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UK must 'consider' ground troops in battle against IS

Lord Dannatt said the UK must consider sending ground troops into Syria. Credit: David Parker/Daily Mail / PA Archive/PA Images

Former Head of the British Army, Lord Dannatt, has called on the Government to "think the previously unthinkable" and consider sending ground troops to combat Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Lord Dannatt said he felt air strikes had "failed" to stop the advance of the extremist organisation.

He called for a "public and political debate to begin immediately" on the issue of deploying up to 5,000 infantry soldiers.

In light of this terrifying scenario, how much longer can Britain and the US continue to show such a lack of commitment to defeating IS mililtarily? Their default option of air strikes and limited assistance to indigenous forces has failed thus far.

We have now reached a point when we must think the previously unthinkable and consider that British troops, acting as part of an international coalition, may be required to mount a ground campaign in Iraq and Syria.

I am no gung-ho general who says 'just send the boys in and don't worry about the body bags', far from it, but faced with such a lethal and uncompromising enemy as IS - and with the lack of political and diplomatic solutions at our disposal - we can no longer rule out 'boots on the ground'.

– Lord Dannatt

IS has recently made gains in the Middle East by gaining control of the ancient town of Palmyra, in Syria, and the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

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Sturgeon: SNP will block scrapping Human Rights Act

MPs for the Scottish National Party (SNP) will join forces with other opposition parties in an effort to block Tory plans to scrap the Human Rights Act, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP will work to keep the Human Rights Act. Credit: Andrew Milligan / PA Wire/PA Images

The First Minister claimed the Conservatives' agenda "lacks legitimacy in Scotland", where David Cameron's party has just a single MP.

The SNP's priority is ending austerity, and the damage it does to people's lives - the Tory government's priority is ending human rights, and the opportunities for fairness they offer ordinary men and women.

For example, it was the Human Rights Act that enabled people to go to court in this country to challenge the grossly unfair bedroom tax.

To scrap the Human Rights Act would be an appallingly retrograde step.

– Nicola Sturgeon

The Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Rights, Alex Neil, has already written written to UK Justice Secretary Michael Gove "to reiterate the Scottish Government's opposition to the repeal of the Human Rights Act".

Ms Sturgeon said she also raised the matter directly with the Prime Minister when they met and Holyrood could refuse consent to abolish the Act.

She added: "SNP MPs will work across party lines at Westminster to defeat the Tory government on the Human Rights Act - and the SNP Government will invite the Scottish Parliament to refuse legislative consent to scrap it, given the strong devolved dimension.

"This important issue illustrates how Holyrood working together with SNP MPs and others at Westminster can challenge a Tory agenda that lacks legitimacy in Scotland - and help the cause of progressive politics across the UK."

Cooper wants to put 'families at heart' of Labour party

Yvette Cooper has said the Labour party has to offer hope to families. Credit: Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire/PA Images

Labour leadership hopeful Yvette Cooper has said she will put measures to help families at the heart of her campaign to rebuild Labour after its election defeat.

The shadow home secretary said Labour had to "reach outwards" and "rebuild", winning back voters who deserted the party in favour of the Tories, Ukip and the SNP.

Ms Cooper believes she can smash the "glass ceiling" and become Labour's first permanent female leader, vowing to "shake up the system".

In an interview with The Sun on Sunday (£), mother-of-three Ms Cooper, whose husband and former shadow chancellor Ed Balls lost his Westminster seat in the general election, said Labour had to offer hope to families.

We need to put families at the heart of our politics. As a mum, I feel very strongly about that because my family, my kids are the most important thing in my life.

That has to be reflected in what we do. We have got to reach out and rebuild and that means winning back voters.

We've got to show practical things we can do to help families get on, to know their kids can get an apprenticeship, have a good start in life and go to university.

– Yvette Cooper

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Police: Three people found dead at a house in Didcot

A man, a woman and girl have been found dead at a house in Didcot. Credit: Dave Thompson / PA Wire/PA Images

A murder investigation has been launched after a man, woman and girl were found dead at a house in Didcot, Oxfordhsire, Thames Valley police said.

In a statement the police said officers were called to an address in Vicarage Road by a member of the public at 8.23pm on Saturday and found three bodies inside the property.

A man, a woman and girl, who are yet to be identified, were pronounced dead by ambulance staff at the scene. No arrests have been made.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Steel said: “Thames Valley Police has launched a murder investigation in Didcot after receiving a call from a member of the public at 8.23pm yesterday.

“Police officers attended the scene and three bodies were found inside the property. A man, a woman and a girl were pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance staff. Their deaths are being treated as suspicious.

“This is a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the loved ones of the deceased.

“I would like to reassure the public that we are carrying out a thorough investigation into the incident.

“We would urge anyone with any information about the incident to contact us immediately via 101 quoting reference number 1370."

Plaque to be unveiled at site of WWII Dunkirk tragedy

Several events have been taking place to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dunkirk rescue mission 'Operation Dynamo'. Credit: Gareth Fuller / PA Wire/PA Images

A memorial plaque will be unveiled on Sunday at the site of the MV Crested Eagle, a paddle steamer which was attacked and sunk as thousands of soldiers were rescued from the French coastline during the Second World War.

The ship was targeted by the Germans at Zuydcoote, a few miles north of Dunkirk, during Operation Dynamo, the rescue mission to save British, French and Belgian troops from the German advance across Europe in 1940.

The merchant vessel sank and all 300 soldiers on board were killed.

Later today a commemoration for the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships (ADLS) will be held on the quayside in Dunkirk, next to the famous little ships that were used to rescue men from the beaches.

Veterans have been attending a series of events to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuations including a service yesterday at the Allied Beach Memorial.

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