Former Labour Cabinet Minister Frank Dobson Dies at Age of 79

Frank Dobson, the Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras South between 1979 and 1983 and for the constituency of Holborn and St Pancras between 1983 and 2015, has died in York at the age of 79.

Dobson served as the Secretary of State for Health between 1997 and 1999, before standing down to prepare for a bid to become London Mayor. Dobson came third in the 2000 Mayoral elections following the decision of Ken Livingstone, previously a Labour MP, to stand in the election.

Tony Blair, the Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, said in a statement that:

“Frank made an immense contribution to getting Labour back into power in the 1990”.

Sadiq Khan, the current London Mayor, posted on Twitter:

“So sad to hear the news about Frank Dobson. A hero of the London Labour movement – his kindness, commitment to reducing inequality, and unique sense of humour will be much missed. Sending love to his family.”

Serious Financial Allegations Made About Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has refused to comment on serious financial allegations which have been made against him by the Sunday Times with regards to Jennifer Arcuri. Arcuri was given public funds when Johnson was the Mayor of London in what is potentially a conflict of interest.

Jon Trickett, the Labour MP for Hemsworth and Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said in a statement:

“With Boris Johnson refusing to answer questions about these allegations of serious conflicts of interest, abuse of power and misuse of public funds, the Cabinet Secretary should launch an investigation.

Despite what his life of privilege has led him to believe, Johnson is not above the law and cannot duck and dodge responsibility. This is a matter of the integrity of the Prime Minister, who appears to think he can get away with anything”.

When asked by journalists today about the situation, the Prime Minister refused to comment.

Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, rejected the criticisms, saying on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

“British companies and entrepreneurs go on trade missions. It’s quite right and proper and I’m sure that’s exactly what’s happened there”.

Sadiq Khan, the current Mayor of London, has said that he will be looking into the allegations and will comment shortly.

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”.

Visit to UK by President Donald Trump is Cancelled

A planned visit to the UK by the US President Donald Trump in February 2018 has been cancelled the US confirmed. Trump was to have opened the new US Embassy in London but he said that he didn’t want to attend as the building was in “an off location”.

There had been increasing expectations that Trump would cancel his visit to the UK following anger at his policies which led to a number of MPs saying they would boycott his visit. A petition signed by 1.8 million people also urged the Government to ban Trump from entering the UK.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said in a statement:

“Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda. It seems he’s finally got that message”.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary and former Mayor of London, said in a Tweet:

“The US is the biggest single investor in the UK – yet Khan & Corbyn seem determined to put this crucial relationship at risk. We will not allow US-UK relations to be endangered by some puffed up pompous popinjay in City Hall”.

Sadiq Khan, London Mayor, Says Labour Can Make Large Gains in 2018

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has said that the Labour Party is well positioned to make large gain in the city in the 2018 local elections. Khan is also expected to make Brexit a core theme of the party’s campaigns in the capital, and the London Mayor is also expected to back the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking at a party conference in London, Khan is expected to say:

“There is now no corner of London where Labour can’t win – and with enough hard work we can challenge the Tories even in their crown jewels of Wandsworth and Barnet”.

The local elections will take place in May and the Labour Party currently hold 22 off the capital’s 33 councils. Khan is also expected to say:

“However, Londoners that desperately need Labour in power across London cannot afford for us to be complacent about the upcoming local elections. That’s why we must keep taking the fight to the Tories – who are weaker and more divided than ever – and I pledge to lead Labour members in that fight”.

£10 Surcharge for Older Polluting Vehicles Comes into Effect in London

A £10 surcharge on the congestion charge for older vehicles has come into effect today as part of the Mayor of London’s measures to improve the quality of the air in the capital. The charge, which is in addition to the £11.50 congestion charge, will be payable by cars which don’t reach the Euro IV exhaust standard.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said:

“It’s staggering that we live in a city where the air is so toxic that many of our children are growing up with lung problems. Londoners overwhelmingly supported my plans to introduce this £10 charge. I will continue to do everything in my power to help protect the health of Londoners and clean our filthy air”.

The T-Charge, or Toxicity Charge, will operate at the same time as the congestion charge which is 07.00 until 18.00 on Mondays to Fridays. The Mayor’s office said that the charge was being introduced because:

“Thousands of Londoners die prematurely each year as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution – while 438 schools in the capital are in areas exceeding legal air quality levels”.

London Mayor Welcomes the Decision to Ban Uber from Operating in London

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has welcomed a decision from Transport for London to refuse to issue Uber with a licence to operate in the city. The controversial US taxi operator currently has 3.5 million passengers who use the service in the city, along with 40,000 drivers.

Khan said:

“I want London to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service.

However, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect –particularly when it comes to the safety of customers. Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security.

I fully support TfL’s decision – it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security”.

Uber have said that they will be appealing the decision and said in a statement that customers and drivers “will be astounded by this decision”.

The company can operate under its current licence until 30 September 2017, but will need to successfully appeal the decision to operate after that.

Mayor of London and Transport Secretary Issue Joint Statement on Crossrail 2

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, and Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, have issued a joint statement over the future of Crossrail 2. Construction work is projected to start in 2023 with an opening in around 2032.

Grayling said in a statement:

“I am a supporter of Crossrail 2 but given its price tag we have to ensure that we get this right. The Mayor and I have agreed to work together on it over the coming months to develop plans that are as strong as possible, so that the public gets an affordable scheme that is fair to the UK taxpayer. Following a successful outcome being reached I am keen to launch a fresh public consultation to help gather views to improve the scheme and clarify the position around the safeguarded route”.

Khan said in a statement:

“Crossrail 2 is essential for the future prosperity of London and the south-east, so I’m pleased that the Transport Secretary and I have reached an agreement to take this vital project forward. We will continue to work together to ensure the project is value for money and provides the maximum benefits for jobs and growth in the region over the coming decades. I look forward to moving to the next stage of consultation”.

Lord Adonis Recommended as the Chairman of Crossrail 2

Patrick McLoughlin
Patrick McLoughlin

Lord Adonis, a former Labour Secretary of State for Transport, has been proposed as the new Chairman of the Crossrail 2 Rail network by George Osborne, Sadiq Khan and Patrick McLoughlin.

Following the news Lord Adonis said:

“Without Crossrail 2 London will grind to a halt. There are no greater challenges facing London than overcrowding on the transport network and the city’s acute housing crisis. Crossrail 2 will help tackle both. I am delighted to be nominated to be its chair, whilst continuing the vital work of the National Infrastructure Commission, and I look forward to making it happen”.

Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, said:

“At this year’s Budget, the Chancellor gave the green light to Crossrail 2, a railway to transform how people travel in and around our nation’s capital. This transport project needs strong and experienced leadership and we agree with the Mayor of London that Lord Adonis will bring all of the vital skills and knowledge needed to drive the project forward.

We now look forward to working in partnership with Transport for London and Lord Adonis to fully develop the business case for Crossrail 2. We are investing billions in projects right across the country because we know good transport links help people get around and get on”.

UK Relationship at Risk Claims Donald Trump

donaldtrump

Donald Trump, a contender for the Republican representative to be the next United States President, has warned that the relationship between the UK and the US is at risk.

In an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain Trump said of David Cameron:

“It looks like we’re not going to have a very good relationship, who knows. I hope to have a good relationship with him, but it sounds like he’s not willing to address the problem either”.

Following comments made by Donald Trump on banning Muslims entry into the US, David Cameron has earlier said:

“I think his remarks are divisive, stupid and wrong and I think if he came to visit our country I think it’d unite us all against him”.

A spokesman for David Cameron said:

“The Prime Minister has made his views on Donald Trump’s comments very clear”.

Referring to Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, Trump said:

“I don’t care about him, it doesn’t make any difference to me, let’s see how he does, let’s see if he’s a good man”.