Sarah Champion Resigns from Labour Front Bench

Sarah Champion, the Labour MP for Rotherham, has stepped down from the Labour’s front bench following a controversy over her article for The Sun newspaper.

Champion had written an article for the newspaper which included the words “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”. After the article provoked some controversy, Champion said that elements of the article had been changed by the newspaper, which The Sun denied.

Champion said:

“I apologise for the offence caused by the extremely poor choice of words in the Sun article on Friday. I am concerned that my continued position in the shadow cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection which I have campaigned on my entire political career. It is therefore with regret that I tender my resignation as shadow secretary of state for women and equalities”.

The Sun newspaper said:

“Her only objection after the article appeared was her belief her picture byline looked unflattering”.

Theresa May Visits the Royal Navy’s New Aircraft Carrier, HMS Elizabeth

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has visited HMS Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier. The aircraft carrier, which is one of two with the HMS Prince of Wales launching in 2020, cost £6.2 billion for the two. The aircraft carrier is 280 metres long and is crewed by just under 700 people.

In a speech made by Theresa May, she said:

“Britain can be proud of this ship, and what it represents. It sends a clear signal that as Britain forges a new, positive, confident role for ourselves on the world stage in the years ahead, we are determined to remain a fully engaged global power, working closely with our friends and allies around the world. As a leading member of NATO, the foremost military power in Europe and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Britain has an enduring responsibility to help sustain the international rules-based order, and to defend the liberal values which underpin it.

To ensure we can do so effectively, we will increase defence spending every year and continue to meet NATO’s target to spend 2% of GDP on defence. Our carrier programme is an example of what that spending can deliver. As highly versatile and potent assets, they will be able to meet the widest range of challenges around the world. Whether the task be high intensity war fighting, targeted action to fight terrorism or humanitarian relief to save lives overseas, these ships will transform the UK’s ability to project power around the world”.

Michael Fallon, the Secretary of State for Defence, said:

“Today we welcome our mighty new warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, to her home for the very first time. When she enters service she will help keep Britain safe at a time of increased threats, able to fill multiple roles from providing air power anywhere at any time to fight future campaigns, supporting allies or delivering humanitarian aid”.

British Government Confirms No Border Posts on Irish Border

The British Government has today published a document on its plans for future border arrangements on the Northern Ireland border with the Republic of Ireland. The Government has also proposed maintaining the common travel area between the two countries following Brexit, and reasserted its commitment to the Good Friday agreement.

In an interview with the Irish News, Theresa May said:

“There should be no physical border infrastructure of any kind on either side of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. I want people to be absolutely clear: the UK does not want to see border posts for any purpose”.

The Prime Minister added:

“While the UK will no longer be a member of the EU customs union, we have set out plans in this week’s paper on customs to seek a deal that allows for the most seamless possible movement of goods between the UK and EU”.

Government Brexit Proposals Rejected by Guy Verhofstadt

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s negotiator has rejected plans laid out by David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, to leave the customs union, whilst temporarily remaining within it.

Verhofstadt said in a statement:

“The new paper announced by the U.K. Government seems to suggest that it is possible to be in and out of the customs union at the same time. Moreover, that an “invisible border” between Ireland and Northern Ireland is feasible. I fear this is all mere fantasy. In any case these discussions will be part of the second phase of the negotiations. First, we need to deal with the issues currently on the table: the rights of the citizens and the financial settlement”.

Davis said, when questioned on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, about what would happen in the interim was unable to give further details, saying:

“What happens in that sort of interim period you will have to leave me to negotiate, I’m afraid”.

David Davis’s authority was also damaged when James Chapman, his former Chief of Staff, launched an attack onto the character of Davis. He said:

“I was with David Davis when he leered over Diane Abbott. He was drunk, bullying and inappropriate”.

Foreign Secretary Expresses Sympathy Over Sierra Leone Flooding

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has expressed sympathy over the recent flooding and landslides in Sierra Leone. Although the death toll isn’t yet known, it is thought that around 300 people have been killed.

Johnson said in a statement:

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life caused by the heavy flooding and landslides around the Freetown peninsula in Sierra Leone in the early hours of today. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected at this horrific time. We are working with the Government of Sierra Leone to provide support where necessary”.

A representative for the Red Cross said:

“The central hospital is completely overwhelmed so we’ve begun sending them to other hospitals as well. The other big problem is that many people have been left homeless and need shelter, clothing, blankets. We’re trying to do what we can. We’ll see how things continue to play out over the day. For now we’re helping to collect the dead”.

David Davis Confirms That He Didn’t Clear Fox and Hammond’s Statement on Brexit

David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, has confirmed that Liam Fox and Philip Hammond did not seek his agreement for their joint statement on Brexit. Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, and Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had issued a joint statement on Brexit in an attempt to unite the party.

Davis said in Edinburgh that he was not told about the joint statement and accepted that there were differences of opinion in the Cabinet. Davis was speaking at a public event which was chaired by Alex Salmond, the former First Scottish Minister.

In a joint article in the Sunday Telegraph, Fox and Hammond had written:

“We are both clear that during this period the UK will be outside the single market and outside the customs union and will be a ‘third-country’ not party to EU treaties”.

Heidi Allen Says She Would Quit Conservative Party if Jacob Rees-Mogg Became Leader

Jacob Rees-Mogg (used under creative commons license at https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/)

Heidi Allen, the Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, has said that she would quit the party if Jacob Rees-Mogg became leader. Her comments come after speculation that Rees-Mogg is considering a Conservative leadership bid, which he refused to rule out, but he denied that he is seeking to unseat Theresa May.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Allen said:

“This is going to sound very dramatic because I don’t believe this will happen so I’m hoping this is completely hypothetical – I couldn’t be in the Conservative Party if he was my leader”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Refuses to Rule Out Tory Leadership Bid

Jacob Rees-Mogg (used under creative commons license at https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/)

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative MP for North East Somerset, has refused to rule out standing for the party’s leadership, hours after it was reported that he was planning to stand.

Ted Malloch, an academic who lunched with Rees-Mogg, said to the Sunday Mail:

“I was at a lunch with Jacob very recently and he indicated he would like to be considered for the leadership when the time comes”.

Rees-Mogg denied that he had indicated that he would stand and said “I am fully supporting Theresa May”. The MP, who is to the right of the Conservative Party and is also pro-Brexit, refused to rule out a future leadership bid.

Matthew Parris, the former Conservative MP, criticised Rees-Mogg, saying:

“For the 21st-century Conservative Party, Jacob Rees-Mogg would be pure hemlock. His manners are perfumed but his opinions are poison. Rees-Mogg is quite simply an unfailing, unbending, unrelenting reactionary. His record on every moral, social, sexual or reproductive issue I’ve looked at is brute moral conservative. He has been a straight-down-the-line supporter of every welfare cut I’ve checked”.

Foreign Secretary Congratulates President Kenyatta on His Election Victory

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has congratulated President Kenyatta on his election victory this week in Kenya. Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of the country’s first President, has been in power since 2013 and he won 54% of the popular vote this week.

Johnson said in a statement:

“Tuesday was an historic day for Kenya, with millions of Kenyans turning out to vote in the general election. The United Kingdom warmly congratulates President Kenyatta on his re-election. The UK and Kenya are longstanding friends and close partners. We look forward to building on our strong relationship, working together to advance our shared prosperity and security and to support Kenya’s development, for the benefit of all.

We commend the people of Kenya for their commitment to democracy and salute those who worked tirelessly and courageously towards holding credible elections, often in difficult circumstances. In the spirit of President Kenyatta’s words yesterday, now is the time for Kenyans to work together in peace to build their nation and forge their shared future. We join the Kenyan people in mourning those who have died, calling on those with influence to exercise restraint at this difficult time to ensure calm, and to honour the Kenyans who turned out in such number to vote to determine their future”.