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PM 'should apply to quit EU to give voters proper choice'

A former Cabinet minister has warned David Cameron he must apply to quit the EU immediately if he is re-elected as Prime Minister next year so as to give voters a "proper choice" between a trade partnership or joining the Euro.

Owen Paterson said Britain would inevitably be dragged into the single currency and claimed applying to leave the EU would mean other nations would be "legally bound" to enter negotiations before a planned in/out referendum in 2017.

The former Environmental Secretary insisted Britain could leave the EU but still remain part of the Single Market, warning that the Eurozone had "already embarked upon a path that we can never follow".

He said activating the two-year mechanism to leave the EU would leave British people with a clear choice ahead of the referendum.

Owen Paterson urges David Cameron to leave EU

Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson has said Prime Minister David Cameron should apply to leave the EU after the general election but stay in the Single Market.

Speaking to the Business for Britain group in London, Mr Paterson said the Government should invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would force other countries to negotiate terms for exit from the EU.

ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener is at the speech.

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BT 'continuing with its own mobile network plans'

BT confirmed it is in early talks about possibly acquiring O2's mobile business. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

BT is continuing with its own plans to offer customers "enhanced mobile services", including possibly acquiring another mobile network.

We continue to develop our own plans for providing enhanced mobile services to business and consumer customers, in line with our previous announcements.

We remain confident of delivering on these plans and have also been exploring ways of accelerating them, including assessing the merits of an acquisition of a mobile network operator in the UK.

– BT statement

The company confirmed shareholders had expressed interest in two networks and that one of them was O2.

It is believed the other network BT is looking at is EE.

O2's mobile business was originally BT Cellnet, before it was sold to Spanish multinational Telefonica in 2001 and re-branded.

BT in 'preliminary talks' to buy O2

Telecoms giant BT is in talks about possibly acquiring O2, Credit: Paul Faith/PA Archive

Telecoms giant BT is in "highly preliminary" talks about buying mobile phone network O2.

The company said it had received "expressions of interest" from shareholders in two network operators, one of which is O2, about acquiring their UK mobile business.

In a statement BT said: "All discussions are at a highly preliminary stage and there can be no certainty that any transaction will occur."

Labour: Government doing too little on existing abuse laws

Labour have welcomed reports that the Government is planning to criminalise emotional abuse.

But Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper claimed the number of domestic violence cases being prosecuted under current laws was falling.

We have called for Theresa May to strengthen the law on domestic violence for some time, so I hope these suggested measures make a difference.

However, the government is still doing too little to enforce the present law, where the proportion of domestic violence cases reaching prosecution or conviction is falling, even though reported cases are going up. under Theresa May domestic violence courts and refuges are closing and specialist domestic violence police officers are being cut.

Unfortunately despite the measures being briefed today, under Theresa May the clock is being turned back on violence against women.

– Theresa May

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Labour: Govt decision on EU bank cap a 'climbdown'

Ed Balls said the decision not to challenge the EU cap was a 'humiliating climbdown'. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the Chancellor's decision not to pursue a challenge to an EU cap on banker bonuses "is a humiliating climbdown".

Mr Balls also accused the Chancellor of trying to "sneak out" the decision under the cover of the Rochester and Strood by-election.

He added: "The Chancellor revealed his true priorities when he decided a year ago to spend taxpayers' money fighting a bank bonus cap while working families face a cost-of-living crisis. He should tell taxpayers how much money he has now wasted on this challenge, which we warned him against.

"Labour will reform the banks and levy a tax on bank bonuses to fund a paid starter job for young people out of work for over a year."

Osborne: EU bank challenge 'unlikely to succeed'

Chancellor George Osborne said the legal challenge was withdrawn because it was 'unlikely to succeed'. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Britain said it was withdrawing its legal challenge to a European Union limit on bankers' bonuses because it was "unlikely to succeed".

In a statement Chancellor George Osborne said: "I'm not going to spend taxpayers' money on a legal challenge now unlikely to succeed.

"These rules may be legal but they are entirely self-defeating, so we need to find another way to end rewards for failure in our banks."

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