Clegg willing to block more curbs on migrants

Curse of Clegg 2“The deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader insists that proposed restrictions on benefits for migrants are enough to protect Britain from an influx from eastern Europe. He has signalled that there will be no further negotiations on the issue with Conservative colleagues before 2015. Writing in The Sunday Times today, he says: “This is where we draw the line.” Clegg’s intervention comes two days after David Cameron told Brussels that Britain will veto any further expansion of the EU unless far tighter controls are placed on the “vast migrations” of workers.” – Sunday Times (£)

Clegg article in full

  • Exclusion zone to target epicentre of Romanian and Bulgarian influx – Mail on Sunday
  • How the Tory right turned against EU enlargement – Observer
  • Migrants can’t expect ‘something for nothing’ – Iain Duncan Smith, Sunday Telegraph
  • Bulgaria issues rebuke to Cameron over migrants – Observer
  • Mark Field warns the Prime Minister that his immigration stance could cost ethnic minority votes – Mail on Sunday
  • Home Office refuses to allow Norman Baker to have a Ministerial bicycle – Mail on Sunday
  • Jo Swinson wants to stop children referring to “muffin tops, thunder thighs and cankles” – Sunday Times (£)

Cameron: This year, I will bring the troops home from Afghanistan

“One of the first things I did when I became Prime Minister in 2010 was to set out a plan for bringing our troops home. My message this Christmas is simple. I am going to deliver on that plan. By the end of next year we will no longer have British servicemen or women in a combat role in Afghanistan. Of course, we will not leave behind a perfect country or a perfect democracy. Afghanistan is an extremely poor country with a very troubled history.” – Sun on Sunday

Matthew D’Ancona: Cameron wouldn’t say No to a second Coalition

COALIT~2“This is why, in moments of private candour, the PM admits that he would much prefer another coalition with Clegg to governing with a small Tory majority, pleading daily with a handful of his own backbenchers, staving off disaster hour by hour. Don’t forget that Cameron was a Cabinet special adviser during the Major years: he knows how that movie ends, and it is not pretty. Between now and polling day, you will often hear him denouncing coalition as a woeful second-best, and he’ll mean it when he says it. But you’ll never hear him say “never again”.” – Sunday Telegraph

Iain Martin: Osborne’s operation to Stop Boris

“George Osborne has also dedicated his considerable resources to blocking the Mayor getting back into the Commons. A Tory MP jokes that Mr Osborne has an alarm set up in his office to alert him to Boris being on manoeuvres. Indeed, so good is the Chancellor’s intelligence network that in the event of Boris snooping around a desirable constituency, and treating the chairman of a friendly local Conservative association to dinner, Mr Osborne will know about it before they have finished the starters.” – Sunday Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – For the first time, Theresa May tops our poll as Party members’ favourite to be next Tory leader

Greening: How I’ve shaken up DFID

Greening Justine Feb 2012“Greening’s Commons office is right next to that of Andrew Mitchell, her predecessor. Her criticism of his record is so thinly veiled that I half expect him to burst in, especially when she declares that what DfID needed was “someone to really show some leadership . . . and start making this department a proper government department”. Lucky the walls are thick. I point out that she has said nothing nice about him. There is an awkward pause. “I’ve not said anything about him, full stop,” she replies briskly. An aide immediately signals that the interview is over. We are on dangerous territory.” – Sunday Times (£)

Gove wants schools to open 51 weeks a year

“The proposals have been submitted to the School Teachers Review Body, an independent panel that vets teachers’ pay and working conditions, by Michael Gove, the education secretary. The panel is due to report by January 14, after which the government will decide whether to accept its recommendations. Gove wants to give schools more powers over pay, the length of holidays and working hours available to staff. He argues that “children in the Far East are often learning for many more hours than their peers in England”.” – Sunday Times (£)

IDS clashes with Trussel Trust

Screen shot 2013-12-22 at 08.45.10“Mould first wrote to Duncan Smith in June, saying that many of the problems people were facing could be tracked back to changes in their benefits, and to delays in the payment of them…[Duncan Smith] rejected any suggestion that the government was to blame. “I strongly refute this claim and would politely ask you to stop scaremongering in this way. I understand that a feature of your business model must require you to continuously achieve publicity, but I’m concerned that you are now seeking to do this by making your political opposition to welfare reform overtly clear.” – Observer

  • NHS England chairman complains about Jeremy Hunt – Observer

Redwood wants the top rate cut to 40p

“Tory Right-wingers are demanding the Prime Minister proves his low-tax credentials by pledging to slash the top rate of income tax from 45p to 40p. The call comes after senior figures – including Thatcherite ex-Minister John Redwood – gained a key role in drawing up policies for the party’s next General Election manifesto. Mr Redwood, given the job of feeding the demands of backbenchers into the manifesto, is set to make a cut to a 40p top rate the core of his proposals.” – Mail on Sunday

Douglas Alexander: Labour must ‘do God’ to fight anti-Christian persecution

Screen shot 2013-12-22 at 08.47.23“Mr Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, spoke out to voice his concerns about growing harassment and attacks suffered by Christians in the Middle East. Writing in the Telegraph, he warns that the mounting persecution of Christians is a “story that goes largely untold”, describing those who have spoken out on the issue, including the Prince of Wales, as lone voices. “Across the world, there will be Christians this week for whom attending a church service this Christmas is not an act of faithful witness, but an act of life-risking bravery. That cannot be right and we need the courage to say so,” Mr Alexander says.” – Sunday Telegraph

Alexander article in full

Adam Boulton: The Chilcot impasse. He wants to publish Blair memos. Sir Jeremy Heywood won’t let him. So he won’t move to his inquiry’s next stage.

“This row at the heart of the British establishment has become bruisingly personal. Chilcot insists that his eminent committee of privy councillors should be allowed to publish the material in its report ordered by parliament, not least because protocol has already been violated by disclosures in the memoirs of Blair, his chief of staff Jonathan Powell and Alastair Campbell, and even in the fictionalised stage play Loyalty, written by Powell’s journalist wife, Sarah Helm. Adding further piquancy, one of the characters who comes out worst in Helm’s play, Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, is thought to be considering publishing his own version of events.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Now Labour complains about Cameron’s links with lobbyist cleared over Villiers lunch – Mail on Sunday
  • Sadiq Khan studying plans to extend elections beyond one day a week – Sunday Times (£)
  • Syrian doctor’s family claims that Chuka Umunna failed to help him – Mail on Sunday
  • Asked down a bad phone line to discuss “Government failure,” Umunna replies: “Do you want the number of my tailor?” – Guido Fawkes, Sun on Sunday

Andrew Tyrie: The Intelligence and Security Committee is  a watchdog with no teeth or credibility

TYRIE Andrew“To rebuild confidence in the ISC’s independence, the Government should adopt the balanced proposals of the 2009 Wright Committee on parliamentary reform. The ISC chairman should be elected by MPs, subject to a prime ministerial veto over initial nominations. This would both bolster accountability to Parliament and provide the appropriate safeguards. The importance of restoring credibility to the appointment of chairmen should not be underestimated. The manner of these appointments, under the last government, did much damage to the ISC’s standing.” – Independent on Sunday

John Rentoul: “The more successful Ukip is, the harder it is for Farage to maintain the anti-politics pose.”

“Then Farage comes up against another limit. The more successful Ukip is, the harder it is for him to maintain the anti-politics pose. His dinner with Rupert Murdoch in March made him look like just another politician; and it is notable that he rarely mentions same-sex marriage, although it really animates his new recruits. His reluctance is part of his desire to keep his party away from some of the fruitier cakes of the better yesterday brigade, such as Godfrey Bloom, the former Ukip MEP who yesterday accused Farage of having done a deal with the Tories to stand aside in some seats in return for a peerage. (As if: the party would lynch him.)” – Independent on Sunday

  • Farage embroiled in row over lack of leadership – Observer

News in Brief

  • Screen shot 2013-12-22 at 08.53.17Scottish independence: Ex-Tory MSP backing Yes – Scotland on Sunday
  • EU loses AAA rating in S&P downgrade – Observer
  • Peers guilty of flouting lobbying rules – Sunday Times (£)
  • China cracks down on Bitcoin: why can’t we? – Louise Mensch, Sun on Sunday
  • Chinese military reacts angrily to Japan swelling defence force – Observer
  • Fracking protests head north as activists mass on proposed Manchester shale gas exploration sites – Sunday Telegraph
  • More than 100 convicted perverts have used a human rights ruling to get off the sex offenders register – The Sun on Sunday (£)
  • Interview with Lee Rigby’s fiancee – Mail on Sunday
  • ‘Asbos’ to silence 25 hate clerics – Sunday Times (£)
  • Nigella 1) Scotland Yard U-turns on drugs investigation – Sunday Telegraph
  • Nigella 1) Grillo sisters claim she was “a spaced-out zombie” – Sun on Sunday
  • Nigella 2) In defence of my sister – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)
  • Abbey Clancy wins Strictly Come Dancing – Sunday Express

Christmas Stories In Brief

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