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Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 17:29 UK

Thursday in Westminster

Today in Parliament & Yesterday in Parliament
By Rachel Hooper
Programme Editor

Photo of Big Ben and signpost
Radio 4 guides you around Westminster

At the start of the day in the Commons, the Conservative Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin moved the writ for the by-election caused by the resignation of the former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis.

Mr Davis stood down last week in protest at government plans to increase the maximum pre-charge detention period for terror suspects to 42 days. Yesterday he resigned as an MP.

The by election will take place on the 10th of July. Mr Davis is seeking re-election but neither the Liberal Democrats nor the Labour Party is contesting the seat.

A Conservative Philip Davies told the Leader of the Commons Harriet Harman that the government appeared unwilling to have the courage to defend its position on the erosion of freedoms.

Ms Harman said the issue was about the government having the courage to defend the British people from terrorist attacks.

Global issues?

Harriet Harman went on to defend the government's handling of the economy, following an attack by her Conservative counterpart.

Shadow leader of the House Theresa May told Ms Harman: "With rising mortgage costs, growing unemployment, soaring prices for fuel, electricity, gas and food, and the prospect of higher interest rates, it's no good telling people that there are global issues which are nothing to do with this government".

Britishness

A Conservative Peer Lord Taylor has told the Lords that there was an imbalance in Britain between multiculturalism and integration.

Introducing a debate on Britishness, Lord Taylor said immigrants had to remain proud of their roots but that had to be balanced with a willingness to be integrated into a common British identity.

He agreed with a recent report which warned Britain was becoming more divided by race and religion.

Also in the programme:

  • Housing Minister Caroline Flint insists there's "no done deal" over proposals for eco-towns across England;
  • The government's urged to get rid of "death trap" Snatch Land Rovers, following the death of four soldiers in Afghanistan;
  • And there's a warning that "over-eager public officials" and "weak-kneed vicars" could silence church bells in the face of complaints from local residents.

Tune in to Today in Parliament on BBC Radio 4 tonight at 2330 GMT and Yesterday in Parliament tomorrow morning at 0831 GMT on Radio 4 Long Wave and digital radio.



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