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Government officially fails on net migration pledge

The Government has officially failed to deliver on its pledge to cut net migration before the next election after official figures revealed an increase in the number of people coming to the UK.

The figures are the final estimate of net migration before May's election. Credit: PA Wire

Net long-term migration to the UK increased to 298,000 in the year ending September 2014 - an increase from 210,000 in the previous year, the Office for National Statistics said.

The rise was driven by "statistically significant increases" in the number of EU and non-EU migrants entering the UK, the ONS said.

A total of 624,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year to September - up from 530,000 in the previous 12 months.

The figures will be a blow to David Cameron who, along with Home Secretary Theresa May, had vowed to slash net migration to below 100,000 by the end of the current parliamentary term.

Balls denies bust-up with Miliband over fees policy

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has denied having a 'bust-up' with Labour leader Ed Miliband over their party's tuition fees policy.

Ed Balls has denied a rift with Ed Miliband Credit: Anthony Devlin/Joel Goodman/Press Association Images

Reports of a rift over the finer details of the policy emerged ahead of its public release later this week but Balls denied any conflict saying he and Miliband agreed on the need for a "fairer system" of student finance and there had been "no big bust-up" on issues.

Balls told LBC Radio: "The thing is, the current system of student finance is not working for students who are paying more and for the taxpayer, which has got a massive, growing burden of debt because of this failed policy.

"In the next few days we will set out, clearly, our policy and I think ... if you are a student you will like it."


Miliband attacks Cameron on MPs' second jobs

Ed Miliband has called on David Cameron to ban MPs from having second jobs "to restore the reputation of this house" following recent allegations against two former foreign secretaries.

Ed Miliband addressing David Cameron in the Commons today. Credit: ITV News

Mr Miliband accused the Prime Minister of not wanting to change the rules after the Government amended a Labour motion that MPs should only have one job.

The Labour leader recalled comments by Mr Cameron in 2009 when he said in opposition that "being a Member of Parliament must be a full-time commitment" and that "double-jobbing MPs" would not be allowed under his leadership.

Mr Cameron said Mr Miliband's proposal was "not thought through", adding: "I think the difficulty with your specific proposal is it would allow, for instance, someone to be a paid trade union official but it wouldn't allow someone to run a family business or a family shop."

Miliband hit back, saying: "Let's agree now we will rule out anyone being a paid trade union official, a paid director, or a paid consultant. Say yes and we can restore the reputation of this House."

ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby said Mr Miliband's performance at Prime Minister's Questions was one of his "best" for a while.


Police Tasers drawn on more than 400 children in 2013

A Taser X26 model Credit: Reuters

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has called for a review of the use of Taser stun guns after figures showed they police aimed the weapons on more than 400 children in 2013.

Some 431 children had a taser drawn against them in 2013, up 37% on 2012, Home Office data showed.

The youngest person to have a Taser drawn against them was 11 while the youngest person fired on was 14, the figures obtained by the BBC showed.

Meanwhile the oldest person to have one drawn at them was 85 and the oldest person fired on was 82.

Mr Blunkett, who was in office when the use of Tasers by the police was authorised, told the BBC: "This is a moment, perhaps, to take a step back and to get chief constables and police and crime commissioners together across England and Wales and to say to them, 'Perhaps we can take a further look at who is authorised, in what circumstances, and whether there are alternatives that can be used'.

"I think it's time for a review that incorporates the use of Tasers with advice and support on how to deal with difficult situations.

"For a youngster, 11 years old, a Taser is not in my view an appropriate way of dealing with a situation which clearly must have been out of hand, but where we need to train people to use much more traditional alternatives."

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