UK news

Joint statement from Kris Hopkins MP and Lord Janner

December 8, 2010

History has taught us that there is a clear need to address religious hatred in any way it manifests itself.

The APPG on Islamophobia is about facing up to hatred against the Muslim community, and its establishment is clearly appropriate at this time.

In common with many APPGs, the idea of having an external organisation provide administrative support was deemed a sensible and practical way forward.


Conservative cabinet aide Lee Scott pledges to abstain in tuition fees vote

By Jennifer Lipman, December 8, 2010

Jewish MP Lee Scott has joined the list of possible government rebels in tomorrows vote on plans to raise university fees.

The Conservative MP for Ilford North has said he will abstain at the vote, despite being a senior cabinet aide in the coalition government.

In an email to the JC, he said: "I am not voting for a fees increase.”

He added: “I am working on proposals to help students and will have further details in the new year.”

Before the general election Mr Scott was one of four incumbent Conservatives to sign a pledge to block higher fees.


MPs secure parliamentary debate on antisemitism

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2010

MPs will have the chance to quiz ministers on the coalition government’s policies to tackle antisemitism next January, thanks to the efforts of two backbench MPs from opposing parties.

The debate, to take place in parliament on January 20, is the first one focused on antisemitism to be set up by backbench MPs.

John Mann and Mike Freer, respectively the chair and vice-president of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Against Antisemitism, instigated the debate to give MPs the opportunity to discuss ways to tackle antisemitism.


European victory in save shechitah campaign

By Robyn Rosen, December 7, 2010

The campaign to save the slaughter of kosher meat in the UK has passed another hurdle after European ministers today passed draft legislation which will not introduce controversial labelling.

This morning, the European Council of Ministers approved a draft of new food information regulation. The draft did not include amendment 205, which called for all meat products derived from animals slaughtered by shechitah to be labelled "meat from slaughter without stunning".


Stacey Solomon wins I'm a Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here!

By Jennifer Lipman, December 5, 2010

Stacey Solomon has been crowned Queen of the jungle after winning this year's I'm a Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here!

The former King Solomon pupil from Dagenham won the contest after audiences watched her brave tasks including eating kangaroo penis.

Ms Solomon, 21, beat former MP Lembit Opik and onetime Bond girl actress Britt Eckland to take the title on the ITV show.

After her win the star said: "Never in a million years did I think anything like this could happen. I'm a wreck."

Her win comes just a year after she gained third place on the X Factor.


BNP's Nick Griffin in bid for Phil Woolas' Oldham seat

By Jennifer Lipman, December 3, 2010

British National Party leader Nick Griffin has hinted that he may contest the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency in a by-election next year.

The seat is up for grabs because Phil Woolas’ victory last May has been voided after he was found guilty of lying about his Liberal Democrat rival’s views on extremism.

Mr Griffin, currently an MEP for the far-right party, wrote on his Twitter page: "Our local organiser well up for it with me as candidate."
He also described Mr Woolas, an immigration minister under the last government, as a “Labour liar”.


Phil Woolas: 'I'm out' as he loses Oldham East election challenge

By Jennifer Lipman, December 3, 2010

A by-election will be held in the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency after Labour’s former immigration minister Phil Woolas lost a legal challenge to keep his parliamentary seat.

The High Court today rejected Mr Woolas’ attempt to overturn a ruling which found him guilty of lying about a rival and voided the result of the May election which returned him as the constituency’s MP.

The initial result was challenged by the Liberal Democrat candidate Elwyn Watkins, who lost by just 103 votes.


Blind date pests leave family in a blind rage

December 2, 2010

Police are baffled by the months-long doorstep harassment of a London Jewish family.

Widower Solomon David, from Southgate, says he is afraid to answer the door after receiving visits from different men, sometimes up to three times a day, for three months, each claiming to be meeting a blind date at the Davids' home.

Mr David, who was a full-time carer for his wife, Susanna, until she died in October, said: "Every time the doorbell rings, my heart starts beating. I'm afraid to put the lights on at night because I don't want to let people know we're here.


How Ashkenazim can aid cancer study

December 2, 2010

Scientists are hoping to use pioneering new technology to combat bowel cancer - a disease to which Ashkenazi Jews are disproportionately vulnerable.

While the risk of contracting it is one in 20 in the general population, it is up to one in 10 among Ashkenazis.

For three years, a group has been researching the genetic profile of the disease by studying Ashkenazim DNA samples. Now they believe they can advance their knowledge through a technique known as next-generation sequencing, which involves studying the actual cancer itself.


Reprieve for Halifax Palestinian

December 2, 2010

A Palestinian facing deportation has been granted a last-minute reprieve, claiming he had been tortured in an Israeli prison.

Belal Amleh, 25, who has lived in Halifax since 2008, was due to be deported this week.

His partner Suzanne Allott, a local pro-Palestinian activist, said Mr Amleh had been tortured and imprisoned for refusing to become an Israeli informer.

She claims he was beaten with wooden batons and gun butts and had his feet broken.