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Actor found not guilty over Kenneth Clarke grope claim

An actor has been cleared of perverting the course of justice over his claim that he was molested by former chancellor Kenneth Clarke during a cash-for-questions TV sting 20 years ago.

Former chancellor Kenneth Clarke Credit: PA

Ben Fellows, 40, from Birmingham, alleged that the leading politician had plied him with alcohol and carried out the sexual assault in the office of a lobbyist while he was working undercover for ITV's Cook Report in 1994.

Mr Clarke insisted he had never in his life "had the compulsion" to grope another man as he dismissed the claim as "preposterous", "off the Richter scale" and "like Martians landing".

Actor Ben Fellows

After eight hours of deliberations the jury at the Old Bailey found Fellows, of Redstone Farm Road, Olton, Solihull, not guilty of perverting the course of justice between November 14 2012 and December 1 2012.

Speaking outside court, Fellows thanked his "friends, family and supporters" who he said "kept me going throughout the ordeal of the last two years".

He described his trial at the Old Bailey as an "intense and terrifying experience", and added that he was "completely out of my depth".

As far as I'm concerned the next few weeks and months are about rebuilding my life and moving on. I shall make no further comment now or in the future about Mr Clarke and the events of 1994.

– Ben Fellows


Baroness Warsi: Gaza policy is 'morally indefensible'

In her letter of resignation Baroness Warsi says that the Government's policy on Gaza is "morally indefensible".

My view has been that our policy in relation to the Middle East Peace Process generally but more recently our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain's national interest and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically.

– Baroness Warsi's letter of resignation

Particularly as the Minister with responsibility for the United Nations, The International Criminal Court and Human Rights I believe our approach in relation to the current conflict is neither consistent with our values, specifically our commitment to the rule of law and our long history of support for International Justice. In many ways the absence of the experience and expertise of colleagues like Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve has over the last few weeks become very apparent.

– Baroness Warsi's letter of resignation

Tory press team 'tried to keep Clarke off Question Time'

Ken Clarke has claimed the Tory press office tried to keep him away from the television cameras during his time in government, even attempting to prevent him from going on Question Time.

Ken Clarke retired from government during last week's reshuffle. Credit: PA

"I had a great row with them [Conservative press officers] when they told the producer of Question Time that I was ill and they were able to provide a replacement," Clarke said during an interview with the Observer.

" It never occurred to them that I could ring up the producer. She said: 'I'm told you are ill.' After that, I got even more freelance."

The former minister admitted there was "constant friction" between himself and David Cameron, saying his views sometimes "didn't coincide with No 10's".

Clarke: Economic recovery is unbalanced and still fragile

Former Tory Cabinet minister Ken Clarke has questioned the strength of the recovery, claiming the economy is still "fragile".

Mr Clarke, who retired from the government in the reshuffle, said the economy is "not firmly enough rooted" in a balance between manufacturing and services, leaving it prone to shocks.

Ken Clarke said there is still a long way to go before the economic recovery is complete. Credit: PA

The former minister did however declare himself a "great fan" of Chancellor George Osborne and said the Conservatives had saved the country from calamity by reining in spending.

Clarke, 74, told the Observer that the economy still has a "long, long way" to go before sustainable levels of growth could be maintained.

The former chancellor added that Britain must break out of the "ludicrous cycle" of house price booms followed by crashes.

PM: Clarke will be 'hugely missed' after reshuffle

The Prime Minister has written to Kenneth Clarke saying he will be 'hugely missed' around Parliament, after the MP stepped down from his post as Minister Without Portfolio.

On the resignation, Mr Cameron wrote to him saying:

Since you first entered Parliament in 1970, and over forty years since your first Front Bench role as a PPS, your passion for getting things done and the energy you have brought to your Cabinet posts has not diminished one bit.

To have that level of experience at my own Cabinet table has been incredibly helpful – both to me as Prime Minister and to the whole Cabinet.

You have never been timid to raise issues of importance or to stand up for causes that matter to you, but you have also brought a keen sense of humour to the Cabinet table – and you will be hugely missed.

– Prime Minister David Cameron


Ken Clarke: 'Farage knew he couldn't win Newark'

Nigel Farage decided not to stand in the Newark by-election, as he knew he could not win, according to Conservative Cabinet minister Ken Clarke.

Conservative Cabinet minister Ken Clarke. Credit: Press Association

"I am not really surprised. Whatever else Nigel is, he is not an idiot and I don't think he'd have the faintest chance of winning in Newark," he told the BBC.

Earlier the Ukip leader said: "I don't have any links with the East Midlands, I would just look like an opportunist and I don't think that would work."

But he added: "We will fight the Newark by-election and fight it damned hard and get a good local candidate.

MP calls for independent inquiry into torture claims

A senior Conservative MP has said "it is truly shocking" that Britain helped the United States to kidnap and torture British detainees, as he warned that the Government would come to regret its decision not to allow an independent judge-led inquiry to run its course.

Andrew Tyrie said today's confirmation by Cabinet Office minister Ken Clarke that the investigation would instead be handed over to Parliament's controversial Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) was "a mistake".

It is truly shocking that Britain has facilitated kidnap and torture. And the decision to end, to abandon this judge-led inquiry will, I think, come to be seen as a mistake.

What confidence can the public have in their conclusions when that same body wrongly concluded that Britain was not involved in 2007 only to be flatly contradicted by a High Court written ruling the following year?

Ken Clarke to appear on The Agenda tonight

Conservative Minister Ken Clarke will appear on The Agenda tonight. Credit: PA

Conservative minister Ken Clarke will join ITV News Political Editor Tom Brady on The Agenda tonight.

Former BBC Economics Editor turned JP Morgan strategist Stephanie Flanders, FA director Heather Rabbatts and TV and radio presenter Terry Christian will also be on the panel.

The Agenda with Tom Bradby is on ITV at 10.35pm.

Join in the debate on Twitter using the hashtag #TheAgenda.

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