Abu Qatada's legal bill is £500,000 and counting

Dec 16, 2012

From the Sunday papers: From a cleric's huge legal bill to a Tory MP's romps with his mistress

THE LEGAL bill run up by the Islamic cleric Abu Qatada as he continues to fight government attempts to deport him to the US has hit £500,000. The figure is believed to be one of the highest ever legal aid awards ever given to an individual, says The Observer and is likely to rise even further as the stand-off between the controversial cleric and home secretary Theresa May continues.

A TORY MP who campaigned for the sanctity of marriage has been described as"an absolute hypocrite" by a woman who claims she had an 11-year affair with him behind his wife's back. Carol Shaw told the Sunday Mirror she used to have"regular Friday afternoon romps" with MP Bob Blackman when they were both Tory councillors. Shaw said she'd decided to go public after Blackman waded in on the debate over gay marriage earlier this month.

DANNY BOYLE, the man who directed the opening ceremony for the London Olympics, has turned down a knighthood so he can remain"a man of the people", reports The Sunday Times. The Slumdog Millionaire director said he couldn't accept the honour because the theme of his opening ceremony was"about citizens being equal" and a knighthood would have made him "unequal".

A JUDGE has tweeted a claim that the criminal case against ex-cabinet minister Chris Huhne is about to be dropped, says The Mail on Sunday. Laurence Brass, a lawyer and former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate deleted the message an hour after posting it last night, but it prompted immediate speculation about Huhne's political future. The Crown Prosecution Service said charges of peverting the cause of justice levelled against Huhne had not been dropped.

BRITAIN risks a trade war with China thanks to a report suggesting the UK operations of the telecommunications giant Huawei "represent a threat to the UK's cyber-security", reports The Independent on Sunday. The report, which is due to land on David Cameron's desk within the next two weeks, contains allegations Huawei has links to the Chinese army and raises concerns its high-tech equipment could be used for cyber-espionage by the Chinese government.

KATE MIDDLETON'S parents will be enjoying a rather swankier Christmas than usual thanks to an invitation from The Queen. The Sunday Express says Michael and Carole Middleton have been invited to the traditional Boxing Day shoot at Sandringham. Their daughter, who is nine weeks pregnant, may not attend the event because she is still suffering from the morning sickness that saw her hospitalised earlier this month.

ELEPHANTS are being driven to extinction by the lack of a worldwide ban on the sale of ivory, reports The Observer. Conservationist Jane Goodall says the African elephant is under threat as the illegal ivory trade flourishes and the species is confronting a"massive tragedy". Her appeal follows the seizure in Malaysia of 24 tonnes of illegal ivory.

DOCTORS will be made to work at weekends as the National Health Service moves to a system of seven-day working. The Sunday Times reports that the NHS wants to give patients the same care at the weekend as they get during the week, but the push sets the scene for a confrontation with doctors. Surgery, scans and screening that are currently performed only during the week would be available on Saturdays and Sundays and GPs will also have to see patients on the weekend.

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