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Miliband defends Balls' 'troll' attack on Cameron

Ed Miliband has defended Ed Balls, after the shadow chancellor labelled David Cameron a "troll".

Mr Balls accused the Prime Minister of "making politics nastier" with personal attacks on other politicians.

But Mr Miliband dismissed the comments as "light-hearted remarks" and said the Prime Minister had been "throwing mud" at him.

Ed Balls speaking yesterday. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Mr Balls told London's Evening Standard:

He's made politics nastier. He lashes out in a personal way. The reason he's not popular with women, and why there are very few women in the Cabinet and he keeps sacking them, are all of a piece.

The way he talked to Nadine Dorries, and said 'Calm down dear' to Angela Eagle - it reflects something. David Cameron is a bit of a troll. Look at the Conservative Party and the way they operated on Twitter for the first half of the parliament, they were very trolling, as in officially trolling. It was a reflection of David Cameron.

– Ed Balls

Asked whether he would ask shadow ministers to tone down attacks of this sort, Mr Miliband told the BBC: "I'm sure Ed Balls is making a light-hearted remark, but we are focused on the issues, we are focused on the British people, we are focused on how we are going to change this country."

Osborne: Business leaders' message 'couldn't be clearer'

George Osborne has said that the message from big business leaders 'couldn;t be clearer' after more than 100 business leaders declared their support for a Conservative-led government.

This is an unprecedented intervention in a British election...Their message couldn't be clearer. We have a Conservative economic plan that is working and creating jobs and if we change course those jobs will be threatened and the recovery will be put at risk.

– George Osborne

Nick Clegg attacks Tory 'fatwa' against wind farms

Nick Clegg is a big fan of wind farms Credit: PA

Nick Clegg has accused the Conservatives of an "ideological fatwa" against new wind farms and condemned his coalition colleagues for abandoning their commitment to the environment.

The Liberal Democrat leader said the Tories had lurched dramatically to the right since coming to power five years ago, highlighting green issues, the European Union and civil liberties as areas where differences had deepened between the two parties.

Referring to David Cameron's famous trip to the Arctic when in opposition, Clegg said: "I certainly think that if you go back to the Conservative Party in 2010 it was all husky hugging, they professed an interest in civil liberties, they professed an interest in the environment, they professed an interest in being a centrist Conservative Party.

"They appear to have absolutely no interest in the environment whatsoever," added the deputy prime minister.

"Their language has increasingly sought to mimic Ukip as they have tacked to the right."

Mr Clegg said: "I don't know what the Conservative Party has got against wind farms. Of course you have got to make sure that local communities are consulted and you don't run roughshod over local feelings.

"But I just don't get this sudden ideological fatwa against wind farms, I just don't get it."

Labour: 'No surprise businesses want corporation tax cut'

Labour's shadow secretary for work and pensions dismissed a letter from business leaders declaring support for a Conservative-led government as a call for lower corporation tax.

Rachel Reeves told Good Morning Britain:"It's not surprising that big businesses want to see a cut in their corporation tax rate. But actually for the one and a half million businesses who have benefit from Labour's cut and then freeze in business rates those businesses also need voice and need policies that will help them grow and succeed. So we make no apologies for being on the side of small businesses and ordinary workers."


Labour: Unreliability of zero-hours contracts 'not good enough'

Labour has defended its plans crackdown on zero-hours contracts, saying that for most people on them "they are not a good thing."

Rachel Reeves told Good Morning Britain: "Particularly if you have got child care responsibilities and a family, not knowing from week to week, day to day...whether you're going to afford to pay the rent and bills and put food on the table, that's just not good enough. The Prime Minister says he couldn't live on it, well if he couldn't live on it we shouldn't be asking fellow citizens to do so."

World's oldest person dies aged 117

Misao Okawa, a Japanese woman who was credited to be the world's oldest person, has died at the age of 117.

She celebrated her 117th birthday just weeks ago, on 5th March. Japanese media said she died of old age in a nursing home in the western Japanese city of Osaka.

Misao Okawa celebrated her 117th birthday on March 5th. Credit: Reuters

Okawa was officially recognised by the Guinness World Records as the oldest person alive two years ago when Jiroemon Kimura, also from Japan, died in June 2013 at age 116 years, 54 days.

The title of the oldest person now goes to Gertrude Weave of the United States who will turn 117 on 4th July this year, Japanese media reported.

Born the daughter of a fabric merchant in Osaka in 1898, on the same day as Chinese revolutionary leader Zhou Enlai, Okawa married in 1919 and had three children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Joni Mitchell in 'good spirits' after being rushed to hospital

Joni Mitchell was found unconscious at home Credit: Reuters

Joni Mitchell is "awake and in good spirits" after being discovered unconscious at her Los Angeles home.

The 71-year-old singer was rushed to hospital where she was taken to intensive care on Tuesday afternoon but her condition has since improved, her official website reported.

"Joni is currently in intensive care in an LA area hospital but is awake and in good spirits. More updates to come as we hear them.

"Light a candle and sing a song, let's all send good wishes her way."

Mental health problems 'should not bar people from jobs'

Having mental health problems should not bar people from jobs Nick Clegg has said as investigators focus on the medical history of Germanwings crash pilot Andreas Lubitz.

Mental health problems should not bar people from jobs Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The Deputy Prime Minister, who has championed mental health issues while in government, said there should be no "blanket rules" preventing people from doing certain jobs.

German prosecutors have said that Lubitz, 27, who deliberately caused the Airbus to crash in the French Alps, had therapy for suicidal tendencies some time before getting his pilot's licence.

I think it's very important that we don't, however understandable in this context, allow what is said about one individual to shape or colour the way in which we regard people who go through episodes of mental health problems.

It's very important that employers in all walks of life are as accepting of people who are recovering from mental health problems just as much as they would be people who recover from physical health problems.

I don't think, as a blanket rule, the fact that someone has had mental health problems should automatically disqualify them from certain jobs. That would be not treating people as individuals, instead treating people in an indiscriminately broad-brush way.

– Nick Clegg
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