Gordon Brown “lacked the fundamental qualities” to be Prime Minister and was aware of his shortcomings, according to Jack Straw, one of his former cabinet ministers. Straw told the BBC that he had often considered challenging Brown for Labour leadership, but was “afraid to strike”. He added: "I would have been able to run government, I think, pretty well.”
STRAW: BROWN 'WASN'T UP TO' PM ROLE
MEGAN STAMMERS TO FLY HOME
Schoolgirl Megan Stammers is expected to fly home to the UK from France on Saturday, after she and teacher Jeremy Forrest were found in Bordeaux yesterday. The 15-year-old's mother is believed to be flying to France to accompany her daughter home. Forrest has been arrested by French police on suspicion of child abduction.
IRAN AGENCY FALLS FOR ONION 'STORY'
An Iranian news agency has published a spoof news story from the satirical website The Onion. The made-up story suggested a poll had found that rural white Americans would rather vote for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than Barack Obama. The Fars news agency published the story un-credited, believing it to be true.
OLDER WOMEN 'HIT HARDEST BY CUTS'
Women over 50 have been hit hardest by government cuts, according to research carried out by the Labour party. Since the coalition came to power, unemployment among women aged 50-64 has increased by 31%, compared to an overall increase of 4.2%, according to Office for National Statistics figures. Labour blames a "toxic combination of sexism and ageism".
ANNAN: BLAIR COULD HAVE STOPPED IRAQ WAR
Tony Blair could have prevented the Iraq war, says former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Had Blair told George W Bush "You're on your own", said Annan, “I really think it could have stopped the war ... It would have given the Americans a pause". He said Blair missed a chance to become a "brilliant" politician, and wondered: "What changed him? It is very difficult to say.”
EVERY UK HOME 'AT RISK OF FLOODING'
Every house in Britain is at risk from floods, according to an umbrella flooding organisation. "Anyone can be hit. That is a message that has to be got across to people without scaring the living daylights out of them," said Charles Tucker, chairman of the National Flood Forum. Excessive rain this summer and autumn has hit 5,000 UK homes.
FOX BROADCASTS LIVE SUICIDE
Fox News has apologised for broadcasting live footage of a man shooting himself after a car chase in Arizona. The news channel was following the chase when the suspect staggered out of the car and put a gun to his head. Presenter Shephard Smith shouted "get off it, get off it" to producers but the transmission was not cut in time to avoid the suicide being shown.
UK PRISONERS WATCHING SKY TV
Thousands of prisoners are allowed to watch Sky television in their cells, reports The Daily Telegraph. Ministers have admitted that nearly 3,000 inmates in privately-run prisons are allowed to watch paid-for Sky channels. The news emerges days after new justice minister Chris Grayling pledged to toughen prison conditions.
POPE'S BUTLER FACES TRIAL
Pope Benedict XVI's butler goes on trial on Saturday accused of betraying his employer by leaking secret documents stolen from his private residences. If convicted, Paolo Gabriele could face up to four years in prison. The 46-year-old was arrested earlier this year after the Pope ordered colleagues to investigate leaks.
USA START DAY ON TOP AT RYDER
The USA took a 5-3 lead into the second morning of the Ryder Cup after a convincing performance in the afternoon fourballs in Chicago. Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson took three of the four points on offer in the afternoon session at the Medinah Country Club. The morning foursomes had been tied 2-2.