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Ex-Tory leader Michael Howard backs EU exit

Lord Howard says he believes Britain should vote to leave EU Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Former Tory leader Michael Howard has backed an EU exit after branding EU renegotiations a "failure".

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Lord Howard said he believes Britain should vote to leave to "shake Europe's leaders out of their complacency" as attempts to renegotiate Britain's place in the union had been "met with failure".

I had hoped that when the Prime Minister announced his intention to commence negotiations for a new relationship between the UK and the EU he might be able to achieve fundamental reform along these lines.

When he spoke, at the outset of the negotiations, of the need for fundamental reform, I believe he may have had something of this kind in mind.

It is not his fault that those efforts met with failure. It is the fault of those EU leaders so mesmerised by their outdated ambition to create a country called Europe that they cannot contemplate any loosening of the ties which bind member states.

There is only one thing that just might shake Europe's leaders out of their complacency: the shock of a vote by the British people to leave."

– Lord Howard

Charles Kennedy's funeral to take place on Friday

Former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, who died a week ago. Credit: PA

The funeral of former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy will take place on Friday, his family has announced.

The 55-year-old, who lost his seat in Parliament at the general election, died a week ago after suffering a major hemorrhage following a long battle with alcoholism.

His funeral will take place at noon at St John's Church in Caol, near his Fort William home and the site where both his parents were laid to rest.

Large crowds are expected to gather for the service, after which his body will be buried at Clunes, Achnacarry.

Cameron: Revenge porn should be illegal

Posting porn online for revenge should be made illegal because it "clearly has criminal intent," Prime Minister David Cameron told the Commons.

David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions. Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

After former culture secretary Maria Miller raised the issue with David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions he said: "You are absolutely right, this is an appalling offence, a dreadful thing for someone to do and it clearly has criminal intent."

He added: "I'm very glad you are championing this cause and I hope, having looked in detail at the amendments you are suggesting, we can take up this cause."


Hague: UK probably supplied chemicals to Syria

William Hague speaking in the House of Commons. Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

British firms probably supplied the chemicals that have been used to make the nerve agent sarin in Syria, according to Foreign Secretary William Hague.

In a written statement to MPs he said that between 1983 and 1986 a review of the records showed a number of companies exported substances but they had legitimate uses for producing plastics and pharmaceuticals and they were not restricted under UK or international law.

He added: "From the information we hold, we judge it likely that these chemical exports by UK companies were subsequently used by Syria in their programmes to produce nerve agents, including sarin.Some of the companies involved no longer exist."

A UK chemical trader may have sourced some of the substances in question rather than producing them in the UK, he wrote.

Hague said Britain was "playing its full part" in the international effort to eliminate Syria's programme and he expected a ship carrying chemicals to be destroyed will arrive from the country next week.

Call for reform to 'barbaric' assisted dying law

Baroness Jay of Paddington has called for medical professionals to be allowed to aid the death of terminally ill patients if requested. Credit: Ian West/PA

The former leader of the House of Lords this week called for a change in the law to allow terminally ill patients to die with the assistance of medical professionals.

While guidance from the director of public prosecutions suggests that loved ones who end the lives of terminally ill adults should not be prosecuted. However, assistance from professionals remains prohibited.

Speaking on Friday, Baroness Jay of Paddington questioned whether it was sensible for parliament "to condone compassionate amateur assistance to die while prohibiting professional medical assistance which might be equally compassionate and more skilfully gentle".

A bill on assisted dying put forward by Labour's Lord Falconer proposes reforms to allow "safeguarded choice" for "mentally competent" terminally ill patients with six months to live. A Lords vote is expected on the bill in the next four months.

Assisted suicide 'a step closer to legality'

The government will not stand in the way of a change in the law on assisted dying, the Telegraph reports. Credit: Andrew James/Media Wales/PA Wire

Legislation allowing doctors to help terminally ill patients to die is to come before parliament in the next few months, the Telegraph reports.

The government said it will not block a change in the law, according to the newspaper, indicating Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians could be given a free vote on the issue.

At present, anyone who helps another person kill themselves could face up to 14 years in prison.

However, new guidelines from the director of public prosecutions in 2010 indicated that loved ones "acting out of compassion" were unlikely to be charged.

However, medical professionals remain prohibited from assisting death.

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