The wife of a minister in Vladimir Putin’s government donated £160,000 to the UK Tory party for a game of tennis with Boris Johnson.
Andrew Marr says to Boris Johnson in this video: “Labour says that part of the hesitation in this is that you as a party have been taking far too much Russian money.”
From Daily Telegraph: Conservative MP Harriett Baldwin, who was last week promoted to Minister for Africa in the reshuffle, attempted to claim a £50 donation to a local hospice as an expense.
[Read full story on Telegraph website…]
From The Guardian: A Conservative MP who has been appointed as a party vice-chairman once suggested that unemployed people should opt for free vasectomies rather than continuing to have children they could not afford to support.
In a blogpost, Ben Bradley claimed that the country would be soon “drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters” if workless families had four or five children while others limited themselves to one or two.
From Daily Mirror: Theresa May has refused to appoint a diverse panel to the Grenfell Tower inquiry, it emerged today. It is feared that the retired Court of Appeal judge lacks first-hand experience of the complex cultural factors underpinning the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
[Read full article on Guardian website…]
From The Guardian: Diane Abbott has written to the home secretary, Amber Rudd, to ask why she has been refused permission to visit the controversial Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre despite at least a dozen requests over more than a year.
The shadow home secretary said getting access to the centre in Bedfordshire, which has regularly seen concerns raised about inappropriate treatment of highly vulnerable detainees, was a necessary part of her job.
Yarl’s Wood, where foreign nationals are detained before being deported, faced criticism last month after the chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, said he had found increasing numbers of women held there despite evidence they were victims of torture, rape and trafficking.
Clarke said he was concerned to find that the Home Office had refused to accept that rape came within the legal definition of torture.
In July a Kenyan asylum seeker won a court victory, with the Home Office found to have acted unlawfully by locking her in a “punishment room” at Yarl’s Wood for an excessive time.
From BBC News: Damian Green, one of Theresa May’s closest allies, has been sacked from the cabinet after an inquiry found he had breached the ministerial code.
He was “asked to quit” after he was found to have made “inaccurate and misleading” statements over what he knew about claims pornography was found on his office computer in 2008.
He also apologised for making writer Kate Maltby feel uncomfortable in 2015.
[Read full article on BBC News…]
From Unearthed: Liam Fox’s department for international trade has signed agreements with the US which will make it much more difficult to find out what is being discussed in early-stage US-UK trade talks.
Liam Fox’s department last week quietly released an exchange of letters between the UK and the office of the US trade representative agreeing to mark exchanged information, papers and discussions as either “sensitive” or “confidential”, with both sides also agreeing to keep the information “held in confidence” for four years after the conclusion of the talks.
This has led to concerns from politicians and campaign groups that the talks could pave the way for the UK to accept lower US standards on issues including animal welfare, chemical and pesticide usage, and other practices.
[Read full article on Unearthed…]
From The Guardian: A row is brewing between a Conservative MP and some of his Lancashire constituents after he suggested that claims by teachers about extreme poverty at local schools were untrue.
A report by ITV earlier this week went viral after it showed schools where teachers said they had to wash their pupils’ uniforms because their families couldn’t afford to pay the electricity bills.
But David Morris, the MP for Morecambe & Lunesdale, responded to the reports: “These claims are not those being experienced by myself or the jobcentre in the area.”
He later told ITV: “I’ve not got issues with the report that you’ve run, I’m just questioning the validity of it … [the schools featured] have very strong links to Momentum, and to be quite frank, all the indicators from Ofsted say that the child poverty at that school is absolutely no different to any other in the country.”
Amid claims that Morris has blocked people online who have questioned his statement, Morecambe residents are using the hashtag #blockedbydavidmorris and have started a Facebook group to air their grievances.
From Evolve Politics: Tory-led Norfolk County Council has come in for stinging criticism after councillors decided to award themselves an 11% pay rise just hours after voting through swingeing cuts to children’s services in the area.
Not only will Norfolk’s councillors see their allowances rise by over £1000 a year, the Tory councillors also decided to backdate their own pay rise from May, meaning they will each pocket an extra £400 on top.
The decision was made despite the fact that the council had argued Norfolk would need to make cuts of £125m to vital services over the next four years.
Councillors will see their already-generous allowances rise from £9,401 to £10,500. Council leader Cliff Jordan – who proposed the bill to increase pay – will see his allowance rise from £27,495 to £31,700, increasing his total allowance by £102 a week.
[Read full article on Evolve Politics website…]
From London Evening Standard: A male whip was alleged to have used “bully boy tactics” that left a female Tory MP trembling and crying in the Commons.
[Read full story on London Evening Standard website…]
From Daily Mirror: Theresa May has used a brazenly misleading statistic to suggest homelessness fell under the Tories.
[Read full article on Daily Mirror website…]
From The Guardian: David Davis’s claim that the UK’s concessions in an agreement to move on the Brexit negotiations were merely a statement of intent has damaged trust and will see a hardening of positions in Brussels, the European parliament’s coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, has said.
The former Belgian prime minister claimed the Brexit secretary’s comments over the weekend were “unacceptable”, and undermined confidence in the British government’s trustworthiness.
The member states will now agree a tougher wording in their guidelines about the next stage of the talks, due to be signed off at a summit of leaders on Friday, Verhofstadt said.
From Daily Mirror: Tory Brexit secretary David Davis today claimed he was ‘misquoted’ in reports that he had suggested Theresa May’s Brexit deal on the Irish border was not ‘legally enforceable’, which he was not.
[Read full article on Daily Mirror website…]
From Huffpost: Philip Hammond has been criticised after suggesting low productivity rates in the UK could be linked to the employment of more disabled people.
The Tory Chancellor made the claim while giving evidence to the Commons Treasury select committee on the 2017 Budget.
Asked about a fall in productivity rates earlier this year, he said: “It is almost certainly the case that by increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups and very high levels of engagement in the workforce, for example of disabled people – something we should be extremely proud of – may have had an impact on overall productivity measurements.”
Anna Bird, director of policy and research at disability charity Scope, said: “These comments are totally unacceptable and derogatory.
[Read full article with video on Huffpost website…]
From The Guardian: Theresa May’s political weakness was brutally exposed to Brussels on Monday, as an agreement struck between Britain and the EU to solve the problem of the Irish border and move to the next phase of Brexit talks was torpedoed by a last-minute telephone call with the leader of the DUP.
Confidence early on Monday that an agreement was within reach came to nothing when, during a working lunch with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, May was forced to pause discussions to take a call from Arlene Foster.
The unionist leader, whose party currently provides the Tories with a working majority in the Commons, told the British prime minister that she could not support Downing Street’s planned commitment to keep Northern Ireland aligned with EU laws.
From Sky News: Boris Johnson is being actively undermined by officials within his own department over Brexit negotiations, it can be revealed.
Sky News has learnt that Foreign Office officials told Ireland’s Government “not to listen to whatever he had to say” ahead of Mr Johnson’s visit to Dublin a few weeks ago.
Extraordinarily, officials in Whitehall were very open with their counterparts in the Irish capital to “ignore the public utterances” of Britain’s chief diplomat.
Ahead of the visit, Irish officials were told “not to mind a word of what he says” – implying the Foreign Secretary was not speaking on behalf of the UK Government.
From Daily Mirror: Theresa May’s entire social mobility commission dramatically quit last night, accusing the Prime Minister of being too busy with Brexit to help the poor.
[Read full article on Daily Mirror website…]
From The Guardian: Jacob Rees-Mogg had a private meeting with former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon in London on Thursday to talk about how conservative movements can win in the US and UK, the Guardian has learned.
Rees-Mogg, a favourite among Conservative members to be the next party leader, spent more than an hour at the meeting in a Mayfair hotel with Bannon, who was at one point seen as Trump’s most influential adviser.
The American also met Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader, and another Conservative MP during a short trip to the UK.
The meetings took place on the day of the diplomatic spat between Trump and Theresa May, after the US president retweeted anti-Muslim material from the far-right fringe group Britain First. Read more
From The Independent: Theresa May’s ties with Donald Trump are under intense pressure after the President promoted a British far-right extremist organisation to his 44 million social media followers.
[Read full story on Independent website…]