22 Jul '14

News Nicky Morgan's statement on Birmingham 'Trojan horse' inquiry: Politics live blog

Rolling coverage of all the day's political developments as they happen, including a Commons statement from Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, on the Birmingham "Trojan horse" affair 11.59am BST The Labour MP Tom Watson and the Conservative MP David Davis are taking the government to court. In a move backed by Liberty, they are seeking judicial review of the government's emergency surveillance legislation (the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act) passed last week.Here's an extract from the Liberty news release.Liberty is arguing on Mr Davis and Mr Watsons behalf that the new legislation is incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the right to respect for private and family life, and Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, respect for private and family life and protection of personal data.Since 2009, communications data has been retained by public communications services and network providers under a 2009 EU Data Retention Directive. But in April the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the Directive was invalid because it was so sweeping in its interference with individual privacy rights. The judgment made clear that existing UK legislation, including the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), required urgent review. 11.44am BST You can read all todays Guardian politics stories here. And all the politics stories filed yesterday, including some in todays paper, are here.As for the rest of the papers, heres the PoliticsHome list of top 10 must-reads, and heres the ConservativeHome round-up of political stories in today's papers.We have come to believe that, because Mr Blair said the word bold a lot, he actually was. In truth, he was a gradualist prime minister whose place in history does not derive from any rupture in policy or revolution in the state. His place in history comes from the magnitude of his political success. He might turn out to be the last truly national politician: the last to win support in every region of the country and the last to achieve 40 per cent of the popular vote ...This stalemate is written all over the Labour and Tory campaigns for next years general election. Labour is not, as alleged, aiming to win just 35 per cent of the vote that figure actually represents their estimated floor of support but neither is it straining to lure voters who are not already left-leaning. A squeaked victory on a leftwing platform is preferred to the centrist landslides in which Mr Blair specialised.Blairs precise advice is fairly vague. Having listened to many of his speeches in recent years I find that general assertions are rarely backed up by detailed prescriptions in relation to the dilemmas that Miliband now faces. Partly Blair is being discreet, but that is not the sole explanation. Blair argues there is no left and right division any more, the only divide being between those who seek open or closed societies. The assertion might reflect his personal journey but to extrapolate a global trend from that is quite a leap. I can see what he means in relation to immigration, Europe and dealing with Ukip. On all of these, he is impressively forensic. But on other mighty issues, he offers no clear route map. Who pays for health and elderly care when people are living longer? With good cause, Blair regretted the closure of Sure Start centres, but does that mean he believes Miliband should pledge to reopen some? The answers will be determined partly by whether an advocate is on the left or right. 11.28am BST The Treasury has today announced that councillors' travel expenses will be exempt from income tax. David Gauke, the financial secretary to the Treasury, revealed this in a written ministerial statement (pdf).Local councillors perform a vital but frequently unsung constitutional role working on behalf of local people, often in addition to other professional and personal commitments. They are required to perform their duties in both the communities they serve and their council offices and most receive no payment other than allowances in recognition of the time and expenses they incur. The Government wants to ensure that nobody is discouraged from representing their local community as a local councillor and therefore intends to introduce this new exemption so that in the future, travel expenses paid to local councillors, including those to cover the costs of journeys to their council offices, are not subject to income tax or NICs. 11.18am BST Lord Aschcroft has published a new marginal seats poll. It covers 14 of the 26 marginal seats that he covered in a poll published in May.In a post for ConservativeHome, he summarises the key findings. Here's an extract.The most striking feature is that rising support for UKIP has eroded the swing to Labour. Though the Tories are down a point on their share in March and April in these seats, Labour are down by three points and UKIP are up five.There are three points worth noting about this. First, the most immediately striking effect of this shift is that UKIP now lead in two seats Thurrock and Thanet South. They have also jumped to second in Great Yarmouth, where the Tories are now ahead, having been behind Labour in my previous round of polling. 11.00am BST Theresa May, the home secretary, has confirmed that there will be a full public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer who died in London after drinking after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210 with two ex-colleagues at a London hotel in 2006. It will be chaired by Sir Robert Owen, the judge who had been conducted the inquest into Litvinenko's death. That inquest has now been suspended.It is more than seven years since Mr. Litvinenkos death, and I very much hope that this inquiry will be of some comfort to his widow Mrs. Litvinenko. 10.39am BST Unison has announced that it is going to ballot its NHS staff members over strike action. This is from Christina McAnea, Unison's head of health.Balloting for strike action is not an easy decision - especially in the NHS. But this government is showing complete contempt for NHS workers. It has swept aside the pay review body's recommendations and ignored the union's call for a fair deal. Our members are angry at the way they are being treated and we are left with little choice but to ballot for action. 10.24am BST On a day like today (it's glorious in London) it's easy to forget that we're often at the mercy of terrible weather. But that is one of the concusions of a report published today by Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, looking at whether the transport system is prepared for bad weather conditions.The report (pdf) concludes that, although the system responded reasonably well to to the winter storms, more needs to be done. Here's an extract.Whilst it is difficult to attribute any one of these episodes of extreme weather to climate change, the consensus view among the scientific community, as provided by the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that we will see an increasing incidence of extreme weather events in the future because of climate change.It is therefore important that we plan for this and ensure that our transport networks are as well prepared as they can be to minimise the impact of extreme weather events. The principal weather events we need to plan for are more rainfall over sustained periods in winters, more intense localised rain storms particularly in the summer, albeit summers on average will be drier and hotter overall with higher peak temperatures, and more severe storms, against a background of rising sea levels. 10.02am BST This is what Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, said as he arrived at the EU foreign affairs meeting in Brussels.Everybody wants to see a balanced set of measures going forward, but the world has changed since the European Council last week. The events of last Thursday have changed public expectations on us and we have to send a clear signal from our meeting today that we recognise that and that we are going to go further ...This meeting today is an opportunity for us to send a very clear signal to Russia. Were obviously pleased that there is movement now on repatriating the victims; were pleased that there is some access being granted to the site. But we mustnt forget the overall context: This terrible incident happened in the first place because of Russias support to the separatists in eastern Ukraine, because of the flow of heavy weapons from Russia into eastern Ukraine. We have to address that issue today and I shall be urging my colleagues and our partners to send a very clear and strong signal to Russia today. 9.50am BST For the record, here are today's YouGov GB polling figures.Labour: 38% (up 1 point from YouGov in the Sunday Times) 9.12am BST It's the last day that the Commons is sitting before the summer recess and, as usual, that means that we're get a host of announcements that ministers need to present to parliaments while they've got the chance. As you can see from the order paper (pdf), there are 31 written ministerial statements coming. We've also got an oral statement from Nicky Morgan, the new education secretary, about the Peter Clarke inquiry into the Birmingham "Trojan horse" affair. My colleague Patrick Wintour revealed the contents of the draft report last week. I'll be covering the statement in detail. Continue reading...

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