UK government

Ed Miliband's radio reunion with lost aunt

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

Ed Miliband, energy minister and brother of foreign secretary, David, was reunited with a long-lost relative during a live phone-in while appearing on a Russian radio station.

Mr Miliband appeared on the Ekho Moskvy programme on Monday to answer questions on climate negotiations and global warming, when an elderly woman phoned in.

Live on air, she said: “My name is Sophia Davidovna Miliband. I am the only remaining relative. I would like to tell him about all his relatives.”

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Blood and Honour: Johnson pressed to act

By Leon Symons, October 1, 2009

Shadow security minister Baroness Neville-Jones has called on home secretary Alan Johnson to proscribe the extreme right wing group Blood & Honour.

Only last week the group was reported to the police for distributing racially offensive CDs.

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Defence chief in Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 1, 2009

Chief of the UK Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, has made a three-day visit to Israel.

During the trip — which was not publicised by the British or Israeli defence ministries — Sir Jock met IDF Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi and other senior officers. Issues discussed included missile defence, Iran’s nuclear programme and methods of defending ground troops from explosive devices. British forces in Afghanistan have a strategy based on Israel’s experience in dealing with suicide bombers and explosives.

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Chris Grayling: No more funding for extremists

By Martin Bright, October 1, 2009

Chris Grayling is a cool customer.

He has a reputation as a Tory attack dog, a ruthless opposition politician who can put the squeeze on any government minister unfortunate enough to cross his path.

He has already seen off one Home Secretary during his short time in the shadow post and is building a reputation as a worthy adversary to the current incumbent, Alan Johnson.

He has the demeanour of an establishment man — crisp pink shirt, Tory blue tie, House of Commons cufflinks — and speaks with the authority of someone heading for the Cabinet.

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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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