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TV debate clash, teacher sentenced, and Theresa May backs web surveillance powers

News stories Wednesday 14th January 2015

House of Commons Chamber. Image: UK Parliament. Subject to parliamentary copyright. Licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

House of Commons Chamber. Image: UK Parliament. Subject to parliamentary copyright. Licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

  • Party leaders clash at PMQs over TV election debates
  • Suspended jail sentence for London teacher who had sex with pupil
  • Theresa May backs more data surveillance powers
  • Hail, snow and sleet predicted for south east England

TV election debate row

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During Prime Minister’s Questions Ed Miliband accused the Prime Minister of “running scared” and making “pathetic” excuses for not taking part in proposed TV debates.

David Cameron is insisting that the Green party should be involved in the pre-election debates.

Broadcasters have invited Mr Miliband, Mr Cameron, and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and UKIP leader Nigel Farage to take part.

Last week Ofcom supported the decision to exclude the Green Party, by saying they did not have “major status”.

But Mr Cameron has suggested that he won’t take part in the debates unless all national parties are represented.

He’s accused Labour of being scared of facing the Green party, who could take votes away from Labour and the Lib Dems in the 2015 elections.

The clash comes after Mr Miliband, Mr Clegg and Mr Farage urged broadcasters to go ahead with the debates without the prime minister, suggesting that an empty podium could take his place.

London teacher gets suspended sentence

A religious studies teacher who had a sexual relationship with one of his students has been given a suspended 18-month jail sentence.

The judge used the words “grooming”, “stalking” and “obsessed” to describe the student’s behaviour towards teacher Stuart Kerner.

Judge Joanna Greenberg QC also said that Mr Kerner was in a fragile mental state due to problems with his wife’s pregnancy.

But Judge said that he failed to show the restraint that he should have done as a responsible adult.

Last month, Mr Kerner was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.

He was cleared of other counts.

Theresa May seeks more surveillance powers

Home secretary Theresa May has made a Commons statement on the Paris terror attacks and called for better communications surveillance.

Mrs May has emphasised her support for the Communications Data Bill, which was blocked by the Lib Dems in 2012.

According to Mrs May, internet firms should be able to store details of people’s web activity.

The proposals have been called a ‘snoopers’ charter’ by the Lib Dems.

In her statement, she said the security services needed to be able to “find out the who, when, where and how of a communication – but not its content”.

Predictions of snow and ice

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Hail, sleet and snow are forecast tonight, and weather warnings have been issued for London and the south east.

Strong winds are predicted to hit England on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, and heavy rain is also expected.

Travel disruption is possible in London and elsewhere, as below-zero temperatures are likely to cause icy road conditions.

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