Diary: We don't need no free school education, Mr Gibb

Ah free schools, David Cameron said last week, "symbolise everything that is good about the revolution that we are bringing to Britain's schools: choice for parents... free schools work and parents and teachers want more of them. So more is what they are going to get".

In that case, how many parents applied to send their children to the free academy being opened in Newham, in north London, with backing from an Essex-based company called Redeemer Education Services, the Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg inquired, in a parliamentary question. The Schools minister, Nick Gibb, did not give a reply to the question asked. Instead, he announced that the department is dropping the idea of opening an academy in Newham.

But Mr Twigg probably knew the answer before he asked the question, because Newham's Labour council is making no secret of it. The number of parents who made the Newham Free Academy their first choice of school for their children this autumn was nil.

Yo Karzai, your microphone is on

President Hamid Karzai had a "Yo Blair" moment during his joint press conference with David Cameron in Kabul. "Yo Blair" is what George Bush is reputed to have said at a G8 summit in 2006, not realising that the microphones were switched on – though it has been claimed that he actually said "Yeah Blair". President Karzai also momentarily forgot about the live mics yesterday, when he was overheard asking Mr Cameron why the Daily Telegraph's Rowena Mason, who had just asked a question on Syria, was wearing a headscarf. Cameron replied that it was to show respect.

Eurosceptics can't Express an interest

With the Tory right on the warpath over David Cameron's latest refusal to call a referendum on whether to leave the EU, it seemed a good moment to check on the progress of an e-petition the Daily Express launched on the Downing Street website a year ago, calling for just such a referendum. Any petition with more 100,000 names is considered for debate in the House of Commons.

The Express was claiming to have 65,000 supporters lined up as far back as last August, and yet the number of actual signatories is a little under 60,000, and the deadline for signing will expire in two weeks.

Peace-loving Tory finds love, not war

The former Tory MP Michael Bates is taking seriously Britain's "Olympic Truce" campaign, which calls upon combatants anywhere in the world to lay down their arms while the games are on. He has walked 3,000 miles across Europe to publicise it. It remains to be seen whether or not this admirable commitment has any positive effect on any of the world's trouble spots, but it has certainly done great things for the home life of Lord Bates. Just before he set off in April, he was invited to a dinner being held for the Speaker of the North Korean Parliament at the London home of an architect, Xuelin Li. They discussed his planned walk and when he ran into difficulties in riot-torn Athens, she volunteered to go out with spare kit. That was the beginning of more than just a beautiful friendship. The couple are getting married today in the chapel inside Parliament.

Final appeal by killers on 'whole life' tariffs

Three multiple killers have been given a final chance to convince European judges that Britain is wrong to deny them any hope that one day they will be let out of prison. They include Jeremy Bamber, who has spent 26 years denying that he murdered five members of his adoptive family, including two young boys, though his protestations of innocence are not widely believed.

He and two other convicted murderers, Douglas Vinter and Peter Moore, all have "whole life" tariffs, meaning that there is almost no chance that they will ever be released. In January, the European Court of Human Rights threw out their claim that the tariffs amount to degrading and inhumane treatment. Vintner, who spent nine years in prison for murder, and while he was out on licence, killed again, has lodged an appeal on behalf of all three. The case will be heard in Strasbourg in November.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Officer

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - London - £40,000 + Bonus

£36000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own