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Queen's speech draws praise, anger and concern

The Queen's Speech did not go down well with everyone. Credit: PA

The first all-Conservative Queen's Speech for two decades drew praise, anger and concern.

While much of the reaction will focus on the future of the UK's membership of the European Union, human rights and immigration, there were differing responses to issues closer to home.

Unions pledged to fight plans to introduce a threshold in strike ballots, while business leaders welcomed measures to increase the number of jobs and apprenticeships.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "This is a Queen's Speech which entrenches inequality.

"Visits to food banks will increase as benefit cuts bite, the sale of housing association stock will not address the housing crisis and more families will be uprooted due to the bedroom tax."

While Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: "The Government's plan to cut housing benefit for 18-21 year-olds could spell disaster for thousands of young people who cannot live with their parents.

"At an age when other young people are leaving home to travel, work or study, growing numbers could be facing homelessness and the terrifying prospect of roughing it on the streets."


MEP speaks of 'regret' over comments made about UKIP leader

Patrick O'Flynn Credit: ITV News Anglia

Patrick O'Flynn a Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, who has an office in Peterborough, has issued a statement expressing his 'sincere regret' over comments he made about UKIP leader Nigel Farage after the General Election.

He apologised directly to Nigel Farage for his use of the phrase 'snarling, thin-skinned and aggressive'.

He went onto say his comment was a 'fragment of a wider passage about perceptions and is not what I think of him.'

Mr O'Flynn has now stood down as economic spokesman.

"I would like to express to colleagues my sincere regret at going public with my frustrations about the turn of events following polling day. And more than that, I would like to apologise directly to Nigel for the phrase 'snarling, thin-skinned and aggressive'. This was a fragment of a wider passage about perceptions and is not what I think of him. Nonetheless, I should have known better than anyone what use would be made of phrases that were both unfair and unkind. I think it appropriate to stand down as economic spokesman, which I have done. I hope in the months ahead to be of use to the great campaign to persuade the British people to leave the EU, which is after all what brought me into politics in the first place."

– Patrick O'Flynn, MEP, UKIP

Norfolk County Council Leader re-elected

Cllr George Nobbs has been re-elected as Leader of Norfolk County Council following a meeting of full council today.

Cllr Nobbs who represents the Crome division in Norwich for Labour, was elected by 42 votes to 39, with Liberal Democrat Cllr Dan Roper of Hevingham and Spixworth elected as Deputy Leader without opposition.

Cllr Nobbs became Leader of the Council for the first time in May 2013.

Conservative politician dies aged 83

Sir Peter Fry Credit: PA

Sir Peter Fry, who was the Conservative MP for Wellingborough for 28 years, has died at the aged of 83.

He won the seat in a by-election in 1969 and held it until he lost it by 187 votes in 1997. That election was also marred by Sir Peter having a heart attack during the campaign. He blamed his defeat on Ukip intervening to poll 1,192 votes.


Ukip MP Carswell urges Farage to 'take a break'

Farage and Carswell during the election campaign Credit: ITV News Anglia

Douglas Carswell, Ukip's only MP, has suggested that Nigel Farage "take a break" from the party leadership and said his pre-election comments about HIV patients had been "ill-advised".

Writing for the Times (£), The Clacton MP said: "Elections are enormously stressful. The immediate aftermath of one is not the time to take big decisions about the future. It takes a team to get the answers right."

He also appeared to echo concerns raised by economic spokesman Patrick O'Flynn, who claimed that Farage had come across at times as "snarling, thin-skinned" and "aggressive".

At times, Ukip has failed to strike the right tone. By all means we should highlight the problem of health tourism. But we need to admit that using the example of HIV patients to make the point was ill-advised.

Ukip has been at its most persuasive when we have been most optimistic. Anger is never a great way to motivate people — at least not for very long.


Further divisions in UKIP as MEP Patrick O'Flynn slates leader Farage

Patrick O'Flynn (left) has launched an attack on Nigel Farage. Credit: PA

UKIP is facing further division after East of England MEP Patrick O'Flynn branded the party's leader a "snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive man."

In an interview with the Times newspaper, he said Nigel Farage risked turning the party into a personality cult.

The comments come after a separate row in which UKIP's Clacton MP Douglas Carswell is refusing to claim £650,000 of taxpayers' money despite pressure from party officials to use the use the funds in full.

Nigel Farage. Credit: PA

"What’s happened since Thursday night, Friday morning has certainly laid us open to the charge that this looks like an absolutist monarchy or a personality cult.

I don’t think that even Nigel would say it’s been the most glorious chapter of his leadership."

– Patrick O'Flynn
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