Osborne's car caught in disabled parking bay

The Treasury says that Osborne was unaware his car had been parked in a disabled bay after he got lunch at an M4 service station.

The front page of tomorrow's Daily Mirror will make for uncomfortable viewing in No. 11. In the week that George Osborne cut benefits for thousands of disabled people (most notably through the bedroom tax), it shows his car parked in a disabled bay at an M4 service station.

A Treasury source has responded by stating that Osborne was dropped off outside the service station to get lunch and didn't realise the car was illegally parked when he got back in. But the damage has likely already been done. As when Osborne was caught in a first class train carriage with only a standard ticket, it suggests a man who doesn't think the rules apply to him (however innocent the mistake was). But the Chancellor, I suspect, will take comfort from the fact that the public remain overwhemingly supportive of the coalition's welfare measures.

George Osborne makes a visit to the Prysmian Group factory in Eastleigh last month. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Why a group of Brunel students walked out on Katie Hopkins instead of no-platforming her

"We silently walked out because Ms Hopkins has the right to speak, but we also have the right to express our discontent."

Earlier this week, columnist and all-round provocateur Katie Hopkins turned up to Brunel University to join a panel in debating whether the welfare state has a place in 2015. No prizes for guessing her stance on this particular issue

But as Hopkins began her speech, something odd happened. Around 50 students stood up and left, leaving the hall half-empty.

Here's the video:

As soon as Hopkins begins speaking, some students stand up with their backs to the panelists. Then, they all leave - as the nonplussed chair asks them to "please return to their seats". 

The walk-out was, in fact, pre-planned by the student union as an act of protest against Hopkins' appearance at an event held as part of the University's 50th anniversary celebrations. 

Ali Milani, the Brunel Student Union president, says he and other students knew the walk-out would "start a conversation" around no-platforming on campuses, but as he points out, "What is often overlooked (either purposely or as a result of the fanfare) is that the conversation at no point has been about banning Ms Hopkins from speaking on campus, or denying her right to speak."

Instead, students who found her appearance at the welfare debate "incongruous" and "distasteful" simply left the room: "We silently walked out because Ms Hopkins has the right to speak, but we also have the right to express our discontent."

Milani praised the student body for treading the line between freedom of speech and expressing their distaste at Brunel's decision: 

"They have respectfully voiced their antagonism at the decision of their institution, but also . . . proven their commitment to free of speech and freedom of expression."

The protest was an apt way to dodge the issues of free speech surrounding no-platforming, while rejecting Hopkins' views. A walk-out symbolises the fact that we aren't obliged to listen to people like Hopkins. She is free to speak, of course, albeit to empty chairs. 

Barbara Speed is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman and a staff writer at CityMetric.