Cameron puts migrant benefits at the top of his EU agenda…

CAMERON EU fence“David Cameron is expected to flesh out his goals next week in a planned renegotiation of our ties with Brussels ahead of an in-out referendum on EU membership due by 2017. … Cabinet sources say the right to ‘shut the door’ on unemployment benefits for newcomers and existing migrants who have not lived here for a minimum period would be top of the list.” – Daily Mail

  • “Tightening border controls tops the wishlist for renegotiation before a referendum on Britain’s membership by a huge margin, according to YouGov polling for The Times. It leads the next two highest ranked priorities — human rights reform and expanding non-EU trade — by a margin of 30 per cent.” – The Times (£)
  • “Britain’s population is soaring by more than any other country in the European Union and a third of the increase is caused by immigration.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Even more urgent, with our population growing three times faster than the European average, is the need to head off a surge of migrants from Bulgaria and Romania before the deadline to throw open our jobs market expires on January 1.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “Immigration is broadly good for Britain, but the Government cannot pretend the next wave will be plain sailing” – Times editorial (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Shares in David Cameron are under-valued

…but you’ll have to pardon his French

“David Cameron called Nick Clegg an “idle f****r” in another foul-mouthed outburst, it has emerged. … Mr Cameron made the jokey remark after hearing his deputy was at a restaurant with his wife — while the PM was meeting world leaders abroad.” – The Sun (£)

  • “How dare Clegg say Euro cynics like me are unpatriotic” – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

The Prime Minister also defends his opposition to a Page 3 ban

“David Cameron has insisted he is right to oppose a ban on Page 3 pin-ups despite his efforts to tackle online pornography. The prime minister said there was a difference between newspapers, which parents could keep away from children, and the internet, where youngsters could ‘stumble across’ legal but hardcore pornography.” – The Guardian

Afriyie’s referendum amendment is defeated

AFRIYIE Adam looking right“Mr Afriyie tried to amend a bill going through the Commons which will put the referendum plans into law. … But his proposal for a 2015 vote was defeated by 249 votes to 15. … Tory James Wharton — pushing the referendum bill — said: ‘The Conservative Party is committed to holding a referendum at the right time in the right way.'” – The Sun (£)

  • “Mr Afriyie lives in an alternative universe in which he is about to be welcomed by an adoring public as David Cameron’s successor. … Today is the 50th anniversary of Dr Who, another resident of an alternative universe. … One of them travels through space and time. … The other is simply a waste of them.” – Sun editorial (£)

> Yesterday:

Hague joins John Kerry in an attempt to seal a deal with Iran

“John Kerry and William Hague were due to arrive in Geneva on Saturday morning to join other foreign ministers in negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme. … The presence of so many foreign ministers in Geneva did not guarantee a nuclear agreement with Iran was ready to be signed, diplomats at the talks cautioned.” – The Guardian

Hunt calls hospital bosses over A&E times

HUNT Doctor Carla Millar“Jeremy Hunt has taken the unprecedented step of personally calling hospital bosses to ask why they have been breaching the NHS-wide target of treating 95% of A&E patients within four hours. … The health secretary’s intervention comes amid growing evidence that pressures on the service are increasing as it heads into what doctors and NHS leaders fear will be its toughest winter ever.” – The Guardian

  • “Record numbers of elderly patients are being kept in hospital even though they are well enough to go home, figures have revealed.” – Daily Mail
  • “A hospital boss embroiled in a cancer waiting time scandal was accused last night of bullying staff.” – Daily Mail
  • The Daily Mail highlights the “NHS’s monstrous cruelty” in launching its Christmas appeal – Daily Mail

Gove continues his battle against Simon Cowell

“To our discredit, politicians have paid court to Cowell and indulged the cult of celebrity. … Gordon Brown, a decent man at heart with a genuine love of learning and who should really have known better, celebrated his love of The X Factor, boasted of ringing Cowell to discuss the merits of contestants and even thought of proposing him for a knighthood. … Instead of conspiring with Cowell to keep this circus going, we should be celebrating precisely the people he scorns and the values he mocks — the teachers he has no time for and the learning he cheapens.” – Michael Gove, Daily Mail

  • “Schools need to stop promoting the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’, the Education Secretary has said, claiming teachers refuse to believe that children from poor homes can achieve high standards.” – Daily Telegraph

> Today on ToryDiary: The lessons of Gove’s ferocious attack on Simon Cowell

Give plots of land to the young, says Boles

“Young people who cannot afford to buy somewhere to live should be handed plots of state-owned land so they can build homes of their own, the planning minister, Nick Boles, has suggested. … The idea is in the development stage of coalition policy and Boles is giving it extra impetus, declaring that young Britons want ‘the opportunity to get on and help themselves’.” – The Guardian

Graeme Archer’s Boles-inspired thought-experiment for Tories

Graeme Archer“Lord Carey and I will never agree about gay marriage. OK. Leave that. It doesn’t follow that he isn’t a good man or that what either of us think about anything is more important than the Church’s central mission. … Now you try, especially if your mind whispers “metropolitan” at the sight of Nick Boles. He’s more liberal than you are. OK. Leave that. But fighting him over house-building or marriage reform matters more than building a wide enough Tory coalition to secure the defeat of socialism?” – Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph

Grayling shelves Serco contracts

“Serco had been the sole remaining bidder to take over Hatfield, Moorland and Lindholme prisons in a deal that would have been worth £20m-£30m annually for 15 years. … But Chris Grayling, justice secretary, on Friday cancelled the process amid ‘uncertainty’ created by the fraud probe.” – Financial Times

Grieve warns of corruption in the Pakistani community

“Dominic Grieve said politicians needed to ‘wake up’ to the threat of corruption posed by minority communities using a ‘favour culture’. … In remarks that will inflame already sensitive diplomatic relations with Pakistan, the attorney general said he was referring to ‘mainly the Pakistani community’.” – Daily Mail

Blunt: “A gay Prime Minister? I don’t think that would be an issue”

“This week [Crispin Blunt] won a resounding victory in a ballot of all local members and is convinced this shows that the prehistoric age is over for the Conservatives. ‘It was a very important moment,’ he says. ‘A lot of gay people will have written the Tory Party off as irredeemably homophobic. Well, the Reigate membership has just selected a gay Conservative candidate by five to one.'” – Crispin Blunt, interviewed in the Times (£)

Davis pushes Osborne into the Co-operative limelight

David Davis“David Davis has unsettled the Tory campaign to pin the blame for the Co-op Bank fiasco on Labour by saying the Treasury under George Osborne and the bank regulators have questions to answer over how they scrutinised the growth of the bank. … Davis said clear warnings had been issued about the state of the Co-op at the time it sought to take over Lloyds branches, a deal that subsequently collapsed.” – The Guardian

  • “George Osborne, the Chancellor, confirmed on Friday that a full independent inquiry will be held in to the bank following the downfall of Mr Flowers … Labour has written to Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, demanding that the inquiry is not subject to ‘party political point-scoring’.” – Daily Telegraph
  • Osborne to announce new tax breaks for sports clubs – The Independent

Oops! Balls once boasted that he was the “Co-operative Shadow Chancellor”

BALLS Ed looking left“Ed Balls faced increased pressure over his close relationship with the Co-op last night as it emerged he lavished praise on the stricken bank even after it had racked up £1.5billion of debt. … Attending a fund-raising dinner, the Shadow Chancellor boasted that he was the ‘Co-operative Shadow Chancellor’ who was ‘looking forward to taking co-operation into the Treasury when we get the chance’.” – Daily Mail

  • “Paul Flowers and the Co-op Bank thought they were so good they couldn’t possibly be bad” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • “The Paul Flowers affair confirms it: 2015 will be a dirty election” – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
  • “Labour has forgotten that vice causes poverty” – Janice Turner, The Times (£)
  • “The Rev Flowers’ excesses must not destroy the Co-op” – Independent editorial
  • How sleaze engulfed Labour Party in 2013 – The Sun (£)

> Yesterday:

Labour will win in 2015, suggests former Coalition minister

“Sir Nick Harvey, who was a Liberal Democrat defence minister between 2010 and 2012, said: ‘This election is Labour’s to lose.’ … In an interview with the Huffington Post website, Mr Harvey said that notwithstanding a ‘game changing event’ Labour would win in 2015.” – Daily Telegraph

Maria Eagle pledges to cut water bills for the poorest

“In an interview with The Times, Maria Eagle, the Shadow Environment Secretary, said that Labour would push through a new deal on water that would give Ofwat powers to review prices every year, penalise water companies for avoiding tax and force them to cut bills for poor families.” – The Times (£)

Another Labour figure urges Miliband to back an EU referendum

EU Exit“An adviser to Ed Miliband has urged the Labour leader to propose a referendum on Britain’s EU membership before the 2015 general election. … Lord Mitchell, who was appointed Mr Miliband’s business ambassador and enterprise adviser in July, said it would be ‘very difficult’ for the party to resist demands for a public vote.” – The Independent

Labour-sponsored commission expected to propose the abolition of police commissioners

“A Labour-sponsored commission is expected next week to propose the abolition of police and crime commissioners, one of the cornerstones of the coalition government’s law and order reform. … The long-delayed inquiry headed by Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan police commissioner, is due to report next week and is also expected to support the professionalisation of the police force with more formal qualifications.” – The Guardian

  • Met Police Commissioner admits that he wouldn’t cycle on London’s roads – The Sun (£)

The FT warns pro-unionists not be complacent about Scotland’s referendum

“The pro-unionists would be foolish indeed to imagine the battle won. The number of those still undecided is large. In Scotland, as in the rest of the UK, there is widespread disaffection with Westminster. It is quite possible to imagine a late swing turning the polls on their head. Moreover, as Mr Carmichael acknowledges, a narrow victory for the union in next year’s referendum would be little better than defeat. Subsequent pressure for a second poll would perpetuate uncertainty over Scotland’s future.” – Financial Times editorial

More details of yesterday’s slavery arrests

“Police tried to keep the exact location of the property under wraps but it is understood to be in the Lambeth area. … MP Tessa Jowell revealed it was in her constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood, which partly includes that district. … Cops think the captors and their slaves, who were occasionally allowed out under guard, would have looked like a ‘normal family’ to neighbours unaware of what was going on.” – The Sun (£)

“A fortnight ago in the opulent Savoy Hotel in London, Theresa May gave a hint of the dramatic rescue just miles away of three women from their captors.” – The Independent

  • “New laws and expressions of outrage will be pointless unless culprits are caught, prosecuted and deported” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “The positive news is that this case will be another wake-up call in neighbourhoods as well as social agencies and government.” – Guardian editorial
  • “Two centuries after William Wilberforce, exploitation and forced labour are back on the rise in Britain” – Independent editorial
  • “180 years after abolition, why is it the slave trade is booming?” – Danny Smith, The Guardian
  • “Domestic slavery is a crime the police struggle to combat” – Diane Taylor, The Independent
  • “Slavery wasn’t abolished two centuries ago. It thrives in Britain today” – Lucy Maule, The Times (£)

News in brief

  • Councillor in race row says black people and white people can’t work together – Daily Telegraph
  • Countryside-dwellers are better educated and more likely to have a job, suggests report – Daily Mail
  • British Gas to add £131 to the average family’s bill – Daily Mail
  • Poorest students face £350m cut in grants – The Guardian
  • Tories accused of raising funds using private clubs – The Guardian
  • “The old boys’ network is still firmly in place,” says Cherie Blair – The Independent
  • Mark Pritchard receives fees from US intelligence firm while holding security positions in Parliament, claims Independent – The Independent

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