Support for leaving the EU rises to 50 per cent

EU Exit‘British voters’ appetite for leaving the European Union is gathering momentum, putting the prospect of Brexit on a knife edge, a new poll has found. As David Cameron prepares to travel to Brussels for a crucial European summit to discuss his renegotiation plans, a poll has found that the British public is now evenly split about the prospect of a British exit from the EU. It came as the EU referendum bill last night passed through the House of Lords, meaning that Mr Cameron could potentially hold his vote in June next year.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Isabel Oakeshott on Comment: Merger talks between the rival Leave campaigns have collapsed

…as the European Scrutiny Committee warns any deal might never become reality…

‘David Cameron’s stuttering European renegotiation will face renewed criticism on Tuesday, as MPs warn that his promised EU treaty change could turn out to be worthless. The prime minister wants to secure a “binding and irreversible” deal with fellow leaders at a summit in February; it would be enshrined in the EU treaty at a later date, after Britain has voted on whether to stay in the bloc. But the House of Commons European scrutiny committee argues that there is no guarantee the treaty changes would be ratified: they would require the approval of all 28 member states.’ – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Boris’s Brexit bonus

>Yesterday: WATCH: Oxley rubbishes the Prime Minister’s renegotiation

…and Merkel pledges to reduce refugee numbers

MERKEL Angela Blue‘Mrs Merkel acknowledged concerns by promising that numbers would fall “noticeably” next year…She told 1,000 delegates gathered in Karlsruhe for the annual party conference that her decision in September to welcome numerous refugees fleeing war and deprivation in the Middle East was a “humanitarian imperative”. She said to applause: “We want to, and we will, noticeably reduce the number of refugees. This is in the interests of Germany . . . and it is in the interests of the refugees themselves”…The final wording of the party policy stated: “A continuation of the influx would overwhelm the state and society, even in a country such as Germany.”’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: International: The shadow of Le Pen could paralyse French politics

Kerslake condemns plans to restrict Freedom of Information

‘Lord Kerslake, who was pushed out of his post as head of the home civil service by Sir Jeremy, said the act should be strengthened rather than watered down because public trust in government was plummeting. ‘The default is to conceal, to hold things back,’ he said. ‘We have, in my view, a yawning gap between the governing and the governed in this country. The only way we can restore that trust is to become more accountable, not less. Anything which seems to restrict that accountability is a false move.’’ – Daily Mail

  • That’s what a true public servant sounds like – Daily Mail Leader
  • 651 civil servants are paid to do nothing – The Sun (£)
  • Doctor uses FOI to expose bus lane scam – Daily Mail
  • MPs live longer than the wider population – Daily Mail

The Conservatives’ plan to ‘rule forever’

paint-map‘On 25 November, the chancellor produced his latest economic and political blueprint, the 2015 autumn statement. Half-hidden within it, and not mentioned by Osborne in his accompanying speech to parliament, was a proposed cut in “Short money”, state funding for all opposition parties, of 19%…Since the Conservatives won their crafty but narrow election victory in May, they have made other subtle and not-so-subtle adjustments to the playing field of British politics. In October, they gave MPs in England, where their majority is much more solid than in the UK as a whole, greater voting rights than non-English MPs on matters deemed to affect England alone – “English votes for English laws”.’ – The Guardian

Walsh: The Government must stop delaying the Heathrow decision

‘This summer, the Commission came up with its preferred option, a third runway at Heathrow, after a consultation lasting nearly three years and costing a reported £20 million. So what does the Government do? Accept the recommendation and bite the bullet? No, it has procrastinated further and put off making a final decision.’ – Willie Walsh, Daily Mail

  • What to do about the North/South divide? – FT Leader
  • Think tank urges stamp duty devolution – The Guardian

MPs warn of flood defence funding shortfall

Flood‘Plans to shore up Britain’s flood defences could be undermined by a £350million black hole in funding, MPs warn today. Last week ministers boasted that a £2.3billion programme to build new flood defences across the country has been spared the axe despite sweeping cuts in other areas of public spending. But in a report published today, MPs from the cross-party Commons environment committee have warned that this figure actually relies on £600million of so-called ‘partnership’ funding from businesses and local councils – less than half of which has so far been agreed.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: In Paris, who spoke for steel workers, householders and taxpayers?

Security services ‘allow extremists to travel to Syria to avoid attacks here’

‘Security services are allowing some Islamist extremists to leave the UK because of the risk of them carrying out attacks in Britain, it has emerged. A senior counter-terrorism source said last night that police faced a dilemma over whether terrorists were more dangerous ‘home or away’. He spoke after a court heard how Nadir Syed plotted a Remembrance Day attack in Britain after being prevented from travelling to Syria.’ – Daily Mail

  • San Bernardino killer sent Facebook messages supporting jihad – The Times (£)
  • Evidence emerges of Russia dropping cluster bombs – Daily Mail

Red Ken is open to ermine

Livingstone‘Ken Livingstone today admitted he would accept a peerage if Jeremy Corbyn offered him one – despite campaigning for the House of Lords and its ‘cronies’ to be abolished. The veteran Left-winger could be elevated to the Lords by Mr Corbyn so he can join the shadow cabinet in a ‘revenge reshuffle’, Labour MPs fear. The former Mayor of London claimed today that he would go to the Lords if asked and said: ‘If Jeremy wanted me to do anything like that, I would do it’.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Nick Timothy’s column: Labour’s crisis is not about Corbyn – it’s existential

Leveson Part Two may not happen

‘The second part of the controversial Leveson Inquiry into the Press will never go ahead, Whitehall and judicial sources said last night. Insiders said that there was no political appetite to hold part two, which would be hugely time-consuming and expensive. There is also a shortage of judges who are willing to step into Sir Brian Leveson’s shoes and take charge. Sir Brian has been promoted to a more senior role since completing part one in 2012 and would no longer be available.’ – Daily Mail

Sturgeon threatens Cameron over new powers

Scottish flag‘Nicola Sturgeon has issued an extraordinary threat to David Cameron that she will veto a swathe of new powers for Holyrood unless he backs her financial demands by the middle of February. Speaking outside 10 Downing Street following a meeting with the Prime Minister, in what will be seen as outright brinkmanship, she warned she could not accept a deal “on the table” about the financial arrangements that need to accompany the new powers.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Mundell expects Scottish Tory resurgence – The Independent
  • BBC accused of anti-Scottish bias against the Bay City Rollers – Daily Mail

News in Brief

And finally…

The battle of the leaders’ Christmas cards commences

‘Jeremy Corbyn’s first card as Labour leader, therefore, has been criticised by some for depicting a rack of snow-covered bicycles. How very Maoist, some sniffed on Twitter. The bikes are frozen in time, going nowhere, symbolic of Labour’s cycle of despair, etc. Behind them, you can see a red traffic light, symbolising the party’s lack of progress. Why not caption it the Winter of Discontent and have done with it?’ – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)

4 comments for: Newslinks for Tuesday 15th December 2015

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.