Prime Minister Meets with Premier Li of China

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has met with Premier Li of China, in a meeting at Brussels. The two discussed the future economic ties between the two countries as well as the currently controversial matter of political activity in Hong Kong.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“The two leaders began by discussing the Prime Minister’s successful visit to China earlier this year, when she had been joined by a UK trade delegation.

They discussed the opportunity to build further upon that visit, and the golden era in UK-China relations. Premier Li said he looked forward to ushering in a diamond era in the relationship.

The Prime Minister updated Premier Li on the Brexit negotiations. She said she looked forward to further strengthening our economic ties with China, including our trade relationship, in the future.

The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s firm commitment to the rules based international system, including the importance of freedom of navigation and maritime security, in line with international law.

On Hong Kong, they agreed on the continued importance of one country, two systems”.

Shock Turnout of Over 650,000 at People’s Vote Rally in London

There has been an unexpectedly high turnout at the People’s Vote Rally in London today, which was initially expected to be attended by around 100,000 people. Estimates from the organisers suggest that the number of attendees is over 650,000 people, many of which are younger voters. A rival Leave Means Leave rally is though to have been attended by just over 1,200 people.

Lord Adonis, a Labour Peer, said:

“This week’s fresh chaos and confusion over Brexit negotiations has exposed how even the best deal now available will be a bad one for Britain”.

Chuka Umunna, the Labour MP for Streatham, said:

“Absolutely fantastic to see such huge numbers at the People’s Vote March. The rally in Parliament Square starting shortly!”

The Prime Minister has yet to comment on the rally.

Prime Ministers Speaks to Business Leaders on Brexit

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has met with 130 business leaders to put forwards her vision for Brexit. She discussed the progress which had been made in the negotiations and accepted that there were still numerous areas where agreement hadn’t been reached.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“First, she recognised the importance of these discussions for businesses, their supply chains and clients. She outlined that the Government’s proposed future relationship with the EU would preserve the UK’s and EU’s frictionless access to each other’s markets for goods, protecting jobs and livelihoods on both sides.

She set out the significant progress that has been made on the Withdrawal Agreement and on our future relationship with the EU. She acknowledged that there were a few significant issues that were still outstanding, but said that the very real sense she had from leaders around the table at the Council was that they wanted to reach a deal as soon as possible this autumn.

Second, the Prime Minister spoke about the Northern Irish backstop, which is intended to guarantee that – in the unlikely event that there is a delay in bringing into effect our future relationship by the end of the implementation period at the end of December 2020 – there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. If required, this would therefore only be necessary for a temporary period to act as a bridge to the future relationship.

The Prime Minister explained that the UK could not accept the EU’s proposal which included an arrangement in which Northern Ireland could be kept in a separate customs territory to the rest of the UK. She advised that our proposal included a UK-wide joint customs territory with the EU for the duration of the backstop, which would protect the integrity of the UK and deliver on the commitment to avoid a hard border with Ireland. She emphasised that both sides wanted to have our future relationship in place by the end of December 2020 so that the backstop never needed to be used, but that the negotiating teams would work intensively on this to find a way forward.

Finally, she urged businesses not to lose sight of the prize – that of a smooth trading relationship with the EU alongside the ability to seek new opportunities and open up new markets with trading partners around the world.

The Prime Minister took questions from businesses and representative bodies (Centrica, EY, Diageo, Enterprise Nation, RBS, Federation of Small Businesses, ITV, Aston Martin, Barratt Developments and Tesco) on topics such as the importance of frictionless trade, the implementation period and opportunities for the future.

A number of businesses thanked the Prime Minister for the opportunity to speak with her directly on the Brexit negotiations”.

Jeremy Corbyn Pays Tribute to Fire Brigades Union

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has paid tribute to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) on its one hundredth anniversary. Speaking at an event to mark the anniversary, Corbyn commended the work that the union had done to improve standards.

Corbyn said:

“I pay tribute to the Fire Brigades Union on its 100th anniversary, and I am proud to be attending the Centenary Service to celebrate the work, bravery and sacrifice of firefighters across the UK. We are all much safer today because of our firefighters’ tireless work over that hundred years.

The FBU’s outstanding record underlines the vital role of trade unions in standing up for workers and changing the lives of millions of people for the better.

The FBU has been at the heart of the Labour Party as an affiliate for most of its existence and a key part of the labour movement.

I am proud to lead a Labour Party that is supported by the FBU and its members campaigning for worker’s rights, social justice and defending our public services.

We all know that you cannot keep the public safe on the cheap. As we pay tribute to the work that our firefighters do in keeping us all safe, we must make sure that debt is repaid – so that the fire service is funded properly and that these brave and dedicated public service workers are treated with the respect they deserve.

Firefighters have lost faith in this Tory government. Tory austerity is putting the public at risk and damaging an essential professional public service.

Firefighters dealt with more incidents, more fires and saw more fire deaths last year than for most of the last decade in England, yet the Tories continue to starve fire authorities of the central funding necessary to keep the public safe.

Cuts have consequences, and we cannot afford to cut these vital public services. Since 2010, one-in-five firefighter jobs have been cut. In England, that is almost 9,000 frontline firefighter jobs. That means fewer firefighters at the early stages of incidents, slower response times and greater risk to the public.

These dreadful figures confirm firefighters’ worst fears. Austerity is putting public safety at risk.”

Matt Wrack, the General Secretary of the FBU, said at the event:

“This is a once in a generation event, the largest of its kind, which will celebrate the fire and rescue service, our union and commemorate the friends we have lost along the way.

When our union was first formed firefighters lived on stations, had the most basic protective equipment and were paid less than unskilled labourers. Today’s fire service is far from perfect but the improvements we have seen are the result of campaigns run by our members over 100 years.

In our centenary year, we have been celebrating the work of firefighters who have shaped the modern fire and rescue service and improved the safety of our communities. Reflecting on the experiences of our proud past can guide us in strengthening our union for the future.”

Theresa May Meets Guy Verhofstadt in Downing Street

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has today met with Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s representative for Brexit, in Downing Street. They discussed the progress being made on Brexit, and also the rights of UK citizens in the EU.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“The Prime Minister gave an update on the negotiations, and on the commitment she gave on Friday to guarantee the rights of the three million EU citizens in the UK in the unlikely event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. She thanked Guy Verhofstadt for his efforts to engage Member States on the rights of British nationals living in the EU.

They discussed the two key outstanding issues in the negotiations: the future economic partnership and the Northern Ireland backstop. The Prime Minister underlined the need to ensure frictionless trade between the EU and the UK as part of the future relationship in order to find a solution to the Northern Ireland border and maintain the constitutional integrity of the UK. They both agreed that the best solution to the Northern Ireland border would be found through the future relationship.

The Prime Minister confirmed that the government would also bring forward further proposals on the Northern Ireland backstop. They agreed on the need to resolve these ongoing issues in a timely fashion so that the agreements could be discussed and ratified by UK and European Parliaments”.

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”.