Welcome to the Official Website of IRN

THE NEWS SERVICE HEARD BY 26 MILLION LISTENERS TO COMMERCIAL RADIO IN THE UK [READ MORE]

Established in 1973 at the birth of commercial radio in the UK, IRN provides client stations with a continuous service of national and international news. The service comprises a ready to air hourly news bulletin, delivered live 24/7, in addition to a suite of pre-recorded news content in the form of news audio cuts on the main stories, written cues and scripts to help stations produce their own bulletins, plus plenty of extra material within sports news, showbiz and music news, money news and consumer technology news.

Top Stories

Hundreds of police officers accused of sexual exploitation

08 December

Hundreds of police officers have been accused of abusing their power to sexually exploit people, including vulnerable victims of crime.

A report has laid bare the scale of the problem, describing the issue as the most serious form of corruption.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has also rebuked forces over their efforts to root out cases.
The watchdog was asked by then Home Secretary Theresa May, earlier this year, to look into the extent of the issue.
Its initial findings identified more than 400 claims of abuse of authority for sexual gain over two years.
But HM Inspector Mike Cunningham said: "It is at least possible, probably likely, that the problem is more serious than the numbers that have been reported back to us.
"It's the most serious form of corruption. It is an exploitation of power where the guardian becomes an abuser.
"What can be worse than a guardian abusing the trust and confidence of an abused person? There can be no greater violation of public trust."
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "It is a matter of profound concern that any police officer should abuse their authority for sexual gain.
"The misconduct discovered in this report is shocking - it undermines justice and public confidence and there is no place in the police for anyone guilty of this sort of abuse."
A total of 436 allegations of abuse of authority for sexual gain were received by forces in England and Wales in the two years to the end of March.
The claims covered a total of 334 police personnel - 306 officers, 20 PCSOs and eight police staff.
All but one constabulary had at least one case, while more than a third (39%) of the allegations involved victims of domestic abuse.
Suspects who had been arrested and people with drug or alcohol problems were also thought to be among those allegedly exploited.
The report warned that while forces have acknowledged the seriousness of the problem, some are still failing to recognise it as a serious form of corruption.
Less than half (48%) of the allegations had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Figures also suggested there was an "apparent disconnect" between the number of allegations and sackings as a result.
The watchdog warned some counter-corruption units did not have the ability or capacity to seek intelligence on potential abuse of authority for sexual gain.
HMIC also found that almost half of forces inspected were unable to audit or monitor the use of all IT systems, limiting how much information could be gathered to spot officers or staff who may be using databases to identify vulnerable victims.
Mr Cunningham said: "Forces need to become far more proactive in rooting out this most serious form of corruption, rather than only dealing with it once it has been reported."
He said the majority carry out their work with integrity and honesty - and are "appalled" at the corruption of their colleagues.
IPCC chair Dame Anne Owers has written to all chief constables in England and Wales, urging them to ensure all cases regarding abuse of authority for sexual gain are referred.
Mark Castle, chief executive of the charity Victim Support, described the allegations as "deeply concerning".
Stephen Watson, National Police Chiefs' Council lead for counter-corruption, said: "Abuse of powers for sexual gain is a betrayal of our core responsibility to protect people from harm.
"It is the most serious form of corruption and it can never be justified or condoned.
"In recent years, we have focused on encouraging reporting and pursuing offenders.
"We now need to do more to continue to root out the disease and inoculate policing for the future.
"We are in the process of developing a national strategy to raise the standards of all forces in preventing this form of abuse."

READ MORE

MPs back Article 50 timetable as Brexit court case ends

08 December

MPs have voted in favour of the Government's timetable to trigger the formal process for leaving the European Union by March 2017, as long as the Prime Minister reveals her plan for Brexit.

The symbolic motion, which is not legally binding, was approved by 448 votes to 75 - a majority of 373.
Faced with a revolt by up to 40 Conservative MPs, Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday bowed to pressure and backed a Labour motion which said she should publish a plan before triggering Article 50.
In return, most of the rebels and Labour backed a compromise Government amendment to support Mrs May's pledge to invoke Article 50 to start Brexit before 31 March 2017.
MPs held two votes, with the first to add the Government amendment to the original Labour motion approved by 461 votes to 89, majority 372.
This was opposed by 23 Labour MPs and one Conservative in the form of Mr Clarke.
Mr Clarke was the sole Conservative to vote against the motion.
Labour rebels included Ben Bradshaw, David Lammy and former shadow chancellor Chris Leslie.
The Government's amendment was backed by some 150 Labour MPs.
Iain Duncan Smith, who campaigned extensively for Brexit, told Sky News that Labour's motion has created a "historic moment" in Parliament.
After the first vote, the former Tory leader said: "This is the first time ever that a majority of parliamentarians have actually voted to leave the European Union."
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News that the Brexit plan needs to include answers to key questions such as whether the Government is aiming to be in the customs union, and what its position on the single market is.
"We need Parliament to be able to do its job in terms of scrutiny," the Labour MP said.
Sir Keir denied that Labour is out to frustrate the process of leaving the European Union - and said such allegations were "unhelpful".
The vote followed a day of debate in which Brexit Secretary David Davis promised MPs that the Government will set out its "strategic plans" before triggering the formal process to withdraw the UK from the EU, but said it will not reveal anything which might "jeopardise our negotiating position".
Mr Davis faced calls from Opposition MPs and some Conservative backbenchers for the plan to be detailed enough to be subject to rigorous scrutiny in the Commons before the planned launch of negotiations under Article 50.
During the debate, Mr Clarke said Mrs May's promise to reveal her plan was "extremely vague", and called for it to be set out in detail in a white paper for publication before Article 50 is invoked.
But Mr Davis insisted the Government must retain "room for manoeuvre" to respond with "a high degree of agility and speed" to developments in extremely complex negotiations expected to last up to two years.
The debate came as the Government was embroiled in day three of its Brexit battle at the Supreme Court. 

READ MORE

Government takes the bite out of Tory Brexit rebellion

08 December

Gavin Williamson, the Government Chief Whip, reputed to keep a pet tarantula in his Commons office, emerged from the voting lobbies with a beaming smile.

"I think we did quite well!" he modestly told Sky News after the Government and Labour had majorities of 372 and 373 in votes on a Brexit timetable and a plan for leaving the EU.
Certainly, the Chief Whip took the bite out of a Tory rebellion. 
Only the veteran Europhile Ken Clarke voted against the Government in a one-man act of pro-EU defiance.
Only 48 hours earlier, it had been claimed up to 40 Conservative MPs were ready to vote for Labour's motion demanding a plan, enough to inflict a humiliating defeat on Theresa May.
But Labour was split, with 23 of its MPs voting against the Con-Lab stitch-up and an estimated further 56 abstaining. 
The Labour MPs voting against the Article 50 timetable included Blairites like Ben Bradshaw and David Lammy and old school veteran Right-wingers like Graham Allen, Jim Dowd, Louise Ellman, Mike Gapes and Barry Sheerman.
But the Labour rebels also included some of the party's younger MPs elected for the first time in 2015, including Neil Coyle, Helen Hayes, Peter Kyle, Tulip Siddiq and Catherine West.
The MPs most delighted by the outcome of the voting were hard-line Euro-sceptics like Iain Duncan Smith. 
"It's brilliant!" he said when the Chief Whip said the votes went "quite well".
MPs like IDS claim the big significance is that for the first time the House of Commons has voted to leave the EU, by backing the call to invoke Article 50 by 31 March next year.
In an interview after the debate, IDS told me the effect of the votes was to hand a huge "blank cheque" to the Prime Minister. That's a worry some of the pro-EU rebels have, too.
Ken Clarke was particularly gloomy after the votes, but told me he had been campaigning in favour of the Common Market and the EU in Parliament for 50 years and so he wasn't going to change now.
So who were the winners and losers? 
The Tories are claiming a victory by forcing Labour to accept that Article 50 must be triggered by 31 March.
Labour claimed a victory in forcing the Conservatives not to oppose Labour's call for a published plan. 
As many MPs claimed Labour had begun to act like a proper and grown-up Opposition for the first time in a while, it was Mrs May - stuck in Bahrain on a trade trip - who had to make a concession to avoid a defeat in the division lobbies.
Labour's Parliamentary tactics on Brexit were even being compared in some quarters to the brilliance of the late John Smith during the Maastricht battles of the 1990s. Steady on, we're not there yet!
But Sir Keir Starmer, who after all has only been an MP for a year and a half, is proving to be not just a good debater - well, he is a former Director of Public Prosecutions, for goodness sake - but also a shrewd Parliamentary tactician.
So he was undoubtedly one of the day's big winners. 
And, in fairness, David Davis, the Brexit minister, handled a tricky situation well, too.
His experience as a backbench troublemaker as well as his experience as Europe Minister back in the 90s appears to have taught him how to deal patiently and politely with awkward customers in the Commons.
And despite making a big concession by accepting Labour's motion, the Prime Minister cleverly turned a potential defeat into a clever piece of manoeuvering, by getting the so-called "Remoaners" on her own side - apart from Ken Clarke - to back her on Brexit.
This frenetic day at Westminster also taught us a few things about the ups and downs of politics, beginning with good performances from two stand-ins at Prime Minister's Questions.
Three months ago, Emily Thornberry, Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary, was ridiculed after she accused Dermot Murnaghan of Sky News of sexism after she dismally failed to name the French Foreign Minister.
Now, deputising for Jeremy Corbyn, she was persistent and well-prepared in her probing of the Leader of the Commons,
David Lidington, on Brexit, the single market and the Customs Union.
Well prepared? These days her chief aide is one Damian McBride, formerly Robin to Gordon Brown's Batman when he was Prime Minister. And Emily packed plenty of "pow!", "zap!" and "wham!" at PMQs.
Mr Lidington, almost a forgotten man of the ministerial ranks until this PMQs stint, didn't do too badly, either, and delighted Tory MPs with his performance. 
His best line was to claim Labour was "quarrelling like Mutiny On The Bounty as re-shot by the Carry On team".
Gavin Williamson clearly has a sense of humour too. 
His tarantula is called Cronus, apparently named after a Greek god who came to power by castrating his own father before eating his own children to ensure they wouldn't oust him.
He didn't have to threaten any MPs intending to rebel with castration. 
He just fed them a few tasty treats, such as a pledge of publishing a Brexit plan and a move to bind Labour into the Article 50 process. 
Just like he would feed his large, hairy - and hungry - spider.

READ MORE

Junk food ads targeting kids on all media banned from July

08 December

Junk food advertising is to be banned across all children's media in a landmark decision to help tackle childhood obesity.

The rule change means that for the first time ever online and social media will be brought into line with television, where strict regulation prohibits the advertising of unhealthy food to children.
Children aged between five and 15 are spending on average 15 hours a week online, where advertisers can target them with so-called "pop-up adverts", many of which promote junk food and fizzy drinks.
From next July all adverts for food or drink high in fat, salt or sugar - targeted at under-16s - will be outlawed.
"Childhood obesity is a serious and complex issue and one that we're determined to play our part in tackling," said James Best, chairman of the Committee of Advertising Practice.
"These restrictions will significantly reduce the number of ads for high, fat, salt or sugar products seen by children.
"Our tough new rules are a clear demonstration that the ad industry is willing and ready to act on its responsibilities and puts the protection of children at the heart of its work."
But Jenny Rosborough, campaign manager at Action on Sugar, called for restrictions to be extended to programmes such as X Factor, which are hugely popular with children but exempt from restrictions because they fall outside children's programming.
She said: "We welcome the news that CAP are banning the advertising of high fat, salt or sugar food or drink products in children's non-broadcast media. We know that advertising influences children's food preferences.
"However, we need to see bans on advertising go further, as they currently do not manage exposure to these adverts during popular family programmes such as the X Factor or Britain's Got Talent."
The new restrictions also apply to TV-like content online, such as on video-sharing platforms or "advergames", if they are directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children.
A ban on companies using promotions, licensed characters or celebrities popular with children in ads for HFSS food or drink will be partly lifted for the advertising of healthier options.
Food and Drink Federation director general Ian Wright said the group "fully supported" the new rules.

READ MORE

Former football coach Jim McCafferty faces child sex charge

08 December

A former football coach and Celtic kit man has been charged with a child sex offence.

Jim McCafferty, who was involved in football in Scotland and Ireland from the 1980s, was arrested in Belfast after he walked into a police station.
The 71-year-old was charged with sexual activity with a child and is due before a district judge in Belfast this morning.
McCafferty was formerly a kit man at Celtic, Hibernian and Falkirk.
He now lives in Belfast.

READ MORE