The Telegraph 2024-02-21 16:30:30


Live Politics latest news: Tory MP tables motion of no confidence in Hoyle amid Gaza debate fury – watch live

A Tory MP has tabled a motion of no confidence in Sir Lindsay Hoyle amid a furious row over the Commons Speaker’s handling of today’s Gaza ceasefire debate. 

William Wragg has submitted an Early Day Motion which reportedly states: “This House has no confidence in Mr Speaker”. 

Early Day Motions are used by MPs to put on record their views on specific subjects. They can be used to show the level of support for something but do not trigger any formal process. 

The Commons Speaker today took the highly unusual step of selecting both a Labour amendment and a Government amendment to an SNP motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. 

The decision means that MPs will vote on the Labour and Government amendments as well as the original SNP motion, saving Sir Keir Starmer from what had the potential to be an embarrassing rebellion among his backbenchers.

The decision to select the Labour amendment was greeted in the Commons by Tory cries of “shameful” and “bring back Bercow”. A Conservative MP could be heard to mutter that the Commons Speaker was “moving the goalposts”. 

Sir Lindsay said he wanted MPs to have the “widest possible range” of options in the Gaza ceasefire debate because of its importance.

You can follow the latest updates below and join the conversation in the comments section here

Seven-year-old girl dies while digging large hole in sand

A child has died after the hole she was digging on a beach collapsed on top of her in south Florida.

The girl, thought to be seven years old, was digging the 1.8-metre deep hole with an eight-year-old boy when it collapsed in on them both, authorities said.

Beachgoers were reported to have started trying to dig the children out of the sand before emergency services arrived.

“You saw grown men digging with shovels and buckets and nobody could find her,” a witness told a local news outlet.

When emergency personnel responded to the incident at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea around 3pm they found the boy buried up to his chest in sand, said Sandra King, spokesman for Pompano Beach Fire Rescue.

Ms King told a local media outlet that the girl was completely buried underneath the boy when help arrived.

Rescuers were said to have used support boards to keep the sand caving in anymore as they used shovels to try and dig the children out.

When the girl was uncovered she didn’t have a pulse, Ms King said, adding that it was “an unfathomable accident”.

The boy was rushed to the nearby Broward Health Medical Center while paramedics attempted to revive the girl but they were unsuccessful.

“We were conducting life-saving techniques to try to bring her pulse back, and it never did recover and she was pronounced dead at the hospital.”

The boy is said to be in a stable condition.

Met Police officer found guilty of multiple rapes and kidnap

A former Metropolitan Police Officer who was allowed to join the force after previously being accused of child rape has been convicted of carrying out multiple sex attacks.

Cliff Mitchell, 24, was convicted of ten counts of rape, three counts of rape of a child under 13, one count of kidnap and breach of a non-molestation order following a trial at Croydon Crown Court.

Mitchell was first accused of child rape in 2017, but the investigation resulted in no further action and he was later able to join the Met Police, beginning his training in August 2021.

But he was arrested again in September last year after kidnapping and raping a woman at knifepoint at her home.

His trial heard how after the attack he blindfolded the woman, tied her hands with cable ties and forced her into his car.

But she was able to escape from the vehicle and raise the alarm with a member of the public who stopped to help her and dialled 999. 

An alert was put out and Mitchell’s car was stopped around seven miles away in Putney.

Officers who searched his car recovered the hooded top which had been used to blindfold his victim. 

Searches at his home also resulted in the recovery of a bag containing cable ties, similar to those the victim had described as being used around her wrists.

‘Brazen abuse of power’

Mitchell was remanded in custody and charged with multiple counts of rape, kidnap and breach of a non-molestation order. He was immediately suspended from the Met.

Detectives then re-investigated the 2017 allegations and passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service resulting in him being charged with three counts of rape of a child under 13 and three additional counts of rape. 

Those six charges related to a second victim and occurred between 2014 and 2017.

Following the verdict, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said: “This is a truly shocking case and I am sickened by Mitchell’s abhorrent behaviour and the pain he has caused the victims, who have shown enormous bravery by coming forward and giving evidence in court.

“It is down to their courage that he has been convicted and faces a significant custodial sentence. I would also like to recognise the brave member of the public who came to the aid of one of the victims as she ran from Mitchell’s car.

“Mitchell not only carried out a sustained campaign of abuse against both of his victims, but he told one of them she would never be believed due to the fact he was a police officer. This brazen abuse of power makes Mitchell’s actions all the more deplorable.

“I know this is another case which will impact the confidence people have in us. We are doing more than we have done in decades to rid the Met of those who corrupt our integrity, including investing millions of pounds into our professional standards team and bringing in additional officers and staff with specialist skills and experience to investigate criminality and misconduct.”

Pictured: Two-year-old ‘bundle of joy’ missing after falling into Leicester river

A two-year-old boy missing for almost a week after falling into a river has been named by police.

“Bundle of joy” Xielo Maruziva was pictured and named by Leicestershire Police as the search for the boy entered its fourth day.

The toddler, who is from a local family, fell from a footbridge into the River Soar in the Aylestone Meadows nature reserve in Leicester just after 5pm on Sunday.

Four days of searches involving four police forces, specialist divers, drones, helicopters and thermal imaging cameras have yet to yield any results.

The child’s father said: “Xielo is a bundle of joy to us. He is a charming and creative little boy and has just started at nursery. He loves cuddles, playing with his toys and going to the park.”

He added: “As a family we have been completely devastated over the past few days as the search for Xielo continues. It is hard to describe the pain and suffering we are going through.”

Detectives on Tuesday said they obtained video footage that appeared to show the boy’s fall from Packhorse Bridge, which is around 15ft (4.5 metres) high.

This week the force revealed a father had jumped into the river to try and rescue Xielo after the fall. A major search involving specialist divers, drones, helicopters and four police forces continues.

Xielo’s mother added: “Xielo is a cheeky, funny, friendly, smart, caring and independent little boy. He never fails to make me laugh or smile and always loves a cuddle and some kisses.

“Xielo loves playing with his toys and watching cartoons including Bino and Fino.

“Me, his dad and the whole family are so heartbroken at what has happened. We thank everyone who has supported us and helped us during this time. We are extremely grateful for this.

“All we want is for Xielo to be found as soon as possible. Thank you.”

Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr, said: “As we now enter the fourth day of the search for the missing boy specialist officers continue to provide full support to the family and our thoughts very much remain with them.

“I would also like to add that following the appeal we issued on Monday evening for witnesses, we have had a large number of  responses and have identified a number of people who were in the area at the time who have provided us with information.”

‘Confused’ pensioner with Alzheimer’s died after being pushed in bank queue, court hears

A “confused” pensioner with Alzheimer’s disease died after she was pushed over in a bank by a 26-year-old who was angry she had held up the queue, a court has heard.

Myra Coutinho-Lopez, 82, was a regular customer at Lloyds Bank in Howardsgate, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, and was well-known to the staff, but sometimes became confused because of her illness, Luton Crown Court heard.

She died on Dec 16 2021, 10 days after she had been pushed to the floor of the bank by Courtney Richman, after the 26-year-old had a “catastrophic loss of temper”, the court heard.

Mrs Coutinho-Lopez had gone to the bank on Monday Dec 6, but had forgotten she had already withdrawn money on the previous Friday, prosecutor Martin Mulgrew told the jury.

“Mrs Coutinho-Lopez became worried and asked the cashier to show her the balance,” he said.

Another member of staff also came over to try to reassure her, he said, and a queue formed.

‘Move out of the way’

The court heard that one customer, Courtney Richman, said: “There is nothing they can do. Move out of the way.”

It was alleged that Ms Richman became more angry and added: “Hurry up – people don’t have all day.”

Another customer, who had been using a cash machine, offered to help the elderly woman. As she walked the 82-year-old away, Ms Richman is alleged to have said “oh thank God”, and sarcastically applauded.

When Mrs Coutinho-Lopez passed Ms Richman in the queue she told her: “Don’t speak to me like that – you are very rude.” She swung her handbag and struck the defendant, the court heard.

Mr Mulgrew said: “The defendant reacted in a wholly inappropriate and unreasonably violent manner. She angrily pushed Mrs Coutinho-Lopez forcefully to the floor of the bank. She struck the floor with some force.”

He went on: “The red mist descended on this defendant and she reacted in a wholly inappropriate fashion to this vulnerable old lady.”

Mrs Coutinho-Lopez suffered fractures of her left upper arm and thigh bone and bruising to her left upper arm, wrist, the tops of her fingers, and around her rib cage.

As well as Alzheimer’s, she suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“If you push an 82-year-old woman to the floor of a bank there is going to be some risk,” said Mr Mulgrew.

“The prosecution say she unlawfully assaulted her and as a result of the fractures fatty substances were released in her body that caused damage to her lungs and brain,” he said.

In a prepared statement at the police station, Ms Richman said Mrs Coutinho-Lopez was being rude and directed her anger towards her and hit her. She said: “I was shocked and instinctively pushed her away. I feared she was going to assault me. I used open palms.”

Ms Richman denies manslaughter and another charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

The trial continues.

New Lyle’s Golden Syrup label criticised as ‘feeble and woolly’

The rebranding of Lyle’s Golden Syrup has been derided as “feeble and woolly” by a descendant of the company’s founder who insisted “don’t junk a classic”.

Alexander Linklater, whose great-great-great grandfather Abram Lyle designed the original dark green and gold packaging of a dead lion being swarmed by bees in 1883, questioned why its makers had decided to “throw away 141 years of proven branding”.

Tate & Lyle Sugars, which owns Lyle’s Golden Syrup, have replaced the logo to show a rather abstract lion’s face with a single bee flying around its mane to try and appeal to a “21st-century audience”.

Lyle’s original artwork references the Old Testament story of Samson tearing apart an attacking lion with his bare hands.

On his return, Samson finds that a swarm of bees have created a hive with honey inside the carcass, which Samson gathers for himself and his parents.

The packaging features the Biblical quotation from the story “Out of the strong came forth sweetness”.

It is the world’s oldest unchanged brand packaging, and holds a Guinness World Record, having remained almost identical since 1883.

Tate and Lyle rolled out the rebrand across the full product range, excluding the classic tin, which retains its original illustration.

Mr Linklater, a 55-year-old journalist and biographer, urged the company: “Don’t junk a time-proven classic design.”

He told The Telegraph: “They are changing something that is both very distinctive and familiar to something generic and woolly.

“It was Britain’s oldest brand. The rebranding is a move away from what was a real piece of commercial history.”

“I do not think the feeble woolly-shaped lion is very good. Why throw away 140 years of proven branding?”

Mr Linklater disclosed how his ancestor detested his partner Henry Tate with the pair only being able to merge their companies after Lyle’s death.

He said “nothing remains” today of his great-great-grandfather’s original business, following the Second World War where subsequent death duties had wiped out the company’s liquid assets.

Lyle was a deeply religious lifelong teetotaler of “ frightening temper and fierce morality”, Mr Linklater said, and had been brought up in poverty in the industrial town of Greenock before he moved to London.

Lyle, a Presbyterian, died in 1891 from pneumonia with thousands lining the streets in Greenock at his funeral where he had been provost, Mr Linklater added.

On Tuesday, Tate & Lyle Sugars faced criticism from Church of England members who claimed the rebrand “eradicates” the Christian messaging in its logo.

Tate & Lyle Sugars apologised for the upset caused and said religion played “no part” in the decision to change the branding.

James Whiteley, brand director for Lyle’s Golden Syrup, said: “We’re excited to unveil a fresh redesign for the Lyle’s Golden Syrup brand.

“While we’ll continue to honour our original branding with the heritage tin, consumers need to see brands moving with the times and meeting their current needs.

“Our fresh, contemporary design brings Lyle’s into the modern day, appealing to the everyday British household while still feeling nostalgic and authentically Lyle’s.

“We’re confident that the fresh new design will make it easier for consumers to discover Lyle’s as an affordable, everyday treat while re-establishing the brand as the go-to syrup brand for the modern UK family, featuring the same delicious taste that makes you feel Absolutely Golden.”

Grant Shapps defends UK’s nuclear capability after Trident missile failure

Grant Shapps has been forced to defend the UK’s nuclear capability as “beyond doubt” after a failed missile test.

The Defence Secretary issued a written statement to Parliament on Wednesday after it emerged that a Trident nuclear missile misfired.

He said that the UK’s “resolve and capability to use its nuclear weapons, should we ever need to do so, remains beyond doubt”.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that the dummy missile crashed into the ocean off the coast of Florida, near HMS Vanguard, the submarine that launched it.

It is now the second misfire in a row and it is understood that circumstances specifically relating to the test on Jan 30 were the result of the failure.

‘Ultimate security insurance policy’

Mr Shapps’s statement also said: “Our continuous at-sea deterrence posture has been maintained for nearly 55 years by generations of highly dedicated and professional submariners.

“We owe them, and their families, our thanks for their sacrifices and outstanding service, which is often out of sight but should never be out of mind.”

He added that the nuclear capability “deters the most extreme threats to our national security, keeping the UK and our Nato allies safe. It is the ultimate security insurance policy”.

The Defence Secretary’s reassurances were echoed by navy sources who insisted that Britain’s enemies should still see the UK as a “credible threat”.

Navy sources rejected the idea that the failure was worrying.

“Our enemies should still look at us and see us as a credible threat,” a Navy source told The Telegraph.

They added that the system had been tested more than 190 times. “The odds are in favour as the majority were successful,” they said, adding: “We have statistical evidence that this is a reliable system that would work should we need it.”

‘Anomaly’ was ‘event specific’

Both the Defence Secretary and Admiral Sir Ben Key, the First Sea Lord, were on board HMS Vanguard during the test firing.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed an “anomaly” that was “event specific”, but refused to provide further information on the grounds of national security.

A source close to Mr Shapps insisted the UK was “fully able” to use its nuclear deterrent if required and added that the Government had “no doubt in its effectiveness”.

“The anomaly which occurred during a recent test was specific to that event and we know has no implications for the wider deterrent system, Trident stockpile or our ability to fire in a real world situation,” they said.

Submarine passed all tests

Despite the failed launch, HMS Vanguard and her crew have been fully certified for patrol operations, having proven itself in the “demonstration and shake down operation” (DSDO).

HMS Vanguard had travelled to America after a period of deep maintenance.

As part of the DSDO process the 16,000-ton submarine has to go through a series of testing and exercises over a period of weeks and months to show it is able to go back out onto patrol.

The process culminates in firing. Defence sources stressed that the submarine had still passed all its tests and will now return to service. It comes after it was discovered during its refit last year that a nuclear engineer glued broken submarine bolts back together in an “unforgivable” error.

The unsatisfactory repairs to HMS Vanguard’s cooling pipes were discovered after a bolt fell off whilst being tightened during checks inside the reactor chamber.

The last time the UK fired a nuclear weapon was in June 2016, when a Trident II D5 missile veered off course while being tested off the coast of Florida.

John Healey, the shadow defence secretary, said: “Reports of a Trident test failure are concerning.

“The Defence Secretary will want to reassure Parliament that this test has no impact on the effectiveness of the UK’s deterrent operations.”