Libby Wiener

Political Correspondent

Libby Wiener is an experienced Political Correspondent for ITV News. She works from the House of Commons, reporting on all political news.

Britain pledges help to Iraq - but stops short of arms

The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has tonight called Iraq's President Fouad Massoum, urging him to help form an 'inclusive' government.

Foreign Office sources suggest that defeating Islamic militants will only be possible with strong leadership from inside Iraq.

Mr Hammond also spoke to the Kurdish leaders Masoud Barzani pledging British humanitarian support.

Further plane-loads of aid are expected in the coming days.

Requests for arms are, however, likely to be met with a polite 'no '.

David Cameron had five relatives killed during WW1

David Cameron had five relatives killed during the First World War.

David Cameron during a World War One service today. Credit: Russell Cheyne/PA Wire
  • Captain John Geddes, a great, great uncle killed in April 1915, name on Menin Gate - which he found last year.
  • Second Lieutenant Alistair Geddes, died June 1915 - Royal Scots Fusiliers (also a great,great uncle).
  • Captain William Henry Cameron, died December 1914 - Highland Light Infantry (also great, great uncle).
  • Captain Francis Mount, died October 1915 - Royal Berkshire regiment (also a great, great uncle).
  • Francis Ellison Levita died October 1914 (first cousin).

The Prime Minister apparently researched much of this himself, we were told at a lobby briefing.

Gove escapes schools row without too much damage

Michael Gove arriving at 10 Downing Street to discuss Ofsted's findings. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

It has not been quite as bad a day for Michael Gove as some would have expected.

Sir Michael Wilshaw did suggest that it was his idea to have unannounced inspections but he did not lay the blame entirely at Michael Gove's door.

He said that headteachers had been concerned that if inspectors did arrive unannounced then he wouldn't be able to be there.

They went to the Department for Education and the department listened to them and did not go along with this idea earlier.

In that sense this isn't so damaging for Michael Gove. Labour have tried to frame this in terms of a failing of his entire academies policy, but there was some support for Mr Gove from Sir Michael who said that structural changes were not at fault.

Gove set to face awkward questions

Michael Gove has said he will not be standing down. Credit: Tim Goode/EMPICS Entertainment

Falling out with the Home Secretary was not exactly what you would call a good start to this new parliamentary session for Michael Gove

And next week there may be some very awkward questions for the Education Secretary when those reports are published into alleged Islamification in some Birmingham schools.

Nevertheless, he does have a lot of support from the Prime Minister, who is seen as a very close ally of Mr Gove, and I do not think there is any suggestion at the moment that his job is on the line.

Liberal Democrat infighting 'far from over'

Videograb image taken dated 26/6/2013 of Lord Oakeshott. Credit: PA Images

There's no doubt Lord Oakeshott means it when he says he resigned from the Lib Dems with a "heavy heart".

But his parting statement is only likely to add to the party's turmoil. In it, he warns that the Liberal Democrats are "heading for disaster" if they keep Nick Clegg as leader - a final attempt to undermine the deputy Prime Minister.

And he goes on to suggest he told the Business Secretary Vince Cable about the damaging polls he commissioned and leaked to the Guardian.

It leaves the two men at the top of the party with more questions to answer.

One senior source told me Lord Oakeshott is now "a busted flush" but it's clear the Liberal Democrat infighting following the party's disastrous showing in the local and European elections is far from over.

Review begun into female soldiers filling combat roles

It is a move that the head of the army, General Sir Peter Wall, has already suggested might make the armed forces "look more normal" - and it seems Defence Secretary Philip Hammond now agrees.

He has ordered a review of whether women should be allowed into combat to start immediately, and wants a report on his desk by the end of the year.

Earlier he told journalists that if the US, Australia and even France had women in combat roles, it was time for Britain to look at the policy again.

Army chief Sir Peter Wall said women "need to see they have equal opportunities" throughout the armed forces. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive

Currently, there are more than 16,000 women in the armed forces but about 30 per cent of roles are closed to them.

The Defence Secretary says he does not envisage the numbers who apply will be that large but suggests it is time to send a signal that the army is open "to all who can meet the standards required".

It is also true that if the change does go ahead next year, it will not harm the Government's attempts to appeal to women voters in the run up to the General Election.

Helmer dismisses claim he 'encouraged homophobia'

Ukip's newly-selected candidate for the Newark by-election Roger Helmer has dismissed suggestions he's encouraged homophobia in the past.

Ukip's newly-selected candidate for the Newark by-election Roger Helmer. Credit: www.rogerhelmermep.co.uk

Mr Helmer, currently an MEP, blamed the media for dragging up what he called a "couple of peripheral comments that were made more than ten years ago".

Asked if he stood by his comments that some people found homosexuality distasteful, he said: "Some people dislike it and this is a fact. Some people do all sorts of things, that doesn't mean I commend them."

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