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Will Grayling resign over Europe?

GRAYLING Union flag“No 10 fears that at least two Eurosceptic Cabinet Ministers – Leader of the House Chris Grayling and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers – could be on the brink of walking out of their jobs over Mr Cameron’s support for an ‘In’ vote in the EU referendum. It could lead to an earlier- than-expected appointment to the Cabinet for Mr Johnson, who has previously said that he would not take a ministerial position before his term as London Mayor ends in May.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Six Cabinet Ministers say that Cameron must resign if he loses referendum vote – Sunday Times (£)
  • Remain New Year Push 1) Stuart Rose interview – Observer
  • Remain New Year Push 2) Starmer says that terrorists will rejoice if we leave the EU – The Observer
  • Remain New Year Push 3) Stuart Rose article – Sun on Sunday
  • I predict that May won’t back Cameron’s renegotiation – Anne McElvoy, Mail on Sunday
  • The blizzard of ballots due in May – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)
  • Boris’s big test – Mail on Sunday Editorial

Primary school kids to be tested on times tables

“The initiative will be rolled out across the country in 2017 but piloted to around 3,000 pupils in 80 primary schools this summer. The children will be asked to give timed responses to questions on a screen and results scored instantly. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “We are introducing a check to ensure all pupils know times tables by age 11. “It will help teachers recognise pupils at risk of falling behind.”  Pupils reaching the required standard in maths at age 11 rose to 87 per cent last year yet 74,000 were still judged to be below. Nick Timothy, of the New Schools Network, said: “This type of rigour is typical in new free schools.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Ofsted clashes with ministers over extent of teacher shortages – Observer

Get Lewin, episode two

LETWIN Young“Research by the Observer has shown that in a 1999 book, Letwin identified an “underclass” who he said represented “an extreme failure to contribute to the advance of beauty, truth and prosperity”. In The Purpose of Politics, a book of political philosophy published two years after he became an MP and a year before he joined the shadow cabinet, Letwin made comparisons between “a drugged adolescent in a modern inner city” and a medieval serf. Letwin argued that the former “shares only the values of his gang or if, as sometimes, deprived even of that solicitude, no identifiable values at all”.” – The Observer

  • Thatcher stopped Argentina buying German missiles – Sunday Express

> Today: Tory Diary – The truth about Letwin

Trevor Phillips: I won’t join the Letwin lynch mob

“Even if you wanted to demonstrate that Tories are closet racists who haven’t changed their attitudes since 1986, Letwin is probably the worst example you could find. Whatever he may have said in 1986, in recent times his actions show the zeal of a religious convert to the cause of young black people. Ten years ago, he became one of the moving spirits behind the Social Mobility Foundation, which has since made it possible for thousands of young black people to gain places in our most prestigious universities.” – The Observer

The next Conservative leader will be an outsider with ‘warmth and intelligence’, says Davidson

Ruth Davidson“Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, says she believes that George Osborne, Boris Johnson and Theresa May will be beaten in the race to replace David Cameron.  Instead, she expects one of the MPs who were elected just six years ago to emerge victorious. “When David Cameron stood [for leader] he was by far the youngest … he was the outsider.  “The party can pick winners and doesn’t always pick the obvious choice,” she adds, singling out the talents of some of the 2010 intake.” - Sunday Telegraph

Corbyn’s revenge: Benn will go in Night of the Long Ice Picks

“The Labour leader is due to dump him this week from his prestigious role as Shadow Foreign Secretary.  He will be offered a new post but it would be a humiliating climbdown, and he is expected to hold crunch talks about whether to accept or walk away. It comes after Mr Benn’s impassioned speech in the Commons backing Syrian air strikes was lauded as one of the greatest in Parliament’s history.” – Sun on Sunday

John Rentoul: Mandelson says that Miliband cost Labour the last election

Pinning Down Miliband“He quotes the findings of Labour’s own pollsters, reported in the book, that voters were unclear about Mr Miliband’s policy and vision.  “It was not that he was too radical or left wing; if anything, his vague policies and insipid gesture politics simply left the voters not knowing what he was,” Lord Mandelson writes. “Nor was it that he was too anti-business; the public are not in love with big business but they do expect a prospective prime minister to understand the fundamentals of the market economy.” - Independent on Sunday

Was there a plot to murder Farage?

“Mr Farage, who has received death threats during his tumultuous time as leader, last night spoke about the ‘frightening’ incident, which took place near Dunkirk…When the emergency services arrived, they told a shaken Mr Farage that he had been the victim of a malicious act. ‘The French police looked at it and said that sometimes nuts on one wheel can come a bit loose – but not on all four,’ Mr Farage said…The crash, which took place in daylight at the end of October, has been kept under wraps by Mr Farage until now.” – Mail on Sunday

Flood waters rise, EA under fire

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 08.37.24“The Agency has been accused of mismanagement of flood defences as towns and villages across the country bear the brunt of storms.  It also emerged that the organisation spent over £75,000 on special chairs for staff in just one year between 2013-14 – enough to buy 25,000 sand bags.  It comes as David Cameron announced a package of more than £40m to rebuild and improve flood defences in the aftermath of the latest devastating storms.  The Prime Minister also pledged the government would support charities helping those caught up in the Boxing Day floods by matching every pound of the first £2m raised.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

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