4.30pm ToryDiary: Nick Clegg is the 'Yellow B**tard of 2012'
11.30am Gavin Barwell MP on Comment: Four reasons why the Conservative Party must win more of Britain's growing ethnic vote
11am AUDIO: Interviewed by Melinda Gates, David Cameron insists he'll keep his promises to the world's poorest
Chris Skidmore MP on Comment: Overcoming the dementia challenge
Clegg and Miliband set out their new year messages
- "Whatever 2013 throws at us, the Liberal Democrats will continue to anchor this coalition in the centre ground and we will hold firm to our key purpose in this government" – Clegg reported by the BBC
- "Parents have been promised that they will be given more help with the cost of childcare next year, despite a stand-off within the coalition. Nick Clegg used his New Year message to Liberal Democrat supporters to guarantee that help was on the way." – Times (£)
- Mr Miliband pledged to use 2013 to set out in detail his vision for a "One Nation Britain" with "concrete" policies on business, welfare and education – BBC
- Ed Miliband uses "one nation" phrase NINE times in message – The Sun
David Blunkett launches attack on unfairness of local government cuts
"The 50 councils worst affected by government cuts will face a reduction of £160 per head on average, despite the fact that about a third of their children already live in poverty…. The prime minister's local authority of West Oxfordshire, one of the least deprived in the country, is losing £34 per head, while Hackney – the most deprived borough – is facing a massive cut of £266 per head." – David Blunkett in The Guardian
Britain leaving EU would amount to entering a desert, claims Van Rompuy – ITV
"David Cameron will not be allowed to ‘cherry pick’ powers to claw back from Brussels, the EU president has warned. In a major blow to the Prime Minister’s strategy, Herman Van Rompuy said the European Union would fall apart quickly if countries were allowed to pick and choose which powers they wanted to keep. Mr Van Rompuy said he wanted Britain to stay in the EU, adding that the UK’s departure would ‘see a friend walk off into the desert’ – Daily Mail
"Cameron must promise an "in-out" referendum on Britain's European Union membership or face defections to the anti-EU UKIP and a challenge to his Conservative leadership, senior party sources have warned." – The Herald
Clegg fuelled the Coalition row over the EU by saying Cameron should not waste time on renegotiating the terms of UK membership but focus on €uro firestorm – Express
The Daily Mail is contemptuous of Mr Clegg's views: "Despite the fact the euro has been a major factor in the financial tumult causing such pain in Greece, Italy and Spain. And despite its risible lack of democracy and accountability, Mr Clegg said Britain needs to become more – not less – engaged with a political project that still teeters on the brink of collapse."
The Express affirms its view that "we must be free to make our way in the world once more".
The Sun responds to yesterday's ConHome poll on Tory election prospects
The Sun Says: "A poll by the influential Conservative Home website says fewer than one in eight Tory Party members expects David Cameron to secure a majority. Most think Labour will end up in office. The lessons are clear. Voters are fed up with the Tories banging on about fringe issues like gay marriage. They are fed up with appeasing Nick Clegg. They are fed up with the snail’s pace of recovery and the sense that it’s all stick and no carrot for overtaxed workers under Mr Cameron. If the Tories don’t buck up, they’ll hand the election to Ed Miliband on a plate."
Also see Telegraph report.
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Only 12% of Tory members expect Cameron to win a majority at next election
The Independent reports Tory grassroots views on equal marriage
"The poll, carried out by the ConservativeHome website, found that seven out of 10 Tory members (71 per cent) believe that same-sex marriage is splitting the party and that three out of four (78 per cent) believe the Prime Minister has underestimated the strength of feeling." – Independent
> Today's ToryDiary: 55% of Tory members would vote against gay marriage if they were in parliament
"Church leaders and Conservative critics claim that David Cameron is flouting democracy by pushing gay marriage, yet he has been unequivocal on this issue from the time he took over the Tories. I remember well the nerves in his inner circle over the line in his first party conference speech saying he supported marriage “whether you’re a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and another man”. Equally, I recall the applause from party activists." – Ian Birrell in The Independent
An apprenticeship will soon match all a degree has to offer – Matt Hancock MP in The Telegraph
A Coalition scheme to attract 1,000 world-class scientists and artists a year to Britain has let in just 50 top academics – Telegraph
The FT leader (£): "The government talks about making the UK competitive in the “global race”, but is clamping down on immigration (a Conservative policy) and only fitfully cutting regulation (thanks to Lib Dem resistance), both to the frustration of business. Perhaps a deal could be struck in which Mr Cameron loosens his immigration cap in return for Mr Clegg assenting to labour market reforms. It would make for an invigorating announcement in the March Budget. It would also confirm that the coalition has life in it yet."
Until David Cameron learns to explain himself, voters will not trust him – Bruce Anderson in The Telegraph
Coalition 'could preside over lowest level of house building since 1920s' – Guardian
- Can planning minister Nick Boles deliver less centralisation? – John Redwood
Why won’t our PM stand up for the hunting lobby? – Melissa Kite for The Spectator
Can Cameron win ethnic minority votes with candidates alone? – Henry Manson for Political Betting
Theresa May is a role model for women in politics – Cathy Newman for The Telegraph
Cathy Newman on Louise Mensch: "By upping sticks to be with her family, she risks deterring Tory traditionalists from picking other women for plum seats. But there’s no denying that Mrs Mensch has enlivened politics, and given us all something to talk about."
…and on Nadine Dorries: "“Mad Nad” can give up all hope of getting taken seriously now, but how she stands out in Parliament – a tropical bird in amongst all that dull, grey, plumage on the Commons benches. She might have had to eat ostrich anus, but at least she has the balls to say boo to a goose back in Westminster."
Was 2012 the Tories turned against climate change?
"The appointments of Owen Paterson and John Hayes, straight out of Tory Pantomime Villain central casting to environment secretary and energy minister, the election of oil man and climate sceptic Peter Lilley to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, and most importantly Chancellor George Osborne's decision to develop a rival carbon-intensive energy strategy to that proposed by DECC, all made it clear influential Conservatives want to ditch the coalition's green agenda." – Business Green
- Coalition's energy policy blamed for insulation job losses – Guardian
Mary Ann Sieghart warns Cameron against attacks on the unemployed
"Most unemployed people have been out of work for less than six months. Typically, they have been in insecure jobs, and they move in and out of employment according to the state of the economy. They are strivers, not skivers, who have suffered bad luck." – Mary Ann Sieghart in The Independent
Records reveal US urged Thatcher to halt Falklands War – Yorkshire Post
"Ronald Reagan issued a last-ditch appeal to Margaret Thatcher to abandon the campaign to retake the Falklands and hand over the islands to international peacekeepers, according to official documents made public today." – Yorkshire Post
Margaret Thatcher warned that Britain’s relationship with France would suffer a “devastating” blow if the latter allowed Exocet missiles to be smuggled to Argentina during the Falklands War – Telegraph
Margaret Thatcher ordered that an army of spies be deployed across southern Spain to safeguard Gibraltar against a Falklands-style surprise attack – Telegraph
"Concern that children’s television would corrupt the nation’s youth ran so high in the government in 1982 that the head of the prime minister’s policy unit proposed establishing a state-funded “Children’s Broadcasting Service”." – FT (£)
Jimmy Savile tells Thatcher he 'loves' her in 1982 letter – ITV
Labour MPs told to use more southern anecdotes
"Ed Miliband and the Shadow Cabinet have been told to stop talking about the “North-South divide” after the party discovered that it was alienating voters in the South of England. Senior Labour figures are also under instructions to use more anecdotes about the struggles of southern voters in their speeches, as part of the party’s attempt to win back support beyond its northern heartlands." – Times (£)
Friends of Alistair Darling have dismissed speculation that the former Chancellor is set to quit as an MP – Express
Iraq inquiry may not report until *2014* – Daily Mail
A new study claims that the living wage would result in an annual windfall of more than £2bn for the Treasury because of extra tax revenues, lower benefit bills and higher productivity – Independent
"Joint research by the Resolution Foundation and the Institute for Public Policy Research found gross earnings would rise by £6.5bn if employees were paid a living wage – an estimate, above the statutory minimum hourly rate, of what workers must earn to meet basic needs." – FT (£)
Obama to host fiscal cliff talks at White House
"Republicans and Democrats have only four days to reach an agreement before hundreds of billions of dollars of tax rises and spending cuts take effect – BBC
Will USA drag us over fiscal cliff? – John Redwood in The Sun
> Yesterday evening's International: The Republicans likely to be hurt most if America falls off its "fiscal cliff"
And finally… It's official — Cameron IS a wet Tory
"The Prime Minister proves he is a Tory Wet — by running through a stream during a cross-country race yesterday. David Cameron suffered a cut to his shin during the one-mile charity race in his Witney constituency in Oxfordshire." – Pictures in The Sun
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