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Newslinks for Wednesday 12th December 2012

6.45pm ToryDiary: Michael Gove issues a battle cry over teachers’ pay

5.30pm WATCH: David Cameron's statement on the murder of Pat Finucane

4.45pm ToryDiary: Damian Green's modernising speech in five points

3pm Samuel Kasamu on Comment: With one in four primary schoolchildren from an ethnic minority background, Conservatives must face the demographic facts

PmqS2.45pm WATCH: Today's session of PMQs in full

1.15pm: On ToryDiary, Peter Hoskin says that benefits cut an important dividing line through PMQs: “It’s hard to say which leader really won this exchange, and not just because both were punchy and well-briefed, but also because this was a dividing line plain and simple: a point of principle that allows no concession to the other side. Which side of the argument has triumphed will emerge more clearly after the next election, rather than on a frozen December afternoon in 2012.”

Noon Jury: Is there a danger that the most talented young Britons will leave high taxed Britain in future years for less indebted nations?

10.30am WATCH: International condemnation for North Korea's rocket launch (with William Hague's statement included as text below the video)

ToryDiary: Beneath Cameron's drive for same-sex marriage lies disdain for his own MPs

DRDominic Raab MP on Comment: The Government wants its same-sex marriage safeguards to work. So it mustn't appease the Strasbourg Court.

Mark Field MP on Comment: There is vanishingly little to choose between Osborne's and Balls's approach to the economy 

Columnist Jill Kirby: Why has Keith Vaz rushed into the prank phone-call tragedy?

Local Government: Birmingham to close five of its 20 children's homes

The Deep End: Feeding parasites is no way to grow an economy

The newspapers respond to yesterday's Census figures, which show migration contributing to a rising population

Upturn"The number of foreign-born residents in England and Wales has risen by nearly three million since 2001 to 7.5 million people, the 2011 census shows. ... That means about one in eight - 13% - of residents were born outside the UK." - BBC

  • "If immigration occurs gradually — as it did in Britain on and off for centuries — then immigrant communities feel the need to integrate. Over time they become essential, indeed defining, parts of the life of the country. ... But immigration on the scale revealed in the new census is a recipe not for integration, but fracture. It spells the end of our unified national way of life." - Douglas Murray, Daily Mail
  • "...what is so deeply disturbing is the sheer pressure of this influx – encouraged against the clear wishes of a majority of Britons – on our already-strained schools, housing, transport, health and welfare." - Daily Mail leader
  • "A traveller returning to this country after a 10-year absence might be tempted to deploy the cliché that it has 'changed out of all recognition' – because it has. Data from the 2011 census, published yesterday, depict the biggest social and cultural upheaval in modern times." - Daily Telegraph leader
  • "A sensible debate on immigration was silenced by Labour’s poisonous charge of 'racism' against anyone who dared raise the issue. ... The upshot is that immigrants suffer as badly as anyone else from overwhelmed public services." - Sun leader

> Yesterday,

Maria Miller's announces a "quadruple lock" so that churches and gay marriage don't have to mix...

Maria Miller"Gay marriage will be legal in some British churches by 2014, despite furious Tory warnings that the issue could split the party and cost it the next election. ... In a surprise move, the Church of England will be guaranteed a blanket exemption from holding same-sex marriages. But this failed to quell a major Tory backlash. ... Mrs Miller said the legislation would include a ‘quadruple lock’, meaning no church will ever be forced to conduct a gay wedding unless it wants to." - Daily Mail

"Thousands of gay couples in civil partnerships will be able to ‘convert’ their relationships to marriage in return for a £100 administration fee." - Daily Mail

  • "So, we’ve consulted, we’ve debated, and we’re now within a whisker of equal marriage rights for all couples – gay or straight. That’s a big shift, totemic and profound. And I’m proud to be part of the government that will deliver it." - Nick Clegg, Independent
  • "Mr Cameron may come to rue the day he embarked on this reform. Sad to say, but in a country that prides itself on its tolerance, he risks sowing division where none previously existed." - Daily Telegraph leader
  • "...with no significant public pressure for change, even from the gay community, why is it needed at all?" - Daily Mail leader
  • "The Church has now won an explicit declaration that it will be banned from offering gay marriage ceremonies. This may be an important point of principle for some, but it raises the broader question, following the vote on women bishops, of how to close what seems to be a widening gulf between the Church and modern society." - Times leader (£)

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: Maria Miller's statement on same-sex marriage — and the discussion that followed

...but it doesn't quell backbench Tory anger...

"...on the Tory backbenches, the anger was apparent. Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon, compared same-sex marriage to polygamy for a second day running. Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, said that the Government was guilty of 'arrogance and intolerance' over the planned changes, while Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, said that the consultation process had been 'reminiscent of a Liberian presidential election'." - The Times (£)

  • "Away from the public eye, the situation is even more poisonous. 'The atmosphere in the tea-room is terrible, quite grim. Colleagues are at each other’s throats,' says a young Tory MP who favours gay marriage but wonders about the wisdom of the Government staking so much on forcing through the measure." - Iain Martin, Daily Telegraph

> Today:

> Yesterday:

...and Ukip spot an opportunity

NF"Amid signs that Conservative associations are losing members in their droves over what is being dubbed the prime minister's 'clause IV moment', the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, warned that gay marriage could 'rip apart' the Conservative party. He plans to put the issue at the heart of Ukip's campaign for the 2014 European parliamentary elections." - Guardian

The warning that Maria Miller's advisers gave to Telegraph reporters

"Maria Miller's advisers warned The Telegraph to consider the minister’s role in implementing the Leveson Report before this newspaper published details of her expenses." - Daily Telegraph

David Cameron: we will have to build on the countryside...

"The Prime Minister backed planning minister Nick Boles, who caused fury last month by saying the Government needs to concrete over an area of greenfield land twice the size of Greater London. ... Mr Cameron said it was not a target to build on 3 per cent more of Britain’s land – the figure outlined by Mr Boles – but he made clear that greenfield sites would have to disappear for new homes to be built." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by Chris Skidmore MP on Comment: We need a community right of appeal against planning decisions

...and extract shale gas from the countryside, too

Fracking"Mr Cameron also described fracking as a 'gas revolution' which could be 'really quite transformative', leading to lower energy bills. ... 'We should have an open mind and we should take part in fracking and unconventional gas because this might be a revolution that we should be involved in,' he said." - BBC

  • We should all give our backing to fracking - Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

Mr Cameron hints at a change of heart over "secret courts" policy - Guardian

The PM discusses Abu Qatada with the King of Jordan

"Last night, after Home Secretary Theresa May briefed King Abdullah and Mr Cameron, a Downing Street spokesman said: 'The King and the Prime Minister emphasised the commitment in both countries to continue to work closely to find a solution that would allow his return to Jordan.'" - The Sun

Mr Cameron risks leaving Britain with "no voice in Europe", says the German Finance Minister

"Britain is leaving itself with “no voice in Europe” by drifting to the margins of the EU, according to one of the Continent’s top politicians. ... Wolfgang Schäuble, the German Finance Minister, made the unguarded remarks at a private dinner in front of the British Ambassador and several other guests, one of whom told The Times that he was struck by the ferocity of the outburst." - The Times (£)

  • Lords committee urges the PM to stand up for the City in Brussels - The Sun
  • Out of Europe, Britain faces a weak future - Jonathan Powell, Financial Times (£)

Damian Green criticises those who want to restrict Britain's involvement with Europe to trade

DG"'There is a fantastic vision of an EU which remains a single market, including the UK, but which in all other respects allows the UK to be outside,' he will say. 'This is a fantastic vision precisely because it is a fantasy. What is in this for those on the other side of the negotiation?'" - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday, by Tobias Ellwood MP on Comment: Upgrading UK influence in the European Union

Will George Osborne allow Mark Carney to ditch the Bank of England's inflation target?

"Mark Carney, the next governor of the Bank of England, has suggested he will act much more aggressively to revive the UK economy when he takes charge next summer, including dumping the BoE’s much-vaunted inflation target if growth fails to pick up. ... Any decision on scrapping the inflation target would rest with George Osborne, the chancellor, and would be influenced by the Monetary Policy Committee’s other eight members." - Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Mr Osborne stays tough on stamp duty avoidance

"George Osborne, the chancellor, has reiterated his tough stance on stamp duty tax avoidance, introducing annual charges of up to £140,000 and capital gains tax for luxury homes owned by companies." - Financial Times (£)

  • "...the government’s clampdown on property tax avoidance is starting to gather steam in these mansion-flanked streets." - Financial Times (£)
  • Britain’s monumental housing crisis is the scandal of our age - Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

Mr Osborne urged to honour his pensions pledge

"Mr Osborne announced the pledge to reverse Mr Brown’s controversial tax raid on pensions when he was shadow Chancellor in 2009. ... However, Treasury sources are now admitting that the pledge looks unlikely to be fulfilled in the wake of the Autumn statement when Mr Osborne signalled the cuts programme will continue until 2018." - Daily Telegraph

> Today, by Mark Field MP on Comment: There is vanishingly little to choose between Osborne's and Balls's approach to the economy 

The Treasury has to fork out £270 million after Northern Rock blunder 

NR"Taxpayers were yesterday hit with a £270million bill for a blunder by Northern Rock that went on for more than four years. ... Around 150,000 customers who have an unsecured personal loan with the state-owned bank – typically for less than £25,000 – will be compensated for the embarrassing administrative error. ... Last night a Treasury aide said it was an example of the ‘heavy price we are still paying’ for past mistakes in the banking system." - Daily Mail

Theresa May fights back over immigration

"Ahead of a speech on immigration on Wednesday, the home secretary defended her department against claims that it was 'anti-growth' and rebuked critics such as Boris Johnson, mayor of London, who laid into 'crazy' government policies on foreign students during a trip to India last month." - Financial Times (£)

The Communcations Data Bill will be redrafted — but will it be redrafted in time?

Binary"[James] Brokenshire insisted changes could be made in 'relatively short order' but one Lib Dem official said it was unlikely that it would be completed within the current parliamentary session, which concludes in May." - Financial Times (£)

  • The Government should ditch the Bill and start again - Financial Times leader (£)
  • This damning verdict on the snooper's charter is the start of a longer battle - John Kampfner, Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Theresa May’s fieriest prose can’t overcome the opposition to her draft Data Communications Bill

And now the Government's Defamation Bill faces opprobrium from a Parliamentary committee

"Plans to tackle internet trolling could have a "chilling effect" on online freedom of expression, a committee of MPs and peers has said. ... The Joint Committee on Human Rights warned that libel law reforms might cause website operators to delete statements that had not broken the law." - BBC

A revised impact assessment suggests that 800,000 more households will "lose out" under the Universal Credit than previously thought - Guardian

The Department of Health says that the cold spell may add "substantially" to the usual Winter death toll - The Sun

  • As Consumers face another 5 per cent rise in energy bills - Daily Mail

Lord Green faces further questions over HSBC's misdemeanours

"The revelations put renewed pressure on trade minister Lord Green for his former role as boss of HSBC. The Tory peer was chief executive of the bank from 2003 to 2006 – and US authorities say the worst wrongdoing took place between 2002 and 2010." - Daily Mail 

CanaryBoris Johnson has hired a new adviser to help protect the City's global standing - Financial Times (£)

Vince Cable launches a £110 million loan scheme for small businesses - Guardian

Ed Davey warns that Scottish independence could mean higher energy bills - Daily Telegraph

Labour will vote against plans to limit most welfare payment rises to 1 per cent - BBC

  • "George Osborne’s decision to cut benefits in real terms for millions of families could cost the Conservatives dozens of seats, Labour claimed last night. ... Research by the party shows that the size of Tory majorities in their 60 most vulnerable seats is dwarfed by the number of working families whose tax credits will be curbed. On average there are 15 working families receiving tax credits for every one marginal voter." - The Times (£)

Britain is turning into a "walk on by" society, suggests Policy Exchange report

"In the past two years alone, the number of citizen’s arrests has halved, according to a report by Policy Exchange. ... At the same time, a YouGov poll carried out for the influential think-tank found 64 per cent of Brits would carry on walking past a gang of teens who were drinking and verbally abusing passers-by." - Daily Mail

The Queen is to celebrate the work of voluntary groups - Daily Mail

And finally 1)... Ed Miliband's nights in, talking politics

"Ed Miliband has opened up about how he fell for his wife Justine on the campaign trail – and revealed that their idea of a romantic night in is to talk politics." - Daily Mail

  • WGWhat's wrong with being like Wallace (of Wallace and Gromit), asks Team Miliband? - The Times (£)

And finally 2)... Here's a money box that George Osborne made earlier

"Number 11 had been transformed into Santa’s toy shop and an elves’ workshop for the afternoon. ... Mr Osborne joined the children in creating and painting a cardboard train money box. ... He tried to put on a brave face, but perhaps the thought of finding some money to put in his box proved too much for him." - Daily Mail

And finally 3)... The most urgently tweeted event of the year? Boris's dancing at the Olympics

Boris dancing"What was the most talked about event of this year? Barack Obama being  re-elected? Perhaps it was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant? ... Nope. It was, according to Twitter, Boris Johnson’s ‘dad dancing’ at the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics." - Daily Mail

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