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


David Cameron calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Prime minister says Hamas must stop firing rockets at Israel and there must be an unconditional, humanitarian truce.


Cameron warns illegal immigrants: we will find you and send you home

PM’s threat comes as Labour and Ukip say crackdown on benefits for new arrivals from EU is not tough enough.


Right to be forgotten is unworkable say peers

House of Lords committee condemns regulations being drawn up by European commission and recent ECJ ruling.


Strike at HM Revenue and Customs

Staff begin series of walkouts over closures and job cuts in action timed to coincide with key tax lodgement deadlines.


Tower Hamlets mayor fails to block election challenge

Lutfur Rahman delivered blow by ruling, which paves way for full court hearing into alleged fraud during election process.


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.