The Telegraph 2024-04-09 01:00:42

David Cameron meets Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago

Lord Cameron and Donald Trump met to discuss the war in Ukraine, Nato and the Middle East on Monday in the first summit between a senior government minister and the former president since he left office in 2021.

The Foreign Secretary flew to Florida to meet Mr Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort, in a move the Government said was “standard practice” for opposition leaders ahead of an election.

The two men discussed Ukraine, the war in Gaza and the future of Nato, after Lord Cameron publicly distanced himself from the former president’s remarks on the alliance earlier this year.

A government source told The Telegraph that the Foreign Secretary wanted Mr Trump to “hear how much we’re putting into defence spending” in a “productive meeting” that highlighted the “breadth and strength” of the special relationship.

On Tuesday and Wednesday Lord Cameron will meet other Republicans in Washington DC, where he will tell those blocking a new aid package to Ukraine that Kyiv must defeat Russia to show that “borders matter”.

The meeting with Mr Trump is the first of a senior British minister since the former president lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden.

The Foreign Secretary has previously described Mr Trump’s “Muslim ban” travel policy as “divisive, stupid and wrong” and the man himself as “protectionist, xenophobic, misogynistic”.

Mr Trump, the Republican nominee in the 2024 US election, is at loggerheads with Democrats and European governments over support for Ukraine, which has pledged to cut if he wins a second term in November.

He has said he would end the war in Ukraine “in one day”, and has suggested he would be more willing to push Kyiv into negotiations with Moscow.

The UK Government, which also sends arms to Ukraine, has pledged to continue its support and in January announced a £2.5bn package of military aid for the 2024-25 financial year.

Lord Cameron has recently criticised Mr Trump’s approach to the Nato alliance, describing his comments that Russia could do “whatever they hell they want” to members that do not reach its defence spending target as “not a sensible approach”.

He has also fallen foul of Mr Trump’s supporters in Congress, after writing in February that he would “drop all diplomatic niceties” and “urge” legislators to pass a funding bill.

“I believe our joint history shows the folly of giving in to tyrants in Europe who believe in redrawing boundaries by force,” he said.

Majorie Taylor Greene, a firebrand Trump supporter in the House of Representatives, said the Foreign Secretary had compared sceptical Republicans to Nazis, responding: “I think that I really don’t care what David Cameron has to say.

“I think that’s rude name-calling, and I don’t appreciate that type of language. And David Cameron needs to worry about his own country, and frankly, he can kiss my a—.”

The meeting at Mar-a-Lago on Monday night came as Lord Cameron prepared for meetings with members of the Biden administration and congressmen on Tuesday in Washington DC.

At a press conference at the State Department, he is expected to join Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, in support for Ukraine and in ending the war in Gaza.

The meetings will also include a bilateral summit with Jake Sullivan, Mr Biden’s national security adviser, while talks with congressional Republicans will focus on their opposition to Ukraine aid.

Mr Biden has presented a $95bn (£75bn) Ukraine spending package to Congress but has been unable to pass it amid opposition from Republicans in both the House of Representatives and Senate.

Foreign Office sources stressed that Lord Cameron’s meeting with Mr Trump was in line with previous visits from visiting UK dignitaries, including a trip by Gordon Brown to meet Barack Obama in 2008.

Speaking prior to the visit, a government spokesman said: “The Foreign Secretary is on his way to Washington DC, where he will hold discussions with US Secretary of State Blinken, other Biden administration figures and members of Congress.

“His talks will focus on a range of shared US-UK priorities, including securing international support for Ukraine and bringing stability to the Middle East.

“Ahead of his visit to Washington, the Foreign Secretary will meet former President Trump in Florida today. It is standard practice for ministers to meet with opposition candidates as part of their routine international engagement.”

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‘Evil monster’ murdered wife and cut her body into more than 200 pieces

An “evil monster” stabbed his wife to death and then cut her body into more than 200 pieces before dumping them in a river…

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Farage: I could be bridge between Trump and Starmer

Nigel Farage has suggested that he would be willing to work alongside a Labour government as a trade envoy if Donald Trump becomes US president.

Mr Farage, the former Ukip leader predicted his friend would win the presidential election and said he would be “very interested” to work with Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader.

Mr Farage made the claims during a question and answer session, presented by the Telegraph Politics newsletter, with Camilla Tominey, The Telegraph’s associate editor, and dozens of Telegraph subscribers.

“All I’m struck by is that we have an incoming Labour government – 99 per cent certain, according to John Curtice – who have no affinity to Trump’s form of conservatism whatsoever,” he said.

“There’s no way around it, our relationship with America on defence is absolutely crucial. In terms of trade, we are still the biggest foreign investor in America, they are the biggest foreign investor here.

“There needs to be some sort of envoy between an incoming Labour government with people like David Lammy – who’s probably going to the foreign secretary, who’s been really quite abusive about Trump…”

Asked whether he wanted to be “Starmer’s man in Washington”, Mr Farage replied: “That isn’t going to happen. It may well be the other way round. But I do think in the national interest there needs to be an intermediary between Trump and an incoming Labour government. And if I can help with that, I’d be very interested to do so.”

Mr Farage said he had not spoken directly to Sir Keir about such a possibility, but had held talks with “other people around the Labour Party”, adding: “If it’s not me, they need someone to be an intermediary. Not an ambassador, but someone a little more covert.”

Asked directly whether Mr Trump had offered him a job, he quipped: “I can’t remember.”

Mr Farage also predicted that Reform UK would win more votes than the Conservative Party at the next general election.

Accusing the Tories of blowing the 80-seat majority they won in 2019, he said: “I think Reform will get, with or without me, more votes than the Conservatives at the next election, in terms of numbers.

“How that transpires in terms of seats is absolutely anybody’s guess. But I can see the momentum. May 2 [the local elections] is going to be a disaster for the Conservatives.”

Mr Farage ruled out joining the Tory Party “even if they asked me”, while also pouring cold water on the prospect of a “dream ticket” with Boris Johnson, the former prime minister, saying they would not agree on anything.

Asked about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mr Farage noted that the casualty count was now “just about equivalent to the Battle of the Somme” and called for negotiations aimed at ending the conflict.

“We can keep giving weapons to Ukraine, the stalemate can continue and Putin has completely reshaped the Russian economy, it’s about the war or nothing else, or we can have negotiations.

“I think we have to have negotiations and I think Trump will go for those negotiations… What is the endgame of this, what is the goal? If we think it’s a Ukrainian victory, that’s for the birds.”

Mr Farage also paid tribute to Margaret Thatcher on the 11th anniversary of her death, praising her as a “fighter” and saying: “If there’s a similarity, it’s fighting for things that may not be trendy today, but may well be tomorrow.”

It came as Richard Tice, the Reform UK leader, warned candidates not to get drunk and post on social media after the party ditched several prospective MPs over a string of offensive comments.

In the past week alone, the party has dropped five candidates over a series of social media posts described as racist, sexist and homophobic.

Taking questions at a press conference in central London, where he was setting out his party’s plans for NHS reform, Mr Tice was asked how confident he was that he would not have to drop more aspiring MPs.

“We’re very clear to all our candidates, for heaven’s sake… if you’re going to have a glass on a Friday night, then don’t use social media,” he said. “It’s not sensible. And if someone lets us down hereafter, then frankly, if it’s inappropriate, if it’s unacceptable, then we’re going to part company.

“So you can have your freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to represent Reform UK as a parliamentary candidate, because that’s our choice.”

Watch the question-and-answer session above.

Telegraph subscribers were able to ask their questions by booking tickets in advance.

To have the chance to pose your questions at future events, view our events schedule at Telegraph Extra.

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Children must not be rushed to change gender, report warns

Children who believe they are transgender may actually have mental health issues, a landmark report is set to find this week.

It is expected to advise that children should not be rushed onto a path to change gender, and that they receive counselling that addresses the mental health issues they may have rather than being put on drugs.

Dr Hillary Cass, a paediatrician, will on Wednesday unveil her long-awaited review into how transgender children are supported and the medical treatment they receive.

It comes amid concern that children are being allowed to change gender in school without their parents’ knowledge or consent, and after the routine prescription of puberty blockers was banned by NHS England.

The Telegraph understands that the report will find that children who think they are trans disproportionately have mental health issues stemming from a difficult family situation or having suffered from abuse. They are also more likely to be neurodiverse.

Counselling to tackle issues holistically

It is expected to suggest that these children need counselling to tackle these issues holistically, rather than them automatically being put on a path to change gender.

The report is expected to warn that it is wrong to assume it is in the best interest of children who think they are trans to change gender, and urge extreme caution over the use of drugs such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to facilitate this, even once someone is over 18 years old.

The review is also said to express concern about a significant rise in the number of young girls wanting to become boys, and say this group needs more support.

On Monday, Downing Street said the Government would act on the basis of the report to ensure children and adolescents were kept safe.

“We have talked about the importance of children and adolescent safety and wellbeing being paramount,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman said.

“That is part of previous work such as the NHS announcement to end the routine prescription of puberty blockers, it is behind our robust and clear guidance to schools. It is categorical that social transitioning is not a neutral act and no one should be forced to use preferred pronouns or accept contested beliefs as fact.

“We’ve also said there’s more to do in this area and we will look at the review when it’s published.”

He added: “The Government has taken a number of steps in this area, recognising the effect that social transitioning can have on children and adolescents, and we’ve made clear that single sex spaces must be protected.”

The interim Cass report in 2022 said that children being allowed to socially transition in schools – changing their name and pronouns, and being allowed to use the lavatories and changing rooms of the gender they identify as – was “not a neutral act”.

It also raised concerns about the NHS’s gender identity and development service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS trust in London.

Children who think they are trans may have other problems

The interim review led NHS England to close Tavistock service and replace it with regional centres that take a more “holistic” approach to treatment and look at other mental health or medical issues they may have.

Dr Cass’s final report is expected to conclude that there could be many complex reasons a child may think they are in the wrong gender.

It is believed to advise therapists that children presenting as trans may have had other complex issues such as a difficult family situation, having suffered from abuse, or having been exposed to pornography too early.

For this reason, cases need to be judged holistically.

The review is also believed to conclude that if you allow a very young child to socially transition they are more likely to grow up to have a fixed trans identity later in life, rather than their gender distress being resolved by other means.

Dr Cass’s report is understood to say that prepubescent children should not be put on the same “pathway” as older adolescents who wish to identify as the opposite gender.

‘Psychological repercussions’

It is expected to warn that children may experience “psychological” repercussions as a result of being allowed to change their name and pronoun to the gender of their choice.

Last month, the NHS announced an immediate ban on prescribing puberty blockers to under-18s unless they are part of a clinical trial. Ministers said the “landmark decision” was in children’s “best interests” and would help to ensure youngsters who feel their gender is not the same as their sex are treated using medical evidence.

However, campaigners have warned of a loophole, as there is nothing to stop transgender children getting hold of puberty blockers from private clinics.

In 2021-22, the NHS reported more than 5,000 referrals to Tavistock, up from just under 250 who were questioning their gender a decade earlier.

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Spain to axe ‘golden visa’ scheme in blow to British expats

Are you a British expat affected by visa rule changes? Write to with your story 

Spain is planning to axe a “golden visa” scheme that grants residency to foreign property buyers in a blow to British expats.

The programme allows non-EU citizens investing at least €500,000 (£429,000) in Spanish real estate to live and work in the country for three years.

However, Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez told reporters on Monday that the scheme would be scrapped to make access to affordable housing for Spaniards “a right instead of a speculative business”.

He said: “Today, 94 out of every 100 such visas are linked to real estate investment… in major cities like Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Alicante, Valencia or Palma de Mallorca that are facing a highly stressed market and where it’s almost impossible to find decent housing for those who already live, work and pay their taxes there.”

He added that the government would launch the process to eliminate the scheme in Tuesday’s weekly cabinet meeting after studying a report submitted by the housing ministry.

Spain introduced its golden visa programme in September 2013 to encourage wealthy foreigners to invest in real estate to boost the Spanish economy in the wake of the financial crisis.

However, the EU has urged member states to wind up such schemes or implement stricter checks, amid fears that golden visas are inflating house prices and being exploited by criminals to launder cash in villas and bogus firms. 

Spain’s decision comes after the Portuguese government also announced it was pressing ahead with plans to end its non-habitual resident (NHR) visa scheme offering lucrative tax breaks to foreigners – including Britons – who spend more than six months a year in the country.

In January, a French court blocked efforts to allow British expats to stay in the country for longer than 90 days without a visa.  

Spain is one of the most popular destinations for British expats in Europe. United Nations estimates put the number of Britons living in Spain at 303,000 in 2020, second only to Ireland (305,000) and ahead of France (170,000) and Germany (118,000).

The golden visa scheme has proved popular since Brexit, as it has allowed expats with holiday homes in Spain to skirt around rules limiting non-EU citizens to a 90-day stay in EU countries without needing a visa.

Some 185 Britons have been granted these visas since Brexit came into force in 2021, according to data obtained by online newspaper El Confidencial.

The scheme is predominantly used by Russian and Chinese property investors, but Mary Dunne, of estate agents Hamptons International based in Marbella, said the planned closure of the scheme would make it harder for Britons looking to move to Spain.

She added: “It’s like a bomb went off this morning. It’s going to be a big issue for expats wanting to move and a lot of people are very unhappy about it.

“What’s being done isn’t hugely different from other European countries, but it’s not a positive message.

“Anyone thinking about using that route would now have to look at becoming a resident – but this will affect your tax status, as you would need to pay tax in Spain rather than the UK.”

The scheme’s current criteria are generally considered easier to satisfy than other routes to residency. The three-year residency can be extended by two years, and foreigners are entitled to apply for Spanish nationality after 10 years of living in the country. 

Applicants can also be granted one of Spain’s golden visas by investing €1m (£858,000) in shares or in funds established in the country. It is understood that foreigners will still be able to secure residency rights in this way.

It is not yet clear whether the restrictions will only apply to major cities, where competition for housing is most acute, and not in rural areas which are under less pressure.

Golden visas and how to get one – from Portugal to Greece

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Hate crime complaints to Scottish police set to outnumber total for all other offences

Hate crime reports in Scotland are on course to outnumber all other offences put together, figures show, as front-line officers warned they “can’t cope” with the surge.

Around 8,000 hate crime reports have been made in the first week of the new Scottish legislation coming into force, which, if replicated through the year, would surpass the entire annual total of 416,000 crimes reported to police, according to an analysis of official data by The Telegraph.

This would mean that hate crime reports would overtake overall crime within 36 weeks, or at least by the autumn, and dwarf the annual 58,000 reported assaults, the most common offence in Scotland, by a factor of 10.

David Threadgold, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, which represents front-line officers, told the BBC: “Police Scotland have gone public and said that on every occasion, reports of hate crime will be investigated.

“That creates a situation where we simply cannot cope at the moment. Officers have been brought back in to do overtime shifts and the management of that is simply unsustainable.”

He said the figures showed members of the public had “weaponised” the new law to pursue personal and political vendettas, and that messaging to the public urging them to report all possible instances of “hate”, potentially anonymously, had backfired.

“The bottom line is should this demand remain, the police service will have to deal with it but that will clearly impact on other areas of policing,” he said.

The new legislation, which was passed by MSPs in 2021 but only came into force in April 2024, makes it an offence to “stir up hatred” against protected groups such as transgender people, the disabled and the elderly. The 8,000 reports of hate crime in just the first week surpassed the total annual number of hate crimes in any previous year.

Analysis by The Telegraph shows Police Scotland is already failing to solve an increasing number of shoplifting cases, sexual assaults and car thefts. Clear-up rates – referring to cases where there is enough evidence for criminal proceedings –for two-thirds of all offences have declined since 2011 including violent offences, fraud and rape.

It comes amid growing criticism of the Scottish Government’s crime policies, which have seen officer numbers fall to their lowest level in 15 years, the introduction of plans to shut 29 police stations and a policy of not investigating offences such as some minor thefts or criminal damage.

The Scottish Police Federation will warn on Tuesday in 1919, a Scottish justice magazine, that the situation is posing risks to community policing. This meant vital intelligence that could prevent serious organised crime or terrorism was at risk of being missed.

Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Tory MSP, said: “It stands to reason that organised crime will flourish and the threat of extremism grow if officer numbers are at their lowest level since 2008 and police stations are closing up and down Scotland.

“These brutal cuts have forced the police to abandon investigating certain crimes at the same time as they are being deluged with thousands of fresh complaints – many of them spurious or vexatious – under the reckless Hate Crime Act.

“SNP ministers must swallow their pride, ditch the Hate Crime Act and give our police the resources to tackle genuine threats to public safety.”

Mr Threadgold said that police had to deal with the demand created by the new law but that the public needed clarity over what constituted an offence.

“We now need really clear messaging to the public about their decision-making,” he said.

“If they are making vexatious complaints, or complaints to score political points, they need to understand the impact that will have on our ability to deliver other services. So to the people making these complaints, I would say don’t be surprised if you see your local police station close or never see an officer out on foot in your area.

“Politicians have said the volume has taken them by surprise, but it was inevitable that this legislation would be misused and weaponised. So in that respect they are reaping what they have sown.

“The legislation will clearly age, what happens with it in the future in terms of it remaining on the statute books is a decision for someone else. But it has not had a particularly easy start to life on the statute books in Scotland and there’s been a real impact on policing so far.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “While we have seen a substantial increase in the number of online hate crime reports being received since April 1, these have been managed within our contact centres and have not impacted front-line policing.

“Although the challenges facing Police Scotland should not be underestimated, officers continue to provide effective policing to communities across the country.”

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Russell Findlay, justice spokesman for the Scottish Tories, said: “This alarming projection again illustrates the enormous toll that Humza Yousaf’s hate crime law is placing on Police Scotland.

“The First Minister is single-handedly managing to cause alleged hate crimes to be even more prevalent than assault. He needs to bin his disastrous legislation before it causes any further damage to our country.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: “This is an inaccurate way of portraying complaints and convicted crimes. The Hate Crime Act has a high threshold for criminality.

“For the new offences in the legislation, it has to be proven that the behaviour is threatening and/or abusive and that it is intended to stir up hatred. Complaints received do not automatically mean crimes have been committed.”

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Suspect in pram-pushing mother’s fatal stabbing had been charged with threat to kill her

A man suspected of fatally stabbing a mother who was pushing her baby in a pram was previously charged with threatening to kill her.

Habibur Masum, 25, was on bail at the time of the attack on 27-year-old Kulsuma Akter in the Westgate area of Bradford on Saturday.

Masum, a Bangladeshi who was in Britain on a student visa, is the focus of a nationwide manhunt after the stabbing.

He has a YouTube account and is a prolific vlogger. Just days before the attack he uploaded a video showing a recent holiday to Barcelona.

He regularly posts videos of his day-to-day life on the website and describes himself as an “adventure lover”.

At a press briefing on Monday, Assistant Chief Constable Damien Miller said a 23-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Police were called to Westgate at the junction with Drewton Road at 3.21pm on Saturday following reports of a woman being stabbed by a man, who then fled.

According to witnesses, the woman was stabbed “four to five times” in the neck while shopping with a friend.

On Monday, it emerged that Masum had appeared at Tameside magistrates’ court in Greater Manchester in November accused of assaulting Ms Akter and making threats to kill her.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was due to appear in court for a further hearing in August.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and West Yorkshire Police said they had both referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog over their previous contact with Ms Akter and Masum.

A spokesman for the IOPC said it was “assessing the information to determine whether an investigation was required”.

Detectives warned Masum may still be armed and told members of the public not to approach him.

Police conducted “a number of raids” in Burnley, Oldham and Chester on Monday where Masum is thought to have links.

ACC Miller also gave new details of the last sighting of Masum. He said: “At 3.30pm, Masum was captured on CCTV getting on a bus in Market Street. He then gets off the bus at 3.42pm on Killinghall Road and walks in the direction of Bradford Moor Park. This is our last confirmed sighting of him.”

Police believe Masum is still in the country and are appealing for taxi drivers who may have picked him up from the Bradford Moor Park area.

“It is very likely that he would have paid in cash,” said ACC Miller.

One of Masum’s online videos shows him looking through Bangladeshi-made clothes in Primark before trying on a range of winter jumpers. He then films a children’s offer and leaves with two full bags.

In another video from January, he films himself walking through a housing estate in the snow.

He warns his followers who are new to the UK not to “stay out in the cold too long” as they could get chest problems, while other videos show him cooking and going to concerts.

He also shared clips to his followers on Facebook showing them how to prepare a hospital bag for “your newborn baby”, and another showing him setting up a child’s cot.

Masum, who is from the city of Sylhet in eastern Bangladesh, studied for a masters in digital marketing at the  University of Bedfordshire.

Friends described him as a “normal student” who enjoyed playing football and cricket.

Masum, who is described as Asian and of a slim build, is from the Oldham area. CCTV footage appears to show him wearing a duffle coat with three large horizontal lines of grey, white and black, light blue or grey tracksuit bottoms with a small black emblem on the left pocket and maroon trainers.

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