Cameron attacks Miliband for voting against Chilcot

Miliband coffee‘Ed Miliband delayed the start of the Iraq war inquiry by voting ‘again and again and again’ against it being set up, David Cameron said yesterday. The Prime Minister said the report’s conclusions would have been published ‘years ago’ had it not been for Labour MPs blocking the plans. Mr Miliband personally voted against an inquiry on four occasions.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: LeftWatch: Looking at Labour 1) The Shadow Cabinet


Wages up, unemployment down

‘The recovery in Britain’s jobs market is at last starting to filter through to workers’ pay packets with wages growing at their fastest annual rate for two years. Official data on Wednesday showed the labour market continued to strengthen: real wages rose for the second month running, unemployment fell to a six-year low of 5.8 per cent and the number of vacancies reached a record high.’ – FT

>Today: Lord Bates on Comment: The revival of the North-East

Sturgeon: The SNP will now vote on English matters

England flag‘Leader Nicola Sturgeon sparked anger in England by warning the SNP will end its long-standing policy of not voting on devolved issues such as health and education in the event of a hung parliament. The move paves the way for a post-election deal in which the party could prop up a minority Labour government in return for more power for Scotland. But it reignited Tory demands for English MPs to have the final say on purely English matters.’ – Daily Mail


Lancashire County Council officials try to sink shale gas plans

‘Fracking will happen on a large scale in the UK despite a big planning setback, the country’s leading shale gas explorer has said. Lancashire county council’s planning department has recommended refusing permission for Cuadrilla to drill at two sites near Blackpool because of the night-time noise and traffic it would generate.’ – FT

  • If the council fails, the government should step in – The Sun Says (£)
  • It’s the Coalition’s fault – Ross Clark, The Times (£)
  • Build, build, build urges Brown – Daily Telegraph
  • Pickles discriminated against traveller sites on the Green Belt, High Court rules – The Times (£)
  • Government to ban charges for rubbish tips – The Sun (£)

ECB looks to QE to save the Eurozone

Euro meltdown‘The European Central Bank is on Thursday set to follow the lead of the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England and embark on quantitative easing. The momentous decision on sovereign bond buying in the eurozone is expected at 1.30pm.’ – FT

  • Bosses in Davos attack EU referendum plan – Daily Telegraph
  • The Greek communist who could destroy the single currency – The Independent
  • European Space Agency chiefs want to build a moon base – Daily Mail
  • 2,000 EU prisoners left in British jails – The Times (£)

Free vote on plain cigarette packaging to be held before the election

‘Anti-smoking campaigners had feared the government was backing away from a vote on the introduction of “standardised” packs before May. However, ministers said last night that they had decided that the ban on cigarette pack advertising was “proportionate and justified” and pledged to hold a free vote on the issue.’ – The Times (£)

  • The CSJ calls for a treatment tax on alcohol – Daily Mail

Hammond: ISIS must be beaten to protect the UK

HAMMOND Philip white background‘I am clear that for the security of Britain and the British people, Isil must be defeated. Some say that Britain should leave this fight to others. But we cannot subcontract the safeguarding of our nation’s security to others. Nor can we ignore an organisation that seeks to subvert and destroy the values of democracy, free speech, freedom of religion and the rule of law.’ – Philip Hammond MP, Daily Telegraph

  • Fire Brigades Union refuses to take part in anti-terror drills – Daily Telegraph
  • France estimates it has 3,000 jihadists to monitor – Daily Mail
  • Hundreds of ISIS fighters killed in Kurdish assault – The Times (£)
  • Knife attack in Israel – Daily Mail
  • Iranian embassy talks stall – FT
  • Rise in attacks on British Jews – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Graeme Archer’s column: The Waiting Room

>Yesterday: Mohammed Amin on Comment: The MCB has misunderstood Pickles’ letter to mosques

New report warns of ‘parlous’ state of NHS finances

‘The NHS is in “critical” condition, with lengthening waiting lists and a sharp rise in cancelled operations, according to a leading think-tank. In the run-up to the general election in May, and with voters saying the health service is one of their main concerns, the King’s Fund also highlights the “parlous” state of hospital finances.’ – FT

  • Welsh health bosses spend a fortune on luxury cars – The Sun (£)

>Today: Local Government: Four Labour councils choose Michael Mansfield to chair “independent” NHS inquiry

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: Stop complaining about the NHS. You’re getting what you asked for.

Heath: Tories should give away council houses

Homes For All Big‘The Tories should pledge to launch a great council house giveaway – not a mere sale – if they are elected. Anyone who lives in social housing, including those owned by local associations, and who has been in work for the past year should be gifted their council home. Pensioners would be automatically eligible. In return, recipients would cease to be eligible for housing benefit.’ – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph

  • Labour plan to cut Right to Buy – WalesOnline
  • The mansion tax won’t raise as much as Ed claims – Daily Mail
  • Green support doubles after Sadiq Khan is put in charge of beating them – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: WATCH: The ConHome Manifesto 3) Occupier-first homes

43 per cent of councils planning to raise taxes this year

‘Nearly half of all local authorities are planning to increase council tax in the run-up to the general election, according to a survey. Forty-three per cent of town halls plan to defy the government’s council tax freeze by raising their bills by up to 2 per cent from April.’ – The Times (£)

Montgomerie: The troubles of our left wing Church

Church shield‘Perhaps it’s a coincidence that the retreat of Christianity has happened at the same time that the Church of England has been issuing endless reports on public policy, reports that are notable for the ways in which they echo the social thinking of the left…As well as disparaging the consumerism that has powered the unprecedented reductions in poverty that we are seeing all over the world, the two archbishops are almost silent about wealth creation. Silent, too, about the dangers of government debt. I’m particularly disappointed at their near silence on the central role of the family.’ – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Inside the ‘bullying’ TV tax system

‘They don’t look like the typical criminal. The vast majority are women. Very few actually attend the court hearings to which they are summoned. Instead, a prosecutor simply races through scores of near-identical cases, repeating a well-rehearsed formula of allegations, pleas and excuses…Every week, in courts across England and Wales, almost 3,000 people are issued with fines of up to £1,000 for not having a TV licence. Unlike non-payment of a gas or electricity bill, failure to pay the £145.50 annual fee results in a criminal record.’ – Daily Mail

  • New BBC HQ cost £14,000 per worker – The Times (£)

UKIP MEP suggests Farage will betray his party for a peerage

UKIP glass‘UKIP has been crippled by bitter in-fighting amid claims by a senior party MEP that Nigel Farage wants to cut a deal to be made a Lord. Steven Woolfe claimed secret talks with the Tories had already begun and that leader Farage would be happy to see Ukip close once he gets his peerage.’ – The Sun (£)

  • A party riven with discontent – The Sun Says (£)
  • Leaked documents reveal NHS privatisation to be considered – The Independent
  • Candidate calls for the unemployed to be banned from driving – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour mayor of County Durham town defects – FT
  • Harman and Evans exchange blows over sexism – Daily Mail
  • UKIP GP asks if critic has STD – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: UKIPWatch: Farage’s team – a guide to the people who run UKIP

Danny Alexander lays into Osborne

‘In his strongest attack on Conservative Chancellor George Osborne, who he has spent four years working with, Mr Alexander claimed plans to balance the books entirely through cuts were unfair and ‘economically incredible’. Mr Alexander told MailOnline he relished going head to head with his Tory boss in TV election debates about why he wants to cut public services ‘year after year after year’ even after the deficit has been tackled.’ – Daily Mail

  • Lord Oakeshott funds Labour and Green candidates – Daily Mail

The Prime Minister prefers Brian Ferry to Jay Z

cameron-thinks‘David Cameron today admitted he sounded ‘very old’ after telling a radio station that he could not understand ‘why everybody is interested in the Kardashians’ – and preferred Brian Ferry to pop stars Jay Z and Iggy Azalea.’ – Daily Mail

  • Gove’s ringtone was Beyoncé – The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • Don’t hide your accent, urges McVey – Daily Telegraph
  • Is humanity on the brink of destruction? – Daily Mail
  • Boris will pay his US tax bill – FT
  • Lawyers ask to interview Prince Andrew – The Times (£)
  • Lord Carrington remembers working with Churchill – Daily Telegraph
  • Teenager guilty of knife attacks on three women – The Independent

And finally…

Page 3 isn’t dead after all

‘Further to recent reports in all other media outlets, we would like to clarify that on Page 3 of today’s Sun is a picture of Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth. We would like to apologise on behalf of the print and broadcast journalists who have spent the last two days talking and writing about us.’ – The Sun (£)