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Teatime newslinks for Thursday 15th December

DAVID CAMERON'S TROUBLED FAMILIES SPEECH

EUROPE

  • The Daily Mail's James Chapman tweets: "BREAKING Hungary and the Czech Republic say won’t join EU treaty unless Merkozy's plans for tax harmonisation are dropped"
  • The French get nervous before a possible down-grade: "Earlier today the governor of the Bank of France suggested that France did not deserve a downgrade by ratings agencies; at least not before the UK. “A downgrade doesn’t strike me as justified based on economic fundamentals,” Christian Noyer told Le Telegramme, a Brittany-based newspaper. “Or if it is, they should start by downgrading the U.K., which has a bigger deficit, as much debt, more inflation, weaker growth and where bank lending is collapsing.”" - FT Westminster's Jim Pickard
  • "Asked whether the ECB should copy the U.K. and U.S. in printing money to buy government bonds, a policy known as quantitative easing, Mr. Draghi said: "I don't see any evidence that quantitative easing leads to stellar economic performance" in those economies. EU treaties forbid monetary financing of government debt, he added." - WSJ Europe

FELTHAM AND HESTON BY-ELECTION

  • MPsETC: Feltham and Heston goes to the polls today
  • "Ed Miliband was braced for a disappointing Labour showing in the Feltham and Heston by-election today amid questions about his leadership. Polls forecast a six per cent swing to Labour in the seat but party sources said they would be happy just to secure victory amid fears of a low turnout. A big win could help silence a whispering campaign against Mr Miliband as national poll leads have vanished." - Evening Standard
  • Results are expected tomorrow morning - BBC

ED MILIBAND'S LEADERSHIP QUALITIES

  • "In the midst of the economic crisis, and with the coalition tearing itself apart over Europe, Labour’s poll lead has vanished, with Miliband’s personal poll ratings, amongst all voters and Labour ones, whether it be a snapshot, over the medium term, or the long term picture since his election last year, particularly concerning." - More, including graphs at LeftFootForward
  • "Half the country thinks he possess[es] absolutely no qualities worth noting." - Guido Fawkes

OTHER TORY & POLITICAL NEWS

  • "Education Secretary Michael Gove is urged by the Information Commissioner to ensure officials do not use private emails for government business." - BBC
  • David Cameron’s hollow pragmatism will win him the next election - Daniel Knowles at Telegraph Blogs
  • Local government: 1,310 primary schools are failing
  • "Former MPs David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Eric Illsley have been told to repay thousands of pounds in legal costs after their convictions for fraudulently claiming expenses." - BBC
  • MoD: Military support to Olympics security - PolHome (£)
  • "Three-quarters of children who make a slow start at primary schools in England fail to catch up by the time they leave, school league table data shows." - BBC
  • "The flag of American forces in Iraq has been lowered in Baghdad bringing nearly nine years of US military operations in Iraq to a formal end." - BBC

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