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David Cameron has no "time to hang out with Russell Brand" – but fits Jeremy Clarkson and Katie Hopkins in

The Prime Minister clearly has plenty of time for celebs – including Katie Hopkins and Jeremy Clarkson.

David Cameron has responded to the news that Ed Miliband is doing an interview with Russell Brand. He said he hasn't "got time to hang out with Russell Brand". But it's news to this mole that our PM is too busy to hang out with celebrities...
 

David Cameron has plenty of time for his good mate Jeremy Clarkson.

Photo: YouTube screengrab

He takes an evening to hang out with Katie Hopkins.

Photo: Twitter/@rossEFC95
 

He clearly had a minute or two to stand awkwardly with One Direction.

Photo: YouTube screengrab

He had Gary Barlow over for some chillaxing.

Photo: Getty

He has all the time in the world to get Mo Farah's Mobot wrong.

Photo: Getty

He fits David Beckham into his schedule of slowly wandering.

Photo: Getty

One of many photo ops with Andy Murray he has time for.

Photo: Getty

He takes a moment to pretend in his head that he's Alan Sugar while sitting beside Karren Brady from The Apprentice.

Photo: Getty

He meets and greets EastEnder Barbara Windsor.

Photo: YouTube screengrab

Two comedians he does have time for are David Walliams and John Bishop.

Photo: Getty

He gives Angelina Jolie his full attention.

Photo: Getty

He has a chummy time with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Photo: Getty

He can schedule in a giggle with Joanna Lumley.

Photo: Getty

He takes a break from politics to chat to Peter Stringfellow.

Photo: YouTube screengrab

I'm a mole, innit.

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How tribunal fees silenced low-paid workers: “it was more than I earned in a month”

The government was forced to scrap them after losing a Supreme Court case.

How much of a barrier were employment tribunal fees to low-paid workers? Ask Elaine Janes. “Bringing up six children, I didn’t have £20 spare. Every penny was spent on my children – £250 to me would have been a lot of money. My priorities would have been keeping a roof over my head.”

That fee – £250 – is what the government has been charging a woman who wants to challenge their employer, as Janes did, to pay them the same as men of a similar skills category. As for the £950 to pay for the actual hearing? “That’s probably more than I earned a month.”

Janes did go to a tribunal, but only because she was supported by Unison, her trade union. She has won her claim, although the final compensation is still being worked out. But it’s not just about the money. “It’s about justice, really,” she says. “I think everybody should be paid equally. I don’t see why a man who is doing the equivalent job to what I was doing should earn two to three times more than I was.” She believes that by setting a fee of £950, the government “wouldn’t have even begun to understand” how much it disempowered low-paid workers.

She has a point. The Taylor Review on working practices noted the sharp decline in tribunal cases after fees were introduced in 2013, and that the claimant could pay £1,200 upfront in fees, only to have their case dismissed on a technical point of their employment status. “We believe that this is unfair,” the report said. It added: "There can be no doubt that the introduction of fees has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of cases brought."

Now, the government has been forced to concede. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Unison’s argument that the government acted unlawfully in introducing the fees. The judges said fees were set so high, they had “a deterrent effect upon discrimination claims” and put off more genuine cases than the flimsy claims the government was trying to deter.

Shortly after the judgement, the Ministry of Justice said it would stop charging employment tribunal fees immediately and refund those who had paid. This bill could amount to £27m, according to Unison estimates. 

As for Janes, she hopes low-paid workers will feel more confident to challenge unfair work practices. “For people in the future it is good news,” she says. “It gives everybody the chance to make that claim.” 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.