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BBC News (July 2000 - Present)

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BBC News (July 2000 - Present)
#41
Bond elected Labour Deputy Leader

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Backbench left-winger Barbara Bond has been elected as the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in a very narrow victory over her opponent, Public Services Secretary Omari Omondi.

Mrs Bond, a former General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, finished with 51.5% of the vote under Labour's electoral college system, in which she won the support of the trade unions and her parliamentary colleagues. Mr Omondi was more popular among rank-and-file Labour members, who praised his visibility on the campaign trail and his vision for future Labour policy.

Supporters of Mrs Bond highlighted her focus on more democratic decision-making within Labour and on her loudly-voiced support for trade unions, traits which she has in common with her predecessors as Deputy Leader, Margaret Beckett and Belinda MacDonald. The resignation of Mrs MacDonald over issues in her private life triggered the election of a new Deputy Leader.

Labour Deputy Leadership Election 2001
Parliamentary Labour Party Ballot (30% of total vote)
Bond, Barbara – 53.3%
Omondi, Omari – 46.7%

Constituency Labour Party Ballot (30% of total vote)
Omondi, Omari – 64.6%
Bond, Barbara – 35.4%

Affiliated Groups Ballot (40% of total vote)
Bond, Barbara – 62.3%
Omondi, Omari – 37.7%

Total
Bond, Barbara – 51.5%
Omondi, Omari – 48.5%
Andy
Advisor for the Labour Party, the Home Office, Education and Communities
Poll wrangler and election psephologist
Scandalmonger

I forget Andy has political opinions. I always just think of him as a Civil Servant in real life - Mac
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#42
DECEMBER 22nd 2001

WORLD ROCKED BY DAY OF TERROR


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The United States is in a state of shock after a day of attacks which have led to thousands of deaths and New York's World Trade Centre destroyed.

The Pentagon was also severely damaged by one of three civilian airliners which hijackers turned into flying bombs. A fourth plane crashed into a field near Pittsburgh. In France, it is suspected that a plane bound from Paris to Miami had been hijacked after an explosion led the aircraft to crash above Lille. 

A state of emergency has been declared in Washinton D.C and in Paris. The U.S has also closed its borders with Mexico and Canada and its airspace. American forces are on their highest state of alert and the Pentagon has deployed a naval battle group off the country's east coast to bolster air defences.

At 12:15PM CEST (11:15AM GMT), American Airlines Flight 63 exploded and the wreckage landed in a field close to the French city of Lille. All on board are feared dead. 

American Airlines Flight 11 was hijacked at 08:25 Eastern Daylight Time (12:25GMT) and crashed into the North tower of the World Trade Centre eighteen minutes later. United Airlines Flight 175, which had been hijacked within minutes of the first plane, was flown into the South tower at 09:03EDT (13:03 GMT). The second crash was captured live on news cameras trained on the burning North tower.

At 9:40EDT (13:40 GMT) a third hijacked airline - American Airlines 77 - was flown into the side of the Pentagon in Washington. 

An hour after the Boeing 767 crashed into the South tower of the World Trade Centre, the 110 storey building collapsed. The North tower followed minutes later, compounding the destruction and loss of life. Witnesses reported seeing people jumping from the towers just before they collapsed.

New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said the death toll could be "more than any of us can bear."

President Powell gave a short statement and led a minute of silence before being escorted to the US Strategic Command Centre in Nebraska, where the country's nuclear weapons are controlled, but is now back on his way to Washington to give a more comprehensive statement.

French President Jacques Chirac called for "caution" following the incident in Lille, but stated that it was "highly probable" the attack had been connected with the attacks in the US. He stated that the US had France's "full support" in "delivering justice" to those who had been responsible.

Prime Minister Callum Finch also gave a supportive statement, saying: "The United Kingdom stands united with our allies and offers its unconditional support to them during these dangerous times. We will remain vigilant but our way of life will never be affected. They will not win."
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#43
Euro cash enters circulation

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At midnight on 1 January 2002, euro notes and coins became legal tender in the 12 countries of the eurozone. They replace the notes and coins of the individual currencies of Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, becoming the day-to-day cash of over 300 million people.

Denmark, Sweden and the UK are the only countries in the EU that have not so far adopted the euro, although none have ruled out joining in future. A short transition period applies, so by 1 March the euro will be the only currency in use anywhere in the eurozone.

The changeover has been smooth so far. Despite any teething troubles, the fears of many euro-sceptics, such as counterfeiting, price inflation, and the cost and confusion of the changeover, have not come about.

However, the change has not been costless, with banks and stores bearing large one-off costs of converting their cash registers and accounting systems to the new currency. The cost to retailers alone has been estimated at £6bn, around 1% of their turnover. Consumer groups claimed that some retailers did round prices upwards, with inflation heading slightly upwards in January - something that could also have been caused by a large amount of illicit cash in the old currencies re-entering the financial system.

Europe is still some way from full price transparency between countries, where people can easily compare the price of their cars, washing machines, and telephone charges across the Continent. But as the new currency highlights the price differences that are due to different tax rates, it could create pressure for further tax harmonisation throughout the eurozone.
Andy
Advisor for the Labour Party, the Home Office, Education and Communities
Poll wrangler and election psephologist
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I forget Andy has political opinions. I always just think of him as a Civil Servant in real life - Mac
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#44
Ford to end car production at Dagenham

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Ford has announced that it is ending car production at Dagenham, its largest UK plant. The move, which aims to stem losses in the firm's loss-making European arm, reportedly puts 3,000 jobs at risk.

The termination of car production at the Essex plant, which employs more than 7,700 people in total, is another blow to the UK motor industry following the loss of more than a thousand jobs as part of BMW's sale of the struggling Rover business to the Phoenix Consortium.

The move was described as "a catastrophe for Dagenham and for UK car production as a whole" by John Edmonds, general secretary of the GMB trade union. "However, we still believe that there is something to play for - ministers must fight to the death to protect car production and jobs at the Dagenham plant," he added.

Ford had planned to start production of the Mark VI Fiesta in Dagenham, but decided instead to build the Fiesta at Cologne in Germany. Ford had previously announced plans to invest about £500m in Dagenham's diesel engine manufacturing capability. Dagenham is Ford's largest diesel engine plant, and this investment is expected to still go ahead despite today's announcement.

Dagenham's future has been in doubt for some time. Managers have criticised poor productivity levels, and the plant has been hit by unofficial strikes and allegations of workforce racism. Ford is also suffering from overcapacity issues at the plant. Nearly half of Dagenham's cars are exported, including outside Europe. Economic troubles in markets like Brazil and saturation in Europe left the factory with spare capacity. "Europe and Latin-America are two areas of the world where Ford is making considerable losses," said motor industry expert Professor Garel Rhys of Cardiff University. "No manufacturer engaged in worldwide competition can afford to cross-subsidise one part of the world from another. So Ford needs to take pretty dramatic action in Europe to get rid of its long-term problem."
Andy
Advisor for the Labour Party, the Home Office, Education and Communities
Poll wrangler and election psephologist
Scandalmonger

I forget Andy has political opinions. I always just think of him as a Civil Servant in real life - Mac
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#45
Lords passes section 28 repeal in knife-edge vote

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The law banning councils and schools in England and Wales from intentionally promoting homosexuality, is to be repealed after the House of Lords voted by 152 votes to 150 to repeal the law. A previous attempt to repeal the law by John Smith's government was voted down by the Lords after a concerted campaign by Baroness Young, a cabinet minister in Margaret Thatcher's government.

The measure has never been used in a prosecution, but has been a focal point for equal rights campaigners since it became law in the late 1980s, under Margaret Thatcher.

Gay justice group Stonewall called the repeal "a triumph for 21st Century tolerance over 19th Century prejudice," and said in a statement that "Section 28 was a pernicious piece of legislation, deliberately framed to stigmatise a minority group. Stonewall has worked long and hard to have this deeply offensive law overturned, and we are delighted that it has finally passed away."

Baroness Young was, due to illness, unable to organise the level of resistance to the change in the law as in 2000 when the Lords last voted the measure down. Lords' acquiescence to repeal is also likely due to the fact that the Conservative Party dropped its official opposition to repeal, the fact that the Commons has overwhelmingly voted for repeal twice, and concerns that blocking a major government priority would accelerate plans to replace the Lords with an elected House.

The legislation is due to receive royal assent later this week.
Steve
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#46
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Peter Snow looks at the forthcoming election through the insight of the swingometer

With an election certainly no more than two months away, I felt it was about time to dig out the ol' swingometer, dust it down, and see what it has to say.

The swingometer looks at the election using swing. Now remember, when I talk about a 1% swing from Labour to Conservative, for example, that would mean one voter out of every hundred changing their vote from the Labour Party to the Conservatives. And, if we assume that those changes take place in the same way all across the country, a “uniform national swing” we call it, then we can use it to make predictions.

You see down here, along the arc of the swingometer, the size of majority that corresponds to different sizes of swing. Now, let's start in the middle here. A 0% swing means no change compared to last time, so would keep Labour in government with their current majority of 69. Suppose there were a swing to the left here, from Conservative to Labour. Then, the majority goes up. 90, 125, and off up into real landslide territory. A swing like this would put Labour on course for their largest majority in over 50 years.

What about a swing the other way? If it's a swing from Labour to Conservative of a couple of percentage points, then Labour remains in power but with a smaller majority, making them more vulnerable to backbench rebellions and so forth. If the swing reaches 4% from Labour to Conservatives, similar to the swing Mrs Thatcher got in her 1983 landslide, then Callum Finch will have lost his overall majority, and we would have a hung parliament.

Keep pushing that arrow up to the right and something interesting happens. One of the seats that we project would change hands on a 5% swing is Burton, and that's Callum Finch's own seat! The Prime Minister being personally defeated would be quite extraordinary. You have to go back over 100 years to Arthur Balfour to anything comparable.

Up until this point, whilst being in hung parliament territory, Labour would still been the largest party. Move the swing up to 7% and that swaps over, with the Conservatives becoming the largest party in a hung parliament. Keep on swinging to the right, past a 8.5% swing like that which the late John Smith secured Labour in 1997, and we get to 9.5%. This is the sort of swing that the Conservatives will need to get to give themselves an overall majority, and to be confident that Harold Saxon will be the man walking into Downing Street.

Now, lets bring the arrow back into the middle and see what recent polls have shown. We've seen polls with a swing of 2%, and that would return a Labour government with a majority of around 30. However, we've also seen them with a 4% swing, and that puts us just inside hung parliament territory. And these are just from the very recent polls. You only have to go back to the end of last year to find polls showing a 7-8% swing to the Conservatives, which could be enough for them to form a Government.

But, this is all just a bit of fun. There's still a whole campaign to be run first!
Andy
Advisor for the Labour Party, the Home Office, Education and Communities
Poll wrangler and election psephologist
Scandalmonger

I forget Andy has political opinions. I always just think of him as a Civil Servant in real life - Mac
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#47
Electoral Reform Society backs MP recall

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The Electoral Reform Society have called on politicians to support the Recall of MPs Bill currently before Parliament. The group, founded in 1884, is best know for their advocacy of a change in the parliamentary voting system to a proportional representation system.

The Recall of MPs Bill was introduced to parliament by the Leader of the Opposition, Harold Saxon, following cross-party talks he called to restore public trust in politics after a number of scandals.

Electoral Reform Society spokesperson, Alex Folkes, said “For over a century, we have supported and encouraged moves to improve our democracy, by making elected representatives more responsive to the views of their voters. When wrongdoing takes place, constituents need a way to remove MPs that don't live up the ideals that sent them to Parliament.”

(This is a Conservative Party reward)
Andy
Advisor for the Labour Party, the Home Office, Education and Communities
Poll wrangler and election psephologist
Scandalmonger

I forget Andy has political opinions. I always just think of him as a Civil Servant in real life - Mac
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#48
Chancellor targets rich in pre-election Budget pitch

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The Chancellor made the annual Budget speech today - his first in the position - and announced significant additional spending on public services while announcing tax increases on the wealthy. Altogether the Budget announced £15 billion of new public spending funded by an extra £6 billion of taxes. The Chancellor is projecting that the Budget surplus will remain next year - the fourth budget surplus in a row. 

The Chancellor announced around £16 billion of tax rises - mainly on the wealthy and by applying VAT to private health and education - but also announced £10 billion of tax cuts largely on lower and modest income earners. The remaining tax rises help to fund continued investment in health and education, as well as additional funding for the police and military.

Responding to the Budget, the Leader of the Opposition said:

Quote:Now, before this Prime Minister and his "comedians" in the cabinet rush out to talk about headline harry, a bandwagon or whatever awful anecdote they will come up with next, this budget does appear on the face of it to deliver some steps in the right direction, but if you look again this Government have got it so wrong. The budget that the Chancellor has unveiled is a budget of smoke and mirrors, a budget that focuses on wrong priorities, a budget that shows no vision or ambition.

Andrew Dilnot, Director of the IFS, spoke to the BBC, saying that:

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Quote:The spending in this Budget is broadly what we would have expected based on the government's prior statements, and continues the government's prioritisation of increasing spending on both education and health and on additional social security to lift families with children out of poverty. The tax changes are much more radical and bigger than anything proposed by either of the Chancellor's predecessors. It is the biggest redistribution through the tax system than at any point since the 1980s, significantly reducing tax bills for the majority of people in work but increasing them at the upper end quite dramatically. What impacts that has on long term growth or on work incentives at both ends of the income spectrum is uncertain, but this takes Britain from having one of the lowest top rates of tax in the rich world to having something closer to its European counterparts.

What is also interesting is that the Chancellor has chosen, despite slower growth, to prioritise maintaining Labour's commitment to fiscal credibility and to a significant budget surplus. That won't necessarily be a popular choice as it means that the Chancellor couldn't cut tax more or spend more, but it does mean that interest and mortgage rates are likely to fall faster this year as the Bank of England tries to support growth, and he will have more in the kitty after the election. This was certainly the Budget of a Chancellor who believes he will still be in post after the next election to have the opportunity.
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#49
Labour returns but without overall majority

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Labour have been returned to government following the general election, but without an overall majority, final results confirmed earlier today. Labour won 328 seats, two short of an overall majority. But Sinn Fein - the abstentionist Northern Irish Party - won four seats, meaning that Callum Finch will be able to govern with a working majority of 1.

The final results were:

Labour 10,261,190 (37.5%) - 328 seats (-36)
Conservative 9,840,989 (36.0%) - 265 seats (+45)
Lib Dem 6,192,735 (22.7%) - 38 seats (-12)

The night began with expectations that Labour would win a slender majority, and early results suggested Labour would do better than expected. But the Conservatives performed particularly well in the marginal-heavy regions of London and the Midlands. Labour was able to retain a strong lead in many of its heartlands - Scotland, Wales, the North - and also made some headway in the East of England.

Callum Finch is expected to re-appoint his cabinet this week.
Steve
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#50
MAY 2002
Saxon Sacks Dissenters

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The Leader of the Opposition, Sir Harold Saxon, has announced that he has sacked his Shadow Chancellor, Elizabeth Atwood, following an alleged coup she was plotting against him with Conservative MP Dr. Evelyn Lynwood. He has replaced her with Michael Kirton, who had previously served as Deputy Leader.

Rumours of rebellion surfaced almost immediately as soon as the results of the election, which saw Labour manage to obtain a working majority, came in: these leaks included one leak saying three Shadow Cabinet Members planned to rebel including one in a great office of state. Another leak came in saying one of the dissenters would resign the following day and call on Sir Harold Saxon to resign as Leader of the Conservative Party.

In a statement, Sir Harold Saxon said:

Quote:Good afternoon,

Following the election result the Conservatives have made significant gains since we were defeated in 1997. We have come leaps and bounds and have stopped this Government forming a majority. The Conservatives led a effective campaign which resulted in key wins in the South West and the West Midlands.

It is become apparent however that some disagree with this progress and are actively seeking to undermine the Conservative leadership. Following an investigation led by Michael Kirton who is a trusted MP and close friend, I have determined that the shadow Chancellor Elizabeth Atwood and Conservative MP Dr. Evleyn Lynwood have been plotting to stage a challenge against me for the Leadership of the Conservative party. 

I can therefore confirm that the shadow Chancellor has been sacked from her position with immediate effect and will leave the shadow cabinet. As Ms Atwood signed a letter backing me for the Leadership I was surprised at her involvement and this just shows what sort of character she is.

I also advise those who wish to challenge me to either emerge from the shadows and declare their candidacy, or get in line. It is time to put up or shut up. 

I can also confirm Michael Kirton has been appointed Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor 

I have no further comment to make.

Michael Kirton, a key Saxon ally who had conducted the investigation that uncovered the plot and previously served as Saxon's Deputy Leader before a quiet and temporary return to the backbenches, said this:

Quote:“After the 1997 election, it seemed impossible that the Conservative Party would be able to rebuild itself in a quick manner. Five years after that election defeat, the Conservatives are the only party to emerge from the election with an increased seat count. Yes, of course, Conservatives wanted to govern. But if we look at where we were just five years ago and look to where we are now, there is no question that we have made huge gains and seen success.

Harold Saxon did an excellent job in this election campaign. He deserves to lead our party through what will surely be a short-term Parliament. The Prime Minister has no authority. His government is untenable at best. We cannot risk the gains we made last night with plotting and feuding.

My constituents in Boston-Skegness re-elected me to be part of Harold Saxon’s team; they endorsed Harold Saxon’s vision for Britain. I stand with my constituents, and I stand with Harold Saxon.”

Elizabeth Atwood and Dr. Lynwood are yet to comment.
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#51
MAY 2002
Atwood Reappointed to Roles

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Today, Sir Harold Saxon and Elizabeth Atwood sent in a statement to the BBC which confirmed Elizabeth Atwood had returned to the Shadow Cabinet as Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. The report read as follows:

"Harold Saxon and Elizabeth Atwood have met to discuss certain reports which were published by the BBC yesterday evening, which were false. The discussions between Mr Saxon and Mrs Atwood were friendly and constructive. Ms Atwood expressed that she was pleased to serve with Harold Saxon and that she supported his leadership, and she expressed that she was looking forward to working with Shadow Cabinet colleagues, including new addition Michael Kirton who she said would beomce a valued member of the team. Conservative HQ confirm that Ms Atwood has been reappointed as Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor. Michael Kirton has been appointed as Shadow Chief Whip, further shadow cabinet appointments to folllow.

Mr Saxon and Ms Atwood agreed that the election result showed that the party's vision resonated with voters and that Labour had lost credibility. The two agreed that they will stand united in holding this weakened Labour government to account and to deliver a Conservative government whenever the next election is called.

There will be no further comment."

The BBC's political editor, Andrew Marr, said this of the latest development:

"It's intriguing that Sir Harold Saxon seems to be insinuating the BBC reports were false because they came from his office. However, this report confirms what we have already known: that Elizabeth Atwood has too much political capital to be removed from Shadow Cabinet. Regardless, this u-turn is an extraordinarily embarrassing move from Sir Harold Saxon, so he must have calculated Atwood's talents - or the fact she's letting go of the alleged knife - outweigh the cost."
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#52
JUNE 2002:
Government met with hostile Lords during the Queen's Speech

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The government's proposals for the upcoming Parliamentary session were met with backlash from the House of Lords during the Queen's speech. 

As the Queen read out proposals the government laid out during the election to reform the House of Lords into an elected Senate - "My Government will seek to make the upper chamber of this House more accountable and democratic through a proportionally elected Senate" - she was greeted with cries of 'shame' and jeers from the Lords, including some Lords on the Labour benches.

This comes with news that the Lords would attempt to resist the government's reform plans, with sources telling the BBC that on this issue, due to the 'unprecedented level of constitutional reform' and the 'lack of a true mandate from the public in the 2002 General Election' that on the upcoming Senate bill the Lords were prepared to defy the Salisbury convention. 

However, the Leader of the House of Lords, Baron Williams of Mostyn, has said he would work with the government to ensure that the proposed reform passed. He said: "I am confident that the Lords would approve of the plans put forward by the government today for well needed reform, given a just democratic mandate from the British people. For too long the Lords has been dominated by a small clique of entitled naysayers who believe they can be born into or handed power. To them I would say they should put their case forwards to the British public in a fair election - I very much look forward to working within the Lords to ensure I am the last Leader of it - and the first Leader of the Senate!"
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#53
Railtrack and Government agree £900m buyout

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Railtrack is to be nationalised and will become "BritRail" later this year in a £900 million agreement announced today by the Chairman of the company and Railtrack's administrators.

Under the deal, Railtrack's shareholders will be compensated to the value of the shares when the company was put into administration - roughly £2.80 a share. As a result the Government will purchase all of Railtrack's assets and take on all of its debt - worth several billions. The deal also means that the Government will also take on the construction and eventual ownership of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link between St Pancras and the Channel Tunnel - Britain's first high speed rail - which had originally been hailed as an example of private finance investment.

The Chancellor, Alwyn Thomas, published the Railways Bill in Parliament after the announcement, which will establish the company, BritRail, that will now take on the rail infrastructure.

The £2.80 buyout is a minor victory for shareholders who had been warned they could get nothing, but represents a significant loss compared to the original sale price of Railtrack - at £3.60 a share - and against the average share price over the last 3 years of nearly £10. While most large investors have decided to take the offer, smaller investors remain furious and have threatened to take the government to court.
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#54
Lynwood new Tory leader

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In an embaressing mix-up, the new Tory leader appears to have spent election night wearing the wrong rosette.

Dr Evelyn Lynwood has been acclaimed as the new Tory leader after MPs nominated her and no other candidates for the Conservative Leadership. Lynwood was a surprise pick, but claimed the support of a number of high profile colleagues and potential opponents ultimately decided not to run against her.

Lynwood has set out a significant new policy agenda for the Conservative Party that has both raised eyebrows and attracted acclaim from her colleagues. While praising her predecessor, she has clearly set out to put clear blue water between herself and Harold Saxon. Among her pledges are a referendum to abolish the Welsh Assembly; abolishing stamp duty and inheritance tax; opposing entry into the Euro; and abolishing university tuition fees.

Lynwood takes over a party that, while having success at the last election and taking a significant number of seats, has struggled since then. The latest opinion polls see Labour with an advantage of around 5% over the Opposition - significantly better than at the election and their best position in a number of years.
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#55
Economy "avoids recession" but growth remains subdued

The UK economy has avoided recession, despite slow growth in both the USA and the Eurozone, official statistics confirmed today. Growth in the third quarter of the year was 0.3%, up from no growth in the second quarter of the year. The figures mean that overall the economy is set to grow a little slower than the Chancellor thought at Budget, but remains broadly in fair health, with unemployment falling slightly last month after flatlining for most of the year.

While lower than growth over the past few years, the UK continues to perform relatively robustly compared to the United States and Europe - both of which have seen sluggish growth from a combination of the dot-com bubble burst and the terrorist attacks last December.

However, while the UK economy has grown, manufacturing output has shrunk since the beginning of the year. "The economy may not be in recession," the GMB union told the BBC, "but our manufacturing sector is." Since 1998 around 500,000 jobs in manufacturing have been lost - with the decline quickening this year. And that decline has begun to bite in visible ways, with Dyson moving all of its manufacturing to Asia this month.

The CBI told the BBC that the decline in manufacturing was "concerning but a result of increased competition from lower cost countries in East Asia." It has called on the government to take action to make the UK more competitive by improving skills, cutting corporation tax, and cutting regulations. Others, such as the Institute of Directors, have also said that factors such as the increased top rate of tax and uncompetitive rates of corporation tax are driving away talent and discouraging investment. However, they did praise the government for its continued fiscal responsibility. "The decline in manufacturing would have been greater and our growth slower if the Chancellor had loosened the purse-strings, although raising taxes to fund extra spending is not the way to do that" they said, adding "the last Budget maintained a surplus which has meant the Bank of England can keep interest rates low, and companies can borrow money for investment more cheaply. Without that we would have seen even more job cuts."
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#56
Courts rule life sentence powers "incompatible" with human rights

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The Home Secretary's power to increase the minimum sentence handed down to convicted murderers is "incompatible" with human rights laws, say the rulings of the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

In the Supreme Court's first major ruling since it was established last year, the court accepted the argument by defence lawyers that only judges should able to set the minimum tariffs for prisoners serving life for murder. Lord Bingham, President of the Supreme Court, said the power of the Home Secretary to decide how long sentences should be was "incompatible" with Article Six of the European Convention on Human Rights - the right of a convicted person to have a sentence imposed by an independent and impartial tribunal.

The test case was brought by three convicted killers, including double murderer Anthony Anderson, who was jailed in 1988. Mr Anderson claimed his human rights have been breached by the increase of his minimum prison sentence to 20 years by the then Home Secretary, Michael Howard, after the trial judge had recommended 15 years.

The ruling could affect 225 prisoners in Britain, including 70 who have already served the minimum tariff set out by the trial judge and are now only serving the additional time set by the Home Secretary of the time. Many prisoners affected could appeal their sentences or sue the government for compensation. It could also open the way for more than 20 murderers with "whole life" tariffs to have new minimum terms decided by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf.

Cases that could be reviewed following the rulings included those of Arthur Hutchinson, who killed a solicitor, the man's wife and their son and raped their daughter during a burglary; Jeremy Bamber, who killed his adoptive parents, his step-sister and her six-year-old twin sons; and Rose West, who murdered 10 young women, including her eldest daughter. The solicitor for Rose West told BBC News Online: "This ruling has no imminent impact on Rose. She has said that she does not want to come out."

The case comes too late for Moors murder Myra Hindley, who died in prison earlier this month while serving a sentence for her part in the killing of five children. Her partner in crime, Ian Brady, would be an unlikely candidate for appeal, as the judge himself in Brady's case recommended he serve a whole-life tariff.
Andy
Advisor for the Labour Party, the Home Office, Education and Communities
Poll wrangler and election psephologist
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I forget Andy has political opinions. I always just think of him as a Civil Servant in real life - Mac
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