6.45pm Robert Halfon MP on CentreRight: Sir Humphrey's ingenious defence of First Class rail travel

3.45pm LeftWatch: Whitewashing BBC fails to tell licence feepayers about new union leader's militant ambition to take over Labour Party (updated at 5pm with statement from Sayeeda Warsi).

3.30pm WATCH: Because Liberal Democrats didn't win the election, we didn't break tution fees promise, says Cable

1.30pm Local government update: Tory MP Andrew Percy attacks Labour councillor who described royal family as "parasites"

Gove on Marr1pm ToryDiary: Gove back pedals on direct funding of schools

ToryDiary: Cameron needs an emergency renegotiation plan for a post-€uro Europe

Jiehae Choi and Nathan Gamester on Platform: Can the Government actually make people happier?

Cllr Mark Hawthorne on Local government: Why Gloucestershire needs fewer councillors

Also on Local government: Councils will be able to stop queue jumping for housing waiting list


Cameron cancels Christmas holiday in five star Thai resort

Cameron PM "There was speculation in Thai newspapers that he would be staying at one of two resorts in Phuket whose luxury rooms cost at least £1,000 a night, and there was mounting concern in Number Ten that the trip looked extravagant at a time when most Britons were cutting back. The Prime Minister's advisers are eager to avoid the sort of controversy which accompanied Tony Blair on his many luxury holidays whilst Prime Minister." – The Sunday Telegraph

Ken Clarke abandons Tory manifesto's promise of MinMax prison sentences

"Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, has been forced to abandon plans which would have seen criminals lose the right to automatic release halfway through their sentence. Under the proposals – which were pledged in the Conservative election manifesto – judges would have set minimum and maximum terms when jailing a criminal, and the offender would have been required to prove they deserved to be released from jail when the minimum term was up." – The Sunday Telegraph

Andrew Lansley considering plain cigarette packaging

Smoking-pack "Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said it was wrong children were being attracted to smoking by "glitzy designs on packets" and that it made sense to consider "less attractive packaging". Campaign group Ash says this is "an enormous leap forward". The Department of Health is considering the idea of asking tobacco firms to put only basic information and health or picture warnings on their packets." – BBC | Observer

Hague sets out conflict prevention strategy

"William Hague believes he can give our brave troops a break by ending Labour's decade of wars. The Foreign Secretary has embarked on an ambitious five-year mission to break the cycle. His bold new plan avoids future conflicts by stepping in sooner to nip problems in the bud. Vowing to raise Britain's role as international peacebroker, he declared: "We can still pack a punch on the world stage."" – News of the World (£)

Lord Sanderson's Scottish review set to be cautious

"The six-month-long inquiry is set to reject calls for the Scots Tories to get a new name and be split entirely from the UK party." – Scotland on Sunday

Coalition in brief:

  • Hi-speed rail: "Three ministers, including a member of the Cabinet, have threatened to resign rather than support the Government’s controversial high-speed rail line through some of England’s finest countryside." – The Sunday Telegraph
  • War on terror: Cameron pledges to pull our troops out of Afghanistan by 2015 – Mail on Sunday | Video
  • Cuts: Flood defence spending 'faces 27% cut' – Observer
  • After-school sports competitions: Michael Gove urged to save School Sport Partnerships (SSPs) – Observer leader
  • Universities: Vince Cable says Lib Dems broke no tuition fee promise – BBC 
  • LibDem tactics: Clegg to make greater stress on how his party has changed Coalition – Independent on Sunday

Matthew d'Ancona: Cameron will hope that the Royal Wedding lifts national spirits

"Royal events do not win votes. But in a more numinous, much less explicit sense, they do help to set the context in which votes can be won. Such ceremonies – royal births, marriages, deaths – are the punctuation marks of national life, the paragraph breaks in a collective drama. The PM would be foolish to dream of a poll “bounce” directly after next year’s wedding. But privately, he is entitled to hope that the ceremony will act as a hinge, the moment at which it becomes plausible to speak of brighter times ahead, the prospect of hope and prosperity beyond the years of pain." – Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

Ed Balls signals Labour is ready to drop 28 detention policyThe Sunday Telegraph

James Forsyth: Tories discuss attack strategies towards Ed Miliband

Miliband Ed Politics Show 470 "Some Tories are so unimpressed with Ed Miliband that they are convinced it is now in their interests to go easy on him. In a recent discussion on how to deal with him, one Tory strategist argued that ‘he’s an asset and should be treated as such’. In other words, don’t do anything that would make Labour get rid of him. But others disagree. George Osborne is particularly adamant that the Tories must keep hammering Miliband in the way Labour did William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith." – James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday

In The Observer Andrew Rawnsley calls on Ed Miliband to deliver party reform.

Mandelson's anger after Ed Miliband said he should be 'packed off to the old folks' homeMail on Sunday

Labour MPs unhappy that Nick Clegg placed wreath before Ed Miliband at Remembrance Day service

Screen shot 2010-11-21 at 08.26.57 "Labour MPs have accused the Prime Minister of a Remembrance Day snub by letting Nick Clegg lay his Cenotaph wreath before Ed Miliband. The Mail on Sunday understands that Mr Miliband is furious Deputy Prime Minister Mr Clegg was allowed to take precedence over him at the service in Whitehall last Sunday. Angry Labour MPs last night accused Mr Cameron of politicising Remembrance Day to favour his Liberal Democrat Coalition partner." – Bottom of this page at the Mail on Sunday

Other politics:

  • Brown received £60,000 for fifty minute speech on global economic crisis – Mail on Sunday
  • Why has the SNP given up the power to alter Scottish income tax rates? – Ian Bell in the Sunday Herald
  • Curious visitors to parliament could walk away with Commons cufflinks and other trinkets as MPs plan to cash in by selling their brand to tourists – The Sunday Times (£)

Controlling immigration

"If the coalition is to meet its promise to reduce net migration from 196,000 to 50,000 a year by 2014, it must first of all stop giving a virtually automatic right to citizenship to people who come here to work. There’s no need to take permanent responsibility for them and their families, who also gain the right to settle here." – Minette Marrin in The Sunday Times (£)

Army chief attacks BBC for broadcasting drama showing bullying among British troops in AfghanistanSunday Express

And finally… Cameron almost smashes chandelier in Downing St tennis match with Andy Murray

Screen shot 2010-11-21 at 08.30.06 "Anyone for tennis? In a Downing Street state room under a glass chandelier? Just don't try the top-spin lob. It must rank as one of Andy Murray's most bizarre confrontations, but the British No 1 was forced to pick up a racquet last week and defend his reputation against the Prime Minister." – Scotland on Sunday

Email_subscribe Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.