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8pm WATCH: Cameron tells Brown: Britain’s economic difficulties weren’t imported from America but home-made

7pm ToryDiary: ICM finds voters unmoved by ‘Brown-the-superman’

5.45pm AmericaInTheWorld: Is continuity in US foreign policy likely? Desirable?

Bbc4pm Parliament: Conservative MPs disagree over TV licence fee

3.30pm: Graeme Archer at his thoughtful best on CentreRight: Someone else’s smile

3pm Parliament: Government ineptitude on driving bans

2.30pm CentreRight: Jim McConalogue wants John Redwood working alongside George Osborne

1.15pm WATCH: We recommended bank recapitalisation plan, Brown undertook it says George Osborne

12.45pm Parliament: The Commons debates campaign finance law

Grievegraphic 11.45am ToryDiary: Dominic Grieve: Labour’s left it too late to get a grip on immigration

Picture_3 11.30am WATCH: Alan Duncan warns that businesses face worst climate for many decades

10.45am CentreRight: Continuing his series on Labour’s economic mismanagement, Charlie Elphicke highlights Labour’s record on inequality

10.45am Local Government: £2.5 billion business rates black hole?

ToryDiary:

Crabbgraphic Stephen Crabb MP on Platform: Should the Tories abandon the UK’s overseas aid target?

Cllr Barry Phelps on Local government: How to be a good Mayor

Suli Shah on CentreRight: The significance of Powell’s endorsement of Obama

Tories promises 1p tax cut for very small firms

"The Conservatives said the 1p national insurance cut could save a small business as much as £600, which, for example, could help pay the interest on an outstanding loan. The change would cost the Treasury £225m and could be paid for out of an existing Tory commitment to cut complex tax reliefs and allowances, the party added." – BBC

The ‘beating-the-recession’ debate

Mandelson "Plans to allow 4.5 million parents to work flexibly are to be delayed by the Government as it searches for ways to help businesses survive the economic downturn.  Lord Mandelson, the Secretary of State for Business, has ordered his officials to review all policies in the pipeline to ease the burden on firms so they are less likely to shed jobs, cut investment or go bust." – Independent

ConservativeHome comment: "This is exactly the sort of action that Government should be taking. We hope Alan Duncan will support Lord Mandelson in relieving business of such burdens."

George Osborne: "While the Chancellor speculates about the timing of big capital projects that could take years to get off the ground, that’s not going to help small businesses struggling this winter." – The Shadow Chancellor quoted in The Telegraph

"If there is money to be had, it should be returned to people in the form of tax cuts. Governments are no better at stimulating demand than they were at installing telephones or building cars – or, as we shall soon see, running banks. The best way to inject liquidity into the system is to stop confiscating so high a proportion of people’s earnings. Tax cuts would be morally right, politically popular and, more to the point, economically orthodox." – Telegraph leader

Economy expected to contract by 1% in 2009 – Sky

Has Mandelson revived privatisation of the Royal Mail?

"The partial privatisation of Royal Mail has moved a step closer after Lord Mandelson signalled his support in principle for the measure. The Business Secretary said that his proposal in 1998 to allow investment by the private sector would have been implemented if he had not left the Government. In comments likely to anger Labour MPs he told the Financial Times: “If I had not been forced to resign it would have happened.”" – Times

Iain Duncan Smith: We must improve young people’s financial literacy

Duncan_smith_2 "In a world dominated by complex financial instruments, young people need to know the difference between a secured and an unsecured loan, an overdraft and a personal loan, a junk bond and junk, as much as they need to know about getting and holding down a job. Personal finance should be part of the school curriculum. The Government agrees  but does not want to make it compulsory." – IDS writing in The Telegraph

Unemployment lowest in shadow cabinet land

"The 25 areas with least unemployment include among their MPs nine members of the Shadow Cabinet, led by David Cameron, whose Witney constituency has a jobless rate of just 0.9 per cent, the sixth-lowest in the UK. The others are Dominic Grieve, the MP for Beaconsfield and shadow Home Secretary; Oliver Letwin, West Dorset; Michael Gove, Surrey Heath; Cheryl Gillan, Chesham and Amersham; Peter Ainsworth, East Surrey; Jeremy Hunt, South West Surrey; Philip Hammond, Runnymede and Weybridge; and Liam Fox, Woodspring." – Independent

Bruce Anderson: The Tories must expose Brown’s negligence

"As George Osborne puts it, borrowing from President Kennedy, Chancellors shoud fix the roof when the sun is shining. Not with Gordon in charge. He does not believe in balance, economic cycles, or mending – only in spending, spending, spending. The consequences are now apparent. It is time for the Tories to be relentless in exposing this. Nor are the malign outcomes merely macro-economic. A profligate government is also a wasteful one. As a result of new money poured down without touching the sides, much of the public sector has become more inefficient and demoralised." – Independent

Ann Widdecombe condemns Scout movement’s sex education plans

Widdecombeingarden "Scouts are to be taught about sex and given condoms – to the fury of traditionalists… But Tory MP Ann Widdecombe was aghast the movement founded by Lord Robert Baden-Powell was getting involved. She said: "This is not what parents expect of the Scout Association. Sex education is for parents and they already find their role usurped by schools. They certainly do not need the scouts doing it as well."" – Mirror

Sarah Brown to campaign solo in GlenrothesBBC

Alex Salmond wants the Lloyds TSB takeover of HBOS frozenBBC

Writing in The Times the SNP leader says the banking crisis strengthens the case for independence.

Rhodri ‘to leave hole’ in Welsh Labour

"Welsh Labour will be in trouble after the departure of Rhodri Morgan, suggests the director of Wales’ leading think tank. Writing on his blog, John Osmond of the Institute of Welsh Affairs said: “Rhodri Morgan is the Donald Dewar of Welsh politics, in many ways the father of Welsh devolution. He is the only politician of any party currently in the National Assembly who is widely known by the electorate. His historic role has been to legitimise devolution, and to make people comfortable with the National Assembly." – Western Mail

And finally… (but it’s no joke)…

"MPs have been given 24 days off over Christmas, the joint longest Parliamentary holiday since records began 30 years ago." – Telegraph

The Sun Says: "How do MPs react to the world collapsing around their ears? By working round the clock questioning and probing the Government to make sure they are doing the right thing? By sacrificing their weekends to give their own brilliant ideas to ministers? Er, no. Commons authorities have decided it would be best if our representatives took an extra week’s holiday at Christmas . . . giving them three and a half weeks off."

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