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Newslinks for Sunday 16th December 2012

7pm WATCH: Will Boris Johnson re-enter the Commons before 2015? "That's not going to happen"

4pm WATCH: Jack Straw: There is no way to prevent massacres, but tighter gun control laws certainly reduce the risk

Shapps welfare ad clip1.45pm ToryDiary: CCHQ launches attack ad in marginal constituencies contrasting "hardworking families" with "people who don't work"

12.15pm ToryDiary: Now Boris wants a European referendum "before 2015"

ToryDiary: Ministers are said to be pursuing regional pay for civil servants. They would be unwise to do so.

Also on ToryDiary: Economy and same-sex marriage send UKIP soaring to 14% - its highest-ever ComRes rating

HAMILTON DANDaniel Hamilton on Comment: Time to sever our Kremlin links and forge a new alliance

Thinkers' Corner: Neil Record reflects on public sector pension reforms

Local Government: Most teachers back performance pay - why won't Alastair Campbell?

Conservatives and Lib Dems will start election planning next month

BALLOT BOX 1"The Prime Minister and his new strategist, Lynton Crosby, are to start formal Conservative election campaign meetings next month, while Mr Clegg will begin to put distance between his party and the Tories in a major speech tomorrow with the clear declaration: "Our offer is different from that of the Conservatives."" - Independent on Sunday

  • "Nick Clegg will launch the pre-election process of distancing his party from the Conservatives on Monday, depicting one of the Liberal Democrats' key roles in the coalition as preventing the Tory right from pursuing a "fantasy world" outside the European Union." - Observer
  • "Clegg thinks he can appeal to the "fairness" market, fighting the next election as the party that forced the Tories to be fairer." - John Rentoul for the Independent on Sunday

Cameron reportedly optimistic about Tory chances in 2015

Cameron PM"Almost ‘irrationally exuberant’ is how one recent visitor to No 10 describes David Cameron’s mood. As they discussed the political situation and the state of the Coalition, the Prime Minister radiated optimism. He senses he could well achieve the second Downing Street term he so wants. Even after the fights of the past year, Cameron is still comfortable in Coalition." - James Forsyth for the Mail on Sunday

Government human rights commission split on new "Bill of Rights"

GRAYLING-OPEN-SHIRT"A panel of legal experts was set up 20 months ago with both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats appointing its eight members. ... Campaigners, including Tory MPs, wanted a Bill of Rights that would allow Parliament to overrule the decisions of European judges on major national issues, such as allowing prisoners the vote. However... the Commission for a Bill of Rights is fatally split ahead of publication and may even bring out a minority report along with its majority findings." - Sunday Telegraph

Minimum price plans for alcohol "doomed" after cabinet revolt

Picture 4"Plans to impose a minimum price for alcohol of 45p a unit appear doomed in the face of powerful opposition from cabinet ministers in a blow for David Cameron. ... Mr Cameron is in favour of the move, as is Jeremy Hunt... They argue that it will help fight binge drinking while reducing levels of ill-health and crime linked to alcohol. However... Theresa May, the Conservative Home Secretary whose department is in charge of the consultation, is “sceptical” about the plans." - Sunday Telegraph

Conservative Ministers pursuing regional pay for civil servants

"[Ministers] believe the excessive pay packages of civil servants outside London and the big cities are inflating salaries and “hampering recovery in the private sector”. They have seized on research into the pay of Britain’s 420,000 civil servants, which shows that... all but the most senior civil servants working outside London have remuneration packages as good as or better than their private sector counterparts." - Sunday Times (£)

  • Living wage for public servants moves a step closer - Observer

> Today on ToryDiaryMinisters are said to be pursuing regional pay for civil servants. They would be unwise to do so.

Boris Johnson and Gavin Barwell MP behind new pro-immigration pressure group

Johnson Boris Pointing"A cross-party group of politicians, trade unionists and business leaders is to launch a group campaigning for an "open and honest debate" about migration ... The Migration Matters Trust, backed by the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, will be launched in January, to challenge the "new anti-immigration consensus" it claims has formed" - Independent on Sunday

Nick Gibb: The teachers aren’t letting down kids.. it’s methods of teaching

GIBB NICK"In 2006, David Beckham was criticised for not being able to help his young son with his maths homework. But few parents would now recognise the way children are being taught maths in primary schools.The new approach is failing. ... We have to get back to teaching in tried and tested ways. ... Unless we are prepared for Britain to be left behind in the global race for excellence, we need fundamentally to change the way that maths is taught in primary schools." - Nick Gibb MP for the Sun on Sunday

  • "The Education Secretary – speaking to a crowd of ‘Goveite’ disciples... boasted how his reforms had ‘done more for our schools than the Church of England has in 500 years’." - Mail on Sunday

> Today on Local GovernmentMost teachers back performance pay - why won't Alastair Campbell?

The Observer profiles Culture Secretary Maria Miller

MILLER-MARIA"To describe Miller as a housewife is rather insulting, if not to say wrong. She is a careful, competent businesswoman who has enjoyed a successful career in advertising and marketing. Her Toryism is a matter of instinct: she does not try to justify it in terms of history or philosophy. She wants women like herself, from modest backgrounds, to be able to make their way in the world." - Observer

Janet Daley: Downing Street is pursuing gay marriage in order to provoke and disown the grassroots

DALEY JANEY BLOG"For displays of quite extraordinary political stupidity, this past week is going to take some beating. ... [T]here is only one card left in the modernising deck: one last gesture with which to provoke the Tory grassroots so that they may be publicly disowned. The right to the word “marriage” must be extended to those for whom civil unions already provide all the rights offered by the traditional version. What a ridiculous thing to be fighting about at a time like this." - Janet Daley for the Sunday Telegraph

  • "David Cameron’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage have enraged Conservative grassroots supporters, with many members already quitting the party over the controversial policy." - Sunday Telegraph
  • Dave's been a disaster as a gay wedding planner - Rachel Johnson for the Mail on Sunday

Close canteens, lease art and ban water at meetings: the Pickles method of cost-cutting

PICKLES ERIC 2009"Eric Pickles, the local government secretary, is to publish a handbook for councils entitled 50 Ways to Save, which includes “practical tips and guidance” for town halls on how to make deeper cuts. ... The Pickles austerity guide suggests they close subsidised canteens and use local sandwich delivery companies. Councils are also advised to open coffee shops in public libraries as a way of generating more revenue and encouraging more visitors." - Sunday Times (£)

Zac Goldsmith attacks 'deceitful’ David Cameron

GOLDSMITH ZAC"Once trumpeted as David Cameron’s environmental adviser, Zac Goldsmith is biting the hand that fed him. The Tory MP accuses the Prime Minister of “deception” and capitulating to big business over genetically modified crops. Last week, Cameron urged European Union bureaucrats to allow more farmers to grow GM crops in Britain. Goldsmith calls it “Cameron’s predictable capitulation to big business”." - Sunday Telegraph

Davey more cautious than Osborne about potential of fracking

Davey Ed 2"[W]hile George Osborne, a green-energy sceptic, has made clear his support for shale and a wider "dash for gas", his coalition partner Davey has been more circumspect... saying: "Until more exploration work has been done, a significant number of wells fracked and production patterns established over time, it will not be possible to make any meaningful estimate of likely economically recoverable resources of shale gas in the United Kingdom." - Observer

  • The go-ahead for fracking should bring us falling energy bills, but instead we will see them soar - Christopher Booker for the Sunday Telegraph

Could David Cameron be a bit frit about facing Ed Miliband in TV debates? - Andrew Rawnsley for the Observer

Ukip on 14% as Labour restores double digit lead over Tories

"Ukip has risen to 14% – almost half the level of support for the Conservatives who are now on 29% – in a new Observer/Opinium poll." - Observer

  • Nigel Farage heads for row over Ukip's anti-gay allies - Observer
  • If Britain left the EU, would it really thrive like Norway? - Observer

> Yesterday on ToryDiaryEconomy and same-sex marriage send UKIP soaring to 14% - its highest-ever ComRes rating

Leveson's appearance before selection committee could be held in secret

Leveson screenshot"Lord Justice Leveson has been summoned to appear before a Commons committee to explain why he wanted state regulations to curb the press. But after the intervention of Britain’s most senior judge, Lord Justice Leveson could be interviewed in secret, with a report of the event published later by the Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, or he may refuse to appear." - Mail on Sunday

> From yesterday - David T Breaker on Comment: Public demand for press regulation must be ignored

The new census reveals a Britain that would be unrecognisable even to our grandparents - Peter Hitchens for the Mail on Sunday

  • "It is a matter of simple observation that we inhabit a pluralistic society, a house of many mansions. What takes courage is to identify, and insist upon, the points of non-negotiable conformity: the area of common ground beyond obedience to the law." - Matthew d'Ancona for the Sunday Telegraph

Scottish police force will have more than £100m in debt, Tories warn - BBC

  • DARLING ALISTAIR"It is hard to credit how unprepared the nationalists are to answer the fundamental questions that will define Scotland’s future for generations to come." - Alistair Darling for the Sunday Telegraph
  • "The president of Iceland has given a cautious welcome to the prospect of Scotland becoming independent after the 2014 referendum. President Olafur Grimsson told the BBC that small independent countries in northern Europe have fared well." - BBC

Benefit cuts to hit disabled - Independent on Sunday

China telecoms giant could be cyber-security risk to Britain - Independent on Sunday

Britain braced for week of flood chaos - Daily Express

Abu Qatada runs up £500,000 legal aid bill to stay in UK - Observer

Obama to nominate John Kerry for Secretary of State - ITV News

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