Government Loses Vote on Suspending Parliament

Margot James

The Government has today lost a vote in the House of Commons which will make it more difficult to suspend Parliament in October. Boris Johnson, one of the two remaining candidates for the Conservative Party leadership had refused to rule out proroguing Parliament as the Commons may have prevented a no deal Brexit.

The amendment was won by 315 votes to 274 votes, which was a larger margin that had been expected. Margot James, the Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, resigned from her role today in order to vote for the amendment.

Extinction Rebellion Stops Man Seeing His Dying Father

Direct action taken by the Extinction Rebellion group in Bristol has caused a man to miss seeing his dying father for the final time due to the traffic congestion caused. Zoe Jones from the group which is attempt to blockade roads in a number of cities, apologised for the situation but added that “we still believe that we’re doing the right thing”. The man, who has asked not for his identity to be revealed, phoned BBC Radio Bristol to tell his story.

Another incident took place when Brian Salt, a 73-year old local resident who was forced by the group to walk to his destination instead of driving, attacked the Extinction Rebellion’s roadblock and told the group to call the police. The Bristol Post reported that the lady he was collecting was “in tears from the pain” of walking, but the group hadn’t helped her through. The paper reported that Extinction Rebellion hadn’t yet replied to their request for a comment.

Theresa May Meets with Fabian Picardo, the Gibraltar First Minister

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has met with Fabian Picardo, the First Minister of Gibraltar, at Downing Street to discuss current matters of interest. These include the UK’s departure from the European Union and the future of the territory.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“The Prime Minister met the Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo at Downing Street today. They discussed the work they have done together in a range of areas over the past three years, particularly on the UK’s exit from the EU.

The Chief Minister passed on his thanks from the people of Gibraltar for the Prime Minister’s ongoing support. The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s steadfast commitment to Gibraltar and expressed her confidence that this will continue.

The Prime Minister and Chief Minister also discussed the latest developments in the Gibraltarian legal case on the detained oil tanker Grace I. The Prime Minister stressed the importance of Gibraltar’s independent legal process being followed and paid tribute to their efforts to implement EU Syria sanctions.”

Jeremy Hunt Makes Statement on Fifth Anniversary of Downing of Flight MH17

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has made a statement on the fifth anniversary of the downing of flight MH17. He confirmed that the UK would support the financing of the trial at the Hague and will provide other ongoing assistance.

The Foreign Secretary said:

“A terrible tragedy took place five years ago today when flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine. 298 innocent people, including 10 British people, lost their lives. I offer my deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those who died.

I support the efforts of the Joint Investigation Team and the Dutch authorities to deliver justice for those who died. This is why we are making a financial contribution of £100,000 to the establishment of the specialist criminal court in the Hague to help ensure that the families and friends of the victims receive answers, and that those responsible are held to account for this appalling crime.

We continue to support Australia and the Netherlands in their call on the Russian government to accept state responsibility for the downing of flight MH17. It is high time Russia cooperated fully with the prosecution and, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2166, provided any assistance requested.”

Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May Condemn Trump’s Attack on Democrats

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, as well as the two candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson, have criticised Donald Trump, the US President, for words he used against four Democrats.

Trump said in reference to four female Democrats:

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

A spokesperson for Theresa May said:

“Her view is that the language which was used to refer to the women was completely unacceptable.”

Jeremy Hunt said:

“I have three half-Chinese children, and they are British citizens born on the NHS, and if anyone ever said to them ‘go back to China’, I would be utterly appalled. And I would say something else, it is totally un-British to do that and so I hope that would never happen in this country.”

Boris Johnson said:

“Relations between the UK and US are incredibly important. But if you are the leader of a great multiracial, multicultural country you simply cannot use that kind of language about sending people back to where they came from. It went out decades and decades ago and thank heavens for that. It’s totally unacceptable.”


Consultation Started on Whether All New Homes Should be Fitted With Electric Car Chargers

Chris Grayling

A consultation process has been launched by the Government today to look at the idea of fitting all new build homes with an electric car charging point. The measure would be on environmental grounds and the UK would be the first country to implement the measure if it’s approved.

Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, said:

“With record levels of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads, it is clear there is an appetite for cleaner, greener transport.

Home charging provides the most convenient and low-cost option for consumers – you can simply plug your car in to charge overnight as you would a mobile phone.”

Tommy Robinson Sent to Prison for Nine Months

Tommy Robinson has been sent by the Old Bailey to jail for nine months after he was found guilty of contempt of court. Robinson ignored reporting restrictions put in place whilst a series of trials were ongoing, an action which could have caused the trials to have collapsed.

Foreign Secretary Commemorates 24th Anniversary of Srebrenica Massacre

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has issued a statement commemorating the 24th anniversary since the Srebrenica massacre.  During the massacre, one of the worst which had taken place since the Second World War, over 8,000 Bosniaks were killed, mostly men and boys.

Hunt said in a statement:

“On this day, 24 years since the Srebrenica massacre, we must honour those who died, their families and their communities, whose lives were cruelly and irreversibly changed.

It is vital that we continue to counter and condemn any efforts to negate the atrocity which took place in Srebrenica.

The UK remains committed to helping the region overcome the legacy of past conflict and to build a more peaceful, prosperous and stable future for all. That must include striving for justice for the victims.

The UK fully supports the work of the IRMCT (International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals) and other organisations in seeking justice, supporting survivors, and aiming to find and identify those still missing as a result of conflict in the region. This year’s historic judgment to strengthen the sentence handed to Karadžić is a just and important reminder that there will be no impunity for those who commit such horrific crimes.”

Sir Kim Darroch Resigns as British Ambassador to the United States

Sir Kim Darroch has resigned as the UK Ambassador to the United States, following the US President’s attack on him and the British Prime Minister. Donald Trump, the US President, reacted angrily when leaked reports that were critical of him were leaked.

Darroch said in a statement:

“Since the leak of official documents from this Embassy there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as ambassador. I want to put an end to that speculation. The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.

Although my posting is not due to end until the end of this year, I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador.

I am grateful to all those in the UK and the US, who have offered their support during this difficult few days. This has brought home to me the depth of friendship and close ties between our two countries. I have been deeply touched.

I am also grateful to all those with whom I have worked over the last four decades, particularly my team here in the US. The professionalism and integrity of the British civil service is the envy of the world. I will leave it full of confidence that its values remain in safe hands.

Sir Simon McDonald, the Permanent Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, acknowledged the letter, saying:

“On behalf of the Diplomatic Service, I accept your resignation with deep personal regret.

Over the last few difficult days you have behaved as you have always behaved over a long and distinguished career, with dignity, professionalism and class. The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and whole of the public service have stood with you: you were the target of a malicious leak; you were simply doing your job. I understand your wish to relieve the pressure on your family and your colleagues at the Embassy; I admire the fact that you think more of others than yourself. You demonstrate the essence of the values of British public service.

I want to stress my deep appreciation for all you have done over the last four decades. In a series of demanding roles – including National Security Adviser and Permanent Representative to the European Union – you have loyally served the government of the day without fear or favour. We have been lucky to have you as a friend and colleague. You are the best of us.”

Sir John Major Calls for Judicial View if Parliament is Suspended

Sir John Major, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, has said that he would himself start a judicial review if Boris Johnson attempted to prorogue Parliament to avoid the Commons blocking a no deal Brexit. His comments come after last night’s television debate when Johnson refused to rule that option out.

Major said:

“I think that the idea of proroguing Parliament is utterly and totally unacceptable from any British Parliamentarian or democrat. Let’s strip away the jargon of proroguing and contemplate on what this actually means. What it means, and Prime Minister Johnson presumably, because he cannot persuade Parliament to agree with his policy will close down Parliament so that he can bypass it until his policy comes into operation.”

He added:

“I think that this is completely and utterly against Parliamentary tradition and against the way in which our Government should work. If that were to happen I think that there would be a queue of people who would seek judicial review. The Queen’s decision cannot be challenged in law, but the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen can, I believe, be challenged in law and I, for one, would be prepared to go and seek judicial review to prevent Parliament being bypassed.

I served in Parliament for over twenty years, I’m very proud to have done so, I have huge admiration for our Parliamentary traditions and I am not going to stand by and see them disregarded in this fashion. It is utterly and completely the wrong way to proceed.”