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RMT: Unions will 'fight brutal assault on human rights'

Mick Cash (centre) has harsh words for the Tories' union plans Credit: Rick Findler / PA Archive

The government's plans to make strikes harder to organise has been criticised as a "brutal assault on the most basic of human rights" by Mick Cash, the leader of the RMT.

He also said that the government's plan "mirrors the actions of hard-right regimes throughout history".

He added: "The trade union movement will unite to fight this brutal assault on the most basic of human rights and that campaign will be taken into the communities who stand to lose access to safe and reliable services as this noose of the anti-union laws is twisted round our necks."


'Girls?!: Nicky Morgan unimpressed by photographer

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan was unimpressed by a photographer's attempt to get her attention as she left a pre-Budget Cabinet meeting this morning.

The photographer shouted, "Morning girls" as Ms Morgan departed Downing Street alongside Energy Secretary Amber Rudd.

"Girls?! Girls?!" the Education Secretary replied, prompting laughter from the assembled media pack.

Cameron facing Tory anger over Heathrow expansion

Conservative heavyweights have already spoken out about the recommendations to expand Heathrow airport.

Cameron facing Tory anger over Heathrow expansion. Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

Cabinet minister Justine Greening, whose south west London constituency could be affected by any increase in flights, has claimed that expansion is "undeliverable both democratically, politically and legally".

Zac Goldsmith, a frontrunner in the race to be the Tory candidate to replace Boris Johnson as mayor next year, has threatened to resign and trigger a by-election if the Government gives the green light to a third runway.

PM: I want a 'higher wage, lower welfare society' in UK

David Cameron has defended the Government's plans to cut a further £12 billion from the welfare bill, saying he was determined to transform Britain into "a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society".

David Cameron pictured speaking in Cheshire today. Credit: ITV News

Mr Cameron said Britain needed to end the "merry-go-round" where people on low pay paid tax to the Government only for the Government to hand back the money in welfare payments.

"We need to move from a low wage, high tax, high welfare society to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society," the Prime Minister said in a speech in Runcorn in Cheshire.

Mr Cameron's comments come amid speculation ministers are preparing cuts to tax credits in his first all-Conservative Budget next month.

Andy Burnham, the Labour leadership candidate, has said it is "disgraceful" that ministers had yet to outline where the cuts would come.


EU referendum set in stone as Parliament debates Bill

Britain took another step on the long road to its forthcoming in/out EU referendum today, after European Union (Referendum) Bill had its second reading in Parliament today.

Labour backed the Bill, but the SNP stood up in opposition to it.

ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby reports:

Boris Johnson: Allow ministers to vote for EU exit

Ministers should be allowed to campaign for the UK to exit the European Union in an in-out referendum, Boris Johnson has said.

The Mayor of London said it would be "safer and more harmonious" for David Cameron to allow ministers to campaign on the opposing side.

Mr Cameron was criticised yesterday for claiming that he had been "misinterpreted" when he appeared to suggest ministers would be forced to quit if they called for a No vote.

Asked if ministers should be allowed to campaign for "Brexit" and keep their posts, Mr Johnson told LBC's Nick Ferrari: "I don't see why not myself."

He added: "Do you really need to bind everybody in?"

Hammond: 'Wrong' to give 16 and 17-year-olds EU vote

It would be "wrong" to give 16 and 17-year-old's the vote in the EU referendum, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said.

Speaking in the Commons during a debate on the European Union Referendum Bill, Mr Hammond said: "Some will argue that we should extend the franchise further to 16 and 17-year-olds perhaps or even to citizens of other EU countries resident here. We do not agree."

Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn confirmed Labour would seek an amendment to the Bill to allow 16 and 17-year-old's to vote.

"It is the same old excuse of an argument against giving people a say and it's completely at odds with the other rights we already give to 16 and 17-year-olds, which include the right to work, pay tax, join the armed forces," Mr Benn said.

Mr Hammond also confirmed that the referendum could be held earlier than planned if renegotiation is completed ahead of schedule.

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