Asthmatic son, 10, died in his mother’s arms after ambulance took ’30 minutes to arrive’
A mother claims her son died as ambulance staff took half an hour to reach him, and just a month away from hospitals tests for what she believes was a ‘serious undiagnosed condition.’ Ten-year-old Jay Strand died in his mother’s arms from a suspected asthma attack.
Mother Donna Hellewell, from Snaith, North Yorkshire, who has chronic emphysema and has had one lung removed, desperately tried to resuscitate her son herself as he lay dying, but was physically unable. He died on December 11.
She now believes he may have had a much more serious underlying illness. She said: ‘He came out of the bathroom and asked for his inhaler. Then he said “mum I’m dying” and he collapsed. He was here one minute and gone the next. ‘I tried to resuscitate him but there was just nothing. I knew he was gone.’
Ms Hellewell – who said the family has a history of serious lung problems – claims Jay was just weeks away from a hospital appointment made so doctors could investigate whether he had a more serious condition.
She said she had begged with the hospital to bring the appointment forward over concerns for her son’s deteriorating health, but to no avail.
Miss Hellewell believes her son might still be alive if the appointment had been moved forward and that Jay did not die from an asthma attack but an undiagnosed lung condition.
She said: ‘I suffer from chronic emphysema and I had to have a lung removed 18 months ago. ‘I kept going back to my nurse and telling her that Jay was really ill and needed the appointment brought forward but nobody would take me seriously.’
She said Jay cried out for help and struggled for breath while it took an ambulance 30 minutes to arrive. She desperately began CPR after his mouth turned black.
Ms Hellewell put a breathing mask on her son but he pushed it back, saying: ‘Mum, I’m dying.’
After ringing an ambulance twice, she said one turned up half an hour later but her son was already dead.
It is still not known whether Jay suffered from an underlying condition, but his mother has vowed to find out.
A Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation trust spokesman said it was unable to release details about Jay’s condition.
A spokesman said: ‘We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to Jay’s family and we are carrying out a full investigation into the care he received.
‘We will, of course be keeping Jay’s family fully informed throughout and we would be happy to meet with them to hear their concerns and answer any questions they may have.’
A Yorkshire Ambulance trust spokesman said: ‘Firstly and foremost we would like to express our deepest sympathy to the family at this difficult time.
‘Representatives from the Trust have met with the family to discuss their concerns and answer any questions. The Trust is still looking into some aspects of the emergency response and has confirmed that it will continue to liaise with the family directly to share their findings relating to this incident.
‘The Trust will see what lessons can be learned and what action can be taken in the future as part of our continued commitment to provide the highest quality clinical care to patients.’
British family doctors ‘refuse to treat immigrants as NHS too generous on foreign nationals’
Half of GPs believe the NHS provision for immigrants is too generous, a survey has suggested, as many now break the rules by refusing treatment to those who cannot prove residency.
While NHS hospitals are allowed to charge foreign patients for treatment if they do not come from a country with a reciprocal arrangement, GPs are forced to take on people without charging.
A survey of GPs has found that the majority think this is too generous and the rules should be changed.
Some family doctors are asking some patients for proof of residency before allowing them to register, contrary to NHS guidelines, Pulse magazine found.
Doctors are complaining that the extra time required by foreign nationals, failed asylum seekers and migrants from EU member states because of language barriers, means they are losing out financially.
The majority of GPs are confused about the rules over which patients are entitled to free NHS care and official guidelines have appeared to contradict each other.
Widespread fears have been raised over medical tourism with foreign nationals arriving in Britain solely to use the NHS for emergency surgery or to have their babies.
The costs of such care should be recovered by the hospital treating them.
However little is known about the burden on GP practices with rules stating that GPs have a contractual duty to provide free emergency treatment and immediate necessary treatment for up to 14 days to any person within their practice area.
Practices can, at their discretion, accept overseas visitors for inclusion in their patient list if the person is staying more than three months, but cannot discriminate on grounds of race.
GPs can refuse to take on patients from outside their catchment area and can ask for proof of address for these reasons but they must ask all potential patients or none to avoid allegations of discrimination.
The Pulse survey of 229 GPs, found 15 per cent of practices were breaking these rules by asking for addresses only some of the time.
NHs guidance says GPs can only refuse a patient if their practice is full or in exceptional circumstances such as the patient having a history of violence towards doctors.
Foreign nationals do not pay for GP consultations but do have to pay for prescriptions.
An ongoing Government review is examining NHS entitlement in primary care and whether hospital-style charges could be extended.
Dr Paul Roblin, chairman of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Local Medical Committee, which represents GPs in the area, said the lack of clarity is a major source of frustration for GPs.
“The Department of Health has abrogated its responsibility. It has failed for decades to provide a rule book that is understandable to all.
“You could argue whether it is fair for visitors and migrants to have entitlement to NHS treatment when that is not reciprocated.
“GPs are expected to practice with limited healthcare funding and if we are using that money for treating visitors, the taxpayer loses out.
“It may be more appropriate to have a system where we say that if you can’t provide proof of residence, you have to pay for treatment.”
The British Medical Association has advised doctors not to make checks on residency as there is no obligation on them to do so and it leaves them open to allegations of discrimination.
Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the General Practice Committee at the BMA, said: “If GPs ask for evidence of immigration status or residency from one patient, but not every other patient, they could be deemed to be applying discrimination and that’s something that they should not be doing – so they either need to do it for every patient or do it for none.
“I think it’s better to accept that it’s a role for other bodies in the health service to assess whether someone is eligible for NHS care or not – not for GPs.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “The NHS is not a global health service and we are committed to having a system of entitlement that is fair and affordable to the taxpayer.
“We have recently concluded a wholesale review of charges for primary and secondary care to address concerns about the rules on access to free treatment and to cut down abuse to ensure that those who should pay do so. We expect to make further announcements soon.”
Labour got it wrong on immigration, admits Miliband
Ed Miliband has suggested he could limit foreigners’ rights to benefits in the UK as he apologised for Labour’s failures on immigration.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Mr Miliband admitted that the last Labour government was not “sufficiently alive to people’s concerns” over immigration.
The Labour leader said his party got “the numbers wrong” when estimating the number of migrants who would flock to the UK when restrictions on movements from Poland and other Eastern European countries were lifted in 2004.
He suggested that he would in future consider limiting immigrants’ rights to benefits in the UK.
“We didn’t get this right in government because I think we underestimated the impact,” Mr Miliband said. “We did get the numbers wrong… I don’t think we were sufficiently alive to people’s concerns once people had come into this country.”
He made the comments as MigrationWatch suggested that 250,000 migrants from Bulgaria and Romania could head to the UK for work when working restrictions are lifted at the end of the year.
MigrationWatch said 50,000 migrants a year for the next five years could try to come to settle in the UK, based on analysis of the numbers who came from Poland and other eastern European countries into the UK after 2004.
Ministers have repeatedly refused to give estimates on how many Romanians and Bulgarians will come to the UK when restrictions are lifted on December 31 this year.
Mr Miliband said immigrants’ rights to benefits in the UK “should be looked at” in the future.
“Yes, that is an issue that should be looked at,” Mr Miliband said. “Of course that’s an issue that should be looked at, the length of entitlement to benefits and how quickly people can get them.
“All of these issues would be on the table as we seek to manage our relationship with the European Union, and as we seek to manage migration. I actually think that diversity helps our country. But it can’t just work for some and not for all.”
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph Ion Jinga, the Romanian Ambassador to London, suggested that the number migrants from his country will be in the low tens of thousands, possibly as low as 10,000 a year, and nothing like the hundreds of thousands of Poles who came to live in the UK after 2004.
Mr Jinga said: “It is totally ungrounded to circulate in the media that hundreds of thousands of Romanians will come, it will be an invasion.
“‘They will take our jobs, they will take our houses’. Come on! If it was not related to real human beings I would consider it to be a joke.”
Up to 70,000 Romanian and Bulgarian migrants a year ‘will come to Britain’ when controls on EU migrants expire
Up to 70,000 Bulgarians and Romanians will travel to Britain each year when they finally gain open access to the jobs market, a report claims today.
Almost 29million people from the two countries will be free to work in Britain from the end of this year when temporary controls on new EU migrants expire.
But although ministers have their own estimate of the scale of the influx, they refuse to reveal it.
The figure is likely to be the crucial factor in deciding whether the Government will hit the Prime Minister’s goal of cutting net migration – the difference between those arriving and leaving each year – to ‘tens of thousands’
The report by the pressure group MigrationWatch says Romanians and Bulgarians will add between 30,000 and 70,000 to our population in each of the next five years. This is partly based on the events of 2004 when immigration soared after Poland and seven other nations joined the EU.
The report estimates an average of 50,000 Romanians and Bulgarians will arrive here each year, a total of 250,000.
But it warns the figure could soar if Roma gipsies or the nearly 1million Romanians already in other EU countries also come.
Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, but the number who could take jobs here was capped at 25,000 for low-skilled workers. That limit expires this year.
The study explains why Britain is likely to be attractive to Romanians and Bulgarians. Both are relatively poor with a minimum wage of around £1 an hour, compared to £6.19 here, and income per head of about a fifth of Britain’s. In addition, destinations such as Spain, Italy and France have high youth unemployment.
The UK also offers full benefits when immigrants find work, including housing and child benefit and child tax credit.
MigrationWatch chairman Sir Andrew Green said: ‘It is not good enough to duck making an estimate of immigration. It is likely to have significant consequences for housing and services. It will also add to the competition young workers face.’
David Cameron indicated he did not have confidence in Government figures, saying the estimated influx of around 14,000 Poles in 2004 turned out to be ‘ridiculously low’.
The Home Office said it was looking at ‘factors that may encourage EU nationals to come to the UK’.
Children of parents who stay at school longer get better results, new British study shows
Just a common IQ factor
Increasing parents’ education by just one year can improve their children’s marks by two grades, research claimed yesterday (Wed).
New data reveals that, on average, children whose parents stayed in education longer scored significantly higher than those whose parents left school at an earlier age.
The findings are published as the government plans changes to the education system that from 2015 will see all children required to stay in education until they are 18.
Professor Paul Gregg, lead author of the study, said the findings suggest that there will be significant gains by raising the minimum leaving age to 18.
‘The proposed further raising of the school leaving age to 18 by 2015 should lead to benefits not just for the generation affected but, also in the future, for their children,’ he said.
Experts believe keeping parents in education longer could impact on their child-raising skills and, in the long-run, allow their children to also achieve more.
The conclusion was reached after researchers looked at the difference in achievement between the children of parents affected by the 1972 reform when the minimum school leaving age was raised from 15 to 16.
Children of the first tranche of parents to be forced by law to stay an extra year achieved exam results up by two grades in one GCSE, or by one grade in two GCSEs, in comparuison to those whose parents were allowed to leave the year before, according to the University of Bristol study.
Professor Gregg said: “The children of more educated parents go on themselves to higher educational achievement.
‘The results here suggest that as a result of attaining more education, parents with higher levels of schooling provide a better childhood experience and home environment and consequently their children do better in school.’
Achievement through school at each of the Key Stages at Years 7, 11 and 14 was also up, the team found, and was reflected equally in numeracy and literacy.
Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, which tracked 19,966 children born between 1991 and 1993, was used by the team to compare results from tests taken at different ages.
‘The findings are important for the Government’s social mobility strategy as they show the full impact of extra parental education and the knock-on effect in their children’s attainment, which is maintained as the children age,’ the researchers added in a statement.
Reporting their findings they said: ‘Our results suggest that increasing parental education has a positive causal effect on children’s outcomes that is evident at age 4 and continues to be visible up to and including the high stakes exams taken at age 16.
‘The policy implications of these results are important with the UK currently planning for a Raising of the Participation Age (that is in full-time education or a job with an apprenticeship) to age 18 by 2015, as they suggest a positive impact on the educational attainment of the next generation results from increasing the schooling of individuals who wish to leave school at the first opportunity.
‘The mechanisms through which parental education causally affects children’s outcomes – the “why” question – remains a very important question for future research to answer, with implications for the design of education and family-related policy.’
The paper ‘Early, late or never? When does parental education impact child outcomes?’ is published tomorrow by the University of Bristol’s Centre for Market and Public Organisation.
Tried and tested maths techniques to replace unwieldy ‘chunking and gridding’ systems that baffle British pupils
Pupils will be marked up for using traditional multiplication and division in an overhaul of primary school maths being unveiled today.
The changes will spell the end for fashionable teaching methods that baffle parents and leave pupils struggling to progress to more advanced problems.
Teachers will instead be expected to teach long division and multiplication using tried-and-tested techniques.
In tests, youngsters who can demonstrate they used traditional methods but slipped up on the final answer will be awarded some marks, while those getting it wrong with the newer techniques will be given none.
Education minister Liz Truss will announce the reforms today at the North of England Education Conference in Sheffield.
She will criticise ‘chunking’ – a form of long division that requires pupils to repeatedly subtract ‘chunks’ from a number and involves an element of guesswork – and ‘gridding’, which requires them to fill in grids to multiply numbers.
Mrs Truss said: ‘Experts from other countries …. cannot fathom why our education system has adopted an untried method for teaching maths which holds back the most able and confuses everyone else.’
A blueprint for a new primary school curriculum, due to be unveiled in the next few weeks, will specify that children should learn efficient calculation methods for multiplication and division, with no reference to chunking or gridding.
The change will be reflected in national tests for 11-year-olds from 2016, which will be revamped to reward pupils whose working shows they have used ‘best practice’.
Mrs Truss said: ‘Chunking and gridding are tortured techniques but they have become the norm in recent years.
‘Children just end up repeatedly adding or subtracting numbers, and batches of numbers.
‘They may give the right answer, but they are not quick, efficient methods, nor are they methods children can build on, and apply to more complicated problems.
‘Column methods of addition and subtraction, short and long multiplication and division are far simpler, far quicker, far more effective and allow children to understand properly the calculation and therefore move on to more advanced problems.’
Under the changes, any 11-year-old who answers a question correctly in national curriculum maths tests will be continue to get marks regardless of the method they used.
But those who arrive at the wrong answer but use recommended methods – such as column addition and subtraction, and short and long multiplication and division – would be recognised with some marks.
A forecast the Met Office hoped you wouldn’t see
By Christopher Booker
It is the graph the Met Office didn’t want you to see, in an episode which, according to one newspaper, represents “a crime against science and the public”.
Inevitably last week it didn’t take long for the bush fires set off by Australia’s “hottest summer ever” to be blamed on runaway global warming. Rather less attention was given to the heavy snow in Jerusalem (worst for 20 years) or the abnormal cold bringing death and destruction to China (worst for 30 years), northern India (coldest for 77 years) and Alaska, with average temperatures down in the past decade by more than a degree. But another story, which did attract coverage across the world, was the latest in a seemingly endless series of embarrassments for the UK Met Office.
Some of this story may be familiar – how on Christmas Eve the Met Office sneaked on to its website a revised version of the graph it had posted a year earlier showing its prediction of global temperatures for the next five years. Not until January 5 did sharp-eyed climate bloggers notice how different this was from the graph it replaced. When the two graphs were posted together on Tallbloke’s Talkshop, this was soon picked up by the Global Warming Policy Foundation which whizzed it around the media.
The Met Office’s allies, such as the BBC’s old warmist warhorses Roger Harrabin and David Shukman, were soon trying to downplay the story, claiming that the forecast had only been revised by “a fifth”, and that even if the temperature rise had temporarily stalled, due to “natural factors”, the underlying warming trend would soon reappear. But they were only able to get away with this by omitting to show the contrast between the two graphs.
In 2011, the Met Office’s computer model prediction had shown temperatures over the next five years soaring to a level 0.8 degrees higher than their average between 1971 and 2000, far higher than the previous record year, 1998. Whereas the new graph shows the lack of any significant warming for the past 15 years as likely to continue. Apart from how this was obscured by the BBC, there are several reasons why this is of wider significance for the rest of us.
For a start, it is not generally realised what a central role the Met Office has played in promoting the worldwide scare over global warming. The predictions of its computer models, through its alliance with the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (centre of the Climategate emails scandal), have been accorded unique prestige by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ever since the global-warming-obsessed John Houghton, then head of the Met Office, played a key part in setting up the IPCC in 1988.
A major reason why the Met Office’s forecasts have come such croppers in recent years is that its computer models since 1990 have assumed that by far the most important influence on global temperatures is the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Yet as early as 2008, when temperatures temporarily plummeted by 0.7 degrees, equivalent to their entire net rise in the 20th century, it was already clear that something was fundamentally wrong with this assumption. The models were not taking proper account of all the natural factors governing the climate, such as solar radiation and shifts in the major ocean currents. Even the warmists admitted that it was a freak El Ni¤o event in the Pacific which had made 1998 the hottest year in modern times.
But the Met Office was not going to abandon easily its core belief that the main force shaping climate was that rise in CO2. As its chief scientist, Julia Slingo, admitted to MPs in 2010, its short-term forecasts are based on the same “numerical models” as “we use for our climate prediction work”, and these have been predicting “hotter, drier summers” and “warmer winters” for decades ahead. Hence all those fiascos which have made the Met Office a laughing stock, from the “barbecue summer” that never was in 2008, to the “warmer than average winter” of 2010 which brought us our coldest-ever December, to its prediction last spring that April, May and June 2012 would probably be “drier than average”, just before we enjoyed the wettest April and summer on record.
Such a catastrophic blunder is scarcely mitigated by the Met Office’s sneaky attempt to hide that absurd 2011 graph. One day it will be recognised how the Met Office’s betrayal of proper science played a key part in creating the most expensive scare story the world has ever known, the colossal bill for which we will all be paying for decades to come.
Meanwhile, it is not just here that this latest fiasco, reported in many countries, has been raising eyebrows. Our ministers love to boast that British science commands respect throughout the world, They should note that the sorry record of our Met Office is beginning to do that reputation no good at all.
It is the ‘aspirers’ who deliver Tory majorities – so the British PM must put himself on their side
For anyone who doubts that David Cameron is determined to govern alone after the next general election, let me recount a tantalising conversation we had in the early days of his premiership. In it, Cameron observed ruefully that perhaps only two Conservative prime ministers had governed without Liberal support of one kind or another: Margaret Thatcher and Benjamin Disraeli. The point is arguable – Stanley Baldwin, for example, won a huge majority in 1924, by which time Liberal Unionism had been completely assimilated – but the observation is telling. These conservative giants were multi-election-winning prime ministers running “pure” Tory governments, and no one should doubt that Cameron is determined to follow in their footsteps.
Thatcher and Disraeli, though wildly different in many ways (she rather austere and a scientist, he exotic and literary) had significant political similarities. Both were outsiders who first challenged and then began to represent the Establishment. Their most successful periods came when they were making the transition from radical to conservative, during which time they embodied that quintessential British conservatism which believes sustained social progress can only be built on the bedrock of tradition.
Their political strategies were based around policies that allowed the disfranchised to fulfil their aspirations, to move up in the world and pursue their ambitions. This is the true essence of British social mobility: encouraging and rewarding people who try to better themselves.
Disraeli offered these aspiring classes political liberty: the chance to vote, to take part. Cynicism undoubtedly played a role in his passing the 1867 Reform Act, and he was rewarded with defeat by Gladstone in 1868, but doubling the electorate set the tone for victory in 1874. It broke down the barrier between the fast-emerging middle classes and the traditional party of the landed gentry, marking the start of the era of Conservative political dominance.
A century later Thatcher offered economic liberty, the chance to “get on” – to use a favourite phrase of my father’s, an Irish immigrant, ex-socialist and true Thatcherite – for people born with energy but no resources, ambition without wealth. That is what the right-to-buy, curbs on union power and cutting income tax signified.
Both strategies involved taking on the unchecked power of those in authority, even in their own party. In Disraeli’s case this was the landowners, initially through the abandonment of protectionism and then through the expanded suffrage. For Thatcher it was just as important to break through the pessimistic corporatism of the Tory “Wets” as it was to loosen the grip of militant unionism.
Winning the next election starts with identifying who today’s aspirers are. For Thatcher it was Essex Man, for Disraeli the property-owning urban householders. The people who will decide the next general election live in the classic British housing estate, something between the suburbs and the council blocks. As political attitudes polarise around Britain’s geography, they are increasingly situated in the Midlands, the North and the great cities.
Often with younger families, these voters “work hard and do the right thing” but sometimes wonder why they bother. Living in cramped homes, they just about make the family budget go round. They are surprisingly socially liberal, or at least tolerant, but concerned about the security of the institutions they rely on, such as their local communities and good public services. They are ambitious to work, earn and get promoted, yet always dogged by the fear of losing their job. These are the modern version of the people who delivered Disraeli and Thatcher their majorities.
Electoral victory depends on the aspirers believing that the Conservative Party is on their side. When I was director of the Conservative Research Department before the last election, we would get regular updates on focus-group research. The most illuminating were the picture boards that participants were asked to choose: if we were doing well, the young family, struggling under the weight of responsibility but with great ambitions for their children, was selected. It meant we were on their side. But if we were doing badly, the dreaded posh family in front of a mansion would come up – Conservatives were only on the side of rich people. Those two images tell you almost everything you need to know about the history of the Conservative Party’s electoral performance.
Today’s aspirers support Conservative policies on welfare, crime and immigration and are pleased we have dropped some of our more retrograde attitudes, but they are crying out for a policy platform that will help them realise their hopes as well. Our target voters are concerned about whose interests we will govern in, but unconvinced that Labour has learnt its lessons. We need to give them positive reasons to vote Conservative. So here are three proposals that would allow the aspirers to enjoy a standard of living comparable to people who are no more virtuous than them, but who happen to be better off.
Calling for more house-building is rarely popular with Conservatives, but Britain’s restrictive planning system has led to a disastrous shortage of family homes, with aspiring voters the hardest hit. A big bang approach is needed, with councils being obliged to set aside land to accommodate 3 per cent annual housing growth, homeowners allowed to add a storey without planning permission, and – most radically – allowing anyone who doesn’t own a property to buy a piece of the 50 per cent of Britain’s land that is unprotected, and build their own home on it.
My second proposal would give families more flexibility over the family budget. It involves taking the £4 billion annual budget that supports child care for the under-fives and wrapping it up into a one-off cash payment of at least £4,000 for every child, with the authorities able to take control of this money if a family is too dysfunctional to use it properly. These funds are currently spent on the state’s priorities, not parents’, and this policy would give aspiring parents much greater control over how they care for their children.
Finally, we need to think imaginatively about helping people get a job. Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare-to-work reforms are working, with private-sector employment rising and unemployment falling even during tough times, but long-term unemployment remains a concern. The purpose of any Conservative government should be to ensure that people get a fair opportunity when they do the right thing, so the next Tory manifesto should promise anyone who has been unemployed for two years or longer, around 400,000 people, a subsidised private-sector job for six months. Refusing a job, or refusing to work properly, would bring a loss of unemployment benefits. Politically, it would show that the Conservatives would always help anyone who wants to work but who, through no fault of their own, is struggling to do so. Nothing would send a clearer and more positive signal about whose side we’re on.
Disraeli and Thatcher demonstrated that the best way to overcome people’s suspicions of Tory motives is to have a policy platform that allows ambitious people to challenge the established order. In his 2012 party conference speech, David Cameron recognised that a future majority depends on showing the aspirers that the Conservative Party is determined to spread privilege, not simply defend it. That means creating a ladder for people to climb, and, if necessary, forcing it back into place against those who would prefer to pull it up.
‘Thank you Jesus!’: Exultant cry of BA check-in clerk who finally wins her court battle over right to wear a cross
British Airways check-in clerk Nadia Eweida triumphed over the airline yesterday after a six-year battle to wear her cross at work.
Her right to profess her religious belief should have trumped the airline’s powers to mould its image by imposing petty uniform rules on its staff, European judges declared.
A ‘jubilant’ Miss Eweida, who had lost at a string of hearings in Britain, said her first reaction to the ruling had been to say: ‘Thank you, Jesus.’
But her victory came as three other Christians lost claims at the European Court of Human Rights. Nurse Shirley Chaplin, who wanted to wear a cross with her uniform, was told that her bosses were right to remove her from the wards because of the importance of health and safety for NHS patients.
And two Christians who were sacked in gay rights disputes were both properly dismissed, the Strasbourg court ruled.
Lillian Ladele, a registrar with Islington council, had declined to conduct civil partnership ceremonies. Gary McFarlane, a Relate counsellor, had been reluctant to give sex advice to gay couples.
The judgment in Miss Eweida’s case is likely to open the way for Christians to declare their faith by wearing or displaying the cross at work, unless their employer can show a good reason why they should not.
But the Government’s Equality and Human Rights Commission said employers would be confused.
It called for new laws from Westminster on the rights of religious believers to demonstrate and practise their beliefs in public.
Miss Eweida, 61, had been told by British Airways that she must remove the cross she wore with her uniform, even though the airline was happy for Sikh men to wear turbans and bracelets and for Muslim women to wear headscarves.
After her victory she said: ‘I’m overwhelmed, but jubilant. When I heard the result I literally jumped up and down for joy and said “thank you, Jesus”.
The Daily Mail revealed in 2006 that Nadia Eweida had been suspended for wearing a cross
The Egyptian-born Coptic Christian was sent home without pay in September 2006. Her suspension provoked a public outcry after it was reported by the Daily Mail.
The airline allowed her back to work in February 2007 under new rules allowing the cross and the Star of David to be displayed with uniforms.
However a series of British tribunals and the Court of Appeal said the airline had been right and she had been wrong.
Yesterday the Strasbourg judges said that while BA had a right to protect its corporate image, ‘Miss Eweida’s cross was discreet and cannot have detracted from her professional appearance’.
Government lawyers opposed her claim and the three others in Strasbourg. British officials said the Government is bound to uphold the decisions of the British courts.
However yesterday David Cameron tweeted that he was ‘delighted that the principle of wearing religious symbols at work has been upheld – people shouldn’t suffer discrimination due to religious beliefs’.
Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu welcomed the ruling. ‘Christians and those of other faiths should be free to wear the symbols of their own religion without discrimination,’ he said.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who has backed the right of Christians to declare their faith, said of Miss Eweida’s victory: ‘I’m delighted that the principle of it has been upheld by the European Court.
‘The Prime Minister has said we would change the law if it wasn’t. Our lawyers are still looking through the judgement but their view is it is not going to be necessary to have to change the law.’
The judges added: ‘There was no evidence that the wearing of other, previously authorised, items of religious clothing, such as turbans and hijabs, by other employees, had any negative impact on British Airways’ brand or image.
Moreover, the fact that the company was able to amend the uniform code to allow for the visible wearing of religious symbolic jewellery demonstrates that the earlier prohibition was not of crucial importance.’
Serial criminals who avoid jail outnumber the British prison population: 90,000 with ten or more convictions escape with slap on wrist
More than 90,000 burglars, muggers and other serious criminals with ten or more convictions escaped with a slap on the wrist when they committed another offence last year.
Incredibly, the number of serial law-breakers who avoided a jail sentence in this way is greater than the 83,000 inmates currently behind bars.
The hardened criminals instead received fines, community service or a fully suspended sentence for crimes such as violence against the person, theft and sexual offences.
The analysis was produced by the newly-established Centre for Crime Prevention.
The report, produced using the Government’s own figures, shows that, in 2011/12, 140,168 people who were punished for a serious new offence already had ten or more convictions.
Yet, only 49,136 of them were sentenced to immediate custody. Despite their appalling criminal records, the remaining 91,032, almost two-thirds of the total, were given yet another chance by the police or the courts.
The beneficiaries included almost 15,000 offenders given a conditional discharge, nearly 22,000 let-off with a fine and 7,243 cautions or final warnings.
And some 68,000 of the 108,000 criminals with 15 or more offences were given a non-custodial punishment.
Mr Cuthbertson said that since the financial crisis began – leaving ministers short of funds to build new prison places – the courts have failed to lock up an increasing number of serious, repeat offenders.
In 2006/07, the number of serious offenders who avoided prison despite more than ten previous convictions or cautions was only 71,301 – which means it has rocketed by a quarter in five years.
The figures reflect the lurch towards ‘soft justice’ in the later years of the Labour government. This continued under Kenneth Clarke after the Coalition came to power. He made it clear that – in order to save money – he wanted the courts to send fewer convicts to jail.
But his replacement Chris Grayling has taken a tougher line since taking over at the Ministry of Justice in September, and immediately declared that ‘prison works’.
Last week, Mr Grayling announced the closure of six ‘old and uneconomic’ prisons, but pledged to make sure there were enough spaces for the courts to send whoever they wanted to jail. He also unveiled plans to build a 2,000 space prison.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘These figures are highly selective. They fail to recognise that the average prison sentence length has increased by more than a year in the past decade and the use of out of court disposals is down by nearly 40 per cent.
‘Criminals should be in no doubt they will be punished for their crimes and those who commit the most serious offences will receive severe sentences.’