- EU leaders discuss the UK's renegotiations at a dinner in Brussels
- David Cameron says progress has been made and he can see a "path" towards a deal next year
- But he says there is a "lot of hard work" still to be done, including on the issue on curbs on benefits for EU migrants
- Angela Merkel says she believes solutions can be found but she won't agree to anything discriminatory
- UKIP's MP Douglas Carswell calls for a new party leader - but Nigel Farage tells him to "put up or shut up"
- Text updates, video clips and BBC political programmes streamed live
Here's your round-up of today's political events. The big story was David Cameron's European Union comments after his dinner with other EU leaders, at which he laid out his reform demands.
He predicted the UK will the UK will "fundamentally change" its relationship with the EU in 2016, seen by some as a hint that a referendum will take place next year. He also said it would be "hard work" but there was a "pathway".
Another story that rumbled along today was the fallout from UKIP's only MP Douglas Carswell saying the party needed a "fresh face". To which Nigel Farage swiftly replied he should "put up or shut up" and was "out on a limb".
Thursday was "taking the trash out day" - with the government releasing dozens of documents as Parliament rose for the Christmas recess. We attempted to sift through and do a round up of any key announcements you might have missed.
The Home Office needed "structural managerial changes" according to a letter written by the department's permanent secretary Mark Sedwill. The comments came after the department's statistical errors on police funding.
The highest government earners were revealed as part of the blizzard of documents released yesterday.
Topping the charts as the highest paid official is Simon Kirby, chief executive of High Speed Rail 2 (HS2). His role is to deliver the HS2 program to "safety, cost, time and quality standards" in order to "transform Britain's capacity". He formerly worked at Network Rail. Jim Crawford, also working on HS2 earns £390,000, his role is to "plan, deliver and monitor" the project.
Head of the Green Investment Bank Edward Northam earns over £330,000, while CEO Shaun Kingsbury earns £325,000. The bank was set up by the government to fund environmentally-friendly infrastructure projects but is now set to be part-privatised.
Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, earns £200,000, while her colleague Peter Lewis, the chief executive of the Crown Prosecution Service, is on £160,000.
Lin Homer, head of HMRC earns £185,000, in recent weeks she has been grilled by two parliamentary committees on her handling of the e-borders scheme and also failures to take action against UK citizens hiding money Swiss HSBC accounts.
The highest paid employee of the Cabinet Office was the permanent secretary was John Manzoni, a former top BP executive, earning £230,000.
A typically revealing interview by Becky Milligan, who has been chatting to John McDonnell about how Jeremy Corbyn got to be the left-wing candidate for the Labour leadership.
It was simply his turn, says the shadow chancellor on BBC Radio 4's PM programme.
The World at One
BBC Radio 4
The World at One
BBC Radio 4
UKIP MEP Diane James says she is "absolutely astonished" by a call from party colleague Douglas Carswell MP for Nigel Farage to quit as leader.
"I do wonder at his motives, yes - I mean he's come from the Conservatives," she told World at One presenter Shaun Ley.
Defence Secretary Micheal Fallon announced 177 UK military personnel were embedded in armed forces of other nations, as the government released dozens of announcements on "take out the trash day".
Countries include Australia, USA, New Zealand, Canada, France and Spain. There are also UK officers in Coalition forces, UN, NATO and the EU in a mixture of head quarters staff and officers.
The statement said these officers played an important role in "enhancing our national security interests around the world, strengthening our relationships with key allies and developing our own capabilities."
Human rights charity Reprieve called the information "almost worthless", "vague" and "a long way from real transparency".
They questioned where exactly personnel where based and what operations they were involved in, specifically questioning whether there was British involvement in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
The government said military personnel were involved in a "wide range of roles" for host countries including planning operations and training missions, being pilots, and working on naval vessels.
Speculation about the date of the EU referendum is rife today, with Nigel Farage suggesting he might put a wager on the third Thursday in June. Bookmakers William Hill have joined in by posting their latest odds. A poll somewhere between July and December 2016 is currently favourite, at odds of 5/4. You can get 2/1 on it happening before the end of June and 10/3 in the first half of 2017. The outsider in the race is the second half of 2017, on which you can get odds of 8-1.
The World at One
BBC Radio 4Copyright: Reuters
UKIP MEP Dianne James has questioned Douglas Carswell's motives in calling for a change at the top of the party, telling Radio 4's World at One that the MP seems "unhappy" in UKIP and still remains "extremely friendly" with many Conservatives.Quote Message: I'm absolutely astonished that Douglas has made the comments he has made today. His timing and his motivation I just can't even begin to fathom. Maybe he is part of a process and some form of organisation that wants to distract and divert from the fact that David Cameron achieved nothing in Brussels last night...You can't agitate in that way and keep undermining what the party is achieving and what Nigel is achieving without proposing an alternative. The ball is very, very, very firmly in Douglas Carswell's court - as in: Either put up or shut up or find an alternative
An NHS report was published into deaths at the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust which is one of the largest mental health trusts, among dozens of documents released on what has been dubbed "take out the trash day".
The report outlines failings at the hospital which included "a lack of leadership, focus and sufficient time spent in the Trust on carefully reporting and investigating unexpected deaths of mental health and learning disability service users".
It said there were more than 10,000 deaths during April 2011 and March 2015 of those 722 were "unexpected" but only 272 were investigated.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was "determined" lessons were learned. He announced the Care Quality Commission will inspect the trust for how it investigated deaths. This will lead on to an investigation across other NHS trusts, not just mental health, across the UK looking into preventable deaths.
Labour accused the government of "by-passing scrutiny" as the report was published hours before MPs left Westminster for Christmas. Shadow Mental Health Minister, Luciana Berger said "Ministers must be held to account for what is going wrong."
She said: "It is pitiful that the government has chosen to sneak it out on the day Parliament is breaking for recess, preventing MPs from being able to question ministers about it."
The report was commissioned in 2013 after the death of Conor Sparrowhawk who was a patient and drowned in a bathtub after an epileptic seizure.
A number of leading politicians have been among 89 people from all walks of life honoured by the Prince of Wales in an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
- Copyright: Ap
The prime minister has said he believes the "best future for Britain is in a reformed European Union" and he's confident of achieving that goal next year.
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Mr Cameron said 2016 will be the year when Britain achieves vital reform of the EU:Quote Message: I believe that 2016 will be the year we achieve something really vital - fundamentally changing the UK's relationship with the EU and finally addressing the concerns of the British people about our membership, then it will be for the British people to decide whether we remain or leave. It is a choice we'll all need to think hard about. But I believe if we can get these reforms right, and I believe that we can, I firmly believe that for our economic security and for our national security, the best future for Britain is in a reformed European Union"
In response to a question from the BBC's Political Editor, Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Cameron said he has been working with a clear mandate from the British people ever since his election in May and is pushing to secure reform that is "legally binding and irreversible".
The PM insisted the substance was more important than the timing saying he would give himself "time to get this right".
On his proposal for a four year ban on migrants receiving benefits, Mr Cameron said it "remains on the table" and that the Commission was looking for "solutions not compromises". He said he was convinced that working hard on the issue between now and February would provide " a good answer".
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the government should have done more to help the steel industry following a raft of closures and the loss of thousands of jobs.
Speaking in the context of the debate over the UK's continued membership of the EU, he said governments should have the ability to protect their own industries using the steel industry as an example.Quote Message: The Italian government intervened to protect theirs. Why doesn't the government intervene to protect ours?"
Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn believes the government cannot negotiate anything substantial in the coming six weeks on UK's membership of the European Union.
Speaking this morning during a visit to the Whittington Hospital in North London, Mr Corbyn was asked whether he thought anything substantial will be negotiated ahead of the next European Council Summit, he replied "no I don't".
He said the question on European Union membership was a "problem within the Conservative Party".
On the issue of migrant benefits, Mr Corbyn said it would be "discriminatory" and was "surprised" the prime minister was pursuing the issue. His position seemed to contradict that of the Labour Party which campaigned to restrict some benefits for migrants for two years.
He said:Quote Message: The amount paid to migrants is very, very small. It's in work benefits. It's working tax credits that are paid to a small number of European workers that work here. They work here, they're making a contribution to our economy. They are paying tax like everyone else, they are entitled to those benefits in my view."
The Daily Politics
The Daily Politics
Ahead of May's general election, the Scottish National Party, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru all had high hopes for electoral success. But the traditional third party - the Liberal Democrats - could only cross their fingers and wait for the worst. Which turned out to be far worse than they thought. We took a look back at the year and discuss it with SNP MP John Nicolson.