Serious Allegations Made Against Kate Osamor

The Times newspaper has alleged that Kate Osamor, the Shadow Secretary for International Development, has threatened one of their journalists with physical violence. Osamor threw water over the journalist, who was attempting to ask the shadow Minister about her son who has pleaded guilty to serious drugs offences. The Times also alleged that the Shadow Minister said that she “should have come down here with a bat and smashed your face in” to the journalist.

Osamor left the Labour front bench after the allegations were made, with the Shadow Minister refusing to deny the Times article.

Michelle Stanistreet, the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said in a statement:

“Journalists, like any other workers, need to be able to go about their work without fear of threats or assault. It’s completely unacceptable to respond to legitimate press queries, however unwelcome they may be, with physical or verbal abuse.

There is a disturbing and febrile international climate at the moment that is facilitating and legitimising the notion that it is open season on journalists – such insidious and dangerous beliefs, particularly when they emanate from public figures in positions of authority, have to be challenged at every turn.”

John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor, Says that a Second Referendum May be Inevitable

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, has said in an interview with the BBC that a second vote on Brexit may now be “inevitable”. He said that the Labour Party would prefer a General Election, but said that in the event that the party couldn’t force an election, they would likely be in favour of a second referendum to clear the deadlock.

McDonnell said that he would vote to remain in any second vote, but that he didn’t feel that the outcome would be inevitable. He said to the BBC:

“So, the caution for them and for all of us, whichever argument you put, is the people will decide. As we saw in the last referendum, it’s very difficult to predict which way the people will decide on this. I’ve seen a lot of polls that have said there has been a shift from Leave to Remain. I’ve also seen other polls saying actually we’re just about the same as we were then”.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, criticised the plan saying that a second vote by the British electorate was “an attempt to overthrow the will of the people”.

Prime Minister Visits Scotland to Promote Brexit Deal

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has travelled to Scotland in a bid to promote her Brexit deal to the people. The visit is a part of a tour around the country to try and raise awareness of the deal and to explain the benefits and issues with it.

The Prime Minister said in a statement:

“It is a deal that is good for Scottish employers and which will protect jobs. It includes a new free trade area with no tariffs, fees, quantitative restrictions or rules of origin checks—an unprecedented economic relationship that no other major economy has.

At the same time, we will be free to strike our own trade deals around the world – providing even greater opportunity to Scottish exporters. I welcome the strong support which employers have given to the deal and the certainty which it provides.

Crucially, the deal also ensures that we will leave EU programmes that do not work in our interests. So we will be out of the common agricultural policy, which has failed our farmers, and out of the common fisheries policy, which has so tragically failed Scotland’s coastal communities.

At long last, we will be “an independent coastal state” again – taking back full sovereign control over our waters, and free to decide for ourselves who we allow to fish in our waters.

The EU maintained throughout the negotiation process that it wanted to link overall access to markets to access to fisheries. It failed in the withdrawal agreement and it failed again in the political declaration.

I have been robust in defending the interests of Scottish fisherman so far- and I will always be so”.

UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation Releases Clips to Mark Kristallnacht

UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation has released clips to commemorate the eightieth anniversary of Kristallnacht. This was a state sponsored attack on Jewish businesses and communities, with many shops being damaged and destroyed. 30,000 Jews were also arrested on the same weekend and imprisoned in numerous concentration camps.

Ed Balls, the former Shadow Chancellor and the co-chairman of the Foundation said in a statement:

“Kristallnacht was a moment where prejudice turned into violence, and it is right 80 years on, that we examine this vicious escalation of the Nazi campaign against Jewish communities in Europe. By understanding the steps that lead up to the Holocaust, we are can remain vigilant to any attempt to create divisions and stir up hate in our society today”.

Lord Pickles, the former Communities Secretary and the co-chairman of the Foundation, added in a statement:

“The Foundation was set up to increase the visibility and scope of Holocaust education in the United Kingdom, securing the legacy of the British Holocaust survivors who have dedicated their lives to educating the future generation on where prejudice, intolerance and hatred can lead.

Our hope is that the short film released today, with moving testimony from men and women who recall the impact of Kristallnacht on their own communities, is a small step in achieving these aims”.

Jo Johnson Resigns From Government Over Brexit

Jo Johnson, the Minister of State for Transport, has resigned from the Government over Brexit, calling for a second referendum. He said that it wouldn’t be a second vote, but a vote on whether to accept whatever deal is achieved.

Johnson said in a statement:

“Brexit has divided the country. It has divided political parties. And it has divided families too. Although I voted Remain, I have desperately wanted the Government, in which I have been proud to serve, to make a success of Brexit: to reunite our country, our party and, yes, my family too. At times, I believed this was possible. That’s why I voted to start the Article 50 process and for two years have backed the Prime Minister in her efforts to secure the best deal for the country. But it has become increasingly clear to me that the Withdrawal Agreement, which is being finalised in Brussels and Whitehall even as I write, will be a terrible mistake.

Indeed, the choice being presented to the British people is no choice at all. The first option is the one the Government is proposing: an agreement that will leave our country economically weakened, with no say in the EU rules it must follow and years of uncertainty for business. The second option is a “no deal” Brexit that I know as a Transport Minister will inflict untold damage on our nation. To present the nation with a choice between two deeply unattractive outcomes, vassalage and chaos, is a failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis. My constituents in Orpington deserve better than this from their Government.

What is now being proposed won’t be anything like what was promised two years ago.

Hopes for “the easiest trade deal in history” have proved to be delusions. Contrary to promises, there is in fact no deal at all on our future trading relationship with the EU which the government can present to the country. Still less anything that offers the “exact same benefits” as the Single Market, as David Davis promised, or the “precise guarantees of frictionless trade” that the Prime Minister assured us would be available. All that is now being finalised is the agreement to pay the EU tens of billions of pounds. All that may be on offer on trade is the potential for an agreement to stay in a temporary customs arrangement while we discuss the possibility of an EU trade deal that all experience shows will take many years to negotiate.

Even if we eventually secure a customs arrangement for trade in goods, it will be bad news for the service sector — for firms in finance, in IT, in communications and digital technology. Maintaining access to EU markets for goods is important, but we are fundamentally a services economy. Many in Orpington, for example, are among the two million Britons employed in financial services, commuting into the centre of London to jobs of all kinds in the City. Countries across the world go to great lengths to attract financial and professional services jobs from our shores. An agreement that sharply reduces access to EU markets for financial services — or leaves us vulnerable to regulatory change over which we will have no influence — will hurt my constituents and damage one of our most successful sectors.

While we wait to negotiate trading terms, the rules of the game will be set solely by the EU. Britain will lose its seat at the table and its ability to amend or vote down rules it opposes. Instead of Britain “taking back control”, we will cede control to other European countries. This democratic deficit inherent in the Prime Minister’s proposal is a travesty of Brexit. When we were told Brexit meant taking back powers for Parliament, no one told my constituents this meant the French parliament and the German parliament, not our own. In these circumstances, we must ask what we are achieving. William Hague once described the goal of Conservative policy as being “in Europe, but not run by Europe”. The government’s proposals will see us out of Europe, yet run by Europe, bound by rules which we will have lost a hand in shaping.

Worse still, there is no real clarity about how this situation will ever end. The proposed Withdrawal Agreement parks many of the biggest issues about our future relationship with Europe into a boundless transitionary period. This is a con on the British people: there is no evidence that the kind of Brexit that we’ve failed to negotiate while we are still members can be magically agreed once the UK has lost its seat at the table. The leverage we have as a full member of the EU will have gone. We will be in a far worse negotiating position than we are today. And we will have still failed to resolve the fundamental questions that are ramping up uncertainties for businesses and stopping them investing for the future.

My brother Boris, who led the leave campaign, is as unhappy with the Government’s proposals as I am. Indeed he recently observed that the proposed arrangements were “substantially worse than staying in the EU”. On that he is unquestionably right. If these negotiations have achieved little else, they have at least united us in fraternal dismay.

The argument that the government will present for the Withdrawal Agreement ‘deal’ is not that it is better for Britain than our current membership. The Prime Minister knows that she cannot honestly make the claim that the deal is an improvement on Britain’s current arrangements with the EU and, to her credit, refuses to do so. The only case she can try to make is that it is better than the alternative of leaving the EU with no deal at all.

Certainly, I know from my own work at the Department of Transport the potential chaos that will follow a “no deal” Brexit. It will cause disruption, delay and deep damage to our economy. There are real questions about how we will be able to guarantee access to fresh food and medicine if the crucial Dover-Calais trade route is clogged up. The government may have to take control of prioritising which lorries and which goods are allowed in and out of the country, an extraordinary and surely unworkable intervention for a government in an advanced capitalist economy. The prospect of Kent becoming the Lorry Park of England is very real in a no deal scenario. Orpington residents bordering Kent face disruption from plans to use the nearby M26, connecting the M25 to the M20, as an additional queuing area for heavy goods vehicles backed up all the way from the channel ports. This prospect alone would be a resigning matter for me as a constituency MP, but it is just a facet of a far greater problem facing the nation.

Yet for all its challenges and for all the real pain it would cause us as we adapt to new barriers to trade with our biggest market, we can ultimately survive these difficulties. I believe it would be a grave mistake for the government to ram through this deal by once again unleashing Project Fear. A “no deal” outcome of this sort may well be better than the never ending purgatory the Prime Minister is offering the country. But my message to my brother and to all Leave campaigners is that inflicting such serious economic and political harm on the country will leave an indelible impression of incompetence in the minds of the public. It cannot be what you wanted nor did the 2016 referendum provide any mandate for it.

Given that the reality of Brexit has turned out to be so far from what was once promised, the democratic thing to do is to give the public the final say. This would not be about re-running the 2016 referendum, but about asking people whether they want to go ahead with Brexit now that we know the deal that is actually available to us, whether we should leave without any deal at all or whether people on balance would rather stick with the deal we already have inside the European Union.

To those who say that is an affront to democracy given the 2016 result, I ask this. Is it more democratic to rely on a three year old vote based on what an idealised Brexit might offer, or to have a vote based on what we know it does actually entail?

A majority of Orpington voters chose to leave the EU in 2016 and many of the close friends I have there, among them hard-working local Conservative Party members, are passionately pro-Brexit. I respect their position. But I know from meetings I have had with local members that many are as dismayed as me by the course of negotiations and about the actual choice now on offer. Two and a half years on, the practical Brexit options are now clear and the public should be asked to choose between the different paths facing our country: we will all have different positions on that choice, but I think many in my local party, in the Orpington constituency and around the country would welcome having the last word on the Government’s Brexit proposals.

Britain stands on the brink of the greatest crisis since the Second World War. My loyalty to my party is undimmed. I have never rebelled on any issue before now. But my duty to my constituents and our great nation has forced me to act. I have today written to the Prime Minister asking her to accept my resignation from the Government. It is now my intention to vote against this Withdrawal Agreement. I reject this false choice between the PM’s deal and “no deal” chaos. On this most crucial of questions, I believe it is entirely right to go back to the people and ask them to confirm their decision to leave the EU and, if they choose to do that, to give them the final say on whether we leave with the Prime Minister’s deal or without it.

To do anything less will do grave damage to our democracy”.

Labour Warn of Poor NHS Figures in Accident and Emergency

Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has warned the Government following the release of NHS statistics which showed worsening figures in Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments.

Ashworth said in a statement:

“Today’s figures reveal an NHS under continued, intense pressure with dismal consequences for patients. We are heading into winter on the back of the worst October on record for A&E and 12 hour waits for hospital admission from the summer onwards being around twice as high as 2017.

What’s more, with over 550,000 patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for treatment, often in pain and distress, ministers cannot continue ducking their responsibilities towards bringing constitutional waiting time standards back under control.

There wasn’t a penny extra for hospitals this winter in the Budget, yet ministers are quickly ratcheting up uncosted promises from the NHS budget over the next five years.

Patients waiting longer and longer in pain for treatment want action now and will expect the Secretary of State to outline a plan to reduce waiting lists and ensure the four hour target is met.”

Prime Minister Pays Respect to War Dead in Belgium and France

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has paid respects on behalf of the nation to those who died in Belgium and France during the First World War. She attended ceremonies with Emmanuel Macron, the French President, and Charles Michel, the Belgian Prime Minister, to mark the event. She also laid wreaths at the graves of John Parr and George Ellison, the first and last soldiers to die in the conflict.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“A century ago British forces fought side by side with our allies in Europe on the Western Front. Today in France and Belgium we reflect on our shared history, but also look ahead to our shared future, built on peace, prosperity and friendship.

At St Symphorien I will have the honour of laying a wreath on behalf of a nation at the graves of both John Parr and George Ellison, the first and last UK soldiers to die during the War. That their graves lie opposite each other is a fitting and poignant symbol that brings home the eternal bond between them, and every member of the Armed Forces who gave their lives to protect what we hold so dear.

We remember the heroes who lost their lives in the horror of the trenches. As the sun sets on one hundred years of remembrance, we will never forget their sacrifice”.

Emily Dawes, Student Union President at Southampton, Calls for War Memorial to be Painted Over

Emily Dawes, the President of Southampton Students’ Union, has said that a war memorial at the university should be painted over. The memorial was painted in 1916 and is a tribute to those who died in the First World War and never received their university degree. Dawes threatened to paint the memorial over herself if the university didn’t agree to do so.

After a series of Twitter posts asking Dawes to reconsider her position to avoid causing offense to those who died in the war, she posted on Twitter:

“As white people, we are so so ignorant and closed minded without even realising it”.

The University of Southampton rejected the President’s comments and said in a statement:

“The comments made by the Students’ Union President regarding the Rothenstein Mural are not shared by the University of Southampton and do not represent the views of the University community”.

The Students’ Union also distanced themselves from the comments made by President, saying in a statement:

“This does not follow our mission or values”.

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”.