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The Guardian (U.K.) 

David Cameron's tax speech: Politics Live blog

Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including David Cameron’s speech on tax 8.50am GMT #UKGENERALELECTION2015 101 DAYS TO GO 8.43am GMT David Cameron is giving a speech on tax this morning. And, according to the extracts released overnight, he’s going to say that the public should get tax cuts after the election because we deserve a reward. He des

Security review after hoax GCHQ caller put through to Cameron’s phone

Downing Street confirms prime minister ended the call after realising caller was falsely claiming to be UK intelligence directorSecurity procedures are being reviewed at Downing Street after a hoax caller pretending to be the head of GCHQ managed to get through to David Cameron on Sunday.Cameron spoke to the imposter, who was claiming to be the GCHQ director, Robert Hannigan, but ended the

Election 2015: the four likely outcomes will put deal-making in limelight again

100 days to go: With no party predicted to win outright in May, Britain is expected to face one of four outcomes – all of which will require coalition or negotiation that will test the parties’ leadership If Labour loses as much in Scotland as it could gain in England, and the Conservatives snap up a few handy gains from their Liberal Democrat partners, on election night 2015 – just as in 201

Just how hard can it be to purge prisons of drugs? | Mary Dejevsky

Chris Grayling’s new zero-tolerance drive could finally see the interests of prison authorities and public convergeWhen I returned to the UK after almost a decade abroad, one aspect of 21st century Britain astonished me more than almost anything else. This was the prevalence of illegal drugs in prisons, and what seemed the resigned tolerance on the part of politicians and prison authorities a

Green party’s education policies are outdated and ‘total madness’ – Labour

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt criticises party’s approach such as delay of school starting age, as a ‘throwback to the 70s’The Green party’s education policies are “total madness” and a “flashback to the 1970s” that would most hurt the disadvantaged, says shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, in a full-throated attack that suggests Labour is concerned at the Greens’ recent opinio

David Cameron sees tax cuts worth £7bn as a ‘reward for sacrifice’

Cameron to use speech to describe Labour and the Liberal Democrats as being tax-rising ‘enemies of aspiration’David Cameron will reaffirm the Conservatives’ commitment to tax cuts in a speech on Monday, arguing that “after years of sacrifice, the British people deserve a reward”.Depicting the general election as the nation’s “tax moment”, the prime minister will say that voters have to choos

Council to cut rates for firms paying living wage

Employers in Labour-run Brent, in London, could save as much as £5,000 if they pay all workers at least £9.15 an hourA Labour council in London is due on Monday to become the first in the country to offer firms a discount on their business rates if they pay the living wage.Employers in Brent could save as much as £5,000 if they pay all workers at least £9.15, the living wage rate for London,

George Osborne urges ministers to fast-track fracking measures in leaked letter

Chancellor’s list of requests, including responding to ‘asks’ from Cuadrilla, laid out in letter to cabinet colleagues• Read George Osborne’s letter in fullGeorge Osborne has requested that ministers make dozens of interventions to fast-track fracking as a “personal priority”, including the delivery of numerous “asks” from shale gas company Cuadrilla.The list of requests are laid out in a l

George Osborne demands rapid progress on fracking – full letter

Chancellor's letter to cabinet committee on economic affairs requests that ministers make dozens of interventions to fast-track shale gas drilling Continue reading...

Lord Mandelson: Labour must plan properly for coalition with Lib Dems

Peer says outright Labour victory still possible but it is not defeatism to consider consequences of failure to win majorityLabour must not repeat the mistake of 2010 and make only last-minute plans for the possibility of entering a coalition after the May election, Lord Mandelson has warned.Insisting it is not defeatism to consider the consequences of Labour failing to win an overall majori

Lib Dems will block any attempt to revive controversial snooper’s charter

Sources close to Nick Clegg say party will oppose plan for web service providers to have to retain web histories for a yearThe Liberal Democrats will block any attempt by their Tory coalition partners to revive the home secretary’s controversial snooper’s charter, a source close to Nick Clegg said, after it emerged that a group of peers was trying to force the measures through parliament at the

UK economic recovery running out of steam, forecasters say

Growth expected to slow to 0.6% in last quarter says poll of economists but annual GDP rise could be 2.6% – the strongest since financial crisisThe UK’s economic recovery lost steam at the close of 2014, official figures are expected to confirm this week.Growth is forecast to have slowed to 0.6% in the fourth quarter, from 0.7% in the third, according to a poll of economists by Reuters. Con

Profile: Alexis Tsipras, Syriza leader who looks set to take charge in Greece

Man likely to become Greece’s youngest prime minister appears determined to jolt not only his own country, but Europe tooWill Alexis Tsipras ever wear a necktie? In the weeks before Sunday’s momentous election, that is the question that was widely asked of the radical left Syriza leader, the winner of the Greek poll.Invariably Tsipras has replied no, he won’t. “After all,” he has joked, “I d

Policies for improving schools had ‘no effect’, finds parliamentary inquiry

Committee says impact of coalition’s multibillion pound converter academy programme for raising performance in England is ‘inconclusive’The government’s flagship policies for improving schools – encouraging them to convert to academy status and establishing free schools – have had little or no effect, according to a major parliamentary inquiry to be published this week.On Wednesday, the Hous

Ben Jennings on the inside of Nigel Farage's head – cartoon

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Abdullah and Gaddafi: diplomatic attitudes to Middle Eastern tyrants | Letters

The contrast in western reactions to the two dead autocrats in your first three pages on 24 January (Revealed: how Blair colluded with Gaddafi regime in secret; A ‘strong advocate of women’ and ‘skilful moderniser’. The revised view of Abdullah) could hardly be greater: while Hillary Clinton was jubilant when Muammar Gaddafi was murdered in the ruins created by a brutal Nato bombardment, Cameron

Ukip now resembles its enemies, just like Animal Farm’s pigs | Matthew d’Ancona

With defections, dithering and division, the party’s claim to represent change is ever more ludicrousThe UK Independence party is in deep ideological crisis over an issue close to its tribal heart: the true significance of the pub, and what is said there. For years, Nigel Farage has held his pint aloft like the sword drawn from the stone, the grail of authenticity. Let the faceless men of Wes

Farage accused of smearing Ukip defector amid attack on his integrity

Tories rubbish claim of Amjad Bashir suspension by Ukip as George Galloway says he also once stood for Respect partyThe Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, has been accused of engaging in a “desperate” smear operation after he launched a withering attack on the integrity of one of his MEPs who defected to the Tories.Grant Shapps, the Conservative chairman, said claims that Ukip was about to suspend

A new Great Charter for workers’ rights | Letters

We should all welcome Guy Standing’s call for a Great Charter for the 21st century to “limit the liberties of tax dodgers and put the precariat at its heart” (The case for a new people’s charter, 23 January). Indeed, to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta we need to deal with the unfinished business at the core of our democracy – that is, to address corporate irresponsibility by demanding

Why Eric Pickles’ letter to mosques was right and wrong

The communities secretary was right in thinking that an evolutionary process of cohesion is underway. But he was wrong in thinking he was the man to address the problemThis won’t trip off the tongue, but here is where Eric Pickles – communities secretary and the man who holds the glue to keep the many strands of society in place – was in the right ball park. When he sent that now infamous lette

Syriza stood up to the money men – the UK left must do the same | Zoe Williams

Just imagine: if Labour wasn’t so in thrall to economic bodies and their predictions, we might have a radical left of our own‘When you study the successful experiences of transformative movements,” said Pablo Iglesias of Podemos, the new party of the Spanish left, “you realise that the key to success is to achieve a connection between the reality you have diagnosed and what the majority actuall

No crime to belong to Islamic State, al-Qaida or IRA, says Green party leader

Natalie Bennett tells BBC’s Sunday Politics programme people should be punished for what they do – not for what they thinkBelonging to an organisation such as Islamic State, al-Qaida or the IRA should not be a crime in itself because people should be punished for what they do, not what they think, Natalie Bennett, the Green party leader, said on Sunday.She said legislation that made it an of

Blood money: is it wrong to pay donors?

In some countries, people get paid for giving blood. And in the UK, we have to buy in plasma. But is safety compromised when money changes hands?A recent black-and-white documentary,Blood, about a mobile blood collection unit in rural Russia, shows scenes familiar to many: dusty halls, anxious donors queuing to register, the occasional struggle to find a vein. Cups of tea, too, albeit just fo

Cameron willing to take part in TV election debates, say Conservatives

Conservative party chairman says politicians and broadcasters ‘edging towards a solution’ but further talks were neededThe Conservatives have signalled that David Cameron is willing to take part in televised leaders’ debates following the publication of revised plans from broadcasters.Grant Shapps, the Tory party chairman, said that the politicians and broadcasters were “edging towards a sol

Business leaders fret over ‘cocktail of political risks’ as UK election nears

Davos delegates fear possibility of minority government and second poll, as well as uncertainty over EU membershipThe general election risks exposing the UK to a “cocktail of political risks” that could threaten growth and force the country out of the European Union, according to business leaders.The growth of minority parties such as Ukip and the Greens and the fall in popularity of the Lib

Majority of UK’s most influential had independent school education – survey

Debrett’s 500 list reveals more than 40% went to fee-paying schools, confirming lack of diversity and showing trend of Britain becoming ‘less meritocratic’More than 40% of the most influential people in Britain went to independent school, according to research which has further highlighted concerns about their disproportionate impact in fields ranging from finance to the arts.The Debrett’s 5

Ukip 'increasingly alarmed by Amjad Bashir’s behaviour’ - video

Nigel Farage says Ukip party members were becoming 'increasingly alarmed' by the behaviour of MEP Amjad Bashir, who defected to the Conservatives on Sunday. Farage told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show that Bashir has lied about employing illegal immigrants and was associating with political extremists from Pakistan. Bashir has denied all claims being made about him by Ukip Continue reading...

Scots want Labour government dependent on SNP, says Sturgeon

Scotland’s first minister wants nationalist MPs to be ‘a constructive and progressive force’ at Westminster’Scottish voters want a Labour government at Westminster dependent on SNP support, according to Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.Having a minority Labour government reliant on SNP votes, rather than a majority one, would lead to better decisions for Scotland, but also “more pr

Davos is starting to get it – inequality is the root cause of stagnation

Business leaders have a choice: understand that less inequality equals stronger, less debt-dependent growth or watch stagnation take holdThe World Economic Forum has never been good at crystal-ball gazing. In early 2007, it was smug and complacent even as the financial storm clouds gathered. Last year, there was a strong sense that the crisis was over, an optimism swiftly dashed by a combinatio

Ukip leader Nigel Farage hits back at defector Amjad Bashir

Party ‘increasingly alarmed’ by MEP’s behaviour, says Farage in response to latest damaging revelations to hit partyThe Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, has launched a withering attack on the integrity of the MEP who defected to the Conservatives on Sunday and defended the party against fresh allegations of extremism.Farage told BBC1’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday that Ukip had become “increasingl


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