Andrea Leadsom Resigns From Cabinet Over Brexit

Andrea Leadsom

Andrea Leadsom has resigned from her Cabinet position as the Leader of the House of Commons, saying that she can no longer support the Government’s Brexit position.

In a letter to Theresa May, the Prime Minister, she wrote:

“I stayed in cabinet to shape and fight for Brexit. There have been some uncomfortable compromises along the way, but you have had my determined support and loyalty in your efforts to deliver Brexit as our shared goal. I no longer believe that our approach will deliver on the referendum result.”

Michael Heseltine Suspended from Conservative Party

Michael Heseltine, the former Deputy Prime Minister, has been suspended from the Conservative Party following his comments that he intended to vote Liberal Democrat in this week’s European elections. A spokesperson for the Conservative Party said that the whip was being withdrawn because Heseltine was endorsing another political party.

Heseltine said in a statement to Sky News:

“They can take away the whip but they cannot take away my integrity, my convictions or my experience. I am a Conservative.”

British Government Appoints Roving Human Rights Ambassador

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has confirmed the appointment of Rita French as the country’s first roving Human Rights Ambassador. The new ambassador will help lead efforts to improve human rights across the world.

Hunt said in a statement:

“As the UK enters a new chapter in its history I will work to ensure that our values are at the heart of all we do. Ambassador French’s new role will be central to our work in defending human rights across the globe. Standing up for human rights is not only the right thing – it helps to create a stable, more prosperous world.”

French said in a statement:

“Human rights are the essential foundations for a fair, open and transparent society. It is tragic that in too many countries these rights are violated and abused. I will speak up for human rights, providing a voice on the international stage for those who are not being represented. I also wish to form stronger partnerships with States, supporting their efforts to fulfil their human rights obligations.”

Boris Johnson Confirms He Will Stand in Tory Leadership Contest

Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary, has confirmed that he will stand in the next contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party. The news comes amid rumours that Theresa May, the Prime Minister, is expected to soon announce the date of her departure.

Asked at the BIBA conference in Manchester whether he’d stand, Johnson said:

“I’m going to go for it. Of course I’m going to go for it. I don’t think that is any particular secret to anybody. But you know, there is no vacancy at present.”

He added:

“There’s no vacancy. On the other hand, what I will say is that there has been a real lack of grip and dynamism in the way we’ve approached these talks.

We’ve failed over the past three years to put forward a convincing narrative about how we exploit the opportunities of Brexit. All I can say, as tactfully and usefully as I can, is that I have a boundless appetite to try to get it right, and to help the country to get on the right path.”

British Government Condemns North Korean Missile Launch

The British Government has condemned a missile launch made this week by North Korea. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, also condemned the launch and said that “nobody’s happy about it”.

A statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:

“The UK regrets North Korea’s decision to carry out further short range ballistic missile launches. As we have made clear, we fully support the US in its efforts to achieve North Korea’s denuclearisation through negotiations.

Until North Korea abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in accordance with the Resolutions passed by the UN Security Council, sanctions must remain in place and be fully enforced.”

Simon Armitage Confirmed as New Poet Laureate

Simon Armitage has been confirmed as the new Poet Laureate, a role he will hold for ten years after succeeding Carol Duffy who has held the role for the last decade. He will be the 21st holder of the role, with John Dryden being the first Poet Laureate who was appointed in 1668 by King Charles II.

Armitage said in a statement:

“It’s a huge honour to be appointed Poet Laureate, one of the great high offices of literature. Over the past two decades the laureateship has become a working role, with previous laureates actively involved in the promotion of poetry and in numerous initiatives to identify and encourage talent, especially within education and among younger writers; I hope to build on the work of my predecessors with energy and enthusiasm.

Since the laureateship was first conceived many hundreds of years ago Britain has changed enormously and the position of Poet Laureate has changed accordingly – I want to celebrate and speak on behalf of the variety of voices who contribute to the rich chorus of British poetry from a wide range of personal, literary and cultural experiences, and to help poetry explore its potential in a multi-faceted, multi-vocal and multi-media age.

The poetry of these islands is one of our greatest achievements, and as well as being proud of its traditions I want poetry to feel confident and at home in the contemporary world and to demonstrate that in a hectic and sometimes frenetic age the combination of considered thought and crafted language is more relevant and vital than ever. I hope poets, readers and audiences will support me in my efforts.”

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

“I’m delighted Simon Armitage has been appointed the UK’s new Poet Laureate. As one of our most popular and respected poets, Simon brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this important role. He is well placed to attract even more people into the literary world, and further enhance our nation’s proud tradition of producing exceptional poetry.

I would also like to thank Dame Carol Ann Duffy for her work over the last decade – championing literature, showcasing other poets’ contributions, and marking significant national moments through her outstanding poetry.”

British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Meet with Libyan Prime Minister

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, and Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, have today met with Fayez Al-Serraj, the Prime Minister of Libya. There were discussions about the humanitarian situation in Libya and Al-Serraj called for more help with dealing with the ongoing crisis.

Jeremy Hunt said in a statement:

“The UK government shares Prime Minister Serraj’s grave concern at the situation across Libya, where the security and humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. Recent violence has caused the displacement of thousands of people and blocked emergency aid to casualties, including civilians. It is imperative that all parties respect International Humanitarian Law.

In our discussions today, we called on Prime Minister Serraj to encourage all sides to commit to a ceasefire, secure humanitarian access for those desperately in need and return to UN-led political negotiations. We’ve been clear that there can be no military solution in Libya – diplomacy is the only way to bring this bloodshed and uncertainty to a close.”

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Admits Withholding Information

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has admitted that it has sought to withhold information from the public for fear of embarrassing MPs. The Daily Telegraph used the legal system to force IPSA to release the information in a move which is expected to undermine trust in the organisation which was set up to open up the expenses system.

IPSA deliberately withheld the information that hundreds of MPs have had credit cards suspended, including members of the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet.

HMRC Agrees to Delete Five Million Voice Records After Breaching GDPR

HMRC has agreed to delete five million voice records after breaching the GDPR by failing to gain explicit agreement from callers to keep their recordings.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said in a statement:

“Innovative digital services help make our lives easier but it must not be at the expense of people’s fundamental right to privacy”.

HMRC said in a statement:

“I have informed ICO that we have already started to delete all records where we do not hold explicit consent and will complete that work well before ICO’s 5 June 2019 deadline. These total around 5 million customers who enrolled in the Voice ID service before October 2018 and have not called us or used the service since to reconfirm their consent.”

The Voice ID project is continuing and the ICO has confirmed that no fine will be issued to HMRC as long as the records are deleted.

Disgraced Fiona Onasanya Loses Recall Petition

Fiona Onasanya, the disgraced former Labour MP for Peterborough, has been ousted in a recall petition by constituents. It is the first time that the recall petition has lead to the removal of an MP since the process was introduced by David Cameron in 2015.

19,261 constituents in Peterborough signed the petition for her to be removed as their MP, representing 27.6% of eligible residents which was far beyond the 10% required.

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said in a statement:

“Fiona Onasanya is no longer the member for Peterborough and the seat is accordingly vacant. She can therefore no longer participate in any parliamentary proceedings as a member of parliament.”

Onasanya has confirmed that she will be not be standing in the by-election, posting on Twitter:

“In light of the recall result, I will not be seeking to stand in the by-election, but would encourage every person seeking to be the change they wish to see by saying this: You can do it – the sky is not the limit when there are footsteps on the moon.”