Historic legislation that for the first time would allow gay couples to marry could be delayed by up to two years and cost the taxpayer £4bn because of a “wrecking amendment” being supported by Labour, it was alleged on Sunday night.
Liberal Democrat John Hemming has condemned Hugh Tomlinson QC (pictured), the barrister who has led Hacked Off's call for state-backed regulation of the press, for his role in bringing legal injunctions on behalf of footballer Ryan Giggs and banker...
The Scottish minister with responsibility for immigration has attacked the UK government's approach to the issue.
External Affairs minister Humza Yousaf said coalition policies were damaging the Scottish economy.
He said Scottish society was united in opposition to the "restrictive" approach to immigration being pursued at Westminster.
Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said tight regulation was important.
But he added that Scottish businesses were looking for skilled workers.
Last week, the UK government put immigration at the heart of proposed new laws in the Queen's Speech.
Its proposed immigration bill would force short-term migrants to pay for NHS care, compel landlords to check the immigration status of tenants and ensure that illegal immigrants could not get driving licences.
The Scottish government says independence is the only way to get an immigration policy suited to Scotland's needs.
Mr Yousaf said: "There's no doubt that the UK government's restrictive immigration policies are damaging Scotland's economy, but also the general message that Scotland is open for those who are wanting to come overseas to make a skilled contribution to Scotland.
"Immigration is one of the only policy issues that I can think of that unites Scottish business, the trade unions, politicians, the universities - because they're all feeling the impact of restrictive immigration policies."
Patrick Harvie, the co-convener of the Scottish Green Party, said that attitudes to immigration differed in Scotland, as well as economic needs north and south of the border.
He said: "I've canvassed in Scotland and I've canvassed with my colleagues in the Green Party in England, and it's very clear to me that there is a degree of hostility which exists in some parts of England towards immigration and immigrants which doesn't exist here, or not nearly to the same degree.
"Even when the Scottish government and the UK government were dominated by the same political party - Labour - when Jack McConnell, as first minister, wanted some degree of flexibility for Scotland so that we could meet our own needs within the immigration system, he didn't get it.
"It's very unlikely that I could see any situation where a Scottish government - whether it's the same parties or different parties running the show north and south of the border - is able to exercise any degree of control to meet Scotland's needs."
Mr Johnstone, Tory MSP for North East Scotland, told BBC Sunday Politics that tight regulation was needed.
"We have not had the experience of people coming in in large numbers simply to take advantage of the benefits system," he said.
"And if we did see that in Scotland I think public opinion would change radically.
"And that's what we have to defend against.
"So tight regulation of immigration is important, but we must make sure we're able to bring in the people we need to satisfy the demands of business."
By Imnokuffar and Powys-The ethnic make-up of Britain is obviously rapidly changing due to the effect of immigration, but the arrival of millions of newcomers to our islands is driving an official policy of multiculturalism and the accompanying and...
Hundreds of thousands of Christian young people will be put off becoming teachers, doctors, nurses or other public servants once gay marriage becomes law, a coalition of church leaders claims.
They are calling on MPs to make urgent amendments to the Government’s same-sex marriage bill, which will be debated on Monday, to protect Christians and others with traditional views from being punished in the workplace for their beliefs.
Otherwise, it could have a “chilling effect” on young people’s career choices, deterring many from going into public service or charities in case they are branded homophobic for speaking about their beliefs, they fear.
The call comes in a letter to The Daily Telegraph signed by an informal grouping of Christian leaders ranging from the second most senior Roman Catholic cleric in England and Wales to Anglican vicars and independent evangelical pastors.
It follows an unprecedented letter from more than 500 imams accusing the Government of attacking “the cornerstone of family life”.
And it comes amid mounting anger from grassroots Conservatives, which threatens to split the party.
“choose between their conscience and their career”, the church leaders write.
Unless it is amended, the bill will “cause pain for many, without tackling prejudice against the few”, they add.
The call echoes concerns raised by the Church of England in a briefing to MPs last week.
It follows a series of cases in which people who voiced traditional beliefs to colleagues or asked to opt out of activities on what they saw as grounds of conscience were deemed to be breaching equalities rules preventing discrimination against gay people.
Adrian Smith, a housing trust worker from Trafford, Greater Manchester, was demoted from his managerial post after mentioning in a Facebook discussion that he thought churches should not stage gay weddings. He later won a High Court challenge but has not been reinstated.
The church leaders say that the Smith case shows there is a need for explicit protections for traditionalists working in the public sector to be written into law.
If not, they say many young people will simply choose other career paths, depriving the country of major pool of talent.
The letter signed by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, and the directors of “Co-Mission” an Anglican-led group of newly formed congregations and the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches.
Other clerics who have signed include the Rev Vaughan Roberts, a prominent Oxford evangelical who recently disclosed that he “struggles with unwanted same-sex attraction”.
Together the signatories calculate that their congregations include 150,000 people of whom at least a third are young people.
“These young people, from teenagers to 30-year olds, will suffer discrimination, and will face new risks to their career and future,” they write.
“If the Bill passes into law without much clearer protections for freedom of speech and freedom of belief, teachers, and public sector workers will have to choose between their conscience and their career; many will be deterred from a public service career and from charity involvement.”
They say that the so-called “public sector equality duty” which imposes a legal duty on public bodies to promote equal rights for gay people and eliminate discrimination is being used to prevent Christians and others speaking about their beliefs.
A clause of the 1996 Education Act also requires schools to teach children the nature and meaning” of marriage – something the church leaders say could force Christians to go against their conscience once the bill is law.
The Rev Charlie Skrine, of St Helen's, Bishopsgate, in London, said: "The young people I minister to share none of the homophobia that may have been present in earlier generations, but many of them have deep convictions of conscience about marriage that come from their own reading of the Bible.
“These young people have real reasons to worry about their future if the bill is passed without significant amendments to protect their freedom of speech and freedom of belief.
“The bill seeks to protect the consciences of vicars, but many public professions will be weakened if these young people are deterred from entering them for fear of legal action and discrimination if they express a biblical view of marriage.”
The Church of England briefing note argues that a short amendment to the Equality Act could be made to make clear that expressing a traditional view marriage should not be viewed as discrimination.
But Nick Herbert, the former Tory minister, said: "This isn't a bill that will harm anyone, nobody has to enter a gay marriage – no church will be forced to conduct a gay marriage because the protections are there, the Church of England has said it's happy with the protections that have been given, they don't have to do it.
"So actually what harm is being done by this Bill? None."
The Land without Muslims The Jewish Press The Japanese approach to Muslims is also evidenced by the numbers: in Japan there are 127 million residents, but only ten thousand Muslims, less than one hundredth of a percent.
Vermont seemed more likely than ever to become the first US state to mandate the labeling of genetically modified food (GMO) after a bill passed the state house, though legislators worry about a lawsuit threat from biotech giant Monsanto.