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Boat 'carrying 700 migrants capsizes near Lampedusa'

A boat carrying as many as 700 migrants has capsized near the Italian island of Lampedusa, prompting a major search operation, according to reports.

Credit: ITV News

The migrants fell overboard just after midnight when the group moved to one side of the boat as a merchant ship approached, the Times of Malta said.

A rescue operation has since been launched around 120 miles off Lampedusa.

The reported incident comes just days after 400 migrants are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean.

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Labour: Most important thing is best value for taxpayers

Reacting to the Tories' pledge to offer cut-price Lloyds shares to small investors, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie said:

The Tories have now announced this seven times.

They promised it before the last election and they're turning to it again just weeks before this election.

The most important thing is getting best value for money for the taxpayer.

That's why we have said all the proceeds from selling back the government's stakes in Lloyds and RBS should be used to repay the national debt.

– Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to Treasury

Osborne: We want to give people a stake in economy

Chancellor George Osborne says the Tories want to give more people "a stake" in the economy, as David Cameron prepares to unveil plans to offer up to £4 billion in cut-price Lloyds shares to small investors.

David Cameron: 'Another step in repairing our banks'

David Cameron has hailed the Conservatives' pledge to offer cut-price shares in Lloyds as another step towards "repairing our banks".

David Cameron has warned voters not to put the recovery at risk by voting Labour. Credit: PA Wire

The Prime Minister is expected to say today: "The £20 billion bailout of Lloyds bank by the last Labour government became a symbol of the crisis that engulfed the British economy under Labour.

"After the public bailed it out, people feared they wouldn't see their money returned. Today they are."

"Today's announcement marks another step in the long journey we have been making repairing our banks, turning our economy around and reducing our national debt, only made possible by our long-term economic plan.

Mr Cameron again issued a call to voters not to "put all that progress at risk" by voting Labour, urging Britons to choose the Tories for a "brighter, more secure future".

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Ed Miliband appeals to 'centre ground' Tories

The Labour leader Ed Miliband has made an appeal to Tories claiming he represents the "centre ground" of politics.

Labour leader Ed Miliband. Credit: PA

I want to reach out to Tory voters, to Liberal Democrat voters, to Ukip voters, to non-voters… to people who feel that David Cameron can’t answer the challenge of our time, who worry about our place in the European Union, who really think to themselves, ‘we can do a lot better as a country’.

Who is going to stand up to tax avoidance? Who is going to stand up to energy companies? Who is going to stand up to banks? That is absolutely something I think will appeal to Tory voters.

– Ed Miliband

In an interview the the Observer, he said: “I am a politician of the left, but I am positioned where the mainstream of politics is positioned. I am on the centre ground of politics."

  1. London

Boy, 16, among victims of fatal motorcycle collision

A teenager on the back of a motorcycle has died alongside the rider after a fatal collision with a pedestrian.

A 20-year-old man and 16-year-old boy were pronounced dead at the scene at Woodford Avenue, Ilford in north-east London at 5.30pm on Saturday evening.

The male pedestrian is in a serious but non life-threatening condition in hospital.

The Metropolitan Police said: "Next of kin have been informed. Post-mortem examinations and formal identification will take place in due course."

The force also issued an appeal for witnesses.

A fine dry start with sunny spells reaching a high of 15C

It is a fine and dry start across many parts of the UK, with the best of the bright and sunny spells across western areas.

A fine dry start with sunny spells reaching a high of 15C. Credit: Met Office.

As the day progresses, cloud across eastern parts will slowly spread westwards, though some breaks in the cloud will develop. There may also be a few spots of rain possible at times under the thickest cloud. Maximum temperatures will be around average for the time of year, though above average across western Scotland with highs reaching 15C (59F).

Missing kayaker: Coastguard launch urgent search

An urgent search operation has been launched to find a kayaker who has gone missing off the coast of Southampton.

The kayaker went missing after leaving Hill Head late last night. Credit: Google Maps

The kayaker left from Hill Head in Fareham, Hampshire at around 9.30 pm on Saturday night and did not return.

The Coastguard helicopter and lifeboats are involved in the search.

“We are searching for a kayaker who was expected home last night," Ash Rawson, controller at the National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham, said.

"A vessel has been in contact with us to report a possible sighting and we are following up on this report as well as continuing our in-depth search of the area with multiple agencies.”

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