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Christmas 1) May’s seasonal message focuses on armed forces

This year, the Prime Minister made no mention of Brexit or the crises she has faced in a disastrous 12 months during which she lost her Commons majority and faced repeated threats to her premiership. But she did issue a rallying call to the nation, saying: ‘This Christmas, whatever our faith, let us come together confident and united in the values we share.’…Mr Corbyn highlighted the plight of those who were ‘cut off and lonely’ or in war-torn countries such as Yemen and Syria. He said: ‘It’s a time of the year when we think about others, like those who have no home to call their own or who are sleeping rough.’ Labour sources defended Mr Corbyn’s failure to mention religion, saying: ‘It’s a concise message about the Christian spirit of compassion which is at the heart of our country and Christianity.’ – Mail on Sunday

Christmas 2) Rudd steps in to help rough sleepers

“She moved to prevent local councils and police misusing anti-social behaviour laws against rough sleepers, buskers and dog walkers who pose no public nuisance.  Since 2014, Public Spaces Protection Orders have been available to restrict how a particular area can be used. Anyone defying a PSPO faces an on-the-spot £100 fixed penalty notice or a fine of up to £1,000 if it goes to court…New guidance tells councils and police to focus on specific problems ‘rather than blanket bans of behaviour that are not in themselves anti-social – such as rough sleeping’.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Atkins says that the police must “use their powers proportionately” – Sun on Sunday

As Boxing Day and its hunts draw near, Team May briefs that she will drop her commitment to a free vote on hunting

“In a move certain to infuriate many of the party’s rural supporters — and split its MPs — she will announce plans to drop the commitment permanently early in 2018. The disclosure comes two days before the Boxing Day meets, the biggest of the year, when 250,000 people are expected to gather at hunts nationwide. May’s move follows a fierce voter backlash, especially among young people, against her pro-hunting policy in this year’s general election…That idea has now been shelved for good. “The prime minister will make it clear in an intervention early in the new year that this is no longer a Conservative Party policy,” said a senior Whitehall source.” – Sunday Times

Johnson, Gove and Grayling denounce HMRC targeting of Leave donors who dared to take on the Remain establishment

“A source close to Mr Johnson said the demands were “bad for our democracy” while a friend of Mr Gove said they were “an attempt to silence anyone who dare challenge the Establishment and status quo”. Their comments came as Peter Cruddas, a City financier and one of the Leave donors, disclosed that he had given hundreds of thousands of pounds to other political campaigns – including the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum – and never been challenged by HMRC…A senior Leave-supporting Conservative politician described the demands as “scandalous” and evidence of “the Treasury’s revenge” for losing the European Union referendum.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Exports are booming – Sunday Express
  • Blue passports 1) Caan shamed for not taking down fake news about them – Sunday Express
  • Blue passports 2) They’re a nostalgia stunt, says Thatcher aide – Observer
  • A Finland Minister’s take on the negotiations – Sunday Express
  • The Government should ignore the referendum verdict and cancel Brexit – John Bruton, Observer
  • Johnson says that new sanctions against North Korea are “vital” – Sun on Sunday
  • These bills for Leave donors look politically motivated – Sunday Telegraph Editorial
  • Still no knighthood for Sir Nigel – Sunday Telegraph

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – And the Word was made…tweet?

Maltby sent friendly texts to Green after complaining about him to Downing Street

“The row over Damian Green’s sacking erupted again last night after leaked messages sent by the woman who accused him of misconduct showed that she was sending him friendly texts just weeks before pulling the trigger on his career…The Mail on Sunday can now reveal that shortly before going public with her claims in October, Ms Maltby had sent warm messages to Mr Green – including one late at night which she signed off with an ‘x’…” – Mail on Sunday

  • Maltby accuses Green of leaking and editing the text exchanges – Sunday Times
  • Green: our part in his downfall – Sunday Times
  • How Davis campaigned to try to save Green – Sun on Sunday
  • Scandal of the EU sex pests – Sunday Times
  • May aide told me that “Green’s behaviour towards women was a known pattern” – Kate Maltby, Sunday Times
  • The police have lost our trust – Andrew Mitchell, Mail on Sunday
  • The police have lost their bearings – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • Green is not the victim – Sarah Baxter, Sunday Times
  • The Chief Whip threw me to the wolves – Charlie Elphicke, Mail on Sunday
  • The mysteries of the Ministerial code – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday

Greening “has cold feet over gender change plans”

“Justine Greening, the education secretary, said in July that the government would consult in the autumn on the controversial changes to the Gender Recognition Act. But the consultation has been delayed until at least early next year amid claims that Greening is getting cold feet. According to one source, she has privately admitted the issue is both “complex” and “divisive”. Last night, a source close to the cabinet minister insisted the proposed reforms would be published in the new year. But that would not happen until Greening’s department had had time to review the number of responses to its LGBT survey, which was launched in the summer to help government policy on diversity.” – Sunday Times

Grayling warns that railways risk falling back to “days of British Rail”

“Mr Grayling said recent scandals about ticket prices showed that the railway is “too process-focused and not customer-focused enough”. [He] also insisted that he would defy a European Union requirement that platforms have to be a standard size, which would make them too low for British trains on the new HS2 line. And he lent his support to campaigns to bring back sit down buffet cars in long distance train services…The Transport Secretary was speaking as the travellers prepare to put up with large scale disruption caused by engineering works on the rail network.” – Sunday Telegraph

Sun on Sunday: Cleverly, Mercer, Badenoch and Tugendhat for Cabinet

“Michael Gove’s ideas have been a revelation at the environment department. Jeremy Hunt remains a superb health secretary. Boris is still box office. But beyond them lie too many grey, uninspiring men and women behaving more like time-serving civil servants than politicians with a zeal to improve lives. Talents like James Cleverly, Johnny Mercer, Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat are ripe for promotion into Cabinet. Big characters like Jacob Rees-Mogg and Rob Halfon should be deployed to drum up support for the party.” – Sun on Sunday Editorial

Simon Heffer: We have seen Peak Corbyn

“Doubtless what I am about to write will be chiselled on my tombstone: but I believe we have seen peak Corbyn. Never again, surely, can the Conservative Party fight an election so ignorantly, so complacently and so downright badly as it fought the one last June. Never again can it allow the new weapons of mass destruction – social media – to remain almost unilaterally in the hands of its opponents. Never again can it think that all a campaign need consist of is the worshippers of a personality cult (especially one with no personality to speak of) pointing at an admittedly dreadful Leader of the Opposition and his ragbag of neo-Bolshevik policies, and daring people to be stupid enough to vote for them.” – Sunday Telegraph

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