – but it should not be oversold

3.15pm Local Government: Council by-election results from yesterday

2.30pm Matthew Oakley on Comment: Child poverty – Government should focus on outcomes as well as incomes.

11.30am Donal Blaney on Comment: A new dawn for Conservative Way Forward

10.15am Local Government: John Bald says that the National Curriculum will set out what our children are entitled to learn – not how they should learn it

ToryDiary: "Victory for David Cameron as EU budget is cut for first time in history"

Screen shot 2013-02-08 at 08.30.57
MPsETC: It's neck-and-neck in the battle for Eastleigh

Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Conservatives 3% ahead of Lib Dems in first Eastleigh by-election poll

Local Government: Huge increase in council leader's allowances in Tunbridge Wells

The Deep End: Heresy of the week – England needs a second Conservative Party

CAMERON-AS-SUPERDAVEA double dose of good news for Cameron.  Merkel gangs up with him against Hollande to force the first EU budget cut in history.  And a Lord Ashcroft poll finds him three points ahead of the LibDems in Eastleigh.

EU budget 1) British taxpayer could save £500 a year

"Proposals tabled early on Friday morning for Brussels budgets for the period
2014 to 2020 would slash the EU's spending by £30 billion between 2014 and
2020 compared to current levels of spending. The historic cuts package tabled by Herman Van Rompuy, the EU president, after
a bitter battle between the Prime Minister and François Hollande, the French
President, could save the British taxpayer up to £500 million a year." – Daily Telegraph

EU budget 2) Stroppy Hollande stands up "Merkeron"

"Stroppy Francois Hollande delivered a massive snub to David Cameron and Angela Merkel by standing them up for a crunch EU budget meeting. In an unprecedented diplomatic embarrassment, the French president left the British and German leaders sitting in a Brussels meeting room for an hour. French officials eventually said he was not coming as a previous meeting had “over-ran”." – The Sun

  • Britain's man in Brussels casts doubt on David Cameron's EU strategy – Nick Watt, The Guardian

> Today: ToryDiary – "Victory for David Cameron as EU budget is cut for first time in history"

Eastleigh 1) Ashcroft poll shows Tories three points ahead of the LibDems in Eastleigh

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 17.13.55"The Liberal Democrats look to have a tough job on their hands to retain Chris Huhne's seat in the Eastleigh byelection after a starting-pistol poll put them three points down on the Conservatives, largely due to the defection of some of their supporters to Labour. The survey, conducted on 4-5 February by the former Conservative deputy chairman, Lord Michael Ashcroft, suggests the Lib Dems will have to work hard to save the seat, mainly by clawing back the Labour vote, and chiefly by arguing only they can defeat the Tories." – The Guardian

Eastleigh 2) Maria Hutchings will be the Conservative candidate

"Maria Hutchings, who failed to topple Huhne in 2010, will fight the seat again after a guilty plea to dodging a speeding penalty ended the ex-cabinet minister's political career. Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps and Mrs Hutchings both spoke about "trust" ahead of a weekend blitz in what promises to be a brutal battle with their Liberal coalition partners. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg had earlier urged voters not to exact retribution for his former leadership rival's disgrace." – Daily Express

> Today:

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Why Cameron must win Eastleigh

"60% of those northerners questioned concluded that Cameron's decision to
support same-sex marriages will either make them think more negatively
about them or has had no change on their already negative perceptions of
the PM."
The Guardian's Northerner Blog

Birmingham to host fourth Conservative Party conference in 2014Birmingham Post

Gove fights back: EU dropped from curriculum as he retreats on the EBac…

"Michael Gove yesterday dropped the European Union from the school curriculum – as EU laws were blamed for helping to sink his flagship plans to scrap GCSEs. Pupils will no longer be required to learn about the organisation in geography lessons while citizenship classes will merely specify studying the UK’s ‘relations with the rest of Europe’." – Daily Mail

  • "Tracey Crouch, speaking for headteachers, begged him to "end this constant tinkering". Mind you, Tobias Ellwood did have kind words for his "rare display of humility", which is praising with faint damns, I suppose." – Simon Hoggart, The Guardian

…Pursued by Clegg…

"Nick Clegg said he did not like the original plan, which he described as “a two-tier system where you tell one set of kids you are not bright enough to proceed”. He said on his weekly LBC radio phone-in: “I didn’t like that, I’ve always wanted an approach to exam reform and qualification reform and curriculum reform that is ambitious for higher standards, and I’m totally at one with Michael Gove on this. We need to do as well as the best countries around the world do." – The Times (£)

  • ‘Jews’ row Lib Dem MP David Ward in second controversy – The Times (£)

…Who is ambushed by…Boris!

Boris Johnson smiling"London Mayor Mr Johnson called in to weekly show 'Call Clegg' on LBC  as‘Boris from Islington’ to demand Cabinet ministers ditch their ‘posh limos’ and use public transport ‘like everybody else’.  Voters would not trust the Government to build vital infrastructure while they ‘sit in their chauffeur-driven limousines paid for by the taxpayer’, he fumed." – Daily Mail

Fraser Nelson: Gove's success lies in his devolutionary change, not his centralising measures

"The failure of Gove’s EBacc plan makes his point about the inefficacy of Whitehall. He had allowed it to become his pet project (“it was dear to my heart,” he confessed yesterday) so it was always going to be his test – more of a “G-Bacc”. And anyway, schools can still go for the real thing. This year about 5,000 pupils will sit the proper International Baccalaureate, most of them from state schools. That number has doubled in five years." – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

  • Michael Gove has suffered a tactical setback but he must still push ahead with freeing schools and raising standards – The Times (£)
  • "Let’s hope Mr Clegg, who enjoyed the best education money can buy, and who may send his own children to private school, can sleep at night" – Daily Mail Editorial
  • Real Conservatives have a champion in Michael Gove – Daily Express Editorial
  • "Gove has suffered a setback. But he’s the right man to improve our kids’ education." – Sun Editorial
  • And someone has to say it…Yes, it's Jonathan Freedland over at the Guardian! This U-turn will weaken his leadership chances"

> Yesterday: Jill Kirby on Comment – Michael Gove is right to change course

Ruffley, Newmark praise Carney as Treasury Select Committee confirms appointment of new Bank of England Governor. Andrea Leadsom describes him as "reassuringly boring"

Screen shot 2013-02-08 at 08.34.27"Mark Carney won praise from his inquisitors on the Commons treasury committee, who unanimously endorsed his appointment as Bank of England governor following an “impressive” performance lasting nearly four hours. MPs variously described Mr Carney as impressive, courteous and calm. Several were also pleasantly surprised that the former Goldman Sachs man seemed so unlike another investment banker they met in July last year: Barclays’ Bob Diamond." – Financial Times (£)

  • "In my view, flexible inflation targeting – as practised in both Canada and the UK – has proven itself to be the most effective monetary policy framework implemented thus far," he said. – The Guardian
  • "Even in the longest sentence he made sure that each word was weighed, quality-control checked and wrapped before it was uttered. He is the sort of man who will  study the menu at McDonald’s as though it were the bill of fare at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand." – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Brandon Lewis brawl with Lambeth council over posters attacking benefit cuts

Brandon Lewis"Lambeth Council has spent hundreds of pounds of taxpayers’ money on 50 posters and an online advert opposing Coalition cuts in welfare. Ministers said it was evidence that Labour believes welfare claimants should be entitled to sit on state benefits without bothering to go to work. The advert, displayed on Lambeth’s website, features a giant pair of scissors slicing through a pound sign." – Daily Mail

  • Mark Hoban brawl with Public Accounts Committee over report attacking DWP Daily

> Yesterday: Brandon Lewis MP, Local Government Minister – Breckland and South Holland councils are champions of the week

Has the Lords opened the back door for Leveson?

Screen shot 2013-02-08 at 08.39.41"Free speech campaigners yesterday condemned a House of Lords amendment to introduce statutory regulation of the Press as an ‘unacceptable’ attempt to ‘hold the Government to ransom’. Earlier in the week, an alliance of Labour, Lib Dem and rebel Tory peers passed the proposal to introduce an arbitration service for members of the public who have been wronged by the Press." – Daily Mail

Hunt: care home staff must report failures

"Ministers are considering imposing a new legal “duty of candour” on NHS nurses who care for frail pensioners. This could be extended to care home staff and helpers who assist the elderly in their own homes, the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said. The duty, designed for nurses in hospitals, was proposed to encourage NHS staff to blow the whistle on failures more quickly to prevent another Stafford-style scandal of neglect and poor care." – The Guardian

  • "Welsh MP Ann Clwyd has spoken of her hope that her review of how the NHS deals with complaints will lead to action being taken in Wales" – Wales Online
  • The NHS is run for the staff, not the patients – Philip Collins, The Times (£)
  • More than 4,000 people a year 'are dying needlessly at 26 NHS trusts' – Daily Mail

> Yesterday: Jeremy Hunt MP on Comment – A narrow focus on finance and targets was a large driver of the Mid Staffs tragedy

Screen shot 2013-02-08 at 08.25.14Peter Lilley: too many MPs have smoked cannabis, and Greg Barker is barking mad
Daily Mail

Maude hits back at Civil Service Commissioner Financial Times (£)

Policy Exchange says that 2.3 million children in the UK are living "materially deprived" lives but are not included in official Government statistics on povertyDaily Express

Philip Hollobone and Stewart Jackson warn over Romanian and Bulgarian immigrationDaily Express

'Huhne forced me to abort my baby': latest from the Vicky Pryce trialDaily Mail

Violent crime falls to its lowest level for 30 yearsThe Times (£)

Gardai quiz Real IRA suspects over rocket launcher haulBelfast Telegraph

Scottish independence: Swinney – No tax rise planScotsman

Iran's Srebrenica: How Ayatollah Khomeini sanctioned the deaths of 20,000 'enemies of the state'The Independent

Home ownership collapses to its lowest level for 25 years Daily Mail

Findus beef lasagne ready meal was up to 100 per cent horse meat Daily Telegraph

Snow next week: "The public should be aware of possible disruption to travel."The Independent

Samantha Cameron hosts tea party to unveil new 8,000sq ft Smythson store on Sloane StreetDaily Mail

And finally…David Miliband photographed having an afternoon nap on the Tube with his flies undone.  The Sun reminds him to Mind the Gap