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Newslinks for Thursday 27th December 2012

8.30pm International: The Republicans likely to be hurt most if America falls off its "fiscal cliff"

2.15pm WATCH:

NORMAN-JESSENoon ToryDiary: Backbencher of the Year:

ToryDiary: Only 12% of Tory members expect Cameron to win a majority at next election

John Baron MP on Comment: We don't want another manifesto promise of a referendum we want Cameron to legislate for a referendum

Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 22.06.27VIDEO: Tracey Crouch MP tells Channel 4 News that "significant minority" of Tory MPs oppose repeal of fox hunting ban

Grant Shapps confirms Owen Paterson's view that there is no chance of overturning ban on foxhunting

"The outspoken new head of the RSPCA, Gavin Grant, taunted David Cameron on his failure to bring forward a vote on fox hunting – telling him it was because he knows he will lose. The Prime Minister had pledged a free vote in the Commons on reversing the ban on fox hunting before the 2015 election. But almost three years into his Coalition, no vote has yet been timetabled." - Daily Mail

In the Daily Mail, Stephen Glover is unimpressed by Cameron's priorities: "In promoting gay marriage, which doesn’t matter to his supporters, and deferring a new Hunting Bill, which does, there is surely an important lesson for the New Year. David Cameron’s Conservative Party needs rebalancing."

  • Hound, horse and human come together today in an activity as vital as our heartbeats, says Roger Scruton in The Telegraph
  • The Times (£) warns against a vote, however: "The coalition has already expended precious political capital by allowing the Liberal Democrats to pursue their enthusiasm for reform of the House of Lords and by holding a referendum on changing the voting system to AV. It would be perverse to do more damage by allowing Conservative MPs to have a futile vote on their pet subject."

Cameron sees lack of support among minority communities as key failure of Tory detoxification and orders push to recruit more BME candidates

Screen Shot 2012-12-27 at 08.26.15

"One Conservative MP in a marginal urban seat told The Independent that his party faced an "existential" challenge in responding to the country's changing ethnic make-up. MPs and candidates are being given advice on how to engage with non-white communities by regularly attending key events, being urged to increase their presence in ethnic minority newspapers, radio programmes and television bulletins and to gain expertise on issues that particularly affect such groups." - Independent

  • In the FT (£) David Goodhart notes how Boris was re-elected despite "white flight" from the capital: "The data on the white exodus from London underlines just how remarkable Mr Johnson’s re-election was, given how most minority groups still overwhelmingly prefer Labour, at least in national elections. If he can win in London, despite losing so many of the white voters most disaffected with diversity, it suggests we may be set for a political swap: socially conservative urban ethnic minority voters switching to the Conservatives, and the godless, liberal suburbs turning to Labour."

62% support the move to legalise gay marriage; only 31% oppose - Guardian

Support for Tories surges in poll of gay voters - Independent | PinkNews

BUT... "Ministers are pursuing the "wrong policy" on gay marriage, and should be focusing on family breakdown, a High Court judge has said. Sir Paul Coleridge told the Times same-sex unions are a "minority issue"." - BBC

  • The Daily Mail agrees: "At a time when 45 per cent of 15-year-olds have seen their parents separate, how can gay marriage be a more urgent priority?"
  • The Express reports concern at lack of democratic mandate for change: "Archbishop Nichols said: “There was no announcement in any party manifesto, no Green Paper, no statement in the Queen’s Speech. And yet here we are on the verge of primary legislation. From a democratic point of view, it’s a shambles.”"

Widdecombe Ann BlueSuitAnn Widdecombe says flawed people can and should still speak up for laws or moral codes they struggle to honour: "Does it mean that anybody who has ever broken the speed limit cannot take a view about road safety? If a Christian breaks a commandment is he any less a Christian? Do I have to be married in order to defend my view that married couples should have special tax reliefs? Is an adulterer who chooses to stay with his wife rather than his mistress and is thereafter faithful not an upholder rather than destroyer of marriage?" - Express

Ten years ago Britons wanted to stay in Europe by a margin of 68% to 19%, now we want to leave by 51% to 40% - Daily Mail

Screen Shot 2012-12-27 at 08.30.25Labour MP Shaun Woodward backs referendum on our membership: "A referendum on continued membership may now be the only way to drain the poison from our membership. Initially it will alarm European nation states – not because the solution is wrong, but because they will face similar calls. Yet they may come to be the best disinfectant, ensuring the European commission speedily reforms itself." - Shaun Woodward MP in The Guardian

> Today on Platform from John Baron MP: We don't want another manifesto promise of a referendum we want Cameron to legislate for a referendum.

Nick Clegg has warned his coalition partner David Cameron that discussion of a referendum on relations with the EU before the euro has been rescued would place "the cart before the horse" - Guardian | Scotsman | ITV

More on Europe:

  • Fresh Start Group wants PM to set out 'nuclear' options to protect British interests in Europe - Guardian
  • Up to 70,000 British jobs 'are at risk from Brussels climate change law' - Daily Mail
  • "David Cameron will fail to strike a deal to freeze the EU budget — according to the Government’s own economic forecasters. The Office for Budget Responsibility has instead “assumed” it will increase by 2.8 per cent next year." - The Sun
  • More than 20,000 foreign workers from outside the EU could flock to Britain to replace Romanian and Bulgarian fruit pickers who will be tempted by better jobs when work restrictions are lifted in December 2013 - Telegraph

Tories should tackle UKIP by saying that a vote for Farage might help Ed Miliband... concluding "It may not work. But unlike the alternatives, it is unlikely to make things worse." - Daniel Finkelstein in The Times (£)

David Cameron's appeal among voters on the wane - Guardian

  • Is David Cameron undermining the honours system by rewarding MPs for the wrong reasons? - Peter Oborne in The Telegraph

Osborne April 2012George Osborne, has announced extra funding to boost the UK's development of the so-called "super-material" graphene

"It is one of the lightest yet strongest and most conductive materials known to man - and was originally discovered by scientists at Manchester University. Now other universities will be asked to research potential commercial uses. Mr Osborne said the £21.5m investment fund would aim to take the technology from the lab to the factory floor." - BBC

Number of highly-paid staff increase in many Whitehall departments

"The Chancellor’s Treasury department has increased the number of civil servants earning £100,000 or more from 20 in 2009-10 to 39 in 2011-2012. Meanwhile, Theresa May’s Home Office has seen a 50 per cent increase in staff on four times the national average salary, despite overseeing budget cuts under which police forces have shrunk." - Express

Hurd NickOther age of austerity stories:

  • Charities Minister Nick Hurd said he would congratulate any pensioner who chose to give away their winter fuel allowance to good causes - Daily Mail
  • Change in definition of inflation may hurt pensioners - Philip Johnston in The Telegraph
  • The rich ARE bearing and will bear a greater share of the burden of taxes than the poor - John Rentoul in The Independent
  • Britain spends twice as much as US and six times as much as Japan on disability benefits - Daily Mail
  • The Tories are trying to use the politics of fear to turn us against one another - Zoe Williams in The Guardian insists that Britain is in fundamentally good shape.

An online system to identify children who may be in danger of abuse or neglect is being developed for use in hospitals across England - BBC

Children should transfer school at 14, rather than 11, argues Lord (Kenneth) Baker - Independent

Michael Fabricant warns against witch-hunt against 'Plebgate" police - Independent

Tory MP Philip Davies should have been honest about his links to an increasingly dangerous and powerful gambling industry - Alastair Campbell for The Guardian

Screen Shot 2012-12-27 at 08.37.07Charles Walker MP, one of the MPs who revealed their mental health problems to the Commons, explains how that debate changed his life

"He reflects on the "good run" mental health had in 2012, praising fellow Conservative Gavin Barwell for successfully pushing a private member's bill he helped draw up – to scrap laws that discriminate against people who have had serious mental health problems, preventing them serving as jurors or school governors, for example. The bill makes its way to the Lords in January." - Guardian

Alistair Darling is planning to quit at the next election in a huge blow for Ed Miliband - The Sun

Seb Coe is The Times' Briton of the Year

"When he looks back, Lord Coe can forever be proud of the glorious day s in London in the summer of 2012 when the sun shone, the athletes came and a nation smiled" - Times leader (£)

Former US President George H W Bush has been in intensive care with a fever since Sunday - BBC

  • "Today’s Republican party is a bit like a headless body striking out blindly against change" - FT leader (£)

PICKLES ERIC 2009And finally... Eric Pickles has upset some fellow Yorkshiremen

"Eric Pickles, the Community Secretary, has been banned from one of the pubs in his home town after he was reported as saying that he hated going back to his native Yorkshire... The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was quoted as telling Kirsty Young: “I am afraid I am going to have to kind of admit to treason on the air: I like Essex. Essex is my home. I hate going back to Yorkshire.” Later, Mr Pickles insisted that he had been misheard, and had said “ain’t” instead of “hate”." - Times (£)


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