FAMILY TIME: In his speech, Cameron paid special tribute to his wife, Samantha
Six years, two months and three days after taking office, David Cameron stood outside the steps of 10 Downing Street and spoke for a final time as the UK’s Prime Minister.
Addressing the nation, he talked about his pride of leading the country.
As with all things political, it has not been an easy ride, and Cameron acknowledged that there were decisions that he may have got wrong in the past.
However, touching upon his most notable achievements whilst in office, he conferred that he believes the country ‘is in a much stronger position’ today than when he took up the country’s top job.
“It has not been an easy journey, and of course we have not got every decision right, but I do believe that today our country is much stronger,” he said.
“Above all, it was about turning around the economy. And with the deficit cut by two-thirds, two and a half million more people in work and one million more businesses, there can be no doubt that our economy is immeasurably stronger.
“Politicians like to talk about policies, but in the end it is about people’s lives.
“I think of the people doing jobs who were previously unemployed. I think of the businesses that were just ideas in someone’s head and that today are making a go of it and providing people with livelihoods.
“I think of the hard-working families paying lower taxes and getting higher wages because of the first ever National Living Wage.
“I think of the children who were languishing in the care system and who have now been adopted by loving families.
“I think of the parents now able to send their children to good and outstanding schools, including free schools that simply didn’t exist before.
“I think of over 200,000 young people who have taken part in National Citizen Service, the fastest growing youth programme of its kind in the world, something that, again, wasn’t there 6 years ago.
“I think of the couples who have been able to get married, who weren’t allowed to in the past.
“And I think of the people on the other side of the world who would not have clean drinking water, the chance to go to school, or even be alive, were it not for our decision to keep our aid promises to the poorest people and the poorest countries in our world.”
FAREWELL SPEECH: David Cameron gave his final address outside 10 Downing Street before officially standing down as Prime Minister
Cameron also paid homage to the NHS, describing it as a ‘national treasure’, despite allegations of the Conservative party’s ‘privatisation attempts’.
On welcoming in his replacement, the Witney MP said the county was in good hands.
“I am delighted that for the second time in British history the new Prime Minister will be a woman, and once again, a Conservative,” he said.
“I believe Theresa will provide strong and stable leadership in fulfilling the Conservative Manifesto on which we were elected, and I wish her well in negotiating the best possible terms for Britain’s exit from the European Union.”
LOCAL VISIT: David Cameron visited the Asian Express Newspaper offices last year
HANDING OVER: In her acceptance speech, Theresa May said she was “follow[ing] in the footsteps of a great modern Prime Minister under David’s leadership”
“We will not think of the powerful, but you”
Earlier this week, 59-year-old former home secretary Theresa May, became the UK's second female prime minister in the wake of David Cameron's resignation after the EU referendum.
She had previously served in the Home Office for more than six years.
Her acceptance speech covered much ground, from appealing for unity in the face of the divisions that came to the foreground after Britain's vote to leave the European Union, to promising better lives for the working class.
Mrs May called to ‘fight the burning injustice’ of dying nine years earlier if you are ‘born poor’.
She said: “David’s (Cameron) true legacy is not about the economy but about social justice. From the introduction of same-sex marriage, to taking people on low wages out of income tax altogether; David Cameron has led a one-nation government, and it is in that spirit that I also plan to lead.
“Because not everybody knows this, but the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist Party, and that word ‘unionist’ is very important to me.”
She added: “The government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.
“When we take the big calls we will think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws we will listen not to the mighty, but to you.
“When it comes to taxes we will prioritise not the wealthy, but you. When it comes to opportunity we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few, we will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.”
Mrs May also reshuffled her cabinet, with a new job for Boris Johnson and a sacking for Michael Gove.
The appointment of Johnson as foreign minister has sent ripples of shock throughout Europe with German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, labelling him ‘irresponsible’.
During a speech at Greifswald University, Mr Steinmeier added: “People [in the UK] are experiencing a rude awakening after irresponsible politicians first lured the country into a Brexit to then, once the decision was made, bolt and not take responsibility.
“Instead they went to play cricket. To be honest, I find this outrageous but it's not just bitter for Great Britain. It's also bitter for the European Union.”
Carl Bildt, the former PM of Sweden, tweeted a picture of Boris on the Olympic zip wire with the caption: ‘I wish it was a joke but I fear it isn't. Exit upon exit.’
Meanwhile two casualties have been seen in Cabinet office with both Nicky Morgan (Education Secretary) and John Whittingdale (Culture Secretary) losing their jobs.
The latter wrote on Twitter: “[It] has been a privilege to serve as Culture Secretary. I wish my successor every success & will continue to support creative industries.”
So who is in the new cabinet?
MP for Runnymede & Weybridge since 1997
New Job: Chancellor of the Exchequer
Old Job: Foreign secretary (since July 2014)
MP for Henley between 2001 and 2008 and then MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015
Old Job: Mayor of London
New job: Foreign Secretary
MP for Hastings and Rye since 2010
New Job: Home Secretary
Old Job: Energy and Climate Change secretary (since May 2015)
MP for Darlington from 1983 to 1992 then MP for Sevenoaks from 1997 to today
New job: He remains Secretary of State for Defence
MP for Boothferry from 1987 to 1997 when the seat became Howden and Haltemprice.
New job: Secretary of State for European Union Relations (the new so-called Minister for Brexit)
MP for Woodspring from 1992 to 2010 which then became North Somerset in 2010.
New Job: Secretary of State for International Trade
Old Job: Defence secretary (2010 to 2011)
MP for Putney since 2005
New Job: Remains Secretary of State for International Development (since September 2012)
As the presents are wrapped, the food is prepared and the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end.
I want to send my very best wishes to Muslims at home and around the world celebrating Eid.
I look at the things people are doing in Britain for the occasion - putting on special brunches for the lonely, giving presents out at children’s hospitals, holding street parties that will bring communities together and I see the very best of British values – of unity, of tolerance, of thinking of others before ourselves.
We need those values more than ever before. Because we live in troubling times.
This last month alone, we’ve seen hatred take hold; from an airport in Istanbul to a nightclub in Orlando to a café in Dhaka and this week’s horrendous attack in Baghdad.
And we’ve seen it closer to home, too. Too many victims have suffered abuse and intolerance on our streets and one woman – an inspirational MP, Jo Cox – lost her life as she served her constituents.
As we come together this Eid – friends, families, neighbours, colleagues – I want us to restate our commitment to the values we share, to all the things that make Britain the most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracy on earth.
So once again, let me wish you all the best – Eid Mubarak.
GONE WITH THE WIND: After over 40 years of membership, Britain has voted to leave the EU
The UK will leave the European Union and David Cameron will resign as Prime Minister.
This is the breaking news that Brits woke up to on Friday 24th June as the face of the EU changed forever.
After months of debate, threats from both ends of the political spectrum and some often misleading propaganda, the British public voted in favour of exiting the 28-nation bloc by 17,410,242 (51.9 per cent) to 16,141,241 (48.1 per cent).
It was the highest turnout for a vote in the country for almost 25 years, as 72.2 per cent of the nation’s eligible voters had their say on whether to continue the EU membership. In comparison, last year’s general election witnessed just a 66.1 per cent turnout.
The announcement at around 8.30am outside the steps of 10 Downing Street came as little surprise to many in the political world as David Cameron announced his intentions to resign as Prime Minister.
Describing his patriotism for the country, as well as his desire to see the Leave campaign ultimately succeed, he said: “I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.
RESIGNATION: David Cameron will resign as Prime Minister of the UK following the county’s decision to leave the EU
“This is not a decision I've taken lightly but I do believe it's in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.
“There is no need for a precise timetable today but in my view we should aim to have a new Prime Minister in place by the start of the Conservative Party conference in October.”
Cameron will continue in his post momentarily but also confirmed that he believes a new leader in the UK should be in place by October this year.
He added: “I said before that Britain can survive outside the European Union and indeed that we could find a way.
“Now the decision has been made to leave, we need to find the best way and I will do everything I can to help. I love this country and I feel honoured to have served it and I will do everything I can in future to help this great country succeed.”
Pound slumps in global markets
The pound fell more than 10 per cent against the dollar following the confirmation of the victorious ‘Leave’ vote – the biggest one-day fall in history.
Not since 1985 have the pound-to-dollar levels been so low, with Chancellor George Osborne describing the situation as a ‘DIY recession’.
It had earlier been acknowledged by some in the ‘Leave camp’ that a ‘blip’ might be initially seen in the currency markets yet such a fall still came as a surprise.
TEAM LEAVE: Nigel Farage celebrated the decision, labelling it Britain’s ‘Independence Day’
The dramatic result also reportedly wiped an estimated £122 billion of the value of the FTSE 100 within minutes.
Bank governor Mark Carney said in a statement on behalf of the Bank of England: “Inevitably, there will be a period of uncertainty and adjustment following this result.
“There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold.
“And it will take some time for the United Kingdom to establish new relationships with Europe and the rest of the world.
“Some market and economic volatility can be expected as this process unfolds.”
There is no denying that the UK’s eventual exit from the EU is the biggest crisis the organisation has had to face in its 59-year history.
Will other nations now hold their own referendums and what will the UK’s working relationship be like with the remaining members? These are the questions we will have to wait to find out the answers for.
HEAD CAMPAIGNER: Boris Johnson said the public had voted to ‘take back control’
In the meantime, reaction from leaders around the world remains mixed. Angela Merkel’s close ally, Manfred Weber - a senior German conservative MEP – said ‘no special treatment’ can be given to the UK.
He said in four tweets: “We respect and regret the decision of the British voters. It causes major damage to both sides.
“This was a British vote, not a European vote. Co-operation within Europe is a question of self-assertion of the continent.
“We want a better and smarter Europe. We have to convince the people and bring Europe back to them.
“Exit negotiations should be concluded within two years at max. There cannot be any special treatment. Leave means leave.”
Elsewhere, the Dutch anti-immigration leader, Geert Wilders, saw the UK’s vote as a catalyst for other nations to hold their own referendums.
“We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy,” he said in a statement.
Polls and opinions in Sweden, France and Italy also suggest other nations are worried about a weakened EU due to the Brexit.
How the UK voted
52 per cent of the country voted for an EU exit.
In Scotland, all 32 local authority areas voted in favour of remaining in the EU, with 62 per cent opting against leaving.
Questions will now be raised as to whether another Scottish Independence referendum is needed as the voice of the people north of the border seemingly went unheard.
55 per cent of people in Northern Ireland also voted to remain members of the EU, whilst the Leave voters were victorious in Wales with 51.9 per cent.
When looking at the different regions in England, a clear north-south divide can be seen.
In Yorkshire, the North East, North West, West Midlands and East Midlands, the ‘Leave’ campaign triumphed. Meanwhile, in the metropolitan capital of London, 59.9 per cent voted ‘Remain’.
What happens next?
The UK, in many ways, is heading into unchartered territory.
Only Greenland has ever left the EU previously - in 1985 - yet the UK’s power and presence in the political union is much more substantial.
Firstly, the decision of when to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon has to be made. In Lehman’s terms this means the beginning of the formal and legal process of the UK leaving the EU.
There is a two-year deadline in place meaning the Prime Minister of the day, whoever that may be, has limited time to negotiate new trade deals with the EU before the nation ceases to remain a member.
The UK may revert back to trading with the EU under World Trade Organisation rules, according to some Remain campaigners, which would result in exporters being hit with import taxes and tariffs.
RAMADAN MUBARAK: The Prime Minister wishes everyone a peaceful Ramadan
The Prime Minister sends his greetings to all Muslim communities for the holy month of Ramadan, in Britain and around the world.
He says: “It’s the holy month of Ramadan – a time when mosques open their doors, community centres welcome in their neighbours, and even churches and synagogues offer up their spaces as Muslims break their fasts – and people of all faiths and none are often asked to join.
“Coventry Cathedral is holding its own multi-faith iftar. In Manchester, they’re combining an iftar with England’s European Championships appearance. And homeless shelters up and down the country are holding ‘Iftars with the Homeless’.
“Of course, fasting is what comes to mind when we think of Ramadan. It’s part of the month that really puts Muslims’ faith to the test – especially during these long, warm days.
“But there is much more to it.
“There is all the energy and money people donate to those who are less fortunate and all the extra time spent in prayer and contemplation.
“Uppermost in all our minds this Ramadan are those whose lives have been torn apart by the twin evils of Assad and Daesh, all those families spending this holy month in refugee camps mourning loved ones; yearning to go back to school or work; wondering when they’ll return home again.
“Our thoughts – whatever our backgrounds or beliefs – are with them. And we must continue to support the people of Syria and the region, as we work towards a lasting political solution. Because that’s who we are as a country. We won’t walk on by. So this Ramadan, let’s renew our resolve to help those victims.
“Let’s continue to come together for iftars and community events. Let’s celebrate the proud, multi-racial, multi-faith democracy we live in. To everyone in Britain and around the world – Ramadan Mubarak.”
Following the video in which the Queen has been caught on camera saying Chinese officials were "very rude" during last year's state visit by President Xi Jinping, BBC’s coverage of the comments were censored in China.
The BBC World News blanked out during a report on the conversation in which Her Majesty spoke with a senior police officer at a Buckingham Palace garden party on Tuesday 10th May.
The Queen's remarks were caught on tape as she was introduced to Metropolitan Police Commander Lucy D'Orsi, who the monarch is told had overseen security during President Xi's visit to the UK in October.
The invitation to President Xi was part of the UK government's policy of securing Chinese investment.
At the party marking HM The Queen’s 90th birthday, a discussion took place about the treatment given by Chinese officials during the visit to Britain's ambassador to China.
The police official went on to tell the Queen that Commander D'Orsi had been "seriously, seriously undermined by the Chinese, but she managed to hold her own and remain in command".
Commander D'Orsi told the Queen: "I was the Gold Commander so I'm not sure whether you knew, but it was quite a testing time for..."
"I did," the Queen said.
Commander D'Orsi continued: "It was at the point they walked out of Lancaster House and told me that the trip was off, that I felt..."
The Queen said: "They were very rude to the ambassador."
Commander D'Orsi replied: "They were... it was very rude and undiplomatic I thought."
The Queen described it as "extraordinary".
She is heard to respond: "Oh, bad luck."
A Buckingham Palace spokesman later said: "We do not comment on the Queen's private conversations.
"However, the Chinese State Visit was extremely successful and all parties worked closely to ensure it proceeded smoothly."
At the time of the visit, the Queen hailed it as a "milestone" and declared Anglo-Chinese ties were being taken to "ambitious" new heights.
President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan were honoured with a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen.
This came after David Cameron was overheard saying Afghanistan and Nigeria were "fantastically corrupt".
Earlier at Buckingham Palace, the prime minister David Cameron was filmed at making unguarded comments about Nigeria and Afghanistan.
Talking about this week's anti-corruption summit in London, he said: "We've got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain. Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world."
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby stepped in to intervene saying: "But this particular president is not corrupt. He's trying very hard." before Speaker John Bercow said: "They are coming at their own expense, one assumes?"
It’s believed that the archbishop was referring to Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, who won elections last year promising to fight widespread corruption.
Mr Buhari said he was "shocked" by the prime minister's comments, while a senior Afghan official said the characterisation was "unfair".
Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children will be resettled in the UK from Greece, Italy and France, in an initiative announced this week following discussions between the government and Save the Children.
The commitment builds on last month’s announcement that up to 3,000 vulnerable children and family members will be resettled direct from the Middle East and North Africa.
And it adds to the resettlement of 20,000 people direct from Syrian refugee communities, which has been under way since last year.
The government has always adopted a twin-track approach to dealing with the migrant crisis: helping the most vulnerable while not encouraging new perilous crossings to Europe.
CRISIS: Millions of refugees remain in temporary shelters after escaping their war-torn home countries
Calls to accept thousands of children, who had made it to Europe, were initially rejected last month as MPs worried it encouraged others to make potentially ‘lethal’ journeys to the continent.
Now, by restricting resettlement to children registered before the EU migration agreement with Turkey came into force on 20th March, the twin-track approach will be able to continue.
The retrospective nature of the scheme will avoid creating a perverse incentive for families to entrust their children to people traffickers.
Additionally, it will mean that the UK can focus on the most vulnerable children already in Europe without encouraging more to make the journey.
The government will work closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to deliver this scheme, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Save the Children. It will be separate to any EU-administered resettlement schemes.
Those at risk of trafficking or exploitation will be prioritised for resettlement. And existing family reunion routes will be accelerated.
WELCOMED: Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement in Parliament this week
Announcing the move in Parliament on Wednesday 4th May, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “No country has done more than Britain when it comes to help for Syrian refugees.
“We are going to do more for children who were already registered in Europe before the EU-Turkey deal. But we must stick to the principle that we shouldn’t be encouraging people to make that perilous journey.
“That’s been the cornerstone of our policy and that should remain the case.”
The government is not putting a fixed number on arrivals, but will instead work with local authorities across the UK to determine how many children will be resettled.
The initiative responds to the revised amendment to the Immigration Bill put forward by Lord Dubs, which proposes that the government consults with local authorities before setting out a plan for resettling children from Europe to the UK.
The government will accept the revised amendment from Lord Dubs when the Immigration Bill returns to the House of Commons next week.
Tanya Steele, Chief Executive, Save the Children praised the announcement.
She said: “The UK government has today matched the great leadership they have shown in providing aid and support to Syrian refugees in the region by reaching out a hand to children already on European shores.
“This announcement echoes Britain’s proud history of offering safety at times of great crisis and we want to thank the members of parliament who have led the way in championing this cause, as well as the British public who have opened their hearts to refugee children.”
UNDER THREAT: Pictured is the number 5 Blast Furnace located at the Port Talbot Corus Steel Plant South Wales UK
Mumbai headquartered Tata Steel's decision to exit operations in Britain has put thousands of jobs on the line.
In recent times, the steel giants have been losing an estimated £1 million a day in its UK operations whilst share prices have nearly halved in the past five years.
Despite such figures, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday that the government will do all it can to ensure the industry remains in towns and cities in the UK.
“The situation at Port Talbot is of deep concern. I know how important those jobs are - those jobs are vital to workers’ families, vital to those communities,” he said.
“The government will do everything it can, working with the company, to try and secure the future of steel-making in Port Talbot and across our country. It’s a vital industry.”
Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, also urged the Prime Minister to take action, telling workers that they were ‘not expendable on the altar of a global corporation’.
He continued: “Steelworkers and their families will be desperately worried about the uncertainty.
“The government is in disarray over what action to take. Ministers must act now to protect the steel industry, which is at the heart of manufacturing in Britain and vital to its future.”
Tata Steel, which operates Britain's biggest steel plants, has put its cash-bleeding business up for sale, saying it cannot promise to keep the plants open while it seeks a buyer.
Its move to sell its UK business comes less than three months before the referendum on 23rd June as to whether the UK stays in the European Union.
Industry leaders have blamed the EU for preventing London from taking greater steps to look after the steel industry.
Speaking about its decision to sell the UK business, Koushik Chatterjee, group executive director of finance and corporate of Tata Steel, told NDTV Profit: “There has been a rapid deterioration in performance in UK in the last 12 months, impacted by the currency, imports and muted market.”
Business Secretary Sajid Javid says the steel industry is ‘vital’ to the UK’s economy and released a statement on Wednesday, before he stepped onto a plane to return to the UK from Australia.
He said: “I'm deeply concerned about the situation. I think it's absolutely clear that the UK steel industry is absolutely vital for the country and we will look at all viable options to keep steel making continuing in Port Talbot.
“We are also very much alive to the human cost and we want to make sure no worker is left behind so where workers are affected that we are doing everything we possibly can to help them and their families.
“At this stage, given the announcement from Tata has just come out, it's important I think we talk to them properly and understand the exact situation and we look at all viable options.
“I don't think nationalisation is going to be the solution because I think everyone would want a long-term viable solution.
“And if you look around Europe and elsewhere I think nationalisation is rarely the answer, particularly if you take into account the big challenges the industry faces.”
Tata Steel is the second-largest steel producer in Europe.
It has a crude steel production capacity of over 18 million tonnes per annum across the continent, but only 14 million is operational.
Two of its three main European units, Port Talbot and Scunthorpe, are in Britain, with the rest in the Netherlands.
This increase will mean that for the first time the National Minimum Wage rate for 21- to 24-year-olds is restored to its highest level in real terms, higher than its previous peak before the financial crisis.
The number of people in work in the UK is currently the highest it’s ever been and youth unemployment is at its lowest for a decade, while wages continue to rise above inflation.
Based on recent strong employment and wage growth figures, the Low Pay Commission has said this rise is manageable for employers.
WILDCAT HELICOPTERS: The Prime Minister David Cameron is deploying Wildcat helicopters to help intercept migrants’ boats
UK to tackle migrant crisis
In an attempt to reduce the flow of migrants from Turkey to Europe, Prime Minister David Cameron has deployed the amphibious landing ship - Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Mounts Bay, alongside two border force cutters to join the NATO mission in the Aegean Sea.
He has also attended an EU summit on the migration crisis.
RFA Mounts Bay, supported by a Wildcat helicopter, is expected to start operations in the coming days – identifying smugglers taking migrants to Greece and passing the information to the Turkish coastguard so they can intercept these boats.
They will be supported by three border force boats – VOS Grace which is already in the Aegean; the cutter Protector which is on its way to the region and a further Border Force cutter that is expected to start operations later this month.
With migrant arrivals in Greece still averaging 1,800 a day in February, and over 116,000 arrivals across the Aegean already this year, European countries are stepping up their efforts with Turkey to break the business model of the people smuggling criminal gangs which are exploiting people and putting lives at risk every day.
At an EU summit in Brussels on Monday, the Prime Minister called on European partners to focus on three priorities which are as follows: breaking the link between getting on a boat and getting resettlement in Europe by smashing the trafficking gangs and increasing the return of illegal migrants; supporting Turkey, already hosting 2.6 million migrants and with many more sheltering on its border with Syria - and providing technical assistance to Greece so it can accelerate the processing of migrant claims and return illegal migrants to their countries of origin.
Speaking ahead of the summit, the Prime Minister said: “This migration crisis is the greatest challenge facing Europe today.
“Britain has not faced anywhere near the scale of migrants coming to Europe as other countries because we...retain control of our borders.
“But where we can help, we should. And we’ve got to break the business model of the criminal smugglers and stop the desperate flow of people crammed into makeshift vessels from embarking on a fruitless and perilous journey.
“That’s why this NATO mission is so important. It’s an opportunity to stop the smugglers and send out a clear message to migrants contemplating journeys to Europe that they will be turned back. That’s why the UK is providing vital military assets to work with our European partners and support this mission.”
Akeel, 21 said: “We’d do better if we weren’t in the EU but I’d always be in two minds because of benefits like the NHS.”
On Thursday 23rd June 2016, the British public will vote to decide whether we stay in the EU or whether we leave as the date for the referendum arrives.
A historic result could alter the way of life for so many people in the UK and overseas but do we actually know what could change if we vote to leave this summer?
We asked the people of Harehills if they understood what the EU referendum was about. Out of the 30 people we asked, 18 people admitted they were out of the loop.
Comments from members of the public ranged from “I don’t know and I don’t care” to “it doesn’t make a difference to me if the UK stays in the EU.”
To make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to politics, here’s what you need to know.
Amanj Raza said: “We should leave Europe. No more EU. Too many lazy people are coming over here. I work hard every day.”
Firstly, what exactly is the EU?
The European Union grew out of a wish for peace in a war-torn and alienated continent.
When World War II ended, France and Germany came up with a plan five years later to make sure their two countries would never go to war against each other again. In 1950, six nations signed a deal to pool their coal and steel resources.
In 1957, a treaty signed in Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC) – or, the foundations of today's European Union. In the first wave of expansion in 1973, the UK was one of three new members to join. Within the 28 member states today, the total population is more than 500 million. The EU also has its own legal and economic systems.
What is Brexit?
Brexit is the combination of two words, ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’ and refers to a possible British exit from the 28 nation bloc of the EU.
Prime Minister David Cameron is holding a referendum on 23rd June as to whether the UK should stay in – or leave- the EU. It was recommended by the government in September 2015 that the question should be amended to: “Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU?”
So, should we stay or should we go? According to recent polls, the public are split on the issue.
Leave the EU?
Some people have argued that the UK is being held back by the EU which imposes too many rules on businesses and charges billions of pounds in membership fees for ‘not much in return’. Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said staying in the EU ‘leaves [the UK’s] door open’ to Paris-style terrorist attacks. Some also think that Brussels has too much say over UK laws. Another argument for leaving is so that Britain can regain full control of its borders and reduce the number of immigrants coming here to work. Others reject the idea of an ‘ever closer union’ and do not like the goal of creating a ‘United States of Europe’.
Mini said: “I think we should stay for the benefits, such as being able to work and move freely around Europe without the need for a visa.”
Stay in the EU?
David Cameron wants Britain to stay in the EU now he has got some powers back from it. 16 members of his cabinet also back his move. The Conservative Party has pledged to be neutral in the campaign whilst the Labour Party, SNP and the Lib Dems are all in favour of staying in. The UK gets a big boost from EU membership, and staying would make selling products to other EU countries easier. One of the main principles of the EU is ‘free movement’ which means you don’t need a visa to go and live in another EU country. Some argue the flow of immigrants helps pay for public services and fuels our economic growth. Others argue that the UK’s status in the world would be damaged by leaving and that the country is more secure as part of a 28 nation bloc and that if we abandon the EU we will lose our influence on the world stage.
Kamran Hussain, who is leading the EU Referendum Campaign for Yorkshire and the Humber Liberal Democrats, thinks that Britain should stay in Europe.
He said: “[I] believe that we are stronger, safer and better off in Europe than we would be out on our own.
“For centuries, Britain has been a powerful trading nation with a dynamic economy at the centre of European and world affairs [...] We get an average of £24.1 billion of investment into Britain per year from Europe and it’s estimated 3-4 million jobs in Britain are linked directly to trade with the rest of Europe.
“People are able to work, travel and learn within the EU. It gives us all the best chance to succeed.
“The environment is better tackled together with the EU and security is also improved within the EU.”
“Our partnership with the EU is worth £3000 to every household in the UK. We’ve got the EU arrest warrant which allows us to deal with cross border crimes and terrorism.
“If we leave the EU we still have to work with our EU neighbours but we will be unable to have an input.”
Being part of Europe also means cheaper prices in our supermarkets, cheaper flights to Europe and lower phone charges when travelling.”
Minister of State for Employment, Priti Patel, said that UK-India relations would receive a huge boost if the UK left the EU....
“Over the last 40 years the UK’s membership of the EU has acted as a barrier to developing trade and investment partnerships with the rest of the world, including India. Remaining within the EU will mean the UK will be in a weaker position to forge the closer trading ties that would benefit the Indian and UK economies.
“Also, one of the reasons why our trading links with India were inadequate when we came to Government in 2010 was because of the focus that Britain had given to trade within Europe as a result of membership of the EU.
“Billions of pounds that could be invested in creating new jobs and growth are instead swallowed up by [EU] regulations. Leaving the EU will mean that we can set our own regulations for business and cut their costs.”
VOTE LEAVE: Boris Johnson thinks Britain should leave the EU and the 28-nation bloc
Boris Johnson wants to leave EU
The EU referendum debate has been transformed by Boris Johnson who announced ‘after a huge amount of heartache’ that he wants to take Britain out of the EU.
On Sunday, the London mayor said he will campaign for a leave vote after concluding that David Cameron’s deal will not deliver the reformed EU he promised.
Speaking outside his home in Islington, London, the colourful politician said his decision had been ‘agonisingly difficult’.
He added: “I would like to see a new relationship based more on trade, on cooperation [...] so that is where I’m coming from and that is why I have decided, after a huge amount of heartache, because the last thing I wanted was to go against David Cameron or the government, I don’t think there is anything else I can do.
“I will be advocating Vote Leave – or whatever the team is called, I understand there are a lot of them – because I want a better deal for the people of this country, to save them money and to take control. That is really what this is all about.”
David Cameron said: “We are approaching one of the biggest decisions this country will face in our lifetimes. Whether to remain in a reformed European Union – or to leave.
“This choice goes to the heart of the kind of country we want to be. And the future that we want for our children.
“This is about how we trade with neighbouring countries to create jobs, prosperity and financial security for our families.
“And it is about how we co-operate to keep our people safe and our country strong. I know there will be many passionate arguments over the months ahead.
“My responsibility as Prime Minister is to speak plainly about what I believe is right for our country. I do not love Brussels. I love Britain.
“I am the first to say that there are still many ways in which Europe needs to improve – and that the task of reforming Europe does not end with yesterday’s agreement.
“And I will never say that our country couldn’t survive outside Europe.
“We are Great Britain – we can achieve great things.
“That is not the question in this referendum.
“The question is will we be safer, stronger and better off working together in a reformed Europe or out on our own. I believe we will be safer in a reformed Europe, because we can work with our European partners to fight cross border crime and terrorism.
“I believe Britain will be stronger in a reformed Europe because we can play a leading role in one of the world’s largest organisations from within, helping to make the big decisions on trade and security that determine our future.
“And I believe we will be better off in a reformed Europe because British businesses will have full access to the free trade single market, bringing jobs, investment and lower prices.
“Let me be clear. Leaving Europe would threaten our economic and our national security.
“Those who want to leave Europe cannot tell you if British businesses would be able to access Europe’s free trade single market or if working people’s jobs are safe or how much prices would rise.
“All they are offering is risk at a time of uncertainty - a leap in the dark.
“Our plan for Europe gives us the best of both worlds.”
The agreement will take effect immediately if the UK votes to remain in the EU. It will include changes to migrant welfare payments, safeguards for Britain's financial services and making it easier to block unwanted EU regulations.
The Financial Times reports that bosses of about half of Britain's 100 biggest companies are preparing to back Mr Cameron's campaign to keep the country in the union.
ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION: Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a roundtable meeting in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street with business leaders. They discussed mental health issues in the workplace.
The Prime Minister announced on Monday that tens of thousands of people with mental health conditions will be supported to find or return to work as part of a massive new drive to transform treatment in England.
Almost three in every five people with mental health conditions are currently unable to work, despite evidence showing employment can be a crucial part of treatment.
To end this disparity, the Prime Minister announced that action will be taken across government, the NHS and private companies to treat potentially debilitating mental health conditions early on through improved access to care and to help those already struggling with mental health issues to find or return to work.
As part of this approach, he met with business leaders including the CEOs of Royal Mail, Barclays and BT to highlight the need for a shift in attitude to people with mental health conditions in the workplace and to agree new workplace standards.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Mental health is a major problem in our country and it must be properly addressed.
“By providing this extra £1 billion a year for mental health care we will make sure it gets the attention in the NHS it needs.
“But I want to go even further and end the status quo that sees more than half of people with mental health conditions unable to find a job – ensuring tens of thousands are able to find or return to work over the next five years.
“The extra £1 billion a year will be used to support one million more people with mental health problems to access high quality care that they are not getting today and is an important step towards delivering the government’s commitment to put mental and physical health on an equal footing.”
The new approach is based on recommendations from the Mental Health Taskforce – an independent, expert panel chaired by Mind CEO Paul Farmer – which today set out a comprehensive plan to tackle the problem which affects millions of people in England and accounts for a quarter of all ill health – higher than heart diseases, cancer and diabetes.
Crucially the Taskforce recognised clear links between work and good mental health and the need for more people to be able to access treatment early on so they can avoid long-term unemployment.
The report called for employment for people with mental health conditions to be recognised as a health outcome. Their comments came as latest figures showed only 43% of people with mental health conditions are in employment compared to almost four fifths of the general population and two thirds of people with other health conditions.
Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer, who led the Taskforce, said: “This is a landmark moment for mental health care in this country, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform services and support for people with mental health problems.
“We are saying to the NHS, to government, to industry, to local leaders and to the public that mental health must be a priority for everyone in England.
We need to prevent problems in the first place, and to respond to people’s mental health problems at the earliest possible opportunity. As part of this, the NHS can and should be a world leader in care which treats people’s minds and bodies equally well.”
Current funding of £1.12 billion to be more than doubled
Money to be invested in the region over the next four years
Cash to help fund education, jobs and humanitarian protection in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey
The UK will invest at least an extra £1.2 billion in international aid to support Syria and the region, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.
The pledge was made on the day high-level representatives from 70 countries and international organisations around the world were due in London to debate support for the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales gave his support to the aims of the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference by attending a reception held on Wednesday 3rd February at Lancaster House, which was also attended by the Prime Minister.
The UK has already pledged £1.12bn in the region, making it the second biggest bi-lateral donor in the world. The new announcement will see an extra £1.2bn-plus being spent between 2016 and 2020, taking the UK’s total investment to more than £2.3bn.
The Supporting Syria and the Region Conference will be co-hosted by the UK, alongside Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the United Nations.
It will aim to raise billions of dollars in international aid, with the current UN appeal standing at more than $7bn.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “With hundreds of thousands of people risking their lives crossing the Aegean or the Balkans, now is the time to take a new approach to the humanitarian disaster in Syria.
“This pledge of more than £2.3bn in UK aid sets the standard for the international community – more money is needed to tackle this crisis and it is needed now.
“And we can provide the sense of hope needed to stop people thinking they have no option but to risk their lives on a dangerous journey to Europe.”
The conference will also aim to build economic opportunities, creating job opportunities for refugees and host country citizens alike. And it will seek to put all refugee children in education by 2017 – along with vulnerable children in the three host countries.
In addition, the conference will aim to make lives better for those still remaining in Syria, by funding food, shelter and healthcare, and rebuilding health facilities.
UK's £1.12bn included supplying
20 million food rations
Clean water to 1.6 million people
2.5 million medical consultations
4.6 million relief packages
Help with sanitation and hygiene to 7.2 million people
Seven months after David Cameron cut college funding by £45 million and slashed English language teaching, he has pledged an extra £22 million to help Muslim women learn English.
Announcing the plans earlier this week, the Prime Minister said Muslim women who fail to integrate and learn the national dialect could face deportation.
The new multi-million pound English language scheme plans to reach women in the most isolated pockets of communities who don’t have a solid grasp of English.
Classes will be held in schools, homes and community centres, with the costs of travel and childcare covered to encourage participation.
Cameron said ‘prejudice and bigotry’ needs to be tackled, and in order to do this, all public services need to play a part in building integration.
The Prime Minister said he would not hesitate in telling the ‘hard truths’ required to confront the minority of Muslim men who have ‘backward attitudes’.
In the Times he wrote: “All too often, because of what I would call ‘passive tolerance’, people subscribe to the flawed idea of separate development.
“It is time to change our approach. We will never truly build One Nation unless we are more assertive about our liberal values, more clear about the expectations we place on those who come to live here and build our country together, and are more creative and generous in the work we do to break down barriers.”
PM VISITS LEEDS: David Cameron with imam Qari Asim, at the Makkah mosque on Monday
The Prime Minister said that not being able to speak English could leave people ‘more susceptible’ to the propaganda from groups like Daesh.
He said the £20 million language fund would end the ‘passive tolerance’ of separate communities which left many Muslim women facing discrimination and social isolation.
David Cameron warned that women who come to the UK to join husbands will face language tests after two-and-a-half years with those who failed risking deportation.
“You can’t guarantee you will be able to stay if you are not improving your language,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“It is tough. But in the end it is not enough just to say the Government is going to spend more money and it is our responsibility. People coming to our country, they have responsibilities too.”
He added: “I am not blaming the people who can’t speak English. Some of these people have come to our country from quite patriarchal societies where perhaps the menfolk haven’t wanted them to learn English, haven’t wanted them to integrate.
“Where there is segregation, it is holding people back, it is not in tune with British values and it needs to go. We need to be more assertive.”
David Cameron visited the Shantona Women’s Centre and the Makkah Masjid in Leeds on Monday to promote his plans and visit community groups.
Imam Qari Asim, from the Makkah Masjid, told Asian Express: “Some women cannot communicate in English yet to be an active member of the community, you should attempt to learn.
“People who can’t speak English may be more vulnerable to groups such as Daesh because they do not receive the information others do in English.”
Mr Asim also spoke about the recent government plans to increase surveillance on mosques and madrassas in the UK.
He added: “I had a frank, open and honest discussion with the Prime Minister. David Cameron is especially concerned about young people, as radicalisation takes place mostly online.
“It’s not about spying on our kids but being more vigilant. If we empower women, parents and imams then we will be able to have a more meaningful engagement with our children.”
He continued: “The Muslim community feel targeted which plays into the hands of Islamic extremists and far right groups.
“We need to apply the policies indiscriminately and have a strong and sustainable partnership between the Muslim community and the government.”
Qari Asim went on to say that government polls have shown that the majority of Muslims are loyal and integrated into the country.
“We are at risk of isolating young people with scare tactics. However, Muslims need to look into their community structures so that we can make sure we uphold British values. We want our mosques to be dynamic institutions which empower people.”
Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron: “This announcement is dog-whistle politics at its best, David Cameron cut the budget for English language classes in August last year by £45 million. Now the Prime Minister is dressing up a massive cut as a £20 million funding commitment.
“Linking women in the Muslim community who struggle with the English language to home- grown extremism only serves to isolate the very people Cameron says he is trying to help.
“Liberal Democrats support English language classes for anyone regardless of race, religion or gender and blocked these plans to cut funding for them in coalition.”
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation: “David Cameron and his Conservative Government are once again using British Muslims as a political football to score cheap points to appear tough.
“There are three million Muslims in this country and the Prime Minister chooses to focus on a very small minority of extremists when clearly the majority of British Muslims reject extremism.”
Shahzad Ilyas from NorthOne Solicitors in Leeds: “It’s completely unnecessary to force English upon individuals. If they want to learn it, they’ll learn it.
“My mum’s been in the country for 40 years, she can’t speak English but she’s a member of British society.
“I have no idea how they’ll implement the law. It’s going to be pushed through without consideration as to how it will work.”
SUCCESS: Refugees will receive housing, healthcare and education, says David Cameron
Government hits target, resettling around 20,000 people
The Prime Minister has today announced that the UK has delivered on its promise of resettling 1,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees by Christmas.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, the Prime Minister confirmed that the UK had reached the milestone and stressed that the government would continue its focus on resettling those in the region who are most at risk.
By hitting the target, the government has shown it is well on track to resettle up to 20,000 Syrians through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPR) Scheme over the next 5 years.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I made a promise that we would resettle a 1,000 Syrians by Christmas and I can confirm today that we have met our commitment.
“The charter flights that arrived yesterday at Stansted and Belfast mean that over a 1,000 have been settled and another flight is coming today.
“The government has provided funding so that all these refugees get housing, healthcare, education and I want to thank all the local authorities and all those who have worked so hard. I said that Britain would do its duty and with these 1,000 we’ve made a very good start.”
Groups of refugees have been arriving in the UK over the last 3 months as part of a carefully co-ordinated, staggered approach.
INCOMING: 1,000 Syrians will be resettled in the UK by Christmas
The most recent charter flights arrived yesterday at Stansted and Belfast – with another arriving today.
More than 50 local authorities from across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have taken a share of the 1,000 refugees resettled, showing that this country is again acting in the finest traditions of providing shelter to the most vulnerable.
The VPR scheme is just one part of the government’s comprehensive approach to the Syrian crisis, which has seen the UK become the second biggest bilateral aid donor with £1.1 billion in aid pledged to date.
In addition, the Royal Navy has saved over 8,000 lives so far in the Mediterranean and is working with partners to tackle and smash the evil people smuggling gangs.
At the Valletta Summit last month the Prime Minister announced a £200 million package of support for Africa and £275 million of support to Turkey to help it cope with the scale of the crisis.
LEADER: David Cameron used to refer to the group as ‘ISIL’ but will now only call them ‘Daesh’
Prime Minister agrees to new reference for extremist group
Prime Minister David Cameron has told the House of Commons that he will only refer to the extremist group, known as Islamic State (IS), ISIS or ISIL, as Daesh from now on.
Speaking on Wednesday, the Tory leader said he had received “strong representations” from MP Rehman Chishti, amongst others, as to why the name change should occur.
Daesh, which is an acronym of ‘al Dawlah al-Islameyah fi Iraq wal-Sham’ or in English, ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’, has some negative connotations yet experts believe this influence has been overplayed.
It is one Arabic letter away from reading ‘Daas’, which means to crush underfoot, and Daesh is also considered a somewhat ‘nonsense’ word.
Mr Cameron said: “I feel it is time to join our key ally France, the Arab League and other members of the international community in using, as frequently as possible, the terminology Daesh rather than ISIL.
“Because frankly this evil death cult is neither a true representation of Islam nor is it a state.”
Mr Chishti added: “I am delighted that the government will now be joining our key international allies in using the term Daesh to defeat this evil organisation's propaganda, appeal and self-proclaimed legitimacy.
“The prime minister has listened to the strength of feeling across Parliament, with this campaign being supported by 170 MPs from across the political spectrum.
“This barbaric terrorist group is not Islamic nor is it a state and Daesh is a better term for it. I hope that media organisations will now follow the government's lead and also adopt the term.”
CONVINCED: PM David Cameron believes air strikes in Syria would be effective against ISIS
But Labour holds the vote
Prime Minister David Cameron has set out a case for British bombers starting air strikes against ISIS positions in Syria and urged parliamentarians to support him.
He outlined his case for military action in the House of Commons, saying it was absolutely necessary to keep British people safe and it was not something that Britain should leave up to other countries to go at alone.
However, he said that he would only call for a vote on it if he thought he would win it.
The last vote, two years ago, was defeated.
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said he had no doubt that ISIS posed a threat to the UK but questioned whether air strikes would make a military difference and whether the prime minister intended to commit ground troops.
UNCONVINCED: Labour leader Jeremy Corbin faces revolt in his party over his disagreement on Syria
He also wanted to know whether the action would result in a reduction or increase of the threat by ISIS against Britain.
Earlier, Mr Cameron, who quoted the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon saying “Missiles may kill terrorists but good governance kills terrorism” told Mr Corbyn that “we cannot wait for a political transition. We have to hit these terrorists in their heartlands right now and we must not shirk our responsibility for security, or hand it to others.”
Mr Cameron also said that military action would make a difference and gave assurances that no ground troops would be sent into Syria.
The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner said that bombing raids in Syria would increase the terrorist threat to UK.
He said Britain was already in ISIS cross-hairs because it had been bombing ISIS positions in Iraq and now as a result of this very public debate in the UK the extremist group will “very likely” look to “punish” Britain in the way that it had already targeted France.
As tributes continue to pour in for the 129 victims of the shocking Paris shootings last week, French President, Francois Hollande, has vowed to ‘destroy’ the Islamic State.
Seven co-ordinated terror attacks were carried out by militants in the French capital on Friday 13th November, in what is the deadliest extremist attack in Europe since the Madrid train bombings in 2004.
The group known as Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attacks with French military since responding with two waves of air strikes against the group in Syria.
The first attacks occurred almost simultaneously just after 9.20am local time, with two explosions carried out near to the Stade de France stadium as the national football team faced off against Germany.
Attackers then opened fire later in the evening at the Petit Cambodge Cambodian restaurant and Le Carillon bar, at the Right Bank area of the city killing at least 15 people.
Targeted attacks were then carried out at a further two restaurant establishments before gunmen turned their attention to the Bataclan concert venue, where the deadliest shootings were seen.
A full house of 1,500 people had gathered at the venue to see US rock group, Eagles of Death Metal, when black-clad gunmen, wielding AK-47s entered the venue and meticulously began shooting.
Two militants blew themselves up with explosive belts they were wearing before anti-terror police were finally able to end the siege at around 12.30am. 89 people lost their lives whilst many more were seriously injured.
Hollande told Parliament this week that he wanted to see a ‘global coalition’ to rid the world of Islamic State during a rare joint session convened at the Palace of Versailles.
“Friday's acts of war were decided and planned in Syria,” Hollande said. “They were organised in Belgium and perpetrated on our soil with French complicity with one specific goal: to sow fear and to divide us.
“Syria has become the biggest factory of terrorism the world has ever known and the international community is still too divided and too incoherent.”
As he spoke, thousands gathered at the Eiffel Tower which, like many world attractions, had been lit up in the French colours in support of the victims of the attacks.
Meanwhile, security officials continue to carry out an international manhunt for Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who has been cited by French security as the chief architect of the attacks.
Abaaoud,27, a Belgian of Moroccan origin, first came to the attention of officials last year after boasting in an IS propaganda video about his pride in piling the dead bodies of ‘enemies’ into a trailer.
Over 168 searches have been conducted in France since Sunday night, with 127 arrests and 31 weapons seized.
19 militants are alleged to have been involved in the attacks, with five others providing ‘logistical support’, yet none of these people are believed to have been arrested yet. Seven were killed in the attacks, with six blowing themselves up and one being shot dead by police.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron
“The events in Paris are the worst act of violence in France since the Second World War. The worst terrorist attack in Europe for a decade. A horrifying and sickening attack.
“Our hearts go out to the French people, and to all those who lost loved ones.
“Today the British and French people stand together, as we have so often before in our history when confronted by evil. Shocked, but resolute. In sorrow, but unbowed.
“My message to the French people is simple: Nous sommes solidaires avec vous. Nous sommes tous ensemble. We stand with you. United.
“While the full picture of what happened is still emerging, we know that there were multiple terror incidents across Paris and over 120 people are feared dead with many more injured.
“We must be prepared for a number of British casualties, and we are doing all we can to help those caught up in the attack.
“These were innocent victims enjoying a Friday night out with friends and family, no doubt at the end of a hard week. They were not seeking to harm anyone. They were simply going about their way of life – our way of life.
“And they were killed and injured by brutal, callous murderers who want to destroy everything our two countries stand for. Peace. Tolerance. Liberty.”
Shaykh Noorul Aqtab Siddiqi, of Hijaaz College
“Let us make it clear that the attackers are not Muslim, they are distorting the principles of Islam to justify the killing of civilians. Muslims are not to blame for the crimes of ISIS in Paris or elsewhere in the World.
“The so called Islamic State has killed over half a million Muslims in the past two years. Muslims surely despise ISIS, but unfortunately we Muslims are still propagated to be affiliated with them.
“ISIS do not represent the views of Muslims. It is important that Muslims unite to do all they can to help destroy the filthy dogs of ISIS.
“If the whole Muslim world condemns the atrocities it is not enough. We need to start eradicating them and their ideology.
“They are trying to hijack our peaceful religion and make halal what Allah made haram. A terrorist cannot be a Muslim and a Muslim can never be a terrorist.”
OFFICIAL VISIT: British Prime Minister David Cameron greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India is on his way back to Mumbai with an estimated £6 billion in bilateral trade offers following his three-day official visit to London.
However, there are questions about whether his talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron will materialise into tangible assets.
Downing Street said that talks focused on further strengthening the security partnership between the UK and India, including the exchange of counter-terrorism best practices and technologies and cyber security expertise.
On counter-terrorism, the prime ministers discussed the importance of tackling the threat from Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and other terrorist groups targeting India. They agreed on the vital need to tackle ISIL, including through countering the narrative that radicalises individuals and leads them to embrace a violent Islamist extremist ideology.
On cyber security, the prime ministers discussed how the UK and India could work together to better protect people and organisations from cyber attacks, with the UK helping to establish a new centre to train the next generation of cyber security professionals and setting up a new Indian cyber crime unit.
The leaders also agreed on the importance of enhancing prospects for Afghanistan’s future stability. They spoke about defence cooperation, welcoming the new UK-India Defence and International Security partnership and agreeing it should signal a step-change in partnering on developing capability, expertise and sharing technology, analysis and information.
However, back in India, sections of the press have raised questions about whether the promises would materialise into tangible trade.
They’ve said that despite three visits by Mr Cameron to India in the past five years, bilateral trade has steadily declined.
It now stands at £9.3 billion (US$14 billion), far short of the £20 billion (US$30 billion) goal announced during Mr Cameron’s 2010 visit.
In addition, the press said that serious issues which put a considerable strain on the economic relationship remained.
These included problems of easing business regulations for British companies, and relaxing immigration and visa norms for Indian companies, professionals and students.
However, they were happy about the commitment by both sides to fighting terror groups and thought it was significant that Mr Modi raised the issue of UK-resident groups that foment separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.
During his visit, Mr Modi received a rock star welcome when he addressed a 50,000-strong crowd of non-resident Indians at Wembley stadium.
He also inaugurated a BR Ambedkar memorial at a building where the father of the Indian constitution stayed in 1921-22 when he studied at the London School of Economics.
It was announced that every year two Dalit students from India would study in any university in London or Europe and they would be allowed to live in that building during their studies.
On his personally-escorted tour of London by the British prime minister. Mr Modi faced protests from activist groups over sexual violence against women in India.
Summing up his first official visit Mr Modi tweeted: “My gratitude to the British people & Govt. Special thanks to PM @David_Cameron for his personal attention to all the aspects of my visit” and “Goodbye UK. This visit was memorable because of the wide range of programmes I attended. The ground covered will transform India-UK ties.”
AWARENESS: David Cameron announced plans to create a new category in police forces for reporting anti-Muslim hate crimes
Prime Minister hosts first meeting of new Community Engagement Forum
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has this week announced new requirements for police forces in England and Wales to record hate crimes against Muslims in the same way as anti-Semitic offences.
Coinciding with National Hate Crime Awareness Week – 10th to 17th October, the announcement was made during the first meeting of the new Community Engagement Forum on Tuesday 13th October.
In 2013-14 police recorded crime statistics showed religious hate crimes increased by 45 per cent and race hate crime by four per cent, whilst this figure is expected to rise upon the publication of new figures this week.
Creating a separate category for anti-Muslim hate crimes will enable police, prosecutors, local authorities and the communities they serve to have a better understanding of the prevalence of such offences and allocate resources accordingly.
It will also provide the first accurate picture of the extent of anti-Muslim hate crime in England and Wales.
Mr Cameron added: “As I said last week, I want this government to be as bold in delivering social reform as we have been in economic - and a big social problem we need to tackle to rebuild Britain as an even greater country is extremism.
“We all have a role to play in confronting extremism. That’s why I have invited important Muslim and non-Muslim figures to join the new Community Engagement Forum so I can hear directly about their work in our communities, the challenges they face and so that they can be part of our one nation strategy to defeat it.
“I want to build a national coalition to challenge and speak out against extremists and the poison they peddle.
“I want British Muslims to know we will back them to stand against those who spread hate and to counter the narrative which says Muslims do not feel British. And I want police to take more action against those who persecute others simply because of their religion.”
The forum was organised to discuss the themes and objectives of the forthcoming counter-extremism strategy including mobilising a national coalition to challenge and speak out against extremism in all its forms.
It will also consider what more the government can do across the board to help support young British Muslims to reach their full potential.
Home Secretary Theresa May added: “Hate crime has no place in Britain and I am determined to make further progress to ensure we can eradicate this deplorable act.
“Working with police to provide a breakdown in religious-based hate crime data will help forces to build community trust, target their resources and enable the public to hold them to account.
“Our counter-extremism strategy will be published later this month and will introduce a wide range of measures to defeat all forms of extremism. These will empower communities to confront extremist ideologies, and build more cohesive communities where everyone feels able to succeed.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, Mr Cameron stated that new funding will also be made available for the security of all faith establishments, including mosques – an issue first touched upon during a speech in Birmingham earlier this year.
I’ve just been to see Her Majesty the Queen, and I will now form a majority Conservative government. I’ve been proud to lead the first coalition government in 70 years, and I want to thank all those who worked so hard to make it a success. And in particular on this day, Nick Clegg. Elections can be bruising clashes of ideas and arguments, and a lot of people who believe profoundly in public service have seen that service cut short.
Ed Miliband rang me this morning to wish me luck with the new government. It was a typically generous gesture from someone who is clearly in public service for all the right reasons. The government I led did important work. It laid the foundations for a better future, and now we must build on them. I truly believe we’re on the brink of something special in our country. We can make Britain a place where a good life is in reach for everyone who is willing to work and do the right thing.
Our manifesto is a manifesto for working people and as a majority government, we will be able to deliver all of it. Indeed it is the reason why I think majority government is more accountable. 3 million apprenticeships. More help with childcare. Helping 30 million people cope with the cost of living by cutting their taxes. Building homes that people are able to buy and own. Creating millions more jobs that give people the chance of a better future. And yes, we will deliver that in out referendum on our future in Europe. As we conduct this vital work we must ensure that we bring our country together.
As I said in the small hours of this morning, we will govern as a party of one nation. One United Kingdom. That means ensuring this recovery reaches all parts of our country, from north to south, from east to west, and indeed it means rebalancing our economy. Building that northern powerhouse. It means giving everyone in our country a chance, so no matter where you’re from, you have the opportunity to make the most of your life. It means giving the poorest people the chance of training, a job and hope for the future. It means that for children who don’t get the best start in life, there must be the nursery education and good schooling that can transform their life chances, and of course it means bringing together the different nations of our United Kingdom. I have always believed in governing with respect.
That is why in the last parliament we devolved power to Scotland and Wales and gave the people of Scotland a referendum on whether to stay inside the United Kingdom. In this parliament, I will stay true to my word and implement as fast as I can the devolution that all parties agreed for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Governing with respect means recognising that the different nations of our United Kingdom have their own governments as well as the United Kingdom government. Both are important. And indeed, with our plans, the governments of these nations will become more powerful with wider responsibilities. In Scotland, our plans are to create the strongest devolved government anywhere in the world with important powers over taxation. And no constitutional settlement will be complete if it did not offer, also, fairness to England. When I stood here five years ago, our country was in the grip of an economic crisis. Five years on, Britain is so much stronger.
But the real opportunities lie ahead. Everything I've seen over the last five years, and indeed during this election campaign, has proved once again that this is a country with unrivalled skills and creativeness. A country with such good humour and such great compassion. And I'm convinced that if we draw on all of this then we can take these islands, with our proud history, and build an even prouder future. Together we can make Great Britain's greater still.
UNVEILED: The statue’s official launch date was Saturday 14th March with Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in attendance
Iconic statue revealed to mark centenary year
One of the greatest humanitarian and political leaders in modern history was eternalised in London last weekend as a statue of Mahatma Gandhi was officially unveiled.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Indian Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, drew back the covers from the giant bronze statue in Parliament Square to commemorate 100 years since Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa.
SPEECH: David Cameron speaks at the unveiling of the statue in Parliament Square
The ceremony, on Saturday 14th March, featured personal reflections from Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, and former Governor of West Bengal, Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
Amitabh Bachchan, one of India’s most prominent actors, also read words written by the renowned Indian leader, in front of members of the public and Lord and Lady Desai of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust - the charity that raised over £1million to fund the statue.
Mr Cameron quoted Gandhi in his speech on the day and welcomed the official opening of the capital’s latest landmark.
“This statue is a magnificent tribute to one of the most towering figures in the history of world politics and by putting Mahatma Gandhi in this famous Square we are giving him an eternal home in our country,” he said.
“Many of his teachings remain as potent today as when he first made them. ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’ and ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world’ remain timeless, profound and inspiring words of wisdom.
“This statue celebrates the incredibly special friendship between the world's oldest democracy and its largest, as well as the universal power of Gandhi’s message.
“Our ties with India have remained close throughout history and continue to go from strength to strength – through mutual respect as equals, cooperation and trade, and of course through the one-and-a-half million Indians who do so much to make Britain the country it is today, bringing our two countries closer, to the benefit of both.”
The statue was created by renowned British sculptor Philip Jackson, who is known for his work on similar projects for the Queen Mother and the Bomber Command memorials.
Mr Jackson was inspired by a 1931 photo of Gandhi at No10 Downing Street where he met the Prime Minister of the day, Ramsey McDonald.
Indian Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, said of the unveiling: “The statue will help ensure that the legacy of Gandhi lives on for future generations.
“It also marks an important, historic moment celebrating the strong bond between our two nations. India and the UK share the same values and we are a partnership of equals. This lasting friendship is just one of many legacies left by Gandhi, which I am keen that we work hard to strengthen further.”
PRAISE: Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, said the statues will act as a ‘reminder of Gandhi’s ideals and Britain’s historic relationship with India’
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, added: “This statue will stand as a reminder of Gandhi’s ideals and Britain’s historic relationship with India and its people. Our nations’ friendship as equals, which brings growth and prosperity to both our countries, owes much to Gandhi’s determination to achieve independence though peace.”
FAMILY: A picture of Shaker Aamer with daughter, Johnina (left), and son Michael, which was taken in 2001 before his detention
MPs call on US to release Guantanamo Bay’s last Brit
For the past 13 years, Shaker Aamer has been held at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, and despite being told by his lawyers that he was set for release in 2007, he remains locked up without a single charge to his name.
Now, as the topic was once again brought to the Houses of Parliament, MPs voted unanimously in favour of the Brit’s release, describing his treatment as ‘inhuman’.
Aamer, a Saudi national married to a Briton and with children living in London, is the last British inmate still being held at the notorious prison despite never being charged with a crime.
Even Prime Minister David Cameron lobbied US President Barack Obama earlier this year for his release, with the American leader confirming a review of his case would be a priority.
However, opposition Labour lawmaker, John McDonnell, told a debate in parliament earlier this week that it was now time for ‘action’.
“The case of Shaker Aamer is one of the worst cases of a miscarriage of justice in the last three decades at least ... He has endured harsh, and brutal and inhuman treatment,” Mr McDonell said to the agreement of those in attendance.
“Now is the time for action not words ... his health has deteriorated significantly.”
Obama has pledged to close the dentention centre in the past, yet still faces obstacles from Congress, including some right-wing Republican senators calling for a freeze on the release of remaining detainees.
McDonnell said a delegation of MPs planned to head to Washington shortly to meet with US officials about the case.
According to rights group Amnesty International, Aamer moved to Britain in 1996 and was in Afghanistan doing voluntary work for an Islamic charity when he was captured by Afghan Northern Alliance forces in 2001 and handed to the US military.
New criminal sanctions for those who fail to protect children from sexual exploitation are at the heart of a package of new measures announced by the Prime Minister, David Cameron.
The government says it will consult on extending the new criminal offence of ‘wilful neglect’ of patients to children’s social care, education and elected members as part of its national response to damning reports by Alexis Jay, Ann Coffey, Louise Casey and others, which found systematic institutional failings and cultures of denial and blame in Rotherham, and elsewhere.
The Prime Minister - alongside the Home Secretary and Secretaries of State for Health, Justice, Education and Communities and Local Government - met leaders from local authorities, children’s services, health professionals, Chief Constables and experts in child protection in Downing Street where he demanded local areas work more effectively to strengthen the systems in place to protect children.
The new plans aim to ensure local areas have long term practical strategies to uncover child sexual exploitation (CSE) and bring more offenders to justice - or face tough consequences.
Mr Cameron said: “We have all been appalled at the abuse suffered by so many young girls in Rotherham and elsewhere across the country. Children were ignored, sometimes even blamed, and issues were swept under the carpet – often because of a warped and misguided sense of political correctness. That culture of denial which let them down so badly must be eradicated.
“I am sending an unequivocal message that professionals who fail to protect children will be held properly accountable and council bosses who preside over such catastrophic failure will not see rewards for that failure.
“Offenders must no longer be able to use the system to hide their despicable activities and survivors of child sexual abuse must be given the long-term therapeutic treatment they need to re-build their lives.
“But it is not just about introducing new policies. It is about making sure that the professionals we charge with protecting our children – the council staff, police officers and social workers – do the jobs they are paid to do.
“We owe it to our children, and to the children who survive horrific sexual abuse, to do better and ensure the mistakes of the past are never repeated again.”
The cross-government national response, led by the Home Secretary Theresa May, was commissioned by the Prime Minister following revelations of a long-term culture of denial in Rotherham, where it is estimated at least 1,400 children were sexually abused over a number of years, as well as elsewhere.
Representatives from local areas across the country including Rochdale, Nottingham, Kent, Middlesbrough and Barking and Dagenham; the newly appointed Commissioner for Rotherham Sir Derek Myers, Professor Alexis Jay, Sarah Champion MP, the new Children’s’ Commissioner Anne Longfield, and the national policing lead Chief Constable Simon Bailey were among the attendees at the Downing Street event.
An additional £7 million has been given this year to organisations which support the victims of sexual abuse.
The Department of Health has also published new guidance on the role of school nursing services in preventing CSE and the Department for Education will announce a new £3.8 million allocation of its Innovation Programme.
Sheffield and South Yorkshire Councils were allocated £1.2m to develop a sub-regional delivery model for young people experiencing or at risk of child sexual exploitation. This will include recruitment, development and support of specialist foster carers to provide safe placements for young people across South Yorkshire. Local authorities involved are Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster. Other partners are LSCBs in these areas and South Yorkshire Police.
Wigan and Rochdale Councils were given £956,000 to find alternatives to high cost and secure accommodation for victims of, or those at risk of, child sexual exploitation, and to improve outcomes for those young people and their families. They plan to develop and deliver a research programme and pilot which involves testing a new hub and spoke social care service model with 30 young people in Wigan and Rochdale, with the intention of scaling this up across Greater Manchester’s local authorities.
Meanwhile £1.9m was given to St Christopher’s Fellowship to develop a children’s home with wrap-around care in London for looked-after girls at risk of sexual exploitation, gang membership and substance misuse who might otherwise be placed in secure children’s homes on welfare grounds.
Finally, Durham County Council recieved £496,000 to open a new unit at Aycliffe - their Secure Children’s Home - to test a new model of support targeting the trauma experienced by young people who have been sexually exploited. They intend to couple this with an extended “step-down” service to support the young people in making the transition from the secure setting into more independent living.
The government’s plan to tackle CSE
It has been highlighted that the CSE remained hidden and was ignored: a new national whistleblowing helpline for public sector workers to report bad practice will help shine a light on problems and help authorities to spot patterns of failure in order to address them quickly.
Victims were appallingly let down, disbelieved and even blamed, the government has promised that it will eradicate the culture of denial including through new joint official health, police and education inspections and a new Child Sexual Abuse Taskforce of professional troubleshooting experts in social work, law enforcement and health to support local areas at every level.
Those who failed to protect victims saw no consequences – some got huge pay-offs: the governments says it will ensure that exit payments for senior staff, including council staff, can be clawed back where those people are quickly re-employed in the same part of the public sector.
Perpetrators have been free to walk the streets for years with impunity: child sexual abuse will now be prioritised as a national threat, like serious and organised crime which means police forces now have a duty to collaborate with each other across force boundaries to safeguard children including more efficient sharing of resources, intelligence and best practice, supported by specialist regional CSE police coordinators.
MISSING: Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, were captured on CCTV at Gatwick Airport and are now believed to have join IS in Syria
Prime Minister vows to introduce new laws to disrupt Brits flying to join extremists
The search for three British teenagers, who left their London homes last month to join up with the Islamic State in Syria, have crossed the border to the war-torn nation, Sky Sources report.
Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, are believed to be staying in the town of Al-Raqqa, with a British host who the group had contacted before their departure.
LAW: Prime Minister David Cameron says the new laws will help prevent suspected extremists from travelling out of the UK and urged internet firms to ‘do more’ to combat the risk
Last week the girls were seen in CCTV footage boarding a coach in Turkey and it is from there that they are believed to have crossed over into Syria.
All three girls, students at Bethnal Green Academy, London, had not told their parents where they were travelling having said they were just meeting friends on the day.
In response to the latest update, Britain looked set to introduce new laws on Tuesday which would attempt to stop airlines carrying passengers who they believe to be at risk of joining IS militants in Iraq and Syria.
Security services estimate that around 600 Britons have travelled to the two nations to join militant groups, with no legislation currently in place to stop the passengers.
Under the proposed new laws, Home Secretary Theresa May would be able to prevent airlines from carrying passengers, including children, believed to be travelling to take part in ‘terrorism-related activity’ on known routes, such as those into Syria, according to a Home Office statement.
“This important legislation will disrupt the ability of people to travel abroad to fight and then return,” James Brokenshire, a junior minister for security in May's department, said in the statement.
“It will also enhance our ability to monitor and control the actions of those who pose a threat,” he added.
The rules would require airlines to seek permission to carry such passengers. An automatic system based on passenger lists provided by airlines would flag high-risk travellers and stop them boarding aircraft.
PROTECTION: All airports will be affected by the new legislation expected to be introduced this week
The new powers are part of Britain's efforts to stop foreign fighters from entering Syria via commercial flights and come weeks after the three London schoolgirls fled Britain to join up with Islamic State through Turkey.
Turkish Airlines (THYAO.IS) has previously said it was helping a government investigation into the case but that it was only responsible for checking visas.
Prime Minister David Cameron has also urged internet firms to do more to tackle online extremism after it was revealed the three girls had used Twitter to contact other women involved with Islamic State.
Mr. Cameron said that anyone reading the letter could see that it clearly praises the Muslim community saying that they make a great contribution to UK, and that what is happening in terms of extremist terror has nothing to do with the true religion of Islam.
The letter had also praised the way Muslims in Britain had responded to the Paris terror attacks and Mr. Cameron said that he believes that in no way did it intend to undermine Muslims in Great Britain and that the letter was being taken out of context.
When question on wether he understands how the Muslim's in Britain may be feeling exposed and vulnerable to stigmatisation by the letter, Mr. Cameron says: “We cannot turn away from Islamist extremism, all of us have to look at this and ask how do we combat this poisonous narrative. Obviously we needed the Muslim community in Great Britain to join us on this.”
The Prime Minister said that the Iraq war or 911 attack was just a wake up call to the realisation of radicalisation of vulnerable young Muslim men and that “we cannot turn away from this - all of us have to look at this and is ask how do we combat this distorted view of Islam - peaceful religion,” he says.
He criticised the Governemnt's old Prevent programme stating that it was a “bit muddled” and that it didn't do very well on either objectives of trying to support mosques and prevent terrorism. It confused the delivery of Government policy to promote integration to prevent terrorism.
“Obviously we need the Muslim community in Great Britain to work with us.
“We need to unite to make a clear and loud definition between Islam - religion of peace and Islamist extremism, and we need the help of the Muslim leaders on facilitating this,” says the Prime Minister.
He added that he feels rooting out terrorism is a generational challenge and feels that it will take some time to overcome.
“We must unite as a nation to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support. “At the same time, we have to stand up and fight against Islamophobia.
“It's a real problem in our country and it makes people feel vulnerable and fearful and it is extremely unpleasant and unnecessary,” he says.
Faith leaders, he says, are in a unique position in British society as they have a precious opportunity and important responsibility in explaining and demonstrating how faith in Islam can be part of British identity.
MEETING: Mr Cameron visited the Asian Express offices earlier this month
Prime Minister’s message to the Asian Express
Following a successful visit from Britain’s Prime Minister earlier this month, the Asian Express Newspaper has been told to ‘keep up the great work’, by David Cameron himself.
In a letter received at the offices last week, Mr Cameron wrote of his gratitude to all those involved in organising his ‘most enjoyable visit’ during his time in Leeds.
CONGRATULATIONS: Prime Minister David Cameron sent a letter of gratitude to the Asian Express Newspaper last week following his visit to the offices
Mr Cameron arrived at the Armley-based offices of the publishing group on Thursday 5th February to meet with the team behind the news, as well as taking part in a conference held by the Asian Business Development Network (ABDN).
The ABDN is a premier business network which delivers activities and events that promote ‘outside-the-box’ thinking. It is run by a board of Directors who give their time voluntarily to make a difference to the community they live in.
After greeting those in attendance, Mr Cameron spoke passionately with the Asian business leaders during the pre-arranged meeting about his belief that Yorkshire is still a hub for industry.
He then held a one-to-one interview with Asian Express editor-in-chief, Andleeb Hanif, where the topic of Islamophobia was discussed, centred on the Eric Pickles letter to Mosques across the country.
Concluding the visit with more meet-and-greets, plus photo opportunities, his visit was hailed a success by all those in attendance, with the verdict further reinforced with the arrival of Mr Cameron’s personal letter.
The message commended the work of the Asian Express Newspaper and the ABDN and passed on his ‘very best wishes’ for the future.
David Cameron pays a visit to Britain’s largest free Asian newspaper and joins ABDN conference with Yorkshire’s business leaders
WARM WELCOME: Eight-year-old Shyla Hanif greets the Prime Minister at the Asian Express offices with a bouquet of flowers
Prime Minister David Cameron traded 10 Downing Street for 4 Armley Court earlier this week as he paid a visit to the UK’s largest free pick-up Asian publication.
The Prime Minister graced the offices of Asian Express Newspaper on Thursday 5th February, as part of his visit to Yorkshire where he further pledged his commitment to end the ‘decades old divide between the North and South’.
AN HONOUR: Team Asian Express delighted to have the Prime Minister David Cameron at their offices in Leeds
Mr Cameron seemed very relaxed as he met with the dedicated team of Asian Express, who welcomed his arrival at the Leeds-based offices.
A few jokes were cracked about how tall the PM actually was, where Mr Cameron laughingly stated that TV cameras make everyone seem short and stout
Being led on a tour of the Asian Express Newspaper office’s by co-founders, Managing Director Nadim Hanif, and Editor-in-Chief, Andleeb Hanif, Mr Cameron viewed some of the recent front page headlines and commended the newspaper for its work on not just a local but national level.
TOUR: Founders of Asian Express Nadim and Andleeb Hanif show the Prime Minister around the building and discuss the paper
The Prime Minister had also facilitated a conference with the Asian Business Development Network (ABDN) in Leeds, which has recently been acquired by Nadim Hanif. A number of Yorkshire’s most influential Asian business leaders attended the meeting, chaired by Mr Gurdev Dahele.
Mr Cameron spoke to them about the launch of the Yorkshire phase of the government’s economic ‘Northern Powerhouse’ scheme, and reiterated the importance of Asian businesses and the role they play in Britain’s recovering economy.
CONFERENCE: Mr Cameron discusses the importance of Asian business with ABDN board members and guests
Matters of concern to small and medium sized ethnic businesses were discussed, as well as the absence, or very little representation, of Asians in LEPs, and subsequent opportunities for professionals to hold higher executive roles on a local government level.
He recognised the entrepreneurial nature of the Asian community and said that he was keen to work with organisations such as ABDN, who would play a key role in building a Northern Powerhouse with a world-class infrastructure, backing businesses and supporting industries of the future.
EXCLUSIVE: Mr Cameron has a one-to-one discussion with Managing Editor Andleeb Hanif and MD Nadim Hanif
The Prime Minister highlighted his commitment of a long-term economic plan for Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, which would create more jobs and financial security for hardworking people across the region.
Yorkshire business people, Asian Express Newspaper staff and Prime Minister David Cameron
FINE FOOD: Founder of the British Curry Awards Enam Ali MBE and PM David Cameron tuck in.
Tenth Anniversary award ceremony pays homage to the unsung heroes behind the UK’s favourite dish
The UK’s favourite cuisine will once again be celebrated at the milestone, tenth-anniversary British Curry Awards on Monday 1st December 2014.
The industry at large, foodies, celebrities, MP’s and dignitaries will collectively pay homage to the nation’s finest curry restaurants at one of the most lauded events of the UK hospitality sector, taking place at Battersea Evolution, London.
As well as being a lucrative mainstay of the economy, the industry has embedded itself in the social, cultural and culinary fabric of the UK, with approximately 25million curries being consumed each week.
As a result, British Curry Awards, which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary, has become a key fixture on the UK social calendar, celebrating the achievements of the nation’s most popular culinary genre.
A pioneer in the UK catering and hospitality sector, British Curry Awards has been lauded as a national institution in its own right – the first and landmark event to celebrate the industry’s achievements.
The event is eagerly anticipated annually by the industry and restaurateurs alike, with winning restaurants realising lifetime dreams through being awarded.
As Prime Minister David Cameron said at the event last year: “These awards have become a fixture in our national life. They are, as I put it, the Oscars of British Curry.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who work in this great industry – 10,000 restaurants up and down our country, three and a half billion pounds worth of turnover, two and half million customers every week. I reckon that is about 31 million chutney trays, 62 million naan breads, 160 million poppadoms. As we say in Westminster, a light lunch!
“Everything this industry does, everything we're celebrating tonight, comes back to one thing, its values.
“As prime minister you get to go to quite a few industry dinners but there aren’t many where you feel quite as much pride as at this one. So from the bottom of my heart let me say thank you for everything you give to our country.”
The nomination process invites members of the public to put forward their favourite Indian eatery for a deserving accolade.
This year, a phenomenal 200,000 public nominations have been received via post, app and online, from diners nominating their favourite curry restaurants, with 2,641 restaurants being nominated.
It is stated that a curry remains the favoured choice of takeaway across the nation, overtaking stalwarts such as a Chinese or Italian. Its value is reflected by the Best Delivery Restaurant / Takeaway Award, in association with Just Eat, the online takeaway ordering service.
Each year British Curry Awards also presents the Special Recognition Award to an influential culinary personality, with past winners including Atul Kochar. Madhur Jaffrey, Cyrus Todiwala OBE, Anjum Anand, Heston Blumenthal OBE, Shelim Hussain MBE and Mohammed Aslam MBE.
The British Curry Awards was established by British entrepreneur and restaurateur Enam Ali MBE who founded the event in 2005.
He has been tirelessly promoting the British curry industry globally for the past 30 years. In speaking about the event, he says: “The industry continues to contribute a phenomenal amount to the UK economy despite the challenges it still faces in terms of staffing issues derived from immigration policy.
“But as Prime Minister David Cameron himself addressed at the event last year, he recognises the commitment that needs to be made to this lucrative industry as we collectively go from strength to strength in the face of adversity As they say, curry was born in India but has been made great in Britain.”
What was once Little Germany’s ‘little secret’ is quickly becoming a favourite restaurant amongst food enthusiasts across the region, as Cona continues to delight Bradford’s diners.
The halal fine dining specialists have certainly had an eventful year, from their initial launch date just six months ago, to being selected to prepare a special Eid feast for more than 160 guests at 10 Downing Street.
“Since we opened, Cona has won plaudits from hundreds of diners and gained a very positive newspaper restaurant review,” explained Armi Ahmed, who is co-owner of the restaurant with Oman Rana.
“We have only been here a few months in Bradford so to be selected to cook for the Prime Minister and his guests is a bit unbelievable.
“A lot of credit has to go to our head chef, Gavin Jackson, who designed and planned the final menu after great consideration. His choices were based around the current seasons of autumn and winter and he deserves a lot of credit.”
As the reputation of Cona continues to grow, the simplicity and quality halal dishes which were at the heart of the restaurant since day one, still remains today.
The understated décor provides the perfect environment for diners to enjoy an array of dishes and experience flavours which will delight all palates.
Menus change with the seasons ensuring new dishes are constantly added and keeping the choices fresh for visitors, with the new autumn line-up likely to tantalise customer’s taste buds.
A wide choice of starters, mains and desserts, mean that whether it is a mouth-watering duck, venison or quail which you most desire, you will not be disappointed.
Why not experience a true taste of Cona at the end of this year with a special New Year’s party set to be held at the restaurant.
A specialised menu has already been developed by Michelin-standard chefs, so why go anywhere else to welcome in 2015 in style.
With polls showing the UK Independence Party will come second in the May 22nd election, ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives but behind the opposition Labour Party, UKIP hopes to attract enough extra votes to win the ballot outright.
Party leader Nigel Farage has said such a victory would trigger a "political earthquake", putting UKIP in a position to win its first seats in the British parliament in 2015 and piling pressure on the three main parties to sever Britain's ties with the European Union.
UKIP wants Britain to leave the EU and an end to "open door" immigration, particularly from inside the 28-nation bloc. Polls show immigration to be one of voters' top three concerns and Cameron is under pressure to make good on his promise to cut net migration to the "tens of thousands" by 2015.
CRITICISED: UKIP launched its campaign for next month's European elections and fended off accusations that its posters were racist and its anti-immigration rhetoric hypocritical
The prime minister has also promised Britons a referendum on leaving the bloc if re-elected next year. Labour and the Liberal Democrats oppose such a vote.
Launching its campaign in the northern English city of Sheffield, UKIP released a series of posters urging voters to "take back control of our country" by electing UKIP candidates. The party currently holds nine seats in the European Parliament.
One poster featured a picture of a finger pointing to anyone reading it, saying "26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?"
Another showed a picture of a man dressed as a construction worker begging on the street, saying: "EU policy at work. British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labour".
Mike Gapes, a Labour lawmaker, said the posters were "racist", while Nicholas Soames, a Conservative lawmaker and the grandson of Winston Churchill, condemned them as "deeply divisive, offensive and ignorant."
"This UKIP campaign is a racist, xenophobic campaign designed to win votes by whipping up animosity against foreigners living and working and contributing to this country," Gapes wrote on his web site.
Farage, who is married to a German citizen, rejected the accusations, saying the posters were aimed at highlighting the fact that an influx of cheap foreign labour had driven down wages and increased youth unemployment.
"This is the classic trick," he said. "Any debate on immigration is closed down automatically. Decry it as racism. Don't talk about it. Brush it under the carpet. We're not going to do that."
UKIP was a non-sectarian, non-racist political party, he said, and the posters were a "hard-hitting reflection of reality".
Farage, a member of the European Parliament, was later put on the spot over his German wife being his secretary when a reporter asked him how he could justify her employment while complaining that foreigners were taking British jobs.
"It's a very different situation to a mass of hundreds of thousands of people coming in and flooding the lower end of the labour market," said Farage, saying she was in a unique position as his wife to work extremely unsociable hours.