Vote urged over decisions on war

July 27, 2006

Tony Blair has been urged to scrap the government’s right to go to war without first seeking a parliamentary vote.

A cross-party committee of peers said the vote on the Iraq war in 2003 had created a benchmark, and future decisions should lie with Parliament.

They want the royal prerogative, which lets ministers start military action without such approval, to be changed.

Committee chairman Lord Holme said it was unacceptable that “King Tony” Blair could put soldiers’ lives in jeopardy.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Vote urged over decisions on war

Child Support Agency to be axed

July 24, 2006

The Child Support Agency (CSA) is being scrapped, with absent parents facing curfews and the suspension of their passports, MPs have been told.

Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton said the CSA was not working, had a backlog of 300,000 cases and debts of £3bn with little prospect of recovery.

It will be replaced by a new “smaller, more focused” body as part of a radical reform of the maintenance system.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Child Support Agency to be axed

Kennedy warns of rich-poor divide

December 29, 2005

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has warned of a “continuing widening of the gap between rich and poor”.

In his New Year message, he accused Labour of “tinkering” with policy and “giving way” to pressure to reintroduce selective secondary schools.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Kennedy warns of rich-poor divide

Ministers ‘turning a blind eye’ to homelessness

December 24, 2005

MINISTERS were today accused of turning “a blind eye” to homelessness as figures showed more than 100,000 families face Christmas in temporary accommodation.

The total has risen by 55 per cent over the last five years, Government statistics released to the Liberal Democrats show.

Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone, said: “These figures are shocking. A growing number of Britons are going to have to spend Christmas Day in temporary accommodation. “The Government has failed to get to grips with the problem of homelessness.” News – Politics – Ministers ‘turning a blind eye’ to homelessness in UK

Blair’s EU deal gives Brown a £2bn headache

December 18, 2005

Tony Blair’s sacrifice over Britain’s European Union rebate has left his Chancellor to plug a multi-billion pound hole in this country’s future spending plans, it emerged last night.

Gordon Brown will have to find between £1bn and £2bn a year that would otherwise have been available to spend between 2008-11, a key period for investment in health, education and frontline services before the next election.

Treasury sources last night played down suggestions that Brown was angry about the move or had been not been told what was happening. Although Blair did not consult his Chancellor directly before tabling a more generous offer on Friday afternoon, which finally clinched a deal on the EU budget, a senior Treasury official was with the Prime Minister in Brussels.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Blair’s EU deal gives Brown a £2bn headache

MP calls for ban on ‘unsafe’ sweetener

December 16, 2005

A member of the parliamentary select committee on food and the environment yesterday called for emergency action to ban the artificial sweetener aspartame, used in 6,000 food, drink and medicinal products.

The Liberal Democrat MP Roger Williams said in an adjournment debate in the Commons that there was “compelling and reliable evidence for this carcinogenic substance to be banned from the UK food and drinks market altogether”.

In licensing aspartame for use, regulators around the world had failed in their main task of protecting the public, he told MPs.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | MP calls for ban on ‘unsafe’ sweetener