Cameron hits back at Archbishop: welfare reform is a moral mission

CAMERON flag‘We are in the middle of a long and difficult journey turning our country around. That means difficult decisions to get our deficit down, making sure that the debts of this generation are not our children’s to inherit. But our welfare reforms go beyond that alone: they are about giving new purpose, new opportunity, new hope – and yes, new responsibility to people who had previously been written off with no chance. Seeing these reforms through is at the heart of our long-term economic plan – and it is at the heart, too, of our social and moral mission in politics today.’ – David Cameron, Daily Telegraph

  • Nichols renews left-wing attack – The Independent
  • White Dee condemns a system which pays her more than someone in work – Daily Mail
  • Record numbers have cash withheld – The Guardian
  • Labour wants to continue Universal Credit – FT
  • Whitehall is considering scrapping Universal Credit – FT
  • Is No 10 silencing news that doesn’t fit the re-election plan? – Oliver Wright, The Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: Two reasons why Cameron will find it difficult to persuade Archbishop Nichols

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Benefits Street ends, debate continues

No benefits for EU migrants unless they earn over £149 a week

‘Foreign migrants will be banned from receiving benefits unless they earn a minimum of £149 a week, under new rules unveiled today. From March 1st people from European countries who claim to have been in work or self-employed in order to gain access to a wider range of benefits will face a more robust test.’ – Daily Mail

  • UK is Europe’s most popular immigration destination – Daily Mail
  • Thousands of fake marriages, but only a few dozen people deported – Daily Mail
  • Speeding fine soldier will be allowed to stay – Daily Mail

Court of Appeal: ECHR is wrong, life must mean life (and even the killer on trial agrees)

Prison bars‘A triple killer whose 40-year sentence was judged by the Court of Appeal to be too lenient – a decision which defied Strasbourg rules over ‘life means life’ sentences – believes it is right he should die behind bars…Announced by the Lord Chief Justice, the decision defies Strasbourg over ‘life means life’ prison sentences. Drawing a line in the sand, they rejected a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that whole-life tariffs are unlawful.’ – Daily Mail

Inflation falls below 2 per cent

‘Tuesday’s drop in inflation to a four-year low comes on the back of buoyant growth numbers and falling unemployment. Add in sterling’s appreciation since last summer, which has helped the inflation outlook by reducing the cost of imported goods, and the chances of the bank maintaining its policy of keeping interest rates look good. Most economists forecast a prolonged period of below target inflation.’ – FT

>Yesterday: WATCH: The ONS analyses and explains the fall in inflation

Tyrants around the world cite Leveson Royal Charter to clamp down on free press

‘Leading world press freedom organisations yesterday urged David Cameron to persuade Parliament to repeal legislation underpinning the Government’s Royal Charter on press regulation. In a letter to the Prime Minister, seven major international bodies described the Charter as ‘incomprehensible arcana’ and warned that ‘autocratic’ foreign leaders are already using it to justify repression.’ – Daily Mail

Gordon Brown surfaces: A Yes vote would cost Scots their pension

Scottish flag‘Gordon Brown opened a new front in Westminster’s war on Alex Salmond’s independence blueprint yesterday when he warned Scots that they would lose their British state pension if they voted “yes” in September. The former Prime Minister used a rare public speech to challenge the SNP’s claims that payments would continue to be made as they are now if Scotland left the UK.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: ‘New IRA’ main suspect for mainland letter bombs

The Sun Says: Labour are running scared of the EU debate

‘It makes a mockery of shadow chancellor Ed Balls’ claim that Britain is in peril from “Conservative anti-Europeanism” — when a militant left-wing union is far more rabidly anti-EU. Indeed many Labour supporters are among the millions demanding a referendum on Europe, which only a Tory government will give them. Eds Miliband and Balls are running scared of the debate.’ – The Sun Says (£)

  • Bob Crow uses union money to stand to be an MEP – The Sun (£)
  • More horrifying details of links between left wing pressure group and paedophile network – Daily Mail
  • Police ignored warnings about Ian Watkins – Daily Mail


Clegg’s ‘equidistance’ plan sparks Lib Dem infighting

CURSE OF CLEGG one‘Infighting has broken out within the Liberal Democrats over Nick Clegg’s plans to ensure that his party’s 2015 election manifesto is coalition-proof. Senior policymakers and grassroots members are furious about the Lib Dem leader’s plan to stake out a middle ground “equidistant” from Labour and the Tories to boost the chances of another coalition government.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Equidistance won’t be enough for Clegg to win back lost Lib Dems

Insurance industry in floods row with Miliband

‘Insurers have hit back at Ed Miliband after the Labour leader called on the industry to make payments to flood victims “within weeks” of claims being submitted…Aidan Kerr, head of property at the Association of British Insurers, said it was counterproductive to “try to set an artificial deadline”.’ – FT

Bring back learning by rote, urges Nick Gibb

GIBB Nick smiling‘British school children are falling behind their peers in the Far East because of a “strong resistance” to traditional teaching methods in the classroom, an MP said. The suggestion from Nick Gibb, a former schools minister, follows a global study that found that children from poor backgrounds in China were a year ahead of British doctors’ and lawyers’ children. Researchers for the OECD looked at the performance of 15-year-olds in mathematics.’ – The Times (£)

Jeremy Hunt touted to succeed Cameron

‘Shortly before the last general election, Hunt, quizzed on his political ambitions by the ConservativeHome website, replied that potential leaders should be judged on their performance in office and ability to deliver real change in a tough environment. Two years ago, the idea of his leadership bid would have provoked little more than hollow laughter under his own criteria. Now he could just emerge as the dark horse candidate.’ – Ian Birrell, The Guardian

NHS climbdown over data-sharing

NHS_Logo‘Plans to share the private medical data of NHS patients have been shelved for at least six months after health chiefs conceded that they had failed to explain the scheme properly and needed to restore public confidence. In an embarrassing climbdown, NHS England has promised to ask doctors, patients and charities how best to explain the project.’ – The Times (£)

News in brief

  • True scale of North Korean atrocities revealed – The Times Leader (£)
  • Ukraine’s bloodiest day since the fall of communism – Daily Mail
  • Man arrested in Alpine murder case – The Guardian
  • The BBC Trust is ‘an accident waiting to happen’ – The Times (£)
  • Denmark bans halal and kosher slaughter – The Independent
  • How to spot an untrue tweet – The Times (£)
  •  Liberated by the Royal Marines, now he is one – Daily Telegraph