Jeremy Corbyn secures victory in Labour leadership

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Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party, has secured 61.8% of the vote in the party’s leadership contest. There were 506,438 party members who voted in the election with Corbyn securing 313,309 votes and Smith gaining 193,229.

Corbyn said after the results were announced that:

“There is far more that unites us than divides us”.

He is expected to form a new Shadow Cabinet over the next few weeks and to make efforts to rebuild the support of the Parliamentary party.

George Osborne Says that the British Population Didn’t Vote for Hard Brexit

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George Osborne, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, has said that the British people didn’t vote for a Hard Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum, and that there is no mandate for such a policy.

Speaking in Chicago in his first major speech since leaving office he said:

“Above all, we need to resist the false logic that leads from exiting the EU to exiting all forms of European co-operation – and that values the dangerous purity of splendid isolation over the practical necessity of co-operation in the real world.

Brexit won a majority. Hard Brexit did not.

The mainstream majority in our country do not want to be governed from the extremes.

The same principles of co-operation and engagement that drives Britain’s relationship with Europe should guide our approach to the global challenges we all face”.

Boris Johnson’s Timeline for Brexit Rejected by the Prime Minister

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A spokesman for the Prime Minister has rejected comments made by Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, that Brexit talks would begin at the start of 2017.

Johnson had said that the process would begin, by signing Article 50, at the start of the new year. Speaking to the BBC he said:

“The government is working towards an Article 50 letter which as you know will be produced, probably, in the early part of next year”.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman confirmed that nothing had changed and said about Article 50:

“The decision is hers and she will do that at a time which is most likely to get the best deal for Britain”.

Lord O’Neill Quits the Conservative Party and his Ministerial Role

Lord O’Neill, the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, has confirmed today that he stepping down and also resigning as a Conservative Peer in the House of Lords. O’Neill had been central to the Government’s Northern Powerhouse policy and had been close to George Osborne, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Lord O’Neill wrote to the Prime Minister earlier today saying:

“I have decided to resign as a minister in the government.

This morning I returned from New York where I had the pleasure of witnessing the UN high level agreement on antimicrobial resistance, which is essentially the end goal of the review that I was asked to lead in the spring of 2014. This part of my role in government has come to its natural end, although of course, I was asked initially to lead the review, independent of government.

Leading this review has been one of the most stimulating roles I have ever undertaken and I am very grateful to all those involved, especially my review team, and all those across government that allowed the UK to take such a global leadership position in this key threat to the world. It goes without saying that our success is symbolic of the way that the UK can be influential in a post-Brexit world.

I joined the government with the AMR review already well developed in terms of our ideas and influence, but entered office, believing its goals would be enhanced by being a minister. I primarily joined however for the specific purpose of helping deliver the Northern Powerhouse, and to help boost our economic ties with key growing economies around the world, especially China and India and other rapidly emerging economies.

The case for both to be at the heart of British economic policy is even stronger following the referendum, and I am pleased that, despite speculation to the contrary, both appear to be commanding your personal attention. I am leaving knowing that I can play some role supporting these critical initiatives as a non-governmental person.

I look forward to moving to the cross benches of the Lords, and wish you every success with the exciting challenges and opportunities ahead, and thank you for allowing me the privilege to serve in government”.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, replied:

“I was sorry to receive your letter of resignation. I would like to thank you for your service to the government over these last 2 years, both as Commercial Secretary to the Treasury and as chair of the review on antimicrobial resistance.

You have made a significant contribution to driving forward the government’s work on delivering growth beyond the South-East through the Northern Powerhouse and on promoting stronger economic links with emerging economies, including China and India. You have laid important foundations in these areas and the government will build on them.

I would particularly like to pay tribute to your groundbreaking work on anti microbial resistance. You should take great pride in seeing your review culminate this week in the UN high level agreement. You have played a vital role in building global consensus on this important issue which will have long-lasting benefits.

I wish you well for the future”.

Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan says that Boris Johnson did not want Brexit

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Alan Duncan, the Foreign Office Minister, has said that his colleague Boris Johnson never wanted Brexit to happen.

 

Duncan’s comments are being broadcast this week on a BBC documentary on Brexit, but were recorded just before the Brexit vote. Duncan said:

“By championing leave, Boris can be the great heir apparent of the future, darling of the activists, but actually it would be quite good if he didn’t actually win the referendum because there would be total chaos”.

Johnson, the current Foreign Secretary, has yet to respond to Duncan’s comments.

Labour Leadership Continues as David Miliband Warns that Party is Unelectable

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David Miliband, the former Labour Foreign Secretary, has warned that the Labour Party is further from power than it has been since the 1930s. Miliband’s criticism of Jeremy Corbyn, the current party leader, came after similar criticisms this week from senior Labour figures Alan Johnson and Neil Kinnock.

In an article published in the New Statesman, Miliband wrote:

“Ten years ago Labour in Britain defined the contours of political debate. We had won three elections on the trot and the Tories felt the need to dance to our tunes – from the minimum wage to tripling of overseas aid to gay rights to boosting the National Health Service. Now Labour sits a long way from power, even before boundary changes. The ultimate ignominy of not being able to organise our own party conference has been avoided, but we have not been further from power since the 1930s”.

Criticising the party’s policies Miliband added:

“The party has ended up pre-New Labour in policy and culture, when we need to be post-New Labour. This year’s leadership election has spent a lot of time debating how to “bring back” various lost icons, such as nationalised railways, rather than focusing on new ideas for the future”.

Foreign Office Sign Joint Communique on Situation in Yemen

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The Foreign Office has signed a joint communique with the Governments of the USA, the UAE and Saudi Arabia over the current situation in Yemen.

The communique reads:

“Following on from the meetings held in London on 19 July and in Jeddah on 25 August, the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates met in New York on 21 September 2016 to reaffirm their commitment to finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Yemen and alleviating the humanitarian suffering of the Yemeni people. The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Yemen attended the meeting and briefed on the latest developments and challenges in the peace process.

The Foreign Ministers expressed their full support for the Special Envoy and his proposed roadmap to reach a comprehensive agreement, which is based on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, UN Security Council resolutions and statements, including resolution 2216 (2015), as well as the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference. The proposed agreement, with sequenced security and political arrangements, will provide a solid foundation to bring an end to the armed conflict and foster stability for the Yemeni people. The Foreign Ministers stressed the importance of the Yemeni parties working closely with the Special Envoy and coming urgently to an agreement on this basis.

The Foreign Ministers called on the Government of Yemen, the Houthis, and elements of the General People’s Congress to do everything necessary for a peaceful and orderly political transition. They rejected unilateral steps by the parties in Sana’a, including the announcement of the Supreme Political Council on 28 July, which only serve to undermine the path towards an agreement and must be avoided, and expressed concern about economic conditions in Yemen and recent developments associated with the Central Bank. The Ministers stressed the importance of the Central Bank serving the interests of all Yemenis.

The Foreign Ministers jointly called for an immediate return to a complete Cessation of Hostilities, under the Terms and Conditions which went into effect on 10 April 2016, beginning with a 72 hour ceasefire to allow the UN Special Envoy to engage in consultations with the Yemeni parties. They also called on all sides to resume working through the De-escalation and Coordination Committee to facilitate the strengthening of the Cessation of Hostilities. The Foreign Ministers expressed particular concern about and called for an immediate halt to all cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabian territory, including ballistic missiles.

To avoid further humanitarian suffering and economic deterioration, the Foreign Ministers further called on all parties to allow safe, rapid and unhindered access for humanitarian supplies to all affected governorates, including Taiz, and to facilitate access for essential imports of food, fuel and medical supplies into the country and their distribution throughout.

The Foreign Ministers concluded by stating the need for the Yemeni parties to demonstrate good faith, flexibility and a spirit of compromise in order to bring peace to Yemen”.

Andrew Lansley, former Conservative Health Secretary, said Government Must Honour Brexit Promise of More NHS Money

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Andrew Lansley, who served as the Conservative Party’s Health Secretary from 2010 until 2012, has said that the Government must honour the promise from the Leave Campaign of more money for the NHS.

The Leave campaign promised that £18 billion a year could be spent on NHS if the UK voted to leave the EU. The Government has since not yet confirmed how much extra funding will be made available to the NHS following the vote to leave.

Speaking at the NHS Providers annual lecture the former Health Secretary said:

“For political reasons, both campaigns told the public that whatever was going to happen in the future, there would be more money for the NHS. So the public have a right to expect it. They have a right to expect a Brexit bonus for the NHS. It frankly should be no less than £5bn a year”.

Theresa May Calls for Global Action to Combat Modern Slavery

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Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has called for global action to help combat modern slavery. Her comments come at a side meeting at the UN General Assembly in New York which is currently being held.

May said:

“The UK is leading the world with our efforts to stamp out modern slavery. Just over a year since the Modern Slavery Act came into force, convictions are up, more victims are getting support and there are more police investigations into this abhorrent crime.

But there is still much more to do. Across the world an estimated 45 million people are enduring experiences that are simply horrifying in their inhumanity. That’s why I am determined to drive forward international action to eradicate modern slavery.

Just as the criminals cross borders, so we need a radical new approach that crosses borders – sharing intelligence and joining up investigations. This is standard in the case of drugs trafficking and the trade in illegal firearms and there is no excuse for our law enforcement authorities failing to do this when it comes to modern slavery.

We owe it to the innocent men, women and children who are being tricked into a life of hard labour and abuse to rid our world of this evil. Just as it was Britain that took an historic stand to ban slavery two centuries ago, I am determined that the United Kingdom will once again lead the way in defeating modern slavery and preserving the freedoms and values that have defined our country for generations”.