The Telegraph 2024-02-13 18:00:31

Politics latest news: Labour candidate said Britons who fight for ‘f—— Israel’ should be ‘locked up’

A former Labour MP who is seeking re-election with Sir Keir Starmer’s party claimed that Britons who volunteer to fight for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) should be “locked up”.

Graham Jones, who represented Hyndburn until 2019 and is now the party’s candidate there for the next election, was also recorded referring to “f——” in audio leaked to the Guido Fawkes website.

Reportedly speaking at the same meeting in Lancashire as Azhar Ali, the Rochdale by-election candidate now disowned by Labour after an anti-Semitism row, Mr Jones said: “F—— Israel again, you know. I’m sure that all these people think even when they go home… But you will not get Israel over the line unless we go at them hard.”

A second person could be heard asking “well, why [are] there British people in the IDF?”, before Jones replied: “Well, this has been raised and I’m going to take this up. Because we have a simple rule in this country.

“Unless there is a military alliance between us and that particular country, so Nato, whatever, or an individual one, you should not be fighting… No British person should be fighting for any other country, at all, full stop. It’s against the law and you should be locked up.”

Andrew Mitchell, a Foreign Office minister, has spoken about the “right of British nationals with additional nationalities” to serve in the recognised armed forces of these nationalities.

It came as Sir Keir Starmer insisted Labour has changed under his leadership as he warned the party’s representatives that all allegations of potential wrongdoing would be investigated amid the Rochdale row.  

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King Charles returns to London to continue cancer treatment

The King has returned to London to continue his treatment for cancer. 

The King and Queen, who have been spending time in Sandringham, were seen leaving Buckingham Palace on Tuesday morning. 

He is expected to hold some internal meetings as well as receiving his second treatment for cancer. His diagnosis was confirmed by Buckingham Palace eight days ago.

Wearing a grey suit and tie, the King was driven home to nearby Clarence House, after flying in by helicopter. 

The Queen, dressed warmly in a waterproof coat, has several engagements in London this week, with events on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 

It is hoped that the King will feel well enough to undertake his weekly audience with the Prime Minister in person this week, but aides are mindful not to plan ahead as he waits to find out how he responds to cancer treatment. 

They waved and smiled at a gathering of well-wishers and members of the press as they arrived at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk.

Buckingham Palace announced on Monday that the King, who acceded to the throne 17 months ago, was diagnosed after a “separate issue of concern was noted” and was investigated while he was being treated for a benign and unrelated prostate condition.

The 75-year-old King has been seen several times since his diagnosis, including being photographed in the State Bentley after his short meeting with the Duke of Sussex.

He has postponed all public-facing duties, but is continuing with behind-the-scenes work on his red boxes of state papers.

On Saturday, the King thanked people for their “many messages of support and good wishes” and said it was “equally heartening” to hear how sharing his diagnosis has helped to promote public understanding of cancer.

In a message to the public, His Majesty said: “I would like to express my most heartfelt thanks for the many messages of support and good wishes I have received in recent days.

“As all those who have been affected by cancer will know, such kind thoughts are the greatest comfort and encouragement.

“It is equally heartening to hear how sharing my own diagnosis has helped promote public understanding and shine a light on the work of all those organisations which support cancer patients and their families across the UK and wider world.

“My lifelong admiration for their tireless care and dedication is all the greater as a result of my own personal experience.”

The message was signed “Charles R”.

The Palace has called for the King’s privacy to be respected, especially during his treatment, but said he wanted to make his diagnosis public because of his long-running support for cancer charities.

BBC radio DJ Steve Wright dies aged 69

BBC radio DJ Steve Wright, who presented shows on Radio 1 and Radio 2 for more than four decades, has died at the age of 69.

Wright was last on air on Sunday, hosting a pre-recorded Valentine’s Day edition of his Love Songs programme.

A statement shared to BBC News by Wright’s family said: “It is with deep sorrow and profound regret that we announce the passing of our beloved Steve Wright.

“In addition to his son, Tom, and daughter, Lucy, Steve leaves behind his brother, Laurence, and his father, Richard.

“Also, much-loved close friends and colleagues, and millions of devoted radio listeners who had the good fortune and great pleasure of allowing Steve into their daily lives as one of the UK’s most enduring and popular radio personalities.

“As we all grieve, the family requests privacy at this immensely difficult time.”

‘He was the ultimate professional’

Tim Davie, BBC director-general, said staff would “miss him terribly”.

“All of us at the BBC are heartbroken to hear this terribly sad news,” Mr Davie said. “Steve was a truly wonderful broadcaster who has been a huge part of so many of our lives over many decades.

“He was the ultimate professional; passionate about the craft of radio and deeply in touch with his listeners. This was deservedly recognised in the New Year Honours list with his MBE for services to radio.

“No one had more energy to deliver shows that put a smile on audiences’ faces. They loved him deeply. We are thinking of Steve and his family and will miss him terribly.” 

Wright’s broadcasting career began in 1976, when he left his role as a clerk at the BBC to join Thames Valley Radio.

He joined BBC Radio 1 in 1980, before launching Steve Wright in the Afternoon a year later. 

In 1996, Wright began Sunday Love Songs on Radio 2, before launching his afternoon show in 1999, a slot he would keep until 2022.

Sara Cox paid an emotional tribute to Wright on her Radio 2 show.

“It’s really hard to know what to say about the news of Steve Wright’s passing except to say we are all absolutely devastated and shocked and blindsided by this news,” she said.

“Steve was an extraordinary broadcaster, a really, really kind person. He was witty, he was warm and he was a huge, huge part of the Radio 2 family and I know my fellow DJs will all be absolutely shattered, and I imagine you’re feeling sad too.”

“We’ve all lost a lovely friend who has been a big part of our lives for so many years. We are going to try and do Steve proud for the rest of the show and play the music he loved so much.”

The first record she played was Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell.

Dame Esther Rantzen, who was interviewed by Wright on many occasions, said he was a unique broadcaster.

“He created a kind of club which whether he was interviewing you or whether you were enjoying it as a listener, you looked forward to joining every day,” she said. 

“It is a very rare quality, and he made it sound easy. It was frequently very funny, and when he left his daily afternoon show he really knocked a hole in the day for many of us who relied on his company.

“He will be a real loss.”

Chinese football fans celebrate British rule in Falklands after Messi no-show

Chinese football fans outraged by Lionel Messi skipping the Hong Kong leg of Inter Miami’s Far East tour have reacted by supporting Britain’s rule over the Falklands.

The Argentinian footballer has been at the centre of a row in China after he stayed on the bench, citing a hamstring injury, during an exhibition game against Hong Kong earlier this month.

The fallout worsened when days later Messi appeared in the second half of Inter Miami’s friendly against Vissel Kobe, in Tokyo, prompting the Beijing Football Association to cancel both of Argentina’s friendlies which had been scheduled to take place in China in March.

Now football fans have ramped up their attacks on social media by voicing their support for British rule over the Falklands.

Underneath an Argentinian Embassy post on Weibo – the Chinese version of Twitter – advertising a puppet show’s visit to Beijing, one user wrote: “The Falkland Islands are an integral and inseparable part of the United Kingdom.”

Another wrote: “I used to support the Argentinian claim to the Malvinas. Today, I solemnly declare that from now on, I will no longer accept that the Malvinas Islands belong to Argentina”, The Times reported.

“The Malvinas Islands are part of the UK”, a third added. “They were before, they are now, and of course, they will always be in the future. Your country doesn’t have the capability to take them back either.”

Beckham Booed

At the match in Hong Kong on Feb 4, the 40,000 stadium fans were so frustrated by Messi’s failure to play they booed David Beckham, who part-owns Inter Miami.

Beckham’s social media also came under siege following the match, with angry supporters targeting an Instagram post celebrating the game.

“Messi even didn’t play for a single second in Hong Kong”, one user wrote. “This team is cheating the whole Hong Kong people!”

Organisers Tatler Asia gave a 50 per cent refund to fans who had paid up to £500 to watch the World Cup winner.

Last week Chinese sports officials cancelled Argentina’s exhibition games against Nigeria in Hangzhou and Ivory Coast in Beijing.

There has been speculation online and in local newspapers that the Chinese authorities are behind the furious reaction against Argentina.

Pro-Palestine protesters who displayed paraglider images found guilty of terror offence

Three people who displayed images of paragliders at a pro-Palestine protest in central London a week after Hamas attacked Israeli civilians have been found guilty of a terror offence.

Heba Alhayek, 29, and Pauline Ankunda, 26, attached images of paragliders to their backs with tape, while Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, stuck one to the handle of a placard.

They displayed the images just seven days after Hamas used paragliders to enter Israel from Gaza before killing more than 1,000 Israelis.

They were charged under the Terrorism Act with carrying or displaying an article to arouse reasonable suspicion that they are supporters of the banned organisation Hamas, which they denied.

On Tuesday, following a two-day trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the trio were found guilty after prosecutors argued it was “no coincidence” the defendants were displaying the images so soon after the attack.

Police were ‘mistaken’

Reacting to the verdict, the Crown Prosecution Service said displaying the images amounted to the “glorification of the actions” of Hamas.

Lawyers for the group had suggested they were actually displaying images of a parachute emoji rather than paragliders and claimed police had “mistaken” what they saw that day.

For Alhayek and Ankunda, Mark Summers KC said the idea the image was a paraglider started with “an internet group with an agenda”.

He also argued that flying-related images were a common symbol of peace in the region.

Handing the trio a 12-month conditional discharge, Tan Ikram, the deputy senior district judge, said he had “decided not to punish” the defendants.

“Each of you stands convicted of a terrorist offence,” he continued. “There is nothing to suggest the police of their own volition were going to take any action.

“You’ve not hidden the fact you were carrying these images.

“You crossed the line, but it would have been fair to say that emotions ran very high on this issue.”

He added: “Your lesson has been well learnt.

“I do not find you were seeking to show any support for Hamas.”

Edinburgh University in trans row after Stonewall critic appointed as Rector

Edinburgh University is engulfed in trans row after a Stonewall founder who turned on the charity was appointed as Rector.

Simon Fanshawe, a former comedian who helped found the LGBT charity in 1989, will take up the position next month after he was elected unopposed.

While his appointment was warmly welcomed by an academic organisation set up to campaign for free speech on the campus, following a series of culture war rows, other staff and students have called for it to be blocked.

In 2019, Mr Fanshawe signed an open letter accusing Stonewall of undermining “women’s sex-based rights and protections” and “demonising” anyone who dissented from its gender policies as transphobic.

Transgender rights campaigners at the university are attempting to drum up support for an open letter calling on the university to axe the appointment and find “a true advocate of equality, accessibility, diversity and inclusion” instead.

They claim Mr Fanshawe’s appointment  “creates a hostile environment for the many trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming students studying at the university”.

Gina Gwenffrewi, an academic at the university who has a PhD in transgender studies, attempted to link the move to the murder of Brianna Ghey.

She wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “Ten days since the judge at the trial of Brianna Ghey’s killers identified transphobia as partial motive for the murder, the University of Edinburgh announces its new Rector is a founder of LGB Alliance.

“This appointment happened without any apparent election. The insensitivity of such an appointment when the trans community is still traumatised and vulnerable to increasing hate crimes is difficult to put into words.

“This is an outrageous declaration of contempt by the University of Edinburgh for trans people.”

While Mr Fanshawe was not a co-founder of the LGB Alliance, which was set up by two lesbians and is critical of transgender ideology, he has supported the organisation and spoken at its events.

Jonathan MacBride, a staff member at the university and an officer at its staff pride network, told STV News that Mr Fanshawe, who now works as a diversity consultant, had an “excellent history of supporting gay and lesbian rights.”

But he added: “But he speaks negatively and just offensively, to me and many people I know, about trans people. That is upsetting that the University of Edinburgh feels like this is someone suitable to have as our Rector.”

The University of Edinburgh was engulfed in controversy last year after protests twice closed down the screening of a film, Adult Human Female, about the conflict between trans and women’s rights which some claimed was transphobic.

A showing went ahead at the third attempt, despite a protest of around 100 people.

The Rector post at the university dates back to 1859 and was once held by Winston Churchill. Holders of the position now preside over the university court and are expected to represent the views of students and staff.

Mr Fanshawe, who won the Perrier Award for Comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe in the same year he founded Stonewall, has responded to criticism of his appointment by offering to meet with those who are unhappy.

He said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been named Rector. I will do all I can to advance the university and its staff and students and fearlessness in the exchange of ideas.”

Leigh Chalmers, Vice-Principal and Secretary of the University of Edinburgh, said: “We look forward to working with Simon as the next Rector of the University of Edinburgh.”

Gavin and Stacey to return for new Christmas special

BBC comedy Gavin and Stacey will reportedly return for a new Christmas special.

The episode is in development and will be filmed over the summer, according to Deadline.

The last Christmas Day special in 2019 was the most-watched scripted show of the decade with over 17 million viewers.

Since then, the BBC has relied on Call the Midwife, Mrs Brown’s Boys and Michael McIntyre game shows to fill the Christmas Day schedule, sparking viewer complaints about the lack of variety and a slump in ratings.

The 2019 special ended on a cliffhanger with Nessa (Ruth Jones) proposing to Smithy (James Corden).

Corden and Jones, who co-write the series, have faced endless questions about the possibility of the show’s return.

Corden returned to the UK this year after ending his eight-year stint as host of The Late Late Show in the US.

At the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge conference last September, Corden appeared uncertain about the merits of making another Gavin and Stacey episode, saying that it had ended on a “perfect” note.

“Honestly, I don’t know if we’ll ever do another one. Ruth and I would love to make something together again but I really don’t know if that will be Gavin and Stacey,” he said.

“We feel so proud of that last special. And I know people want resolution to that and all manner of other things in the show. But those characters carry on, they’re still out there living and breathing. Some people say to me, ‘I want to know what happens,’ and I say, ‘So do I.’

“Maybe there was something really perfect about it ending there. Can we truly fulfil people’s ambitions for it?”

‘There’s got to be another one’

But Corden and Jones were photographed together in Soho in November, prompting speculation that they were meeting to discuss a new episode.

According to Deadline, the majority of the cast members will return, including Mathew Horne and Joanna Page in the titular roles.

Page said in December that she hoped the show would come back. “They don’t tell us anything and I’ve never asked,” she said.

“After filming [the 2019 special] I did think, ‘There is another one. There’s got to be another one. We’ve got to find out what Smithy says!’

“But as time’s going by, I’ve started to think, ‘Well, maybe it’s been too long? Maybe there isn’t going to be another one. Which makes me sad because I’d love to do another one.’

“If they do, I hope they hurry up because we’re all getting old.”

The 2019 special sparked controversy with a scene in which Nessa and Bryn, the latter played by Rob Brydon, sang Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and included the homophobic slur “faggot”.

The BBC received 900 complaints and the word was removed from iPlayer and repeats of the show.

The BBC declined to comment.