Councillor Jolene Bunting to be Investigated Following Complaints

The Local Government Commissioner for Standards has confirmed that it is has launched an investigation into the behaviour of Jolene Bunting. Bunting, who was first elected to the Court district electoral area of Belfast City Council in 2014, has been accused of numerous breaches of the code for councillors.

Bunting is one of five councillors for her electoral area, and has been a controversial figure on the council. She is currently an independent unionist councillors and a decision on whether Bunting should be suspended from the council is expected within the next week.

Labour Party Say Children’s Mental Health Figures are Alarming

Barbara Keeley MP, Labour’s spokesperson for Mental Health and Social Care, has said that figures released by the Children’s Society are “alarming”. The figures suggest that nearly one in four 14 year old females and one in ten 14 year old males are self harming.

In a statement Keeley said:

“The perfect storm of social and educational pressures facing young people combined with inadequate services has led to this epidemic, while all the Tory Government offers are half-measures in its Green Paper. Labour will invest more of the mental health budget in children and young people’s services and ring-fence budgets so funding reaches the front line”.

A spokesperson for the Children’s Society said:

It’s vital that children’s well-being is taken more seriously and that much more is done to tackle the root causes of their unhappiness and support their mental health.

“Schools can play an important part in this and that is why we want the Government to make it a requirement for all secondary schools to offer access to a counsellor, regularly monitor children’s well-being and have their mental health provision assessed as part of Ofsted inspections.

Issues like appearance, gender stereotypes and sexuality should be included in the new Relationships and Sex Education curriculum.

However, early support for vulnerable children and families in the community, which can help prevent mental health problems from developing, is also vital, and ministers must urgently address the £2 billion funding shortfall facing council children’s services departments by 2020″.

Former Chief Rabbi Says Jeremy Corbyn Comments are Offensive

Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi from 1991 until 2013, has launched an attack on Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, saying that his comments in 2013 were “the most offensive statement made by a senior British politician since Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech”.

In an interview with New Statesman Magazine, Sacks said:

“We can only judge Jeremy Corbyn by his words and his actions. He has given support to racists, terrorists and dealers of hate who want to kill Jews and remove Israel from the map. When he implies that, however long they have lived here, Jews are not fully British, he is using the language of classic pre-war European anti-Semitism. When challenged with such facts, the evidence for which is before our eyes, first he denies, then he equivocates, then he obfuscates. This is low, dishonest and dangerous. He has legitimised the public expression of hate, and where he leads, others will follow.

Now, within living memory of the Holocaust, and while Jews are being murdered elsewhere in Europe for being Jews, we have an anti-Semite as the leader of the Labour Party and Her Majesty’s Opposition. That is why Jews feel so threatened by Mr Corbyn and those who support him”.

A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn said that “the comments are absurd and offensive”.

Prime Minister Says UK can be Largest G7 Investor in Africa

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has said during a tour to Africa that she wants the UK to be the largest G7 investor in the region. The Prime Minister, who is visiting South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria during her tour, is hoping that new export markets can be opened up for British businesses following the departure from the European Union.

In a speech made in Cape Town the Prime Minister said:

“I can today announce a new ambition: by 2022, I want the UK to be the G7’s number one investor in Africa, with Britain’s private sector companies taking the lead in investing the billions that will see African economies growing by trillions.

We have the tools to do so. The City of London makes the UK the unrivalled global hub for international investment, with more than £8 trillion of assets under management. We are home to cutting-edge science and technology and world-class defence, diplomacy and development. We are a trusted and trustworthy partner: our legal system is second to none, including some of the toughest anti-corruption laws in the world”.

Theresa May Speaks to New Australian Prime Minister

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has today spoken by phone to Scott Morrison, the new Prime Minister of Australia. Morrison, who becomes the country’s 30th Prime Minister, is the leader of the Liberal Party and replaces Malcolm Turnbull.

A spokesperson for Theresa May said:

This morning the Prime Minister spoke to the new Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison.

“Prime Minister May congratulated Prime Minister Morrison on his new role, and they agreed to work together to continue to build on the close partnership between the UK and Australia, particularly on trade and economic issues.

They also discussed the importance of continued close cooperation on foreign and security policy and the Prime Minister thanked Australia for being an important ally in the aftermath of nerve agent use in Salisbury and for their commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

They looked forward to keeping in close touch in the period ahead and meeting in the future.”

Prime Minister Speaks with President Erdogan

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has today spoken by phone to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey. They discussed matters relating to Syria and the Turkish economy.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“This morning the Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with President Erdogan of Turkey.

They discussed a number of their shared priorities. They both expressed their concerns about the escalating military action by the Syrian regime in north-west Syria putting millions of civilians at risk, and the potential for further – illegal – use of chemical weapons.

They discussed the importance of stability in the region, the need to protect civilians and to avoid a deterioration in the humanitarian situation. The Prime Minister reiterated her strong belief that the long-term stability of Syria can only be secured through a political settlement.

They also discussed the Turkish economy and the Prime Minister noted the UK is a major investor and trading partner with Turkey, and wants to see the Turkish economy flourish. The Prime Minister said the UK would welcome a visit from Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister to discuss ways to enhance the trade relationship between Turkey and the UK.”

Benjamin Netanyahu Condemns Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has said that Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, deserves “unequivocal condemnation” after it was confirmed that the Labour leader had attended a memorial service for the terrorists involved in the Munich Games massacre.

Corbyn rejected the criticism and referring to the wreath laid in memory of the terrorists, “I was present when it was laid. I don’t think I was actually involved in it”. He added on Twitter “what deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children”.

Luciana Berger, the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, posted on Twitter:

“Being “present” is the same as being involved. When I attend a memorial, my presence alone, whether I lay a wreath or not, demonstrates my association & support. There can also never be a “fitting memorial” for terrorists. Where is the apology?”

Government Announces Measures to End Homelessness

The Government has today announced a package of policies which aim to end homelessness by 2027 and halve it by 2022. The Government is spending £100 million on the strategy, which will aim to reduce the numbers forced to live on the street, provide help for those living on the street and increase the housing options available to those in need.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said in a statement:

“Nobody should have to sleep rough, and that’s why we must do all we can to help the most vulnerable in our society get the support they need.

But we recognise this is a complex issue – as well as ensuring people have somewhere to live, we have to deal with underlying problems and ultimately help people turn their lives around.

The strategy launched today will help us act to prevent rough sleeping before it happens and make sure targeted support is reaching those that need it”.

John Healey, the Shadow Housing Secretary, criticised the lack of new money, saying that some has already been announced. In a statement he said:

“The Government’s rough sleeping plan has unravelled just hours after it was announced. It’s now clear there is no additional money for the Housing Department to tackle the crisis of rough sleeping. Rough sleeping has more than doubled since 2010 thanks to decisions made by Tory Ministers, but this feeble plan lacks any urgency. The next Labour Government will end rough sleeping within our first term in office, making 8,000 homes available for people with a history of rough sleeping”.

Government Issues Statement on Elections in Zimbabwe

Jeremy Hunt

The European Union Delegation, the Heads of Mission of EU Member States present in Harare (France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) and the Heads of Mission of Canada, Switzerland and the United States of America have joined together to issue a statement on the elections in Zimbabwe.

The text reads:

“The Heads of Mission of the EU, Canada, Switzerland and the United States of America note with grave concern the eruption of violence and occurrence of serious human rights violations following the peaceful election on 30 July 2018. These tragic events stand in sharp contrast to the high hopes and expectations for a peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible election in Zimbabwe.

The Heads of Mission express their condolences to the families of the victims.

The Heads of Mission condemn the violence, attacks, and acts of intimidation targeted at opposition leaders and supporters. These human rights violations have no place in a democratic society and contravene the fundamental tenets of international human rights standards.

The Heads of Mission urge the government to respect the rights of the Zimbabwean people as enshrined in the Constitution. All allegations of incitement to violence or violent acts, as well as vandalism and destruction of property, should be investigated in accordance with the rule of law, and perpetrators held legally responsible.

The Heads of Mission welcome the President’s commitment to establish an independent commission to investigate the violence against civilians and look forward to the commission starting its work as soon as possible and reporting its findings in a transparent manner.

The Heads of Mission call on the Government to ensure that the Zimbabwean Defence Forces act with restraint, in full respect of international human rights norms and their constitutional role.

The Heads of Mission call on all stakeholders to act responsibly, to adhere to the principles of the Peace Pledge, to pursue peaceful and legal resolution of their grievances and to uphold the integrity of the political and electoral process”.

Calls for Boris Johnson to be Suspended from Conservative Party

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has today faced growing calls for Boris Johnson, the former Foreign Secretary, to be suspended from the Conservative Party over a newspaper article which has been called islamophobic.

Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney General, said that he would quit the Conservative Party if Johnson became the party’s leader. Brandon Lewis, the Conservative Party chairman, and Theresa May have both called for Johnson to apologise for his newspaper article, which he has refused to do.

Baroness Warsi, a former Conservative Cabinet Minister, who wrote:

“He set out a liberal position, but he did it in a very “alt-right” way. This allowed him to dog-whistle: to say to particular elements of the party that he’s tough on Muslims. Yet again, he’s trying to have his cake and eat it”.

Brandon Lewis is expected to make a decision later on in the week on what, if any, action should be taken on Johnson.