7 Days

Double jeopardy reform David Blunkett, the new Home Secretary, announced plans to change the law to enable senior judges to overturn acquittals and demand a retrial in murder cases where new, compelling evidence is uncovered. At present, murder suspects, once formally acquitted, cannot be retried.

Paddington inquiry Lord Cullen's report on the Paddington train crash accused the rail industry of "institutional paralysis" for failing to reduce known safety risks. Thirty-one people were killed and more than 400 others were injured in the crash in October 1999. The publication of the report prompted the Crown Prosecution Service to consider bringing corporate manslaughter charges against Railtrack and Thames Trains.

Bulger parole Protesters gathered outside the London headquarters of the Parole Board to voice their outrage at the proposed release of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, the killers of James Bulger. The two, who will both be 19 in August, were ten years old when they abducted the two-year-old James in Bootle, Merseyside.

John Pilger honoured John Pilger, the New Statesman columnist, has been awarded Sweden's prestigious Monismanien Prize for 2001, for his "outstanding, courageous journalism and internationalism". The prize is in memory of the great Swedish editor Torgny Segerstedt, who risked his life to speak out against the Nazis. The citation honours Pilger's "sharp-sighted and critical analysis . . . In his unique way, he has challenged the established consensus on politics, economics and the media." Pilger has also been made an Honorary Doctor of the Open University in Britain, for having "worked tirelessly to keep alive the spirit of critical investigative journalism in this country". For his column this week, see page 17.

New Statesman price rise The cover price of the NS goes up to £2.20 next week. This is the first increase since 1998 and is the result of rising newsprint costs.

This article first appeared in the 25 June 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The slow death of Tory England