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8pm Seats and candidates: Labour heading for thumping victory in Oldham with two polls showing the Lib Dems 17% behind

6.15pm LeftWatch: Defiant Geoff Hoon refuses to apologise for bringing Parliament into disrepute

Traditional Teacher4.30pm Ryan Henson on Comment: Simon Hughes ought to be focusing on improving state schools, not encouraging universities to discriminate against those from private schools

2pm WATCH: Last night's Newsnight report in which Jack Straw talks about "Pakistani heritage men" targeting "vulnerable young white girls" because they are "easy meat"

Noon Paul Goodman on Comment: Debate about unacceptable practices shouldn't be swept under the carpet

11.30am Seats and Candidates: Labour's campaign literature in Oldham virtually ignores Ed Miliband and concentrates on attacking "police cuts"

David Cameron 2011ToryDiary: David Cameron defends sacking Lord Young (but not Vince Cable), saying "politics isn't fair" and that coalition involves contradictions

Seats and Candidates: The Conservative campaign in Oldham East and Saddleworth turns its fire on Labour

Comment:

Local Government:

WATCH: After the jailing of David Chaytor, Jonathan Aitken talks to Sky News about how to adjust to life in prison

Poll shows Labour would lead a combined Con-Lib Dem Coalition Party by 45% to 38%

Lib Con rosette "Respondents were asked to reconsider their options in a campaign in which the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats ran as a single party. Under this scenario, Labour remains on top with the support of 45 per cent of decided voters and leaners. The joint Conservative/Liberal Democrats is second with 38 per cent… The main hindrance for the unified Coalition party—if it ever materializes—would be the patent disappointment from Liberal Democrat supporters. While the merged party would hold on to four-in-five voters who cast a ballot for a Conservative candidate in 2010 (83%), only one third of Liberal Democrat voters in 2010 (32%) would support a joint Tory/Lib-Dem candidate." – Angus Reid Public Opinion

> Last night's ToryDiary: 83% of Tory voters would support a Coalition candidate but only 32% of Lib Dem voters would do the same

Control orders "to remain in all but name"

"Control orders on suspected terrorists will stay in all but name, with most dangerous suspects still subjected to electronic tagging and travel bans, the Daily Telegraph has learned. The disclosure comes after Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and leading Coalition opponent of the controversial orders, warned that campaigners seeking their complete abolition will be “disappointed”. A small number of suspects will still face legal curbs on their freedom without being put on trial, he signalled." – Daily Telegraph

  • The case for control orders is serious. But the curtailment of individual liberty is too great a price – Times (£) editorial
  • James Slack: Why should the PM let terrorists walk our streets just to appease Clegg's mutinous backbenchers? – Daily Mail

> WATCH: Nick Clegg speaks about "the difficult set of dilemmas" the Government faces in seeking to find a replacement for control orders

> WATCH: Channel 4 News reports that Theresa May joined Cameron and Clegg for a "summit" on control orders at Downing Street yesterday

Universities must cut private schools intake, says Simon Hughes

"Universities should drastically limit their intake of privately educated pupils if they want to charge undergraduates up to £9,000 a year, says the government's adviser on access to higher education. Simon Hughes, also the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, warns that universities need to be far more active in seeking out the brightest state school pupils." – The Guardian

Michael Gove declares his love for Nick Clegg…

Michael Gove 2010 smiling “I love Nick Clegg,” declared the Education Secretary when asked whether he had sympathy for his embattled coaltion colleague. “Sympathy is not the emotion I feel, it’s admiration. He is a brave, gutsy and principled politician as well as being a nice and decent person. He’s a pleasure to spend time with. He’s very thoughful, decent, humane. All his personal dealings are very honourable.” – Michael Gove interview in The Times (£)

…as he says that teachers must be free to touch pupils

"Michael Gove condemned a new training video that urges teachers never to engage in physical contact with pupils, even when adjusting the position of a child's hand on an instrument. That approach "plays to a culture of fear" among children and adults, he said, as he ordered schools to abandon "no contact" rules between teachers and pupils. It was "positively right" for teachers to comfort distressed pupils by putting an arm around them, or demonstrate sports skills through physical contact with a child, he said." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Michael Gove attacks Musicians' Union for instructing music teachers to avoid any physical contact with children

Ex-Labour MP Chaytor spends first night in jail after conviction for fiddling expenses

"Ex-Labour MP David Chaytor has spent his first night in Wandsworth prison after being jailed for 18 months for fiddling his parliamentary expenses. He was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to fraudulently claiming more than £20,000 in expenses. The former MP for Bury North admitted three charges of false accounting." – BBC

  • Jonathan Aitken: I found kindness, camaraderie and humour in prison. I hope he does too – The Independent

> Yesterday in Parliament: Former Labour MP David Chaytor jailed for 18 months over false expenses claims

Francis Maude hails "quango bonfire" savings

MAUDE FRANCIS 2 "The coalition’s “bonfire of the quangos” will save “significantly more” than £1bn, Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, claimed on Friday as MPs on the Commons public administration committee continued to criticise his cull. On Thursday, the committee said the cull had been “botched” and was unlikely to deliver either significant savings or the improved accountability that ministers claim will result." – FT (£)

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Francis Maude hits back at Bernard Jenkin's criticism of the Government's "bonfire of the quangos"

Oldham by-election race "remains too close to call"

"What unites its redbrick Victorian terraces, now full of Kashmiri and Pakistani Britons, and snooty, stone villages such as Diggle, Delph and Saddleworth are high-handed boundary changes which lumped the villages into Oldham in 1974. In 1997 they created the marginal constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth. It is Coronation Street meets Last of the Summer Wine, Salford combined with Holmfirth." – Michael White visits Oldham East and Saddleworth for The Guardian

"David Cameron appears to be doing his bit to nudge forwards the concept of coalition voting, doing the bare minimum necessary to avoid accusations of abandoning his party’s campaign. The Times contacted the Conservatives’ media handler repeatedly by telephone, text and e-mail on Wednesday with requests to meet the party’s candidate and visiting politicians, to no avail." – The Times (£)

Tory MPs will seek to amend European Union Bill next Tuesday

EU-FLAG "A substantial number of Tory MPs are understood to be trying to significantly amend the legislation, with proposals so radical the leadership will struggle to accept them… Why are Tories so intent on scuppering, or at least radically overhauling, a bill designed to placate them? Partly because there are significant problems with the bill itself. A minister will decide whether a treaty is acceptable, subject to judicial review. That's very odd and problematic. But the truth is that opposition is more concerned with David Cameron's relationship with his own party than it is with the details of the European Union bill." – Politics.co.uk

> Last Sunday in Parliament: Is a Commons defeat on Europe really on the cards for David Cameron?

"Labour messed up our exams"

"Core school subjects suffered under Labour while "soft" options flourished, new Tory exam figures reveal. Just 15 per cent of GCSE pupils achieved a C grade or above in mainstream courses last year. Youngsters shunned exams in maths, English, history, geography and science. But there was an increase of 3,800 per cent in kids seeking qualifications like "salon services", "personal effectiveness" and "sports leadership". – The Sun

  • Heads attack plan to baccalaureate league table – BBC

Other political news in brief:

  • David Cameron calls industry leaders for UK growth summit next week – Daily Telegraph
  • TUC organises online anti-cuts campaign – Press Association
  • Benefits changes "could breach human rights laws" – BBC
  • Lib Dem MP questions Clegg's move to exempt Royals from FoI laws – Press Association
  • Top woman head to turn around failing schools – The TImes (£)
  • Jack Straw accuses some Pakistani men of seeing white girls as "easy meat" for sexual abuse – Daily Express

Polly Toynbee: Politicians lie, but David Cameron's mendacity is breathtaking

Picture 25 "One of the worst ideas in circulation is to make manifestos legally binding, nailing parties to pre-election promises. The danger is that politics will increasingly end up in the courts, with judges, not voters, in charge. Democracy needs politicians to be judged in the court of public opinion. But you can see why people are thrashing around angrily for some redress – and not just those who voted Lib Dem… Far more shocking is the spectacle of Cameron and Osborne's unabashed, barefaced and premeditated mendacity" – Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

Other Comment:

  • Alex Brummer: Osborne must stand up to the banks on bonuses – Daily Mail
  • Patrick O'Flynn: Unscathed Cameron is about to get some battle scars – Daily Express
  • Philip Collins: Miliband won't get a hearing unless he is honest about past errors – The Times (£)
  • Andrew Grice: Oldham is Ed's chance to prove he is the right brother at the right time – The Independent

Picture 23 The Daily Express today publishes a special 20-page supplement dedicated to its "crusade" to take Britain out of the European Union. Featuring contributions from Ruth Lea, Lord Tebbit, Frederick Forsyth, Nigel Farage and Sir Ian Botham, you can download it in its entirety by clicking here.

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61 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 8th January 2011

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