8.15pm Allie Renison on Comment: Timing and motivation taint the EU’s Nobel Peace Prize award
11.45am Local government: Every London borough will maintain a police station open 24 hours a day
11.15am Columnist Andrew Lilico: Gay marriage – what a lot of unnecessary fuss, outrage and confusion!
Columnist Bruce Anderson – normally a supporter of the Prime Minister – cannot agree with his approach to same-sex marriage: Cameron shows little interest in defending Britain's great social institutions
On International we look at the three key compassionate conservative ideas of stronger families, better schools and job creation: "Making capitalism work for everyone is the key. I've called it the "double lock". Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic are seen by most voters to be more likely to create prosperity but will we also ensure that it is shared? I don't mean shared equally but in a way that keeps us as one nation – where no person is left behind."
Keith Porteous Wood and Simon Calvert on Comment: The Lords will vote today on a vital issue of free speech
Local government: Haringey Labour councillor expelled
Home Affairs Select Committee recommends Royal Commission on reform of Britain's drug laws – Guardian
"The comparative failure of British drugs policy has led the home
affairs committee to call for an independent royal commission. Despite
the excellent work of bodies such as the UK Drugs Policy Commission,
there has been no proper review of the law since the 1971 Misuse of
Drugs Act. The world has changed since then. Politicians are no longer
talking about whether we radically alter drug policy, but how. And a
royal commission would make recommendations that the government could
not just ignore." – Julian Huppert MP in The Guardian
MPs see Portugal as a possible model, reports the BBC: "Portugal has not legalised drugs – but it has a system of not imposing criminal penalties on drug users who enter into special programmes designed to discourage them from doing so. "We were impressed by what we saw of the Portuguese depenalised system," said the MPs. "It had clearly reduced public concern about drug use in that country, and was supported by all political parties and the police."
Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail argues that Portugal's experiment has been a disaster: "Since decriminalisation, Portugal has seen a massive 40 per cent rise in drug-related murder; it has developed the highest incidence of injected drug-related Aids in Europe; the number of people testing positive for drugs rose by 45 per cent by 2007; drug use increased by 4 per cent in six years, while numbers using drugs at least once in their life rose by nearly 5 per cent, and so on."
The Sun opens door to decriminalisation of drugs, only insisting that agreement be multinational to avoid 'drug tourists beating a path to Britain's door'.
The Independent reports the Government's insistence that it "has no intention" of changing drug laws.
Food minister Owen Paterson backs Genetically Modified crops
"Speaking to The Daily Telegraph,
Mr Paterson, said: “Emphatically we should be looking at GM … I’m very
clear it would be a good thing. “The trouble is all this stuff about
Frankenstein foods and putting poisons in foods. There are real
benefits, and what you’ve got to do is sell the real environmental
benefits.” Those benefits include a reduction in the use of pesticides
because some GM crops are pest-resistant, he said. That in turn reduces
farmers’ fuel use."
Tories warn Cameron that gay marriage will split party in two – Independent
David Davies MP: "Most parents would prefer their children not to be gay" – Quoted in The Telegraph
Tim Montgomerie: Gay marriage will become rapidly accepted, like previous equality reforms
"We see a recurring pattern of angry opposition from a minority of voters and then rapid acceptance of nearly all gay equality laws. The same Tory MPs now opposing gay marriage often argue that civil partnerships are enough for gay people. A reform that was controversial only half a decade ago is now embraced by, I would estimate, 90 per cent of Conservatives in Parliament." – Tim Montgomerie in The Times (£)
- Times leader (£): "The hope would be that, once it becomes commonplace, the attitude towards same-sex marriage would change as quickly as it has in other areas of gay equality. Only a few years ago, many Conservative MPs were strongly opposed to civil partnerships for gay people. Now they are widely seen as uncontroversial."
> Last night's ToryDiary: Sir John Major becomes latest senior Tory to endorse gay marriage
Back marriage in the tax system – Tim Loughton MP, writing in The Telegraph, urges the PM to honour his manifesto commitment to introduce a tax allowance for married couples.
Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and Owen Paterson all pile Eurosceptic pressure on Prime Minister – Express
- Cameron will offer voters in-out referendum over EU membership, claims Boris – Daily Mail
- The PM must end his "indecision" on Europe quickly or lose the general election – Daily Mail leader
- "As Boris says, either we should cut away all the political nonsense that we don’t need and go back to a Common Market or pull out of the EU altogether" – Express leader
- "Mr Cameron is hoping to make his long-awaited Europe speech next week, although aides admit the prime minister and senior colleagues – including George Osborne, the chancellor – have yet to sit down and talk through the consequences of what he is about to say. Such is its import that it may be delayed until after Christmas." – FT (£)
- "In his forthcoming speech, Mr Cameron must not only spell out in some detail the nature of the new relationship he envisages with the EU but must also explain what action he intends to take if he is unable to achieve any worthwhile changes." – Telegraph leader
George Osborne has no strategy for growth, warns BA boss Willie Walsh – Times (£)
"Vince Cable, business secretary, has admitted there is “clearly a risk” of the UK entering a triple-dip recession and facing a Japanese-style lost decade of stagnant economic growth" – FT (£)
Boris Johnson in The Telegraph: Ignore the doom merchants, Britain should get fracking
Danny Alexander has told multinational firms that paying tax is an obligation, not "a voluntary choice" – BBC
"The average sales tax on a basket of 16 goods and services in
Britain – including food, meals out, iPads and energy bills – is 16%.
This is almost a third more than the 12.3% paid on average across the
G8, which also includes France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Japan, Russia
and the US." – Telegraph
The Coalition's benefits squeeze
- The ugly truth, here and across Europe, is we cannot afford the welfare
bill left by politicians who have been bribing voters with their own
money — and their children’s future" – Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun
- "A living wage would bring down spending on tax credits, and increasingly in-work benefits like housing benefit and council tax benefit. Improving workers’ rights stuck in the Victorian era would allow working people to demand better wages from their employers, too, at a time when big corporations sit on a £750bn cash mountain." – Owen Jones in The Independent
The FT urges the Coalition to abandon ringfencing
"Ringfencing is a very poor policy, especially given that its principal beneficiary is the very department – health – that benefited most from spending rises during the Labour years. The answer cannot be simply to protect what Labour did while starving other priorities to make up for it." – FT leader (£)
> Andrew Lilico from Friday: With £27bn more cuts to find, something's gotta give. Why not the NHS ringfence?
Nadine Dorries says her local party has backed her "unanimously" – Times (£)
- Nadine Dorries makes film for the Sunday Politics – BBC
"Labour has injected urgency in the drive to improve press standards by publishing a six-clause draft bill that directs the lord chief justice to certify the effectiveness of independent regulation of the newspaper industry once every three years." – Guardian | PDF of Labour's bill
Leading economists and industrialists agree to sit on Labour's infrastructure review – FT (£)
Berlusconi's return bodes ill for Italy and Europe – Independent leader
And finally… Christmas is coming, Christmas is coming
Cameron signing his Christmas cards – via his Twitter account.
ITV has images of the three party leaders' Christmas cards.
Also for fun: Michael Gove as The Terminator.
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