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EU chief: 'European values are non-negotiable'

President of the European Council, Donald Tusk met David Cameron ahead of the summit today and said the meeting would mark the start of a consideration of British concerns.

But he warned that the EU's fundamental principles were "not for sale and so are non-negotiable".

There are some British concerns we should consider but only in a way which will be safe for all Europe. Today we start this process.

However, one thing should be clear from the very beginning - the fundamental values of the EU are not for sale and so are non-negotiable.

– European Council President Donald Tusk


Cameron: European summit is 'milestone' for Britain

Prime Minister David Cameron said that the European Council summit in Brussels today is a "milestone" for Britain in the process of its renegotiation with the EU.

Today marks a significant milestone in the process of saying it is right for Britain to have this renegotiation and this referendum to address the concerns that the British people have about Europe and to make sure the British people have a final say about whether we stay in a reformed European Union or leave.

But today we're also discussing this vitally important issue of European migration where we need a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach and Britain will play its role.

– Prime Minister David Cameron

He said that along with existing aid and rescue efforts in the Mediterranean, his government is also looking at how to tackle criminal gangs that are trafficking people across Africa and into Europe.

"I look forward to discussing what more Britain can do to help with this crisis," he added.

  1. Chris Ship

Europe leaders 'do not consider referendum a priority'

David Cameron has had one-to-one discussions with all 27 European leaders. Credit: PA

David Cameron plans to complete his one-to-one discussions will all 27 other leaders of the European Union before this afternoon's summit in Brussels.

He will meet with the leaders of Portugal, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Austria.

And he will talk by phone with the leaders of Croatia and Greece - despite the debt crisis in which the Greek Prime Minister is currently wrapped up.

It means by the time David Cameron addresses the EU Council tonight during the leaders' working dinner - they will all, said Downing Street, "know the issues the Prime Minister wants to address".

However, with the EU facing both the Greek and the migrant crisis, Number 10 has been forced to concede that they "recognise" that the "UK renegotiation sits alongside that".

It suggests that many of the 27 leaders outside the UK do not consider the UK's referendum and renegotiation process a priority.


Poll: Should Britain stay in the EU or leave?

Do you think Britain is better off in or out of the EU? Credit: Johnny Green / PA Archive

Alan Johnson, leader of the Labour Group's Yes campaign, says leaving the EU could put jobs as well as our rights at risk, while eurosceptic Tory MP John Redwood says far from losing friends, Britain will gain in stature as an independent country.

But who do you agree with? Should we stay or should we go?

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Govt 'committed to getting people out of poverty'

The Government has said that it remains committed to tackling the "root causes of poverty," following the publication of figures that show the number of UK children living in low-income households remains at 2.3 million.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith Credit: PA

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Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: "I believe today's figures demonstrate that if you deal with the root causes of poverty - and I believe this Government is doing that - then even under a measure of poverty I have consistently over the last few years described as flawed, you can still have an impact."

He described the Labour party as "scoring an own goal" and "having egg on its face" for tabling an urgent question ahead of publication of the results, amid speculation the figures had increased to 2.5 million.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the percentage of children in relative low-income households remained "flat" in 2013/14.

Govt accused of 'depressing slowdown' over poverty

Govt accused of 'depressing slowdown' over poverty

Labour has accused the Government of overseeing a "depressing slowdown" in the fight against child poverty.

Shadow chancellor Chris Leslie Credit: PA

Shadow chancellor Chris Leslie questioned the Conservative's ambitions to end end child poverty by 2020, adding, "This is not a time for complacency."

This morning's statistics show a depressing slowdown in the progress we should be making as a country towards the abolition of child poverty in the UK.

– Shadow chancellor Chris Leslie

His comments came after official figures released today showed that 2.3 million children in the UK are living in poverty.

Mr Mr Leslie was granted an urgent question ahead of the publication of the figures, summoning Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to the Commons to answer questions.

Speculation ahead of the annual figures had suggested the number of children in poverty would increase to 2.5 million.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the percentage of children in relative low-income households remained "flat" in 2013/14.

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