Live updates

Clegg and Cameron 'absolutely committed' to coalition

Nick Clegg will attempt to calm speculation over the coalition's future by saying that he and David Cameron are both "absolutely committed" to governing through to 2015.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (left). Credit: Toby Melville/PA Wire

The Deputy Prime Minister will say that Tory backbenchers are "consumed by game playing" after a week dominated by revolts over Europe and gay marriage.

He will however dismiss talks of a an early break-up between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, during a speech in Westminster.

Speculation over the coalition's future was fuelled this weekend when the Prime Minister raised in an interview the prospect of governing alone.

Mr Cameron told Total Politics magazine that despite some "frustrations", the coalition remained the best way to get things done.

"But if that wasn't the case then we'd have to face the new circumstances in whatever way we should,' he added.

Read: Cameron urges unity in personal letter to Conservatives

Neighbour calls for more support over 'bedroom tax'

A neighbour of Stephanie Bottrill has said there must be more support in place for vulnerable people affected by the "bedroom tax".

Deborah, who declined to give her full name, said local residents had raised a collection to help pay for Ms Bottrill's funeral on Saturday.

"She spoke to us over the fence and said they'd offered her three places; one was a flat which was no good to her because of her condition, one was in Shirley and wasn't near a bus stop, and another was in Alton, further away," she said.

"I think, because she loved her garden, the thought of moving away from her friends and into something like a one-bed bungalow has had that effect," Deborah added.

"We're professional people, and I understand the underlying reasons why you need the bedroom tax," she said. "But there should be support in place - like a key worker or a housing officer - to say to these people who are having to move 'are you happy? do you understand?' and to give them support."

Samaritans is available for anyone in any type of distress on 08457 90 90 90 in the UK or visit their website www.samaritans.org

Advertisement

Grandmother's suicide note blames Government

The family of grandmother Stephanie Bottrill have shared the suicide note in which she blamed the Government for her decision to take her own life.

"Don't blame yourself for me ending my life," she wrote to her son Steven. "The only people to blame are the Government."

He has since said his 53-year-old mum, from Solihull in the West Midlands, could not cope with the financial burden of the new "bedroom tax".

Samaritans is available for anyone in any type of distress on 08457 90 90 90 in the UK or visit their website www.samaritans.org

Balls: 'Bedroom tax' is driving people to edge of despair

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said "there is no doubt" the Government's controversial "bedroom tax" is driving people to "the edge of despair".

Mr Balls was commenting after a family of a woman who committed suicide blamed the pressure of the tax for contributing to her death.

"There is no doubt that this policy is driving people to the edge of despair in their many thousands across the country," Mr Balls told Sky News.

He said: "David Cameron and George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith should stand back from the rhetoric, which is always a little bit nasty and a little bit divisive, and say: 'What are we actually doing here?'"

Read: Family blame 'bedroom tax' pressure for woman's death

Samaritans is available for anyone in any type of distress on 08457 90 90 90 in the UK or visit their website www.samaritans.org

Family blame 'bedroom tax' pressure for woman's death

The family of a woman who blamed the Government for her death in a suicide note said she was struggling to cope with paying the so-called bedroom tax, the Sunday People has reported.

Stephanie Bottrill's relatives told the paper she was worried about how she would afford the £20 extra a week for the two under-occupied bedrooms in her home - money she owed because of the Government's spare room subsidy policy.

Ms Bottrill, who died on May 4, left a letter to her son Steven, which said: "Don't blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the Government," the paper reports.

There have been protests against the Government's so-called "bedroom tax"
There have been protests against the Government's "bedroom tax". Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

He told the newspaper: "She was fine before the bedroom tax. It was dreamt up in London, by people in offices and big houses. They have no idea the effect it has on people like my mum."

Solihull Council Labour group leader David Jamieson, who knows the family, told the newspaper: "I'm absolutely appalled this poor lady has taken her own life because she was worried about how she would pay the bedroom tax."

Samaritans is available for anyone in any type of distress on 08457 90 90 90 in the UK or visit their website www.samaritans.org

Cameron's balancing act as he resists Conservative 'lurch to the right'

Ministers have warned David Cameron to resist a "lurch to the right" after the Conservatives finished third behind UKIP in the Eastleigh by-election.

David Cameron is also facing pressure over departmental spending and the welfare bill ahead of this month's Budget.

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports:

Advertisement

'Anti-EU posturing' could make UK a criminal safe haven

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has warned that Britain could become a "safe haven" for foreign criminals if it pulls out of the European Arrest Warrant.

The Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May plans to opt out of 133 EU-wide justice and policing measures, including the EAW.

It comes as David Cameron pledged not to "lurch to the right" after his party was beaten by UKIP in the Eastleigh by-election.

After meeting campaigners, Mr Clegg said:

While some measures of European co-operation on crime are old, out of date or defunct, the police and other law enforcement agencies consistently tell us that other measures are essential for our national security and public safety.

The European Arrest Warrant is one of those key measures...as the police say, without it Britain could become a safe haven for Europe's criminals.

We want to improve the way the arrest warrant works.

But this key crime fighting tool should be reformed, not abandoned.

One of Mr Clegg's aides went further, telling the Financial Times:

It is incredible that people would risk the security and safety of British citizens for some anti-European posturing.

Grayling: Human rights comments 'not off-message'

The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said that his remarks about scrapping the Human Rights Act were not off-message, despite David Cameron saying there would be no "lurch to the right" in the Conservative Party.

Grayling's Human Rights comments 'not off message'
The Justice Secretary insists his comments about the Human Rights Act were "not off-message" Credit: ITV News

Mr Grayling said: "What I've set out in the last few days is the same approach that I set out at the party conference last year.

"The Conservative Party will go in to the next election with a plan to tackle the frustrations on human rights, which are shared by people across our society - not by those on the right but the public as a whole."

His remarks come as cracks over immigration and the Human Rights Act appear to be splitting the party after the poor Eastleigh by-election results, which saw the Conservative fall to third place behind UKIP.

Read: Nick Clegg on 'Stunning' Eastleigh win

Clarke: 'Lurch to right is most certain way to lose election'

The former Conservative Cabinet minister Ken Clarke has warned David Cameron that any attempt to imitate UKIP will "drive moderate people to stick with the Liberal Democrats", adding: "I can't think of a more certain way to lose the general election than to go for a lurch to the right."

The now Minister Without Portfolio went on to say that talk of the Human Rights Act being scrapped was not something he recognised as government policy, or "any policy likely to be adopted by a Conservative Party that I can recognise."

Read: David Cameron says 'no lurch to the right'

Cameron to pledge to stick to economic policy

Budget David Cameron economy
Cameron's speech on the economy takes place three weeks before the Budget Credit: PA Wire

David Cameron is set to attempt to calm Conservative nerves with a major speech on the economy on Thursday.

Downing Street aides said it will aim to drive home the Prime Minister's message on the need to stick to the course on economic policy.

Ministers have been voicing their opposition to any potential cuts to their departmental spending ahead of the Budget later this month.

Yesterday, the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond called for the welfare budget to bear a greater share of the cuts than the Armed Forces.

Load more updates

Advertisement

Today's top stories