Plan for EU army overshadows Cameron’s renegotiation…

Cameron“The European Union’s first paramilitary force would have the power to take control of a nation’s borders without the consent of sovereign governments under plans to shore up defences against an influx of migrants… according to plans tabled yesterday by Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president. Europe’s migration crisis is set to overshadow David Cameron’s efforts to revive his renegotiation of British membership of the EU at a two-day Brussels summit starting tomorrow” – The Times (£)

  • Polls suggest potential 50:50 split on Britain leaving the EU – Financial Times
  • Europe must confront taboos over freedom of movement, Tusk warns – Daily Telegraph
  • Cameron still hopes summit will pave way for a deal – Guardian
  • Like Denmark, Britain can get a special EU deal – Poul Skytte Christoffersen, The Times (£)


… as four top Tories tell PM to demand more from Brussels

“Four powerful Tory figures have warned David Cameron he must ask EU leaders for more to control immigration. Theresa May, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson have all privately told the PM that his renegotiation bid for a four year ban on European workers claiming benefits will not curb new arrivals, The Sun has exclusively learned” – The Sun

  • Voters demand end to free movement within EU – Daily Mail
  • Britain would be perfectly safe outside the EU – Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph

Finkelstein: the case for making Boris Foreign Secretary

borisfringe“Presentation of the government’s case when in tight spots would not necessarily benefit from Boris. Which might make it more attractive to appoint him foreign secretary… You could swap an office that Boris covets for his support for you in the European referendum, which would more than come in handy” – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)


Arrested MPs should not be named, say MPs

“Arrested MPs should not be named unless the charge they face relates to their work, a cross-party committee has said. MPs recommended that members of the Commons who are questioned by police should only be identified when an allegation is of constitutional significance or has an impact on parliamentary privilege… The procedure committee concluded that it was unfair that, while the names of most arrested citizens are not disclosed, arrested MPs are identified in the daily parliamentary order paper” – The Times (£)

IDS accused of ushering in “postcode lottery” with benefit cut

IDS on Marr“Iain Duncan Smith has been accused of ushering in a new postcode lottery by pushing ahead with cuts to Universal Credit, which will see some benefit recipients up to £3,000 worse off next year than other claimants in exactly the same circumstances… The research, conducted by the House of Commons Library, has led Labour to call for the Government to mirror its tax credit cuts reversal by scrapping its plans to cut the in-work support for Universal Credit claimants” – Independent

Hands pulls out of Conservative Way Forward party

“A Cabinet Minister was last night forced to pull out of a Christmas party organised by one of the rightwing youth groups implicated in the ‘Tatler Tory’ bullying scandal. Greg Hands, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was until late on Tuesday afternoon due to be the guest of honour at tonight’s Conservative Way Forward Christmas party” – Daily Telegraph

NHS hospitals “regard running deficits as normal practice”

NHS“Health service finances have ‘severely’ deteriorated in the past year and ministers and NHS managers lack a ‘coherent plan’ to get them back on track, according to Whitehall’s spending watchdog. The National Audit Office warned that many hospitals now appeared to regard running deficits as normal practice, choosing to maintain quality of care rather than balancing the books” – Financial Times

  • MPs warn of funding crisis in further education colleges – Independent

Extra £80 on fuel bills to subsidise green energy

“Households face paying almost £80 a year to subsidise wind and solar farms and other renewable power schemes because ministers are failing to control the budget for green levies. Spending on subsidies for renewable energy is on course to reach £9.6 billion a year by 2020, £2 billion above the limit agreed by the government, according to research by the Renewable Energy Foundation” – The Times (£)

Carney defends forward guidance

Mark Carney“Mark Carney has made clear the turn of the year is no longer the time to consider raising interest rates as he launched a robust defence of his much criticised policy of ‘forward guidance’. In an interview with the Financial Times the Bank of England governor showed no sign of wanting to follow the Federal Reserve, which on Wednesday is widely expected to raise rates for the first time in nearly a decade” – Financial Times

Boles says an independent Scotland would be bankrupt

“An independent Scotland would be forced to go ‘scuttling’ for an international bailout after a collapse in the oil price and soaring debts, a Tory minister has claimed. Nick Boles said Scotland would now be ‘bankrupt’ if Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP had got their way and broken up the Union in last year’s referendum. The dire warning came as a report revealed Scotland’s debts could top £50 billion by the end of the decade after a spending spree on roads, schools and hospitals” – Daily Mail

  • Swinney vows to defy “Osborne austerity” – Scotsman
  • Payouts considered for firms over Forth Bridge closure – Scotsman
  • Scotland’s debt mountain – Guardian

Labour women “still face unfair barriers”

LABOUR dead rose“Women still face unfair barriers to reaching senior levels of the Labour party, according to the Fabian Society, which found that just one in 10 of the party’s top staff and one in six of its council leaders are female… Labour has increased its proportion of female MPs to 43 per cent through the use of all-women shortlists. But the Fabian study found that in areas where there is no positive discrimination, representation of women falls away” – Guardian

  • Corbyn puts key ally in charge of local election campaign – Daily Telegraph
  • Jeremy Corbyn has become the Left’s Enoch Powell – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph

Maggie sale makes millions

“Flattering it might have been. But the lady herself would probably have had something to say about all this rampant inflation… How could a little silver bowl, with a guide price of £400, reach £47,500 in a couple of minutes… Such was the premium attached to anything with the imprimatur of Margaret Thatcher yesterday evening as many of her personal possessions came under the hammer at Christie’s” – Robert Hardman, Daily Mail

  • Carol Thatcher should not have sold the most sentimental items – Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph


News in brief

  • Cruz and Rubio vie to eclipse “chaos candidate” Trump – Guardian
  • Hoax email threat shuts schools in Los Angeles – Independent
  • ISIS tries to grab oil wells in Libya – The Times (£)
  • Castaway sued after claims that he ate his companion – Independent
  • Lettuce “three times worse for the environment” than bacon – Daily Telegraph
  • Prince Charles has long received Cabinet papers – Guardian
  • Rolls-Royce chief axes senior roles – Financial Times
  • British astronaut enters space station – Daily Mail
  • Drunk man couldn’t get taxi because he had horse with him – Belfast Telegraph

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