Live updates

MP regrets 'mistimed' tweet during Hillsborough service

A Conservative minister who represents a Merseyside constituency has apologised for tweeting an attack on Labour during the Hillsborough memorial service.

Employment Minister Esther McVey, who represents Wirral West, tweeted:

Radio presenter Nicky Campbell pointed out the poor timing of the Twitter post, writing:

Ms McVey has since apologised for the "mistiming" of her tweet:


Really regret the mistiming of local election press release. Apologies.


Electoral watchdog asks Ukip for 'clarification'

The UK's election watchdog is writing to Ukip asking for "clarification" about the rent-free office at the centre of a row over Nigel Farage's use of Brussels' allowances.

The Electoral Commission said it wanted to find out if the rent-free arrangement should have been declared as a donation.

We are writing to the party to just ask for clarification around this office that has come to light.

We just want to find out if anything needs to be reported that perhaps has not been.

– Spokeswoman, Electoral Commission

Ukip leader Mr Farage has defended his use of MEPs' allowances and claimed he is the victim of a "political smear" following allegations about the money used to fund his constituency office.

Read: Farage story source accuses Times of misquoting him

Hammond: Scotland 'yes vote' means defence jobs risk

Thousands of defence jobs will be at risk if Scotland votes for independence in September, according to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond issued a speech to workers at Thales, a firm which has supplied every periscope used by the Royal Navy
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond issued a speech to workers at Thales, a firm which has supplied every periscope used by the Royal Navy Credit: Associated Press

Mr Hammond warned workers at the Glasgow-based firm Thales that their future prosperity, and that of their families, would be put in jeopardy by a Yes vote for independence.

He said: "The creation of a border between this facility and its largest customer will put at jeopardy the future prosperity of this business, the people who work in it and their families and dependents."

"If we were to separate, then the future of the defence industry in Scotland that depends on MoD orders will be put at risk," he added.

The Times 'welcomes Farage opening up books'

The Times has responded to reports of Ukip leader Nigel Farage considering handing his expenses for independent scrutiny, after the newspaper claimed that he faces an investigation into £60,000 of "missing" MEP expenses. A spokesman for The Times said:

The Times welcomes Mr Farage's commitment today to open up his books to an independent auditor.

As our story states, the reporting was based on Mr Farage's own transparency reports.

Read: Farage story source accuses Times of misquoting him

Coulson rejects claims of bullying at News of the World

The former editor of the News of the World has denied he was a bully and "absolutely rejected" that there was a culture of bullying at the newspaper while he was editor. Andy Coulson, 46, who edited the now-defunct tabloid from 2003-2007, said: "I am not a bully.

"As for other people, during my time in newspapers, of course. The 80s and 90s in newspapers was a very different era."

Coulson, was asked if there was a culture of bullying at the NotW. In giving evidence at the phone hacking trial, he said: "I absolutely reject that."

Former News of the World Editor Andy Coulson, leaves the Old Bailey

He added: "As an editor I tried to be fair. I was, I'm sure, firm at times. I have no doubt that there were occasions when I maybe lost my temper. I think when that happened I would be pretty quick to apologise for it.

"But I think I was far quicker to praise people, to encourage people."

Read: Andy Coulson denies knowledge of Milly Dowler hacking


Coulson did not 'rate' Milly Dowler story

Andy Coulson said he did not know anything about the "fairly unremarkable story" that resulted from hacking Milly Dowler's phone, adding that he did not "rate" it.

On April 14 2002, the News of the World ran a story on page nine entitled Milly Hoax Riddle, which was then changed and moved further back the paper in the final edition.

Coulson told the Old Bailey: "This is a hoax wrapped in a riddle so I don't think I rated this story."

Murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's voicemail was hacked. Credit: Surrey Police/PA Archive

A message left on the murdered schoolgirl's phone, which had been hacked by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, suggested she may have applied for work in a factory in Telford.

The NotW dispatched reporters to chase the story, but the paper's former editor Coulson said today: "I thought it was nonsense because Milly Dowler was a 13-year-old schoolgirl. The idea that she could walk into a factory and take a job just seemed ludicrous to me."

Coulson said he would not have known from the content of the stories that anybody at the NotW had been involved in hacking Milly's phone.

He added that the story was most likely moved to page 30 for "cosmetic reasons" due to a "lack of glamorous content" in the front half of the paper.

Farage story source accuses Times of misquoting him

A Ukip office manager who was a source for a Times article about Nigel Farage's expenses has accused the newspaper of "distorting" the information he gave them to "smear" the party.

David Samuel-Camps said the article incorrectly stated that running costs of Farage's office near Bognor Regis were £3,000 per year, after Samuel-Camps had told the paper the cost was £8,400 a year.

"I was completely honest in my answers and resent the fact that those answers have been completely distorted," Samuel-Camps wrote.

He added that Farage's office was "nowhere near Bognor Regis", and was in fact "on the outskirts of Littlehampton".

The Times said the reporting in the story was "based on Mr Farage's own transparency reports".

Robert Hannigan: 'It is a privilege to lead GCHQ'

Foreign Secretary William Hague has today announced, that former counter terrorism adviser to the Prime Minister Robert Hannigan has been appointed as the new GCHQ Director.

Speaking in a statement Hague said:

I am delighted that Robert Hannigan has been appointed as the next Director of GCHQ. GCHQ’s world-class work is vital to the safety and security of the United Kingdom.

– Foreign Secretary William Hague

Robert Hannigan also told of his "privilege" to be asked to lead the GCHQ:

It is a privilege to be asked to lead GCHQ, an organisation which is so central to keeping the people of this country safe. I am excited about meeting the challenges of the coming years with them.

– Robert Hannigan, new GCHQ Director

Read More: Robert Hannigan appointed GCHQ director

Load more updates