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The coalition suffered three resignations and saw its majority slashed as the Liberal Democrats split three ways over moves to hike university tuition fees to up to £9,000.

Violence raged among protesters outside the Commons before and after the vote - and there are reports that a car containing the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall has been attacked.

In the vote, 21 Lib Dem MPs defied desperate pleas from leader Nick Clegg and voted against the controversial rise, while eight abstained. The Government won the vote with a majority of just 21, with 323 MPs in favour and 302 against.

The vote came after a tense five-hour debate in the Commons, which saw a number of Lib Dem MPs and a handful of Tories voice opposition to the plans.

Two Liberal Democrat MPs resigned as ministerial aides ahead of the vote.



The Mayor of London Boris Johnson will join representatives of London's Jewish community on Wednesday (December 8) when the final light is lit on the giant Menorah in Trafalgar Square as part of the capital's celebrations to mark the festival of Chanukah.

Organised by the London Menorah Council in association with the London Jewish Forum and Chabad House Hendon with support from the Mayor, business leader Gerald Ronson, who is sponsoring the event, will symbolically "flick the switch".

The Mayor said: 'Chanukah is a wonderful occasion. It embodies the universal message of the power of light over darkness, of freedom over oppression, of tolerance over tyranny. Recalling how  over 2,000 years ago the Maccabees secured the freedom of the Jewish people and the re-dedication of the Temple, it is the story of hope and faith in the future.



The sale of the Government's shares in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) would be "a symbol of Britain's recovery", its chief executive has suggested.

Stephen Hester made clear he would welcome the move, saying it would help RBS - which is 83% state-owned - and provide a boost to the nation's finances.

The head of Lloyds Banking Group refused to say when the Government's 41% stake in his company should be sold off, but also held out the prospect of a windfall for the Treasury.

The taxpayer was "in the money", Eric Daniels told MPs.

Speaking to the Treasury Select Committee, Mr Hester acknowledged criticism that money invested in banks could be better spent on schools, hospitals and roads.


An elderly man has been found dead in snow at a caravan park.

Humberside Police said the man, believed to have been in his 70s, was found by security guards patrolling the Thorpe Park site in Cleethorpes, north-east

Lincolnshire, on Saturday.

The pensioner's body was found outside in freezing conditions and was fully clothed.

Officers said they could not confirm reports he may have lay undiscovered for two days.

A spokesman said the man had not been formally identified and his death was not being treated as suspicious.

Thorpe Park is a large site of static holiday caravans by the sea on the south side of Cleethorpes, near the village of Humberston.

It is currently closed to visitors and it is understood owner-residents are also absent at this time of year as part of their site agreements.


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Green campaigners have marched on Parliament demanding greenhouse gas emissions are slashed to help prevent "climate catastrophe".

With UN delegates meeting in Cancun, Mexico, to hammer out a deal to cut global warming, thousands of campaigners marched through London.

Hundreds of people in Hyde Park formed themselves into a "2030" with a giant zero - spelling out the date by which campaigners want a 'Zero Carbon Britain'.

After creating the human 2030, campaigners cycled and marched through central London to urge the coalition Government to take strong action to decarbonise the economy and create a million green jobs in the process.

The climate rally was addressed by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Labour's John McDonnell and Michael Meacher and leaders of green organisations and unions.

Larissa Stuart, spokesman for Campaign Against Climate Change (CACC), said: "There was a great atmosphere and the politicians made really rousing speeches.

"We had lots of support from people and gave out lots of leaflets and really raised awareness."

Ahead of the march, Phil Thornhill, also from CACC, said: "Gridlock in the international negotiations does not stop the slide towards climate catastrophe gathering deadly pace - as we have begun to witness this year in flood-stricken Pakistan, drought-hit Russia and other places.

"It makes it all the more crucial that we transform the politics behind that impasse and we can start at home."

Friends of the Earth's executive director Andy Atkins, who also spoke at the rally, said the "alarm bells are ringing loudly" and urgent action was needed to stop climate change.


Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved.


The City of London snow clearance nightshift commenced mechanical gritting of the Square Mile at 1.00am, completing precautionary east and west gritting routes in the early hours and directing all street sweeping operations to winter maintenance activities at 3.00am.The night operation continued to grit known problem areas including high risk and priority highways and footways in accordance with the City of London Snow and Winter Emergency Plan. These priority areas included London Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Tower Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, station fronts, bus stops, crossing points, raised junctions and traffic islands City-wide.  During the nightshift the gritting operation treated 39 miles of highway and used approximately 15 tons of salt.

Morning shift commenced at 7.00am with two gritters sent out at 7.30am to salt east and west sides of the City. The early and middle sweeping shifts have all been directed to work on the City Snow Plan with works ongoing. It is anticipated that this work will be completed by 5.00pm (prior to major worker footfall) with all roads having, as a minimum, a safe, snow free footway. We aim to remove the majority of snow/ slush from all footways to avoid icing over during the night. We will be gritting manually and mechanically throughout the night.

In addition to the planned work we are responding to the feedback from our staff's site inspections while the weather forecast is being monitored by the winter service manager and used as basis for future service delivery planning.




David Chaytor - MP's Facing Expesnes Charges Appear In Court


Former Labour MP David Chaytor has admitted fraudulently claiming Parliamentary expenses.

He became the first politician to get a criminal conviction in connection with the expenses scandal when he pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to three charges of false accounting.

Chaytor, 61, had previously denied the charges and was due to stand trial at London's Southwark Crown Court on Monday.

But he changed his plea on Friday at the Old Bailey. The move came after legal challenges to stop the trial failed.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court published its reasons for rejecting a claim by Chaytor and two other former MPs that criminal proceedings against them would infringe parliamentary privilege.


With the UK's busiest online shopping day ‘Mega Monday’ (6 December) fast approaching, the National Fraud Authority (NFA) and the UK’s Lead Force for fraud, City of London Police, are ringing-out the bells about the growing threat of online fraudsters.

With over half the UK adult population now shopping online, forecasters predict pre-Christmas web sales will peak at £23.2m between 12-1pm on ‘Mega Monday’. But police analysts advise this frenetic activity also raises the risk of buyers losing money to criminals.

Shoppers should be aware that behind some flashy websites, canny criminals are looking to cash-in on the December online spree. Anonymous fraudsters can set up legitimate-looking websites to sell either counterfeit goods or no goods at all.

According to figures compiled by the NFA’s Action Fraud and the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), there has been a 15 per cent increase in reports of online shopping and auction fraud since July.

The organisations are also warning people to take extra care when purchasing popular Christmas gifts online. Previous reports to Action Fraud and other agencies, suggest the following products are the top five to feature in online shopping and auction fraud:
1. Smart Phones
2. Digital Cameras
3. Designer goods including jewellery and branded boots
4. Laptops and notebooks
5. Video game systems.
Financial Fraud Action UK and CIFAS – The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service are supporting the call for consumers to take basic steps online to protect themselves this Christmas.
To make sure your online shopping is safe and secure remember these top tips:

  • Use secure websites that you trust. Do your research before making a purchase. Check online forums for feedback
  • Do they have a real-world presence? Can you see their address and phone number? Is it a valid UK registered phone number?
  • Check the browser address changes from 'http' to 'https' to indicate you have a secure connection and look for a padlock or an unbroken key symbol on your web browser
  • If website prices for designer items, games and smart phones seem too good to be true, they probably are. Legitimate popular technology and designer items are rarely discounted
  • For further advice and to report fraud, log onto or call 0300 123 2040
  • Textphone 0300 123 2050
  • Visit for other tips on staying safe online. 

Det Ch Supt, Steve Head, Head of City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate, said: “Fraudsters hide behind showy websites and never have to face their victims, but we have to pick up the pieces. This is a crime that ruins Christmas. These victims lose a lot of money, but perhaps more upsetting is that they don’t even have the gifts to give their family and friends.
“Christmas is a time of goodwill, but don’t show that generosity to the fraudsters. Do the checks and be secure.”

Dr Bernard Herdan, CEO, National Fraud Authority: “All that glitters is not always gold and - particularly at this time of year - too many people fall foul of fraudsters while rushing to buy Christmas presents online.  Like more than half of us now, I'm a huge fan of online shopping, but I always make sure I protect myself. The good news is it is really simple to stay safe online. 

"Please follow our easy tips.  They really could make all the difference to your happy Christmas.  And if you are unfortunate enough to get caught-out by a fraudster, report it to Action Fraud.  The experts there will take your report, provide you with comprehensive fraud prevention advice, and send the intelligence to the police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, so helping to identify, track and stop these criminals.”
Kate Beddington-Brown, Head of Communications at CIFAS, said: “At this time of year, most of us are spending more online than usual.  With all of the pressures surrounding us in the lead-up to the festive season, it is all too easy to overlook the security measures that we usually take for granted. Using the prevention tips above can help you have a much happier Christmas than you will do if you fall prey to an online fraudster.”
Visit Action Fraud for daily prevention tips in the run up to Christmas, join NFA’s Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.


City of London Police has arrested three men in connection to a suspected one million pound land banking fraud involving City-based firms.

On Tuesday (Nov 30) two men, aged 26 and 49, were arrested in Bromley and at a London office, and on Thursday a third man, 31, was arrested at his home in Lewisham.

All three were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering and later released on bail.

The operation came as detectives from the National Lead Force for fraud continued to investigate the activities of two companies that have been offering investments in plots of land.

Staff from Browne Mackenzie, which is now in liquidation, and Lawrence Taylor & Co Ltd are believed to have cold called investors and offered land for sale at sites in Scotland and Northampton.

During these conversations, or in prospectuses subsequently sent, investors are suspected of being misled about the potential of the land to rise in value.

Detective Inspector Andy Thompson, from the City of London Police, said:

"Since taking on this case we have moved very quickly to make these three arrests. Further action is anticipated in the coming weeks.

"It is now very important for anyone who has invested in land offered by these companies to contact us as soon as possible. Even the smallest pieces of information could prove crucial to our investigation."


Commenting on the government's newly announced policy on the number of skilled migrants from outside the EU allowed into the UK, Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said:


"While we are pleased that the government has listened to business on intra-company transfers, we are still concerned that the lack of flexibility inherent in a cap will have a detrimental effect on London's competitiveness and productivity."

The government's decision to reduce Tier 1 to just 1000 people a year was an unwelcome surprise which will deprive London of some the brightest and best professionals in the world."


"We will continue to lobby the government for an immigration system that minimises damage to London based firms and in the months to come we will be closely monitoring the effect the cap is having on the capital's economy."