By Kylie MacLellan LONDON (Reuters) - Two former British foreign ministers denied wrongdoing on Monday after they were filmed offering their services to a fake Chinese company in return for thousands of pounds, reigniting a damaging 2010 "cash for access" row just months before an election. Malcolm Rifkind, a senior member of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives who heads a committee scrutinising security policy, and Jack Straw, Labour's foreign minister when Britain went to war in Iraq, have both been suspended from their parties. The new report will further dent public perception of Britain's main political parties which has given anti-establishment rivals a boost before May's vote. It prompted opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband to call for lawmakers to be banned from paid directorship or consultancy work, a move Cameron said he did not support as parliament was "enriched" by people gaining outside experience. More »Top British lawmakers deny wrongdoing over 'cash for access' report
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David Cameron's official spokesman has dismissed suggestions that pregnant women should not be appointed to the Cabinet, after a Conservative MP raised questions over whether Labour's Rachel Reeves could give the job her "full attention" while expecting a baby. More »Pregnant women 'can be in Cabinet'
Two British former foreign ministers were suspended from their parties on Monday after claims that they offered to use their positions to help a private company for cash in an undercover investigation. More »Senior British ex-ministers accused over 'cash for access'
A major search and rescue operation was launched by Dyfed-Powys Police after reports he had fallen into the water. The response has involved a specialist underwater search team, a Mountain Rescue kayak team and a sonar dive team. Their work has been made more difficult by bad weather conditions and high tides. Dyfed-Powys Police said: "There is a detailed search plan in place, and we are working through that meticulously. More »Hopes Fading For Missing Welsh Schoolboy
Relatives of wartime codebreaker Alan Turing, subject of Oscar-winning film "The Imitation Game", have handed in a petition calling for the pardoning of 49,000 men prosecuted like him for homosexuality. More »Turing family present petition seeking pardons for 49,000 gays
The British government has sold a 1.0-percent stake in state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group for £500 million ($769 million, 677 million euros) under plans to return it to private ownership, the Treasury said on Monday. More »UK government sells 1% stake in Lloyds bank for £500 mn
By Huw Jones LONDON (Reuters) - It has been decided that new rules making senior bankers in Britain more accountable for their actions will not now apply to non-executive directors who don't have specific duties such as scrutinising bonuses, regulators said on Monday. They will cover board members and senior staff such as heads of trading desks to make it easier to punish bad behaviour with a variety of sanctions, including fines and dismissal. "Non-executive directors play a vital role in providing challenge to and an independent oversight of the executive directors," the Financial Conduct Authority's chief executive, Martin Wheatley, said on Monday. "Including all NEDs in the new regime would risk the unintended consequence of changing the whole nature of this vital role." The chairman, senior independent director and chairs of the bank's risk, audit, remuneration and nominations comittees will be the only board members to come under the new rules. More »UK banking watchdog reduces reach of new accountability rules
Ukraine is exhibiting weapons and military equipment seized from the frontlines of the conflict that it said prove direct Russian involvement in the fighting in eastern Ukraine. Also on show are remnants of rockets that Ukrainian authorities say bear markings proving their Russian origin. The exhibits include MON-50 antipersonnel mines, which are not produced in Ukraine and are used by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, according to exhibition organisers Ukraine's Presidential Administration. On 18 February, Britain released an infographic featuring photographs of Russian truck-mounted SA-22 surface-to-air missile systems being operated in eastern Ukraine, saying it was further proof of Russia's military involvement in the conflict. More »Ukraine displays weapons that 'prove direct Russian involvement in the fighting'
Following a dismal start to the Premier League season, Liverpool have closed to within two points of the Champions League places thanks to a run of 10 matches without defeat. More »Five ways Rodgers has re-energised Liverpool
By Estelle Shirbon LONDON (Reuters) - A billionaire lord who has restyled himself as a pollster is providing Britain with unprecedented information about battleground constituencies ahead of a national election on May 7, potentially influencing some decisive races. A self-made business tycoon who donated over 10 million pounds to the ruling Conservatives in the past, Michael Ashcroft has spent millions on non-partisan polls in "marginal" seats where there is a tight race between two or more parties, and is giving away the information gathered for free. More »Lord of the Polls could sway Britain's election battlegrounds
Nigel Farage has insisted that the NHS will be completely free at the point of access for British citizens as he outlined Ukip's plan to invest an extra £3 billion a year in the health service. More »Ukip vows £3bn more for 'free' NHS
Labour MP Jack Straw has insisted he has done "nothing wrong" after being covertly filmed apparently offering to use his influence in return for money. Mr Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind are facing allegations of being involved in a new "cash for access" scandal following a joint investigation by the Daily Telegraph and Channel 4's Dispatches. Reporters claiming to represent a Hong Kong-based communications agency called PMR contacted the MPs to say they were seeking to hire senior British politicians to join the company's advisory board. At one meeting, Mr Straw is alleged to have described how he operated "under the radar" to use his influence to change EU rules for a commodity company which paid him £60,000 a year. More »'Cash For Access' Claims: MPs Hit Back
The families of three London schoolgirls who are thought to be on their way to Syria made an emotional plea to them on 22 February to return home. The three friends, two aged 15 and one 16, left their east London homes on 17 February and travelled to Gatwick airport where they caught a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul without telling their families. The three girls Shamima Begum, Amira Abase, and Kadiza Sultana, were pupils at the Bethnal Green Academy. Shamima Begum's sister Renu said the family had no indication about the teenager's intentions. More »Families of Syria-bound schoolgirls plead for their return
British retail sales growth almost ground to a halt in February as supermarkets and department stores reported much lower sales, an industry survey showed on Monday. "After a strong start to the year, retailers were disappointed by the unexpected halt in sales growth," said Rain Newton-Smith, director of economics at the CBI. "Looking ahead, the outlook for the retail sector is fairly positive, with the boost to household incomes from falling inflation likely to support spending. Indeed, firms remain upbeat about the businesses situation over the coming quarter." Official data on Friday showed retail sales fell 0.3 percent on the month in January but rose 5.4 percent on the year. More »UK retail sales growth plummets in February, weakest since November 2013 - CBI
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday it has scaled back plans for making non-executive board members at banks directly accountable for their decisions. The FCA said that following its public consultation last year on Britain's new Senior Persons Regime to make bankers more accountable, it has decided that only non-executive directors "responsible for key business areas and board committees" should come under the net. ... More »FCA narrows remit of new banker accountability rules