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Could the Prime Minister lose his seat to Elmo?

| blog, General election 2015, L&B World, News | April 12, 2015

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Everett/REX Shutterstock (1730113a)nElmonSesame Workshop's 10h Annual Benefit Gala, New York, America - 30 May 2012nn
The main party leaders are facing an eclectic range of competitors in their constit(Photo: by Everett/REX Shutterstock (1730113a)nElmonSesame Workshop’s 10h Annual Benefit Gala, New York, America – 30 May 2012nn)

David Cameron is in a fight with a muppet, Ed Miliband is being threatened by a flying brick and Nigel Farage is facing an invasion from the Nation of Ooog.

Meanwhile dear old Nick Clegg is being opposed by a man who shares his surname.

Bizarre candidates, eccentric party names and wacky political manifestos have long been a feature of British elections.

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However if you take a quick glance at this year’s General Election nominations you will see the main party leaders have attracted a flurry of peculiar challengers to their constituency seats.

The Prime Minister is defending his Witney seat against 11 other candidates.

They range from the mainstream Labour, Liberal Democrat, Ukip and Green Party to an angry dad in an Elmo Seasame Street costume.

Candidate Bobby Smith, from Stevenage, is fighting for greater custody of his children and adopted Elmo-the red furry muppet- as his mascot because of a pet name he has for his kids.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Beretta/Sims/REX Shutterstock (4594433b)nDavid Cameron at BBC Broadcasting HousenDavid Cameron out and about, London, Britain - 31 Mar 2015nn
David Cameron and Sesame Street’s Elmo are preparing to go head to head. (Picture: Photo by Beretta/Sims/REX Shutterstock)

He has been camped outside Mr Cameron’s constituency home as part of his campaign.

He’s contesting the poll in the Oxfordshire seat under the party banner ‘Stop emotional child abuse, Vote Elmo’.

Also on the ballot paper in Witney are contenders from the National Health Action Party, the Land Party, the Reduce VAT in Sport Party and the Wessex Regionalists, as well as a couple of independents.

Leader of the opposition, Mr Miliband is in an eight horse race in his Doncaster North constituency.

The oddest challenges come from the Official Monster Raving Loony Party’s Nick The Flying Brick.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Mark Thomas/REX Shutterstock (4448817h)nEd MilibandnLabour Party leader Ed Miliband delivers a speech on the arts at Battersea Arts Centre, London, Britain - 23 Feb 2015nn
Ed hopes to dodge any knock out blows from Nick the Flying brick, representing the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. (Picture by Mark Thomas/REX Shutterstock arts at Battersea Arts Centre)

In addition to the other major parties, the Labour leader is up against the English Democrats and the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg will have a less colourful election night in Sheffield Hallam.

There are no candidates with eccentric names or party titles.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg speaks at a press conference outlining Liberal Democrat manifesto spending plans at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, in Westminster, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 12, 2015. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Nick Clegg is hoping his Sheffield supporters read the ballot paper carefully. (Picture: PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.  Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

However he could risk losing a few votes to English Democrat candidate Steven Clegg if his supporters don’t check their ballot papers carefully.

In Thanet South Nigel Farage is being taken on by comedy pub landlord Al Murray.

He will also face competition from Nigel Askew from the We are the Reality Party, headed by Happy Mondays dancer-turned reality TV star Bez.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX Shutterstock (3785635a)nNigel Farage outside the Westminster Arms pubnUKIP celebrate European election success, London, Britain - 26 May 2014nn
Bar fight: Farage and Al Murray go head to head. (Picture: by REX Shutterstock)

Farage will also have to fend off competition from Zebadiah Abu-Obadiah, the only candidate put forward by the Al-Zebabist Nation of Ooog.

Their party slogan is ‘to free the Afro-Thanetian Zaliphate from the grips of Broadstagarian and English hegemony’.

Also on the ballot paper in the Kent seat are the Manston Airport Independent Party, the Party for a United Thanet and an independent.

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ISIS fighters blindfold gay man and stone him to death

| blog, L&B World, News | April 10, 2015

ISIS militants blindfolded a man and then stoned him to death, East of the city of Homs in Syria (Picture Gay Star News)
ISIS militants blindfolded a man and then stoned him to death, East of the city of Homs in Syria (Picture Gay Star News)

ISIS fighters blindfolded a man and made him flee through a field in Syria before stoning him to death.

Dozens of civilians witnessed the killing, east of the city of Homs, after the fighters charged the man with being ‘homosexual’.

A group of men in military fatigues blindfolded the man, according to Gay Star News, forcing him to flee through a field as they hurled rocks at him.

It’s the latest in a series of brutal murders of gay people in territories controlled by ISIS, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

SOHR said that the man had been charged with being ‘homosexual’, before being murdered alongside a supposed collaborator with Bashar al-Assad’s forces, who was beheaded.

The organisation said, ‘SOHR was informed that the IS slaughtered and beheaded a man in the eastern countryside of Homs in the charge of dealing with regime forces.

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‘IS stoned a man to death in the charge of “Homosexual” in the presence of dozens of civilians east of Homs.’

In February, ISIS militants killed one man by throwing him from a seven-storey building in Syria, and another was thrown to his death for being gay by militants in Iraq.

Two men were stoned to death in the Syrian city of Raqqa in November, while a separate incident last December saw a gay man thrown off a rooftop and stoned to death for committing an alleged act of blasphemy.

Man thrown from building4
A gay man was thrown from a building then stoned to death in February (Picture Metro)

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Builders battered traffic warden with his own radio after he ticketed them

| blog, L&B World, News | April 10, 2015

 

He still suffers from blurred vision from a head injury
He still suffers from blurred vision from a head injury

A traffic warden was beaten so severely he was off work for six weeks with his injuries after he issued a ticket to a van in London last year.

He still suffers from blurred vision from a head injury.

Shocking video of the attack shows how three burly, shirtless men assaulted the traffic warden, kicking and punching him, and striking him with his own radio.

The 45-year-old father-of-three, who asked not to be named for his own safety, managed to press a panic button on the device to call police.

The warden, who was knocked to the ground by the burly men, managed to call for help from the police and London Ambulance Service after pressing a panic button on his machine.

Builders Kevin Lee Ritchie, 36, Shaun Ritchie, 28, and 27-year-old Loon Cuong Chu were all found guilty of assault after Highbury magistrates in North London viewed the footage.

Kevin Lee Ritchie, the van driver, was given a three-month jail sentence, suspended for six months, and ordered to do 200 hours’ community work.

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The other two were each ordered to do 180 hours of community labour. All three must also pay the unnamed warden £1,320 in compensation, costs and victim surcharges.

The court heard the warden – who does not want to be identified – was attacked moments after issuing a ticket to a van in Agincourt Road, Hampstead.

The enforcement officer, who has worked as a traffic warden for three years, had to be treated at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead afterwards for facial bruising and a head injury.

He told a local newspaper: “I had issued a ticket to the van when one of the men started arguing and hit me on my chest.

“Then the other two arrived and joined in. They were kicking and punching me and one of them hit me on the head with my radio.”

Police and paramedics arrived shortly after the attack.

Paolo Orezzi, a spokesman for parking enforcement company NSL, which employs 170 of the wardens covering Camden, welcomed the sentences.

He said: “I hope this sends a strong message to motorists that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.

“Our employees are just trying to do their job. I’m glad justice has been served.”

It is understood the incident was one of five serious physical assaults involving parking wardens in Camden last year.

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Seeking the soul of Istanbul on the Bosphorus

| blog, Eye witness, L&B World, Turkey | April 10, 2015

A ferry leaves the Kadikoy landing as a captain walks on the roof on May 3, 2014, in Istanbul. (AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC)

"It’s commonplace among Istanbul residents to complain about the pace of change in the city," writes AFP journalist Stuart Williams. "Too much unchecked construction, too much traffic, too many new infrastructure projects, people say. Yet everyone still knows a place that for them is the soul of the city. For me, the easiest way to feel the soul of Istanbul is on the water. On one of the commuter ferries that ply their way on the Bosphorus."

(Photo: AFP / Bulent Kilic)



By Stuart Williams






A ferry leaves the Kadikoy landing as a captain walks on the roof on May 3, 2014, in Istanbul. (AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC)

A ferry leaves the Kadikoy landing in Istanbul in May 2014 (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)


ISTANBUL, April 10, 2015 - It’s commonplace among Istanbul residents to complain about the pace of change in the city. Too much unchecked construction, too much traffic, too many new infrastructure projects, people say. Istanbul is big enough to be a megapolis yet has always had the intimacy of a village. As new luxury apartment blocks sprout from the ground, more cars take to the road and the government comes up with dizzying projects for new bridges, tunnels and an airport, this risks being lost.

Yet everyone still knows a place that for them is the soul of the city. For some it might be among the splashing fountains of the Topkapi Palace. For others, wandering the labyrinthine backstreets of the hills above the Golden Horn. Or perhaps meditating or praying under the mighty domes of one of the city’s great Ottoman mosques.

For me, the easiest way to feel the soul of Istanbul is on the water. On one of the commuter ferries that ply their way on the Bosphorus.


Birds perch as the Blue Mosque dominates the skyline during sundown on January 23, 2014, in Istanbul. (AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC)

The Blue Mosque at sundown in January 2014 (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)


Dividing Europe and Asia, the Bosphorus has presented a formidable obstacle since antiquity to would-be invaders and residents of the city. Sultans of the Ottoman Empire had to be rowed across to Uskudar on the Asian side before starting campaigns in Anatolia. Darius the Great of Persia is said to have engineered a pontoon bridge in a bid to link the divide.


An unbridgeable obstacle


But no permanent crossing was constructed until modern times. The first road bridge was only opened in 1973. A second followed in 1988 and the authorities are now building a third closer to the Black Sea as part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s series of ambitious but hugely controversial engineering projects to transform the face of Turkey. An undersea metro tunnel that runs beneath the Bosphorus was opened in 2013 and there is now even a plan to build a road tunnel under what a few decades before had seemed an unbridgeable obstacle.

But for all that, the simplest and most beautiful way to cross the continents will always be to jump on a boat.


Turkish passengers travel by ferry on the Bosphorus on August 4, 2013 in Istanbul as the city swelters under a heat wave. (AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC)

Passengers travel by ferry on the Bosphorus in August 2013 (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)


I live on the European side of Istanbul but frequently use the ferries to nip over to the Asian sides to enjoy the markets, pubs and theatres in the slightly decadent Kadikoy district or the stunning Ottoman mosques and waterfront promenade in more conservative Uskudar. After taking a morning run starting from Bebek on the Bosphorus I also sometimes hop on a commuter ferry back to the centre, a journey that takes in hundreds of years of history.


History of this land


For just four lira ($1.5, less with a travel card), the ferry offers the finest view of Istanbul’s famed skyline. The towers of the Topkapi Palace where reclusive sultans ruled an empire spanning continents. The Hagia Sophia, for some simply the greatest single building on the planet, whose journey from church to mosque to museum symbolises the history of this land. The minarets of the Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. From the ferry, the morning rush on the streets of Istanbul looks like an attractive bustle, rather than the hellish fight it can be on the ground.


A businessman talks on the phone as he travels on a ferry between Karakoy and Uskudar on May 2, 2013, on the Bosphorus in Istanbul (AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC)

A businessman rides a ferry on the Bosphorus, from Karakoy to Uskudar in May 2013 (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)


The Asian side offers more unexpected pleasures. The beautiful front of Haydarpasa station, built by Germans before World War I as a key point in the Kaiser’s dream of a Berlin-Baghdad railway. The vast Selimiye barracks where the British nurse Florence Nightingale tended to wounded patients from the Crimean War and played a part in revolutionizing hospital treatment.


The groan of foghorns


The ships themselves are beautiful to behold, bedecked in the yellow and white colours of the City Line company. They are the size of a small cruise vessel, with a funnel that belches out inky black smoke which contrasts vividly with the sky. The sound of their foghorns groans balefully around the Bosphorus while the hard-working engines can be heard cranking away even in nearby residential districts.


People feed seagulls as they travel on the Bosphorus on November 19, 2014, in Istanbul. (AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC)

People feed seagulls as they travel on the Bosphorus in November 2014 (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)


The sounds inside are just as distinctive. The familiar percussive tinkling of spoons against the tulip-shaped Turkish tea glasses as passengers stir alarming amounts of sugar into their small, strong shots of tea. Waiters walk briskly around the cabin with a tray, shouting offers of tea, sandwiches, orange juice or perhaps the winter favourite of sahlep.

The true Istanbullus of course look unfazed by the scenery that dazzles visitors to the city, scowling at their newspapers as tourists from Europe or the Middle East shout excitedly at the spectacular views of the Topkapi Palace.


People travel on a ferry between the two continents of Istanbul, Turkey, on June 18, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC)

Ferry passengers cross the Bosphorus in June 2014 (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)


I’ve noticed that reading a newspaper in Turkey can be as vivid a display of one’s political affiliations as wearing a football shirt can be of one’s favourite team. That man in the corner reading Yeni Safak (New Dawn, strongly pro-government), well, he has to be a strong supporter of Erdogan. The other man reading Sozcu (The Spokesman, rabidly anti-government) can harbour nothing other than an impassioned hatred for Turkey’s divisive president. What about the woman reading Hurriyet (Liberty)? Hard to say, the paper treads a careful line these days in the vain hope of not alienating any readers.


A nautical ballet


Karakoy to Kadikoy, Besiktas to Uskudar, Eminonu to Kadikoy, the ferries leave once every half hour from around six am until midnight in a nautical ballet jointly performed with the cargo ships coming through the Bosphorus and tiny fishing vessels. It seems a chaos and remarkable that more accidents don’t happen in such a crowded space.


A girl feeds seagulls as she passes the Bosphorus with a ferry on November 23, 2014, in Istanbul. (AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC)

A girl feeds seagulls on a ferry across the Bosphorus in November 2014 (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)


Joining the party is an extraordinarily rich birdlife. Cormorants dive for fish and then emerge, shaking their head as if in annoyance. Herons stand sentry on the breakwaters, gazing out to the Hagia Sophia like they have seen it all before. The city’s most distinctive birds, the Yelkouan Shearwaters, fly rapidly in flocks low to the water towards the Sea of Marmara, themselves like anxious early morning commuters. And even from the city centre it’s possible on occasion to see groups of dolphins leaping out of the water.


Slow, stately travel


As well as the ferries that cross from Europe to Asia, rarer but much-loved ferries sail on the route down the Bosphorus from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. Just a handful are timetabled, taking commuters from the villages on the northeastern side towards the centre and then back in the evening. This is slow, stately travel, taking two hours to make the full trip - the morning ferry that leaves Anadolu Kavagi close to the Black Sea at 6:40 am eases its way into Eminonu in the centre at 8:30 am. But while driving takes perhaps a quarter of the time, I always think, what travel this is.


A Turkish couple shares a romantic sunset at the back of a ferry on the Bosphorus, in Istanbul, on October 17, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC)

A Turkish couple shares a romantic sunset at the back of a ferry on the Bosphorus in October 2014 (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)


On the way, the great waterfront yali mansions built for the Ottomans and now used by the new royalty of the super rich. The Anadolu Hisari fortress built in the late 1390s by Sultan Beyazit I, over half a century before the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. The waterfront Dolmabahce Palace from where the final Ottoman sultans watched their empire crumble and where the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, took his final breath. And as the journey nears its end, the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the great Ottoman mosques of Sultanahmet and Suleymaniye, triumphant in their permanence.

In a few years’ time, if Erdogan’s vision is realised, it will likely be possible to cross the Bosphorus in every conceivable way, by tunnel, long distance train or whatever. But I think many, be they Istanbullus or visitors, will keep a preference for the ferry. And myself as well. Let time move slower, nurse a boiling tea in your hands, sit back and watch history shimmer above the glittering waters.

Stuart Williams is an AFP correspondent based in Istanbul


The Kadikoy ferry leaves Besiktas harbour on October 28, 2013 in Istanbul (AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC)

The Kadikoy ferry leaves Besiktas harbour in Istanbul in October 2013 (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)




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George Osborne just loves things that are also called George

| blog, George Osborne, L&B World, UK | April 10, 2015

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne helps create a 'George' the Hoover as he visits Numatic International who create the famous Henry the Hoover vacuum cleaners. Chard, Somerset. 09 April 2015.
‘It’s also called George!’ (Picture: SWNS)

Apparently, George Osborne just absolutely loves things that have the same first name as him.

Numatic International, of Henry the Hoover fame, gave the Chancellor of the Exchequer the opportunity to help create a ‘George’ the Hoover – and Mr. Osborne’s expression says it all.

It leads us to wonder if the Chancellor’s favourite book is Curious George, if he listens to music by George Michael and if he shops for clothing by George at ASDA.

Although having said that, it probably isn’t a good thing to surround him with too many things that share his name.

Judging from his reaction to the hoover, we reckon isn’t that difficult to get Mr. Osborne to peak George and we wouldn’t his head to explode or something.

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Boy cries after holding funeral for fish that involved flushing it down the toilet

| blog, L&B World, Weird | April 10, 2015

We all know about the circle of life but no matter how many times this boy watched Lion King it didn’t prepare him for the loss of his pet.

He had put on a brave face when he kissed the beloved animal while preparing to flush it down the toilet.

He soon lost his composure though after it started swirling unceremoniously in the bowl.

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Fish funeral
It can be sad losing someone (Picture: YouTube)

We’re not sure whether he was more upset about the death or how embarrassing it was for his pet to be flushed down a toilet.

Whatever the reason, he definitely showed true emotion in the YouTube video and even a hug from his mum couldn’t stop him crying.

RIP fish.

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‘Blood rain’ is set to fall on Britain

| blog, L&B World, UK, UK weather | April 10, 2015

Sheep grazing at dawn overlooking the Wiltshire market town of Malmesbury. It was a misty start to the day as poor air quality smog enveloped southern Britain. Robert Peel/SWNS.com
Sheep grazing at dawn overlooking the Wiltshire market town of Malmesbury (Picture:Robert Peel/SWNS)

Anyone’s who’s watched the opening scene of Blade might find the idea of blood rain slightly worrying.

But luckily there’s nothing sinister about the rust-brown showers that will fall on the country this weekend, with the unusual weather caused when red dust is suspended in droplets of water.

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What is blood rain?

In this general view of London, taken through glass, showing Tower Bridge and looking east towards Canary Wharf, top right, which is just visible through the haze and smog in London, Friday, April 10, 2015. Southern Britain and northern France are suffering high levels of air pollution due to stagnant air, though an Atlantic weather system will bring fresher conditions Saturday, according to weather forecast predictions. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Blood rain is the term used for water carrying sand from the desert. It has a reddish colour when it falls and the thin layer of dust it leaves on the ground when it dries is also a red-brown.

In the UK, storms in the Sahara desert are usually responsible for stirring up the dust that reaches our shores. Incidents of blood rain in Britain are usually short-lived. In other parts of the world, it can be dramatic. The blood rain that fell on parts of India for two months in 2011 was so thick that it stained clothes.

A number of ancient texts make reference to blood rain, which was believed to be actual blood and considered an omen of death and destruction. The god Zeus famously rained blood rain on the Achaean lines in Homer’s Iliad, causing the troops to panic and be slaughtered by the Trojans.  

The South-East and eastern part of England will see high levels of pollution as a result of the showers, but this is expected to be brief, with Atlantic winds pushing the dust eastwards by Saturday afternoon at the latest, Defra said.

‘People could find yellow or brown dust from the Sahara on their cars on Saturday morning,’ Met Office forecaster Dan Williams told the Telegraph.

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Health officials have warned adults and children with heart or lung problems to take care during the period of high pollution and for older people to avoid strenuous activity.

‘This is expected to clear on Saturday and pollution levels will return to low throughout the morning,’ a Defra spokeswoman said.

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And no. Blood rain isn’t like this:

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Ukip draws level with Lib Dems in the polls… could support be waning?

| blog, L&B World, UK | April 10, 2015

Nigel Farage or Bilious (Picture: PA)
Nigel Farage or Bilious (Picture: PA)

Ukip has drawn level with the Lib Dems for the first time since 2003, indicating a possible drop in support for Nigel Farage’s anti-EU party.

A ComRes poll shows the Lib Dems up three points today to 12 per cent – the same as Ukip.

Support for The Conservatives was still the most at 34 per cent, with Labour not far behind on 33 per cent.

The Green Party trailed behind with just 4 per cent of the vote, while 6 per cent said they would support ‘other’ parties.

The latest polls will make things difficult for Nigel Farage, who continues to insist support has ‘rallied’ in the last few weeks after the debates.

While support for the Tories and Labour is very close, people still appear to trust the Conservatives with the economy ahead of a government run by Ed Miliband and Ed Balls.

The telephone poll was commissioned by ITV News and the Daily Mail.

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16 things you probably never knew about Ed Miliband

| blog, Ed Miliband, General election 2015, L&B World, UK | April 10, 2015

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In the hot seat: Ed Miliband answers questions from Metro’s Joel Taylor and Sharon Lougher (Picture: Gretel Ensignia)

You’ve seen him on TV, heard him on radio – now Metro meets Ed Miliband in the flesh. Just don’t mention the two kitchens…

1) What is your perfect day off?
Spending time with my wife Justine and sons Daniel and Sam. It doesn’t happen very often at the moment but we all went to an Easter Egg hunt that we put on in my constituency on Sunday. So that was fun.

2) Are you a chocoholic?
I try not to be. I think my children definitely are, however; they very much enjoyed the Easter Egg hunt.

3) Do you do DIY?
I have to say I’m not a great DIY person but my father-in-law is good at it. When there’s DIY to be done he will often come and help out.

4) Do you watch any political dramas?
Watching them is too much of a busman’s holiday. The Thick Of It was too much like reality, with the greatest of respect to my team… I don’t mean that.

5) What was the last thing that really made you laugh?
The film Pride, which made me laugh and cry at the same time. It’s about this lesbian and gay community in London who go off to help the miners.

6) Who is your favourite Labour prime minister of all time?
There are so many. I think Clement Attlee was brilliant and the 1945 government was a great government. I’m very proud of what New Labour did in 13 years, so there is lots to choose from.

7) What made you want to be a politician in the first place?
I wanted to tackle the injustices our country faces. I was brought up in quite a political family and I was taught you shouldn’t just get angry at things that are wrong with the world but you should do something about it. What is exciting to me about this campaign is the chance to show people we can change the country.

8) Have the questions about your brother David become too intrusive?
Pretty much anything goes when it comes to politics, it comes with the territory. But I think the public are more interested in the choice between me and David Cameron, rather than me and my brother.

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Peeled banana
(Picture: Getty Images)

9) What was it that made you think you couldn’t support your brother?
I think we needed to move on from New Labour and I thought I was the best person to do that – whether it’s on Iraq, or immigration, or inequality and who the country works for.

10) You’ve said that Labour made mistakes on immigration. What were those mistakes?
We completely underestimated the numbers of people that were going to come in. And the pace of change was very fast, which has caused real issues. I think it’s really important we don’t dismiss people’s concerns as prejudice because they’re based on real worries. That’s why I’ve changed our approach. Under Labour, new arrivals will have to wait at least two years for their benefits and we’re going to stop the undercutting of wages.

11) Do we use too many medical professionals from abroad?
It’s important to train up doctors and nurses here. Part of our plan is a Time To Care fund for recruiting and training 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more doctors. Foreign doctors and nurses play an incredible role in our health service, but let’s also give opportunities to people here.

12) You’ve said you’ll axe non-dom tax status but Ed Balls said in January it would be a mistake. How has the policy changed so quickly?
What Ed said is that we’ve got to take tough action against the non-doms and that’s what we’re going to do. The big picture here is that the Conservatives are throwing up a smokescreen about the truth – that they want to keep the non-dom loophole in place.

13) When does a  zero-hours contract become unfair?
What we say is after 12 weeks everyone will be entitled to a regular contract, not just a zero-hours contract. Twelve weeks gives the opportunity to establish how many hours somebody is working and they’ll get a contract based on that number of hours.

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14) What do you propose to help get young people on the housing ladder?
We’re committed to building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and we’re going to do that through a combination of things. For instance, we will stop large developers sitting on land and waiting for it to rise in value.

15) Foreign issues haven’t appeared in the campaign so far. Is it because they are such an intractable problem?
I’m keen that foreign issues do feature. Apart from anything else we are worried about people going to Syria to fight, and then coming back. We’ve got to deal with those people in the strongest terms.

16) With NHS and education ring-fenced, are all your cuts coming from police and welfare?
We believe that by getting rid of police and crime commissioners and making savings in relation to procurement, we can protect neighbourhood policing. We are going to have to make cuts but it will be a balanced plan and we’re going to protect key areas.

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Terminally ill boy’s dying wish fulfilled as his parents get married at his bedside

| blog, L&B World, News | April 9, 2015

* Hospital embargo - 00.01am Friday 10 April. * Collect of the Edwards family on the wedding day. From left is Corey Edwards, 5, Isabelle (front) Jemma, 21, Rev. Stephen Oram and Craig Edwards, 28, holding Caitlyn, 6 months. A couple have got married at the bedside of their poorly five-year-old son fulfilling his dying wish to see his mum and dad tie the knot. See SWNS story SWWED.  Brave Corey Edwards was born with a complex congenital heart defect and has endured eight traumatic open heart surgeries in a bid to save his life.  Corey's biggest wish was to see his parents get married, but despite getting engaged three years ago, his ill health has put their plans on hold.  But his condition has been deteriorating since he was admitted to hospital in January with a cold, and his parents have now been warned he could have just days to live.  So with the help of staff at Bristol Children's Hospital they tied the knot at his bedside on Saturday, with the brave lad holding the wedding rings. 9 April 2015
Corey Edwards surrounded by his family and Reverend Stephen Oram (Picture: SWNS)

Terminally ill Corey Edwards had one dying wish. To see his parents get married at his bedside.

So the new Craig and Jemma Edwards did just that.

They had to get special permission from the Archbishop of Canterbury to allow for a wedding to take place in a hospital.

Corey was diagnosed with a complex congenital heart defect at the age of seven months and since then has undergone eight open-heart operations and other treatments.

He has been on the paediatric intensive care unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital since January and when doctors gave his parents the devastating news that he may not live much longer, Mr and Mrs Edwards decided to get married.

They had been engaged for three years but plans to tie the knot were put on hold due to the birth of their daughters, two-year-old Isabelle and six-month-old Caitlyn, and Corey’s ill health.

* Hospital embargo - 00.01am Friday 10 April. * Collect of Corey Edwards, 5, wearing his suit in the hospital bed before his parents' wedding. A couple have got married at the bedside of their poorly son fulfilling his dying wish to see his mum and dad tie the knot. See SWNS story SWWED.  Brave Corey Edwards was born with a complex congenital heart defect and has endured eight traumatic open heart surgeries in a bid to save his life.  Corey's biggest wish was to see his parents Jemma, 21, and Craig, 28, get married, but despite getting engaged three years ago, his ill health has put their plans on hold.  But his condition has been deteriorating since he was admitted to hospital in January with a cold, and his parents have now been warned he could have just days to live.  So with the help of staff at Bristol Children's Hospital they tied the knot at his bedside on Saturday, with the brave lad holding the wedding rings. 9 April 2015
Doctors say that Corey hasn’t got long left to live (Picture: SWNS)

When they learnt of their son’s wish, they felt there was no time like the present and, with the help of staff and friends made at the hospital, they were able to organise the whole service within 48 hours.

Mr Edwards, a council worker, said: ‘A couple of weeks ago we were told they didn’t think he would go home. We keep hoping that he will but it just looks less likely each day.

‘When we knew Corey’s wishes, everyone on the paediatric intensive care unit and Ward 32, including staff and friends, got together to help us.

‘We both planned to get married years ago but decided we wouldn’t get married without Corey there, so the only way we could do it was in hospital.

‘He’s asked quite a few times why we are not married, so we thought we would make it a special day and cheer him up a bit.

* Hospital embargo - 00.01am Friday 10 April. * High quality image. Collect of Corey Edwards, 5, wearing his suit in the hospital bed before his parents' wedding. A couple have got married at the bedside of their poorly five-year-old son fulfilling his dying wish to see his mum and dad tie the knot. See SWNS story SWWED.  Brave Corey Edwards was born with a complex congenital heart defect and has endured eight traumatic open heart surgeries in a bid to save his life.  Corey's biggest wish was to see his parents Jemma, 21, and Craig, 28, get married, but despite getting engaged three years ago, his ill health has put their plans on hold.  But his condition has been deteriorating since he was admitted to hospital in January with a cold, and his parents have now been warned he could have just days to live.  So with the help of staff at Bristol Children's Hospital they tied the knot at his bedside on Saturday, with the brave lad holding the wedding rings. 9 April 2015
Corey has been in hospital since January (Picture: SWNS)

‘The Bishop of Bristol had to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury to get special permission for us to marry in the hospital and we are so grateful he agreed.

‘When we got the go-ahead, we only had a matter of days to plan. We rushed into town to buy a dress and suit and made do with our engagement rings as wedding rings.

‘We couldn’t believe the generosity of all those involved. One nurse helped to do Jemma’s hair, whilst another two members of staff made the cake and iced it.

‘Chairs were pulled together to form an aisle and decorations were put up to make it feel like a wedding venue.

‘We were married by the hospital’s chaplain, Rev Stephen Oram, who was very excited to be sharing this occasion with us.

‘However, the most important thing for us was having our son Corey at our side, holding the rings and wearing his suit.

* Hospital embargo - 00.01am Friday 10 April. * Higher quality image. Collect of Jemma, 21, and Craig, 28 getting married at the bedside of their poorly five-year-old son fulfilling his dying wish to see his mum and dad tie the knot.  See SWNS story SWWED; Brave Corey Edwards was born with a complex congenital heart defect and has endured eight traumatic open heart surgeries in a bid to save his life.  Corey's biggest wish was to see his parents get married, but despite getting engaged three years ago, his ill health has put their plans on hold.  But his condition has been deteriorating since he was admitted to hospital in January with a cold, and his parents have now been warned he could have just days to live.  So with the help of staff at Bristol Children's Hospital they tied the knot at his bedside on Saturday, with the brave lad holding the wedding rings. 9 April 2015
Parents Jemma and Craig had to get special permission from the Archbishop of Canterbury for the ceremony to go ahead (Picture: SWNS)

‘We couldn’t have been more proud of him. We were also incredibly lucky to have our daughters there and the support of so many.’

Mr Edwards added: ‘It turned into a really, really amazing day and Corey was so proud. He looked very handsome. I think he really enjoyed it, which was the main thing.

‘Getting married is usually the bride and groom’s special day, which it was, but it’s more Corey’s special day because he is such a special boy.

‘It was nice to share our special day with the people who have helped us enjoy Corey’s short life. It has got to the point where there isn’t more they can do now, which is obviously very hard.

‘Instead of being at his bedside crying the whole time at least on that one day we had a real special day. We know he was happy that day.

‘When he’s home and well you wouldn’t know he is a cardiac patient. He’s happy, running around and loves to play.’

William Booth, the paediatric intensive care unit matron, said: ‘It was a privilege to share Craig and Jemma’s special day with their children Corey, Isabelle and Caitlyn, family and friends.

‘The whole hospital was abuzz with excitement and one of the nurses made and iced a cake, others brought in flowers and gifts for the newlyweds.

‘Lots of the nursing and medical teams involved in Corey’s care came in over the Easter break to share this special occasion with them all.’

Rev Oram said: ‘Henry VIII gave the then Archbishop of Canterbury this special power to by-pass the law.

‘It was that ancient law from several hundred years ago that was enacted allowing Mr and Mrs Edwards to get married. It meant a little bit of paperwork to fill out but we were able to get that done in 48 hours.

‘It was very emotional and it was emotional for many reasons. The family and the ward knew how special this was for them and it was fulfilling the wish of a dying child.

‘It was also emotional because we knew the outcome for poor Corey isn’t going to be a good outcome and everyone was just aware of the specialness of the day for Mr and Mrs Edwards and Corey.’

The newlyweds spent their wedding night at their son’s bedside and later returned to the Ronald McDonald House where they are staying whilst Corey is in hospital.

Mr Edwards said: ‘It may not have been the day we had initially planned in our heads but it didn’t matter to us.

‘To have our son there meant more than anything and it will be a day we will never forget. We can’t thank the staff enough for what they have done for us and Corey and we would like them to know how much we appreciate their hard work and dedication.’

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