The Digest: 26/2/2016

EU Referendum set for June as Cameron lands EU deal

UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced the date of the in-out referendum of the UK’s European Union membership for June of this year. The announcement comes after Mr Cameron struck a deal with the other leaders of the EU and he will be hoping the terms negotiated will be enough for the British public to choose to stay in the Union. Although similar to the original draft Eurosceptics have argued that the deal Mr Cameron has negotiated falls well short of his original proposed deal. Compromises have been made on the sending of migrant child benefits abroad and the four-year curb on in-work migrant benefits allowed for only seven years opposed to the original thirteen proposed. Campaigning is now under way with London Mayor Boris Johnson one of the first major Conservatives figures supporting the ‘out’ campaign.

Mike Johansson

Owner of Alton Towers to be prosecuted

The owner of Alton Towers is to be prosecuted over the Smiler rollercoaster crash in June last year, in which a carriage filled with riders collided with a stationary carriage. Two women, Leah Washington and Vicky Balch, each lost a leg in the incident and three other people were seriously injured.  Neil Craig, head of operations for the Health Survey for England in the Midlands, said: “We have today informed Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd that it will be prosecuted for breaching health and safety law. […] We have conducted a very thorough investigation and consider that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to bring a prosecution.”

Shamima Noor


BBC staff “knew of the Savile complaints”

David Cameron insulted Jeremy Corbyn’s dress sense during a chaotic PMQs on Wednesday. After Angela Eagle mentioned David Cameron’s mother’s opposition to his welfare cuts, Cameron retorted: “I know what my mother would say. I think she’d look across the dispatch box and she’d say: ‘Put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem’”. The remark prompted jeering from the Tory benches. Jeremy Corbyn said in response that “if we are talking of motherly advice, my late mother would have said, ‘stand up for the principle of a health service free at the point of use for everybody’, because that’s what she dedicated her life to”.

Shamima Noor


Cameron criticised after Corbyn “jibe”

Recent reports colluded about the ongoing investigation into the sex abuse complaints against Jimmy Savile have concluded that “BBC staff knew of the complaints”. The Dame Janet Smith review into sexual abuse by Savile identified 72 victims, including eight who were raped. The report also says there were 21 victims of ex-broadcaster Stuart Hall and BBC management in Manchester were aware of his conduct. BBC Trust Chairman Rona Fairhead said the BBC “failed victims”. In response to this, Tony Hall, a spokesperson on the issue, said it was a “management issue” and argued that without a strong management structure issues like this are ignored instead of being addressed.

Zoe Bancroft


Image courtesy of BBC Parliament

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