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Fallon denounces “human rights” lawyers who made false claims against British troops

telegraphlawyers“Lawyers who wasted millions of public money pursuing false claims that British troops murdered and tortured Iraqi detainees should now face disciplinary action, senior Government figures have suggested. Ministers condemned the “shameful” conduct of solicitors who brought the claims, which were yesterday dismissed as “deliberate lies” by a £31million, five year inquiry. Last night the Ministry of Defence said it was looking at recouping part of the legal aid fees which were paid to the lawyers who represented the now discredited ‘victims’…The defence secretary Michael Fallon said the lawyers should make an “unequivocal apology” to the soldiers whose reputations “they attempted to traduce’’.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Fallon spat our Shiner the lawyer’s name with loathing – Quentin Letts Daily Mail
  • “The Solicitors Regulation Authority is investigating possible breaches of professional standards by Public Interest Lawyers and a second company, Leigh Day.” – The Times(£)
  • “Public Interest Lawyers? Public contempt, more like.” – The Sun Says(£)
  • The British Army deserves an apology from the BBC – Con Coughlin Daily Telegraph

Unemployment falls again

“The UK’s job-creation machine is continuing to perform its magic. Unemployment is down to 6pc, compared with 7.4pc a year ago, a dramatic reduction if ever there were one. Citigroup calculates that job growth is running at 1.9pc year on year, compared with an increase in the size of the workforce during the same time of just 0.4pc. Is there still lots of under-employment? Of course, but spare capacity in the jobs market is diminishing rapidly.” – Allister Heath Daily Telegraph

Councils to discover further funding cuts

PICKLES Eric smiling“Councils in England are to learn later how much money they will have next year to spend on local services such as waste collection and road maintenance. Ministers will present the funding grants for 2015-16, which account for most of councils’ budgets. Last year the government said councils would face an average cut in their spending power of 1.8% in 2015-16. The Local Government Association has warned services would “buckle under the strain” of more cuts. But ministers say public satisfaction with local services has increased since 2010 while council tax has fallen.” – BBC

Earnings outstrip inflation

“After six years of falling real incomes, average annual pay in three months to October grew 1.4 per cent. Inflation was 1.3 per cent, and last month dropped to 1 per cent, a 12-year low. The data will take pressure off the chancellor as he heads into the election. As pay rises race away from inflation households should start to feel a little wealthier.” – The Times(£)

>Yesterday: Charlie Elphicke MP on Comment: More full-time employment, more women in work, higher pay… the jobs revolution rolls on

May to stop mentally ill teenagers being kept in police cells…

MAY Commons Ellison“Teenagers experiencing mental health problems will no longer be detained in police cells as a “place of safety”. Home Secretary Theresa May will announce later an overhaul of mental health laws in England and Wales. The government review is also set to recommend adults should only be kept in a police cell as a place of safety in exceptional circumstances.” – BBC

…and acts to end “legal limbo”

“BAIL for criminal suspects is to be limited to 28 days in an overhaul of the sweeping police power to be unveiled by Theresa May today. The Home Secretary will for the first time impose a time limit on how long police can impose restrictions on people they are investigating.” – The Sun(£)

Cameron: “For Labour MPs this year it’s a silent night”

CAMERON Marr Europe“Ed Miliband and David Cameron have traded blows on the economy in the last Prime Minister’s Questions of 2014….”I have to say I almost feel sorry for Labour MPs – they can’t talk about the deficit because it has fallen. They can’t talk about growth because it is rising, they can’t talk about jobs because we are increasing them, they can’t talk about immigration because they have been told not to talk about immigration. They can’t talk about their leader because he is a complete waste of space. No wonder for Labour MPs this year it’s a silent night.” – BBC

  • “We don’t need to raise taxes because we have a plan” – Daily Telegraph
  • Infatuation with Blair will damage Cameron – Peter Oborne Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Andrew Gimson’s PMQs sketch: Cameron lightens up and shows signs of growing electoral confidence

Ellison proposes ban on smoking in cars with children

“Smoking in cars with children will be banned in England, under new laws put forward by the government. Public health minister Jane Ellison said: “Second-hand smoke is a real threat to children’s health and we want them to grow up free from the risks of smoking.” – BBC

Penning confirms cut in police spending of five per cent

PENNING Mike ruins“Police forces in England and Wales will have their central government funding cut by almost 5% in the next financial year, the Home Office has confirmed. Policing minister Mike Penning said there would be a cash reduction of £299m in the overall 2015-16 police funding budget, compared with 2014-15.” – BBC

Osborne to sell more Lloyds shares…

“More shares in Lloyds Banking Group are to be sold by the government, in a move which could raise up to £3bn. At present, the UK bank is 25%-owned by the taxpayer, but after the latest sale, this stake could fall to 20%. A trading plan has been launched to allow the shares to be sold gradually “in an orderly and measured way”, the government said…”I can confirm today that the government is taking the next step in returning Lloyds Banking Group to private ownership,” Chancellor George Osborne said.” – BBC

…as he confirms plans for a budget surplus

“George Osborne confirmed yesterday that he is targeting a huge budget surplus, as a poll suggested public unease over the size of his planned cuts. The chancellor said that spending plans he submitted to the government’s independent budget watchdog did suggest that he was aiming to have a £23 billion surplus by the end of the decade, secured through a major cuts programme.” – The Times(£)

  • Deficit mania and balanced budgets are a political fraud – Seumas Milne The Guardian

>Today:ToryDiary: What’s Osborne’s real record on deficit reduction?

Javid says mobile phone blackspots to be halved

Javid Sajid“The number of places where mobile phone users receive a patchy signal is to be halved after the Government struck a deal with networks. Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said the legally binding agreement would require all four main mobile operators to increase places with full signals from 69 per cent to 85 per cent of geographic areas by 2017. It will mean the firms are required to make a £5billion investment to improve infrastructure – with more masts and sharing between operators.” – Daily Mail

Grant accused of “dragging feet” on lifting limits on charity lotteries

“MPs have accused the government of “dragging its feet” over proposals to deregulate charity lotteries and lift fundraising limits. Helen Grant, a culture minister, rejected claims the government had deliberately delayed its proposals. “I don’t accept that at all,” she told MPs on the culture media and sport select committee.” – The Times(£)

Straw denies being complicit in torture

Jack Straw“Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said he was “never complicit” in the illegal rendition or torture of terror suspects during his time in office. The Labour MP told the BBC he would be “delighted” to give evidence to an inquiry looking at the treatment of detainees by British intelligence agencies in the decade following 9/11.”- BBC

Royal Mail privatisation “could have raised another £180 million”

“The government made £180m less from the £2bn sale of Royal Mail than it could have, a report commissioned by Business Secretary Vince Cable has said. It says shares could have been valued up to 30p more than the flotation price of 330p because of the high level of demand from banks and individuals. It said future government share sales should be more transparent and the pricing could be set at a later stage.” – BBC

UKIP spent the most on the Euro Elections

UKIP logo“The UK Independence Party spent almost as much as the Conservatives at this year’s European elections – while the Lib Dems outspent Labour, Electoral Commission figures show. UKIP, which won May’s election, spent £2,956,737, while the Tories’ campaign expenditure was £2,980,815.”- BBC

Labour open up five point lead on ICM

“Conservative support in Britain has fallen in the aftermath of the chancellor’s autumn statement, which pencilled in deep public expenditure cuts for years ahead, according to the latest Guardian/ICM poll. The Tories dip three points on November to 28%, while Labour inches up one to 33%, giving Ed Miliband a five-point lead. The Liberal Democrats climb three from last month to 14%, while Ukip stands still on 14%, for the third month in a row. The Green party are on 5%.” – The Guardian

  • Conservatives and Labour tied – YouGov

Reckless sued by Conservatives for £3,000 over wasted General Election leaflets

RECKLESS Mark“Mark Reckless, the UK Independence Party’s newest MP, is being sued by his former Conservative association over thousands of pounds of wasted leaflets. The Rochester and Strood Constituency Conservative Association has lodged a claim against Mr Reckless to claw back thousands of pounds it spent on 2015 General Election campaigning literature for him before he defected to Ukip. The association said Mr Reckless and his agent, Chris Irvine, who are both now Ukip members, were approving expenditure for campaign literature for next year’s general election, up to two days before Mr Reckless defected to Ukip Saturday, September 27.” – Daily Telegraph

Number of migrants overstaying their visas hits 263,000

“More than 220,000 files on immigrants who should have been removed from Britain were found rotting in boxes in back rooms in yet another Home Office scandal. Overall, the number of migrants who are suspected of overstaying their visas has now hit a staggering 263,000. Yet, according to the chief inspector of immigration John Vine, little or no progress is being made in clearing the backlog.” – Daily Mail

Obama end trade embargo on Cuba

timescuba“President Obama tore down the last vestiges of the Iron Curtain yesterday, announcing an historic deal aimed at ushering Cuba out of the cold. Months of secret talks in which the Pope emerged as a key player resulted in Mr Obama and Raúl Castro, the Cuban president, telling their countries in choreographed addresses that they were ready to bury the past. Cuba — out of bounds to American tourists and businesses since 1960 — will normalise relations with the United States, and embassies will be established in Havana and Washington DC. The promised lifting of the US trade embargo is set to flood the island’s crumbling economy with billions of dollars.” – The Times(£)

  • Absurd deal proves Obama’s ignorance say critics – The Times(£)
  • “The surprise breakthrough came principally after a phone call, said to last 45 minutes to an hour, between Obama and Castro on Tuesday finalised the release of Alan Gross, a US government aid contractor held for five years in Cuba, which accused him of being a spy.” – The Guardian
  • Normalisation is a triumph for Obama and the Cuban people – Tim Stanley Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Budget set for March 18th – BBC
  • MPs reject Bercow’s choice of clerk – The Times(£)
  • Clegg attends Thorpe’s funeral – The Sun(£)
  • Scottish Conservatives call for lower home buying tax – BBC
  • Clegg seeks to calm NHS worries over EU/US trade deal – The Guardian
  • Farage compared to Jesus –  The Independent
  • Russian economic meltdown prompts panic buying of London homes – Daily Telegraph
  • Virgin cuts air fuel duty – The Sun(£)
  • Fox criticised for addressing London Swinton Circle meeting – The Guardian
  • Shapps demands retraction from Political Scrapbook blog – The Independent

And finally…The Department of Energy bans Christmas

decclogo“WHITEHALL bosses have been urged not to say Merry Christmas in festive email greetings. In guidance to the Department of Energy, a senior civil servant declared officials should use Season’s Greetings instead to avoid upsetting anyone. It also stated images on the e-cards should not feature skin — to avoid race rows. The advice, in an email seen by The Sun, was sent on Monday as officials sought directions over Christmas messages from the department. It states: “As an organisation of multiple faiths and agnostics serving a community of the same and in the interest of inclusion, I’d avoid images with skin.”- The Sun(£)

 

11 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday December 18th 2014

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