UK government

Analysis: Denham reveals how government's Islamist stance unresolved

By Martin Bright, September 24, 2009

Our interview with Communities Secretary John Denham illustrates that the British government’s stance on engagement with home-grown Islamism remains unresolved.

Mr Denham has made it clear that the Muslim Council of Britain will remain out in the cold while its deputy secretary general remains a signatory to the Istanbul declaration calling for attacks on Israel and the Royal Navy.

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Ehud Barak to speak at Labour conference

September 23, 2009

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak will speak at the Labour Party Conference next week.

He will be addressing the Labour Friends of Israel at their annual reception on Tuesday afternoon.

The presence of Mr Barak, who is also Israel’s deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party, is certain to be controversial given the hostility of many Labour Party members to Israel, and his role in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza earlier this year.

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Nick Clegg: I won't silence Jenny Tonge

By Martin Bright, September 18, 2009

Nick Clegg is angry. No, it’s beyond angry. Incandescent almost gets it, but that still doesn’t capture the full fury of the man as he leans forward from his chair in the Liberal Democrat leader’s office in the House of Commons.

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Foreign Office man's 'racist' rant

By Jessica Elgot, September 17, 2009

A senior Foreign Office civil servant claimed that Israel should be “blown off the face of the earth” while watching a TV report on the Gaza conflict, a court has heard.

A man claimed he heard Rowan Laxton, 48, the head of the Foreign Office’s South Asia desk, shouting at a TV report while he was working out on an exercise bike in the London Business School gym.

Gideon Falter, who is Jewish, told Westminster Magistrates’ Court he heard Mr Laxton shouting: “f****** Israelis, f****** Jews” at the television screen which was showing a report about a dead Palestinian farmer.

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David Miliband's New Year message

By Jessica Elgot, September 16, 2009

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has sent a Rosh Hashanah message to the UK's Jewish community, where he addressed the issue of hopes for a Middle East peace settlement in the coming year.

Mr Miliband said: "Rosh Hashanah is a time of celebration for Jewish communities in the UK and around the world. A chance to look forward to the coming year and make plans, but also a period of reflection and soul searching.

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Pro-Israel MP fires pro-Palestinian staffer

By Leon Symons, September 15, 2009

Brent North MP Barry Gardiner, one of Israel’s staunchest Parliamentary supporters, has sacked the man he appointed as his campaigns and communications manager for allegedly not revealing that he was pro-Palestinian.

Mr Gardiner, a former vice chair of Labour Friends of Israel, had appointed Joseph Brown to the post.

Last year Mr Brown was the union anti-racism officer at the London School of Economics (LSE) and took part in an anti-Israeli demonstration in January in the wake of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

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Pro-Israel MP's new official is Palestinian activist

By Leon Symons, September 10, 2009

One of Israel’s staunchest supporters in Parliament is at the centre of a row over his appointment of a campaigns and communications manager who appears to be strongly anti-Israel.

Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North in north-west London and a former vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel, has appointed Joseph Brown, who declared his “continued dedication to the Palestinian cause” after being pictured at an anti-Israeli demonstration in January.

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Hain refuses plea to testify against Israel

By Leon Symons, August 13, 2009

Cabinet member Peter Hain has refused to appear as an expert witness for five members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign involved in a court case over an anti-Israeli protest during an Edinburgh Festival concert.

The name of the Secretary of State for Wales appeared on a list of people whom the SPSC group claimed in an email that it had approached to give expert evidence on behalf of the defendants.

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Arlene Phillips is government dance champ

By Jessica Elgot, August 13, 2009

The former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips has been appointed a "dance champion" by the Health Secretary.
The choreographer, 66, was dropped by the BBC show in favour of 30-year-old singer Alesha Dixon, in a move which caused public outcries of ageism.

Now Health Secretary Andy Burnham has asked Ms Phillips to become a “dance champion” to get Britain exercising, and encourage people to take part in dance classes.

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Esther Rantzen will stand for election in Luton

By Jessica Elgot, July 28, 2009

Presenter Esther Rantzen has confirmed she will stand for election as an Independent MP in Luton South in the next General Election.

Labour MP Margaret Moran is standing down for her post in Luton after she was exposed by the Daily Telegraph for using £22,500 in expenses for treating dry rot at her home in Southampton.

The former That's Life presenter and founder of children's charity Childline said she was prompted to run after feeling such outrage at the MPs' expenses scandal, and has been hinting about her intentions for months.

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