Bah Humbug! 1) Heseltine says: Brexit could be worse than Corbyn

“Asked what could happen under five years of a Corbyn government, he said: “Well, we have survived Labour governments before. Their damage tends to be short-term and capable of rectification. Brexit is not short-term and is not easily capable of rectification. There will be those who question whether the short-term pain justifies the avoidance of the long-term disaster.” Heseltine argued public opinion was already beginning to move against Brexit and Labour would end up changing its current position to one in favour of the EU, which could put the Conservatives in trouble with their pro-remain voters.”

Bah Humbug! 2) Osborne says: There’s no mandate for leaving the Customs Union or a radical immigration clampdown

“Ultimately the decision was made by the British public – and no one can complain that no one showed up, because it had the highest turnout of any democratic event in our country’s history. But now we all have to pick up the pieces of that result. I will vigorously challenge how they [Brexiteers] want to interpret that result.  I don’t accept that just because we’re leaving the EU we have to, for example, leave the customs union or radically clamp down on immigration.’ He continued: ‘There was only one question asked in that referendum, and that was do you want Britain to remain in the EU.”

  • Osborne’s Treasury chief says Brexit’s “economic impact should be limited provided [the government] seizes policy opportunity and looks forward not back” – Financial Times
  • Labour urges Treasury to publish Brexit impact studies – The Guardian
  • EU will stay united by holding City hostage – The Times (£)
  • Germany 1) Foreign minister wants “smart” Brexit deal – Daily Mail
  • Germany 2) Farmers furious over CAP changes – Daily Express
  • Record number of tourists set to deliver £27bn boost to UK economy next year – The Sun
  • High street prices will spiral after Brexit unless UK is covered by all the EU’s trade deals, warn retail chiefs – The Sun
  • “Project fear was wrong about Brexit, as UK looks set to overtake France” – Daily Telegraph
  • Boxing Day sales shopping down on last year – Financial Times
  • The Boxing Day shopping bonanza is a vote of confidence in our economy – Daily Express Editorial
  • Should I claim my Irish passport and enjoy different rights to my fellow Britons? – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – Our survey. If anything, Party member support for May’s EU deal has strengthened

Leo Doherty: There must be no more cuts to the army and navy

“We should certainly be spending more on cyber-security and counter-terrorism, but this must not come at the expense of conventional hard power. Sources in the MoD report a £2 billion annual budget shortfall, potential cuts to amphibious capability, to the Royal Marines, and even a possible reduction in the strength of our Army from the current target of 82,000. For MPs like me, who stood on a Conservative manifesto pledge of maintaining the strength of our Armed Forces, failure to do so would be untenable. When I was serving 10 years ago, our Army was more than 100,000-strong.” – Daily Telegraph

Labour asks: where does May now stand on hunting?

“The PM is said to be preparing to ditch an election manifesto pledge made only in June to hold a vote to overturn the 2004 ban on using packs of dogs to kill foxes. But the U-turn threatens to explode fresh fury as the Countryside Alliance hits back to warn Mrs May that she risks alienating rural communities. The policy shift comes after the Tory leader’s support for fox hunting during the June campaign proved disastrous at the ballot box. It will be part of a New Year push to make the Tories look more “caring”. During a careful intervention, Mrs May will distance herself from the blood sport which she had said she personally backed.” – The Sun

  • The next generation take part in Boxing Day hunts – Daily Mail
  • Police investigate claims of fox killing – The Guardian
  • Watson slammed for taking cash from gambling mogul while leading charge against the industry – The Sun
  • ScotRail nationalisation debate ‘meaningless distraction’ – Scotsman
  • Cornish nationalists speak – The Guardian

Cable flops

“An attempt by Sir Vince to encourage the party’s 11 other MPs and 100 peers to engage with each other to devise fresh policy ideas has yielded lacklustre proposals so far. The “clusters” initiative, which refers to grouped areas of policy, has been nicknamed the “clusterf***s”. One insider remarked: “Like most things Lib Dem, there’s a lot of talking, but nothing ever comes out of it.” Key departures from the party’s headquarters meanwhile threaten to become an exodus. Phil Reilly, the director of communications, and Jasper Gerard, the head of press, have both left in recent weeks, while a third senior staffer is poised to accept a job offer elsewhere and a fourth is considering their options.” – The Times (£)

Despite the settlement in Northern Ireland, paramilitary punishment beatings go on

“Loyalists carried out almost twice as many so-called punishment attacks as republicans in the last year, it can be revealed. Some 60 attacks – both paramilitary-style assaults and shootings – were committed by loyalists between November 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017, compared to 35 by republicans. According to figures released to the Belfast Telegraph by the PSNI following a Freedom of Information Act request, the number of assaults rose dramatically, from 36 between November 1, 2012 and October 31, 2013 to 71 between November 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017. In the same period the number of shootings remained in the mid-20s each year. Overall, the number of attacks rose from 62 to 95 in the last five years.” – Belfast Telegraph

Snowflakes 1) Universities that bar free speech may be finded, says Jo Johnson

“Students must be able to challenge controversial opinions, according to the Universities Minister, who said there are dangers to shielding students from differing views under the banner of “no-platforming” or “safe spaces” In a speech at the Limmud Festival in Birmingham, a celebration of Jewish learning and culture, he warned that free speech is a key part of university life… He said a new regulator, the Office for Students, will be created in January to ensure that universities promote freedom of speech within the law. His comments come amid an ongoing debate about free speech at universities, and a number of reports of speakers, debates, literature and organisations being opposed or criticised, often by student unions, societies or particular groups of students.” – Daily Mail

  • NUS and Union of Jewish Students hit back – The Guardian

Snowflakes 2) Danger warning as snow and ice hit the UK

“The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of rain and snow for the Midlands, London and the South East, the North West, South West and Yorkshire and the Humber that will remain in place until 11am. A separate warning for ice has been issued for Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East in England and the Highlands, Grampian, Lothian Borders, Strathclyde and Orkney and Shetland in Scotland.” – Yorkshire Post

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