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Newslinks for Sunday 18th December 2011

9.15pm WATCH: Nick Clegg explains why he opposes a married couples allowance

6.45pm WATCH: Cable says John Vickers' recipe for more banking competition will be accepted "in full" (but not quite yet)... while Boris warns Government against killing the goose

CleggBaby6pm ToryDiary: Conservatives worry about Clegg's increasingly petulant reaction to EU veto

4pm Tim Montgomerie on Comment: Obama can add Iraq to his long list of foreign policy failures

11.30am WATCH: Vince Cable tells Andrew Marr that Cameron vetoed EU Treaty for party political reasons

ToryDiary update: 7% see Nick Clegg as strong and 54% see him as weak... and 11 other findings from the latest opinion polls

ThinkTankCentral: The Centre for Social Justice attacks Clegg for anti-marriage speech

BigpicMPsETC: Cameron sacks Aidan Burley MP after it is revealed he paid for hire of SS uniform at stag party

Columnist Ruth Lea: It's time for the politicians of Europe call time on the Eurozone and the economically damaging climate change agenda

Mark Lancaster MP on Comment: Will the Government finally Act and legislate the stimulant khat as a classified drug?

Local government: Ray Mallon proposes 3.5% Council Tax rise for Middlesbrough

WATCH: Fisheries minister Richard Benyon attacks "absurd" Common Fisheries Policy

Clegg attacks Tories' '1950s' marriage tax break plans - Sky

Clegg with LD bird"In his speech to Demos, the Left-leaning think tank, Mr Clegg will say: “We should not take a particular version of the family institution, such as the 1950s model of suit-wearing, breadwinning dad and aproned, homemaking mother, and try and preserve it in aspic." - The Sunday Telegraph

"Just 48 hours after David Cameron championed a call for a revival of Christian values, his Lib Dem deputy plans to brand marriage an outdated concept." - Sunday Express

The Observer highlights Mr Clegg's attempt to paint Conservatives as anti-change: "Open society liberals are progressive: we believe that the future can and ought to be better than the past. Conservatives, by definition, tend to defend the status quo, embracing change reluctantly and often after the event."

Clegg's family speech is a sign of Lib Dem anger

"The veto was another disaster for the Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg has now led his party into the destruction of its core beliefs on tuition fees, electoral reform and Europe. When the Government is also shooting badgers, is there anything left of which its activists can be proud?" - John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday

  • Brussels summit proves Clegg will never put Britain first - Jimmy Young in The Sunday Express

Cameron's advisers work on new narrative for 2012

D'ANCONA"The PM has commissioned a group of his closest lieutenants – Craig Oliver, his director of communications, Steve Hilton, his senior adviser, Andrew Cooper, his director of strategy, and Kate Fall, his deputy chief of staff – to meet and develop a creative strategy for 2012 and beyond. The principal task of the “Four Wise Persons” is to press home the point that the Cameron Coalition is about much more than deficit reduction – indispensable as that mission undoubtedly is." - Matthew d'Ancona for The Sunday Telegraph

  • Cameron’s premiership has not been in the service of something recognisable. There is still a lack of underlying purpose - Martin Ivens in The Sunday Times (£)

Downing Street sacks Aidan Burley after it is revealed that he hired SS costume for stag party - Mail on Sunday | PA

Theresa May under attack for failing to deport prisoners

MAY-THERESA"Foreign criminals released from prison have committed murders, kidnaps and rapes after officials failed to deport them. A confidential report by the UK Border Agency reveals the catastrophic consequences of the government’s failure to honour pledges to deport prisoners once they have served their sentences." - The Sunday Times (£)

The lessons I learnt from last week's LSE report on the summer riots - Theresa May in the Mail on Sunday

Coalition in brief:

  • Michael Gove accused of seeking selection in state schools - The Observer
  • In interview Andrew Lansley thanks Tory colleagues for "immense" support during challenging year - Independent on Sunday
  • Conservation charities recruit millions to fight reforms to planning system - The Observer

If problem families won't reform their ways, how should they be penalised? - John Redwood

DORRIES-Nadine'I'm resigned, as a result of my job, to being alone for the rest of my life' - Nadine Dorries MP in The Observer

Andrew Rawnsley: Cameron hasn't had a brilliant 12 months, but there's no one that can rival him inside or outside his party...

""He's not that good," says one senior Labour figure who despairs of his party's failure to capitalise on the coalition's many difficulties. "But Cameron doesn't have to be that good against us." In politics, you don't need to be the best. You just have to be better than the rest." - Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

Ed Miliband considers permanent chief of staff, elected party chairman and new location for Labour HQ has criticism of his leadership increases - Independent on Sunday

Listening to Ed Miliband's speeches is like getting an email in capital letters, says his OWN £40k-a-year speechwriter - Mail on Sunday

Can Ed Miliband survive?

Miliband Ed Hands Out

"Part of the problem for Mr Miliband is that at a time of economic emergency, voters put an even higher premium on the importance of strong leadership qualities. Here Mr Miliband is viewed as seriously deficient. A YouGov survey last week showed that fewer than 10 per cent of Labour supporters think he is strong, charismatic or good in a crisis." - Iain Martin in The Sunday Telegraph

  • The insularity that consigned the Labour Party to the wilderness in the 1980s has taken hold again - Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph
  • Is it time to dump Ed Miliband for Yvette Cooper? - Catherine Bennett in The Observer

Johann Lamont, the new leader of Scottish Labour, has warned that “nothing will be off limits” when it comes to reforming the party - Scotland on Sunday | Video

Taxpayers are footing an annual wage bill of at least £5 million for full-time trade union officials – 65% more than previously thought - The Sunday Telegraph

And some Parliamentary news stories...

  • Anger at MPs as they treat themselves to record 25-day break for Christmas - Mail on Sunday
  • John Bercow pays himself almost as much as David Cameron receives - Mail on Sunday
  • The Commons is proposing to charge companies £20,000 a year to hold events in its dining and meeting rooms as it prepares to "sweat its assets" - The Sunday Times (£)

And finally... The version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman featuring Steve Hilton

From Golden State in US land,
The blessed babe did come,
And over here he flew at last,
Once his mate Dave had won,
His shoes got lost along the way,
But socks are much more fun...

Read the full carol in James Forsyth's Mail on Sunday column


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