Education 1) Cameron aides attack Morgan for “burying” Gove reforms

BARRIE CHARACTER EDUCATION“Close allies of David Cameron say Mrs Morgan, the surprise choice to replace Michael Gove, should take a more aggressive stance and trumpet her predecessor’s radical school reforms more clearly. One Government source said: ‘I don’t think there’s any question that she’s stumbling. She will have to be told.’ Mrs Morgan’s department has been nicknamed ‘the Department of Nice’ in Whitehall, because of what is perceived as the non-combative nature of the Education Secretary and her junior ministers, the source revealed.” – Daily Mail

Education 2) Labour claim school rebuild programme is “way off track”

“Despite promising in 2012 that a total of 261 promised rebuilds would ‘begin immediately’, work has started at just 63 of them. Only 14 school buildings have been handed over for use under Mr Cameron’s priority school building programme. It means that over three quarters of schools promised rebuilds from this Government are still waiting for work to start three years and five months after the programme was first launched.” – Daily Mail

Tories aim for record number of female candidates in 2015

Conservative women“Of the 200 hopefuls picked so far, 36 per cent are female as the PM bids to solve his “women problem”. It compares with Labour’s 39 per cent, the Lib Dems’ 30 and Ukip’s 12. It is well up from the Tories’ 24 per cent in 2010 when 49 “Cameron Cuties” won seats, nearly three times the 17 voted in five years before. Party chairman Grant Shapps said it showed the Tories were on their way to representing the “best of Britain as it is today”. He told the Sun: “Conservatives have a proud tradition of standing up for women, from Britain’s first female MP to our only female Prime Minister.”” – The Sun (£)

May blocks “no jail” reform plan for addicts

“A report by senior Government officials two months ago called for a series of changes. The Sun can reveal that top of their list was a recommendation for a project to see whether putting users caught in possession of drugs in rehab rather than jail helped cut numbers. They would be seen by a panel of medical and legal experts nicknamed “dissuasion commissions”. But Home Secretary Mrs May banned the authors of the report she commissioned from making any formal recommendations.” – The Sun (£)

  • Ex-minister Baker leaked details of Home Secretary’s position – The Independent

Pickles under fire as councils rake in record parking fines

PICKLES Eric 2009“A record £1.4billion of parking fines and charges was raked in by councils last year. The amount comes despite a pledge by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles two years ago to expose the “great council cash cow cover-up”. And Tory-led authorities are accused of making the most.” – The Sun (£)

Osborne aide declines chance to run Number 10

“David Cameron is looking for a new chief of staff to run No 10 if he wins the election, after talks with George Osborne’s most senior aide broke down. Ed Llewellyn, the incumbent, is expected to take charge of the government’s negotiations with other European states and the European Commission before a referendum on Britain’s EU membership. Mr Cameron approached Rupert Harrison, the chancellor’s chief adviser, to replace Mr Llewellyn, but Mr Harrison has opted to stay with Mr Osborne at least until the election.” – The Times (£)

  • Cost of Chancellor’s bid to overturn EU cap on bank bonuses – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: The economic battle will be won in millions of hearts, not the big picture

Hancock warns against decline of the Saturday job

HANCOCK, Matthew“The number of 16 and 17-year-olds in part-time work while studying stood at more than 400,000 from 1996 to 2003, with a peak of 431,000 in 2000. But by 2009, the figure had slumped to 311,000, a drop of nearly 30 per cent. Last year, the number stood at 252,000, just a sixth of students aged 16 or 17, before falling to 233,000 this year. Business Minister Matthew Hancock has warned that teenagers are missing out by not taking on part-time jobs alongside their studies, which help prepare them for the world of work.” – Daily Mail

Thatcher feared concessions to Irish nationalists would fuel community divisions

“The late Baroness Thatcher told of her fears behind closed doors during her meeting with then Irish prime minister Garret FitzGerald for talks at Chequers in November 1984. She could not understand why Catholics in Northern Ireland were looking for certain rights and demanding reforms in policing, justice, equality and power-sharing. And she said there were minorities all over Europe who were not making the same sort of claims.” – Daily Mail

Matthew Parris: The mob barbarism of social media

Twitter“This is direct democracy, introducing a new barbarism into our age. The modern, internet-conducted campaign may spring from good intentions: exposing political crooks, defending the defenceless, pursuing criminals, uncovering the truth. But time and again its grotesque results should remind us why politicians and editors should see their job as serving purposes beyond response and regurgitation.” – The Times (£)

Resolution Foundation research boosts Labour’s cost-of-living narrative…

“Ed Miliband will put the cost of living at the heart of Labour’s pitch in the general election in May. The think-tank said that it expected incomes to be lower on polling day than they were in 2010. Figures released earlier this month by the Office for National Statistics predicted a return to pre-crisis levels by mid-2015, and a modest increase under the coalition government.” – The Times (£)

…but the party looks set for a Scottish bloodbath…

Scottish flag“Labour is on course for a bloodbath in Scotland in 2015, according to a special Guardian/ICM online poll. The Scottish National party, which took only 20% of the vote in the 2010 general election, has subsequently more than doubled its vote to reach a commanding 43% of the prospective poll next May. Scottish Labour, which secured a very strong 42% in Gordon Brown’s homeland last time around, has since tumbled by 16 points to just 26%.” – The Guardian

…which leaves the Hunting Act on borrowed time

“Against what might have seemed to be overwhelming odds, hunting has won the battle for survival and it is the anti-hunting movement that has lost not only the debate but also credibility and public interest. The Conservative Party and most MPs who approach the issue reasonably remain resolutely against the Hunting Act, while resolution of the West Lothian Question means Scottish Labour MPs, who have blocked any possibility of changing the law, must soon be excluded from the debate on a law that only effects England and Wales.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Liz Truss MP on Comment: Never forget the economic power of the countryside

Flint attacks ministers over blackout helpline delay

Caroline Flint“The government has been accused of leaving families vulnerable to possible power cuts after news that a promised emergency helpline will not be operational until after next winter. At the height of the floods crisis in early 2014, after last winter’s storms and widespread electricity cuts, ministers pledged to set up a blackout helpline for households. Almost a year later, they have admitted it will not be in action for another 16 months.” – Financial Times

Charles Moore: The NHS is belaboured by the absurd notion that it is “the envy of the world”

“I began to reflect on the politics of all of this. The direct cost to us of my wife’s treatment was no more than a little petrol, a couple of prescriptions and some ibuprofen. The cost of the dog bit was more than 10 per cent of the average annual wage. It is proverbial that the British lavish more love on their pets than on their own species. In these trying times when political parties struggle to get a favourable audience, might there not be votes here somewhere?” – Daily Telegraph

  • Desperate health chiefs offer GPs “golden hello” almost equivalent to nurse’s salary – Daily Mail

UKIP 1) Nigel Farage named The Times’ Briton of the Year

farageharl“During his seven or so years at the helm, Ukip’s focus has shifted from a niche fixation on the intricacies of the EU and on to a simple message: the need to reclaim control of Britain’s borders. Against the backdrop of a major recession, a large influx of workers from Eastern Europe, and unease about the changing texture of British towns and cities, the party has pushed immigration to the top of the political agenda. However much Labour and Tory strategists wish it were not so, immigration is set to be a central electoral issue.” – The Times (£)

UKIP 2) Immigration made Britain racist, claims councillor

“An influx of immigrants has made Britain a racist country, a Ukip councillor has claimed. Trevor Shonk, who sits on the Kent county council and for Ramsgate, blamed Labour and the Conservative party for placing an “overload” on housing and services.” – The Times (£)

  • Constituency chairman “depressed” by National Front past – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • BBC licence fee losing ground as support for alternatives soars – Daily Mail
  • Britons joined ISIS after missing UCAS deadline – The Times (£)
  • Prostitution and illegal drugs help UK overtake France in national wealth league – The Independent
  • House prices soar after gang truce – Daily Telegraph
  • Glamour model Jodie Marsh considers bid for Parliament – The Sun (£)
  • Britons could be priced completely out of London’s housing market – Daily Mail

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