Live updates

Shadow chancellor warns of interest rate rises

Ed Balls speaking in Bedford
Ed Balls speaking in Bedford

Homeowners are facing a "real risk" of premature interest rate rises, shadow chancellor Ed Balls warned today, as he branded David Cameron the "you've never had it so good" Prime Minister.

Mr Balls, speaking in Bedford, accused Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne of complacency over economic recovery, and warned that their failure to build more homes might force the Bank of England to accelerate interest rate rises.

Ed Balls speaking in Bedford
Ed Balls speaking in Bedford

Despite the loudly acclaimed return of UK GDP to pre-crash levels last week, most people remain worse off under the coalition after the biggest real-terms fall in wages for more than a century, he said.

And he claimed Conservatives were planning "another tax cut for millionaires" if they win next year's general election, after Mr Cameron's policy guru Oliver Letwin was recorded suggesting that a discussion on flat-rate taxes "will no doubt open up" when the public finances improve. A flat rate for income tax could force the 20p basic rate paid by millions of ordinary workers as high as 31p, he warned.

Ed Balls speaking in Bedford
Ed Balls speaking in Bedford

Speaking in Bedford, where Harold Macmillan famously declared that "most of our people have never had it so good", Mr Balls said that the recovery produced by Mr Cameron was far from the boom which Britain enjoyed under the earlier Conservative PM.

Here is our business correspondent Matthew Hudson's interview with Mr Balls after his speech:

The Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls visits Bedford to set out Labour's economic plans for the future

The Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.
The Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.

The Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is in Bedford today to set out Labour's economic plans for the future.

Mr Balls will use his speech in the marginal Conservative seat to say that working people are now worse off than they were five years ago.

He says average wages after inflation are down by more than £1600 pounds a year since 2010.

Advertisement

MP to stand down after police caution

After weeks of mounting pressure, the decision by Suffolk MP David Ruffley to step down at the next election has been broadly welcomed in his constituency. Calls for him to vacate his Bury St Edmunds seat came after news surfaced that he's received a caution for common assault on a partner. But his detractors say next May isn't soon enough, and he should go immediately. Here's Tanya Mercer's report.

David Ruffley to stand down at next election

David Ruffley
David Ruffley agrees to stand down at next election

The Tory MP for Bury St Edmunds who apologised after receiving a police caution for domestic assault involving his former partner will stand down at the 2015 general election.

David Ruffley confirmed in a letter to his local Conservative Association that he will not stand for re-election next year, saying the "protracted media debate" on his private life would not serve the interests of the party in his constituency.

Mr Ruffley also said he was not willing to continue to sustain the "unrelenting orchestrated intrusion into my private life".

The MP revealed last week that he had apologised to his former partner for the March incident, which led to him accepting a caution for common assault.

Mr Ruffley said the woman had accepted his apology and stressed that he did not condone domestic violence "under any circumstances".

Writing to Andrew Speed, the chairman of the Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association, Mr Ruffley said: "Sadly, although I have apologised for a very regrettable incident last March and both my former partner and I considered the matter closed, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that a protracted media debate on my private life, whatever the motivation or however misinformed, would not serve the wider interests of the Conservative cause in East Anglia.

"Nor at a human level am I prepared to continue to sustain the unrelenting orchestrated intrusion into my personal life."

The former shadow police minister went on to say he was standing down with a "heavy heart".

Mr Ruffley was referred by the Conservative Party to chief whip Michael Gove for investigation last week after he revealed his apology to his former partner.

Michael Gove
Michael Gove, Conservative Party Chief Whip
National

Tory MP involved in domestic assault to stand down

A Conservative MP who accepted a police caution over a domestic assault has announced he is standing down at the general election.

David Ruffley will be standing down from Parliament in 2015.
David Ruffley will be standing down from Parliament in 2015. Credit: ITV News Anglia

David Ruffley said the "protracted media debate" about his private life would not serve the interests of his constituency party.

In a letter to Bury St Edmunds's Conservative Association, Mr Ruffley also said the incident had provoked an "unrelenting orchestrated intrusion into my private life".

Read: Tory MP apologises over assault of former partner

Thousands sign petition calling for MP to resign

More than 32,000 people have now signed an online petition calling for the resignation of the Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley.

The Conservative, has represented the town in the commons since 1997, was embroiled in scandal last week after it emerged he'd been cautioned by Police for assaulting a former girlfriend.

Advertisement

John Bercow installed as the University of Bedfordshire's new Chancellor

John Bercow.
John Bercow. Credit: PA

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, will be installed as the University's of Bedfordshire's new Chancellor today.

His official welcome take's place during the University's final graduation ceremony of the summer, at St Mary's Church in Luton.

As Chancellor, Mr Bercow will represent the University on special occasions, and preside over meetings of the University Court.

Lowestoft: New Environment Secretary Liz Truss to visit the scene of last winter's tidal surge

Liz Truss.
Liz Truss. Credit: PA

The Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss will make her first official visit to the region today in her new role.

She'll visit two farms in Norfolk before heading over the border to Lowestoft to see the damage caused to its beaches during last winter's tidal surge.

The Norfolk MP will hear about the efforts being made to protect the town's seafront in the future.

Read more: Flooding hits the East

Calls for Suffolk MP to resign intensify

Pressure is mounting this evening on Bury St Edmunds Conservative MP David Ruffley to resign after receiving a police caution for an assault on his then girlfriend.

Mr Ruffley, a former shadow police minister, last night issued a statement publicly appologising for his "inappropriate action" during the incident in March.

However senior Conservatives say his apology is too little too late.

Suffolk MP referred to Chief Whip over police caution

Michael Gove
Michael Gove - chief whip Credit: PA

A Suffolk Tory MP who apologised after receiving a police caution for a domestic assault has been referred by the party to chief whip Michael Gove, a Conservative source has confirmed.

Former shadow police minister David Ruffley revealed in a statement that he had apologised to his former partner in relation to the incident in March, which led to him accepting a caution for common assault.

He said the woman had accepted his apology and stressed that he did not condone domestic violence "under any circumstances".

It is understood that Mr Gove wants to establish exactly what happened. He has the power to strip MPs of the party whip at Westminster if wrongdoing is found.

The party had previously responded to queries about the assault by saying that the issue "was dealt with at the time by the police", and the decision to refer Mr Ruffley to the chief whip for investigation was being seen in Westminster as a significant development.

Load more updates