Who will gain from any tax cuts?

cut taxes‘David Cameron risked a row with the Tory Right last night after ignoring calls to help middle-class voters hit by the 40p tax rate. In a major speech on the economy, the Prime Minister promised that further savings from public spending would be used to fund tax cuts. But Mr Cameron, who confirmed the Government would accept a rise in the minimum wage to £6.50 an hour, appeared to indicate that any future tax cuts would be targeted at the low-paid.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Kwasi Kwarteng MP on Comment: Some proposals, George, for your budget of a fortnight today

Euro spats 1) Osborne demands Lib Dems back a Referendum Bill

‘Coalition relations are under growing strain after George Osborne led a Tory ambush on the Liberal Democrats – insisting the Government should enshrine in law a pledge for an EU referendum. At a Cabinet meeting to determine the Government’s programme for the year ahead, the Chancellor and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith demanded an EU Referendum Bill, which has repeatedly been rejected by Lib Dems.’ – Daily Mail 

  • Eurocrat dismisses British welfare tourism concerns – Daily Mail
  • EU demands billions to plug budget black hole – Daily Mail

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

Euro spats 2) Clegg attacks UKIP

UKIP glass’In a speech to a pro-European thinktank, the Centre for European Reform, in London the deputy prime minister will say that Farage is happy to claim his “taxpayer-funded salary” while failing to turn up for many votes in the parliament. Clegg will say that Farage failed to fight for the British economy when he abstained in a vote on the EU-US trade agreement which could benefit the British economy to the tune of £10bn a year.’ – The Guardian

First (warning) shots fired in Crimea…

‘About a dozen Russian soldiers at the Belbek air base warned the Ukrainians, who previously employed at the base until Russians seized control over the weekend, not to get any closer. The troops fired several warning shots into the air and said they would shoot the 300-strong group of Ukrainian soldiers if they continued to advance. Despite the tense stand-off, hopes for a peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis were raised today after the two countries’ ministers began ‘high level’ talks.’ – Daily Mail

…and the newspapers are bullish


Did Downing Street ‘suppress’ inconvenient immigration study?

MAY Warhol‘Theresa May, home secretary, has frequently quoted figures published in 2012 by the government’s independent immigration advisers which indicated that for every 100 non-European working-age immigrants employed in Britain, 23 UK-born people were displaced.  However, according to emails seen by Newsnight, some government departments…were sceptical of the independent research and commissioned fresh analysis by civil servants. This new document is said to show that the so-called “displacement effect” of immigrants is not as significant as first thought.’ – FT

Claims of a ‘cover-up’ over Patrick Rock allegations

‘Patrick Rock, 62, deputy director of the No 10 policy unit, resigned and was arrested almost three weeks ago. But Downing Street said nothing, only choosing to confirm his arrest and departure after being questioned on Monday by the Daily Mail.  Not even senior ministers had been informed. Officials yesterday confirmed Mr Rock had also previously been the subject of a formal sexual harassment complaint understood to involve a high-flying woman civil servant.’ – Daily Mail

New drive to deal with domestic violence

Police helmet‘Shameless squads will today be ordered into homes to remove the men who beat up women and children. Troubled Families tsar Louise Casey is stepping up the fight against domestic violence as part of her crusade to help 120,000 British households. She has diagnosed the crime as a root cause of many of the issues faced by the families helped through the intervention programme.’ – The Sun (£)

Sarah Vine on sending her daughter to state school

‘Like thousands of families across the UK with children in Year Six, we found out on Monday which state secondary our daughter Beatrice, age ten, will be attending.  Unlike most families, however, our choice of school made the news. This is because Beatrice’s father (for her sins) is not only the Education Secretary but also, it transpires, the first ever Conservative one to enrol a child in a state-funded secondary school.’ – Sarah Vine, Daily Mail

  • Pupils with English as a second language outperform native speakers – Daily Telegraph

Damning poll for party leaders

Opinion Poll graphic‘Female voters see Ed Miliband as slimy and boring, Nick Clegg is spineless and wet, while David Cameron is posh, out of touch and rich, according to a survey. The poll by Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative peer, asked voters to describe the party leaders. The results do not make pleasant reading for any one of the three politicians.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: The Conservatives don’t attract too few women. They attract too few of everyone

Mark Wallace: Boris’ indecision risks his leadership chances

‘History is littered with the quiet retirements of those who dithered and missed their chance at the top job. The mayor famously once said of the party leadership that “if the ball came loose from the back of a scrum, it would be a great thing to have a crack at”. At the moment he isn’t even on the pitch – he needs to get off the bench and back into parliament.’ – Mark Wallace, Guardian Comment is Free

Finkelstein: The IRA got an amnesty

FINKELSTEIN Danny‘A messy, inadequate so-called “administrative” system arose in which individual cases would be assessed. “On the runs” would be provided with a “letter of comfort” which informed them that they were not wanted by the police and could return home without fear of arrest. The assessments were made without the presence or questioning of the subject, and the letters issued without public disclosure. In other words we developed something that looks and feels like arbitrary secret justice dispensed at random to those who happen to ask for it.’ – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

>Today: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: When a “not an amnesty” letter is actually an amnesty letter

Blair considers donating to Labour

‘Tony Blair is in talks with Labour over making a big contribution to the party’s coffers. Receiving a large sum from the former Prime Minister, who has not handed Labour HQ any significant funds since Ed Miliband took over as leader, would be a boost in the party’s search for new sources of income.’ – The Times (£)

  • UKIP seeks more funds – FT

Recall, recalled

ballot_box‘Downing Street today revealed the PM wanted to introduce a “recall” bill in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech. The plans – a key part of the 2010 Coalition agreement – would enable voters to get rid of MPs between elections if enough constituents call for change.’ – The Sun (£)

  • Let’s hope it doesn’t get kicked into the long grass – The Sun Says (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: If recall is back on the table it must be the real thing

News in brief

  • The heartbreak of dementia – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Regret’ but no apology over Mid Staffs from David Nicholson – Daily Mail
  • Judge criticised for imprisoning abuse victim – The Times (£)
  • Mystery man found dead on Cornish beach – Daily Mail
  • Pistorius covers his ears to block out grim accounts of the shooting – The Independent
  • John le Carré on his mentor, the proto-Smiley – Daily Telegraph