Jess Phillips Leaves Labour Leadership Contest

Jess Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, has withdrawn from the Labour leadership contest.

Phillips said in a statement:

“The Labour Party will need to select a candidate who can unite all parts of our movement, the union movement, members and elected representatives. And I have to also be honest with myself, as I said I always would be throughout this campaign.

At this time, that person is not me. In order to win the country, we are going to have to find a candidate, in this race, who can do all of that, and then take that message out to the country.”

There are now four candidates remaining in the contest, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Sir Keir Starmer, Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry.

Prime Minister Meets With Russian and French Leaders

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has today met with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, and Emmanuel Macron, the French President, during the Libya conference currently being held in Berlin.

On the meeting with Macron, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said:

“The Prime Minister met President Macron in the margins of the Berlin Conference on Libya. The Prime Minister and President discussed the ongoing conflict in Libya. The Prime Minister stressed the need to bring an end to the fighting and for all parties to support peace talks to determine a way forward for the Libyan people.

On Iran, the leaders reiterated their commitment to the JCPoA and also acknowledged the need to define a long-term framework to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. They agreed on the importance of de-escalation and of working with international partners to find a diplomatic way through the current tensions.”

The spokesperson added with regards to the Russian meeting:

“The Prime Minister met President Putin in the margins of the Berlin Conference on Libya.

He was clear there had been no change in the UK’s position on Salisbury, which was a reckless use of chemical weapons and a brazen attempt to murder innocent people on UK soil. He said that such an attack must not be repeated.

The Prime Minister said that they both had a responsibility to address issues of international security including Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran. The Prime Minister said there will be no normalisation of our bilateral relationship until Russia ends the destabilising activity that threatens the UK and our allies and undermines the safety of our citizens and our collective security.”

HM Queen Elizabeth II and Buckingham Palace Issue Statement on Future of Prince Harry

HM Queen Elizabeth II and Buckingham Palace have issued statements on the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The Queen said in a statement:

“Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.

Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.

I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.

I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.

It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”

Buckingham Palace said in a statement:

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for royal duties.

With The Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.

The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.

Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security.

This new model will take effect in the spring of 2020.”

Former MP Anna Turley Instructs Bailiffs After Unite the Union Fail to Pay Court Sum

Anna Turley, the former Labour for Redcar, has said in a statement that she has asked her solicitors to instruct bailiffs following a failure of Unite the Union to pay money which is owed to her.

The original court decision was made in December 2019, when the union said:

“However ultimately the union does not agree with the court’s findings on several points of law, including the finding as to the meaning of the statement originally made by Unite and including the finding as to whether the commentary was a matter of public interest.”

Unite the Union have yet to comment on the non-payment.

Cameras to Broadcast from Crown Courts

Limited filming in crown courts will be allowed under new proposals announced by the Government today. The move will mean that judgements made by High Court and Senior Circuit judges can now be filmed, although no other part of the case will be shown.

Robert Buckland, the Lord Chancellor, said in a statement:

“This government, alongside the judiciary, is committed to improving public understanding of our justice system and allowing cameras into the Crown Court will do just that. It will ensure our courts remain open and transparent and allow people to see justice being delivered to the most serious of offenders.”

Prime Minister Speaks to Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has spoken by phone to Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, to discuss matters of interest to the two nations.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said in a statement:

“The leaders discussed the situation in the Middle East and agreed on the need for continued engagement and dialogue to deescalate tensions.

They committed to working together to strengthen our bilateral relationship, including by agreeing an ambitious free trade deal after the UK leaves the EU.

Finally the leaders underlined the importance of our ongoing cooperation to tackle climate change, ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year.”

Export Bar Placed on Fifteenth Century Book

The Myrowr of Recluses

The Government has placed an export bar on the ‘The Myrowr of Recluses’, a fifteenth century book which gave guidance on how hermits and anchorites should live and pray. The book was written in the early fifteenth century and there are only two known copies in existence.

Helen Whately, the Arts Minister, said in a statement:

“This beautiful decorated manuscript is a precious record of the life of hermits in 15th century England and it would be a sad loss if it was sold abroad. I hope that a buyer can be found to save this fascinating piece of history for future generations to study and learn from.”

Five of Six Labour Candidates Progress to Next Round

Five of the six candidates contesting the Labour leadership battle have reached sufficient support from MPs to proceed to the next stage. Keir Starmer received 88 nominations, Rebecca Long-Bailey received 33 nominations, Lisa Nandy received 31 nominations and Emily Thornberry and Jess Phillips received 23 nominations each. Clive Lewis failed to receive sufficient support, with just five nominations, thereby exiting the contest.

Boris Johnson Talks to German Chancellor

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has spoken today on the phone to Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor. In the call they discussed matters including Brexit, international trade, security and Iran.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said in a statement:

“On Iran, they discussed the tragic loss of life on the Ukraine International Airlines passenger jet. They condemned Iran’s arrest of the UK Ambassador to Tehran as a violation of international law.

The leaders also discussed our shared interests in ensuring Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, and reaffirmed their continued commitment to preserving the JCPoA. The leaders also discussed Libya and the importance of continued dialogue with international and regional partners to reduce tensions and encourage support for the UN-led process.”

Iran Admits Shooting Down Ukrainian Passenger Airline

Iran has admitted that it did shoot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, despite initially claiming it wasn’t responsible. After evidence was presented by way of video footage, the Iranian authorities said that the shooting was “unintentional”.

Hassan Rouhani, said in a statement:

“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake. My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences.”

The airline had previously said in a statement:

“We express profound sympathy to the families and friends of the victims. We share your pain, we mourn together with you, and we remember everyone whose life was taken away in the sky of Iran. We’ll make every effort to find out the cause of the tragedy and the families of the passengers and crew get all the help and support they need.”

Following the admission of responsibility from the Iranian Government, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the President of Ukraine, said that his country must be allowed to jointly investigate the incident.