Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to Tory MEP Philip Bradbourn, who has died at the age of 63.
Mr Bradbourn, who had served in the European Parliament since 1999, was diagnosed with bowel cancer shortly after being re-elected in May and died last night.
Mr Cameron paid tribute to the West Midlands MEP's long career in public and political service, for which he was awarded the OBE in 1994.
Philip's dedication to public service was truly admirable; he was a well-respected and effective MEP. In a political career which spanned over four decades, he showed great passion in serving both the party and his constituents. My thoughts are with Philip's family at this sad time.
Tory MEP Philip Bradbourn has died aged 63, the Conservative Party has announced. The West Midlands MEP, who had served in the European Parliament since 1999, was diagnosed with bowel cancer shortly after being re-elected in May and died last night.
His no-nonsense approach to politics made him a powerful voice for the West Midlands as well as a resolute defender of the British taxpayers' interests in Brussels and Strasbourg.
Ashley Fox, leader of the Conservative MEPs, said Mr Bradbourn was a "one-off" adding that he was "a much loved character who could always be relied on for a robust intervention and a succinct summary of a political point".
George Osborne's plans to cut public spending to reduce the deficit would be "devastating" for the UK, Business Secretary Vince Cable has claimed.
Describing the Chancellor's plans announced in the Autumn Statement as "ideologically driven", Mr Cable said the police, armed forces and social care would be severely hit by the proposals.
The Business Secretary said he would "really worry" if the spending plans in the next parliament were realised.
Mr Cable told the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show that the Liberal Democrats had kept the Conservatives on a "tight leash" and they had been "well behaved" while in coalition, but were now promoting "extremes" ahead of next year's general election.
Responding to Tory accusations that the Liberal Democrat's plans would leave the country in chaos, Cable said: "We are committed to financial discipline, but we're not veering off to the extreme ideology that the Tories seem to want."
Despite Labour retaining its lead over the Conservatives in the 40 most marginal seats ahead of the General Election, voters prefer David Cameron to Ed Miliband for Prime Minister, a new ComRes/ITV News Index poll suggests.
The poll also indicates that 10% of Labour voters in the last General Election would switch their allegiance to Ukip next year.
- Voters in marginal seats remain more likely to prefer a Labour to a Conservative government (41% to 36%), but favour David Cameron over Ed Miliband as Prime Minister (44% to 31%)
- Nearly half of voters in marginal seats (45%) think that Ukip are a serious party, although 39% think they are not
- 10% of participants who voted for Labour in 2010 now say that they would switch to vote Ukip, along with one in five people (21%) who voted Conservative
Labour retains its lead over the Conservatives in the 40 most marginal seats ahead of the General Election next year, a new ComRes/ITV News Index poll suggests.
The poll of 1,002 people put Labour down two points since September on 39% and the Conservatives up one at 31%.
The Liberal Democrats and Ukip were also up one at 7% and 18% respectively.
The Conservative party has taken a three-point lead in a new poll.
Research by Ipsos MORI for London's Evening Standard found that days of speculation about Ed Miliband's leadership has seen the party's support drop four points to 29%.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives were up two on 32% - the biggest advantage the polling firm has recorded for them since 2010. Just 13% of those surveyed agreed Mr Miliband was "ready to be prime minister", while 73% thought the opposite. The Liberal Democrats were up one on 9%, and Ukip down two on 14%.
The Prime Minister has defended the government's track record on drugs saying that "drug use is falling" and that "the evidence is that what we are doing is working".
"I don't believe in decriminalising drugs," he said, adding that the Home Office report does not justify any one approach over another.
He was speaking at an 02 call centre in Runcorn, Cheshire.
Labour will force a Commons vote on Lord Freud's future after David Cameron refused to dismiss him for his controversial suggestion that some disabled workers were "not worth" the minimum wage.
The Conservative peer has kept his job after apologising for the comment, which sparked furore among disability charities and was branded "offensive" by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.
But Labour has made repeated calls for him to go and will table a motion of no confidence in the welfare minister tomorrow ahead of a vote later this month.
The move came as it emerged that Andrew Selous, a justice minister, told a fringe meeting at the Tory party conference that "disabled people work harder because they're grateful to have a job", according to the Independent.
The father of a 31-year-old man with severe learning difficulties has backed Lord Freud's controversial comments that some disabled people should not be employed at the minimum wage.
Julian Mason told Good Morning Britain his son "would need constant supervision" even if he worked at the local supermarket and may have trouble completing basic tasks like collecting trollies.
Lord Freud has been withdrawn from frontbench duties in the House of Lords on Thursday, where he had been scheduled to reply to a question and represent the Government in a debate.
The Department for Work and Pensions said the peer "isn't available" but gave no further details of why he was being replaced by colleagues.