Lib Dems Recontaminating7.30pm LeftWatch: Nick Clegg continues to insult his opponents. This time he says Conservatives have an "irrational phobia" of property taxes.

4.45pm LISTEN: William Hague says Britain has "seen some evidence" of the Syrian regime preparing to use chemical weapons

3.15pm ToryDiary: The developed world may soon be compensating the developing world for climate change

ToryDiary: Autumn Statement means less funding for Defence – and potential Budget rebellions from Tory MPs

LAMONT-NORMANConservativeIntelligence: A report of Lord Lamont's reflections on the Autumn Statement

Christopher Howarth on Comment: Banking Union could lead to a permanent sidelining of Britain in the Single Market

Adam Afriyie MP on Thinkers' Corner reflects on wealth creation

John Bald on Local government: Formal English – an argument that must be won

Cameron backs gay weddings in churches…

"David Cameron has given his backing to gay weddings in churches in a move that puts him on direct collision course with the established Church. The Church of England, which last month rejected women bishops despite more than seven in ten members of the General Synod voting in favour, accused him of “divisive” proposals that will “change the nature of marriage for everyone.”" – Times (£)

> Coverage from yesterday:

…but a large number of Tory MPs – and Lords – are ready to revolt on the issue

Lords_Chamber cropped"Letters to constituents passed to The Daily Telegraph suggest that at least 130 Tory MPs are preparing to vote against the plans. It is understood that the change was triggered by Government legal advice that a complete prohibition would be vulnerable to legal challenge and open the way for further challenges against the Church of England and others." – Daily Telegraph | Guardian

"David Cameron has been warned that plans to let same-sex couples marry in churches will be "massacred" in the House of Lords and alienate grassroots Conservatives. … Lord Carey, the former Archbishop, said here was a real possibility that the bill could be defeated in the Lords." – Daily Telegraph

Maria Miller: Gay marriage is a small evolutionary change, not a radical step

MILLER-MARIA"For me, far from being a radical departure, this is simply one more in a long line of reforms which have strengthened marriage, ensuring it remains a modern and vibrant institution. Over the coming weeks and months I will continue to work closely with faith and other interested groups on how best to implement our plans." – Maria Miller for the Daily Telegraph

UK on triple-dip recession alert after industrial slowdown - Guardian

  • UK economy: the problem sectors – Guardian

Matthew Parris: The worse it gets for the British economy… the better it gets for Tory re-election prospects

PARRIS-MATTHEW"Mr Osborne’s best hopes of winning the general election in 2015 lie in continuing austerity, the continuing postponement of hopes for growth, and national anxiety. On Wednesday he promised economic recovery. But his best hope of victory in 2015 would lie in its failure to arrive. Depression here and across Europe, further and seemingly indefinite postponements to economic success and a near-permanent atmosphere of crisis and danger could serve the Tories well in two and a half years’ time." – Matthew Parris for the Times (£)

  • Britain needs another grand vision tailored to what it can afford – Janan Ganesh for the FT (£)
  • Strivers are still being short-changed – Patrick O'Flynn for the Daily Express
  • David Cameron must adapt to the times, but he risks ignoring what is truly important – Charles Moore from the Daily Telegraph

> Today - ConservativeIntelligence: A report of Lord Lamont's reflections on the Autumn Statement

> Yesterday

Tory MPs plan to fight Defence cuts

ARMED FORCES"Conservative MPs are preparing to do battle with George Osborne in the run-up to next year’s spending review over defence spending, which they argue should not be cut while spending on aid, schools and the NHS is protected. Several Tory backbenchers told the Financial Times they will not accept further cuts to the Ministry of Defence" – FT (£)

  • Hammond faces defence budgets fight – FT (£)

> Today on ToryDiaryAutumn Statement means less funding for Defence – and potential Budget rebellions from Tory MPs

> Yesterday - Columnist Andrew Lilico: With £27bn more cuts to find, something's gotta give. Why not the NHS ringfence?

Owen Paterson: We want our country back from Europe

PATERSON OWEN NW"On Britain and the EU, he points out his views are well known. Certainly, he is counted among those around the Cabinet table who would opt for the exit… Far from Britain leaving the EU, it will be the EU leaving Britain. “If in order to resolve the Euro crisis there has to be this new arrangement that’s effectively creating a new country … from which we’re excluded, [then] we want to get our country back which means making our laws in our own Parliament.”" – Owen Paterson interview with the Daily Telegraph

> Today - Christopher Howarth on Comment: Banking Union could lead to a permanent sidelining of Britain in the Single Market

> Yesterday on Local governmentPickles warns of new EU rules to cause planning delays

West Coast fiasco report is "damning", Patrick McLoughlin says 

McLOUGHLIN PATRICK 2"Spending cuts, sackings, poor planning, ineffective oversight and a decision to fast-track the award of the most lucrative long-distance rail contract conspired to wreck the West Coast Main Line competition, a damning report found yesterday. Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, admitted that the report from Sam Laidlaw, his department’s non-executive director, made uncomfortable reading. He told Parliament: “There was a damning failure by the department and that must be put right.”" – Times (£)

David Willetts to announce £600m investment in British science

Willetts David smiling"Technology capable of turning human excrement into fuel, and stem cell researchers attempting to cure paralysis are to benefit from a £600 million package of investment in British science. A new medicine manufacturing plant will also be built in an attempt to dissuade major pharmaceutical companies from mass-producing British-made drugs in Asia… David Willetts, the Science Minister, said that the Government’s aim was to turn Britain into “the best place in the world to do science”." – Times (£)

Oliver Letwin, David Cameron's brainbox, boasts a CV of clever fixes… and not to mention a few screw-upsGuardian interview

Tories sought donors' cash to fight Lib Dem mansion tax

"The Conservative party privately sent letters to Tory donors and wealthy homeowners promising to defeat Liberal Democrat plans for a mansion tax at the same time as their coalition partners thought they were negotiating on a version of the proposal ahead of the autumn statement, it emerged on Friday." – Guardian

New technology means Britain and the U.S. could tap undreamed reserves of gas and oil – Nigel Lawson for the Daily Mail

Nadine Dorries may still have the whip suspended until next year

DORRIES NADINE"Nadine Dorries will be left to sweat over her political future after the Tories said that they would not rule on restoring the whip until next year. The former nurse… will meet members of her local Conservative association in the next few days to discuss her disappearance to the jungle." – Times (£)

Tory heartlands suffer biggest cuts to child benefit – Daily Telegraph

Danny Alexander: "Multinationals must pay their taxes here — it’s not an option"

Alexander Danny dailypolitics"That, he says, must include large multinationals. Starbucks bowed to consumer pressure this week and announced that it would increase its tax contributions and the Chief Secretary insists that other businesses must follow suit. “Complying with the UK tax system is not an optional extra,” he says. “A multinational company can’t just decide whether or not to engage with the UK tax system. It’s an obligation. Companies need to pay the tax they are supposed to pay, full stop. End of story.”" – Times (£) interview with Danny Alexander

  • Isle of Man to help Britain tackle tax evasion - Guardian

George Osborne in expense claim for paddock - Independent

Disabled challenge minister over job support boastIndependent

Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes faces probe over donation

"The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is to consider whether the MP breached rules by failing to fully declare a £10,000 donation received by his local party in south London." – BBC

The SNP flip-flop on automatic membership of the EU

Salmond Alex Blue Tie"Alex Salmond’s opponents have accused the SNP of retreating from its long-standing position that an independent Scotland would have automatic membership of the European Union. … This week it emerged that European officials had signalled that a newly independent nation would have to reapply for EU membership." – Scotsman

  • Alex Salmond lobbied statesmen to back Lockerbie bomber's release – Daily Telegraph
  • Scotland’s brand image damaged – Scotsman
  • Tories book place at the table for Salmond’s panel on press standards – Scotsman

Riots erupt in Belfast hours after Hillary Clinton condemns violenceGuardian

Qatar seeks to extend Kyoto to break climate change deadlockReuters

Royal Mail plans to cut compensation limit for "normal" postDaily Telegraph


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