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.

Sir Peter Luff, former Conservative Minister, Reveals that he has Alzheimer’s

Sir Peter Luff, the former Conservative MP for Mid Worcestershire and a former Defence Minister, has revealed that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Luff served as the MP for Worcester from 1992 until 1997 and as the MP for Mid Worcestershire from 1997 until he stood down in 2015.

Luff said that “life goes pretty much as normal and I’m prepared for a different future”, but he wanted to draw awareness to the illness. He added that it had taken a long time for a diagnosis to be reached and recommended that others with concerns should visit their GP.

 

Foreign Office Issues Concern about Elections in Cambodia

Mark Field, the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, has said that the Foreign Office is concerned about the recent elections which have been held in Cambodia. The elections were held on 29 July 2018 and there was a landslide victory for the governing party, the Cambodian People’s Party.

In a statement, Field said:

“The Cambodian national election was undermined by the authorities well before campaigning started and resulted in an election that was neither fair nor credible.

The potential for a legitimate, free and fair election was stymied when the main opposition party – the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was dissolved in November 2017. This was particularly disappointing following the more open Commune elections in June 2017.

The Cambodian authorities have demonstrated clear disregard for the key tenets of a functioning multi-party democracy. As well as the dissolution of the CNRP, examples include the imprisonment of CNRP President Kem Sokha, the banning of 118 CNRP members from politics for five years, and a crackdown on independent media.

There was no credible opposition party with the opportunity to challenge the Government. In a democracy, no government has the right to choose its opposition.

The UK will continue to urge the Cambodian Government to demonstrate its commitment to its citizens by lifting restrictions on political debate and media freedom and by creating the conditions for proper functioning democracy”.

Calls for Labour NEC Member Peter Willsman to Resign

There have been calls today for the resignation of Peter Willsman, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Willsman, an ally of the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn, questioned whether claims of anti-semitism in the party actually existed. The recording was made privately and Willsman made an apology after being confronted with the audio.

Willsman said in a statement:

“Not all of what I said has been accurately reported. But I accept that what I did say, and the way I said it, fell short of the requirement, which I accept, for discussions of contentious issues to be conducted in a fully civil and respectful way. I deeply apologise for any offence caused to those present and those to whom my remarks were reported”.

Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, condemned Willsman and said on Twitter:

“For the avoidance of doubt: Peter Willsman is and always has been a loud mouthed bully. He disgusts me”.

Jennie Formby, the General Secretary of the Labour Party, has also been questioned as to whether she intervened following Willsman’s comments. The President of the Jewish Board of Deputies said on Twitter:

“Was Jennie Formby there to hear what was said? If yes, why did she let Willsman off so lightly?”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party, has yet to comment.

Prime Minister Welcomes British Divers to Downing Street

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has welcomed British divers to Downing Street who were involved in the rescue of Thai boys who got trapped in caves. May hosted a reception at Downing Street for the divers which was also attended by Pisanu Suvanajata, the Thai Ambassador.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Downing Street today. This was an amazing rescue mission. On hearing about the boys who were trapped most people would have just stood by but you chose to go out there and do something about it.

The eyes of the world were on you and I think I can speak for everyone when I say a huge thank you. John [Volanthen] you have said that you’re not heroes…well to most of us you are. Sadly we know that a Thai diver, Saman Kunan, died during this mission. He lost his life saving the lives of others – a danger you also faced.

The Thai PM has written to me to say thank you for the fantastic job you did and I know that everyone in this country would agree. We are all very proud of you”.

UK Government Support US Declaration Condemning the Annexation of the Crimea

The British Government has said that it will back the US Government’s declaration which condemned the Russian annexation of the Crimea.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said:

“The UK echoes the United States’ firm statement of opposition to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. The UK position is clear: we condemn Russia’s continued breach of international law; Crimea is Ukrainian territory. We remain fully committed to upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

The UK also remains deeply concerned by the human rights situation in Crimea, where we have seen the systematic persecution of minority groups and of those who voice their opposition to Russia’s illegal annexation of the territory. We call again for Russia to release all Ukrainian political prisoners held in Crimea and in Russia, and to allow unrestrained access for international human rights monitoring bodies to the peninsula”.

Labour MP Fiona Onasanya Charged with Perverting the Course of Justice

Fiona Onasanya, the Labour MP for Peterborough, has been charged with perverting the course of justice. She and her brother will appear at the Old Bailey in London on 13 August 2018 after being alleged to have lied about who was driving when the police caught the car speeding.

Onasanya, who would be likely to stand down from the House of Commons if found guilty, could also be removed under the 2015 Recall Act 2015 if 10% of the Peterborough electors sign a petition for a by-election.

Onasanya gained the seat at the 2017 General Election with a majority of 607, defeating Stewart Jackson, the sitting Conservative MP. The Labour Party said in a statement that they wouldn’t be commenting whilst the matter was before the courts.