6.30pm WATCH: Grant Shapps: Scrapping the 50p tax rate has to be prioritised in this current economic climate

5pm: Today's teatime newslinks – including reaction to this afternoon's PMQs – a damning response to Miliband's performance, more on relations inside the Coalition, and from Europe. 

Screen shot 2011-12-14 at 16.52.524.30pm MPsETC: Tory candidate in Feltham & Heston asks Labour's one: Where do you stand on Cameron's EU veto?

4pm Benjamin Harris-Quinney on Comment: Young people should be deeply concerned by the nation’s economic future and position in the world

3.30pm MPsETC: First they were whipped to back Cameron's veto. Then they were whipped not to. More dither and muddle from the Liberal Democrats.

2.30pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: Should Britain offer Ireland a currency union?

2pm WATCH: Videos from PMQs:

Screen shot 2011-12-14 at ToryDiary: Cameron gets the upper hand over Miliband, as the Labour party leader fails to reap the rewards of coalition division

Noon ConHomeUSA: Today's top Republican and American political news

11.45am WATCH: Daniel Hannan MEP: Eurocrats no longer disguise their loathing of Britain

11.15am LeftWatch: A LabourList poll suggests a steep decline in popularity for Ed Miliband over strikes

ToryDiary: I apologise for banging on about a referendum. But the subject simply won't go away.

PATEL PRITIPriti Patel MP on Comment: Legislation should be introduced to  give more rights to victims of crime through a new enforceable Code of Practice

Ruth Porter on Comment: Current child poverty targets miss the point entirely

ThinkTankCentral: New TaxPayers' Alliance report indicates council employees have spent 2,500 working years on paid suspension since 2009

Local government: EU rules thwarting charities from bidding to run council services

WATCH: José Manuel Barroso: British veto put EU internal market at risk

Cameron challenged in Cabinet over EU veto.  The Conservatives overtake Labour in the polls.

HuhneSnarl"Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, highlighted deep Liberal Democrat unease by telling Cameron that he had no authority from the coalition to veto a revision of the Lisbon treaty. In what was seen as a breach of convention, Huhne interrupted the prime minister twice as he summed up a lengthy discussion on Europe, in cabinet. Huhne… believes Cameron had the authority to table four agreed demands for Britain's financial services – but that he had no authority from the coalition to wield a veto." – Guardian

  • "The Conservatives have overtaken Labour in an opinion poll for the first time this year, enjoying a bounce on the back of Prime Minister David Cameron's veto of a new European Union treaty, the latest Reuters/Ipsos MORI poll showed on Wednesday." – Reuters
  • "Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, Others 10%. This is the first time that YouGov have shown a Conservative lead since December 2010." – UK Polling Report
  • "Liberal Democrats have refused to vote on a Commons motion that praised David Cameron's handling of the EU summit. … MPs… backed a motion by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – commending Mr Cameron's handling of the issue – by 278 votes to 200. … A senior party source said the Lib Dem position was agreed in advance" – BBC
  • Cameron would win a majority in a general election now – Patrick O'Flynn
  • Foreign Office mandarins complain of being sidelined – Independent
  • EU treaty hopes come under strain – FT (£)
  • Confusion over Britain's £30bn share of IMF rescue for Europe – Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday:

An early election would finish the Lib Dems, Nick Clegg warns MPs and peers

Clegg on Marr"The Deputy Prime Minister told a private meeting of more than 100 MPs and peers that he would not play “Russian roulette” with the Conservatives over David Cameron’s rejection of a new European treaty. He said: “I don’t want to be the last leader of the Liberal Democrats by provoking a general election today.” His speech, which was applauded by the meeting, came as a poll put the Lib Dems on just 12 per cent, just ahead of the UK Independence Party." – Daily Telegraph

  • "[Nick Clegg] said: “It is very unfamiliar for me. I don’t go out clubbing very much. It feels somewhat uncomfortable – somewhat like David Cameron at a Franco-German summit."" – Daily Mirror
  • Clegg is helping his enemies to annihilate his own party – Matthew Norman for the Independent
  • "Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is to launch a new consultation within days aimed at bringing in a legal definition of what constitutes abuse against a spouse or partner." – Sky News

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Cameron must not let Clegg disembowel the veto

Euro-sceptic Tory MPs to use European bailout vote in the new year to push for referendum

COMMONS-sitting"Allies of the Prime Minister are desperate to avoid a rerun of October’s rebellion in which 81 Tories defied the leadership and called for a referendum on Britain’s relationship with Europe. One Downing Street source said they were worried that rebels would put down an amendment to force another referendum vote, which would jeopardise Mr Cameron’s attempts to resist further reform of Britain’s ties with the EU. … Some Conservative backbenchers have started referring privately to the “English Spring”" – The Times (£)

> From yesterday:

Daniel Finkelstein: David Cameron’s veto on Europe is the logical consequence of Britain’s decision to opt out of the euro

FINKELSTEIN DANNY HANDS"Mr Cameron did have a choice. Fiscal union inside the EU with the possibility of EU law and EU institutions being used to promote the economic interests of the eurozone against the outsiders? Or fiscal union outside EU structures with eurozone members unable to use EU law but feeling resentment at Britain’s defiance? Mr Cameron chose the latter… his choice was not between co-operating in jolly harmony or isolation, it was between two different ways of protecting ourselves from the inevitable political difficulties caused by being in a tiny minority." – Daniel Finkelstein for the Times (£)

  • "Bashing Britain may make Eurocrats feel good, but Cameron was right to stand aloof from a treaty that will surely fail" - Simon Jenkins for the Guardian
  • Forget David Cameron's veto, another eurozone crisis is only weeks away - Jeremy Warner for the Daily Telegraph
  • "Amid their posturing and recriminations against David Cameron, there is one inconvenient truth his critics cannot continue to ignore: with the euro crisis spreading like wildfire, they have yet to come up with a single realistic plan to put out the blaze." – Daily Mail editorial
  • David Cameron must resume his seat at the European negotiating table - Douglas Alexander for the Guardian

> From yesterday - WATCH: de Gaulle to Sarkozy: A history of Anglo-French relations from the Daily Politics Show

Proposals for MP recalls re-appear

"MPs guilty of serious wrong-doing could lose their seats if 10 per cent of voters in their constituencies sign a petition to “recall” them under new proposals. … Under the plans, a recall petition could be triggered by a vote in the House of Commons or by an MP being sentenced to prison for 12 months or less. The proposals tighten up the current rules, which allow MPs to keep their seats unless they are jailed for more than a year. If 10 per cent of eligible constituents – up to 7,500 people – vote for a recall, the MP’s seat will be vacated and a by-election held." – Daily Telegraph

Ken Clarke says Britain is facing a long period of youth unemployment 

CLARKE KEN ON ITN"Clarke said: "It is possible that with the prolonged recession and the long period of youth unemployment, there will be an increase in acquisitive crime … The Prison Service is responding very well to it at the moment, though of course we have to adjust the capacity of the estate."" – Guardian

  • "He warned that any stalling in the economic recovery will fuel more thefts, robberies and burglaries and force up the prison population." – Daily Telegraph
  • Studio schools to open to cut teenage unemployment rate – Daily Telegraph

Andrew Lansley believes that health spending will rise in real terms "from now until kingdom come"The Spectator

I made mistakes but Fox is still a friend, says WerrittyThe Times (£)

Ann Widdecombe: Make parents pay for drunk kids

WIDDECOMBE plus balloons"Seven thousand drunken children, some as young as 12, were admitted as hospital emergencies in the space of six months. Comparisons with the past are often pointless but the fact that this is now reported at the tail end rather than on the front pages of our papers shows how desensitised we have become to the behaviour of the nation’s children and to abuse of alcohol." – Ann Widdecombe for the Daily Express

Alan Milburn warns government will miss 2020 child poverty targetGuardian

Public Accounts Select Committee: Big Society is being hampered by lack of clarity - BBC

Big Society"In a report released on Wednesday, the public administration select committee calls on the government to introduce a single minister to take control of the policy or risk seeing it flop for a fifth time. The report follows an earlier inquiry by the same committee, which examines the role of the civil service. It found there had been a failure to apply coherent changes in Whitehall to implement the project." – Guardian

Scots want early independence referendum - The Times (£)

National Security Council meeting reaffirms strategy to withdraw British troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 - Guardian

Six million eligible voters not registered, says Electoral CommissionGuardian

Unmarried couples should have inheritance rights, say government advisers - Daily Telegraph

Transport cuts bereft of long-term strategy, says National Audit OfficeGuardian

Friends and foes of Lady Thatcher give their verdict on Meryl Streep's film portrayalDaily Mail


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