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Newslinks for Monday 10th December 2012

8.15pm Allie Renison on Comment: Timing and motivation taint the EU’s Nobel Peace Prize award

Noon Jury: How alarmed should we be at the growth in the total debt burden?

11.45am Local government: Every London borough will maintain a police station open 24 hours a day

11.30am WATCH: "I would do it all again" - Nadine Dorries makes short film for BBCTV on her 'Celebrity' adventure

11.15am Columnist Andrew Lilico: Gay marriage - what a lot of unnecessary fuss, outrage and confusion!

ToryDiary: Sir John Major becomes latest senior Tory to endorse gay marriage

Columnist Bruce Anderson - normally a supporter of the Prime Minister - cannot agree with his approach to same-sex marriage: Cameron shows little interest in defending Britain's great social institutions

WorkFamilyEducationOn International we look at the three key compassionate conservative ideas of stronger families, better schools and job creation: "Making capitalism work for everyone is the key. I've called it the "double lock". Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic are seen by most voters to be more likely to create prosperity but will we also ensure that it is shared? I don't mean shared equally but in a way that keeps us as one nation - where no person is left behind."

Keith Porteous Wood and Simon Calvert on Comment: The Lords will vote today on a vital issue of free speech

Local government: Haringey Labour councillor expelled

MPsETC: Westminster finally gets a politically-themed hotel to match Washington's Hay Adams

The Deep End: The most unaffordable public sector pension scheme of them all

Home Affairs Select Committee recommends Royal Commission on reform of Britain's drug laws - Guardian

"The comparative failure of British drugs policy has led the home affairs committee to call for an independent royal commission. Despite the excellent work of bodies such as the UK Drugs Policy Commission, there has been no proper review of the law since the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act. The world has changed since then. Politicians are no longer talking about whether we radically alter drug policy, but how. And a royal commission would make recommendations that the government could not just ignore." - Julian Huppert MP in The Guardian

MPs see Portugal as a possible model, reports the BBC: "Portugal has not legalised drugs - but it has a system of not imposing criminal penalties on drug users who enter into special programmes designed to discourage them from doing so. "We were impressed by what we saw of the Portuguese depenalised system," said the MPs. "It had clearly reduced public concern about drug use in that country, and was supported by all political parties and the police."

PHILLIPS-MELANIEMelanie Phillips in the Daily Mail argues that Portugal's experiment has been a disaster: "Since decriminalisation, Portugal has seen a massive 40 per cent rise in drug-related murder; it has developed the highest incidence of injected drug-related Aids in Europe; the number of people testing positive for drugs rose by 45 per cent by 2007; drug use increased by 4 per cent in six years, while numbers using drugs at least once in their life rose by nearly 5 per cent, and so on."

The Sun opens door to decriminalisation of drugs, only insisting that agreement be multinational to avoid 'drug tourists beating a path to Britain's door'. 

The Independent reports the Government's insistence that it "has no intention" of changing drug laws.

Food minister Owen Paterson backs Genetically Modified crops

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"Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Paterson, said: “Emphatically we should be looking at GM … I’m very clear it would be a good thing. “The trouble is all this stuff about Frankenstein foods and putting poisons in foods. There are real benefits, and what you’ve got to do is sell the real environmental benefits.” Those benefits include a reduction in the use of pesticides because some GM crops are pest-resistant, he said. That in turn reduces farmers’ fuel use."

Thei-1-329x437Tories warn Cameron that gay marriage will split party in two - Independent

The problem with the Tory gay marriage row is not the issue itself but that the party appearing split - Mike Smithson at PoliticalBetting | Independent leader

David Davies MP: "Most parents would prefer their children not to be gay" - Quoted in The Telegraph

Tim Montgomerie: Gay marriage will become rapidly accepted, like previous equality reforms

"We see a recurring pattern of angry opposition from a minority of voters and then rapid acceptance of nearly all gay equality laws. The same Tory MPs now opposing gay marriage often argue that civil partnerships are enough for gay people. A reform that was controversial only half a decade ago is now embraced by, I would estimate, 90 per cent of Conservatives in Parliament." - Tim Montgomerie in The Times (£)

  • Times leader (£): "The hope would be that, once it becomes commonplace, the attitude towards same-sex marriage would change as quickly as it has in other areas of gay equality. Only a few years ago, many Conservative MPs were strongly opposed to civil partnerships for gay people. Now they are widely seen as uncontroversial."

> Last night's ToryDiary: Sir John Major becomes latest senior Tory to endorse gay marriage

Back marriage in the tax system - Tim Loughton MP, writing in The Telegraph, urges the PM to honour his manifesto commitment to introduce a tax allowance for married couples.

Fox Liam October 2010Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and Owen Paterson all pile Eurosceptic pressure on Prime Minister - Express

  • Cameron will offer voters in-out referendum over EU membership, claims Boris - Daily Mail
  • The PM must end his "indecision" on Europe quickly or lose the general election - Daily Mail leader
  • "As Boris says, either we should cut away all the political nonsense that we don’t need and go back to a Common Market or pull out of the EU altogether" - Express leader
  • "Mr Cameron is hoping to make his long-awaited Europe speech next week, although aides admit the prime minister and senior colleagues – including George Osborne, the chancellor – have yet to sit down and talk through the consequences of what he is about to say. Such is its import that it may be delayed until after Christmas." - FT (£)
  • "In his forthcoming speech, Mr Cameron must not only spell out in some detail the nature of the new relationship he envisages with the EU but must also explain what action he intends to take if he is unable to achieve any worthwhile changes." - Telegraph leader

George Osborne has no strategy for growth, warns BA boss Willie Walsh - Times (£)

"Vince Cable, business secretary, has admitted there is “clearly a risk” of the UK entering a triple-dip recession and facing a Japanese-style lost decade of stagnant economic growth" - FT (£)

Boris Johnson in The Telegraph: Ignore the doom merchants, Britain should get fracking

Alexander Danny Sep 11Danny Alexander has told multinational firms that paying tax is an obligation, not "a voluntary choice" - BBC

"The average sales tax on a basket of 16 goods and services in Britain - including food, meals out, iPads and energy bills – is 16%. This is almost a third more than the 12.3% paid on average across the G8, which also includes France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US." - Telegraph

The Coalition's benefits squeeze

  • The ugly truth, here and across Europe, is we cannot afford the welfare bill left by politicians who have been bribing voters with their own money — and their children’s future" - Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun
  • "A living wage would bring down spending on tax credits, and increasingly in-work benefits like housing benefit and council tax benefit. Improving workers’ rights stuck in the Victorian era would allow working people to demand better wages from their employers, too, at a time when big corporations sit on a £750bn cash mountain." - Owen Jones in The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: The benefits squeeze will cause real hardship to many families. It's a necessary measure in difficult times but no Tory should see it as a political ploy.

The FT urges the Coalition to abandon ringfencing

"Ringfencing is a very poor policy, especially given that its principal beneficiary is the very department – health – that benefited most from spending rises during the Labour years. The answer cannot be simply to protect what Labour did while starving other priorities to make up for it." - FT leader (£)

> Andrew Lilico from Friday: With £27bn more cuts to find, something's gotta give. Why not the NHS ringfence?

All-Party Group of Tory MPs says schools should axe citizenship lessons and teach more British history - The Sun | Daily Mail

Nadine Dorries says her local party has backed her "unanimously" - Times (£)

  • Nadine Dorries makes film for the Sunday Politics - BBC

Harman Harriet 2Retreating from initial support for oversight by OfCom, Harriet Harman sends draft Leveson bill to Maria Miller

"Labour has injected urgency in the drive to improve press standards by publishing a six-clause draft bill that directs the lord chief justice to certify the effectiveness of independent regulation of the newspaper industry once every three years." - Guardian | PDF of Labour's bill

Leading economists and industrialists agree to sit on Labour's infrastructure review - FT (£)

Berlusconi's return bodes ill for Italy and Europe - Independent leader

And finally... Christmas is coming, Christmas is coming

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Cameron signing his Christmas cards - via his Twitter account.

ITV has images of the three party leaders' Christmas cards.

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Also for fun: Michael Gove as The Terminator.

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