Voter fraud cases vs. impact of Tory Government’s ID scheme

From Full Fact:

In a single day across five councils, twice as many people didn’t vote due to having incorrect ID, as have been accused…

Posted by Full Fact on Sunday, July 29, 2018

 

UK facing legal action over ‘unlawful’ decision not to protect Isis ‘Beatles’ from death penalty

From The Independent: Legal action could be launched against the government over its failure to demand that two members of a British Isis cell will not be executed in the US. MPs are in uproar over not being consulted about the reversal of a long-held policy barring extradition or intelligence sharing in cases where the death penalty may be used.

[Read article on Independent website…]

Responsibility for Windrush deportations rests “squarely on Theresa May’s shoulders” – Caroline Lucas

From Morning Star: Responsibility for the Windrush scandal falls “squarely on the shoulders” of Theresa May for ignoring a report warning her what would happen, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas charged yesterday.

The Brighton Pavilion MP had tabled a written question asking if Ms May, as home secretary, had acted on the Legal Action Group’s prescient October 2014 report Chasing Status.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes responded: ”No specific action was taken as a result of this report.”

The report recommended a number of measures which could have prevented the Windrush scandal, including to set up a special unit to fast-track cases of people living in Britain on January 1 1973.

It also called for the restoration of legal aid for these cases, allowing Commonwealth-born citizens to work, access the the NHS and claim benefits and for Home Office proof of residence standards to be revised.

Another of the report’s recommendations was for “greater openness” from the Home Office about its archiving and destruction policies, and for it to accept that some immigration records could be rendered inaccurate or incomplete over time.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

MPs condemn Home Office over detained Windrush pair

From The Guardian: The Home Office behaved in a “shocking” manner towards two Windrush citizens, Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan, both of whom were wrongly sent to immigration detention centres before a planned removal from the UK, despite being continuously resident for around 50 years, a committee of MPs and peers has ruled.

The Home Office displayed an “inadequate regard for the human rights” of those wrongly detained as a result of immigration enforcement, the report by the joint committee on human rights concluded.

Harriet Harman, the committee’s chair, said: “What happened to these two people was a total violation of their human rights by the state’s most powerful government department. It needs to face up to what happened before it can even begin to acknowledge the scale of the problem and stop it happening again.”

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Lib Dem MP: Probably half the Cabinet have used cannabis

From ITV News: Former health minister Norman Lamb has called for the complete legalisation of cannabis – after alleging that “probably half the Cabinet” have used the class B drug.

The Liberal Democrat MP said the Government’s policy towards cannabis represented a “dreadful hypocrisy” and echoed calls from former Tory leader Lord Hague to bring in a regulated market for the drug.

Mr Lamb, speaking after Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced a review into medicinal cannabis use, said: “Isn’t there a dreadful hypocrisy in Government policy in drugs more generally.

“Probably most of the Cabinet drink alcohol, the most dangerous drug of all, probably half of the cabinet has used cannabis, possibly even the Home Secretary — unless they’re a group of very odd people.

“Shouldn’t the Home Secretary actually follow the advice of the former Conservative leader Lord Hague, who makes the case for a regulated legalised market and that that is the best way to protect people from harm who at the moment buy from criminals who have no interest in their welfare at all.”

Mr Javid responded, saying that on this occasion he did not agree with Lord Hague.

[Read full article on ITV News website…]

Theresa May dismisses call from former Tory leader to legalise cannabis

From The Guardian: William Hague, the former leader of the Conservative party, has urged Theresa May to legalise cannabis, saying the UK’s drug policy is “inappropriate, ineffective and utterly out of date” and that the “battle is effectively over”.

Lord Hague said issuing orders to the police to stop people smoking cannabis were “about as up to date and relevant as asking the army to recover the empire”.

In an article in the Telegraph on Tuesday, Hague says the prime minister should be bold and lead a major policy change because it is deluded to think cannabis can be “driven off the streets”.

Downing Street dismissed the idea. “In terms of decriminalising cannabis there are no plans in that respect,” Theresa May’s spokesman said. “The evidence is very clear that cannabis can cause serious harm when it is misused.”

Separately, the Home Office reiterated that the government “has no intention of reviewing the classification of cannabis” and “it will remain a class B drug”.

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Britain’s drug laws are in the dark ages. Billy Caldwell’s case proves it

Simon Jenkins writes in the Guardian: “What kind of country gets a politician rather than a doctor to prescribe medicine for a sick child? When the home secretary, Sajid Javid, decided at the weekend to allow 12-year-old Billy Caldwell “one bottle” of cannabis oil, his spokeswoman said it was an exceptional case to meet “a short-term emergency”. The only emergency was to the home secretary’s reputation. Britain is like a banana republic, in which politicians, not judges, decide who goes to jail.
[…]

“This is inhuman and absurd. The reason for Caldwell’s treatment has nothing to do with cannabis and everything to do with ministerial terror of seeming ‘soft on drugs’. This terror is now archaic. Public opinion has moved on. So-called recreational cannabis is as freely available on Britain’s streets as cigarettes and alcohol. It is available in schools and universities, clubs and festivals. Most British police forces turn a blind eye to modest possession.

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Rodents, bedbugs, mould: UK asylum housing still a hostile environment

From openDemocracy: Mothers with babies in a Manchester hostel run by Serco have shown their dirty and dangerous living conditions. Carole showed a video on her phone of two mice running around her bed in the middle of the night. I could hear her frustrated voice: “I can’t sleep, I can’t sleep.” The kitchen ceiling showed evidence of water leakage from the flats above — presenting risks of electrocution and fire.

[Read full article on openDemocracy…]

Video: Mhairi Black on the absurd anti-democratic behaviour of Tory MPs in Commons

From ScotRef: SNP MP Mhairi Black on the appalling anti-democratic tactics used by Tory MPs in the House of Commons to filibuster out Private Members Bills they don’t like.

(Mhairi was talking on a pro-Scottish independence platform, but whatever your views on that topic this is a good watch!)

Everyone needs to watch this at least once. And I mean *everyone* 👍⚔️🗡️⚔️🗡️⚔️#ScotRef

Posted by ScotRef on Saturday, April 7, 2018

UK’s voter ID trial in local elections could be illegal – barristers

From The Guardian: A controversial trial of forcing voters to show ID could have been illegal because it was incorrectly imposed by ministerial diktat rather than through parliament, senior barristers have said.

The legal opinion by two barristers from Blackstone, a leading chambers in London, concluded that ministers acted beyond the scope of the law in ordering the trial of compulsory voter ID in five boroughs in England at last month’s local elections.

If upheld by a formal court challenge, the view could prevent any further trials or a national rollout of voter ID taking place without the formal consent of parliament, which could prove difficult given objections to the idea.

The scheme, in which people in Bromley, Woking, Gosport, Watford and Swindon were forced to show varying types of ID before being allowed to vote, prompted concern from charities, who warned it might put off more vulnerable groups such as elderly people and the homeless.

It was also criticised as a solution in search of a problem after it emerged that none of the trial boroughs had reported any cases of voter impersonation in recent years.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Theresa May to oppose MPs’ vote on Northern Ireland abortion law

From The Guardian: Theresa May will oppose plans to let MPs vote to liberalise Northern Ireland’s oppressive abortion laws, Downing Street has signalled.

The landslide vote in favour of liberalising abortion laws in the Irish Republic has put the spotlight on Northern Ireland, which will be the only place in Britain and Ireland where abortion is in most circumstances illegal. The 1967 Abortion Act was never extended to the region, and abortion is only allowed if the life or mental health of the mother is at risk.

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Drugs minister accused of “hypocrisy”

From BBC News: Tory drugs minister Victoria Atkins has been accused of “hypocrisy on a grand scale” over her husband’s involvement in a legal cannabis farm.

Paul Kenward – who is married to the MP for Louth and Horncastle – is managing director of British Sugar, licensed to grow non-psychoactive cannabis.

The Home Office said Ms Atkins declared the fact in parliament when she was appointed minister in 2017.

She has previously spoken out against the Class B drug.

[Read full article on BBC News website…]

The Tories’ “hostile environment” sees at least 1,000 skilled migrants wrongly facing deportation

From Morning Star: Politicians and experts have slammed the Home Office’s “hostile environment” policy as at least 1,000 highly skilled migrants are wrongly facing deportation.

The specialists, who are seeking indefinite leave to remain in Britain, are being denied their right to work under a section of the Immigration Act designed to tackle terrorism and threats to national security.

Immigration experts say the highly skilled workers, who include teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers and IT professionals, are being refused indefinite leave to remain because they are accused of lying in their applications, according to the Guardian.

They have come under scrutiny for making minor and legal amendments to their tax records or having discrepancies in declared income.

In one case an applicant’s tax returns were scrutinised by three different appeal courts where no evidence of irregularities was found. Basic tax errors allegedly made by the Home Office itself are also used as the basis for refusal.

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Amber Rudd resigns hours after Guardian publishes deportation targets letter

From The Guardian: Amber Rudd has resigned as home secretary, after repeatedly struggling to account for her role in the unjust treatment of Windrush Generation migrants.

The home secretary was forced to step down after a series of revelations in the Guardian over Windrush culminated in a leak on Friday that appeared to show she was aware of targets for removing illegal migrants from Britain.

The pressure increased late on Sunday afternoon as the Guardian revealed that in a leaked 2017 letter to Theresa May, Amber Rudd had told the prime minister of her intention to increase deportations by 10% – seemingly at odds with her recent denials that she was aware of deportation targets.

Rudd was facing a bruising appearance in the House of Commons on Monday. Downing Street sources said that in preparing for her statement, new information had become available which convinced Rudd she had inadvertently misled parliament – and she had therefore phoned the prime minister on Sunday to tender her resignation.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Voter ID checks ‘calculated effort’ by Tory government to make voting harder for disadvantaged groups, warn experts

From The Independent: Tory Government plans to tighten voter identification measures appear to be a “calculated effort” by ministers to make voting harder for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, experts have warned.

[Read article on Independent website…]

Tories in new race row over identity checks for elections

From The Guardian: Tory Government plans that will force people to prove their identities at polling stations in May’s local elections risk disenfranchising members of ethnic minority communities, according to a leaked letter to ministers from the equality and human rights watchdog.

In a move that will fuel controversy over the treatment of migrants in the UK following the Windrush scandal, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has written to the Cabinet Office minister David Lidington, raising its serious concern that the checks will deter immigrants and others from participating in the democratic process.

Under the new government voting rules, being trialled in several local authorities at the 3 May local elections, people will be asked at polling stations to produce documents proving their identity – such as a passport or driving licence – before casting their vote. Currently, no such proof is required.

The EHRC says evidence of supposed fraud is minimal and warns that there is a real risk that legal residents who might not have a passport or driving licence – or might be reluctant to produce them at polling stations – could be disenfranchised as a result.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Sinn Fein hit out at ‘gerrymandering’ electoral boundary changes

From Belfast Telegraph: Sinn Fein MP Francie Molloy has described proposed changes to Northern Ireland’s electoral boundaries as “gerrymandering to placate the DUP”.

An official map obtained by the Press Association shows changes to electoral seats in Northern Ireland to facilitate a reduction from 18 seats to 17 – something which comes as part of an overall reduction in parliamentary seats from 650 to 600.

“The Boundary Commission proposed and consulted on new electoral boundaries in 2016 as part of an overall plan to reduce the number of MPs here from 18 to 17,” Mr Molloy said.

“Unsurprisingly, the DUP rejected the plan despite the fact that the proposals reflected the terms and remit under which the Boundary Commission was established.”

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