5.45pm International: A leading supporter and important critic of Israel agree: Time for a two-state solution is running out

3.15pm ToryDiary Update with reaction: Boris furthers his retreat from an In-Out referendum. So why did he sign up for one in the first place?

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 14.24.492.30pm WATCH: Tim Montgomerie and Chris Blackhurst, the Independent's Editor, on the Government and Leveson

1.30pm David Davis MP on Comment: We can't intervene militarily in Syria. But we can and must act to help its refugees

10.30am ToryDiary: Boris furthers his retreat from an In-Out referendum. So why did he sign up for one in the first place?

ToryDiary: Ten things to look out for in the Autumn Statement

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 07.11.09
Greg Clark, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, says that Banks and government must help small businesses to build economic recovery

Local Government: Let council staff use their own laptops

MPsETC: Leveson debate snapshot – Five Conservative MPs for statutory regulation, seven against

The Deep End: Ed Miliband’s guru versus the transsexual free marketeer

WATCH: Cameron on the royal baby: "It's wonderful news"

CLG rebukes Boles: “This Government does not set top-down Whitehall housing targets"

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 07.20.02"Nick Boles, the Housing Minister, was slapped down last night following his proposal to build homes on two million more acres of rural land. The Department for Communities and Local Government said that “there were no new targets” and admitted that Mr Boles was using baseline figures that were five years out of date. This Government does not set top-down Whitehall housing targets,” a spokesman said. “It is for elected local councils to determine how best to meet housing need.” – The Times (£)
The Planning Minister is in trouble for restoking the row over developing the countryside. He is right to highlight the problem – The Times (£)

  • The Planning Minister is in trouble for restoking the row over developing the countryside. He is right to highlight the problem – The Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Barker slights Hayes: Wind farms can be "wonderful"…"rather majestic"…"a tourist attraction"

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 07.24.18"The comments are likely to be seen as a riposte to his colleague John Hayes, who opened a vicious coalition rift over energy policy by complaining that wind farms were a blight “peppering” the countryside.  Mr Barker, the climate change minister, told the Financial Times that, unlike his fellow energy minister, he had no aesthetic objections to wind farms – and one near his Sussex constituency had become “almost a tourist attraction.” – Financial Times (£)

  • Economy "would be £20bn-a-year better off with focus on wind power" – The Independent

Clegg lauds EU: Deputy Prime Minister to attend peace prize ceremomy

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 07.27.21"Nick Clegg will hail the sacrifices of earlier generations for helping to create an unprecedented period of peace in Europe when he represents Britain next Monday when the Nobel peace prize is awarded to the EU. The deputy prime minister will attend the ceremony in Oslo after David Cameron decided in October to turn down the opportunity to rub shoulders with the leaders of France and Germany days before an EU summit." – The Guardian

Starbucks LibDem chaos 1) Cable: I name and shame Starbucks as tax dodgersThe Guardian 

Starbucks LibDem chaos 2) Danny
Alexander: "I'm not sure that naming and shaming is a very good idea by
the tax authorities."  First Chief Secretary supported boycott.  Now he says he never goes there and drinks tea instead
  – The Guardian

Starbucks set to cave in and pay more tax after threats of boycottDaily Mail 

Autumn statement: One Day out. Chancellor to dash for gas…

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 07.38.58
"Up to 30 new gas power stations will be needed by 2030, George Osborne will say tomorrow as he uses the Autumn Statement to unveil a key part of the Government’s energy strategy. The Chancellor will say that 26 gigawatts of extra capacity will be required from gas, in an effort to encourage investment in energy generation. One gigawatt can power as many as a million houses. Mr Osborne will add that the Government is committed to a balance of energy sources, including renewables." – The Times (£)

  • Osborne and Paterson constituencies sit above massive shale gas reserves – The Independent

…And overhaul PFI

"George Osborne is to launch a revamped version of the private finance initiative, promising that taxpayers will receive a share of the financial benefits under a new, more transparent system.  After more than a year of negotiations to replace the PFI, which he once described as “discredited”, the chancellor has come up with a similar system. However, under the revamped version, known as PF2, companies will for the first time have to disclose their annual profits from such deals." – Financial Times (£)

Loss of income caused by banks as bad as a 'world war', says the Bank of England's Andrew HaldaneDaily Telegraph

Janan Ganesh: Austerity – voters accept it, even though they don't like it

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 07.42.11"The average swing voter’s attitude to austerity appears one of grudging acceptance. They do not like it and positively abhor its authors but they regard it as more or less unavoidable, like sour-tasting medication. Crucially, they believe that any government would be doing it regardless of its political stripe.  The economic debates that grip the elites – stimulus versus consolidation, the wisdom or otherwise of cutting early – do not rage among a fatalistic electorate, whose grievances with the government have more to do with its moral heart than its economic head." – Financial Times (£)

  • Making hard calls on major issues – the Tory strategy for re-election – Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Part-time' MPs could be paid less, suggested new Ipsa board member Daily Telegraph 

Cameron meets Editors today, Maria Miller floats statutory regulation

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 07.45.50"David Cameron will demand today that editors commit to a swift timetable for a new newspaper regulator. The Prime Minister will meet editors at No 10 and “hold their feet to the fire” over setting up a tough new regulator independent of editors and proprietors. The meeting comes after Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, became the first minister to raise the prospect of legislation to underpin a new regulator, a step that Mr Cameron has resisted." – The Times (£)

Yeserday's Commons debate:

  • "At one point there was a magnificently banal moment when Tom Watson, hero of the hacking saga, solemnly intervened on Jim Dowd, the member for Lewisham West. Did his hon friend think the press should respect the privacy of the Duchess of Cambridge?" – Simon Hoggart, The Guardian
  • Coffey Therese"Sir Edward [Garnier] was knighted after being sacked recently as Solicitor General. Gosh he was patronising. His putdown of free-press-supporting Therese Coffey (Con, Suffolk Coastal) was stupendously rude. A real collector’s item…She is a very great lady and were I Sir Edward, I would not rest easy in my breeches." – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • "The main event in Parliament today was another hot-faced debate about the topic that’s gripping everyone except the general public" – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

> Today: MPsETC – Leveson debate snapshot – Five Conservative MPs for statutory regulation, seven against

Arts chiefs must stop hamming it up over 'Tory cuts' – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail 

Health news 1) Nurses will be rated on their compassion and not just their technical skillsDaily Telegraph 

Health news 2) Hospital beds nearly all occupied, say government figuresThe Guardian

 Health news 3) Speed up English tests for EU doctors, says Health Select
Committee, which accuses Government of making 'no substantive progress
' –
Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

Davis piles into Theresa May over Communications Data Bill…

DAVIS-DAVID-208"David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, criticised Mrs May after she said criminals, terrorists and paedophiles would oppose the new law allowing the police and security services to monitor every email and internet visit, adding: “It’s a question of whose side you’re on.” Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, is thought to be angered by Mrs May’s claim that blocking the new law “could see people dying” as he considers whether to withdraw Liberal Democrat support for the draft Communications Data Bill, which many in the party say is too great an intrusion on civil liberties." – Daily Telegraph

…And Tim Loughton and Norman Baker piled into Prime Minister last summer over Dalai Lama

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 07.53.17"There was tremendous pressure put upon each of us at the '11th hour' not to attend, including a phone call from a Foreign Office minister, in a way that seems to us to have been out of all proportion to the issue at hand, and despite earlier informal indications that there was no problem with us attending…This whole affair has, in our view, been handled very poorly. Our presence at a srnall private lunch would have been in private and as such gone unnoticed. Having to withdraw from it at the last moment risked becoming an altogether higher profile affair, though of course we have done everything to keep it out of public attention and I hope this proves successful." – Daily Telegraph 

White House dismisses Republican fiscal cliff proposalReuters 

Labour group manoeuvres for Lab-Lib Coalition

"A new cross-party group will be set up by senior Labour figures tomorrow in an attempt to heal the party’s rift with the Liberal Democrats and open the door to Lib-Lab co-operation in another hung parliament. Labour for Democracy will try to build bridges with other progressive parties, including the Greens. But it will reach out to Nick Clegg’s party, with whom relations were stretched to breaking point when he took the Lib Dems into coalition with the Conservatives in 2010." – The Independent

> Today: The Deep End: Ed Miliband’s guru versus the transsexual free marketeer

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 08.06.46Alistair Burt summoned Israel's ambassador to Foreign Office over settlement building
The Guardian

Syria "preparing to use chemical weapons"The Times (£)

France's first gay mosque opens as Catholics and Muslims lobby against same sex marriageThe Economist

Pope Benedict: Twitter sensationSun Editorial 

Loyalists riot after Belfast city councillors voted to remove the Union flag from City Hall Belfast Telegraph 

One in ten households is worth at least £1 millionDaily Mail

And finally…However did you guess…?

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 06.44.45
Prime Minister: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will make "wonderful parents"Daily Express 

(Labour MP pregnantDaily Express)

> Today: WATCH – Cameron on the royal baby: "It's wonderful news"

> Yesterday: LeftWatchLabour MPs queue up on Twitter to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge


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