BBC’s own report says scrap the Licence Fee

sundaytimeslicence“Members of a panel reviewing the future of the BBC have suggested that it scrap the licence fee and switch to a subscription service from 2020. The radical plan has been recommended by some of the country’s most influential economists, consultants and academics and comes as the corporation faces swingeing cuts ahead of its charter renewal at the end of 2016. If introduced, it would be the greatest change to the BBC since its creation in 1922.” – Sunday Times(£)

> Today:ToryDiary: Even the BBC accepts the Licence Fee must go

Cabinet minister tells Boris and Osborne to “get back in their box”

“Boris Johnson and George Osborne have been told to “get back in their box” and stop jostling for position to succeed David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party. A furious Cabinet minister warned colleagues who are plotting to become party leader that they are making it more likely that Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, will enter Number 10 at next year’s election.” – Sunday Telegraph

Wright restricts day release for prisoners

“Prisons minister Jeremy Wright said: “We’re not prepared to see the failures of last summer repeated and public safety compromised…The system has been too lax up to now and that must change. In future when prisoners are let out on licence I want to be sure they are tagged and strictly risk-assessed so we know where they have been and can be sure that they have been tested in the community under strict conditions before being released.” – BBC

Guido leaked Tory candidates list

“GUIDO has got hold of the top-secret Tory Party parliamentary candidates list – and it doesn’t look like their “women problem” will be going away. Less than a third of the names are women, despite Cameron’s efforts to get more ladies on board….The “chumocracy” is not going away either – nearly a quarter of Tory special advisers are on the list, including four of David Cameron’s Downing Street staff, all three of Theresa May’s political team and four of Boris’s deputy mayors, plus his former transport adviser Kulveer Ranger.” – Guido Fawkes The Sun(£)

Hunt faces Tory rebellion over hospital reorganisation

DE BOIS Nick headshot“Nick de Bois, Tory MP for Enfield North, who fought a lengthy battle for his local hospital, said he would not be backing the government: “My constituents have seen first hand the flawed, unrepresentative consultations on the future of Chase Farm hospital … I have no intention of voting for a clause that reduces further the voice of patients and residents.” – The Observer

Clare’s Law introduced

“A scheme to let people find out from police if their partner has a history of domestic violence has been brought in across England and Wales. The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme – known as Clare’s Law – is intended to provide information that could protect someone from being a victim of attack. The initiative is named after 36-year-old Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009. Home Secretary Theresa May said abuse by partners should not be tolerated.” – BBC

Benefits cap saving £2 million a day

IDS on Marr“Slashing handouts to Britain’s biggest benefit claimants is saving taxpayers £2million A DAY. New figures reveal that 27,700 households living off the state had their payments capped in January. A total of 1,212 are now pocketing £10,000 a year less than in 2013. The cap limits households to £26,000 a year. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said it had halted “runaway claims” and thousands of people whose payments were cut are now finding work.” – The Sun(£)

Lib Dems in York. 1)Demand income tax threshold be increased to £12,500 in future coalition talks…

“Raising the personal income tax allowance to £12,500 will be a key Lib Dem demand in any coalition talks after the 2015 election, the party has said. Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander said raising the threshold for the amount people can earn before paying income tax was a “top priority”.” – BBC

  • “Great uncertainty” over target to reduce tax evasion – BBC

Lib Dems in York. 2) Party rebels attack coalition over “North/South divide”

LibDemDead“Nick Clegg’s plans for this weekend’s Liberal Democrat spring party conference in York risk being derailed by a rebellion from his northern MPs, peers and council leaders, who have made public their anger at the coalition’s failure to deal with the north-south economic divide.” – The Observer

Lib Dems in York. 3) Danny versus Vince for next leader

“Liberal Democrat Cabinet Minister Danny Alexander was accused last night of positioning himself to succeed Nick Clegg after he appeared to initiate a power struggle with Vince Cable. Business Secretary Mr Cable is furious that Treasury Chief Secretary Mr Alexander is demanding to be the party’s main economic spokesman at next year’s General Election.” – Mail on Sunday

> Yesterday:ToryDiary: Tory members patience with the Coalition is starting to wane

Judge was founder of paedophile support group

mosjudge“One of Britain’s most senior judges actively campaigned to support a vile paedophile group that tried to legalise sex with children, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. Lord Justice Fulford, named last year as an adviser to the Queen, was a key backer of the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) which police suspect of abusing children on an ‘industrial scale’. An investigation by the Mail on Sunday has discovered that Fulford was a founder member of a campaign to defend PIE while it was openly calling for the age of consent to be lowered to just four.” – Mail on Sunday

Miliband visits Afghanistan

“Ed Miliband has said he would support British military intervention in future conflicts if it was “in the national interest”. On a visit to Afghanistan, the Labour leader said maintaining strong armed forces was “an absolute commitment”. But, he declined to rule out further military spending cuts, saying Labour would “look at strategic needs”.” – BBC

New Co-Op storm over boost to bonuses

coop“The embattled Co-operative Group, still reeling from a banking scandal and preparing to lay off up to 5,000 employees, faces a new storm over plans to pay its chief executive more than £3.5m in his first year in the job, while massively boosting the salaries and bonuses of other senior staff.” – The Observer

Tory agent resigns are saying feminists “need a slap”

“A Conservative Party election agent resigned yesterday after calling female MPs ‘whingeing imbeciles’ and saying feminists ‘need a good slap round the face’. Stewart Green’s outbursts on Facebook were described as ‘absolutely horrifying’. In one, he said he was sick of ‘these wretched women MPs who seem to be constantly going on about there not being enough women in frontline politics’.” – Mail on Sunday

Free vote on assisted suicide

“The legislation of assisted suicide has moved a significant step closer after the Government made clear that it would not stand in the way of a change in the law. Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs and peers – including Coalition ministers – will be given a free vote on a Bill that would enable doctors to help terminally ill patients to die, The Telegraph can disclose.” – Sunday Telegraph

Patten to be questioned by MPs on BBC’s pro EU bias

patten“The chairman of the BBC Trust has been forced into a humiliating climbdown over his repeated refusal to appear before a committee of MPs. Lord Patten has spent months trying to avoid a grilling by members of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee over claims of bias in the BBC’s coverage of the EU. But yesterday, Bill Cash, chairman of the committee that reviews UK-EU relations, announced that Lord Patten had given in.” – Mail on Sunday

Third of big businesess warn they would leave Scotland if it goes independent

“More than a third of Scottish businesses would consider moving out of the country if there were a Yes vote in the independence referendum, according to a shock new poll carried out for The Mail on Sunday.” – Mail on Sunday

New EU rules give inspectors powers to dig up gardens

sundayexpressgardens“GARDENERS face having their flower beds dug up in a bid to destroy some of Britain’s best loved plants. EU bureaucrats want new powers that would allow their inspectors to remove any plants on the Brussels hit list. Garden favourites such as the Virginia creeper and Hottentot fig are likely to be top of the list along with several types of rhododendron. The aim is to eliminate invasive non-native species that threaten to cause problems in the countryside. However, the Royal Horticultural Society last night expressed its concern at the secrecy behind the decision-making and warned that whole species, including garden hybrids, could end up being banned.” – Sunday Express

D’Ancona: Do the Tories want to win?

“All ministers should memorise James Brokenshire’s unspeakably terrible speech on immigration as the Platonic ideal of election-losing rhetoric.They should look in the mirror and ask how badly they really want to win this thing. A wise Cabinet veteran of the Major years told me during the week that he felt his own party was going back to its constituencies and preparing for Opposition. He wants to be wrong. Is he?” – Matthew d’Ancona Sunday Telegraph

Willetts: Our mission to put Brits in space

“Today I can reveal that Britain will be investing in an awe-inspiring new space mission called Plato, a “super-telescope” made up of 34 telescopes mounted on a single satellite. It will observe thousands of stars simultaneously over a number of years, looking for planets that might support life: not just to gain a better understanding of the processes that brought about life on our planet, but also to drive innovation in technologies such as machine vision imaging led by e2v, a company based in Chelmsford, Essex, which I hope will provide full kit for the mission.” David Willetts Sunday Times(£)

Booker: Owen Paterson is right

PATERSON OWEN NW“After private meetings with those experts, whose pleas had long been ignored, he returned to London with a clear idea of what needed to be done… On Thursday this was just what happened, when Mr Paterson was able to announce that these bodies had come up with just the proposals he had asked them for.” – Christopher Booker Sunday Telegraph

News in brief

  • Cameron and Obama talk again about Ukraine – BBC
  • Cruel Sally Bercow and BBC ruined last year of my father’s life – Skye McAlpine Mail on Sunday
  • UK Tax “among most punitive for families” – Sunday Telegraph
  • Labour lead at seven – YouGov
  • Salmond demands apology from Cameron over nuclear submarine fault – BBC
  • UKIP “considered pact with BNP” – The Observer
  • UKIP candidate’s attack on Lawrence family – Mail on Sunday
  • Expat Scots should have right to vote in referendum- Sunday Times(£)
  • Hogan-Howes “tried to stop whistle blower” – Mail on Sunday
  • Gender pay gap widens among self employed – The Observer
  • £140 million more to fix potholes – The Sun(£)
  • More questions about Cameron family nanny – Sunday Times(£)
  • Speed up work on HS2 pleads chief exec – The Observer
  • Graham Stuart tells parents to turn off the TV – Sunday Times(£)

And finally…The Norman Tebbit children’s book

Norman Tebbit“Lord Tebbit displays a softer side to his character in a children’s novel he has written, called Ben’s Story. It features a talking dog, a yellow labrador called Ben, and Sam, a 14-year-old boy. Ben is named after Lord Tebbit and his wife Margaret’s own labrador, who died five years ago. The book is billed as a ‘contemporary story about murder, friendship, adversity and personal struggle’. Sam’s father is killed in a car crash, which also leaves Sam paralysed. But the boy suspects it was not an accident, and, aided by Ben and Alice Bacon, an eccentric old lady and former spy, he embarks on a gripping adventure as he tries to discover the truth about the death of his father, a television journalist who was on the trail of drugs gangsters.” – Mail on Sunday