The Telegraph 2024-03-10 10:00:34

Don’t march alongside extremists, Michael Gove tells pro-Palestinian protesters

Michael Gove has told pro-Palestine protesters that they risk rubbing shoulders with extremists, as he pledged to expose groups trying to “subvert democracy”.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the Communities Secretary warned that some pro-Palestinian events “have been organised by extremist organisations”.

The Government was planning to “go into details” that will allow protesters to question whether they “really want to be lending credence” to extremist groups, Mr Gove said, adding that at future marches there would be “no excuse for ignorance”.

He separately condemned chants, including “from the river to the sea”, that have become a common feature of anti-Israel marches, suggesting that they amounted to “the legitimisation of an extremist position which intimidates and leads to hate”.

Mr Gove’s intervention came ahead of the publication of a new official definition of extremism intended to ensure that the Government cuts ties with individuals and groups whose behaviour or outlook crosses the line. As part of that work, ministers are preparing to name some organisations deemed to be extremist, amid concerns about a major rise in anti-Semitism since the Oct 7 attacks by Hamas.

Also in the interview:

  • The Communities Secretary said hostile states such as Iran were trying  to “destabilise British democracy” by stoking UK-based extremism;
  • Mr Gove called for the Equality Act to be “revisited” following claims that a tribunal ruling had established that anti-Zionist beliefs are legally protected;
  • He waded into a row over the term “Islamophobia”, warning that it risked a “chilling effect on free speech” and stating that he preferred to refer to “anti-Muslim hatred”.

This week, Mr Gove will unveil a new, “more precise” definition of extremism to enable the Government, and ultimately bodies such as universities and councils, to ban funding for or engagement with Islamist and far-Right groups.

He said: “The definition will replace the existing Prevent definition and give practitioners more specificity on the ideologies, behaviour and groups of concern to support vital counter-radicalisation work.” He added: “For all state institutions, this definition and a set of engagement principles should act as a guide.”

Mr Gove said Islamism itself could be defined as an ideology “that seeks to set Muslims apart from the rest of society”, “divide Muslims themselves”, apply Sharia law, and create “an Islamic state”.

‘There are people operating to undermine our democracy’

The Communities Secretary insisted that fears that individuals such as gender-critical feminists and devout Christians, Jews and Muslims could fall foul of the new definition were misplaced.

He stated: “It’s only extremism if you translate that into a political ideology that is anti-democratic. Private belief should be cherished. Free speech has to be protected. But there are people who are operating deliberately to undermine our democracy and … this space and the exploitation of that space by extremists has only grown.”

Asked what effect the changes might have on the protests that the Government’s extremism adviser warned last week were turning central London “into a no-go zone for Jews every weekend”, Mr Gove said: “If we’re clear about the nature of extremist organisations, then I think that means that some of the people – and there are good-hearted people who go on these marches, I don’t agree with them, but they’re moved by suffering and they want peace – but it may help some of them to question who are organising some of these events. I won’t go into details now, but we will later.

“Some of the events that have been organised, have been organised by extremist organisations. That doesn’t mean that people who have gone on them are extremist, quite the opposite. But it means that you can begin to question, do you really want to be lending credence to this organisation? If you do, fair enough. But now there is no excuse for ignorance.”

He added: “We can also have a broader conversation about the way in which some of what’s said on these marches springs from an extremist ideology, rather than simply being an expression of passionate opposition to conflict. ‘From the river to the sea’ is not a call for peace … When you’re saying ‘from the river to the sea’, you’re explicitly saying, ‘I want to see the end of Israel as a Jewish state, the Jewish homeland erased’. Now, be clear about that and be clear about what that means.

“Be clear about the fact that you know a key Islamist demand is the erasure of what they see as the ‘Zionist entity’ or the ‘crusader Zionist state’. And therefore, let’s be clear that there is a difference between a cry for peace and the legitimisation of an extremist position which intimidates and leads to hate.”

‘Significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents’

Mr Gove described the rise in extremism as a “profound concern”, stating: “Obviously since Oct 7 we’ve seen a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents. We’ve also seen an increase in anti-Muslim hatred. And this is a significant acceleration of what’s been a deeply worrying trend for years now, which has been the way in which organisations operating below the criminal threshold have been polarising and dividing society, spreading hate and seeking to make our pluralist, liberal democracy contested space.

“There have been people who’ve been trying to undermine democratic values, divide people on the basis of race and religion, and I have felt for a while now that we needed to take action.”

Addressing the question of interference by Iran, Mr Gove said: “It is undoubtedly the case that there are individuals who are either linked to or who admire the Iranian regime, and who are extremist in the UK, but I can’t say more than that.”

He added: “One of the things that we’re explicitly looking at is the way in which foreign state and non-state actors seek to encourage extremism here. And again, this is inevitably sensitive work about which I can say only a very limited amount because it’s not only Iran that attempts to use some of these forces to destabilise British democracy.”

Mr Gove also expressed concerns about the characterisation by David Miller, a Bristol University professor sacked for his anti-Zionist views, of a recent ruling which found that he was unfairly dismissed.

Prof Miller’s lawyers have claimed the judgment established that anti-Zionist beliefs are protected in the workplace. Mr Gove said: “We do need to revisit the law.”

Read the full interview
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‘Crisis in masculinity’ prompts Labour to consider men’s health strategy

Labour is looking at introducing a men’s health strategy to address a “crisis in masculinity” that is costing lives.

The plans could see an expansion in services which offer NHS checks in “men-friendly spaces” – such as sports grounds, pubs and workplaces – alongside efforts to encourage boys and men to be more open about their mental health.

The party is examining strategies rolled out in Ireland and Australia, which have increased male life expectancy, and local schemes in the UK which have offered men health screening in football stadiums.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said he felt “enraged” about failures to tackle male health issues – in particular mental health – with suicide the biggest killer of men under the age of 50.

Official data shows men’s life expectancy in the UK falling at a far sharper rate than that of women. It is now at its lowest for more than a decade.

Mr Streeting told The Telegraph: “I think as a country we have been slow to wake up to the fact that I think it’s quite hard to be a young man in today’s society.”

‘Mental ill-health rising’

Issues which had impacted young women – such as being bombarded with body ideals, online – were now affecting men, he said.

“I think lots of young men, particularly working class boys, are struggling in school and worried about their futures. And I think that that’s contributing to a sort of crisis in masculinity, with mental ill-health rising, and suicide being the biggest single biggest killer of young men under 50,” he said.

“When I heard that statistic, I nearly fell off my chair – it is shocking.”

Last year the Government published the first women’s health strategy, with promises to boost access to hormone replacement therapy, improve the availability of fertility treatment and offer more help for those who suffer miscarriage and stillbirth.

Mr Streeting said he was glad to see efforts to improve healthcare for women, but said more needed to be done for men.

He said: “I have been very outspoken about the fact that it takes seven and a half years for women to receive a diagnosis for a common condition like endometriosis, and outraged that a universal experience like menopause is still treated as if it’s a rare condition affecting an alien species.

“I feel just as enraged about failures in men’s health, whether that’s the mental health crisis that’s taking young men’s lives too soon, or the rates of preventable death in areas like prostate cancer and testicular cancer.”

“I will bring that focus to both men’s health and women’s health to government,” he said, confirming that this meant a men’s health strategy was under consideration.

Three in four suicides are by men, with the highest rates among those aged between 45 and 64.

Inspiration from overseas

Mr Streeting said he had been inspired by his visit to Australia in December, in which he met representatives from the Movember movement, which started in Melbourne and raises awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide.

The shadow minister has already pledged “to reverse the rising tide of lives lost to suicide” with an expansion of 8,500 mental health professionals and mental health support offered in every school. A pledge to double the number of scanners in hospitals will form part of efforts to improve the diagnosing of prostate cancer, under Labour’s plans.

The party is examining the men’s health strategies in Australia and Ireland, and voluntary schemes in the UK to tackle male mental health and isolation.

Among them are Men’s Sheds — another movement born in Australia – which has expanded into Ireland and the UK in recent years. The clubs bring men together for group activities such as gardening, metalwork and carpentry.

The Australian strategy also sets out a “life course” approach to ensure boys and men are talking about mental and physical health from an early age.

Inquiry into falling life expectancy

The Commons Health and Social Care Committee is carrying out an inquiry into men’s health, which is considering why life expectancy for men has fallen at a faster rate than women’s since the pandemic.

Evidence from the Men’s Health Forum, a registered charity, shows three quarters of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease are among men. The charity said men were 43 per cent more likely to die from cancer, 26 per cent more likely to have type 2 diabetes and constituted 66 per cent of alcohol-related deaths.

Research has found men with prostate cancer are being diagnosed late and suffering avoidable deaths because they have to fight to be taken seriously by doctors.

The all-party Parliamentary group for issues affecting men and boys has called on the NHS to take cancer testing vans to sports grounds and building sites to tackle the “crisis” of early deaths. Pilot NHS schemes have already seen lung X-rays offered at football grounds and sports centres.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that since the pandemic, male life expectancy in the UK has fallen by 38 weeks, while for women it has fallen by 23 weeks. This brings life expectancy down to the lowest levels for more than a decade.

The figures for 2020 to 2022 show boys born today will live for an average of 78.6 years and women 82.6 years, down from 79.3 years and 83 years respectively for children born between 2017 and 2019.

Since 2008, when Ireland introduced its men’s health strategy, the life expectancy for men has increased by four years from 77 (2007) to 81 in 2021. It has since fallen by a year. Over the same period, UK male life expectancy went from 77.3 in 2006-8 to 79.3 in 2018-20, since when it has fallen.

In written evidence to the Commons Health Committee inquiry on men’s health, the Department of Health and Social Care said the health system aimed to tailor services to different groups in society.

“We know that men are less likely to access health services when they have problems and are less likely to respond to specific invitations to make use of services. This lower uptake of services, combined with a higher propensity for engagement in harmful behaviours, such as smoking, drinking and drug use, leads to worse health outcomes for men,” the evidence states.

However, it said the Government’s Major Conditions strategy would set out an agenda to tackle such issues.

The NHS National Cancer Patient Experience survey found men with symptoms often had to return to their GP several times before getting a diagnosis.

Meanwhile 82 per cent of breast cancer patients only had to see their GP once before being referred for a diagnosis. The figure was just 59 per cent for men with prostate cancer.

The Men’s Health Forum has been calling for a men’s health strategy for more than a year. In 2022 it wrote to then health secretary Steve Barclay urging him to take action.

The charity said such a move “would not only improve the lives of men and boys, it would also improve the lives of women and girls” highlighting disproportionately high rates of suicide, cancer mortality, diabetes and heart disease.

The letter, backed by more than 40 organisations, called for a more “gender-informed” approach to health.

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Meghan and Harry sing during surprise visit to family of shooting victim

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made a surprise visit to the family of a teacher who was killed in a school shooting in Texas.

Meghan also led birthday celebrations for Irma Garcia’s sister, holding out a cake and singing Happy Birthday. 

“Is everyone singing too?” the Duchess joked as she realised no one else was joining in the song.

As the family laughed and teased that she would have to sing alone, Meghan called out “my love” to Harry who nodded to confirm he would join her. The pair then sang together with about 10 family members, including Ms Garcia’s young nieces and nephews. 

The Sussexes have been supporting the family since May 2022 when Ms Garcia was shot dead while trying to shield her students from a gunman who stalked the halls of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

Nineteen children and two teachers died during the mass shooting, which was carried out by an 18-year-old former student.

In further tragedy for Ms Garcia’s family just days after her death, her husband of 24 years, Joe, suffered a fatal heart attack.

John Martinez, Ms Garcia’s nephew, revealed after the massacre that Meghan had called his mother to offer her condolences over the deaths.

“The Dutchess, she’s so sweet and lovely, she really went out of her way to check on the family, it means so much,” Mr Martinez wrote on social media a the time.

On Saturday, he shared video and photos of his famous visitors. 

“They’re such a beautiful couple and I’m so blessed – so glad they came to check up on the family,” he wrote of Harry and Meghan. 

“Can’t believe how loving and supportive they are especially to my amazing cousins.

“Meghan Markle singing my mom Happy Birthday was the cutest, most adorable thing ever – she even bought her a cake.”

Grief compounded by police actions

A report released in January found Texas police had missed 10 opportunities to stop the man who killed Ms Garcia and 20 others during the 2022 massacre.

In findings that further angered victims’ families, an independent investigation last week acknowledged missteps by authorities but ultimately defended the actions of local police.

The former Uvalde mayor who had ordered an investigation into the actions of police said Friday he was surprised the report defended officers and believes the acting chief on the scene had failed during response to the shooting.

“What I’ve seen so far, it’s not quite what I was expecting,” said Don McLaughlin, who stepped down as mayor of the small Texas city last year and is now the Republican nominee for a seat in the state Legislature.

In the nearly two years since the shooting, families have accused police of a leadership void during the 77 minutes that elapsed between gunman Salvador Ramos’s arrival at the school and police confronting him.

Part of the delay was caused by officers spending 40 minutes searching for a key to a shared classroom space that they believed to be locked, even though it had been open.

CCTV footage from the school showed one officer stopping to check his phone while another applied hand sanitiser as armed police waited in the corridor.

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Watch: Protester holding ‘Hamas Are Terrorists’ sign arrested by police

A counter-protester carrying a banner condemning Hamas as a terror group was arrested after holding the sign aloft as pro-Palestine activists filed past him on Saturday.

Niyak Ghorbani, who was holding a banner reading “Hamas is terrorist”, was pulled to the ground and handcuffed by officers after an incident took place close to the march through central London.

As police held him down, he shouted “Shame on you”, before saying “I wrote down Hamas is a terrorist organisation… but they arrested me”.

The 38-year-old was de-arrested and released shortly after, with police saying he had been held for his own safety after an alleged assault was carried out against him.

Onlookers could be heard criticising the apparent disparity in police acting over Mr Ghorbani’s banner, but not some of those displayed in the main crowd of pro-Palestine protesters.

The flashpoint came as thousands of people filed through central London in the latest national protest against Israel’s bombing of Gaza following the Oct 7 massacre by Hamas.

One pro-Palestine activist on the march could be seen wearing a protective helmet and carrying a riot shield.

The bearded man, whose helmet was similar to those used by reporters in combat zones, paraded holding the riot shield with the slogan: “Resistance is justified when your land is occupied” as the singer Charlotte Church walked at the head of the march to the US embassy.

He was later arrested under section 5 of the Public Order Act after being placed under “active observation” by officers who detained him at “an appropriate time”.

In total, there were five arrests at the protest, including one man who was arrested for assault.

One woman was arrested for holding an offensive placard, while two others were arrested for chanting offensive slogans.

One young woman held a placard reading “One holocaust does not justify another”, in defiance of criticism that such comparisons are anti-Semitic, while next to her a man with bloodstained hand prints on a hospital tunic carried a doll to signify the thousands of children killed in Gaza.

Several placards showed support for the Houthi militias in Yemen targeting ships going through the Red Sea.

Police officers were overheard being told over their radios that if they heard chants of “Yemen, Yemen turn those ships around” they should make “active interventions”.

Mr Ghorbani, an Iranian who lives in Balham, south London, told The Telegraph he had been assaulted by pro-Palestine protesters as he stood holding his sign.

He said: “They attacked me from behind and hit me in the head. They pushed me and told me Hamas is a protector of Palestine.”

The IT professional added: “The police destroyed my sign and told me that I had harassed someone in the protest and that is why they arrested me.

“They arrested me because someone who supports Hamas attacked me and I defended myself. After 10 minutes my friends showed them a video of what I was doing and they released me.

“The person who attacked me was not arrested.”

Scotland Yard said in a statement: “The man was arrested after an altercation was ongoing, and officers intervened to prevent a breach of the peace. He was arrested for assault.

“Officers then fully reviewed footage provided of the incident, and he was later de-arrested. The arrest was not made in relation to the placard.”

Mr Ghorbani had bottles, sticks, clods of earth and other objects thrown at him by pro-Palestine protesters on a previous march after he held up a sign asking if people agreed that Hamas was a terrorist organisation.

Speaking about the protests in general, Mr Ghorbani said: “I think people in England are a bit naive about what Hamas is. I lived in Germany for eight years and there they know what Hamas is like. Here some people have no idea.”

Mr Ghorbani had been standing close to where a small group of around 40 pro-Israel counter-protesters had gathered, separated from the main march by about the same number of police officers.

They held Israeli flags and placards demanding the release of hostages, chanting “bring them home”, “Hamas is Isis” and “rape is not resistance”.

It was the first time since the Gaza conflict began in October that an official counter-demonstration was staged in solidarity with both Israel and British Jews who have felt intimidated by repeated protests from Palestinian supporters likening Israel’s tactics to the Holocaust.

The group, whose counter-protest was kept a couple of hundred yards away by police from the route of the pro-Palestine march, said they wanted to reclaim London as “a bastion of democracy, diversity, and multiculturalism”.

Church was criticised last month after leading a choir in a rendition of “from the river to the sea” during a pro-Palestinian charity concert.

The chant – which was heard repeatedly on Saturday – has been interpreted by many, including Suella Braverman, the former home secretary, as a call for the destruction of the state of Israel.

Church said she joined the protest to “show solidarity with the people of Palestine for all that they are suffering through”.

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Earl Spencer reveals trauma of school sex abuse

Earl Spencer has revealed his trauma of being sexually abused at the age of 11 by a female member of his boarding school staff.

The 59-year-old brother of the late Princess Diana has spoken of the lifelong damage he suffered because of the sexual assaults and horrific beatings he suffered at £31,700-a-year Maidwell Hall.

His memoir, A Very Private School, which is being published exclusively in The Mail on Sunday, tells how a predatory assistant matron targeted young boys in their dormitory beds at night. He described her as a “voracious paedophile.”

“I’ve frequently witnessed deep pain, still flickering in the eyes of my Maidwell contemporaries,” he writes.

“Many of us left Maidwell with demons sewn into the seams of our souls.”

When he was 11 he was moved to live in a pair of dormitories based within the school’s attics, known as ‘The Uppers.’

He said the woman, who he did not identify, would bring the boys illicit snacks at night before going on to sexually abuse them.

Earl Spencer said on one night she first “kissed me on the lips” before she “promoted me to the second rank of her reverse harem: those she intimately touched.”

”While we kissed, one night, she reached under my bedclothes, trailing her fingers in teasing, looping circles down my stomach until alighting on the little that an 11-year-old boy can muster,” he writes. “The first time she touched me there, she placed my hand on her breasts, and I could feel her pounding heart beneath.”

”There seemed to be an unofficial hierarchy among her prey… she chose one boy each term to share her bed and would use him for intercourse.”

Earl Spencer added: “Her control over mesmerised boys was total, for we were starved of feminine warmth, and desperate for attention and affection.”

He turned to self-harming when she told him she might take up a job with the Royal Navy instead.

”I was so fraught at the prospect of losing her that I started cutting at the inside of my arm with a penknife,” he said.

He said the woman would now be in her late 60s, he believed would have married at least twice but he suspects she now either lives abroad or is dead.

John Porch, the former headteacher of the prep school who died in 2002 aged 95, was also said to have brutally beaten pupils. Earl Spencer said the abuse seemed to give Mr Porch sexual pleasure. 

Maidwell Hall described the tales of abuse from Earl Spencer and former pupils as “sobering” and added: “‘We are sorry that was their experience.

”It is difficult to read about practices which were, sadly, sometimes believed to be normal and acceptable at that time. Almost every facet of school life has evolved significantly since the 1970s. At the heart of the changes is the safeguarding of children and promotion of their welfare.”

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Oxford University held training sessions attended by Chinese doctors accused of harvesting organs

Oxford University organised training programmes attended by Chinese transplant doctors facing allegations of illegally harvesting human organs, The Telegraph can reveal.

Academics designed dozens of courses over three years for the benefit of hundreds of medics, despite warnings that there is no safe way to collaborate with the Chinese transplant sector because the killing of political prisoners for their organs is so widespread.

The alleged role of one “honoured guest” at the most recent New Horizons programme, Prof Zheng Shusen, was said in a submission to a 2018 tribunal to need explanation over a “clear and convincing evidence pattern” of being “directly or indirectly complicit in the commission of crimes against humanity… against unknown individuals who were killed in the process of having their organs extracted”.

Data experts, and The Telegraph’s own investigation, have identified 15 other medics who took part in the sessions in 2023 regarding whom concerns have also been raised.

Oxford has been warned that its involvement in the programme could amount to inadvertent complicity in organ harvesting and was urged to disclose whether, and how much, it had been paid to take part.

Last year’s New Horizon also involved several senior NHS clinicians, according to the programme, including Prof Dale Gardiner, the clinical lead for NHS blood and transplant. No personal wrongdoing is alleged against him.

It comes amid increasing concern about the influence of the Chinese Communist Party on Britain’s top universities.

China has repeatedly used international medical collaborations as a propaganda tool to quell concerns about its transplantation ethics.

In contrast to nearly all other medically advanced countries, it allows almost no transparency around the sourcing of organs.

For decades, Beijing claimed that its unusually large supply of organs came from legally executed prisoners.

It said the practice ended in 2015 and that all organs have been supplied voluntarily since then.

However, experts argue that death-row prisoners could never have accounted for the scale of China’s organ transplantation programme.

They point instead to the documented widespread imprisonment and torture of Falun Gong spiritualists.

Falun Gong practitioners 

In 2020, the independent China Tribunal, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice KC, formerly the lead prosecutor in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, concluded that: “In the long-term practice in the PRC [People’s Republic of China] of forced organ harvesting it was indeed Falun Gong practitioners who were used as a source – probably the principal source – of organs for forced organ harvesting.”

The judgment added that there was no evidence of the practice having stopped.

Although non-statutory, the tribunal has since been endorsed by government ministers, who have written to the World Health Organisation (WHO) urging it to take note of its findings.

There is a global shortage of available organs and a lucrative black market for illegally obtained tissue.

A 2018 submission to the tribunal named Prof Zheng, a liver transplantation specialist at Zhejiang University, and stated that: “The evidence that Zheng has been able to harvest organs on demand – evidently from blood-typed captive individuals held on standby – coupled with transplants at his hospital being far in excess of available death-row prisoners in Hangzhou, requires an explanation.”

Prof Zheng has also been alleged to be a prominent member of the so-called “Anti-Cult Association”, which in practice is said to be a mechanism for supporting the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

In the preface to a book on the prevention of cults, he likened the movement to “viruses corroding the organism of humanity”, according to the submission.

Submissions banned

In 2017 the scientific journal Liver International was forced to retract a study submitted by Prof Zheng after he failed to provide sufficient evidence that the organs used in the study were sourced ethically.

It banned him from submitting any further work.

Despite this, the 2023 New Horizon programme, which was delivered via a series of online seminars to a conference suite in China, included Prof Zheng in its “honoured guest” category alongside the president of the European Society for Organ Transplantation (Esot), which endorsed the conference. No personal wrongdoing is alleged against the president.

In a statement, Oxford said its Centre for Evidence in Transplantation had provided webinars to raise standards in research practices, rather than direct transplant practice or surgery training.

The logo of the university’s Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences sits above all the session posters, such as: “Advances in Heart Transplantation.”

Prof Wendy Rogers, chairman of the international advisory committee of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China, said: “It’s really shameful that Zheng Shusen participated. It shows a real lack of due diligence by Oxford and Esot.”

She added: “The New Horizons programme involves close collaboration with Chinese transplant clinicians and institutions.

“Due to China’s record of transplant-related human rights abuses, including forced organ harvesting, the programme exposes participating clinicians to potential complicity in those abuses.

Involvement in organ harvesting

Data research by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation highlighted five further attendees at the 2023 conference who have authored studies which, the foundation says, inadvertently revealed that the donors were alive just before their organs were removed.

The Telegraph has identified another 10 attendees who have been accused of involvement in organ harvesting by Falun Gong human rights campaigners.

In 2022, the law firm Global Rights Compliance (GRC) published a groundbreaking legal advisory document setting out how Western institutions risk criminal liability for inadvertent collaboration with China in the field of transplantation.

Wayne Jordash, managing partner at GRC, said: “Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence in Transplantation has a clear international legal responsibility that, at a minimum, obliges them to ask the difficult questions about the known risks in the field of organ transplantation in China.

“If those questions have not been asked, nor answered, satisfactorily by the relevant Chinese institutions, then Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence in Transplantation will have violated its international legal obligations.”

The Telegraph understands that Esot was made aware of this advisory in the context of New Horizons.

No follow-up New Horizon programme is believed to be scheduled for this year.

‘Condemns inhumane practice’

Oxford University did not disclose on what financial basis it had taken part in past programmes.

A spokesman said: “Oxford thoroughly condemns the inhumane practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners and university academics have been in the forefront of urging international organisations to pressure China into ending the practice.

“The World Health Organization, the European Society for Organ Transplantation and other international bodies now permit support for lawful transplant education and research in China.”

Esot said it was “deeply committed to upholding the utmost ethical standards within the realm of organ donation and transplantation” and campaigned against unethical conduct.

Prof Zheng did not respond to a request for comment.

Additional reporting by Aidan Coyle

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Lord Cameron urged to stop ‘sniping’ at Israel

Conservative MPs have accused David Cameron of “sniping” at Israel over its handling of the situation in Gaza and have claimed the Foreign Office shows “anti-Israel sentiment”.

A group of pro-Israel Tory MPs is due to raise its concerns with the Foreign Secretary at a meeting on Tuesday.

Last week, Lord Cameron met Benny Gantz, the Israeli cabinet minister, to discuss the flow of aid into Gaza. After the meeting, he posted a statement on X, formerly Twitter, saying that he had “made clear the steps Israel must take to increase aid” and that “we are still not seeing improvements on the ground”.

He also said he was “deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah” and that Israel’s performance in making aid available would have “consequences” for the UK’s assessment about “whether Israel is compliant” with international law.

One MP told The Telegraph that when the statement was posted into a Tory WhatsApp group, there was “irritation in relation to what he said”.

Theresa Villiers, a former cabinet minister, said: “The UK Government must [support] Israel’s right to defend itself from the genocidal death cult that attacked them on Oct 7.

“Lord Cameron should acknowledge the huge efforts being made by the IDF to minimise civilian casualties and also to facilitate aid to Gaza.”

She added that Israel is a “valued ally of the UK and ministers should take care not to undermine our diplomatic partnership with the only democracy in the Middle East”.

“We should be backing Israel in its hour of need, not sniping at them,” she said.

Andrew Percy, the MP for Brigg and Goole, said: “Repeatedly the [Foreign Office] places all of the emphasis on Israel and holds them to account for the consequences of a war they did not start and for civilian suffering which is [a] result of the actions of Hamas.”

Bob Blackman, the MP for Harrow East, said: “We’ve got to be more stringent in our support for Israel generally.”

A Foreign Office source said: “The Foreign Secretary is a huge friend of Israel. He went to Kibbutz Be’eri and has seen the horror of what took place there so he gets it. But sometimes being a friend means having to deliver a tough message, like over humanitarian aid.”

Other Tory MPs are more supportive of the Government’s position.

Alicia Kearns, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said that on a recent visit to an aid staging location in Egypt the committee had seen “tons” of goods that had been refused entry into Gaza, including medical supplies.

Ms Kearns has written to Lord Cameron urging him to follow up an offer made by Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesman, who invited the international community to “send another 100 trucks a day”, insisting there were “no limits” on essential aid.

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