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David Cameron criticised for PR stunt in home of suspected illegal immigrants

Critics say it was improper and in bad taste for prime minister to pose for photos in Slough home after raid by border officialsDavid Cameron has been criticised for posing for photographs in the home of people suspected of immigration offences as part of a PR stunt aimed at showcasing the coalition's toughness on illegal entrants to the country.The prime minister was pictured in what appear

Tories want rich and poor to pay 31% flat tax, claims Ed Balls

Oliver Letwin reported as saying discussion of uniform tax rate may 'open up' once public finances improveThe Conservatives would secretly like to bring in a flat rate of tax meaning rich and poor alike paid 31%, Ed Balls has claimed.The shadow chancellor said the thinking of senior Tories had been exposed after Oliver Letwin, a Cabinet Office minister, was reported by the Daily Mirror to ha

Ukip duo resign claiming 'occultists' have infiltrated the party

MP hopeful Jake Bynes and branch chairman Graham Livings say they've been run out of party by alternative healersA Ukip parliamentary candidate and his branch chairman have resigned after claiming the local party is being infiltrated by what they see as "occultists".Jake Baynes, who was to run in the Somerset city of Wells at next year's general election, said he felt he was being driven out

Keir Starmer bid to become Labour MP

The former director of public prosecutions has said he hopes to seek election in the Holborn and St Pancras constituencyFormer Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Keir Starmer has confirmed he will put his name forward to stand as a parliamentary candidate for the Labour party.The human rights lawyer said he will seek selection in the Holborn and St Pancras constituency if the party does not

Stephen Batess diary: The Christian Legal Centre racks up another defeat

Boris Johnson was within his rights to ban an anti-gay advert from Londons buses, rules the high court in a victory for common sense A small triumph for Boris Johnson against the wrath of conservative Christian lobbyists who took him to court in the long-running battle of the bus ads. You may remember that the gay rights campaigners from Stonewall were allowed to run an advert on the side of Lo

Labour finally comes out fighting in a 'summer offensive'

Ed Miliband's party of opposition is getting into an electioneering gear in the run up to next year's electionFirst, pour scorn on the Tory record. Second, identify the damage David Cameron could wreak with another five years in power. Third, set out Labour's plan to do things differently.It may be a formulaic recipe, but four speeches following this prescription by Ed Miliband and shadow mi

David Cameron hints at giveaway for higher-rate taxpayers

Prime minister tells audience: 'I understand the problem with the 40p rate kicking in when people are not earning a lot of money'David Cameron has given his strongest hint yet that he may be preparing a giveaway for higher-income earners when he said he would "love" to raise the level at which people started paying 40% tax.Speaking to workers at a water company on Wednesday, the prime minist

Lib Dems suggest putting forests in trusts to avoid privatisation

Party is committed to planting 3.5m trees if they stay in power in attempt to woo back voters from the Greens and LabourThe Liberal Democrats hope to place Britain's forests in a protected trust to stop them ever being sold off and have committed to planting more than 3.5m trees in towns, cities and villages over the next parliament if they remain in power, Dan Rogerson, an environment minister

Frank Dobson: Labour needs to be 'knocking lumps off' this government

The former Labour minister talks about the problem with Ed Miliband's inner circle, Tony Blair's work in Kazakhstan, and how it feels to be standing down after 35 years as an MP"I'm a sentimental old sod," Frank Dobson warns me. It's two days since he told Holborn and St Pancras Labour Party activists that he is standing down at the next election after 35 years as their MP. We meet by the gates

Vince Cable says new tougher regime will make the banking system safer - video

The business secretary says a 'big, positive step' has been taken as the Bank of England confirms plans to make bank bosses more accountable. The new rules will see some senior bankers' bonuses deferred for seven years and 'extremely reckless behaviour' could be punished with criminal action Continue reading...

Tory MPs' visit to Israel condemned as bad timing

Labour MP criticises visit to military facility in Israel by the Conservative Friends of Israel as Cameron calls for ceasefireA group of Conservative MPs this week embarked on a visit to a military facility in Israel amid the continuing violence that has claimed the lives of about 1,270 Palestinians and 56 Israelis.The MPs are touring the country as David Cameron called for an "unconditional

Politics Live blog - readers' edition: Wednesday 30 July

Share breaking news, leave links to interesting articles online and chat about the weeks political events in our open thread Andrew Sparrows not writing his usual Politics Live blog today, but, as an alternative, heres Politics Live: readers edition. Its intended to be a place where you can catch up with the latest news and find links to good politics blogs and articles on the web.Please f

Tories deny 'flat tax' plan

Party reacts after Oliver Letwin reported saying discussion of uniform tax rate may 'open up' once public finances improveThe Tories have strongly denied they are planning to move to a "flat tax" system where everyone pays the same rate of tax regardless of income after the party's policy chief, Oliver Letwin, was recorded suggesting a discussion "will no doubt open up" once the public finances

Coalition hints British company likely to build air warfare destroyers

The defence minister, David Johnston, says no decision has been made yet but we need competitive tension The Abbott government appears to be laying the ground for the British defence giant BAE Industries to take the lead on an $8.5bn contract to build air warfare destroyers.The defence minister, David Johnston, told the ABC on Wednesday that no decision had yet been made to sideline the AS

Northern Territory attorney general in two physical confrontations in one day

John Elferink says he stepped in to defend a woman in a shopping mall before being hit in the face in a later incidentThe Northern Territorys attorney general took the law into his own hands twice on Tuesday, grappling with a man he accuses of attacking a woman in a shopping mall, before being punched in the face during a separate incident at a football oval.John Elferinks day of physical

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 deadlinesTax workers have started a series of fresh strikes in a long-running dispute over job losses and office closures.Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) will take part in walkouts over the next three days, threatening disruption to the work of HM Revenue a

Tories keen to cut tax for rich again, says Ed Balls

Shadow chancellor says Conservatives' economic plan is to cut taxes at the top and hope wealth will trickle downThe Conservatives are "champing at the bit" to cut the top rate of tax for Britain's wealthiest people further to 40p in the pound, Ed Balls will say in a speech in the marginal constituency of Bedford on Wednesday.The shadow chancellor will argue that the Conservatives' real agend

Diary: The man ranting about lies from Gaza is economical with the truth | Stephen Bates

Some of those injured Palestinians weve seen on our TV screens are fakes, apparently, says the man from Ukip Murky waters in a lengthy email sent to Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, and surprisingly to the Guardian from a Mr Ralph Ellis, who describes himself in it as Ukip media investigations. But he may not be all that title makes him seem. The message is a long rant entitled Pallywood:

Ed Miliband must address questions of a different nature | @guardianletters

I am amazed that Ed Miliband has failed to notice that prime ministers questions are a futile exercise (Report, 28 July) that seriously diminish the dignity and purpose of parliament in the public mind. He now suggests that this ludicrous opportunity for MPs to ask glib questions and get glib answers should be offered to the public. The public may be too intelligent to grasp his proposed opportu

David Ruffley 'should step down as MP immediately over domestic violence'

Women's groups criticise Tories' reaction after MP said he would go at next election over police caution for assaulting ex-girlfriendWomen's groups have called for MP David Ruffley to step down immediately, after he announced that he would leave parliament next May, months after accepting a police caution for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Eleanor Rehahn, of the Bury St Edmunds branch of the wom

Boris Johnson refuses to say if he plans to stand as MP in 2015

London mayor dodges questions on BBC's World at One about whether he plans to re-enter parliament and combine two jobsBoris Johnson has repeatedly dodged questions over whether he is planning to stand as an MP next year and combine it with his job as London mayor, despite having promised not to do that.The London mayor was asked three times on the BBC's World at One about whether he intends

Gaza crisis heartbreaking, says David Cameron video

David Cameron calls for a 'humanitarian ceasefire' between Hamas and Israel on Tuesday after Gaza endured a night of bombardment that left more than 110 people dead in 24 hours. Israeli troops struck 150 targets, including the home of the Hamas leader in Gaza, Khaled Mashaal; the region's only power plant; and a building housing Hamas-controlled broadcast outlets Continue reading...

Labour had highest income of Britain's political parties in 2013

Figures from the Electoral Commission show Labour had an income of £33m, compared with £25.3m for the ConservativesLabour had the highest income among Britain's political parties in 2013, receiving more than £33m during the year.Records released by the Electoral Commission show Labour's income close to the previous year's level, but the party spent £2m less than in 2012. Continue reading...

David Cameron calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Prime minister says Hamas must stop firing rockets at Israel and there must be an unconditional, humanitarian truceDavid Cameron has called for an "unconditional, immediate, humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza to bring a halt to more than three weeks of violence that has claimed the lives of about 1,100 Palestinians and 55 Israelis. Continue reading...

Rich Tory cabinet ministers urged to give salaries to 'Baroness Beyoncé'

Call comes despite Lady Stowell's assertion that she is an 'independent woman' with no need for same pay as predecessorPeers have suggested a rich Tory should give up their ministerial salary to make space in cabinet for the new leader of the House of Lords. Lady Stowell of Beeston has been nicknamed Baroness Beyoncé over her claims she is an "independent woman and a single lady" with no need f

Politics Live blog - readers' edition: Tuesday 29 July

Share breaking news, leave links to interesting articles online and chat about the weeks political events in our open thread Andrew Sparrow's not writing his usual Politics Live blog today, but, as an alternative, heres Politics Live: readers edition. Its intended to be a place where you can catch up with the latest news and find links to good politics blogs and articles on the web.Please

City grandee Nick Prettejohn emerges as leading contender to head BBC

As Lord Coe pulls out, former adviser to George Osborne is understood to be a top candidate for chairman of BBC TrustA City grandee who helped advise the chancellor, George Osborne, on the restructuring of banking regulation has emerged as a leading contender to head the BBC after the favourite, Lord Coe, unexpectedly pulled out of the race.Nick Prettejohn, who was recently appointed chairma

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 processA bid to block a challenge to May's mayoral election in Tower Hamlets in London, won by independent Lutfur Rahman, has failed paving the way for a full court hearing.Four voters including Andy Erlam, who stood as a council candidate on an anti-corruption ticket, petitioned

Paddy Ashdown leader of Social and Liberal Democrats: from the archive, 29 July 1988

The merger of the SDP and Liberal Party means the end of David Steel's career as Liberal leaderDavid Steel is dead. Long live Paddy Ashdown.Mr Steel made his farewell to the party he led for 'so many, many years' over lunch at the National Liberal Club. He sat surrounded by the busts of William Gladstone, David Lloyd George and Baroness Seear. They said goodbye with Potage Concombre and Su

Damian McBride attacks Ed Miliband's policies as a 'steaming pile of fudge'

Gordon Brown's former spin doctor says Labour leader is 'dysfunctional' and party has 'no clear idea who its audience is'Gordon Brown's former spin doctor Damian McBride has attacked the effectiveness of Ed Miliband, saying his policies were a "great, steaming pile of fudge".The ex-Treasury adviser, who was sacked for plotting to spread smears about senior Tories, warned that Labour currentl


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