DC in DC 1) Obama’s warm welcome for Cameron

obamacameron‘On the whole, it rather outscores Ed Miliband’s recent dinner date with Mr and Mrs George Clooney. Word here is that Mr Obama would be far from distressed if Mr Cameron – whom the President allegedly addresses as ‘bro’ – won the election in May. Mr Obama’s admiration for Mr Miliband is, ahem, a work in progress.’ – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

>Today: Harriet Maltby on Comment: News from Britain for Obama. We may outstrip America within four years.

DC in DC 2) New transatlantic co-operation on cyber security

‘David Cameron has announced measures designed to help companies and government organisations prevent a repeat of the hacking attack on Sony Pictures. Speaking as he landed in Washington on Thursday for talks with President Barack Obama, Mr Cameron said: “This is an evolving threat which poses a real risk to our businesses and that is why we are taking our co-operation with the US to an unprecedented level.”’ – FT

  • Police avert alleged terror attack in Belgium – Daily Mail
  • Illiberalism is the wrong response – David Allen Green, FT
  • 1,065 crazy reasons 20,000 officials can barge into your house – Daily Mail
  • But will Cameron persuade Obama to lift the haggis import ban? – The Scotsman

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Obama and Cameron team up

Economy 1) IMF’s Lagarde endorses the UK’s economic plan

growth flag‘’A few countries, only a few, are driving growth: one is the USA, where growth is solid, anchored and where we foresee a 2015 that will be also a good year. And the UK where clearly growth is improving, the deficit has been reduced, and where the unemployment is going down. ‘Certainly from a global perspective this is exactly the sort of result that we would like to see: more growth, less unemployment, a growth that is more inclusive, that is better shared, and a growth that is also sustainable and more balanced.’’ – Daily Mail

Economy 2) Archbishops launch assault on the Coalition’s record

‘The Church of England has launched a scathing attack on the UK coalition government less than four months before the general election, blaming welfare cuts and “poverty wages” for a rise in income inequality. Entitled On Rock or Sand? Firm Foundations for Britain’s Future, the book is intended to provide a moral framework to the political debate before May’s vote. While it stops short of attacking individual parties or politicians, the text questions the prime minister’s slogan “We’re all in it together”.’ – FT


>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Archbishop of York should talk more about politics

Economy 3) Osborne intensifies pressure on firms to cut prices

OSBORNE SWORD‘Mr Osborne told The Sun: “My message is clear: oil prices have fallen and those falls should be passed on to families and to small businesses. It’s not just the pump prices and energy bills that should fall; things like fuel surcharges can be lower too…Let’s stop hearing excuses and start seeing bills fall”.’ – The Sun (£)


The Pope says ‘provocateurs’ like Charlie Hebdo should ‘expect a punch’

‘The Pope denounced “provocateurs” who mocked religion yesterday and said that they could expect to receive a punch, as he weighed into the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks. Pope Francis criticised the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for insulting Islam and said that he understood why Muslims reacted with violent anger.’ – The Times (£)

Boris warns of the housing challenge

HOMES Manifesto‘London’s biggest challenge is to overturn government’s failure to build enough housing, Boris Johnson is due to say on Thursday. But the capital’s growth is a sign of economic health and should make its citizens confident, not fearful, the capital’s mayor will add.’ – FT

  • Council arson attacks may be linked to planning dispute – The Times (£)
  • Osborne cosies up to the Mayor – The Times (£)
  • Net migration over 30 years revealed – The Sun (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Cameron’s House needs a Welcome Mat

£60 million a day splurge to hit aid target

‘Britain was handing out around £60million a day in foreign aid towards the end of the year in order to meet David Cameron’s target, a report has found. Taxpayers funded £11.5billion of overseas development projects in 2013 – the first time the Coalition’s aim to hand out 0.7pc of GDP to developing countries has been achieved.’ – Daily Mail

Nicky Morgan discusses the trials of parenthood and ‘gadget time’

MORGAN Nicky headshot‘While her parents’ generation just had to coax youngsters away from watching television, today children have many more hi-tech distractions. On one occasion Alex woke early one morning wanting to play on his tablet. ‘Alex woke us up at half past five. And as a result he lost gadget time for the rest of the day. He was deeply unimpressed by that. We had a little negotiation about whether “gadget time” meant “TV and screen time”.’ – Daily Mail

Labour frets over unregistered young voters

‘Almost a million people have gone missing from the electoral register, including hundreds of thousands of young people, Ed Miliband will say in a speech today. A change in election law means that universities can no longer register students en masse, prompting the Labour leader to warn that young people were in danger of losing their voice.’ – The Times (£)

Burnham forced to immediately recant nanny state measures

Andy Burnham‘Labour yesterday rowed back from banning alcohol brands from sports sponsorship and the party was forced to discard other health policies that were deemed “anti-business”. After Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, unveiled the party’s public health manifesto yesterday, it emerged that several of his central pledges had been blocked by other shadow cabinet ministers.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: Judy Terry on Local Government: Health and Wellbeing Boards should champion NHS reform

Thousands of care home residents hospitalised with dehydration

‘Thousands of elderly care-home residents are admitted to hospital suffering from dehydration, according to research revealing widespread neglect. One in eight patients admitted from residential care had high sodium levels from lack of fluids, the study by Oxford University and two leading hospitals showed.’ – The Times (£)

Over 100 MPs to support scrapping Fixed-Term Parliaments

PARLIAMENT‘Sir Alan Duncan, a former Coalition minister, is publishing legislation calling for a repeal of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which means elections can only be held every five years…Sir Alan’s Bill has the backing of over 100 Conservative and Labour MPs, including six former Cabinet ministers.’ – Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Outrage over judge who claimed child ‘groomed’ teacher – Daily Mail
  • Muhammad Ali in hospital – Daily Mail
  • Churchill’s grandson hails new £20 coin – WalesOnline
  • It’s official – the best way to load a dishwasher – Daily Telegraph
  • Climbers conquer El Capitan – The Times Leader (£)
  • Hague buys mansion for his life after Westminster – The Times (£)
  • How Earth entered a new epoch on July 16 1945 – Daily Telegraph
  • Profiled: Jacqueline Gold and Karren Brady – Daily Mail

And finally…

Empty chair wins leaders’ debates

‘The empty chair was last night declared the resounding winner of the first 2015 general election debate. Snap opinion polls conducted immediately after the debate gave the chair a clear lead over other hopefuls as voters showed their support for its strong, silent approach…“It never loses its cool, never goes red, doesn’t talk down to women and didn’t go to Eton.”’ – Robert Shrimsley, FT

  • Greens mull legal action – The Sun (£)

>Today: Iain Dale’s Friday Diary: Why the Prime Minister will take part in the TV election debates after all