Nigel Farage wrote foreword to Ukip’s ‘drivel’ manifesto and helped launch it

Ukip leader, who disowned entire 2010 election manifesto, also co-authored summary of policiesNigel Farage’s attempt to distance himself from the "drivel" and "nonsense" in Ukip’s policy documents at the last election was undermined on Friday after it emerged he wrote the foreword to the party’s manifesto and helped to launch it at an event in London.The Ukip leader said he had never read the 486 pages of policy documents that were published alongside Ukip’s manifesto in 2010, which included plans to repaint trains in traditional colours, bring in a uniform for taxi drivers and ban offshore windfarms amid fears they could hurt fish.After disowning the entire collection of policies, he told LBC 97.3 that they were put together by Ukip’s then policy chief, David Campbell Bannerman, who is now a Conservative MEP.He said: "We had a manifesto – and I’m going to put some inverted commas around it – that was produced in 2010. It was basically a series of policy di …

Nick Clegg defends handling of ‘appalling’ Mike Hancock allegations

Nick Clegg defends handling of 'appalling' Mike Hancock allegations

Liberal Democrat leader says he acted as soon as he knew about ‘specific’ allegations of inappropriate sexual advancesNick Clegg has defended his handling of "appalling" allegations that Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock made unwelcome sexual advances towards a vulnerable constituent, insisting the Liberal Democrats acted swiftly to suspend him from the party.The deputy prime minister is under pressure over his response after criticism of the party’s investigation into Lord Rennard, a former Lib Dem election strategist, over allegations he harassed female activists. The peer denies all accusations and is threatening to sue the party over his suspension for failing to apologise for potentially causing distress to the women.Speaking on his return from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Clegg said he had suspended Hancock as soon as he knew about "specific" allegations against the MP."I acted as soon as I was given notice that legal proceedings were ha …

Apprentice’s Nick Hewer attacks Tesco as he backs Fairtrade banana campaign

Apprentice’s Nick Hewer attacks Tesco as he backs Fairtrade banana campaign

TV sidekick says Tescos failure to engender any sort of loyalty among its suppliers or affection amongst its consumers will now hurt themA veteran businessman and well-known in the BBCs The Apprentice series which returns this week has launched an attack on the troubled retailing giant Tesco, warning that it is running on empty after losing the goodwill of both customers and suppliers.Nick Hewer, who has been scrutinising UK supermarkets supply chains through his work with the Fairtrade Foundation on bananas, said British shoppers were fair people who resented supermarkets apparently squeezing their suppliers or barging into towns where they were not wanted. Continue reading… …

Whichever way you cut it, the federal budget hurts the poorest hardest

Whichever way you cut it, the federal budget hurts the poorest hardest

The study by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling found that in this financial year, 99.8% of households are worse off after the budgetA study released last week confirms that the May budget will hit the poorest households hardest and is particularly harsh towards families. Even with the benefit of a removed carbon price, by 2017-18 the people worst affected by the governments policies will be the poorest.The study by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (Natsem) provides a dollar impact of the budget on different households. In the past, a version of this information was provided in the budget papers, however this year such a table was left out. Continue reading… …

Hollande and Cameron’s pub lunch unlikely to improve ailing entente

Hollande and Cameron's pub lunch unlikely to improve ailing entente

The lack of a silver-service banquet may only add insult to president’s perceived injuries from ‘le French bashing’ by BritishAs François Hollande arrived to meet David Cameron in London, the entente was threatening – like the weather – to be less than cordial.The British prime minister had extended an invitation that the French president could have surely easily refused; not a multicourse silver-service banquet à la Elysée Palace, but a pub lunch in Oxfordshire.How Hollande’s Gallic heart must have sunk as he crossed the point of no return under the Channel: he may style himself as "Monsieur normal", but he is still the president of France and we can only hope Cameron’s local could produce a better glass of red than that available at most of Britain’s traditional ale-houses.If this was not reason enough for Hollande to find a more pressing international crisis demanding his attention, there was what the French media coined in defiance of the country’s language police, …

EU referendum bill killed off by Labour and Lib Dems

EU referendum bill killed off by Labour and Lib Dems

Peers vote to end committee stage of bill as François Hollande tells David Cameron EU treaty change is not a priorityDavid Cameron’s EU reform plans have been thrown into disarray after a bill to authorise a referendum on Britain’s membership by 2017 was killed off in the House of Lords by Labour and Liberal Democrat peers.Hours after François Hollande threw a hand grenade into the prime minister’s EU plans, by warning that EU treaty change was not a priority, peers voted to end the committee stage of the bill, meaning it ran out of time.The Conservative party accused Labour and the Lib Dems of acting as "enemies of democracy". Conservative campaign headquarters tweeted: "Utter disgrace. Labour and Lib Dems have blocked our EU Referendum Bill … they’re determined to stop you have a say. Enemies of democracy."The killing of the bill by procedural means was not unexpected and allowed the prime minister to say that the only way to hold a referendum was to vote Con …

FTSE falters after bright start as oil and technology companies drag down market

FTSE falters after bright start as oil and technology companies drag down market

Disappointing updates from SAP and IBM hit shares, while crude price slides againA fall in oil and technology shares sent leading shares lower again after an early attempt at a rally fizzled out.With continuing worries about the state of the global economy, crude prices slipped further with Brent down another 1.65% to $84.74 a barrel.Sears refers in its statement to its on-going transformation to one of the largest real estate portfolios in the US over time. It is progressively moving from retailer to landlord.To put this in context Sears has over 2,000 stores in the US and can offer a huge amount of floor space to any would-be tenant. Teaming up with ABF/Primark would seem to open enormous possibilities down the line should Primarks foray in to the North East prove a success and a springboard into the rest of the US.Well, it looks as if Tesco will keep their powder dry on Thursday on the UK turnaround strategy and play down any rights issue plans, so will that tempt Sainsbury to have …

Primark reaches US retail space deal with Sears

Primark reaches US retail space deal with Sears

UK fashion chain to take over more than 48,310 sq metres of space in next 18 month as part of push to conquer US marketPrimark has struck a surprise deal to take over unwanted retail space in American shopping malls from retailer Sears as the UK fashion chain looks to kickstart its US expansion.In the spring Primark signalled its ambition to conquer the US, starting with north-eastern states such as New York and New Jersey, with around 10 stores planned for the populous metropolitan corridor that runs from Boston to Baltimore. Continue reading… …

Plebgate officer was drunk and angry when he lied about row, court hears

Plebgate officer was drunk and angry when he lied about row, court hears

Lawyer tells Old Bailey Keith Wallis had been drinking heavily when he claimed Andrew Mitchell called officers ‘plebs’A Scotland Yard diplomatic protection officer was "angry and intoxicated" when he falsely claimed to have witnessed the Plebgate row that led to the resignation of the former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, the Old Bailey has heard.Constable Keith Wallis, 53, had been drinking heavily when he sent an email to his MP in which he lied about hearing Mitchell call police officers "plebs" at the gates of Downing Street.Wallis listened without expression in the court dock as his barrister pleaded with the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, to spare him jail, describing the officer’s actions as a "sad and solitary piece of grave foolishness" by a man suffering from acute anxiety and depression over the death of his father some years ago.The prosecutor, Zoe Martin, told the court that Wallis had told police after being arrested at his home in December 20 …

Plebgate row: PC Keith Wallis jailed for a year for lying about Andrew Mitchell

Plebgate row: PC Keith Wallis jailed for a year for lying about Andrew Mitchell

Twelve-month term for officer who admitted making false claim in row that led to minister losing his cabinet roleA Scotland Yard diplomatic protection officer has been jailed after he admitted lying about witnessing the Plebgate row that caused the resignation of a cabinet minister.Constable Keith Wallis was sentenced to 12 months in prison when he appeared at the Old Bailey in central London on Thursday.Wallis remained impassive and stared straight ahead out of the court dock as his sentence was handed down by the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney. He looked up at tearful members of his family as he was led by a security guard down into the court cells.Wallis is the only police officer to have admitted wrongdoing over the Plebgate saga, which prompted a huge row and resulted in Andrew Mitchell losing his role in David Cameron’s cabinet.Sentencing Wallis, Sweeney described the officer’s actions as a "betrayal" of police standards and said it had caused a "significant negative im …