LeftWatch: Conor Burns leads opposition to statue of Tony Blair being erected alongside Thatcher and Churchill


The Archbishop of Canterbury today warns that Government welfare cuts could hit the 'honest, hardworking' poor as well as those who exploit the systemMail on Sunday

Philip Pullman and Andrew Motion condemn decision to axe £13m grant to the Book Trust

Screen shot 2010-12-26 at 09.28.55 "Leading writers have condemned a government decision to withdraw funding from a charity that provides free books to children to encourage reading. Booktrust will lose its £13m support for schemes in England from April. Author Philip Pullman called it an "unforgiveable disgrace", and ex-poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion said it was an "act of gross cultural vandalism"." – BBC

"The literary world has reacted with horror and has begun a campaign that has echoes of the one launched against the decision of the education secretary, Michael Gove, to axe funding for school sport, a plan revealed in the Observer. In fact, the decision to end Booktrust's funding is thought to have been taken to finance the education secretary's eventual U-turn on sport, which saw much of the threatened £162m cash for school sport partnerships restored." – The Observer

Britain to invest £40m in UN natural disasters fund

"The move has been announced on the anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami that hit Asia six years ago. The permanent emergency response fund set up after the Tsunami is very short of money. The number of people affected by disasters is predicted to rise from 250 million a year to 375 million by 2015." – BBC

Senior unnamed Tory minister said to be relaxed about Coalition candidates at General Election

6a00d83451b31c69e20147e0fb173e970b-250wi "Amid efforts to mend broken fences, the minister, often seen as one of a tight inner-circle of "Cameroons", went further than any member of the government yet has in endorsing joint candidates… "I would be relaxed to the idea of having some Coalition candidates at the next election."" – The Sunday Telegraph

"Exasperated Nick Clegg has told his Liberal Democrat MPs to stop treating their Tory Coalition colleagues like Nazi occupiers and start embracing them as allies." – Mail on Sunday

> On Christmas Eve we learnt that the Cabinet discussed helping the Lib Dem candidate in Oldham East win

David Laws may yet replace Vince Cable at BusinessThe Sunday Times (£)

Murdoch newspapers attack Cable…

  • One fairly… "Mr Cable’s private comments showed his true colours in a way he hoped never to reveal in public. The nation’s favourite uncle, who in the absence of these revelations would have been known this Christmas as the cuddly politician on Strictly Come Dancing, is in truth an unreconstructed old class warrior and former Labour councillor who would have been far happier in coalition with Gordon Brown." – The Sunday Times leader (£)
  • One unfairly… "Bigmouthed business secretary Vince Cable suffered another setback last night – being beaten into second place on Strictly's Christmas Special. Still reeling after undercover reporters recorded him slagging off the coalition government – Cable faced further humiliation when he was beaten to the top spot by camp entertainer John Barrowman." – News of the World (£)

An end-of-year overview of the opinion polls – Tim Montgomerie in The Sunday Telegraph

VAT set to knock 0.5% off retail sales Sunday Express

Scottish CBI chief says tax system puts UK companies at disadvantage to rivals – Scotland on Sunday

Conservative-focused comment:

  • The 'LibiLeaks’ actually show how robust this Coalition is – Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph
  • In The Sunday Telegraph Peter Oborne celebrates the Coalition government's respect for religious faith
  • David Cameron's two speechwriters – James Forsyth profiles Ameet Gill and Clare Foges in the Mail on Sunday
  • If charities go bust during the cutbacks the cost to society will be enormous – Paul Vallely in The Independent on Sunday

If Alan Johnson had replaced Gordon Brown in January – John Rentoul remembers his AJ4PM campaign in the Independent on Sunday

The Scottish Labour leader has signalled a controversial strategy for next year's Holyrood elections that includes personal attacks on Alex SalmondScotland on Sunday

Multi-faith chaplains to make House of Commons more inclusiveSunday Telegraph

Screen shot 2010-12-26 at 09.47.16 Tesco builds £7m police station – in return for new giant superstoreMail on Sunday

And finally… Ooops!

"One person unable to appreciate the Camerons' Christmas card featuring the couple cradling four-month-old baby Florence was Margaret Thatcher. She is still waiting to receive one. Surely, the Iron Lady cannot have dropped off the PM's list?" – Mail on Sunday's Black Dog


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