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Lib Dems: We'll Protect No 10 From 'Extremes'

Written By nana jamaika on Rabu, 15 April 2015 | 23.15

Nick Clegg has warned against a coalition that would see Nigel Farage or Alex Salmond walk through the doors of Number 10 as he launched his party's manifesto.

The Liberal Democrat leader said that come 8 May either David Cameron or Ed Miliband would be prime minister but they would not win a majority government and would not hold the "balance of power".

He said it could be Mr Farage, it could be the SNP's Mr Salmond or it could be him and the Liberal Democrats who would provide "an insurance policy against a government lurching off to the extremes".

Mr Clegg said only his party could "add a heart to the Conservatives, and a brain to Labour" and only the Lib Dems could help guarantee the right path between the excessive cuts of the Tories and the excessive borrowing of Mr Miliband's party.

The Lib Dem leader said his party would bring "prosperity for all".

:: Full Coverage Of General Election 2015

:: Liberal Democrats Manifesto At A Glance

He warned voters that a Miliband/Salmond coalition would lead to "reckless borrowing" and urged them to keep Mr Salmond out of Westminster by voting in the Lib Dem candidate in Gordon.

And he said: "Imagine for a moment… what will become of our wonderful country in the next five years if Farage gets in."

The Liberal Democrats are expected to win between 20 and 40 seats at the General Election and could again play the role of kingmaker as neither Labour nor the Tories are expected to win a majority.

Unveiling his party manifesto at a trendy art space in Battersea, Mr Clegg set out five deal-breakers for any future coalition cautioning against a lurch to the Left or the Right.

He attempted to persuade voters he could be trusted after the U-turn on tuition fees, which cost the party so much support in the early days of the coalition.

The five pledges on the front of the 160-page manifesto are:

:: Ringfence the education budget from age 2-19

:: Additional £8bn a year funding for NHS by 2020

:: Eliminate deficit by 2017-18

:: Raise the income tax personal allowance to £12,500

:: Green laws including decarbonisation target for electricity

Three of them  on the NHS, the deficit and income tax - match promises made in the Conservative manifesto.

Mr Clegg is hoping to persuade voters that his party can be the "proven rock of stability, continuity and conscience".

The Lib Dem leader is keen that people should remember the things the Lib Dems delivered in power - and not the things they could not.

:: Profile Of Nick Clegg

:: Build You Own Coalition With Our Shaker Maker

This includes lifting thousands out of income tax by increasing the personal allowance, a policy the Conservatives have claimed credit for and put at the centre of their 2015 manifesto.

Despite largely being viewed as the scapegoats for unpopular decisions, Mr Clegg, whose manifesto launch was marred by a technical glitch that saw him fall off air during the question session, said that every day in coalition had been worth it because they had helped to make Britain better.

And, like Mr Cameron, he implored voters to be allowed to finish the job.

The Liberal Democrat launch comes on the same day as UKIP's - the other party looking to appeal to the Conservatives in the event of coalition building.


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Oil Find Near Gatwick 'Clarified' By Owner

The company which reported a massive upgrade to an oil find near Gatwick Airport has conceded it was not in a position to properly size it up.

Last week's announcement that up to 100 billion barrels, a potentially "world-class" discovery, had been identified in the Weald Basin sparked excitement and scepticism.

That caution extended to other partners in the project, as previous estimates were as high as 40 billion and as low as 4.4 billion.

Shares in UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) rose by more than 300% at one stage following its original statement last Thursday.

UKOG did not repeat the words "world class" in today's update, which was requested by the junior AIM market on which the company's shares trade.

It said on Wednesday that the oil volumes in the Horse Hill-1 well in the Weald Basin, estimated by US exploration firm Nutech, "should not be considered as either contingent or prospective resources or reserves."

The company, which holds a 20% stake in the Horse Hill development, also admitted further work was needed to "prove its commerciality."

Its chairman David Lenigas had claimed last week the discovery would create "many thousands of jobs" but did say it would take a long time to begin production.

Another partner in the Weald Basin project, Solo Oil, exercised caution at the time of UKOG's upgrade.

Solo chief executive Neil Ritson told Sky News: "We're not actually putting out that number of a hundred billion barrels. I know that a leading academic - Professor Fraser at Imperial - is talking about 40 billion.

"Certainly those numbers are possible, but that's not where we are at the moment. It's early days."

UKOG had said last week that Nutech had estimated that recovery of the oil would be limited at between 3% and 15% of the total.

It also confirmed there would be no use of the controversial extraction method known as fracking to get access to the oil.


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Three Guilty Of Gambler's 'Honeytrap' Death

Three people have been found guilty of the 'honeytrap' death of a professional poker player.

Kyrron Jackson, 28, and Nicholas Chandler, 29, were convicted by a jury of murdering Mehmet Hassan after Jackson's girlfriend Leonie-Marie Granger set the trap.

Care assistant Granger, 25, was found guilty of manslaughter for deliberately targeting the 56-year-old.

Granger had already pleaded guilty of robbery and was found guilty of false imprisonment. The jury found her not guilty of murder.

Chandler had to be restrained by court guards after he began lashing out as the verdicts were handed down.

The court heard how Granger went on dates with Mr Hassan and afterwards reported back that her target was "flashy".

A taxi driver overheard her saying: "This guy is a professional gambler. He has never worked a day in his life."

On the night of the murder, Mr Hassan took Granger to top Mayfair restaurant Nobu before going on to the Palm Beach Casino nearby, where he gave her £1,000 in cash to gamble with.

She was seen kissing the victim "passionately" and a poker supervisor felt compelled to tell the pair to "get a room".

Later he took her back to his Islington flat where she let in her boyfriend Jackson and his friend Chandler as she left to get into a taxi.

The two men used parcel tape to tie up Mr Hassan in his bedroom then kicked him to death and ransacked his home.

The killers were later filmed on Granger's mobile phone throwing wads of £50 notes in the air.

Mr Hassan was a regular at the Playboy Casino on Old Park Lane and the Palm Beach Casino in Berkeley Street, Mayfair, and sometimes won as much as £15,000 at a time.

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  1. Gallery: Honeytrap Plot To Kill Professional Poker Player

    Honeytrap plot victim professional gambler Mehmet Hassan

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'Third' Of GPs Thinking Of Quitting Before 2020

A third of GPs are thinking about retiring from general practice in the next five years, according to a survey of thousands of doctors.

Nearly four in 10 (37%) said their workload was too much to deal with, while 53% said it was tough but generally manageable.

Two-thirds (68%) also told the British Medical Association (BMA) that they experienced significant work-related stress, but insisted they could deal with it.

Just one in six said they were unable to handle the stress of their job.

The BMA survey questioned 15,560 GPs and also found one in five trainees (19%) was already thinking about writing off work in the UK in favour of a job abroad.

The doctors' association said it raised doubts over political promises to dramatically boost GP numbers over the next five years.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, said the survey painted a bleak picture of frustrated GPs facing "burnout" and swamped by "pointless paperwork".

"In this climate, it is absurd that in the recent leaders' debate, political parties were attempting to outbid each other on the number of GPs they could magically produce in the next parliament," said Dr Nagpaul.

The head of the Royal College of GPs went further and said the pressures on GPs posed a "genuine danger to patient safety".

Dr Maureen Baker said: "Highly trained and experienced GPs are leaving the profession in growing numbers because of the intense and increasing pressures that we are facing, and not enough medical students are entering general practice to replace them.

"This is a genuine danger to patient safety - and to the wellbeing of hardworking family doctors and our teams."

"We simply don't have enough GPs to cope with the increasing demand of our growing and ageing population," added Dr Baker.


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Rory McIlroy Takes On 50 Shades Star At Footy

By David Blevins, Ireland Correspondent

He may still be chasing the career grand slam in golf but Rory McIlroy has won the bragging rights on the football pitch.

His friend, actor Jamie Dornan, challenged him to a match and the video of the golfer's 2-1 victory has gone viral.

They agreed to play circular soccer, a new concept in the game, devised by Jamie Dornan's father, medical professor Jim Dornan.

Professor Dornan explained: "Modern soccer is all about triangle, triangle, triangle, shoot; triangle, triangle, triangle, shoot; so [with circular soccer] the kids are getting more chance to win the ball, pass the ball and score.

"You're doing that constantly, which is what kids want to do, what people want to do, win the ball, pass the ball, set it up, slot it into the net."

Circular soccer, played at a faster pace in a smaller area, was trialled during the World Cup in Rio and developed by FIFA.

It has been fine-tuned by former Manchester United Elite Academy coach Jackie Evans, the father of footballers Jonny and Corry Evans.

He explained: "When kids are playing football in a wide area obviously there are periods in the game where they're just not active, they're not taking part in the game, they're not participating, whereas this is completely different.

"We can set this down in a small area, it's quite intense, it's quite tiring and the kids get lots of touches of the ball, which in turn you'd like to think the more touches of the ball they get, the more they're going to improve as footballers."

The concept has been hailed as the biggest contribution to football since an Armagh man invented the penalty kick a century ago.

Like most new initiatives, there will be 50 shades of opinion but the box office record-breaking Northern Irish actor is impressed.

"I'm really proud of dad for launching circular soccer," said Jamie Dornan.  

"I've great memories of playing a version of the game in the garden as a kid.  It's a great concept, and I can see it having a global appeal."


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Windsor Castle Staff Back Industrial Action

Staff described by their union as the "public face" of Windsor Castle have voted to take industrial action in a pay dispute.

The 76 wardens, all members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, voted by 84% in favour of action short of a strike, which could start from the end of April.

Turnout was 82%.

The union said the wardens are employed by the Royal Collection Trust, a charitable arm of the Royal Households, to work at the entrance to the castle, around the grounds and inside the castle protecting artworks and helping visitors.

The dispute centred on the wardens being "expected" to carry out extra duties, such as giving tours of the castle to fee-paying visitors, without pay.

Any industrial action, the PCS added, would probably involve withdrawing from such activities.

Its general secretary, Mark Serwotka, added: "These loyal workers are the public face of Windsor Castle and with this vote their message to their employer is loud and clear.

"Staff should be properly rewarded for their commitment to ensuring visitors from around the world can fully enjoy their time at the castle."

Salaries of the wardens can start at £14,400 a year. 

The union claimed staff only narrowly accepted an "unsatisfactory" pay offer last year on the understanding that additional allowances for paid-for tours and other skills would be considered this year.

The Royal Collection Trust said the ballot was "disappointing" but would not affect visitors.

It said: "Following the union ballot, we have been informed that some PCS-affiliated wardens at Windsor Castle will no longer participate in various activities undertaken during their working day, including using their language and first-aid skills, and conducting tours of specific areas of the Castle during August and September.

"These activities have never been compulsory; it has always been the choice of the individual as to whether they take part.

"Royal Collection Trust has since last year been exploring ways to achieve an agreed level of pay for all warden staff.

"Conversations that are part of the annual pay review process are still ongoing and an offer to expand the salary scale for a warden, starting at the Regional Living Wage of £14,695 for new joiners (based upon an average 36 hour working week), has been put to PCS and other unions."


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Parking Notice Gives Clue To Kate's Due Date

Parking restrictions have been put in place near the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth to her second child.

The restrictions, detailed on yellow signs outside the private Lindo wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, will run until 30 April, suggesting the Duchess will give birth by this date at the latest.

Her due date has not been confirmed but reports have suggested it is around 25 April.

There is speculation that the baby, which will be fourth in line to the throne, could arrive on the Queen's birthday on 21 April, or William and Kate's fourth wedding anniversary on 29 April.

Kate is already on maternity leave and will return to St Mary's for the birth following the delivery of Prince George there two years ago.

She and Prince William chose the Lindo Wing as the place to have their first child, following in the footsteps of Diana, Princess of Wales, who gave birth to both her sons there.

Official confirmation that the Duchess is in labour is expected to come from Kensington Palace once she has been admitted to hospital.

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  1. Gallery: Kate And Wills Visit Irish Guards On St Patrick's Day

    The Duchess of Cambridge meets veterans and cadets during a visit to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards

The Duke And Duchess attended the St. Patrick's Day Parade at Mons Barracks, Aldershot, Hampshire

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Campaign Urges Minority Groups To Vote

By Hind Hassan, Sky News Reporter

A new campaign is encouraging people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds to vote in order to avoid being left out of the political process.

The campaign has been launched by the non-profit organisation Operation Black Vote (OBV) and features Homeland actor David Harewood, singer Tinie Tempah and the former footballer Sol Campbell.

Posters released as part of the campaign carry the message: "If you don't register to vote, you're taking the colour out of Britain."

Harewood told Sky News the campaign aims to demonstrate that if members of the BME community do not vote, they are removing diversity from Britain.

:: Click here for full coverage of General Election 2015

He said: "I think there's historical mistrust of some of the institutions in this country. The legacy goes back a long time.

"What we're here to do today is prick their conscience and remind them that if they don't register to vote they're literally taking the colour out of Britain.

"(They're) taking their voice, their rich heritage... and removing it off the landscape.

"Especially as this election is going to be very tight so, it's very important that our voices are heard."

Harewood said Britain also lags behind the US in terms of BME representation on television.

"I've been lucky enough to travel. I've spent a lot of time in America," he said.

"Every time I turn my television on - whether it be a political expert or a financial expert, a general from the army - I'm always surprised to see black people amongst those numbers.

"Sometimes, when I come back to England, it takes two or three weeks to see a black face on television: particularly in positions of authority, whether it be politicians or members of financial institutions or members of banking, which I think is wrong.

"If we're going to change that, we have to engage."

Operation Black Vote has been campaigning for greater political participation from the BME community since 1996.

In its election manifesto, OBV highlights issues facing the BME community, including an increase in unemployment among black youths of 50%, compared with a 2% fall for white youths.

The manifesto also states that black and Asian people are disproportionately subjected to Stop and Search orders and 20% more likely to be sent to jail than white defendants.

The latest campaign strategy, which is being backed by Labour candidate Diane Abbott, will see billboards set up in cities across the country.


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Police Divers Join Search For Missing Student

Police Divers Join Search For Missing Student

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Police investigating the disappearance of student Karen Buckley in Glasgow are searching a park where her handbag was found.

Police divers, a helicopter crew and search dogs have been deployed to Dawsholm Park, which is bordered on one side by the River Kelvin.

The 24-year-old vanished in the early hours of Sunday after spending Saturday night with friends at Glasgow's Sanctuary nightclub on Dumbarton Road.

She told them at around 1am she was going to the toilet, but failed to return and left her jacket behind.

CCTV spotted her leaving the club with 21-year-old Alexander Pacteau, who then drove her to his flat.

Mr Pacteau is not a suspect, but communal areas outside his flat in Dorchester Avenue have been taped off while officers look for clues.

He told officers she left at 4am. It is believed she was planning to walk back to her flat four miles away in Hill Street.

The student, who studies occupational therapy and is originally from Cork, has not been seen since.

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  1. Gallery: Police Search Park After Handbag Of Missing Student Found

    Police officers continue their search of the ground near the flat in Dorchester Avenue where a missing student Karen Buckley spent several hours on Sunday before leaving around 4am

Police forensic officers search the rear gardens of a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue

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Police officers continue their search

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Forensic officers search at the flat in Dorchester Avenue. Continue through for more images

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Police Divers Join Search For Missing Student

We use cookies to give you the best experience. If you do nothing we'll assume that it's ok.

Police investigating the disappearance of student Karen Buckley in Glasgow are searching a park where her handbag was found.

Police divers, a helicopter crew and search dogs have been deployed to Dawsholm Park, which is bordered on one side by the River Kelvin.

The 24-year-old vanished in the early hours of Sunday after spending Saturday night with friends at Glasgow's Sanctuary nightclub on Dumbarton Road.

She told them at around 1am she was going to the toilet, but failed to return and left her jacket behind.

CCTV spotted her leaving the club with 21-year-old Alexander Pacteau, who then drove her to his flat.

Mr Pacteau is not a suspect, but communal areas outside his flat in Dorchester Avenue have been taped off while officers look for clues.

He told officers she left at 4am. It is believed she was planning to walk back to her flat four miles away in Hill Street.

The student, who studies occupational therapy and is originally from Cork, has not been seen since.

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  1. Gallery: Police Search Park After Handbag Of Missing Student Found

    Police officers continue their search of the ground near the flat in Dorchester Avenue where a missing student Karen Buckley spent several hours on Sunday before leaving around 4am

Police forensic officers search the rear gardens of a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue

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Police officers continue their search

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Forensic officers search at the flat in Dorchester Avenue. Continue through for more images

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Nigel Farage: 'We Want Our Country Back'

Nigel Farage has said his is the only party in the General Election with a "credible plan for immigration".

Launching UKIP's Believe In Britain manifesto at a hotel in Thurrock, Essex, the party leader said the only way Britain could regain control of the issue was by leaving the EU.

He said: "We want our country back and then and only then can we actually control our borders."

The party is also promising to limit work visas for skilled immigrant to 50,000 and introduce an Australian-style immigration system, which would see fewer unskilled people entering the country. 

He said this would ease pressure on schools and doctors' surgeries.

:: Full Coverage Of General Election 2015

:: Election Live Blog

The UKIP leader also offered a £18bn tax giveaway, saying it was all paid for. Like the Tories, he promised people on the minimum wage should not pay income tax.

He said threshold for paying the 40p rate of income tax should be £55,000 and there should be a new 30p rate between £43,500 and £55,000.

He attempted to put the Tories under pressure with a pledge to "substantially" increase defence spending, committing to spending more than 2% of GDP by 2020.

The measures are likely to be seen as a statement of intent to the Tories over what UKIP will demand if it is to help David Cameron to another five years in power.

:: Five Things We've Learned From UKIP's Manifesto

Mr Farage also said UKIP would push for guaranteed civilian jobs for soldiers after 12 years of service and there would be no income tax for those abroad on active service. They would also build a military hospital.

He denied "putting out feelers" for discussions on a coalition with the Tories and when asked if removing Mr Cameron would be key to any deal he said: "If I was a Conservative I'd want to get rid of David Cameron."

In an attempt to persuade voters UKIP is a serious proposition, the spending pledges in the party manifesto have been verified by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

The key red line for any Conservative coalition for Mr Farage's party is a referendum on Britain's EU membership.

UKIP insists there should be one "as soon as possible", while Mr Cameron has promised a vote only by the end of 2017.

Mr Farage dismissed his party's 2010 manifesto as "486 pages of drivel" and admitted he had not read it before it was published.

However, he said he had "read, absorbed and understood" the 2015 version.

:: UKIP Manifesto At A Glance

Mr Farage spoke briefly at the manifesto launch before handing over to Deputy Party Chairman Suzanne Evans, who wrote the manifesto and gave details about its policies.

UKIP has been criticised for being a spent force, after its surge in the local and European elections last year when Mr Farage said the party could hold the "balance of power" at the General Election.

:: Nigel Farage Profile

However, UKIP could still influence who gets into Number 10 as they have ruled out a coalition with Labour.

The party launched its manifesto an hour after the Lib Dems, also potential kingmakers.

:: Make Your Own Coalition With Our Shaker Maker


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