Top stories 

Ministers consider ending jail terms of six months or less

The Ministry of Justice is considering banning prison sentences of less than six months in England and Wales. Ministers argue that short jail terms are less effective at cutting reoffending than community penalties. Prisons minister Rory Stewart told the Daily Telegraph that such sentences were “long enough to damage you and not long enough to heal you”. If such jail sentences were to be scrapped it is thought it could free up thousands of prison places. Some burglars and most shoplifters are among those who could be spared jail terms…

Read More
Top stories 

Speaker’s Brexit ruling ‘extremely concerning’, say ministers

Image copyright HOC Image caption The government lost by 11 votes John Bercow has been accused of “unilaterally changing” parliamentary rules in the wake of a row over a government Brexit defeat in Parliament. Critics of the Commons Speaker say he broke with precedent and ignored the advice of officials when he approved a vote on the PM’s “Plan B” response, which ministers lost by 11 votes. Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said his actions were “extremely concerning”. Mr Bercow said he had made an “honest judgement” in the interests of…

Read More
Technology 

Ministers to discuss Gatwick drone drama as suspects released

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Flights were suspended for more than 36 hours when a drone was first spotted The Gatwick Airport drone drama which grounded hundreds of flights will be discussed by ministers in a Christmas Eve conference call. Sussex Police insisted it was not “back to square one” after releasing an arrested man and woman without charge. It said it was investigating 67 drone sightings but had earlier raised the possibility there may have been no drone at all. Gatwick said there had been “multiple sightings” of…

Read More
Top stories 

Brexit debate: Ministers fight for Theresa May’s deal

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe moment the government lost a key vote – and was told to disclose its legal advice on Brexit Ministers will again battle to win over MPs to Theresa May’s Brexit deal later, a day after the government suffered three defeats on key votes. Security will be the focus of the second of five days of debate in the Commons, where Tuesday’s marathon session extended into the early hours. Crucially, MPs backed calls to give them a direct say in what happens…

Read More
Technology 

EU ministers fail to break digital tax deadlock

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union finance ministers failed to agree a tax on digital revenues on Tuesday, despite a last minute Franco-German plan to salvage the proposal by narrowing its focus to companies like Google (GOOGL.O) and Facebook (FB.O). A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen in front of the logo of the European Union in this picture illustration made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 15, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic The European Union’s executive arm proposed a 3 percent tax on big digital firms’ online revenues in March, alleging the…

Read More
Top stories 

Ministers to publish full Brexit legal advice

The government will publish its full legal advice on Theresa May’s Brexit deal after MPs found it in contempt of Parliament for not doing so. The Commons supported a motion, backed by six opposition parties, demanding full disclosure by 311 votes to 293. Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom indicated the attorney general’s full and final advice would be released on Wednesday. An attempt by ministers to refer the whole issue to a committee of MPs was earlier defeated earlier by four votes. Source link

Read More
Top stories 

Prime Minister’s Questions: The key bits and the verdict

Image copyright HOC Theresa May went head-to-head with Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons. Here’s what happened. Will the UK be worse off under the prime minister’s Brexit plans or not? That was the question Jeremy Corbyn wanted answering at this session, after the Treasury published an analysis suggesting the UK would be less well off under all Brexit options when compared with staying in the EU. Brexit will make UK worse off, government warns Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt had said Mrs May’s deal would mitigate “most” of the…

Read More
Top stories 

Brexiteer cabinet ministers in plan to shift May on EU deal

Image copyright Getty Images/PA/Getty Images/EPA/Reuters Image caption Michael Gove, Liam Fox, Andrea Leadsom, Chris Grayling and Penny Mordaunt A group of five ministers in Theresa May’s top team are hoping to persuade her to make changes to her draft Brexit deal, the BBC understands. Andrea Leadsom, leader of the Commons, is believed to be coordinating the group. The five ministers include Michael Gove and Liam Fox – who on Friday publicly threw their support behind the PM – plus Penny Mordaunt and Chris Grayling. Mrs May published her draft withdrawal…

Read More
Top stories 

Brexit: Ministers told ‘judgement day’ looms for decision

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Theresa May returning to Downing Street on Monday Ministers have been told “judgement day is coming” over Brexit as the UK and EU strive for a deal within 48 hours. Officials are trying to hammer out an agreement on the terms of the UK’s exit by Wednesday to enable EU leaders to agree it by the end of the month. Downing Street said talks had gone on through the night but “substantial issues” still remained to be resolved. Amid growing pressure on the PM, one…

Read More
Top stories 

Ministers ‘misleading on badger cull’

Image copyright SPL A campaign group of vets has accused Defra and its ministers of telling “barefaced lies” about the effectiveness of one of its badger culls in England. The group has written to the Chief Vet, Dr Christine Middlemas, asking her to ensure that the department retracts “insupportable claims that its badger cull policy is working”. A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said all statements had been “absolutely correct”. Dr Iain McGill, a veterinary surgeon and director of Prion Interest Group, told BBC News…

Read More