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Universities back down on sexual segregation after Cameron speaks out

timessegregation“Islamic speakers at universities will no longer be allowed to demand that men and women sit apart after vice-chancellors withdrew their controversial guidance that sex segregation was acceptable. Universities UK was forced into a humiliating climbdown yesterday after David Cameron intervened, saying he felt very strongly that students should have the right to sit together.” – The Times(£)

  • “It is the more disgusting that Universities UK attempted to defend its decision on the basis of equality. When segregating women, the report urges, don’t shove them to the back of the room (oh, that you were with us now, Rosa Parks). That would be discriminatory, and you could fall foul of some statute or other.” – Graeme Archer Daily Telegraph

Zac Goldsmith challenges party leaders to “come clean” over third runway at Heathrow

“The main party leaders should “come clean” about the expansion of Heathrow airport, a Conservative MP has said. Zac Goldsmith said it would be “catastrophic” for Prime Minister David Cameron if he reversed his earlier position and supported a third runway. Mr Goldsmith also questioned the independence of an interim report by the Airports Commission on airport expansion to be published next week.” – BBC

  • “Mr Goldsmith, told BBC’s Newsnight: ‘If the Government changes its position on Heathrow expansion I will trigger a by-election, and if it happens in the manifesto of the next election then I certainly wouldn’t stand as a Conservative.’ ” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Boris Johnson has accused David Cameron of setting up a commission on the future of Britain’s airports “to provide cover for a U-turn on Heathrow”.Mr Johnson, the Mayor of London, criticised ministers following suggestions that an independent commission will next week call for a major expansion of Heathrow Airport.” – Daily Telegraph

EU attacks “xenophobic” requirements for migrants to learn English to claim benefits…

“Brussels last night warned it would take Britain to court over ‘xenophobic’ plans to impose English tests on migrants before they can
claim benefits. The plan to require migrants to demonstrate a ‘reasonable standard of English’ was outlined by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith this week. But Laszlo Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, told David Cameron to drop proposals to tighten the so-called ‘habitual residency tests’ or face legal action.” – Daily Mail

…but Tory rebels demand tougher rules

“More than 70 Tory rebels will next week defy the Prime Minister by confronting ministers and demanding tougher restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian migrants.The MPs will accuse ministers of trying to block a new law which would ban migrants from coming to Britain until at least 2019.” – Daily Telegraph

Gove blocks new grammar school campus

GOVE, Michael blue sky“Michael Gove has rejected proposals to open the first new grammar school campus for 50 years. The Education Secretary decided that two rival applications from existing grammar schools to open an annexe or satellite site in Sevenoaks, Kent, were effectively attempts to create a new school. Both were rejected as being illegal under legislation that allows grammar schools to expand but forbids the opening of new selective schools.” – The Times(£)

  • “If people want a grammar school, be it labelled an annexe to satisfy the pen-pushers or proudly advertised as an independent institution, why should the people not have it? Polls consistently show that 70 per cent or more of the public would like to see selection return, and for obvious reasons. In an age in which British schools are falling behind their international competitors, the grammar sector remains not only high performing but also open to people from all classes. These schools are dynamic motors of social mobility.” Leader Daily Telegraph

NHS plan to ensure senior doctors available at weekends

“Patients taken into hospital at the weekend as an emergency will in future be routinely seen by senior doctors, to end “ethically unjustifiable” higher death rates on Saturdays and Sundays under a radical £2bn plan that will see the NHS providing high quality care every day. NHS bosses intend to end the situation whereby seriously ill patients admitted at weekends are at a 12% higher risk of dying than weekday arrivals because they often are treated by more junior medical staff and have to wait for crucial diagnostic tests.” – The Guardian

Tim Montgomerie, inspired by Borgen, says let’s scrap the political parties and start again

SPREAD TEMPLATE“At the heart of my design for a new political system for Britain is a recognition that the old division between Right and Left may no longer be the most important one. Localist v centralist. Interventionist v non-interventionist. Pragmatist v dogmatist. Nationalist v supranationalist. Deficit hawks v Keynesian expansionists. Unilateral v multilateral action on climate change. And perhaps the biggest one — conservatives who emphasise social responsibilities versus liberals who focus on individual rights.” – Tim Montgomerie The Times(£)

Britain on verge of building boom

“Britain looks to be on the verge of a new building boom after new figures revealed the highest number of new homes in six years. And new orders for public housing are now at their highest since 1993. The construction sector on the whole also rocketed up in size by 5.3% in just 12 months, after years of decline. The latest stats are a major boost for Chancellor George Osborne.” – The Sun(£)

Matthew Parris says let the poor children into the independent schools

“All private schools, both boarding and day schools, all of which are charities, should be forced by law to accept 25 per cent of their intake as scholarship boys and girls, funded by the State on a means-tested basis….The next Tory manifesto awaits. David Cameron is forever seeking his “Clause 4 moment”. This is it.” – Matthew Parris The Times(£)

Charles Moore says that Obama is neglecting America’s friends

“The bust of Winston Churchill left the Oval Office as Mr Obama moved in, and we lost influence. Just now, we have been embarrassed by US security failures in the Edward Snowden affair, and it seems quite likely that US changes proposed as a result of it will amputate some of the intimate intelligence cooperation that has helped us so much since 1946. So the rewards for doing the right thing by the United States seem to have diminished sharply.” – Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

Increase in homelessness

independenthomeless“The number of homeless people is rising sharply under the twin pressures of the shortage of housing and the impact of the Government’s welfare reforms, according to a new study. An annual “state of the nation” report by the charities Crisis and Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) revealed that the number sleeping rough has risen by six per cent in England this year, and by 13 per cent in London. There has been a 10 per cent increase in those housed temporarily, including a 14 per cent rise in the use of bed and breakfast accommodation.” – The Independent

Dromey warned over using “Pikey” reference

“The Labour party has warned MP Jack Dromey about using potentially offensive language after he referred to a postal worker as “the pikey” on Twitter. The shadow police minister and husband of Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman tweeted a picture of himself with a postal worker. His caption read: “With Gareth Martin, the Pikey from the Erdington Royal Mail Sorting Office. A great guy!” Since 2007 it has been an arrestable, racially aggravated offence to use the word “pikey”, which is an offensive and derogatory word used to refer to Irish or Romany travellers.” – The Guardian

  • “Apologists for paedophiles: How Labour Deputy Harriet Harman, her shadow minister husband and former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt were all linked to a group lobbying for the right to have sex with children.” – Daily Mail

The British people were right to “boot out” Labour says Sadiq Khan

“Voters were right to “boot out” Labour in 2010 after mistakes on issues such as immigration, the banks and Iraq, Sadiq Khan, one of Ed Miliband’s closest shadow cabinet allies, has said. The shadow justice secretary, who ran Miliband’s leadership campaign, said the party had to be humble enough to listen to the public and learn from the reasons why people did not vote Labour at the last election.” – The Guardian

EU attacks “xenophobic” requirements for migrants to learn English to claim benefits…

“Brussels last night warned it would take Britain to court over ‘xenophobic’ plans to impose English tests on migrants before they can claim benefits. The plan to require migrants to demonstrate a ‘reasonable standard of English’ was outlined by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith this week. But Laszlo Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, told David Cameron to drop proposals to tighten the so-called ‘habitual residency tests’ or face legal action.” – Daily Mail

 Unite assists Romanians and Bulgarians claim benefits in return for joining union

“The Unite union is offering to teach unemployed Romanians and Bulgarians how to claim benefits in Britain. The organisation, Labour’s biggest donor, is courting foreigners from the two countries as part of a membership drive. It offers the advice as a reward for signing up to the union.” – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • A&Es miss waiting time target – The Times(£)
  • Farmers back subsidies – BBC
  • Charities could be forced to disclose chief exec pay – Daily Telegraph
  • BBC paid for business class flights for Peter Hain – Daily Mail
  • Treasury Minister David Gauke attacked for offering unpaid internship – The Guardian
  • Stephen Kinnock wants to be a Labour MP – The Times(£)
  • Failing free school ordered to close – BBC
  • Why Eddie Izzard wants to be Mayor of London in 2019 – The Guardian
  • Interview with Ed Miliband – The Independent

And finally…what Cameron wants for Christmas

“Speaking to BBC Coventry and Warwickshire he said: “A bit of peace and quiet would be quite a nice thing but you can never bank on that in this job. I want some squidgy tennis balls. I have started playing tennis with my son. I would like those ones which you can really whack and they don’t go very far,” he added. “If Santa’s listening, you can get them down the chimney pretty easily and there will be a very happy recipient at the other end.” – The Independent

 

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