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The News section lists important news items recently published, regarding government policy and issues affecting UK citizens.

 

Coalition has turned its back on scale of domestic violence says Yvette Cooper

Senior Labour MP says more needs to be done about fact that two women a week are killed by their partners or ex-partners.

 

David Ruffley to stand down at the next election after assault on ex-girlfriend

MP has been under pressure to resign and will face constituents at local party meeting on Thursday to discuss his future.

 

EU migrants to Britain face further restrictions on welfare payments

New arrivals will only be able to claim welfare for three months under plans designed to head off criticism of immigration failures.

 

Fracking push gets go-ahead across UK as ministers tighten safeguards

Drilling will be allowed in national parks in ‘exceptional circumstances’ but ministers retain power to veto plans. 

 

Scotland’s GDP per head £2,300 higher than UK as whole says SNP

Party says new analysis of OECD figures show an independent Scotland would be 14th richest country in the economic bloc.

 

Big Society Network under investigation over ‘funding misuse’

Watchdog examining whether charity set up to lead David Cameron’s initiative used funds to pay debts of linked company.

 

NHS manager redundancy payouts total £1.6bn since 2010

Latest accounts reveal more than 38,000 ‘exit packages’ agreed since reforms began, with some 4,000 later rehired.

 

NHS tax is floated by Liberal Democrats to fill £30bn hole

The policy could form one point of future agreement for a coalition with Labour.

 

Nick Clegg says Russia should not host World Cup 2018

Fifa has ruled out calls for boycott after the shooting down of MH17, insisting the tournament could be ‘a force for good’.

 

GDP surpasses pre-recession high as economic growth hits 0.8%

George Osborne hails ‘hard work of British people’ as services sector leads way in dragging country out of recession.

 

David Cameron vows to consider creating domestic violence offence

Prime minister promises to look into issue in the wake of Hollie Gazzard’s murder by her ex-boyfriend.

 

Lord Rennard gets Lib Dem apology for botched disciplinary process

Lib Dems drop investigation into whether his failure to apologise for sex harassment claims brought party into disrepute. 

 

Tory MP cautioned for domestic abuse faces disciplinary investigation

Conservatives take action after dean of St Edmundsbury cathedral writes to David Ruffley saying he should step down.

 

Scottish prisoners refused right to vote in referendum by supreme court

Court dismisses attempt by Leslie Moohan and Andrew Gillon, serving life sentences for murder, to overturn voting ban.

 

Police to investigate Cyril Smith child abuse cover-up claims

Liberal Democrat politician, who died in 2010, is alleged to have sexually abused young boys at Knowl View School in Rochdale.

 

Jeremy Hunt demands urgent inspections of chicken factories

Health secretary intervenes after Guardian investigation reveals strict hygiene standards can be disregarded in practice.

 

Boris Johnson may pull out of tennis match with Russian ex-minister’s wife

Lubov Chernukhin made winning bid of £160,000 at Tory fundraising auction for match with mayor and David Cameron. 

 

Lib Dem MP David Ward apologises over Gaza comments

Bradford East MP says he condemns violence on both sides of conflict but will continue to speak out for rights of Palestinians. 

 

Schools face new curbs on extremism after Birmingham Trojan Horse affair

Education secretary Nicky Morgan announces reforms after Peter Clarke’s damning report on Muslim extremist infiltration. 

 

Trojan horse: teachers may face misconduct hearings says Morgan

New education secretary also says she will look at allowing Ofsted to inspect academies in wake of scandal.

 

Lib Dem MP David Ward facing disciplinary action for Gaza tweets

The MP tweeted: ‘the big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes’.

 

Government to overhaul benefits sanctions process

Independent report shows systematic failings in the way benefit sanctions are communicated and processed. 

 

Nicky Morgan to follow Gove policies on free schools and exam system

New education secretary delivers a blow to hopes she will slow down the government’s most controversial changes.

 

Labour reaches new deal for overhaul of ‘failed’ railways

Ed Miliband outlines plan to scrap Railways Act and reverse privatisation that puts reform at heart of election manifesto.

 

FGM child protection squads to target summer flights out of Britain

Guidance for police issued as airports and border crossings put on alert for girls at risk of being taken out of UK for cutting.

 

I was sacked by David Cameron to appease ‘the green blob’ says Paterson

Former environment secretary suggests he was removed from cabinet because of ‘powerful, self-serving’ environmental lobby.

 

Philip Hammond: I would still vote to leave Europe

Foreign secretary says status quo ‘not in Britain’s interest’ and he would vote to leave without renegotiation of UK relationship.

 

Student loans sell-off abandonment raises tension in cabinet

Vince Cable antagonises Tory coalition partners after calling off privatisation of student loans worth an estimated £12bn.

 

David Cameron criticises Europe for lack of action on pro-Russia separatists

‘For too long there has been a reluctance to face up to the implications of what is happening,’ British PM says.

 

UK economic recovery not ‘firmly rooted’ warns Kenneth Clarke

Former Tory chancellor expresses fears over productivity and warns against triumphalism over ‘a bit of cyclical upswing’.

 

Labour to allow public sector to challenge private rail operators

Ed Miliband unveils plans for rail network in his keynote speech to party’s national policy forum in Milton Keynes.

 

Police investigate historical sex abuse claims against Lord Tonypandy

South Wales police look into allegations against late Labour peer dating back to 1960s and 1970s. 

 

Cameron: culprits who shot down MH17 must be held to account

Prime minister speaks after chairing Cobra meeting on Malaysia Airlines jet brought down over Ukraine on Thursday.

 

House of Lords debate evenly split over assisted dying legislation

Assisted dying bill would allow doctors to prescribe lethal dose to terminally ill patients judged to have less than six months to live.

 

Global inequality risks spread of military conflicts Cameron warned

Graça Machel, Bono and Tutu urge prime minister to take lead on UN climate change deal and millennium development goals.

 

Birmingham council a ‘disastrous failure’ over Islamism in schools

Independent investigation sparked by ‘Trojan horse’ letter finds officials failed to act for fear of being accused of Islamophobia.

 

Tories ‘to challenge European court with British bill of rights’

Reported plan risks UK’s expulsion from the Council of Europe and could even threaten Britain’s membership of EU.

 

Unions furious at Tory plan to make it more difficult for workers to strike

Tory manifesto to include 50% ballot hurdle, in what would be the biggest crackdown on strikes since the Thatcher era.

 

Nick Clegg accused of hypocrisy after U-turn on bedroom tax

Lib Dem leader says party no longer supports policy in its present form in intensification of Tory ‘differentiation strategy’.

 

Backbenchers rally to support Michael Gove after wife criticises reshuffle

Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine endorses article warning David Cameron would regret ‘shabby day’s work’.

 

China accuses Nick Clegg of interfering in internal affairs over Hong Kong

Deputy PM meets with activists over concerns Chinese plans could jeopardise Joint Declaration on Hong Kong handover.

 

Cyril Smith: ‘evidence of sex abuse’ was overruled CPS report shows

Detective told chief constable in 1970 there was prima facie evidence of guilt but DPP advised against prosecution.

 

David Cameron ‘not convinced’ over assisted dying bill

PM speaks of worry about legalising euthanasia, but says he would be very happy for Commons to debate issue. 

 

Cameron’s nominee for EU executive branded ‘radical anti-European’

European parliament president, Martin Schulz, says he cannot imagine Lord Hill getting majority in European parliament.

 

David Cameron axes Michael Gove in reshuffle after toxic poll warning

Education secretary demoted to role of chief whip in reshuffle that promoted women at all levels of government.

 

Assisted dying: leading doctors call on Lords to back legalisation

Twenty-seven leading figures write to every peer urging them to back Lord Falconer’s private members bill on assisted dying. 

 

Anger over ‘political’ departure of civil service head Sir Bob Kerslake

Whitehall mandarins ‘undermined’ by sudden announcement after whispering campaign and amid reshuffle.

 

Emergency surveillance bill to be fast-tracked despite 49 MPs’ opposition

Parliament approves timetable motion for Drip bill as government accepts Labour amendments to strengthen safeguards.

 

Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed as European commission president

Former Luxembourg prime minister wins 422 votes from 751-seat parliament as focus moves to filling other top EU roles.

 

May rejects claims surveillance bill contains ‘unprecedented powers’

Home secretary insists necessity for foreign firms to comply with UK warrants has always been assumed ‘in government circles’. 

 

Departure of Lady Butler-Sloss puts Theresa May under pressure

Home secretary accused of ‘due diligence’ failings before former judge’s appointment as chair of inquiry into child sex abuse. 

 

William Hague exit could be precursor to changing of guard in Tory party

Strategists have concluded that the PM needs to promote women and soften the party’s image before the next election.

 

Government failed to collect £22bn owed to it

More than two-thirds is owed to HM Revenue and Customs, with the Department for Work and Pensions and justice ministry accounting for most of the rest.

 

Jeremy Hunt plans special measures for doctors who fail their patients

BMA speaks out against health secretary’s imminent move, saying it could damage patients’ trust in their GP practices.

 

Cameron to unveil £1.1bn package of investment in military capabilities

Funding pot includes extra £800m of investment in intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance package.

 

Assisted dying bill must not stall in Lords urges former Lord Chancellor

Lord Falconer of Thoroton calls on supporters to vote down any attempt to pass wrecking amendment on sensitive issue.

 

David Cameron ‘open’ to all-women shortlists on eve of reshuffle

Prime minister expected to promote a number of women, as he moves to project a modern and diverse face of the Tory party.

 

MPs should attend course on seven principles of public life says report

Many appear to show little interest in understanding principles drawn up in 1995 after ‘sleaze scandals’, committee warns.

 

Local Conservative associations warn Cameron of ‘mass exodus’ of members

Tory activists say disquiet over issues such as HS2 and same-sex marriage have led to membership falling by 10%.

 

Danny Alexander: Alex Salmond’s portrait of Scottish finances ‘fantastical’

Chief secretary to the Treasury’s letter circulated a day after OBR’s oil and gas revenue projections lowered by a quarter. 

 

Church of England finally severs financial links with Wonga

Justin Welby had attacked Wonga, but 24 hours later it was revealed that the church had indirect exposure to the lender. 

 

Hundreds of loyalists convicted of rioting in Belfast says minister

Ford warns young loyalists against ‘ruining their lives’ as unionist activist claims new generation of loyalists is being radicalised. 

 

Land Registry privatisation vetoed by Vince Cable

The service employs 4,500 civil servants and made a surplus of £98.8m in 2012-13.

 

David Cameron to promote women and younger men in cabinet reshuffle

Osborne, Hague and May set to stay but ‘old lags’ are expected to make way for ‘youthful and modern Tory face’.

 

Thames estuary airport plan costly and risky and a potential failure says report

One of three reports prepared for Airport Commission highlights commercial and infrastructure concerns over ‘Boris island’.

 

Surveillance law wins cross-party support but critics claim stitch-up

Legislation aims to shore up powers requiring phone and internet companies to retain and hand over data to security services.

 

Biggest strike in three years sparks furore over Tory plan for ballot law

Vince Cable says move would undermine workers’ rights, while Labour scorns millionaire ministers ‘demonising lowest paid’.

 

Labour call for extra fees paid by passport applicants to be refunded

Use of fast-track or premium services during Passport Office backlog in the spring soared, new data reveals.

 

Cameron plans strike crackdown as one million public workers walk out

Prime minister branded ‘Bullingdon bully’ by Unite leader over threat to impose turnout threshold and time limit for union ballots. 

 

Juncker would let Britain take back powers while staying in EU report

Next president of European commission says EU needs UK and Westminster can negotiate a ‘recovery of competences’.

 

Questions over choice of Butler-Sloss as head of child abuse allegations inquiry

Keith Vaz surprised at appointment of peer as senior civil servant admits missing 114 files on abuse ‘probably destroyed’.

 

Files on UK role in CIA rendition accidentally destroyed says minister

Rights groups say claim that records of Diego Garcia flights are missing due to water damage ‘smacks of cover-up’.

 

Children’s homes were ‘supply line’ for paedophiles says ex-minister

Lord Warner says an inquiry he conducted in 1992 showed how children’s homes were targeted by powerful people.

 

HMRC chief under fire from MPs over plans to access bank accounts

Commons Treasury committee pressed for court approval before HMRC could deduct money from personal bank accounts.

 

Passport Office chief denies claims of chaos despite backlog of 508000

Paul Pugh tells Commons home affairs select committee ‘vast majority’ of applicants are getting passports within four weeks.

 

MPs’ pay should rise to £100000 if UK leaves EU says Nigel Farage

Ukip leader proposes salary increase for politicians and cap of £100,000 for GPs as part of party’s upcoming manifesto.

 

Theresa May vows child abuse inquiry will take on the establishment

Inquiry may examine security service files and claims the Tory whips’ office in the 1970s may have suppressed allegations. 

 

Lord Brittan confirms police questioning over ‘serious allegation’

After reports that woman accused him of raping her in 1967, former home secretary says claim is ‘wholly without foundation’.

 

Treasury has not signed off on Duncan Smith’s universal credit MPs told

Head of civil service admits Treasury is only releasing money for troubled Tory policy after ‘conditional reassurances’ on progress. 

 

Miliband plans new powers for councils and oversight on spending

The Labour leader wants council finances to be held publicly to account in return for access to central government funding. 

 

Tebbit hints at political cover-up over child abuse in 1980s

Ex-Thatcher minister says politicians’ instincts were to protect ‘the system’ as it emerged that 114 more documents were lost. 

 

Westminster child abuse claims will get independent inquiry – Osborne

Chancellor says government will find authoritative way to get to the truth of alleged paedophilia by politicians in the 1980s.

 

Michael Gove: we must defend liberal values against Islamist extremism

Education secretary says extremists must be denied a platform in schools and other public institutions.

 

Conservatives plan tougher rules on public sector strike ballots

New legislation being drawn up would severely curb public sector unions’ rights to organise strikes.

 

Child abuse files lost at Home Office spark fears of cover-up

Calls for ‘overarching, Hillsborough-style’ inquiry as it emerges that a total of 114 documents are missing from official records.

 

David Cameron in talks with EU leaders over international DNA database

Ministers pledge to compensate Brussels if Britain pulls out as part of decisions over Europe-wide policing measures.

 

Lib Dem MP John Leech faces HMRC investigation over unpaid internships

MP for Manchester Withington criticised for advertising for ‘interns’ but not offering minimum wage.

 

‘Master teachers’ set to be new classroom elite

Tristram Hunt says scheme would boost career structure and improve teacher retention. 

 

David Cameron asks top civil servant to look into Westminster child abuse claims

Move by prime minister follows pressure to find 1980s dossier of allegations against MPs which was handed to Leon Brittan. 

 

HS2 salaries in excess of PM’s pay are justified says Transport Secretary

Patrick McLoughlin says salaries fall within budget, despite coalition saying repeatedly public servants should not earn more than David Cameron.

 

Inquest for Irish republican who was MI5 spy inside Sinn Féin adjourned

Death in 2006 of British agent Denis Donaldson, ‘political enforcer’ for Gerry Adams, has led to 903 lines of inquiry.

 

‘Tennis with Cameron and Johnson’ sells for £160000 at Tory fundraiser

Sale draws fresh anger over Conservatives’ reliance on wealthy private donors and lack of transparency at lucrative events.

 

Cameron direct plea to Scots Tories: ‘Independence will break my heart’

Party rally in Perth hears prime minister associate ‘pride and patriotism’ to voting for Scotland to remain united with rest of UK.

 

HMRC forced to apologise to MPs after getting its sums wrong

National Audit Office finds that HMRC set baseline to gauge performance £1.9bn too low when it began measurement.

 

Private rail firms to face franchise fight with state under Labour plan

Plan for competitive bids drawn up, ruling out proposals that expired franchises be returned automatically to the public sector.

 

Failure to protect girls from FGM is ‘ongoing national scandal’ MPs say

Cross-party committee calls for schools to lose funding if headteachers ignore guidance on female genital mutilation.

 

NHS cancer care: planned switch to private contracts in £700m plans

Private health firms ready to bid for £1.2bn worth of outsourced services at Staffordshire clinical commissioning group areas.

 

Ex-minister Lord Brittan under scrutiny over 1980s dossier of sex abuse claims

Lord Brittan says he asked officials to look into claims of Westminster paedophile network, as MPs call for inquiry.

 

Nick Clegg defeats Lib Dem bid to guarantee EU referendum

Deputy prime minister’s victory means party will stand by its current policy, to hold a referendum only if UK loses sovereignty. 

 

Civil servants to join public sector strike on 10 July over pay

Public and Commercial Services Union will take part in huge day of action alongside teachers and local government workers.

 

David Cameron calls for global response to superbugs

Prime minister to announce inquiry into why drugs have not emerged to combat ‘one of the biggest threats facing the world’

 

Tower Hamlets mayor launches legal bid to question inquiry into council

Lutfur Rahman applies for judicial review of decision to launch auditors’ inquiry, which centres on his administration.

 

Watchdog tells of chaotic Tower Hamlets poll count

Electoral Commission finds Tower Hamlets count of mayoral, local and European elections in May was poorly resourced. 

 

Cameron edging UK towards EU exit with negotiation strategy says Miliband

PM accused of giving ‘masterclass in how to alienate allies and lose argument for Britain’ with threats over Jean-Claude Juncker. 

 

Labour outlines infrastructure and housing plan to boost regional growth

CBI backs plan for decentralised funding for skills and investment as Miliband tries to reassure industry over tax.

 

David Cameron says he can still ‘do business’ with Juncker

Prime minister telephones European Commission president elect to congratulate him on getting the job.

 

Ministry of Justice writes off £56m on duplicate IT project

Union attacks ministers for wasting more of taxpayers’ money on IT scheme rendered obsolete by Cabinet Office project.

 

Prince Charles lobbied for more grammar schools says David Blunkett

Former education secretary says prince tried to influence policy, while others say he lobbied on GM and alternative medicine.

 

Unite union will back Labour at the next election despite reform rows

General secretary Len McCluskey will mark opening of annual conference by announcing full backing for the party.

 

Plan to restrict Scottish MPs voting rights at Westminster scrapped

Sources claim coalition has dropped plan over fears it could ignite Scottish resentment and create two tiers of MPs.

 

PM to announce train companies’ offer of discounted travel for reservists

In Stirling to celebrate Armed Forces Day, the Prime Minister will welcome the deal signed between rail companies and the Ministry of Defence that will mean the HM Forces Railcard will now cover all active volunteer reservists, their spouses and children.

 

David Cameron warned NHS in danger of collapse within five years

Former Tory health minister Stephen Dorrell calls for more spending as King’s Fund raises fears over shortage of doctors.

 

Britain closer to EU exit after Jean-Claude Juncker vote

A bad day for Europe, says isolated and bitter David Cameron as commission chief nominated.

 

Tony Blair accused of conflict of interests in Middle East

Critics unite to demand his sacking as Quartet’s envoy as evidence emerges of his private business interests expanding in region. 

 

Water cannon to be sent to London next week

Boris Johnson completes purchase of three second-hand machines from Germany before decision from home secretary.

 

Conservatives slap down women’s minister over all-female shortlists

Senior party sources said the idea that the party would examine the issue next year is ‘categorically not going to happen’.

 

SNP would increase social injustice Ed Miliband claims

Labour leader tells audience in Edinburgh that Alex Salmond’s government is involved in a ‘race to the bottom’.

 

Yvette Cooper warns of a public services crisis if the Tories win in 2015

The shadow home secretary will tell the Fabian Society that public services should mean empowerment and opportunities.

 

Cameron warns EU leaders over Juncker appointment

Signs EU leaders will offer overwhelming support to the former Luxembourg leader, despite UK prime minister’s objections. 

 

Bank of England moves to limit large loans to housebuyers

The Bank of England signalled on Thursday that it would not impose draconian measures to cool the housing market unless house prices rise by more than 20% over the next three years.

 

Chilcot report into 2003 Iraq conflict delayed further

Due to have been published three years ago, the Chilcot report now threatens to haunt UK politics ahead of the 2015 election.

 

No revival of snooper’s charter bill before election says Nick Clegg

Lib Dem leader restates opposition to legislation after Theresa May claimed it was ‘matter of life and death’.

 

Decriminalise drug possession campaigners tell David Cameron

Sting, Russell Brand and National Black Police Association among signatories of open letter urging UK drugs policy review.

 

David Cameron rebuked by judge over Andy Coulson comments

Old Bailey judge expresses concern PM apologised for hiring former NoW editor while jury were still deliberating over charges.

 

David Cameron faces defeat in Juncker row as EU summit begins

Angela Merkel withering about British tactics as UK ambassador to EU summoned to Downing Street for last-ditch consultations.

 

UK public ‘should be primed to expect more infrastructure failures’

Local transport particularly at risk, as infrastructure struggles to cope with increasing number of extreme weather events.

 

Home Secretary denies security services engaged in mass surveillance

May uses Mansion House speech to make case for reviving ‘snooper’s charter’ legislation, calling it matter of ‘life and death’.

 

Vince Cable moves to ban zero-hours contract exclusivity clauses

Bill introduced on Wednesday aims to clamp down on abuses, but critics say it is not enough to fully protect workers.

 

Ministers warn UK retailers to do more on human rights and ethical products

British Retail Consortium ordered to produce new transparency guidance after the Guardian’s Thai prawn investigation.

 

Sky to shut down door-to-door sales following mis-selling claims

Decision to end Sky Walkers initiative amid claims its agents lied about broadband speeds and download limits to sign up customers.

 

Scottish universities won’t be swamped by English students says study

Edinburgh university study claims little evidence ‘fee refugees’ would flood north if free tuition policy extended to rest of UK.

 

Jeremy Hunt plans disclosure drive to reduce medical errors

A fifth of NHS trusts in England have been rated as having poor disclosure performance in a new assessment.

 

No 10 refuses to deny David Cameron would recommend EU no vote

Downing Street declines to deny prime minister will back no vote in planned 2017 EU referendum if reforms are not embraced.

 

Tony Blair should be sacked as Middle East envoy say former ambassadors

Former UK prime minister is tainted by Iraq war and his achievements for quartet are negligible, signatories of letter say.

 

Nigel Farage wants to give voters a greater voice by extending referendums

The Ukip leader said that voters should be able to veto planning decisions, sack bad MPs and challenge council tax rises.

 

Father of Cardiff jihadists says his sons were radicalised in ‘pop-up’ schools

Extremists were leafleting Muslims then indoctrinating them at constantly changing venues to avoid police surveillance, he says.

 

Labour plan to give government contracts to smaller companies

Rachel Reeves, shadow work and pensions secretary, says suppliers may be required to pay the living wage.

 

BNP infiltrator seeks police admission of covert operation

Gary Shopland says he has been unfairly branded racist after he was secretly sent by police to spy on British National party.

 

Isis threat justifies greater surveillance powers in UK says Liam Fox

Former defence secretary says first duty of state is to protect citizens and public will accept greater monitoring powers.

 

Iain Duncan Smith warns on Britain’s future in EU as Juncker row rumbles on

Work and pensions secretary claims other EU leaders’ strong support for bid is ‘flicking two fingers’ at European people.

 

Coalition faces huge strike as biggest unions ballot council workers

Unison, GMB and Unite ballot hundreds of thousands of workers in England and Wales in protest at offer worth 1% for most staff.

 

David Blunkett quits as MP amid election warning for Labour

Former minister gives Ed Miliband resounding support but says Tory victory could leave party in wilderness for 15 years.

 

Lib Dems to demand emergency £2bn bailout for the NHS

Senior party figures reported to be demanding boost as leading doctor attacks squeeze on funding.

 

Juncker won’t stop UK renegotiating EU membership says Poland

Cameron faces defeat over Juncker appointment as head of EU executive but UK could win support for ‘sensible reforms’, says Polish foreign minister.

 

British people favour leaving the European Union according to poll

Nearly half would vote to leave while only 37% would vote to stay, though the picture changes if membership is renegotiated. 

 

NHS is out of control says Tory Health Minister

Jane Ellison tells private meeting that coalition reforms ‘pretty much gave away control of NHS’.

 

Tony Blair ‘was told of Syrian WMDs’ says former intelligence chief

John Morrison, former head of defence intelligence staff, writes in Observer that Blair must have known of chemical weapons. 

 

Tens of thousands march in London against coalition’s austerity measures

An estimated 50,000 people in London addressed by speakers, including Russell Brand, after People’s Assembly march.

 

Fifty countries to accept extended passports to aid backlog crisis

Renewed British passports will now be accepted in popular holiday destinations, including Cyprus, Turkey and the US.

 

Tory MP Michael Fabricant apologises for tweet saying he might punch female journalist

Michael Fabricant made the comments about Yasmin Alibhai-Brown after she clashed with fellow journalist Rod Liddle in a TV debate.

 

Those caught up in passport backlog should holiday at home minister says

Tourism minister Helen Grant suggests Passport Office backlog creates opportunity for ‘staycations’ holidays within Britain.

 

British public sector borrowing rises higher than expected

Economists say government appears to be struggling to reduce deficit in line with targets as borrowing hits £13.3bn in May. 

 

UK religious leaders unite against FGM

Groups sign ‘landmark’ declaration making clear female genital mutilation is not supported by religious doctrine.

 

David Blunkett to stand down from parliament at 2015 election

Former home secretary says Ed Miliband will want new faces for his cabinet and ‘clear break with past’ if Labour wins.

 

Nick Clegg under pressure over failure to deal with Mike Hancock allegations

Lib Dem leader calls on Hancock to resign over sexual advances, but questions remain over when Clegg knew about it. 

 

Pinewood Studios wins permission to double in size despite strong opposition

Communities secretary approves building on green belt land on economic grounds, overriding South Bucks planners’ objections.

 

Iraqi leaders must rise above sectarianism says David Cameron

Prime minister says it is not for west to pick leaders of Iraq, and foreign secretary says country faces decisive moment.

 

Governors of new academies and free schools told to abide by ‘British values’

New rules brought in by Michael Gove in wake of ‘Trojan horse’ controversy could stop conservative Muslims from being trustees.

 

BBC could be shared with independent Scotland says Treasury Secretary

Danny Alexander concedes Scotland could continue using the BBC and national lottery even if it votes for independence.

 

Labour to cut youth benefits and focus on path to work

Labour leader sets out reforms based on training incentives as poll finds 78% of voters think welfare system unfair.

 

David Cameron – we’ll stop Britons going out to join Islamists

No 10 reveals 65 arrests linked to Syria and 14 passport seizures as prime minister warns of security threat to Britain.

 

Government’s defence of surveillance unconvincing says ex-watchdog

Former chief surveillance inspector says government exploiting loopholes in legislation, and reforms are needed.

 

PM backs Michael Gove but suggests former aide was a ‘career psychopath’

David Cameron supports Michael Gove’s view that more must be done to confront extreme Islamist ideology.

 

Ed Balls refuses any role in currency union with an independent Scotland

Shadow chancellor says proposed sterling zone, on back of a yes vote, would be flawed, unstable and may make him resign

 

Jeremy Hunt calls for end to cosmetic surgery on NHS

Health secretary says public money should not be spent to improve someone’s looks.

 

David Cameron – Isis is planning to attack UK

Prime minister says Islamist fighters in Iraq will ‘hit us at home’ if Britain does not help stabilise regime. 

 

Tower Hamlets mayor accused of electoral fraud involvement

Election petition claims groups of people were paid to stand at polling stations and convince voters to back Lutfur Rahman.

 

Help to Buy: MPs question £10bn cost and impact on housing shortage

Public accounts committee says programme lumbers taxpayer with risky loans for decades and has not been properly assessed. 

 

Presidency of the European Commission – article by David Cameron

For many European citizens the most interesting issue right now is who will win the World Cup. Only a small minority will be following the debate about the Presidency of European Commission. But this is important because it goes to the heart of the way the EU takes decisions, the need to respect its rules, and the appropriate relationship between the nations of Europe and the EU institutions.

 

China’s Li Keqiang speaks out against Scottish independence

Asked about referendum at press conference, premier says that he wants to see a ‘united United Kingdom’. 

 

UK and China – Premier Li visits Downing Street

The summit takes place just 6 months after the Prime Minister’s trip to China and with bilateral trade at record levels – up by 8% overall in 2013. 

 

Civil servant sacked for offensive Wikipedia edits on Hillsborough

24-year-old is fired for gross misconduct after changing ‘You’ll never walk alone’ to ‘You’ll never walk again’.

 

Popularity of Miliband and Clegg falls to lowest levels recorded by ICM poll

Labour leader’s satisfaction rating slips from -25 to -39 and deputy prime minister’s falls 16 points to -37 from May to June.

 

Independent Scotland has ‘nil’ chance of keeping UK’s EU opt-outs Major

An independent Scotland has “nil” chance of keeping the UK’s special European Union opt-outs and would face significant problems joining Nato, Sir John Major has said.