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Balls criticised for 'refusing' to rule out lowering 40p tax rate

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has been criticised by the Tories for his comments on ITV News West Country last night, in which he 'refused' to rule out lowering the 40p tax rate threshold if Labour win the election.

Ed Balls speaking to Ian Axton on Tuesday's ITV News West Country Credit: ITV News

George Osborne today accused his counterpart of proposing to tax middle earners and said: "He has made it pretty clear I think that he wants to drag more people into that 40p rate of tax... I think that is wrong now and the Conservative party has a very clear plan to raise the threshold to £50,000."

Labour said the claims that Balls was effectively leaving the door open to changing the threshold was "Tory nonsense", and stated: "Ed Balls was clear and Labour's position is clear: we want fewer people paying the 40p tax rate. We want to ease burden on working families."


Farage-like character set to star in new Judge Dredd comic

Ukip leader Nigel Farage is set to be given a comic book makeover after it was revealed today that comic makers 2000AD are basing a new character on the politician.

An image issued by Rebellion shows Nigel Farage as he runs up against Judge Dredd in a new comic-strip story Credit: Dave Taylor/Rebellion/PA Wire

Bilious Barrage, who is based on Farage, will reportedly feature in a story called Judge Dredd: People Like Us later this year where he will encounter Judge Dredd in Mega-City One when a series of terrorist attacks stoke up anti-immigrant tensions.

2000 AD editor Matt Smith said: "2000 AD has a long tradition of taking a pop at authority, stemming from its anti-establishment punk origins back in the 1970s.

"Whether it was Margaret Thatcher being executed on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral by the Volgans in the very first issue, to Tony Blair being lampooned as the monomaniacal superhero B.L.A.I.R. 1, or Nemesis the Warlock ruthlessly satirising organised religion, 2000 AD has always taken a pop at the powerful and the pompous and no one, not even today's politicians, are safe."

Beatles biographer remembers Cynthia Lennon

Cynthia Lennon, the first wife of Beatles legend John, has died aged 75. Credit: Julian Lennon

Hunter Davies, who penned the only official biography of The Beatles in 1968, has described Cynthia Lennon as "a lovely woman".

He said: "When I was writing the book I spent two years with them, visiting her home and spending time with her.

"She was totally different from John in that she was was quiet and reserved and calm.

"She was not a hippy at all."

He added: "I think it was the attraction of opposites between them. When they got together at art school everyone was amazed - she was seen as refined and reserved and nobody thought they would last.

"John treated her appallingly. He slept with Yoko in their marital home and, as we discovered later, he also physically attacked her but she was loyal to him."


Builder sentenced to life for murdering couple

Viktoras Bruzas has been sentenced to a minimum of 33 years in prison. Credit: Police handout

Lithuanian builder Viktoras Bruzas has been sentenced to life, with a minimum term of 33 years, for stabbing married couple Patrick and Gillian Kettyle to death as they slept in their home.

The 39-year-old carried out the "brutal" and "ferocious" attack as he sought revenge on Mr Kettyle, 55, after becoming convinced he was having an affair with his wife, the Old Bailey heard.

The victims' teenage son, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, hid terrified in his bedroom after being woken by screaming and shouting as the attack took place.

When the killer came to his door, the boy held the handle to stop him getting in, the court heard.

Bruzas told him through the closed door: "I have no issue with you, boy, or your mother. It's Patrick, he's ruined my life. I'm not scared of prison."

Judge rules secret terror trial details will remain secret

The majority of evidence heard in a terror trial held behind closed doors must remain a secret, a judge has ruled.

The media today launched a bid to lift reporting restrictions on a section of the trial of Erol Incedal they were allowed to take notes in.

The majority of the 27-year-old's trial was held in secret in the interest of national security.

He was jailed for three and a half years today for possessing a bomb-making manual but was cleared last week of plotting an attack.

The media argued that in light of Incedal's acquittal the public should not remain in ignorance of his defence against such a serious charge.

And the restrictions might lead to speculation which may or may not be accurate, it was said.

But the judge Mr Justice Nicol's refused, adding that his reasons were secret too.

Read more: British law student jailed for possessing bomb-making manual

Worker: I think zero-hour contracts should be banned

A warehouse worker employed over Christmas on a zero-hour contract has said he believes the arrangements should be banned.

David told ITV News he was employed by an agency on a zero-hours contract in Barnsley over Christmas - but has not had any work since Boxing Day.

He said the contract meant he was tied to his house, even when he had not been booked in advance for a shift.

I was at the agency's beck and call whether I was working or not.

When you were working, you were told when you were next in. When you were not working, you were expected either to ring in, or they would call you. This made it difficult to plan things during the day.

They got irate [if] you couldn't work because you were out. You couldn't plan anything to do with the family, and also you didn't know where the next pay was coming from because you didn't know when you would next be working.

– David, zero-hour contract worker

Julian Lennon posts moving video tribute to his mother

Julian Lennon has posted a moving video tribute to his mother Cynthia after she died today from cancer.

The video features still images of the Lennon family.

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He also tweeted a picture of his mother inside a heart with the message "In Loving Memory".

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