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Newslinks for Sunday 2nd December 2012

9.15pm Lord Ashcroft on Comment: A simple proposal to help the Treasury

7.30pm WATCH: John Whittingdale: An independent press regulator will be set up - the question is whether the state controls it

5pm Jackie Whiteley on Comment: British entrepreneurs are at a disadvantage in patent law - but now we can do something about it

Osborne Marr4pm WATCH: George Osborne: "Going back on our commitment to deal with our debts would be a complete catastrophe"

2.30pm ToryDiary: Chris Grayling confirms that he may not be able to vote against prisoner voting

1pm ToryDiary updateGeorge Osborne tells Andrew Marr: "[T]he richest need to bear their fair share – and they will. That means more than they’re paying at the moment."

Noon WATCH: Ed Balls: We need a "jobs and growth plan" and must "change course from the failing Osborne plan"

ToryDiary: The Sunday papers offer Autumn Statement hints: a small benefits increase, a raid on wealthy pensions and more fracking

DORRIES ON QTColumnist Nadine Dorries MP: The political and media classes have not correctly understood public opinion on Leveson

Also on ToryDiary: Has Tory support for Leveson-style regulation softened?

John Baron MP on Comment: The Government risks missing an opportunity to implement an earlier cancer diagnosis regime

Local Government: Council reserves increase

Thinkers' Corner: Paul Goodman reflects on equality: "There is an Equalities and Human Rights Commission - the most visible manifestation of the equalities industry. What sort of equality it favours is unclear from its title. It is thus a representation of how, during 13 years of government, Labour managed to blur the differences between equality of opportunity, which the public broadly supports, and equality of outcome, which it does not."

George Osborne: We’re on the right road to recovery and we mustn't turn back

Osborne Number11"We have created a million private sector jobs in just over two years. If we back aspiration and enterprise we can create a million more. There is a lot more to do, but together we are making progress. The road ahead may be longer than we thought but it leads to a better future. Let’s have the courage to stay the course." - George Osborne for the Sun on Sunday

  • Osborne: Deficit cut could take longer than planned - BBC
  • Osborne faces reckoning as fiscal rules come back to haunt him - Observer
  • George revs up for a fuel duty freeze - James Forsyth for the Mail on Sunday
  • Britain's economy cannot be revived with George Osborne's phantom billions - Will Hutton for the Observer

> Today on ToryDiaryThe Sunday papers offer Autumn Statement hints: a small benefits increase, a raid on wealthy pensions and more fracking

> Yesterday on ToryDiaryA twitch of a tentacle from Octopus Osborne puts Neil O’Brien in post

Autumn Statement 1: Chancellor set to mount raid on pensions

"The Chancellor is expected to lower once again the annual limit of tax relief that can be claimed on pension contributions in a move which could bring in between £600million and £1.8billion. He is understood to have fought off, however, a Liberal Democrat push for a new property tax on the highest-value homes. Ministers do not expect a mansion tax, extra council tax “bands” or higher stamp duty to feature in his statement." - Sunday Telegraph

> Yesterday on ToryDiaryBoris Johnson tells George Osborne the top rate of tax "needs to be looked at"

Autumn Statement 2: Osborne's plan to freeze welfare payments in jeopardy after rumours of Lib Dem veto

Clegg-looking-back"George Osborne was fighting a rearguard action last night to force through a freeze in welfare payments amid reports that the move has been vetoed by Liberal Democrat Cabinet colleagues... Government sources say the Chancellor could announce that the dole and other state handouts may go up by more than one per cent – close to the rise in earnings – after the Lib Dems claimed a freeze would be ‘cruel’ to the poor." - Mail on Sunday

  • George Osborne set to drop plan to end housing benefit for under-25s - Observer

Autumn Statement 3: Osborne to offer tax breaks for shale gas

"Despite fears from environmental groups and local communities, the Government will publish a gas strategy paper, which will give the green light to shale gas extraction... With the cost of fuel soaring, Mr Osborne is expected to say that giving the go-ahead to shale will cause gas prices to fall and in turn reduce household bills, as well as creating jobs." - Independent on Sunday

  • Fracking firm ready to press on with extraction - BBC

Cameron's cheap booze ban won't work... says Minister for alcohol and crime prevention

Browne Jeremy"Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne was gagged from speaking out on the issue to avoid revealing the Government split. But friends of Mr Browne have told The Mail on Sunday that he disputes claims that the policy is certain to cut binge drinking – or reduce the number of pub fights. And he thinks responsible drinkers will also be hit in the pocket. Mr Browne was banned from airing his views publicly last week by Home Secretary Theresa May." - Mail on Sunday

> Yesterday - Angie Bray MP on Comment: It is un-Conservative to make the many pay for the sins of the few - including with alcohol pricing

Continued Leveson fallout 1: Maria Miller: We must not stifle journalism

MILLER-MARIA"Before Lord Justice Leveson’s report was published, Mrs Miller appeared to be a cabinet “hawk”, warning newspapers that “nothing was off the table, including statutory regulation.” However, it is now clear she backs the Prime Minister’s “deep and grave concern” of bringing in a new law. ... Mrs Miller quickly identifies two areas of particular concern with the judge’s report - the first concerning his recommendation that Ofcom... should be able to monitor the way proposed new press watchdog operates" - Maria Miller interview with the Sunday Telegraph

  • Press intrusion victims refuse to meet Culture Secretary in anger over David Cameron's reaction to Leveson's findings - Mail on Sunday

Continued Leveson fallout 2: Splits emerge amongst Tory rebels pushing for new press laws

"The Sunday Telegraph contacted all 42 Tories who signed last month’s letter calling for parliament not to “duck the challenge” of making “sensible” changes to the law. Around half the signatories replied - with several softening their stance by echoing the Prime Minister, who said last week he opposed a new law to underpin Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendation of a powerful new industry watchdog." - Sunday Telegraph

> Today - Columnist Nadine Dorries MP: The political and media classes have not correctly understood public opinion on Leveson

> Yesterday on ToryDiaryHas Tory support for Leveson-style regulation softened?

Roundup of Leveson news and comment

Leveson screenshot

  • Ed Miliband: PM has betrayed the victims of Britain's newspapers - Observer
  • Pollwatch: Public wary about giving politicians power over press - Sunday Times (£)
  • "Mr Cameron’s handling of the subject in the Commons, combined with pressure from other Tories not to hand Labour a propaganda victory, does seem to be winning Conservative MPs over." - Iain Martin for the Sunday Telegraph
  • Cameron's antipathy to press regulation sets him at odds with the other party leaders, but gives him an unusually decisive air - John Rentoul for the Independent on Sunday
  • Crafted to seem unthreatening, the report offers some worrying portents for press freedom - Andrew Gilligan for the Sunday Telegraph
  • As the Leveson proposals split the party leaders, newspapers have a final opportunity to prove a law is not needed - Andrew Rawnsley for the Observer

Matthew d'Ancona: Leveson has made it possible to imagine a Lab-Lib coalition

Liblab"Having once refused to share a platform with Clegg during the AV referendum campaign, Miliband now garlanded him with praise for the courage he showed in making his awkward stand. On Thursday afternoon, it became possible for the first time, if only hypothetically, to imagine a Miliband-Clegg government." - Matthew d'Ancona for the Sunday Telegraph

Oxford graduate tried to climb crowd control barriers as David Cameron turned on Christmas lights - Mail on Sunday

Clegg's £12m favour to charity backed by his wife: MPs demand inquiry into huge payment

"Clegg personally intervened to help a charity linked to his wife Miriam obtain £12 million of taxpayers’ money. Labour and Tories joined forces to call for an investigation last night after leaked emails showed one of the Lib Dem leader’s key aides lobbied for Booktrust to be given the grant, instead of competing with other charities." - Mail on Sunday

The new police commissioners appointing their friends as deputies - on up to £68,000 a year - Mail on Sunday

Prescott threatens to gag business probe into his links with China

Prescott John"Lord Prescott is embroiled in a furious row with Channel 4 over a programme examining his business links with China. The former Deputy Prime Minister has threatened an injunction against the producers of a Dispatches documentary after they investigated his association with the country." - Mail on Sunday

The rise and rise of UKIP – the new party of the protest voter

UKIP"Ukip is still far from winning a parliamentary seat, but its most recent achievements are acknowledged with some concern by the three main parties. Mr Farage's claim that he is now leading the "third force in British politics" might be a little overexcited, but after Thursday, the Liberal Democrats have been put on notice that they are in mortal danger" - Independent on Sunday

  • UKIP is on track to win European elections, says Nigel Farage - Observer
  • Cable: result in Rotherham 'disastrous' - Independent on Sunday
  • Libs haven’t got the mid-term blues...they’re in meltdown - Toby Young for the Sun on Sunday

Janet Daley: UKIP's advance is a poke in the eye for those who people the corridors of power

Daley-Janet-black-backgroun"Is Britain run by insiders who come to mutually advantageous agreements among themselves about what is acceptable, practically possible, or even utterable? Or can the outsider, who ignores the rules about what can be said or contemplated, break through? Well, Ukip – the ultimate outsiders – have broken through big time. And in response, the insiders snigger." - Janet Daley for the Sunday Telegraph

In Britain, everyone has a place in the country - Roger Scruton for the Sunday Telegraph

  • Tory rural raid will ruin countryside, says Andrew Motion - Observer

Barristers threaten strike action over legal aid reforms - Sunday Telegraph

One in 10 families forced to default on household debts - Independent on Sunday

  • A third of families ration fuel as soaring power prices force 'heat or eat' dilemma - Observer

Abuse of elderly patients by NHS staff rises by a third in one year - Mail on Sunday

Foreign soldiers who risked lives for Britain win battle to stay - Sunday Telegraph

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