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Farage claims Ukip victory in Clacton would start 'landslide'

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said a by-election win for his party in Clacton would signal a "landslide in British politics" as an opinion poll indicated that the Tories would face a humiliating defeat in the contest triggered by Douglas Carswell's shock defection.

Mr Farage, who said the party was "testing the waters" with other potential turncoats predicted Ukip could hold the balance of power in Parliament.

A Mail on Sunday poll gave Ukip a massive 44-point lead over the Tories and Mr Farage predicted that a win would result in "more and more people coming over to us". He said: "This is the moment. If we win the by-election in Clacton, it will create a landslide in British politics."

Putin faced with fresh sanctions

Vladimir Putin has called for talks over the crisis in eastern Ukraine as European Union leaders threatened a fresh wave of sanctions over the "unacceptable" incursion by troops from Russia into its neighbour.

European leaders have ordered officials to make urgent preparations for a toughening of measures, likely to target senior Kremlin figures as well as the defence, energy and financial sectors, amid concerns the crisis was reaching the "point of no return".

The Russian president said Ukraine should begin "substantive, meaningful talks" about the future of the country's eastern region, where pro-Moscow separatists have been clashing with forces loyal to the Kiev government.

He said Ukraine should launch discussions with the separatists "about the question of the political organisation of society and statehood in south-east Ukraine".

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon insisted that sanctions were already having an impact on the Russian economy and called for Nato countries to match the UK in meeting their commitments to defence spending in order to combat the "threat now here on our own doorstep".

Labour pledge over child abuse

A Labour government would make it mandatory to report allegations of sexual abuse in an effort to prevent a repeat of the Rotherham sexual abuse scandal.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the measure would help change the culture of institutions where abuse claims had not been taken seriously enough in the past.

The Government is already considering whether to introduce the measure, but the Department for Education said it would not necessarily have made a significant impact in Rotherham.

The pressure to act has been stepped up following the publication of a devastating report into events in Rotherham which found at least 1,400 children were abused over 16 years from 1997.

Ms Cooper said: "We are still seeing the same mistakes being made, victims not being listened to. It is now time to have the mandatory duty to report, to make clear that cultural change has to take place in every institution."

Minor volcano eruption heightens aviation fears

Officials have raised the aviation warning code close to the Bardarbunga volcano after a small fissure eruption in the area.

Iceland's meteorological agency described the eruption in the Holuhraun lava field, as a "very calm lava eruption and can hardly be seen on seismometers". Yesterday morning's eruption was the third eruption since August 23. On Friday, a smaller eruption also prompted authorities to briefly raise the warning level to restrict flights around the eruption site.

Former Tory minister dies following illness

Former Conservative minister Sir David Mitchell has died aged 86 following a long illness, his family has announced.

Sir David, who served under Margaret Thatcher in various departments including industry, transport and Northern Ireland, was the father of former Cabinet minister and current Tory MP Andrew Mitchell. He was an MP from 1964 to 1997, representing Hampshire North West, and died at his home in Odiham, Hampshire, in the early hours of Saturday.

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