McLoughlin: HS2 Bill won’t have passed parliament by 2015

Stop HS2‘[The Transport Secretary] admits that the HS2 legislation won’t be through parliament before the next election: ‘I think one has to accept that perhaps through all its stages within the next 12 months is slightly ambitious.’ It will, he says, have ‘started its parliamentary progress’. When I ask if it will be done, he answers ‘no’. This means that it could still become an election issue — Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, makes occasional forays against it.’ – The Spectator

  • North/South divide: opera rakes in subsidies while brass bands lose out – Daily Mail
  • Crossrail boosts property development – FT

Brokenshire: No, Vince, immigration has been bad for hard working people

‘Vince Cable comes under attack today from a Tory minister for regarding a steep rise in migration as a “good thing”, amid an increasingly bitter coalition battle. Deep divisions over the issue will be laid bare as the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary and the new Tory Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire, set out radically different visions over how Britain should deal with immigrants. Mr Brokenshire will issue the extraordinary rebuke to Dr Cable in his first speech in his role.’ – The Times (£)

  • Cable to shoot back with description of Tories as ‘medieval’ – The Sun (£)
  • ‘Suppressed’ immigration report will show harm to Brits after all – Daily Mail
  • The BBC should be more honest – Daily Mail Leader
  • Migrants set up one in seven companies in the UK – Daily Mail
  • Can the rest of Britain compete with London? – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

>Yesterday: WATCH: Newsnight alleges the Government is holding back a new study on the impact of immigration

Yanukovych assets frozen as West debates action against Russia

Vladimir Putin‘The European Union this morning named ousted President Viktor Yanukovych among the 18 Ukrainians whose assets were being frozen for embezzling the country’s funds. The action comes as the EU prepares to hold a summit in Brussels to discuss what sanctions it should take against Russia for the growing crisis in the country’s Crimea region.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Andrew Lilico on Comment: How the Crimea-Ukraine crisis strikes me

Cable blames teachers for poor careers advice in school

‘Teachers are failing their pupils because they ‘know absolutely nothing about the world of work’, Business Secretary Vince Cable has said. The Liberal Democrat minister was accused of being ‘crass’ and ‘insulting’ to teachers after suggesting they are to blame for a lack of good careers advice in schools.’ – Daily Mail

May’s stop and search changes delayed by ‘regressive’ No 10

Police‘Plans to limit police stop and search powers in England and Wales have been held up by “regressive” attitudes in Downing Street, senior Conservatives have told BBC Newsnight. The home secretary wrote to cabinet colleagues in December seeking approval to “reduce significantly” one type of stop and search, Newsnight has learned. Despite setting a 12 December deadline, the changes are yet to be announced.’ – BBC News

Senior vet calls for ban on kosher and halal slaughter

‘The religious slaughter of animals should be banned if Muslims and Jews refuse to adopt more humane methods of killing, the new leader of Britain’s vets has said. John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, said that the traditional practice of slitting animals’ throats and allowing them to bleed to death for halal and kosher meat caused unnecessary suffering.’ – The Times (£)

Unite slashes Labour donations by £1.5m

Len McCluskey‘The giant Unite union slashed its automatic payments to Labour by £1.5million last night – a move that could force Ed Miliband deeper into the arms of the union barons. Unite said it was halving its annual £3million payment in response to the Labour leader’s shake-up of his party’s links with the unions.’ – Daily Mail

Scottish independence could force banks to move south

‘Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group may have little choice about where they are registered if Scotland becomes independent thanks to a two-decades-old European Union law that would force them to move from Edinburgh to London. The potential impact on Scotland’s financial industry of a Yes vote in this year’s referendum has become a central issue in the Scottish independence debate. RBS and Lloyds are by far the two biggest Scottish-domiciled companies by assets.’ – FT

>Today: Brian Monteith’s column: Now it’s Labour’s turn to take the fight to the Scottish nationalists

The Sun wants Jack Dromey sacked

‘Harriet Harman’s leftie husband Jack Dromey wants Britain to believe he spent the 1970s nobly battling paedophiles. That as chairman of the National Council on Civil Liberties he took a heroic stand against the Paedophile Information Exchange and its campaign to have sex with children. It’s nonsense. In a report at the time, Dromey dismissed as “hysteria” any objections to lowering the age of consent, even to ten in some circumstances.’ – The Sun Says (£)

Questions over the cost of Help To Buy

Homes For All Big‘A government scheme which helps first-time buyers to get onto the housing ladder buying homes for up to £600,000 may not ‘provide value for money’, a report warns today.  The National Audit Office, the spending watchdog, warns the cost to the taxpayer of the £3.7billion scheme is ‘uncertain at this stage but is likely to be significant.’ Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, raised her fears yesterday why the maximum purchase price of a property under the scheme needs to be so high.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Grant Shapps MP’s Column: Labour’s failure to build homes in Wales – and the housing choice we all face

Pickles: I can’t control bin collections

‘He once said weekly bin collections were an Englishman’s ‘fundamental right’. But Eric Pickles was yesterday forced to admit that he is powerless to order councils to bring the vital service back.’ – Daily Mail

  • Planning system to scrutinise wind farms more than shale pads – The Guardian

>Today: Local Government: Council Tax rises in Wales at more than double inflation rate

What is the myth of UKIP, and what is the reality?

UKIP glass‘Make no mistake, this is a revolt dominated by white faces, blue collars and grey hair: angry, old, white working-class men who left school at the earliest opportunity and lack the qualifications to get ahead in 21st-century Britain. That Ukip’s core voters are middle-class Tories animated by the single-issue of Europe is the biggest myth in Westminster. In fact, Ukip is the most working-class-dominated party since Michael Foot’s Labour in 1983.’ – Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford, The Guardian

>Today: Andrea Leadsom MP on Comment: Chancellor Merkel’s visit gave me great hope for the prospect of EU reform

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Four out of five Party members believe an In/Out EU Referendum should be a second Coalition red line

Kathy Gyngell: Why won’t feminists defend stay at home mothers?

‘In this twisted, politically correct culture, being a victim counts more than genuine merit. But a deeper hypocrisy is at work here, for there is one group of women who the feminists regard as the enemy because they are perversely seen as a threat to the fashionable agenda of a woman’s right to do any job. This group is made up of the full‑time mothers.’ – Kathy Gyngell, Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Hope for new HIV therapies – Daily Mail 
  • Matthew Syed: The health nannies can get lost – The Times (£)
  • UN Chief says the floods have a political ‘silver lining’ – Daily Mail
  • China increases military spending – The Times Leader (£)
  • Lancashire boy achieves nuclear fusion in the classroom – Daily Mail
  • Bitcoin exchange chief found dead – FT