David Cameron pledged to hold an in/out referendum by the end of 2017 in his speech this morning about Britain's relationship with the EU. He outlined plans to renegotiate membership terms, repatriating key powers, and promised voters the chance to either accept or reject a new settlement if the Conservatives win the 2015 election.
ISRAELI VOTERS REBUKE NETANYAHU
Israeli voters yesterday delivered a rebuke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanuahu as exit polls indicated that the centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, led by journalist Yair Lapid, came in second with 18 or 19 seats. Netanyahu's Likud party also lost ground to the far right, but his right-wing alliance holds a narrow majority.
RECORD NUMBER OF BRITONS IN WORK
Record numbers of people are in work in the UK, new figures show. The official data reveals a "dramatic fall" in the level of unemployment and a "further drop" in the number of people claiming the jobseeker's allowance. Almost 30 million adults were in a job in the quarter to last November, up by more than half a million on the previous year.
LOWLY BRADFORD REACH CUP FINAL
Bradford became the first fourth-tier side in 50 years to reach the League Cup final last night as they secured a 4-3 aggregate victory over Aston Villa, although losing 2-1 in the second leg. James Hanson, the striker who used to stack supermarket shelves, scored the second-half header that secured Bradford's trip to Wembley.
'50 SHADES MASTER' CLEARED OF ASSAULT
Steven Lock, 43, a gardener, was found 'not guilty' at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday of charges of assault after he whipped his girlfriend with a rope in a "master and slave" sex act inspired by the erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey. The jury took 15 minutes to reach its verdict after hearing that the woman had consented in writing.
BEYONCE MIMED US NATIONAL ANTHEM
The American singer Beyonce's much praised rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at Monday's inauguration of President Obama was mimed to a recording made the previous day, it has emerged. The Times calls it possibly "the most brazen lip-synch" since nine-year-old Lin Miaoke opened the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
BBC'S STUART HALL CHARGED WITH RAPE
BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall was last night charged with raping a 22-year-old woman in 1976 and 14 offences of indecent assault against teenaged girls between 1967 and 1986. Hall, 83, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, best known for presenting It's A Knockout, was bailed to appear before Preston magistrates on 7 February.
PROBLEM FAMILY COST STATE £345,718 IN YEAR
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles last night published figures showing that one family in Barnet, north London, cost £345,718 in police call-outs, ambulance alerts and social services interventions in one year. It was thought to be the most expensive of 120,000 'troubled families' who cost £9bn a year in crime, anti-social behaviour and health problems.
SNOW KEEPS MANET PORTRAIT FROM RA...
Snow at Heathrow meant that the Royal Academy's blockbuster Manet exhibition, Portraying Life, was unveiled yesterday with a blank space where the 1875 portrait The Amazon, of a woman on horseback, should have hung. The painting is on loan from Brazil, and is stranded at the airport in Sao Paulo because its flight cannot land.
... BUT THE SHOW IS STILL A HOT TICKET
'Manet: Portraying Life', a major exhibition of portraiture by the 19th century French artist Edouard Manet, opens at the Royal Academy this weekend. The show brings together over 50 Manet paintings, along with pastels and photographs. "A revelation," says the Daily Telegraph. 26 January to 14 April.