Fiona Onasanya, the former Labour MP for Peterborough, has been sentenced to three months imprisonment for perverting the course of justice. Onasanya, who is appealing the case, will now face a recall petition to unseat her should her appeal fail.
Justice Stuart-Smith, giving Onasanya the lowest possible sentence for the crime, said:
“You have not simply let yourself down, you have let down those who look to you for inspiration, your party, your profession and Parliament.”
Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has confirmed the appointment of Colin Martin-Reynolds as the new Ambassador to Columbia. He will begin his new role in September 2019 and he replaces Peter Tibber. Martin-Reynolds was previously the Chief Information Officer at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office from 2013 until 2018.
Mark Field, the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has visited Poland in a follow-up to the UK-Poland Inter-Governmental Consultations which were held in December.
In a statement Field said:
“It is evident that relations between the United Kingdom and Poland are as strong as ever, with a huge amount of bilateral work taking place between our two countries. We continued discussions on important joint initiatives such as our clean growth partnership, much of which resulted from the hugely productive Inter-Governmental Consultations, which the Prime Minister hosted in London in December.
Ours is a very fruitful partnership, and that is why it is important for me to be back in Poland so soon after my last visit in December for COP24 in Katowice. The UK and Poland have a long shared history and we continue to work closely together on some of the most pressing issues facing our two countries, including through NATO and the UN Security Council.”
Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has congratulated Greece on passing legislation which resolves a long-standing disagreement on the use of the word Macedonia.
Hunt said in a statement:
“The UK congratulates Greece’s Parliament for successfully ratifying the Prespes Agreement. This is an historic moment bringing a decades-old dispute close to an end. Today’s vote paves the way to the full implementation of the Agreement, which has the full support of the UK.
Both countries have demonstrated great courage and the will to work together to affect real change. The deal brings the prospect of increased stability and prosperity to the wider region. We look forward to continued working with two trusted allies in the interests of European security.”
Guy Verhofstadt, the Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, posted on Facebook:
“A historic moment! Congrats to the Republic of #NorthMacedonia, Greece, Alexis Tsipras & Zoran Zaev for solving this 27 year dispute. A vital step towards reconciliation in the Western Balkans and a breakthrough in Skopje’s EU path.”
Alex Salmond, the former Scottish First Minister, has been charged with fourteen offences, including nine charges of sexual assault, two of attempted rape, two of indecent assault and one of breach of the peace. The former SNP Member of Parliament and Member of the Scottish Parliament appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today with relation to the charges made.
Salmond said in a statement:
Let me say from the outset, I am innocent of any criminality whatsoever,” he said in a brief statement as he stood flanked by a lawyer and press adviser. The only thing that I can say is I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I will defend myself to the utmost in court. I’ve got great faith in the court system in Scotland and that is where I will state my case. You know me well enough to know that I’d love to say a great deal more but I have got to observe the rules of the court and in court is where I will state my case.”
Nicola Sturgeon, the current First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP said:
“These are now live criminal proceedings and that means now more than ever it would be completely inappropriate for me or anyone else for that matter to make any comment on the situation.”
Dyson have confirmed that they are moving their company’s Head Office from the UK to Singapore, in a move which they denied was linked to Brexit. Jim Rowan, the company’s Chief Executive, said that the move to Singapore would “make us future-proof for where we see the biggest opportunities.”
Sam Gyimah, the Conservative MP for East Surrey, said on Twitter:
“Dyson’s decision to move his HQ to Singapore reflects his narrow business interest. This is not just a transfer of two people. When HQs move, so does the intellectual property. Betrayal of the public who put their faith in him as a British business advocating a No Deal Brexit.”
Lord Adonis, the former Labour Cabinet Minister, also posted on Twitter:
“I see why Dyson is moving his HQ to Singapore. 3 months ago Singapore signed a free trade agreement with the EU – so Dyson will have more access to European markets from Singapore than from the UK!”
Rebecca Long Bailey, the Shadow Business Secretary, said in a statement:
“Dyson’s move to Singapore is a shocking blow to workers who now potentially face unemployment, but it is also a huge blow to the Government’s industrial strategy. For too long this Government has allowed a culture of short termism to work its way into some of our greatest British businesses, whilst those businesses doing the right thing and investing in their communities and workforce for the long term are left wanting, with little Government support. It’s about time we future proofed our long term industrial strategy instead of future proofing the short term profits of a select few.”
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics have shown that employment has reached a record level, reaching a figure of 32.54 million people which is 75.8% of working age people with a job.
Alok Sharma, the Minister of State for Employment, said in a statement:
“Once again, we see a new record employment rate in the UK, 75.8 per cent, with more people in work than ever before. UK workers also got a much needed pay boost before Christmas with wages outpacing inflation for the tenth month in a row in November, growing at the fastest rate in a decade.
There are 328,000 more people in work over the past year, almost entirely driven by full-time jobs as the government delivers an economy that works for the British people.
Our pro-business policies have helped boost private sector employment by 3.8 million since 2010, and as the Resolution Foundation’s latest report shows, the ‘jobs-boom has helped some of the most disadvantaged groups find employment’, providing opportunities across society”.
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has confirmed that the Government is no longer going to charge EU residents a fee of £65 to apply for settled status in the UK.
The Prime Minister said in a statement in the House of Commons:
“I can confirm today that when we roll out the scheme in full on 30th March, the government will waive the application fee so that there is no financial barrier for any EU nationals who wish to stay. And anyone who has or will apply during the pilot phase will have their fee reimbursed”.
Neil Gray, the SNP MP for Airdrie and Shotts, said during the debate:
“I welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to waive fees for EU nationals, but once again, she is four months behind the Scottish Government. It is clear—I see it again today—that her pig-headed stubbornness and ridiculous red lines have brought us to this position; it is a mess of her making. Why was she not willing to have cross-party talks two and a half years ago?”
Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has been criticised following claims he made this week that he didn’t mention Turkey during the Brexit referendum. Answering a question from a journalist, Johnson said:
“I didn’t say anything about Turkey in the referendum campaign. I didn’t say a thing about Turkey”.
“Boris Johnson talked about the issue of Turkey joining the EU several times in the lead-up to 23 June 2016 and was co-signatory of a letter to the prime minister warning about Turkish membership a week before the vote”.
Chuka Umunna, the Labour MP for Streatham, said on Twitter:
“Earlier today, Boris Johnson claimed that he never spoke about Turkey during the 2016 referendum. It’s yet another lie he’s been caught out on. Don’t let him get away with lying again”.
Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997, has called on Theresa May, the Prime Minister, to become a “mediator” in an attempt to break the deadlock on Brexit.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Major said in an interview with Nick Robinson that one way to make progress was “for the Prime Minister to lift some of her red lines”, or alternatively to ask Parliament to “form a consensus”.
“The Prime Minister argued valiantly for her deal, she fought for it, she got a deal, but the House of Commons killed it and killed it comprehensively. So her deal is dead and I don’t honestly think that tinkering with it is going to make very much difference, if any difference at all. So the Prime Minister still needs a deal. If she can’t deliver one that Parliament accepts, then she will need to become a facilitator, a mediator, to find out what Parliament will accept. I think there is a way she can do that, I personally would hope that she puts down a series of motions so that Members of Parliament can indicate their preference. We can then see whether there is a consensus in Parliament that is possible, that Parliament would accept. Ideally for that, all party leaders would permit a free vote, so we can get an honest representation of Parliament. That is in the Prime Minister’s interests for this reason, it’s the only way to get an absolutely honest answer from Members of Parliament and if it is a free vote, it removes the danger of resignations from Government or the opposition front bench because they disagree with their leader’s policy”.
Suella Braverman, the Conservative MP for Fareham, rejected the former Prime Minister’s call for Parliament to reach agreement, saying that Major was part of the “elite” and she added “thank you Sir John, but no thanks”.