More than 80 new road schemes have been announced by the Government as it outlined how it would spend an already-promised £15bn.Read the full story ›
A Tory MP delivered a Commons speech laced with smutty innuendo following a dare from Royal Navy officer friends, it has been reported.
Penny Mordaunt, the Portsmouth North MP who is also a Royal Navy reservist, used the word "cock" six times and "lay" or "laid" five times during the course of a speech she gave last year on the welfare of poultry.
But at an awards dinner last week, Ms Mordaunt - who has since been made a junior communities minister - disclosed that the real reason for making her address was a forfeit issued during a dinner in the officers' mess, The Mail on Sunday reported.
"Some of my Marine training officers at Dartmouth thought it would be a good idea to break my ladylike persona by getting me to yell particular rude words during the most gruelling part of our training," she was quoted as saying.
"They failed, but during our mess dinner at the end of the course, I was fined for a misdemeanour. The fine was to say a particular word, an abbreviation of cockerel, several times during a speech on the floor of the Commons, and mention all the names of the officers present."
Ms Mordaunt, who has previously appeared on ITV's diving contest Splash!, began her speech - which is recorded in Hansard - by saying: "The cause of hen and cock welfare is one raised with me by many constituents."
She then went on: "In 'The Good Life' idyll one imagines several hens and a single proud cockerel, but one strutting coxcomb will lead to many chicks and what is to become of the male contingent with not a layer among them? I encourage people to consider homes for hens, but to think carefully about a coop for a cockerel."
She finally concluded: "When we eventually head into spring, let us have no cock-ups on hen welfare."
Ms Mordaunt was accused by Labour MP Kate Hoey of trivialising Parliament.
"'She should realise that the House of Commons is not a TV reality show. The public expects debates in the Chamber to be on matters of serious concern," Ms Hoey told The Mail on Sunday.
"It is sad that she has misused it in this way - it sets a bad precedent."
Protestors brought Winchester's city centre to a standstill today, with a march against plans for a modern redevelopment, on a two hectare site opposite the Guildhall.
The city council says the Silver Hill project would secure the area's future, but those against claim the multi-million pound scheme is out of keeping with the neighbourhood. Cary Johnston was there.
Hundreds of people in Winchester have taken to the city's streets today to show their opposition to plans for a multi-million pound redevelopment of the city centre.
The city council wants to create a modern redevelopment, on a two hectare site opposite the Guildhall. The plans include new housing, shops and offices.
An inquiry into whether Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner was properly insured when she had a car crash, is also investigating whether an officer was obstructed when making initial inquiries.
Ann Barnes was involved in a collision in Princes Road, Dartford, on September 16. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is probing whether she committed a criminal offence by not having proper insurance to cover business use of her own car.
In an update, investigators said they are examining whether a police officer was "obstructed in the execution of their duty" when initial inquiries into her insurance cover were being made by Kent Police.
A project to revitalise the Royal Pavilion Estate in Brighton has been given a funding boost of £5 million.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has earmarked the sum for the project, subject to plans being successfully developed to the next stage for which they are providing development funding of £176,000 upfront.
Sangeeta Bhabra and Fred Dinenage with comprehensive coverage of the Rochester & Strood by-election result. Philip Hornby, our Political Correspondent, joined them live from the constituency. The coverage from our flagship show for the South East at 6pm - we alway bring you the news FIRST.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage has welcomed the election of Ukip’s second MP, as Mark Reckless was voted in after a by-election in Rochester and Strood.
In interview today, Mr Farage said he believed the Tories had “tried too hard” in their election campaign, and said he believed Mr Reckless had done the right thing by letting his constituents decide whether to keep him in his seat after defecting.
I think what Mark Reckless did was he didn’t just cross the floor and defect to Ukip, he said ‘I’m resigning my seat, I’m trusting you, the people of Rochester and Strood, to decide to back me or sack me. And people like that – they admire courage, they admire bravery, they admire decency. I think the second reason is - I actually think the Conservatives tried too hard. This full-scale bombardment, the numbers of phone calls houses were getting, that sort of thing.
He denied that he was riding on the back of protest votes, saying people "absolutely believed" in what the party stands for.
Bookmakers are offering 500-1 odds that Prime Minister David Cameron will defect to Ukip.
It follows the party's victory in Rochester where Tory defector Mark Reckless won the by-election.