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Newslinks for Sunday 3rd February 2013

9pm AUDIO: Stewart Jackson MP calls for more control of immigration into Britain from the EU

6.30pm VIDEO: William Hague explains why he supports same-sex marriage

2.30pm Andrea Leadsom MP on Comment: It is not "anti-European" to seek repatriation of powers

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 11.28.4411.30am WATCH: If "Britain did vote to go out it would be a huge problem for our country". Tony Blair's BBC1 interview on Europe and the Middle East.

ToryDiary: Christian and traditionalist Tories have chosen the wrong fight. They've chosen to fight gay marriage, a battle they can't win. They've neglected religious liberty, a battle they can't afford to lose.

Julian Mann on Comment: Is 'rock star political leadership' to blame for the collapse in party membership?

MPsETC: One-sixth of new Tory MPs have divorced, separated or seen their long-term relationships break up (SINCE 2010)

Chris Grayling plans tough new prisons regime with uniforms, no Sky TV and less pocket money

Grayling on Marr

"The return to ‘spartan’ jails marks the biggest prison regime shake-up for 60 years and is designed to signal a tough new approach to law and order by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling. Mr Grayling believes prisoners do not deserve the kind of lifestyle and ‘frills’ that are beyond the reach of families on low wages." - Mail on Sunday

Chris Grayling has defended parents' right to smack their children and admitted he did it to his own - The Sunday Telegraph | Sky

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 08.11.37180 Conservative MPs, most notably including six whips and up to four members of the Cabinet, are ready to defy the Prime Minister’s plan to legalise gay weddings - The Sunday Telegraph

James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday predicts 120 Tory MPs will vote for gay marriage and 120 against. 60 will abstain.

Young Conservatives write to Tory MPs warning them of generational defeat if they oppose gay marriage - Independent on Sunday

New Tory grassroots campaign urges Cameron to delay gay marriage vote until after it has appeared in party manifesto

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 06.38.24

"More time should be afforded to debate an issue of such gravity at Parliamentary Committee level, among the membership of the Conservative Party and with the country at large, and a final decision on the matter should be postponed until after the 2015 general election when the public would have had the chance to vote on a clear manifesto pledge." - Full letter on new ConservativeGrassroots website.

  • It offends my conscience that, as someone who officiates at weddings, I am prevented from marrying same-sex couples - Julia Neuberger for The Observer
  • The Liberal Democrats want heterosexual couples to be able to have civil partnership ceremonies in the same way as gay men and lesbians - The Sunday Times (£)

More than 40,000 teachers say they will risk the sack rather than teach “the importance of gay marriage” - Sunday Express

Gove declares that teachers won't be fired for opposing gay marriage - Mail on Sunday

Why has Cameron delayed his tax allowance for married couples? - Sunday Telegraph leader

Daley Janet 2012"If government refuses to provide any fiscal recognition of marriage, or any distinction between those who are maintaining a family and those who are not, it is not being morally neutral. It is actively taking sides in favour of the fragmented, atomised society in which the individual is all that matters. It is loading the dice against the most effective (and ironically, the least expensive) form of community solidarity and mutual support." - Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph

  • "Nick Clegg last night made clear that new tax breaks to help families with childcare costs would be targeted at the squeezed middle and ruled out for the richest families" - Independent on Sunday
  • Not only will Liz Truss' childcare provision not work, it is far too important to be left to market forces - Heather Stewart in The Observer
> Yesterday's ConservativeHome blogs: 

Fox Liam Politics ShowLiam Fox may return as Chief Whip in the spring to help quell Tory plotting - The Sunday Telegraph

The Sun claims sixteen Tory MPs are thinking of becoming Tory leader.

The Mail on Sunday claims that MPs Mark Field, Bill Wiggin, Dan Byles, Patrick Mercer, Jonathan Djanogly and Chris Heaton-Harris are members of Adam Afriyie's campaign team.

The Afiyie campaign is all about preparing the way for Boris - The Sunday Times (£)

Plotting commentary

  • The Tory plotting betrays discontent in Conservative ranks about the direction of the Government - Iain Martin in The Sunday Telegraph
  • "Grown-up parties understand that to govern is to compromise. Yet a significant element of the Conservative party, an outfit that once prided itself on its pragmatism, seems to have lost sight of that." - Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer
  • The problem isn't Cameron, it is the plotters - Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Replace Cameron! Replace Osborne! The frenzied speculation continues to no good purpose.

The Labour lead in the overnight YouGov poll is just 7% - YouGov

CandidatesThe Sunday Times claims the new generation of Tory MPs are the true modernisers

"For these modernisers the goal is lasting reform of public services and welfare, an end to the drift in Britain’s relations with Europe and, above all, economic competence. A modernised Britain, to them, will have a smaller but more efficient state, no more fiscal profligacy, control over its borders and greater political autonomy." - Sunday Times leader (£)

John Redwood: This high taxing Government

Tax"The Coalition decided to live with Labour’s proposed rise from 40% to 50% on higher incomes. They increased Capital Gains Tax from Labour’s sensible 18% to 28%. They increased Stamp Duty on property. They raised VAT to 20%. The only one of these tax rises that produced some of  the extra revenue they sought was the increase in VAT." - John Redwood

Michael Gove's aides may have used Twitter to launch "highly personal attacks" on his education policies' critics - Claims in The Observer
  • Observer leader: Michael Gove needs to distance himself from the Twitter taunts emanating from his department

Nick Ferrari blasts Jeremy Hunt over Lewisham A&E decision

"Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has presided over the effective theft of the successful and under-budget A&E department at Lewisham Hospital in South East London, so it can be transferred to a failing neighbouring NHS trust and then decimated to save cash." - Nick Ferrari in the Sunday Express

NHS chief Sir David Nicholson 'will not lose job' over Stafford hospital scandal - Observer

HOWARTH-GERALD-AT-PMQs“I haven’t met a Conservative in this country that has supported the cuts in defence spending or the increase in overseas aid. It is something we just do not understand under our current financial constraints.” - Gerald Howarth MP in the Sunday Express

The Tories may build a hi-speed rail link between London and Birmingham but they're not committed to extending it to the North - John Prescott in The Sunday Mirror

"He’s turned his back on us": David Cameron accused of going back on pledge to nuclear test veterans - Sunday Mirror

Blair Tony May 2011"David Cameron and Tony Blair become chums" - Without a great deal of supporting evidence the Independent on Sunday claims a blossoming relationship between the PM and the former Labour leader, not least over international issues.

  • Can David Cameron resist the siren call of military intervention in Mali? - Independent on Sunday
  • He voted for military action against Saddam, but without his friends' certainty - John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday
  • Cameron is aggravating the situation in North Africa - Gerald Warner in Scotland on Sunday
  • Cameron "prefers to focus on African children, for whom he isn't directly responsible, rather than British kids, for whom he is" - Barbara Ellen in The Observer

Tory MP David Davis probes £12m grant to charity connected with Mrs Clegg after lobbying by Lib Dem leader's aide - Mail on Sunday

LibDemDeadParty president Tim Farron says LibDems could disappear down plughole at next election

"The Liberal Democrats have “been tainted” by their coalition with the Conservatives and could go “down the plughole” at the next election unless they fight to survive, the party’s president has warned. Tim Farron, who has been tipped as a successor to Nick Clegg, said coalition had proved so damaging to the party that “the one part that remains intact is our brand of being local community politics campaigners; that we care about human beings”." - The Sunday Times (£)

Yesterday, the FullFact website essentially confirmed the Daily Mail's suggestion that the LibDem U-turn on boundary reform will cost taxpayers £150 million.

New Fabian survey suggests Ed Miliband is not winning over Tory voters but is appealing to disaffected ex-Labour and ex-LibDem voters - Observer

John Bercow blames party leaders for noisy House of Commons

The Observer reports: "If the prime minister, the leader of the opposition and the leader of the Liberal Democrats said that to their MPs, behaviour would change tomorrow. "So I leave you to wonder whether they will – why haven't they done so?""

Yes, pay MPs more but only if they stop the moonlighting - Catherine Bennett in The Observer

Scottish independence ‘will be like a management buy-out’ - Scotland on Sunday

Protests broke out in Spanish cities after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy denied claims that he and other party members had accepted secret payments - BBC

DORRIES ON QTAnd finally... Nadine Dorries' real fear...

"The torture specialists at I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me out of Here! missed a trick with Nadine Dorries. They fed her baked spider, and made her stretch out in a coffin full of insects. Yet all they needed was a doorknob from a ladies’ lavatory and she’d have fled screaming into the jungle. The colourful MP has admitted she has such a phobia of germs that she uses a tissue to open loo doors." - The Sunday Times (£)

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