British Queen celebrates

UK news


NHS hospitals are making money by charging "ambulance chasing" lawyers fees to advertise in accident and emergency departments, former justice secretary Jack Straw told MPs.

He said 70 trusts had been paid a total of £2 million over the past five years as he attacked the "grubby" personal injury claims industry.

Mr Straw revealed proposals to clamp down on the compensation culture which he said had led to soaring motor insurance premiums.

The Government has already accepted one of his key demands by promising to ban the payment of referral fees in personal injury cases.

"In the last year alone there has been a 40% increase in the average premiums paid by Britain's motorists to insure their cars," Mr Straw said. "The principal factor behind these rocketing premiums has been a extraordinary increase in both the number and value of claims for personal injuries."

However the number of accidents had decreased and the increase had been "artificially generated by a new industry, unheard of 20 years ago, a claims industry with, I'm afraid, the complicity of the insurance companies themselves".


Family members of the first fallen British serviceman to be repatriated since ceremonies ended in Wootton Bassett were "overwhelmed" as they were joined by thousands of people in Oxfordshire.

The body of Sergeant Barry Weston, 40, of 42 Commando, was flown to RAF Brize Norton.

The Royal Marine, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, was the first serviceman to be repatriated to the airbase since flights resumed on September 1. They were moved to RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, in April 2007 when Brize Norton was closed for runway repairs.

The quiet and humble way in which Wootton Bassett turned out to honour the fallen won a place in the hearts of the British public.

On Thursday, the Oxfordshire townsfolk of Carterton emulated the respect shown in Wootton Bassett as they stood silently and bowed their heads. Forty standards were lowered opposite a purpose-built memorial garden in which the Union flag from Wootton Bassett was hung at half mast.


David Cameron is poised to allow some court sentencing to be televised, it has been reported.

Broadcasting from courts in tightly controlled circumstances is being looked at by the Government after renewed calls from broadcasters.

The Prime Minister will unveil plans to allow cameras in court for judges' sentencing of offenders, according to The Guardian.

On Monday evening a spokesman for Number 10 repeated a statement made on Sunday by the Ministry of Justice which said: "We are considering proposals put forward by broadcasters to allow limited recording and transmission from courts in specific circumstances.

"However, before any firm proposals are developed, the Lord Chancellor will wish to consult on the principle of broadcasting from court with the senior judiciary."

Sky News, which has been campaigning for cameras in court, quoted its own sources saying cameras would be allowed in courts for some elements.


Travel advice website TripAdvisor is being investigated by the advertising watchdog over allegations that not all its reviews are genuine.

A formal complaint was lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over TripAdvisor's claim that it publishes "reviews you can trust".

The allegation is that some of the reviews may not be "real or genuine", an ASA spokesman said.

The Ministry of Defence wrote off more than £110 million in losses last year, including the cost of settling a dispute over furniture and donating helmets and body armour to Uganda.

The department's annual accounts also show that some £10.2 million of spending in 2010/11 was counted as "fruitless payments".

The losses come as the MoD is facing 17,000 job losses due to massive cuts in its £34 billion budget following the strategic defence and security review (SDSR).

The write-offs include a £1.7 million out-of-court settlement with a furniture company at the end of a contract.

A crash involving a warhead at the Naval Air Warfare Centre in China Lake, California, cost more than £1 million. The grounding of HMS Astute in Skye last October is expected to cost another £2.3 million, the accounts show.

This year's losses also include a "gift" of fibre glass helmets and body armour to the Ugandan government. It cost almost £1.7 million. Just over £57 million was written off as "constructive losses" - mainly cancelled projects.


Police have arrested a 61-year-old man over online threats against Tory MP Louise Mensch.

The Metropolitan Police said the man was arrested in Gloucester in connection with an investigation into "malicious communication and threats made via email and a social networking site".

Mrs Mensch claimed earlier this week that "morons" had threatened her children by email.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the police central e-crime unit and officers from the Palace of Westminster had been involved in the arrest.

The spokesman said "The 61-year-old was arrested at an address in the Gloucester area on suspicion of sending malicious communication.



The Malaysian student mugged by yobs posing as Good Samaritans during the riots has been given VIP treatment at the Badminton World Championships.

Ashraf Rossli, 20, who was rushed to hospital with a broken jaw after being set upon less than a month after arriving in Britain, was invited to the event at Wembley Arena as the guest of honour by London & Partners, on behalf of London Mayor Boris Johnson.

The grinning student - with his family who have flown from Ampang, near Kuala Lumpur, to be with their son after the incident - met Mr Johnson at the event. Sporting a Malaysian team T-shirt, Mr Rossli also met Malaysian player Lee Chong Wei, who lost out in his bid to claim the men's badminton world title.

This week, shocked members of the public have raised more than £22,000 for the student through the "Let's Do Something Nice For Ashraf" fund.

Mr Rossli, who is studying accountancy at Kaplan International College in north London, was robbed by hooded youths who initially pretended to help him before going through his rucksack, stealing his mobile phone, portable Sony PlayStation and wallet in Barking, east London on Monday night.


The continued pressure on UK households will be highlighted next week when inflation figures for July are released by the Office for National Statistics.

Inflation is set to show a rise to around 4.4% on Tuesday after a short-lived decline in the rate to 4.2% in the previous month's figures.

The increase for July is part of a trend that the Bank of England expects will see inflation reach 5% by the end of the year as steep rises in electricity and gas prices come into effect.

With the UK facing a period of continued sluggish growth, the Bank then expects inflation to fall below the 2% target to 1.8% in two years time, particularly as the impact of this year's VAT increase falls out.

Tuesday's figures will be closely watched by rail travellers as July's Retail Price Index (RPI) number, which unlike CPI also includes housing costs, is the basis on which rail fares for next year are based.



David Cameron has vowed to do "whatever it takes" to restore order to the streets after four days of looting and rioting brought chaos and destruction to English towns and cities.

Addressing an emergency session of the House of Commons the Prime Minister promised the Government would pay to compensate the victims of the disorder while retaining a reinforced police presence in London.

In a wide-ranging statement he said ministers were keeping the sentencing powers of the courts under "constant review" and pledged to tackle the gang culture which he said lay behind much of the violence as a "national priority".

He said officials were also considering whether they could stop people plotting disorder via social media websites and he opened up the prospect the Army could take on some policing tasks to free up more officers for the front line.

However, during a two hour 45 minute session answering MPs' questions, he fended off repeated Labour demands to rethink planned cuts to police budgets, insisting that they would not affect the numbers of officers on the streets.



A woman is to command a warship for the first time in the history of the Royal Navy, it has emerged.

Lieutenant Commander Sarah West, 39, will take control of HMS Portland, making her the first female commander of a frontline warship in the 500-year history of the service, a Royal Navy spokesman said.

She will take charge of the Type 23 frigate in April next year.

The Royal Navy first allowed women to go to sea in 1990 and until now they have commanded non-fighting Navy ships but not frontline warships.

Lt Cdr West is said to have earned the role because of her "leadership, confidence, moral courage, sound judgment and excellent people skills".

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "We can confirm the appointment of Lt Cdr Sarah West, who will be Commander West from January as CO of HMS Portland. She will take over command in April 2012.