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Newslinks for Saturday 17th December 2011

9.15pm ToryDiary: Tories take 6% lead in new ICM poll Updated 10pm with YouGov results - a 3% lead for Labour

8pm WATCH: The Government secures higher quotas for fishing fleets from Brussels

5.30pm MPsETC: Nick Gibb condemns a "destructive perception of what success means" for young people in debate on financial education

Lamont Johann24pm WATCH: Johann Lamont elected Scottish Labour leader

3pm Alistair Thompson on Comment: Nick Clegg has used the Euro-storm to steal democracy from the people

2pm WATCH: Norman Lamont: "It's always been the case that this recovery was going to take a long time"

12.30pm LeftWatch: Johann Lamont MSP elected new Scottish Labour Party leader

Dole Queues and Demons11.30am ToryDiary: Dole Queues and Demons: British Election Posters from the Conservative Party Archive

10am Local Government: Council by-election results from Thursday

ToryDiary: There's a brave new world out there for the Foreign Office to explore

Also on ToryDiary: Francis Maude gets new powers to speed up the bonfire of the quangos

Rupert Matthews on Comment: Whilst Europe is favourable to Serbia's ascession to the EU, Kosovo is being ignored

Local Government:

WATCH: Nick Clegg says remarks by French ministers bashing the British economy are unacceptable

David Cameron calls on the Church to defend 'values and moral code' of the Bible

CAMERON LOOKING LEFT"David Cameron last night called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to lead a return to the ‘moral code’ of the Bible. In a highly personal speech about faith, the Prime Minister accused Dr Rowan Williams of failing to speak ‘to the whole nation’ when he criticised Government austerity policies and expressed sympathy with the summer rioters." - Daily Mail

  • "David Cameron launched a fierce attack on the ­Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday, branding Rowan Williams out of touch." - Daily Mirror

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: David Cameron: "We are a Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so"

Cameron and Merkel attempt to repair Anglo-German relations after last week's summit

Cameron Merkel"Angela Merkel, the German chan­cellor, has been busy trying to rebuild relations with David Cameron after the prime minister’s controversial use of the veto at the European Union summit last week. ... On Friday she... spoke to him by phone to talk about the next steps, including how to progress with the new treaty... The two leaders respect each other’s pragmatism and have a closer personal relationship than either enjoys with Mr Sarkozy." - FT (£)

  • False assumptions underpinned British strategy - FT (£)
  • "But the patriotism Cameron locked into when he said no to France and Germany is not the patriotism that stirred Orwell, let alone Nelson. It is a modern British vibe." - Jonathan Jones for the Guardian

> From yesterday:

George Osborne to launch fresh talks on bank reform

Osborne NewX"The government is expected to launch a fresh consultation on Monday on proposals by Sir John Vickers to ringfence banks' high street operations from their "casino" investment arms... The chancellor is expected to tell MPs he wants to make the necessary changes before the end of this parliament in 2015, but give banks until 2019 to implement some of the more far-reaching plans." - Guardian

  • Banks prepare for Osborne to step up pace of Vickers’ reforms - The Times (£)

> From yesterday - Jesse Norman on Comment: To get back to real capitalism, we need to pay attention to both cultural and economic values

William Hague welcomes end to UN's sanctions on Libya

Hague FCO"UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has welcomed the lifting of United Nations Security Council sanctions on Libya's central and foreign investments banks. The banks' assets abroad were frozen in February as part of sanctions against former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Mr Hague said the end of UN sanctions marked "another significant moment in Libya's transition" and would give Tripoli funds to rebuild the country." - BBC

  • "Lawyers representing the victim of a drone attack wrote to William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, yesterday asking him to clarify Britain’s position on the use of drones, and to explain whether or not intelligence intercepted by GCHQ is given to the CIA to locate and kill suspected terrorists" - The Times (£)

UK fishing fleets get higher fish quotas

"British fishing fleets will be able to land more fish, but face fewer days at sea, following talks in Brussels. The British government says it achieved victory for the UK fishing industry in the annual EU negotiations, which ended at 04:00 GMT on Saturday." - BBC

We should continue giving aid to India to secure £6.6bn fighter jet deal, says Andrew Mitchell

Mitchell Andrew DFID"The Government's controversial decision to continue giving money to India, a nation that has more billionaires than the UK and an aid programme of its own, is directly linked to developing trade and investment opportunities, a senior minister admitted yesterday. With surprising bluntness, the International Development minister, Andrew Mitchell, said the decision to spend £1.2bn over the next five years was part of a broader partnership that included the hoped-for sale of fighter jets to India." - Independent

Francis Maude admits three quarters of quangos still going a year after they were axed

MAUDE FRANCIS 2"Only one in four public bodies earmarked for closure has been abolished more than a year after the “bonfire of the quangos” was announced, ministers have admitted. ... However the Cabinet Office admitted that of the 199 quangos that were set to be axed, just 53 had been abolished. In addition, only one of 120 bodies which was due to be merged – postal watchdog Postcomm – has been merged." - Daily Telegraph

Unions condemn the Government for pushing ahead with rises to teachers' pension contributions Independent

  • More public sector strikes look likely after row over pension contributions - Guardian

Graeme Archer: If the Prime Minister waits until 2015 to have an election, he may well regret it

ArcherGraeme"So should the PM wait, while the economic outlook could worsen, and the opposition parties have time to regroup? Or should he engineer a reason for dissolution before the boundary review, risking another hung parliament and a delay to the vital IDS and Gove reforms? If he waits until 2015 and finds himself facing a stiffer test than he would have done against Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg, he’ll regret it: and he won’t have a time machine in which to fly back to 2012 and change the course of history." - Graeme Archer for the Daily Telegraph

  • "The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats are in disarray but this is no time for David Cameron to adopt a safety-first approach to the problems that Britain faces." - Daily Telegraph editorial

Charles Moore: The Government should be wary of unintended consequences when trying to change the rules of the monarchy

MOORE"With monarchy, you should agree the rules and stick to them. Not for nothing is the original act of 1701 called the Act of Settlement. It doesn’t much matter what the rules are – elective, first-born, male line only, religious choice, lottery – but they must be settled. When they are not, the personal principle which is the focus of unity becomes the point of dispute. ... he should tread carefully when he starts fiddling with the system that decides who should wear the Crown." - Charles Moore for the Daily Telegraph

Let’s merge with Tories, says top UUP official - Belfast Telegraph

Calm down, Clegg tells French after finance minister fuels war of words...

Clegg on Marr"Nick Clegg reprimanded the French Prime Minister yesterday as cross-Channel sniping at the British economy caused the Government’s anger to boil over. The Deputy Prime Minister told François Fillon that it was “simply unacceptable” for the French establishment to seek to raise doubts about British prospects. Mr Clegg told Mr Fillon that he should take urgent steps to calm the rhetoric." - The Times (£)

  • "There are few more comic spectacles than Frenchmen throwing fits of Gallic pique against the victors of Waterloo. And when even the eurofanatical Nick Clegg tells them to back off, it’s a sure sign they’ve gone way over the top." - Daily Mail editorial
  • "Nick Clegg has accused Eurosceptics of stoking xenophobia and chauvinism by indulging in "the politics of grievance"" - Guardian
  • "[Lib Dem] Minister Jeremy Browne said his party should concentrate on policies that are ‘relevant to the problems the country faces’ rather than trumpeting its pro-EU stance." - Daily Mail
  • Europe's crisis is playing out like a French farce - Matthew Norman for the Daily Telegraph
  • Divisions on Europe point to a rocky road ahead for Coalition - Andrew Grice for the Independent

New Scottish Labour leader to be announced

SCOTTISH-PARLIAMENT"The Scottish Labour Party is naming its new leader later, when the result of its election contest is announced. Current deputy leader Johann Lamont, who is standing against MSP Ken Macintosh and MP Tom Harris, is seen as a front runner. ... The new leader will also have a beefed-up role, taking charge of Scottish Labour as a whole." - BBC

  • "What these Labour-ites plan to call themselves, other than Unionists, I do not know. They won’t get far if all they do is simply parade their anti-Nat credentials. They have to be “for” something and surely that something is the Union." - Alan Cochrane for the Daily Telegraph

Mr Speaker: I punished George Osborne for Treasury leaks by forcing him to answer questions on the Autumn statement for three hours - BBC

  • "Speaker John Bercow and his wife Sally have used a mocking cartoon by The Sun as their official Christmas card." - The Sun

Interview with Gus O'Donnell: "The real-life Sir Humphrey who has survived four PMs" - The Times (£)

  • "Freedom of information laws should be amended to keep Cabinet splits out of the public eye, the outgoing head of the Civil Service has said." - The Times (£)

Scandal of how councils are squandering £37,000 a day on interpreters - Daily Express


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