Statue of Mahatma Gandhi to be erected opposite Parliament

Kasia Madera went to Parliament Square to see the sculpture's new home

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A statue of the Indian political leader Mahatma Gandhi is to be erected opposite the Houses of Parliament.

The memorial will stand in Parliament Square alongside those of Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela.

Speaking on a trip to the Gandhi memorial in Delhi, Foreign Secretary William Hague said the statue would be a "fitting tribute" to a "great man".

Gandhi studied in London for many years before leading non-violent resistance to British rule in India.

He was assassinated in January 1948, months after India secured independence.

The sculptor Philip Jackson, whose works include statues of the Queen Mother and RAF Bomber Command, has been approached to take on the project - which will be paid for by charitable donations and sponsors.

'Source of strength'

It is intended that the statue will be completed early next year and become a focal point for future commemorations, including the 70-year anniversary of Gandhi's death in 2018.

Mr Hague said Gandhi remained a "towering inspiration and source of strength".

"Gandhi's view of communal peace and resistance to division, his desire to drive India forward and his commitment to non-violence left a legacy that is as relevant today as it was during his life," he said.

An advisory panel is to be set up to spearhead the project. Its members will include prominent members of the Indian community in London, such as Lord Bilimoria, as well as National Portrait Gallery director Sandy Nairne.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, who will chair the panel and whose parents were born in India, said the statue would celebrate Gandhi's "reverence and greatness".

"No matter what your background, history, or religion, this statue will allow people from around the world to look upon him and appreciate his endeavour and successes for humanity."

The statue will be the 11th to be erected in Parliament Square. Others public figures memorialised include former Prime Ministers Winston Churchill, Benjamin Disraeli and Robert Peel.

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    Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage

    After Labour MP and mayoral hopeful David Lammy attacked his own party's campaign leaflets for trying to "out-UKIP UKIP" on immigration, Telegraph columnist Dan Hodges has joined the debate, describing the leaflets as "an aberration" and accusing Ed Miliband of hypocrisy over immigration.

     
  74.  
    14:20: Tough at the top London Evening Standard Newspaper
    Nick Clegg

    Joseph Watts at the Evening Standard reports that one (unnamed) senior figure in the Liberal Democrats has claimed today that the party must win at least 45 seats in the general election if Nick Clegg is to stay on as leader: "The respected figure argued that fewer would make it impossible to join a governing coalition, predicting that the Lib Dem leader would 'fall on his sword'."

     
  75.  
    14:08: Breaking News

    The Ministry of Justice confirms the missing material - which it says went missing after being sent in the post - relates to three investigations that examined the roles of police in the death of three members of the public. Two inquiries relate to fatal police shootings of crime suspects in London - Mark Duggan and Azelle Rodney. The third relates to the 1997 murder of Robert Hamill in Northern Ireland, which campaigners allege involved the collusion of police officers. In each inquiry there were witnesses, including police officers, who were given anonymity because of possible threats to their safety - but officials have refused to confirm whether any of the missing documents include personal information relating to these witnesses.

     
  76.  
    14:05: Breaking News

    The Ministry of Justice says data from three semi-secret inquiries has gone missing on discs lost in the post.

     
  77.  
    @DArcyTiP Mark D'Arcy, Today In Parliament correspondent

    tweets: Congrats to @Plaid_Cymru Westminster leader Elfyn Llwdd just promoted to the "Hon Member for Wales" in @HouseofCommons debate on #Chilcot

     
  78.  
    14:01: Blair-Bush Iraq notes to be revealed
    George Bush and Tony Blair

    As MPs debate the Iraq inquiry in the Commons, the chair of the inquiry Sir John Chilcot has said former prime minister Tony Blair's notes to former US president George W Bush will be published with only "a very small number of essential redactions". That's a big shift from last year, when only "quotes and gists" were set to be made public.

     
  79.  
    13:58: Migrant voters The Guardian

    Over at The Guardian, Robert Ford and Ruth Grove-White of migrant support group The Migrant's Network write that with immigration set to be a key debate in the election campaign, "remarkably little is known about the millions of migrant voters who will be eligible to cast a vote".

     
  80.  
    13:42: Miliband in Scotland

    Ed Miliband is in Scotland to make a promise: an incoming Labour government will bring forward a home rule bill within the first 100 days. Mr Miliband is campaigning in Glasgow with the Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy to win over wavering voters who may be attracted by the SNP. He announced plans to change the party's constitution in Scotland to allow Mr Murphy to make decisions on devolved issues. "It is absolutely for Jim to make those decisions," Mr Miliband said. His visit comes as bookmaker William Hill makes the SNP odds-on to win more seats in Scotland than the Lib Dems will across the whole of the UK.

     
  81.  
    13:35: Iraq inquiry debate House of Commons Parliament
    Elfyn Llwyd in the Commons

    Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd says the big problem with the Iraq inquiry was the questioning. He would have liked a judge-led inquiry with a counsel doing the questioning, as was the case with the Leveson inquiry. "Something must be done urgently, otherwise this parliament will be the laughing stock of the world."

     
  82.  
    Leader effect? Democratic Audit

    tweets: What effect does a leader's visit have on a party's vote in a constituency?

     
  83.  
    13:31: Iraq inquiry debate House of Commons Parliament

    Former attorney-general Dominic Grieve says the delay to the report is "very regrettable" - and the most concerning bit is the delay since mid-2014. "I find it strange we should now be in February 2015, and it seems the Maxwellisation process [providing witnesses with an opportunity to the bits of the report in which they're mentioned] is going so very slowly." He thinks it should only have taken "a few months".

     
  84.  
    13:30: Iraq inquiry protest
    Stop the War protest

    As the debate on the Chilcot report rages inside parliament, Stop the War Coalition protesters are demonstrating outside.

     
  85.  
    Should Labour move Left? YouGov

    tweets: YouGov analysis of what it might mean for Labour to abandon the centre ground.

     
  86.  
    13:22: Iraq inquiry debate House of Commons Parliament
    George Galloway in the Commons

    George Galloway, in one of his rare Commons appearances, is speaking - well, actually shouting - in the Iraq inquiry debate. "The world is hurling to disaster," he tells MPs. "The decisions made in here [the Commons] on the basis of the arguments made by the government at the time has torn Iraq and and its region asunder. It has... incalculably inflated the dangers of extremism and fanaticism." He says the failure of Sir John Chilcot's inquiry to report is akin to "Pontius Pilate" because it is "washing our hands of something that is bleeding us at home and abroad".

     
  87.  
    Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: both barrels from @georgegalloway in debate on #chilcot delay, ultimately blames 'this parliament' for failing to hold lab govt to account

     
  88.  
    Undecided? Vote Match

    Tweets: Launch nears for Vote Match online quiz to help you find the party that best matches your views.

     
  89.  
    @Number10gov Downing Street

    Tweets: PM: I've asked for update on our heavy snow contingency plans. Gritters are out & people should listen to warnings #WeatherAware @MetOffice

     
  90.  
    13:02: Iraq inquiry delay House of Commons Parliament
    David Davis in the Commons

    In the Commons, Conservative backbencher David Davis begins the debate on the Iraq inquiry. MPs are expected to express their frustration that Sir John Chilcot's report hasn't been published yet. Davis says: "No-one in this House knows why this delay has occurred, not even the minister. There's not enough information in the public domain." He doesn't believe the witnesses are foot-dragging, though - instead Davis suspects the clash between Chilcot and Whitehall is at the heart of the problem.

     
  91.  
    12:59: Energy price wars

    Labour, facing criticism from the Tories for sticking to their energy price freeze policy in the face of falling prices, has suggested the government is to blame because it refused to give the regulator the power to cut bills. "They now have nobody else to blame for the failure of the energy companies to pass on the full savings from wholesale cost falls to all consumers," shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint says.

     
  92.  
    12:55: Nigel Farage misses his pint Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Nigel Farage in the pub

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who has been steering clear of booze as part of 'Dry January', says his experiment in teetotalism hasn't been a success. "I don't feel any better at all," he declares on the Daily Politics. "I find getting to sleep harder, not easier. I have to say, on Sunday I shall be rejoining the drinking classes - with a pint of bitter."

     
  93.  
    12:49: Labour & the SNP

    Labour leader Ed Miliband has refused to rule out joining a coalition with the Scottish National Party after the general election. Pressed twice to say he would not share power with the nationalists, Mr Miliband said he would not "get into talk of coalitions and deals". Asked on Tuesday whether Labour would consider forming an administration with the SNP, shadow chancellor Ed Balls said: "No. And I don't think anybody is suggesting any suggestion of a deal with the SNP at all."

     
  94.  
    12:45: Nigel Farage on Greece Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Nigel Farage on the Daily Politics

    Nigel Farage, interviewed by Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics, predicts Greece will leave the euro by the end of the year. A new anti-austerity government was sworn into office in the country on Tuesday. But the UK Independence Party leader says agreement between EU leaders and new Greek PM Alexis Tspiras on how the country should pay its bills is unlikely. "I don't think he's the kind of guy that's frightened of anything. I don't see him backing down," Mr Farage says. And this poses a problem for the German chancellor, he adds. "How can [Angela] Merkel allow a huge level of debt relief without the same being extended to Spain and Italy?"

     
  95.  
    12:36: Britain & the EU Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Carl Bildt, former PM of Sweden

    Former Swedish PM, Carl Bildt, is pushing for Britain to remain part of the European Union. He tells the Daily Politics that the big-picture situation - especially the situation in Greece - is playing into David Cameron's hands, as Britain seeks a change in its relationship with the EU. "I think not only [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel but others want Britain in," Mr Bildt says. "If you look at some of the big issues in Europe at the moment, they're moving very much along UK lines." He singles out free trade, the single market and "anti-bureaucracy" as the top issues.

     
  96.  
    12:31: Joan Bakewell's verdict Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The veteran broadcaster and Labour peer is on the Daily Politics giving her take on the very public battles between Labour's big beasts. "Their comments are" - she pauses - "intended to be helpful". But she doesn't think the comments from figures including former health secretary Alan Milburn and ex-minister Lord Hutton will really damage leader Ed Miliband's cause.

     
  97.  
    12:27: Now on BBC Two Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The Daily Politics - just a smidgen delayed by Andy Murray's victory in Melbourne - is now under way on BBC Two. You can watch it live on the iPlayer.

     
  98.  
    12:22: PM on school league tables Carole Walker Political correspondent, BBC News

    Today's league tables showing that more state secondary schools in England are underperforming has prompted reaction from the PM. School heads say government changes to the league table system render this year's results a "nonsense". But according to the prime minister's official spokesman, David Cameron says the changes are part of the government's approach to raising standards, which includes changes to the curriculum, inspections and a toughening up of exam standards. Speaking for the PM, the spokesman adds that "there's no apology whatsoever for this policy on raising standards".

     
  99.  
    Claire Hayhurst, Press Association reporter
    Cameron

    tweets: Prime minister #DavidCameron at Exeter Science Park in #Devon

     
  100.  
    12:08: DNA debate
    Chromosomes

    MPs are set to debate a hugely controversial measure next week: government proposals to permit scientists to use three people's embryos to create a child. The move, which aims to cure diseases resulting from flaws in the power-producing mitochondria within embryos, is being criticised by pro-life campaigners. If MPs give the green light, they say, Britain will become the first country to legalise human genetic modification in the world.

     

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