You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening. There were plenty of heartfelt and eloquent tributes to Prince Philip in the recalled parliament today. From Tory grandees such as Sir Bill Cash to the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing managed to unite politicians across the political divide. Even his infamous verdict that “we have 650 [MPs] and most of them are a complete bloody waste of time” didn’t deter the outpouring of goodwill.It was perhaps fitting that it fell to Boris Johnson to lead the speeches, given his own fondness for leavening his public duties with the odd risque gag or ten. As the prime minister listed all the qualities he most admired in the late Duke – a passion for the environment, a boyish fascination with science and technology, even a hint of rakishness – it was clear he felt the loss of a kindred spirit. When the PM said “he contrived to be at once politically incorrect and also ahead of his time”, the implicit parallel was unmistakeable.While Johnson hasn’t exactly followed Philip’s lead in putting his wife’s needs and career before his own, his speech underlined that public service can come in many different forms. And just a couple of hours beforehand, the rapid rate at which such service can be tarnished by politicians was all too evident when the PM ordered a review of David Cameron’s Greensill lobbying of government.It remains to be seen just how much more detail the Boardman review will unearth, but Cameron has done a pretty good job of trashing his own reputation so far. The grubby spectacle of a former prime minister repeatedly texting and phoning serving ministers on behalf of a firm of financiers will be hard to live down. Cameron’s own admission that he should have used “the most formal of channels” failed to grasp that an ex-PM really shouldn’t be lobbying anyone in government for profit.Testing to breaking point the maxim that what often matters in Britain is not just what you know but who you know, the former premier seemed to rely on his personal pulling power in pressing the interests of Greensill on Matt Hancock, Jesse Norman, John Glen and Rishi Sunak. For the chancellor in particular, as the man in charge of the nation’s finances, the political risks of this whole row are more than obvious.Sunak’s text message to Cameron on April 23 last year – in which he said “I have pushed the team” [of Treasury civil servants to find a possible Greensill solution] – has been pounced on by his critics. Even though the Treasury points out that Cameron’s lobbying failed because Greensill was not given a penny in government-backed loans through the Covid corporate financing facility (CCFF), it’s that phrase “pushed” that smacks of favours.Allies of Sunak can see how it all looks but strongly deny any impropriety. I’m told the p-word stems from the chancellor being proud of the fact that he “pushes” civil servants, challenging them to interrogate policies and their own assumptions. Officials were already exploring alternative models to see if Greensill could help more small businesses, and the text to Cameron was a polite courtesy rather than a trigger for action, insiders say.Last spring, Sunak was indeed pushing civil servants, with policies like the unprecedented furlough scheme having to be processed through ministerial direction or even legal direction in the face of officials’ understandable nervousness about the sheer cost and scale of the plans. Any change to the Covid financing structure would have needed his approval, and in the end he rejected it.I’m told Sunak did not treat Cameron like an “old mate” precisely because they were not old mates. The pair had met just once when the new Richmond MP was elected in 2015. Although Cameron is reported to have said during the Brexit referendum ”if we’ve lost Rishi, we’ve lost the future of the party”, the two had no personal connection.Sunak’s other defence is that he last week proactively, voluntarily released his only two texts to Cameron. I understand that for at least a fortnight there was no clear guidance from the Cabinet Office, from Freedom of Information officials, from government lawyers, on whether the chancellor could or should publish his texts. In the end, believing he had “nothing to hide”, he went ahead. In doing so, he may well have created a transparency precedent.Which brings us back to Cameron, whose own texts the government felt it had no duty to publish. Bombarding a chancellor with texts, phone calls and emails for profit may be demeaning enough. But it’s the murkiness of his lobbying operation that makes Cameron’s own famous commitment to transparency curdle like sour milk.Cameron made a big play in opposition and government of his phrase “sunlight is the best disinfectant”. In a delicious irony, the phrase was first coined as a metaphor by former US Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis, in a 1914 collection of anti-trust articles titled: “Other People’s Money: And How the Bankers Use It”.Sunak isn’t out of the woods yet. Although Labour’s urgent question on Tuesday on Greensill business interruption loans may technically fall within the remit of the business department, the chancellor could be proactive once more by turning up to the Commons to make his case. In James Graham’s political play Privacy, Sunak’s Richmond constituency predecessor William Hague had a memorable catchphrase: “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”.Given Boris Johnson’s own chaotic approach to the ministerial code (keeping Priti Patel in post, failing to replace Alex Allen as independent adviser), Sunak could emerge with credit if he can prove not just no impropriety on his part but also a commitment to open government. Notwithstanding the new Boardman “review” of the Greensill affair, just imagine if the Treasury select committee opted to investigate and hear testimony in public from each of the players?As for Cameron, how long ago it seems since he jibed Tony Blair “he was the future once”. It was Prince Philip, the reformer who pushed for the televising of the coronation, who did his bit to “let daylight in upon magic”. Brand new laws and rules on lobbying, either under PM Johnson or PM Sunak, could perform a similar public service for our politicians.Related...Boris Johnson Orders Probe Into David Cameron Lobbying RowTexts Confirm David Cameron Lobbied Rishi Sunak To Help Save Greensill CapitalLabour Urges Ministers To Tighten Rules On Lobbyists After Cameron Controversy
The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a surge in young people wanting to study science and healthcare, universities have said.Centres across the UK have noted a significant rise in applications for courses such as biomedical sciences and pharmacology from teenagers who say they want to “stop the next pandemic”. In February, the university admissions site UCAS said applications for nursing courses had risen by almost a third, with increases seen from both 18-year-old school leavers and mature students aged 35 and over.Although UCAS said it was too early to publish figures for individual courses, HuffPost UK reached out to universities across the UK who confirmed they had received a huge rise in interest in science and healthcare programmes.Kingston University said nursing applications had increased by 67% and midwifery courses by 26%, while biological sciences applications were up by 36%, pharmacy by 32% and biomedical sciences by 25%.Dr Gianpiero Calabrese, a pharmaceutics lecturer at the south London university, told HuffPost UK the surge of interest showed “how more young people are realising just how crucial healthcare and science-based roles are to our society”.The Covid-19 pandemic had played a “massive part” in the increase in nursing applications, the university’s head of nursing, Dr Julia Gale, added. “The public has seen what amazing job nurses do and how hard they work, so it has brought a highly-respected profession to the fore. “Seeing this on the news every day has made people want to come into nursing to make a huge difference.”At Brunel University in west London, Dr Anthony Tsolaki, a senior lecturer and undergraduate admissions tutor, said he noticed students are “moving towards areas related to the pandemic”. “I have a strong feeling that there has been a shift to study microbiology, genetics and epidemiology,” he told HuffPost UK.“This will be more discernible in the next academic year probably. I teach Microbial Pathogenesis and my lectures on Covid-19 have been well received.”Anglia Ruskin University in East Anglia said it had seen a 40% increase in applications for biology-based courses and a 32% increase in biomedical science since the start of the pandemic.Covid-19 may have also contributed to young people becoming more interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses as a whole. Bath University told HuffPost UK it had received 18% more applications for pharmacology, 12% more for biomedical science and 17% for biochemistry.It also pointed to an increase in courses in mathematics, statistics and data science, which “suggests that there is a greater interest in statistical modelling and the use of mathematics to understand trends and explain data”.Reading University said it had also seen a rise in overall applications for science-based subjects, particularly in pharmacy as well as mathematics and statistics.The pandemic’s impact on a surge of interest in the sciences has not been limited to 17-18-year-olds. Open University, which specialises in mostly mature students, said visitors to their free Openlearn science courses had seen a six-fold increase since the start of the pandemic.No figures are available yet for the number of students choosing to take science or healthcare-related GCSEs, Btecs or A-levels, but one biology teacher said she had been “bombarded” with questions about Covid-19 and health since the first lockdown.“My colleagues and I have definitely noticed more pupils asking us how viruses spread and how Covid was caused by climate change,” one Leicester secondary school teacher told HuffPost UK.“Some of them – including kids who have never expressed much of an interest before – specifically requested I teach them about the Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it had wiped out a lot of young people.”
We want to be able to protect our families and loved ones and stop the next pandemic.”
This recent interest among her students may be partly because some have been tragically impacted by the virus. “We’ve had kids who have lost grandparents and parents to Covid, so it’s definitely something that has played a huge part in their lives.”One such case is 17-year-old Mo from Sheffield, who has lost three family members to Covid-19 in the past year including both his grandmothers.He tells HuffPost UK that although he did have some interest in science before the pandemic, he had only planned to study physics at A-level alongside English and history. “It wasn’t until my [maternal] grandma got sick in April that I became interested in biology and medicine,” he told HuffPost UK.Mo is now taking biology, chemistry, physics and history at A-level and he plans to study biomedical sciences at university in 2022. “I’m not at all surprised that more young people are choosing to study science than ever because of Covid-19. We want to be able to protect our families and loved ones and stop the next pandemic.”“I think our [Muslim] community here were given confusing or bad messaging when the pandemic first broke out. No one was wearing masks and a lot of people got sick really quickly and weren’t self-isolating. “Becoming a scientist would allow me to go back to my community and give them the right information, so we can stop something as deadly from happening again.”Exam boards Pearson, OCR and the International Baccalaureate said it was too early to say whether there had been an increase in science GCSE and A-level courses.But a new Natural History GCSE is currently under consideration by the government, which OCR said reflected the growing interest and appreciation of the environment during the pandemic.The proposal would focus on biodiversity, ecology and conservation in order to teach pupils to “understand what their role should be and could be in protecting for the future”. In a public consultation with more than 2,500 responses from young people, teachers and naturalists, the exam board received suggestions of topics that were “inspired by the current pandemic”.One student proposed including biosecurity as a topic and another said they would want to learn “how land-use change could lead to more pandemics in the future”. Jill Duffy, chief executive of OCR, said they were “stunned” by the enthusiasm for the Natural History GCSE proposal. “We know that young people are very engaged by the debate on the environment but the pandemic seems to have made everyone appreciate the value of nature even more,” she said. The proposal has been widely endorsed including by Sir David Attenborough, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and BBC Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams.In response to a parliamentary question last summer on the proposal, schools minister Nick Gibb said the government was “exploring the option of introducing a new GCSE in natural history after receiving a proposal from exam board OCR, but have made no commitment at this stage”.One student, 15-year-old Kabir Kaul, said lockdown “encouraged me to appreciate and value the wildlife on my doorstep a lot more” and the pandemic had led to an increase in interest in his school’s wildlife society.″I have seen more members share their bird sightings, and some often ask which bird feeders are suitable for different species,” he told HuffPost UK. “With more of my generation appreciating, and in a small way, protecting the biodiversity around them during the pandemic, I am optimistic that this knowledge will stay with them in the long-term.”Related...7 Things That Contradict The Claim Britain Is ‘Not Institutionally Racist’I’m A Secondary School Teacher. What We’ve Come Back To Isn’t School As We Know ItOpinion: The NHS Faces A Post-Pandemic Waiting List Crisis
Private firm Deloitte is receiving taxpayer cash to help ministers to draft parliamentary answers and media “lines to take” to defend the Test and Trace programme, HuffPost UK can reveal.The unprecedented role for the consultancy giant is part of a series of contracts worth £323m to “support” the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the National Testing Programme run by Baroness Dido Harding’s service.Four different contracts show that Test and Trace has been using Deloitte for “general management consultancy services” ranging from building testing capacity to stockpiling and logistics oversight.But buried within the contracts are details of help provided with PR and communications, with a requirement to “draft and respond to parliamentary questions, Freedom of Information requests, media queries and other reactive requests” and to “support lines to take and Q&A’s in anticipation of queries”.Traditionally Whitehall civil servants draft answers to parliamentary questions from MPs, as well as statutory Freedom of Information requests.Similarly, “lines to take” – often a defensive reaction to criticism of a particular policy – are normally drafted within government by officials.Critics claimed that Deloitte could be “marking its own homework” when MPs asked questions about Test and Trace.Labour said the contracts laid bare ministers’ spending priorities and the top civil service union warned of potential conflicts of interest and the undermining of officials.Appearing before MPs on Wednesday, Boris Johnson defended the £37bn allocated to Test and Trace claiming it was “a very valuable thing” that enabled ministers to understand the pandemic in a “very granular way”.But the service has been dogged with criticism, with the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee highlighting its use of outsourced private firms, consultants being paid £1,000 a day and poor performance on contact tracing and testing turnaround times.Earlier this year, Harding defended the use of consultants needed to build the testing programme from scratch last May, claiming that their use would be phased out and their skills transferred to civil servants in coming months.Government documents show that Deloitte has been awarded four different contracts worth £323m since the start of the pandemic. The most recent is for £122m, and runs from February this year until September.Two of the contracts have a clause that specifies a role for the firm in “communications” on so-called Pillar 4 of the testing programme, which covers blood and swab testing for national surveillance on the prevalence and spread of the virus, as well as the accuracy of home testing. Several MPs, from Labour’s Stella Creasy to the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, have submitted questions on Deloitte’s role in the testing programme.Gemma Abbott, legal director of the Good Law Project, told HuffPost UK: “We have a government so addicted to outsourcing that it has even outsourced being held to account.“If a member of the public submits an FOI request, or an MP asks a parliamentary question about the government spending millions on contracts with Deloitte, it seems that it’s Deloitte at the other end marking its own homework – it is beyond parody.“Does anyone know where the Department for Deloitte ends and the Department for Health begins?”Shadow health minister Justin Madders said: “When we are told the government can only afford a 1% pay rise for NHS staff the news that the Department for Health are spending hundreds of millions of pounds on private sector consultants to do work the department should be doing anyway will confirm to many just how out of touch this government is.“There is no doubt the department has struggled in the last year but there can be no justification for what amounts to a part privatisation of the civil service. It also raises massive questions about conflicts of interest and a clear blurring of the lines between impartial civil service advice which should be paid for by the taxpayer and political activities which shouldn’t be.“The taxpayer is footing a £300m bill for services that appear to include advice on how to ‘spin’ the media on the work of Test and Trace. No amount of cash can spin that failure into a success.”Dave Penman, general secretary of the First Division Association that represents civil servants, said it was sometimes justifiable to bring in outside expertise in an emergency – but not if that meant effectively replacing officials with more expensive and less accountable alternatives.“Civil servants will tell you that consultants can provide invaluable expertise and often work closely to transfer their expertise in a particular field,” he said.“However, there are many areas where the civil service has unique insight and expertise, including support for ministers, parliamentary procedures and freedom of information.“An impartial and permanent civil service also has a critical role in providing ministers with their best evidence-based advice, speaking truth unto power. This makes for better decision making and more effective government and is why civil servants are recruited for what they can do, not what they believe.“Extending the role of consultants into work that could and, indeed, should be done by civil servants is not only hugely expensive, it undermines the efficiency of government over the longer term.“It is extraordinary that, on the one hand, Lord Agnew, the Cabinet Office minister, has accused Whitehall of being ‘infantilised’ by an ‘unacceptable’ reliance on expensive management consultants, when, on the other, Matt Hancock is choosing to pay those very same expensive management consultants to do jobs that civil servants can and should be doing.”Harding will hand over the running of Test and Trace next month to a brand new UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), led by deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jenny Harries, who will be its chief executive.UKHSA will bring together Public Health England (PHE), NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) under one public body.The Department of Health and Deloitte have been approached for a comment but have failed to respond. UPDATE: Hours after HuffPost UK published this story, the government came back with a response.A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Setting up the largest diagnostics network in UK history, from scratch, was an unprecedented challenge that necessitated a dynamic public-private partnership that could work together in the national fight against Covid-19. “Over 115 million tests have been conducted in the UK in total since testing began, which is more than any other comparable European country.“The government employs contractors in the same vein that private businesses do and responsibility for answering parliamentary questions, freedom of information requests and media enquiries rests firmly with a team of civil service communications professionals within the Department of Health and Social Care. Every single response is subject to the highest levels of scrutiny to ensure they are both factual and detailed.”Related...Test And Trace Spending Will Top £37bn, Budget Small Print RevealsYou Could Soon Be Testing Yourself For Covid Twice A WeekMatt Hancock Says Government 'Hit The Ball Out The Park' With Covid Response
The government unlawfully failed to publish details of billions of pounds’ worth of coronavirus-related contracts, the High Court has ruled.The Good Law Project took legal action against Matt Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for its “wholesale failure” to disclose details of contracts agreed during the Covid-19 pandemic.The government is required by law to publish a “contract award notice” within 30 days of the award of any contracts for public goods or services worth more than £120,000.At a hearing earlier this month, the Good Law Project and three MPs – Labour’s Debbie Abrahams, the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas and Liberal Democrat Layla Moran – argued there had been a “dismal” failure by the DHSC to comply with the obligation.They also claimed the government was breaching its own transparency policy, which requires the publication of details of public contracts worth more than £10,000.In a ruling on Friday, Justice Chamberlain said: “There is now no dispute that, in a substantial number of cases, the secretary of state breached his legal obligation to publish contract award notices within 30 days of the award of contracts.“There is also no dispute that the secretary of state failed to publish redacted contracts in accordance with the transparency policy.”The judge said that the obligations to publish details of such contracts “serve a vital public function and that function was no less important during a pandemic”.He added: “The secretary of state spent vast quantities of public money on pandemic-related procurements during 2020.“The public were entitled see who this money was going to, what it was being spent on and how the relevant contracts were awarded.“This was important not only so that competitors of those awarded contracts could understand whether the obligations … had been breached, but also so that oversight bodies such as the National Audit Office, as well as Parliament and the public, could scrutinise and ask questions about this expenditure.”Justice Chamberlain said the situation the DHSC faced in the first months of the pandemic was “unprecedented”, when “large quantities of goods and services had to be procured in very short timescales”.The judge said it was “understandable that attention was focused on procuring what was thought necessary to save lives”.But he added that the DHSC’s “historic failure” to comply with the obligations to publish contracts because of the difficulties caused by the pandemic was “an excuse, not a justification”.Justice Chamberlain rejected the Good Law Project’s argument that there had been a department-wide “policy of de-prioritising compliance” with the requirement to publish contract details.In a statement after the ruling, the Good Law Project said: “This judgment is a victory for all of us concerned with proper governance and proof of the power of litigation to hold government to account.“But there is still a long way to go before the Government’s house is in order.”In a letter to the health secretary, the Good Law Project’s founder Jolyon Maugham QC invited the minister to agree to publish the names of all companies awarded public contracts under a fast-track “VIP lane” and how much they were paid.Maugham also asked Hancock to “commit to recovering public money from all the companies who failed to meet their contractual obligations” and set up “a judge-led public inquiry into the handling of PPE procurement”.Abrahams said in a tweet: “The significance of this ruling cannot be underestimated. It seems odd having to make this point but the Government must act within the law when awarding contracts.”Lucas said: “This indictment of Government secrecy should spell the end of the culture of cronyism which has swallowed billions of pounds of public money during Covid crisis.”In a statement, a DHSC spokesperson said: “We have been working tirelessly to deliver what is needed to protect our health and social care staff throughout this pandemic, within very short timescales and against a background of unparalleled global demand.“This has often meant having to award contracts at speed to secure the vital supplies required to protect NHS workers and the public.”She added: “We fully recognise the importance of transparency in the award of public contracts and continue to publish information about contracts awarded as soon as possible.”
"Women have shown they can bring a different perspective to crises," says Green MP.HuffPost is part of Oath.Oath and our partners need your consent to access your device and use your data (including location) to understand your interests, and provide and measure personalised ads.Oath will also provide you with personalised ads on partner products.Select 'OK' to continue and allow Oath and our partners to use your data, or select 'Manage options' to view your choices.
New pro-EU drive must reject "vapid centrism" and “urgently learn the lessons of the past”.HuffPost is part of Oath.Oath and our partners need your consent to access your device and use your data (including location) to understand your interests, and provide and measure personalised ads.Oath will also provide you with personalised ads on partner products.Select 'OK' to continue and allow Oath and our partners to use your data, or select 'Manage options' to view your choices.
An audience member at Channel 4′s big Brexit TV debate appears to have captured the mood of many Remain supporters with a seemingly involuntary reaction to Nigel Farage sounding off.The former Ukip leader was appearing on the live debate show, ‘Brexit: What the Nation Really Thinks’, on Monday when he was presented with a poll suggesting people thought he would do a worse job of negotiating with the EU than Theresa May.Farage argued the PM was delivering “a Remainer’s Brexit”, which prompted an eye roll to end all eye rolls ...There’s been a lot of competition this year, but this has to be the greatest eye-roll of 2018. pic.twitter.com/bB2stJh1Ku— Hannah Jane Parkinson (@ladyhaja) November 5, 2018The debate also featured Justice Secretary David Gauke, Shadow Trade Sceretary Barry Gardiner and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas on behalf of The People’s Vote.
Along with Jeremy Corbyn, the Scottish Tory leader was one of the few big winners in the botched snap election last year, driving her party to its biggest total of MPs in years norther of the border – at exactly the same time as May failed to connect with English voters.We don’t get to win if we start hectoring the people we need to vote for us.Ken Livingstone’s resignation from Labour last night certainly looks like the end of his formal links to the party he joined 50 years ago.In a statement, he finally apologised to the Jewish community for his remarks about Hitler and Zionism, saying he was “truly sorry” thathis words had “caused offence and upset”.Labour’s NEC meets today and it will be interesting to see if anyone marks his political passing.On a practical level, it allows him to resume campaigning on issues like climate change, from outside the party.
Theresa May’s new housing minister introduced a controversial policy widely criticised for pushing landlords to rent to “white tenants with British-sounding names”.James Brokenshire, who was May’s trusted ally as immigration minister under her leadership of the Home Office, introduced “right to rent” checks, which forced landlords to investigate their tenants’ immigration status.Brokenshire was announced on Monday as the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, after the previous office-holder, Sajid Javid, was made Home Secretary in the wake of Amber Rudd’s resignation over the Windrush debacle.Under the “right to rent” rule, rolled out across the UK in 2015, buy-to-let property owners were made responsible for checking the immigration status of potential tenants, or face a £3,000 fine.It formed part of the Government’s attempts to create a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants, but critics said the changes made landlords “border guards”.Campaigners, including Green co-leader Caroline Lucas and the pressure group, Generation Rent, also said the changes “will drive discrimination, encouraging otherwise fair-minded landlords and agents to let to white tenants with British-sounding names, just to reduce the likelihood of additional bureaucracy from the Home Office”.
The dawning reality of Brexit means that we live in interesting times.By extension, the sentient animals that we share our island of Great Britain also live in interesting times.Remainers, in contrast, argue that Brexit will lead to national isolation, economic depression and endless waiting in European airports.Rather, it is our sentient nonhuman British fellows, and particularly the billions of farm animals, that are in the greatest danger of a calamitous drop in living standards.If you were a pig on a farm, a rat in a lab or a deer roaming in the wilderness, the chances are you would be better of living in the EU, rather than outside of it.Secondly, there are a great deal many more farm animals than there are other categories of animal.
It has sparked a huge political row, with many MPs appalled the PM did not seek the backing of Parliament before pressing ahead with military action against the Assad regime.We’ll hear more from the government tomorrow, when May makes a statement in the Commons.Jeremy Corbyn made his views on the intervention very clear on the Andrew Marr Show, accusing May of being too quick to follow Donald Trump’s lead and using policy “made up on Twitter”.He was backed up by his shadow justice secretary, Richard Burgon, on Sky’s Sunday With Paterson.Corbyn wants the international Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to take the lead in investigating exactly what went on in the rebel-held town of Douma, where civilians were targeted in a suspected chemical attack.He believes humanitarian grounds alone did not provide enough of a basis for the UK to launch air strikes and said he could not support such action unless it had UN backing (which Russia could still veto).
Will the government convene cross-party talks to address the rot in our politics exposed by the Cambridge Analytica scandal?— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) March 28, 2018Green MP Caroline Lucas has vowed not to be “silenced” after Tory MPs tried to shout down her question about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.Speaker John Bercow was forced to reprimand Conservatives during a hostile PMQs in the Commons on Wednesday as they jeered at Lucas and two SNP MPs who challenged Theresa May on the issue.SNP MPs Ian Blackford and Alan Brown also faced shouts and jeers from the Government benches when they asked about Scottish Tory links to AggregateIQ - a Cambridge Analytica-associated firm.It comes as questions continue to swirl about spending during the EU referendum and the Brexit campaign links to Cambridge Analytica, which is accused of mining Facebook data, some of which may have been harvested without consent.
The allegations centre on Vote Leave whistleblower Shahmir Sanni’s claims that BeLeave was controlled by Vote Leave rather than an independent campaign.If needs be, the police should be resourced to investigate as well.”Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called the claims “utterly ludicrous” but by the end of the day looked increasingly isolated by his cabinet colleagues.Hunt said: “I know Stephen Parkinson and I’ve always thought of him as someone with the highest integrity, and there are two sides to theses stories.”Labour MP and Remain-backer Ben Bradshaw, also speaking to Peston, said Johnson should not be interfering.She described the allegations about Parkinson outing his ex as “gossip” which was acting as a “smokescreen” for the separate allegations made about Vote Leave.
Two: The Russian Government is vicious, authoritarian and downright dangerous, and it was almost certainly responsible for the recent nerve agent attack in Salisbury.What I can’t work out is why so few people seem able to hold both of these opinions at once.It’s not just Iraq, but their role in the miners’ strike and their collusion with loyalist death squads are just two other examples of where they’ve got things wrong.Of course they do vitally important work, but sometimes they make big mistakes, too.It might strike people as odd that we’re taking a hardline stance against Russia for this vile act in Salisbury - while happily arming Saudi Arabia, who are accused not only of war crimes in Yemen, but have also of turning a blind eye to the terrorism being exported across the world.It’s also puzzling to see people demand a blind subservience to the British foreign policy establishment when the Government steadfastly refuses to give an honest answer to repeated questions about the civilian impact of our ongoing drone warfare in the Middle East.
Arguably her breakthrough role, a whole generation of young people were glued to their screens in the late 1970s, as Joanna kicked ass as her ‘New Avengers’ alter-ego, Purdey.‘The New Avengers’ ran for two series, during which time Joanna (as Purdey) helped combat giant mutated rats and even took on fanatical Nazis after discovering their secret on a day of scuba diving.But of course, it’s as the legendary Patsy Stone in ‘Ab Fab’ that will be forever remembered as Joanna Lumley’s most famous role.As the chain-smoking, perma-boozing, “42”-year-old former model, her performance alongside Jennifer Saunders’ Eddy Monsoon has gone down in British comedy history, and become a cult classic outside the UK too.But while she’s best known for her fun and comedic performances, in 2005 she served up something a little different, starring in the drama, ‘Sensitive Skin’, where she played a mature woman struggling with dissatisfaction over her lot in life.Her work for the Gurkhas
Boris Johnson has been accused of acting in a “shameful” way after he decided to allow Bermuda to reverse the right of gay couples to marry.However Foreign Office minister Harriet Baldwin told the Commons on Thursday that while the government was “disappointed” with Bermuda’s decision, Johnson had decided it “wouldn’t be appropriate” to intervene.Baldwin said while Johnson could overrule Bermuda in “exceptional circumstances” - this test had not been met.Labour backbencher David Lammy said the government was on the “wrong side of human rights”.“And that is why leaders like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Barack Obama have not just fought for race rights, but they have fought for rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.The FCO claims to stand for LGBT+ rights, yet in a territory THEY GOVERN they are waving through the repealing of same-sex marriage.
Scotland’s First Minister said there was a “golden opportunity” for moderates to press for continued single market and customs union membership.It came as Ian Blackford, her party’s Westminster leader, revealed he was working with the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, and Green Party to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill at report stage.If their bid is successful, ministers would be blocked from using so-called Henry powers to amend primary legislation and drag the UK out of the single market and customs union.Sturgeon said: “More than 18 months on from the Brexit vote, it beggars belief that the UK Government is not only still unable to say what kind of relationship it wants with the EU, but has also failed to produce any meaningful economic assessment of the different possibilities.Sturgeon added: “[Hard Brexiteers] have completely failed to explain how their approach could even remotely come close to replacing the enormous lost trade and investment of leaving the single market.“It will be a fundamental dereliction of duty as Prime Minister if Theresa May continues to pursue her red lines without providing information on their impact and publicly discussing the options available.”
So according to Buzzfeed, a political story with the concept of animal sentience at its core has become ‘the most viral politics article of 2017’.There has been much written about the reporting and misreporting of the parliamentary vote on Caroline Lucas’ amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, but as far as I am concerned the raising of the profile of animal sentience is a very useful fallout and may in the long run prove beneficial for animal welfare - as long as all those who care about animals maintain political pressure on the topic.Is it not the case, as some who have defended the vote against Lucas’ amendment argue, that it is already covered in UK animal welfare law?Their emotions and experiences are more complex than this; Broom (2006) defines a sentient being as ‘one that has some ability: to evaluate the actions of others in relation to itself and third parties, to remember some of its own actions and their consequences, to assess risk, to have some feelings and to have some degree of awareness’.Sentient animals have an individual welfare that has importance to them irrespective of their use by, or impact upon, humans.This is accepted science, and the incorporation of the concept into the European Union Lisbon Treaty of 2009 was a major win for animal welfare science and for animals.
The Second Source, an alternative professional network, launched on Thursday night with the aim of raising awareness of harassment and helping companies to stamp it out.It has the support of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Green MP Caroline Lucas and the Lib Dems’ Jo Swinson.It comes in the wake of allegations Times columnist Kate Maltby and radio presenter Julia Hartley Brewer faced sexual harassment from male MPs.Evening Standard columnist Rosamund Urwin, who is among the 20 journalists behind Second Source, said she was inspired to take action after hearing how freelance reporter Emily Reynolds was targeted.She said: “It was after reading a piece by my fellow journalist Emily Reynolds about sexual harassment she had suffered that I realised that unless we act, nothing will change.“It will happen to the 23-year-olds of tomorrow, as it once happened to me and happened to Emily.”
Yet this is what the UK’s political parties and their agencies are doing ahead of 8 June’s snap election, and the results have been mixed to say the least.“It's like a training exercise, just with the political future of the UK at stake.”He recalled: “The first steps were to get on the tube to Portcullis House to sit down with [co-leaders] Caroline Lucas, Jonathan Bartley and their comms team to work out what the hell we were going to say about an election that nobody was expecting, and nobody really wanted.Following on from 2016’s revered ‘The not so secret life of five-year-old politicians’, it is arguably one of the only truly creative pieces of work that has been produced over the last four weeks.But for Alastair Allday, a freelance creative and political commentator who deems the election marketing collateral as “very dull” so far, there is more than one way to be creative in political advertising.They seem to be spending more money convincing people to register to vote rather than promoting their policies, which says they’re really a long way behind."