Theresa May Speaks with German and French Leaders over Iran Nuclear Deal

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has spoken to Emmanuel Macron, the French President, and Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, by phone regarding the Iran nuclear deal.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“The Prime Minister held separate phone calls with the French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday and this morning.

They discussed the importance of the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) as the best way of neutralising the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, agreeing that our priority as an international community remained preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

They agreed that there were important elements that the deal does not cover, but which we need to address – including ballistic missiles, what happens when the deal expires, and Iran’s destabilising regional activity.

Acknowledging the importance of retaining the JCPoA, they committed to continue working closely together and with the US on how to tackle the range of challenges that Iran poses – including those issues that a new deal might cover.

They also noted the vital importance of our steel and aluminium industries and their concern about the impact of US tariffs. The leaders pledged to continue to work closely with the rest of the EU and the US Administration with the aim of a permanent exemption from US tariffs.

Finally, they all agreed on the value of continued engagement in the E3 format (Britain, France and Germany) to advance our shared interests and our security”.

Michael Martin, Former Commons Speaker, Dies at the Age of 72

Michael Martin, who was the Speaker of the House of Commons from 2000 until 2009, when he resigned following his handling of the MP expenses scandal. He had been a Labour MP since 1979 for Glasgow Springburn before taking on the Speakership, and he kept that constituency as an independent until 2005, when he became the MP for Glasgow North East until he resigned. He was then elevated to the Peerage as Baron Martin of Springburn, sitting as a crossbench Lord.

Martin took a leave of absence from the House of Lords in September 2017 and died on 29 April 2018, following a short illness.

David Gauke Announces Reform of Parole Board

David Gauke, the Secretary of State for Justice, has said that the Government is to begin an overhaul and reform of the parole board. The reform has been announced following the case of John Worboys, whose release from prison was eventually overturned by the High Court.

Gauke said in a statement:

“Today I am announcing a package of measures to reform the Parole Board and introduce transparency of its decisions. But we are going further and consulting on a new way to challenge Parole Board decisions that would be judge-led and could, in some circumstances, be open to the public. And we’re not stopping there.

Today I also produce the terms of reference for our comprehensive review of the entire Parole Board, including whether we should in some circumstances name panel members, whether we should define the panel composition and what kinds of further scrutiny measures should be introduced.

We will also improve the process for victims, who in this case were clearly let down. It is my ambition that the outcome of this process will mean victims have more confidence in the system.

We have moved at pace to address the shortcomings of the Parole system which the Worboys case has brought to light. But we must take a balanced approach. I am determined to lead a thorough reform process, the first action of which we launched today”.

UK Quarter Growth Increases by Just 0.1%

The Office for the National Statistics, the ONS, has said that UK growth increased by only 0.1% over the last quarter, increasing fears that Brexit has caused damage to the economy.

The ONS said:

“The preliminary estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) shows that the UK economy grew by 0.1% in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2018, the weakest quarterly growth since Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2012. The weak growth in Quarter 1 2018 was driven by a sharp fall in construction output and a sluggish manufacturing sector, while growth in services also slowed. Today’s figures suggest that the overall impact from the recent snow and adverse weather conditions across the UK was relatively small”.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said that the figures were “disapppointing”.

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:

“It’s clear to everyone except Philip Hammond that our economy is in need of increased investment and working families are struggling with the cost of living and the burden of increasing household debt”.

Foreign Secretary Welcomes North and South Korea Agreement

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has welcomed news that the North Korean and South Korean Governments have reached agreement to get rid of their nuclear weapons.

Johnson said in a statement:

“I welcome the announcement that the two Koreas will work towards the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korea, improve bilateral ties and reduce border tensions.

This historic summit is not the end in itself. There are still many questions to be answered. Kim Jong Un’s commitment to halt all nuclear and intercontinental and intermediate range ballistic missiles tests is a positive step. We hope this indicates an intention to negotiate in good faith and that Kim has heeded the clear message to North Korea that only a change of course can bring the security and prosperity it claims to seek.

The UK will continue to work with our international partners to strictly enforce existing sanctions until such time that North Korea turns its commitments into concrete steps towards denuclearisation”.

Donald Trump, the President of the United States, said on Twitter:

“KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!”.

Marc Wadsworth Expelled by Labour Party

Marc Wadsworth has been expelled from the Labour Party after it was agreed by the National Constitutional Committee that he had brought the party into disrepute. Wadsworth had caused Ruth Smeeth, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, to be reduced to tears after he had accused her of working with the Daily Telegraph.

Smeeth said in a statement:

“Abuse, bullying and intimidation have no place in our movement, as today’s announcement has proven. I hope that this decision represents the first step towards a return to the values of decency and respect throughout the Labour Party”.

Wadsworth rejected the party’s decision, saying:

“We all know that there’s been a concerted effort by disgruntled elements within the parliamentary Labour Party that will simply not accept Jeremy Corbyn as their leader”.

Donald Trump Confirms Date of Visit to the UK

Donald Trump, the President of the United States, has confirmed that he will be visiting the UK on Friday 13 July 2018. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister has said that more details about the visit will be announced in due course.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, said on Twitter:

“FANTASTIC news that President @realdonaldtrump will at last come to Britain on 13 July. Looking forward to seeing our closest ally and friend on the GREATest visit ever”.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, also said on Twitter:

“If he comes to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division and hope over fear. He will also no doubt see that Londoners hold their liberal values of freedom of speech very dear”.

HM Queen Confirms the Appointment of 4 New Privy Counsellors

HM Queen has confirmed the appointment of four new privy counsellors.

The four individuals appointed are:

Sir Peter Coulson – an appeal court judge.

Robert Goodwill MP – the Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby and a Minister of State at the Department for Education.

Sir George Andrew Midsomer Leggatt -a Lord Justice of Appeal.

Kevan Jones MP – the Labour MP for North Durham.

Statue of Millicent Fawcett Unveiled by the Prime Minister

The first statue of a female in Parliament Square had been unveiled by Theresa May, the Prime Minister. The statue is of Millicent Fawcett, a suffragist leader, with the unveiling designed to mark 100 years since women obtained the vote.

Politicians at the unveiling included Sajid Javid, Sadiq Khan, Harriet Harman and Jess Phillips. The Prime Minister also made a speech during the unveiling of the statue, saying:

“The struggle to achieve votes for women was long and arduous. Dame Millicent was there from the beginning, and devoted her life to the cause. As a teenager, she collected names for the first pro-Suffrage petition even though she was too young to sign it herself.

As a young woman she overcame a dislike of public speaking and took to the platform at the first women’s suffrage meeting to be held in London. For decade after decade, in the face of often fierce opposition, she travelled the country and the world, campaigning not just for the vote but on a whole range of issues”.

Labour Party Remove Mandy Richards as Candidate for Worcester

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Labour Party has decided not to endorse the candidature of Mandy Richards as the Labour candidate for Worcester following a series of allegations which have been made against her. The NEC had met in an urgent meeting yesterday evening and confirmed that the candidate would no longer be sanding for the party.

Richards had made comments which questioned the Manchester bombing, as well as the murdered Labour MP, Jo Cox. It has also transpired that she had been banned from bringing certain cases to court, without having declared that to the Labour Party whilst making her application.