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Coalition split over knife crime punishment

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are at loggerheads over proposals to tighten up the law on knife crime.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling wants to bring in an automatic six-month jail term for anyone convicted of a second crime involving a knife.

The Tory Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, wants to increase prison sentences for knife crime. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire/Press Association Images

But the chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, is concerned that the move would be expensive and put too much pressure on prison places.

A leaked letter from Mr Alexander to Nick Clegg, published in the Daily Mail, says:

‘It is very hard to see how it could be afforded. The Treasury does not support this amendment and I am not willing to clear it."

Labour calls for publication of immigration report

File photo of a UK Border Agency officer checking a passport. Credit: PA Wire

Labour and other oppostion parties has called for the immediate publication of a government report about the impact of immigration on the UK economy following claims that it has been withheld by the government.

Ministers have repeatedly cited research by the Migration Advisory Committee that found 23 British workers are left unemployed for every 100 new arrivals.

But a study by civil servants has concluded that the 'displacement' figure is actually much lower, according to the BBC's Newsnight programme

Shadow immigration minister David Hanson said: "The British people should have information made available to them so they can make a judgement about the impact of immigration on jobs.

"This should be done on the basis of fact, not more empty rhetoric or spin from the Government."

Ukip leader Nigel Farage joined the debate, saying: "I think there is no doubt that British people have lost their jobs because there is too much labour coming into the market.

"The other factor is the effect on wages of people in work".


George Osborne to appear on The Agenda tonight

Chancellor George Osborne is likely to face questions about the Government's flood response. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will join ITV News Political Editor Tom Brady on The Agenda, which returns to ITV tonight.

Former BBC Economics Editor turned JP Morgan strategist Stephanie Flanders, historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes and money saving expert Martin Lewis 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

Labour would borrow '£166 billion more than coalition'

Labour would be able to borrow £166 billion more than the coalition is planning under Ed Balls's new tax and spending rules, the Liberal Democrats have claimed.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and Labour party leader Ed Miliband Credit: PA/PA Wire

A Treasury analysis of the shadow chancellor's fiscal rule, released by Lib Dem Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander, suggested a Labour government would still be borrowing billions when the public finances would be back in balance under coalition plans.

The move comes after Mr Balls sought to rebuild Labour's reputation for managing the public finances with a binding commitment to run a surplus on the current budget and get national debt back on a downward path by 2020 at the latest.

Clegg pushes Osborne for £1bn income tax giveaway

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg wants Chancellor George Osborne to raise the income tax threshold. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive

The Liberal Democrats want the coalition to raise the income tax threshold above £10,500 by 2015, which could effectively mean a £100-a-year tax cut to 24 million basic rate payers.

The move, which would take half a million people out of income tax altogether, would represent a £1 billion tax giveaway before the next general election.

The Lib Dems have already seen the coalition achieve their manifesto commitment to raise the personal allowance to £10,000 - which was finally reached in the last Budget in March.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg will write to party activists next week calling for a "workers' bonus" to reward voters for the financial sacrifices they have made during the years of austerity.

Labour attacks the coalition over bequeathed donation


Row over £520,000 donation to Government left in will

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Credit: PA Wire

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have been criticised after taking more than half a million pounds donated to the Government in a will and pouring it into their own party political funds.

The Daily Mail reported that Joan Edwards, who died last September at the age of 90, left £520,000 to "whichever Government is in office at the date of my death for the Government in their absolute discretion to use as they may think fit".

The money was split between the parties of power based on the number of MPs and ministers they have, with the Conservatives getting £420,000, and both put it down as a donation to their party, to be used for political ends.

It was claimed the decision to give the money to political parties and not added to Treasury coffers to spend on public services was taken by the solicitors acting as executors of Ms Edwards' will.

PM: 'Absolutely my intention' to continue coalition

David Cameron said it was "absolutely" his intention to keep the coalition together until the 2015 general election.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Credit: Alastair Grant/PA Wire

The Prime Minister told BBC Radio 4's Today programme there are some big and bold reforms ahead and dismissed suggestions the government was running out of steam.

On working with Nick Clegg until the next general election, he said: "That is absolutely my intention and has always been. This is a Government that has an enormous programme of work."

"To anyone who doubts the life there is left in the coalition, I would argue there is more to come. Very bold reforming and strong government, and that is what we will be right up till polling day," he added.

'Creative coverage' on Cameron's coalition comments

Nick Clegg is expected to criticise the "rather creative coverage" of David Cameron's weekend comments on the coalition.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Credit: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

The Prime Minister told Total Politics magazine that the coalition was 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."

The Deputy Prime Minister will say: "He echoed exactly what both of us have always believed: this coalition has been remarkably radical; it still has work to do; and the best way for us to serve and improve Britain is by finishing what we started.

"I am absolutely committed to this coalition lasting until 2015 - as is the Prime Minister."

Claims that it was in either or both parties' interests to "prematurely pull the plug" were wrong, he will suggest.

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