Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, Condemns “Barbaric Attack” in Manchester

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has issued a statement following the terrorist attack in Manchester last night. She said:

“I know that some people will only just be waking up to the news of the horrific attacks in Manchester last night.

This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and the victims who have been affected, and I know the whole country will share that view.

I’d like to pay tribute to the emergency services who have worked throughout the night professionally and effectively – they have done an excellent job.

Later on this morning, I will be attending COBRa, chaired by the Prime Minister, to collect more information – to find out more – about this particular attack, and I can’t comment any more on that at the moment.

The public should remain alert but not alarmed. If they have anything to report, they should approach the police. But I have two further things to add.

The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued.

This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society – its intention was to sow fear – its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed”.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, said on Twitter:

“Terrible incident in Manchester. My thoughts are with all those affected and our brilliant emergency services”.

Tim Farron, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

“My deepest sympathies are with the victims, and with families who have lost loved ones, as well as those desperately waiting for news. I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the emergency services.

This is an attack on innocent people and the nation is united both in its grief and its determination to stand up to this deplorable attack”.

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, said:

“Heartbreaking news from Manchester. My thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones or been injured in this barbaric attack”.

Labour Announce that Student Fees Would be Scrapped Immediately

The Labour Party has confirmed that student fees would be scrapped immediately so that those entering university this year wouldn’t have to pay the tuition charges. The party also confirmed that students already part-way through their courses wouldn’t have to pay for any future years.

Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, said in a statement:

“You’ve got young people, regardless of their wealth, that are leaving university after working hard, they’ve finally got their degrees, they’re going into their job for the first time, junior doctors etcetera, and they’re saddled with debt for years and years”.

Nick Clegg, the former Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister, said:

“Let’s be very clear what this is for – it is to relieve graduates in the future of the need to make any contribution to their university education while, and here is the odd choice, not reversing a lot of the very punitive and aggressive benefit cuts which will affect some of the poorest in the country. If the choice is between the poorest and some of the richest graduates of the future, I would choose helping the poorest”.

Theresa May Makes Statement Following Resignation of Enda Kenny

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has issued a statement following the resignation of Enda Kenny, the leader of the Irish party Fine Gael. Kenny has been the Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, of Ireland since 2011 and will stand down from that position when a successor is found.

May said:

“Enda has been a strong and consistent friend to the UK and I want to thank him for all he has done to maintain the unique and close spirit of cooperation between our two nations, which has gone from strength to strength during his time as Taoiseach.

On behalf of the UK, I wish him all the very best for the future and look forward to working with his successor, when in place”.

Rhodri Morgan, former Welsh First Minister, Has Died at the Age of 77

Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister of Wales from 2000 until 2009, has died at the age of 77. The Labour politician had also been the MP for Cardiff West from 1987 and 2001 and member of the Welsh Assembly from 1999 until 2011.

Carwyn Jones, the current Welsh First Minister, said:

“Wales hasn’t just lost a great politician, we’ve lost a real father figure. In very many ways Rhodri wasn’t like other politicians, and that is why people warmed to him, trusted him and felt like they knew him so well. He was funny, clever, engaging on almost any topic and absolutely passionate about all things Welsh.

I owe him a great deal, just as we all do in Welsh Labour. He did so much to fight for, and then establish devolution in the hearts and minds of the public in our country”.

Tony Blair, the Prime Minister from 1997 until 2007, said in a statement:

“Rhodri was great company, a fund of marvellous stories and a shrewd and immensely capable politician”.

Parties have stopped campaigning today in Wales as a mark of respect to Morgan. He leaves a wife, Julie who was also a Labour MP, and three children.

Len McCluskey, leader of Unite Trade Union, Says Labour Can Win General Election

Len McCluskey, the leader of the Unite trade union, has said that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party can win the 2017 General Election. His comments came after he was quoted in Politico Magazine as saying that Labour winning 200 seats would be a success. He said:

“I believe that if Labour can hold on to 200 seats or so it will have been a successful campaign. It will mean that Theresa May will have had an election, will have increased her majority, but not dramatically”.

McCluskey distanced himself from the comments attributed to him, saying:

“My comments were part of a conversational piece, which have been slightly taken out of context because it was done on the basis of ‘if the polls are to be believed’”.

Liberal Democrat Manifesto Pledges Vote to Stay in the European Union

The Liberal Democratic party manifesto features a pledge to offer a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. A spokesman for the party said:

“This is the only manifesto that is based on the premise that we can remain in the European Union, we can remain in the single market and can have all the benefits for the future generations that entails”.

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, said:

“This momentous new manifesto sets out our hopes and plans for an open, tolerant and united country. From defending our place in Europe, to protecting universal human rights, to building a greener economy, it encapsulates our positive vision for the future”.

He added:

“At this historic moment, nothing is more important to us. A bad Brexit deal, with Britain outside the Single Market, will wreck our children’s future. It will wreak havoc on our economy, our schools and our hospitals. It will turn Britain into a regressive, isolated and inconsequential nation.

That’s why today, we are committing to giving you the final say – via a referendum – on the Brexit deal. And if you don’t like the terms? You should have the choice to reject the deal and remain in Europe. This is a democracy, after all”.

Government Welcomes Democratic Progress in Macedonia

The Foreign Office has welcomed steps towards democracy in Macedonia, following a delay in forming a Government in the country. Early elections took place in December 2016, but progress had since been stalled.

Sir Alan Duncan, the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, said in a statement:

“I welcome the decision of President Ivanov to allow the parliamentary majority led by Mr. Zaev to form a government. This is an important step forward.

The UK calls on all political leaders to work together constructively and in the interests of Macedonia and all its citizens. We stand ready to support those efforts and to support Macedonia in its EU and NATO ambitions”.

Labour MP Chi Onwurah Criticised for Prince Philip Tweet

Chi Onwurah, the Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, has been criticised for her reaction to Prince Philip’s withdrawal from public life. Onwurah, the Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, wrote on Twitter:

Nadhim Zahawi, the Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon, criticised the Tweet saying:

“That is shameful & wrong. I am truly shocked by your comments. The Royal family should be kept out of politics. I hope you will apologise”.

Boris Johnson Confirms that Britain May Join Future US Military Campaigns in Syria

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has repeated that Britain may support future US military campaigns in Syria. The US launched a missile attack in early April 2017 in response to a chemical weapons attack, with future attacks remaining possible.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme Johnson said:

“I think it would be very difficult if the US has a proposal to have some sort of action in response to a chemical weapons attack. If they come to us and ask for our support – whether it’s with submarine-based cruise missiles in the Med… in my view – and I know it’s also the view of the Prime Minister, it would be difficult for us to say no”.

David Ward Sacked as Liberal Democrat Candidate for Bradford East

David Ward has been told by Tim Farron, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, that he cannot stand as the party’s candidate for Bradford East at the 2017 General Election. Ward had been the MP for the constituency from 2010 until 2015, but had become embroiled in allegations of anti-semitism.

When Ward’s candidacy was announced, Farron expressed his concern but initially didn’t block the decision of the local association. Following increased opposition, including from Theresa May and Eric Pickles at Prime Minister’s Question Time, the party decided to take action.

Farron said in a statement:

“I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him”.

Ward defended himself against the allegations, saying:

“The antisemitic thing is a nonsense. It is just used, it’s a well-known tactic. How do you avoid conversation or any criticism about Israel? Just say people are antisemitic. I am certainly not antisemitic”.

Labour’s Imran Hussein won the constituency, beating Ward, in 2015 with a majority of 7,084.