The Telegraph 2024-06-10 18:00:55


LIVE General election latest: Sir Ed Davey to launch Lib Dem manifesto – watch live

Sir Ed Davey is set to launch the Liberal Democrats’ general election manifesto with a £9.4 billion package for the NHS and social care as its centrepiece. 

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

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LIVE Scholz under pressure to call snap election after heavy EU defeat

Olaf Scholz is coming under pressure to follow Emannuel Macron’s example and call a snap election after his party suffered a humiliating defeat in EU elections. 

“This government is basically finished and we need to do what France has done,” Markus Söder, the conservative governor of Bavaria, said on Monday.

Mr Söder added that Mr Scholz’ government “no longer has the trust of the population, that’s why there should be new elections as soon as possible.”

The centre-Right Christian Democrats, the main opposition in Germany’s parliament, also called on the Chancellor to call a vote of confidence on Monday to test whether he still has the support of his shaky three-way coalition.

Mr Scholz’ Social Democrats scored their worst ever EU election result, winning just 14 percent of the vote, according to exit polls. 

His coalition partners, the Greens and the Free Democrats, also fared badly as the German public swung decisively to the Right.

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Sandhurst cadet found dead in car with shotgun

A talented officer cadet at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst was found dead in a car with a shotgun.

Edward Milner, aged in his early 20s, was found inside a car off a country road in West Sussex along with the gun on May 6.

Police had received reports of a car leaving the carriageway of the A286 near Midhurst, just 30 miles from Sandhurst.

He was confirmed dead at the scene and his death is not being treated as suspicious, police said.

Milner was about to start his final term at the military academy previously attended by Princes William and Harry.

He belonged to Sandhurst’s New College and was returning from a period of leave when his body was found, according to Mail Online.

Talented graduate

He is reported to have been an economics graduate who previously attended Cardiff University and Sherborne, public school in Dorset where fees are as high as £16,000 a term.

Milner is also said to have been a talented sportsman, having excelled at cricket and rugby while at Sherborne.

A file on his death was passed to the local coroner, who has opened and adjourned an inquest, where senior Army figures could be called to give evidence.

The Ministry of Defence told the Mail: “The circumstances surrounding his death are being looked into by the coroner and it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

Milner’s death comes after another Sandhurst cadet, Olivia Perks, 21, took her own life in her bedroom at the Royal Military Academy.

A subsequent inquest found that the Army could have prevented her suicide had she been adequately safeguarded. Her parents called on the Army to ban the academy’s “toxic” drinking culture after the inquest revealed that Ms Perks had “drank to excess”.

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Michael Mosley lay undiscovered for five days, CCTV shows

Dr Michael Mosley’s body lay undiscovered just yards from a beach resort for nearly five days, it emerged on Sunday, as his wife said he “so very nearly made it” to safety.

‌The broadcaster and author was found dead on Sunday morning after his disappearance while walking on the Greek island of Symi last Wednesday caused a major search and rescue operation.‌

CCTV footage shows Dr Mosley gingerly walking down a rocky mountain near the perimeter fence of the Agia Marina resort before he appears to stumble and fall out of view, just over two hours after he left his wife and friends.‌

His wife, Dr Clare Bailey Mosley, paid tribute to her “wonderful, funny, kind and brilliant husband”.

‌She said: “We’re taking comfort in the fact that he so very nearly made it. He did an incredible climb, took the wrong route and collapsed where he couldn’t be easily seen by the extensive search team.”

‌The local coroner said an initial examination had ruled out foul play as there were “no obvious injuries” to Dr Mosley’s body, adding: “It looks like it was a fall.”

‌A spokesperson for the coroner said they would need to establish whether he had a “medical episode” which would take some time.

‌A police source said they had ruled out any possibility of criminality but that it was currently impossible to determine the cause of the death.

‌Tributes from friends and colleagues poured in for Dr Mosley who popularised the 5:2 diet.

‌Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef, said he was a “wonderfully sweet, kind and gentle man” who “did such a lot of good for public health”.

‌Writing in the Telegraph, his friend Dr Tim Spector, the epidemiologist, said Dr Mosley’s “humble, calm and self-deprecating style as he carefully explained complex science in simple terms, [was] why the public loved him.”

‌Dr Mosley had been on holiday when he left his wife and their friends at the St Nicholas beach bar at 1.30pm on Wednesday to walk back to their holiday villa in Symi town in searing temperatures of at least 40C.

‌He was captured on CCTV walking past a cafe in the village of Pedi at 1.52pm before apparently taking a wrong turn and embarking upon a treacherous mountainous path.

‌His wife raised the alarm at 7.30pm that evening, causing a major search operation involving the coastguard, police, firefighters, divers, drones and scores of volunteers.

‌The search covered ground agonisingly close to where his body was eventually found, just 50 yards from the beach.

‌Dr Mosley’s four grown up children, Alex, Jack, Dan and Kate, flew from the UK to join the search and support their mother on Friday.

‌One group, thought to include at least two of the children, is believed to have passed less than 30 yards from his body as they combed the rocky paths around the Agia Marina on Saturday in an attempt to retrace his suspected route.

‌Newly unearthed footage, captured by the Agia Marina bar’s security cameras at 3.44pm on Wednesday, suggests that Dr Mosley had made it over the mountain but was struggling to pick his way back to safety when he fell.

‌Dr Mosley stumbled out of view as he headed down towards the sea but did not appear to get up again. He was just a stone’s throw from the throngs of tourists relaxing on sun loungers on the other side of the chain link fence.

‌A customer could be seen walking past the bar’s nearby kiosk who could potentially have heard any shout for help.

‌Dr Mosley’s body was found after the mayor, Eleftherios Papakaloudoukas, and a TV crew on a boat spotted “something black” near to the fence at about 10.30am local time on Sunday morning.

‌Mr Papakaloudoukas called the bar manager, Ilias Tsavaris, and asked him to go and have a look.

‌Mr Tsavaris, who was accompanied by British journalists from organisations including the Telegraph, immediately saw the “glint from a watch” and a body.

‌He alerted the police who were at the scene 20 minutes later and Dr Mosley’s body was eventually removed on a stretcher after the coroner had arrived from Rhodes.

‌Dr Mosley first trained as a doctor in London becoming a presenter, documentary maker, and author.

‌He presented science programmes including the BBC series Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, which looked at healthcare in Britain, and hosted BBC Radio 4 podcast Just One Thing, where he revealed tips to help improve your health.

His book The Fast Diet, co-authored with Mimi Spencer, helped popularise a type of intermittent fasting and became a bestseller.

Dr Bailey Mosley said the family was “so grateful to the extraordinary people on Symi” who worked “tirelessly” to help find her husband, many working from dawn until dusk.

‌“We had an incredibly lucky life together,” she said. “We loved each other very much and were so happy together. I am incredibly proud of our children, their resilience and support over the past days.

‌“I feel so lucky to have our children and my amazing friends. Most of all, I feel so lucky to have had this life with Michael. Thank-you all.”

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Ambulance driver taken to court for speeding during emergency response

An ambulance driver who was taken to court for speeding while responding to a blue light emergency has called the proceedings “embarrassing”.

Matt Wood, 27, was caught going at 90mph on the M27 as he drove to Southampton Airport in January last year to pick up an “unstable” patient arriving from Guernsey in the Channel Islands.

The emergency worker, who was driving an unmarked ambulance, provided evidence he was responding to a medical emergency but was still prosecuted, which he has branded “a complete waste of time”.

He attended Southampton magistrates’ court after receiving a notice of intended prosecution (NIP), but the case was eventually dismissed because of the evidence he provided.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it even got taken to court. It’s very odd this has happened.

“I am pleased the case has been dropped but it is a waste of everyone’s time.

“It’s embarrassing it has even got this far. I am hoping this won’t happen again.”

Hampshire Constabulary said records indicated the vehicle used was “not equipped to transport people and was not marked as an ambulance”. Though the emergency vehicle he was driving was an unmarked Volvo, he did use blue lights. 

Mr Wood argued their cars must be unmarked as they are kept at their homes.

He said: “We serve the emergency flights from Guernsey – we don’t know in advance what time they will be arriving… The patient was deemed to be an emergency case.

“It was argued it was not an emergency as we should’ve known what time the flight would be arriving.

“When the NIP was served on me, I didn’t know whether to laugh or not. It’s quite embarrassing, especially as it is our job.

“Working in this field, my colleagues and I know there is a risk of this happening, not when it is clear cut.

“In these cases we always make it clear to Driving Standards and the police who we are and what we are doing, and they tend to leave it alone, but not this time.”

Dealing with emergencies

A Unison spokesman said: “NHS vehicles equipped with blue lights have arrangements in place for handling speeding tickets when dealing with emergencies.

“Ambulance workers can claim exemptions for going over the speed limit, but issues may arise if they’re in unmarked cars.”

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said a reviewing lawyer took the view the case should be brought to trial after police submitted a file of Mr Wood’s speeding.

A spokesman added: “The CPS have a duty to continually review cases, and in light of Mr Woods’ evidence, the lawyer in court took the decision to offer no evidence and stop the prosecution.”

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Macron trounced in EU Right-wing surge

Emmanuel Macron was trounced by the hard Right in European elections on Sunday night, prompting the French president to call a snap parliamentary vote.

Mr Macron suffered a humiliating defeat as Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) reached more than twice his party’s vote share in the European parliamentary ballot, according to exit polls.

In a shock address to the nation, he said the hard Right was “progressing everywhere in the continent” and admitted the EU parliamentary election was “not a good result for parties who defend Europe”.

The surge of the hard Right also helped to inflict a defeat on Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, whose Social Democrats recorded their worst-ever result in a European election.

The Eurosceptic, nationalist AfD party came second in the vote, according to exit polls, with the centre-Right Christian Democratic Union in first.

On Sunday night, centrist, liberal and green parties were predicted to retain the balance of power in the EU’s 720-seat parliament. But the double blow to Mr Macron and Mr Scholz, the bloc’s most important leaders, raised questions over how they could drive policy across the continent.

Ms Le Pen’s party and the AfD had campaigned against net zero policies, calling them a burden on citizens during the cost-of-living crisis. Both parties have called for stricter limits on immigration and argued against continuing to support Ukraine with large amounts of European funds and weaponry.

“Extreme Right parties, which in recent years have opposed so many of the advances made possible by our Europe … are making headway everywhere on the continent”, said Mr Macron.

“I therefore cannot, at the end of this day, pretend that nothing has happened. This is why I have decided to give you back the choice of our parliamentary future through the vote.”

He said elections for France’s lower house national assembly would take place on June 30, with a second round on July 7.

It is a remarkable gamble on his political future, with Mr Macron expected to remain president until 2027. If Ms Le Pen’s RN wins a majority, he will be left as a lame duck.

Reacting to the news, Ms Le Pen said: “This historic election shows that when the people vote, the people win.” She cast the European election result as the latest stepping stone in an RN march to power, both in parliament and in the Elysee.

The RN, led by the 28-year-old Jordan Bardella, won about 32 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s election, according to exit polls. Mr Macron’s party reached 16 per cent and the Socialists managed 14 per cent.

Ms Le Pen and Mr Bardella sought to frame the EU election as a mid-term referendum on Mr Macron’s mandate, tapping into discontent with immigration, crime and a two-year inflation crisis.

In Germany, Mr Scholz’s SPD won just 13.9 per cent of the vote, according to exit polls. It has never fared so badly in the years since the first European parliament election in 1979.

The CDU was predicted to win 30 per cent of the vote, with AfD was expected to take 16 per cent, despite its lead candidate being embroiled in a Chinese spying scandal and saying that not all SS members were automatically criminals.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, is likely to retain her position after the final vote is tallied. Estimates had her centre-Right EPP group on 186 seats.

The centre-Left Socialists and Democrats were predicted to return 133 MEPs. The liberal Renew group was predicted to get 82, and the Greens 53. That would afford the pro-EU parties, which often work in an informal grand coalition to amend and pass EU law, a majority in the parliament.

Mr Macron’s allies in Brussels had floated Mario Draghi, the former Italian prime minister, as an alternative candidate to Ms Von Der Leyen – but the election results will reduce his influence over the process.

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Russia’s blackmail ‘concealed’ by Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel knew that Russia could attempt to blackmail Europe into launching a major gas pipeline but “concealed” the information, according to Handelsblatt, the German newspaper.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline was designed to double the flow of Russian gas directly to Germany but it was hugely controversial because of the risk it posed to Ukraine.

Critics feared that if it supplied gas directly to Europe, Russia would be able to starve Ukraine’s economy of the transit fees it had been collecting.

As those fears were voiced and the pipeline also awaited approval for other regulatory hurdles, Russia began reducing gas supplies through its Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which also carried gas from Russia to Germany.

In her final months as German chancellor in 2021, Ms Merkel told Handelsblatt that there had been no reason to believe Russia was limiting gas deliveries.

However, according to confidential documents seen by the newspaper, the economy ministry warned that Russia was filling gas storage facilities “very slowly” and that relying on the Kremlin for gas could have “dramatic consequences”.

The revelation comes as new documents published by Süddeutsche Zeitung, the newspaper, also showed that two consecutive Merkel governments intensively pushed for Nord Stream 2 to come online, claiming its deal with Gazprom, the energy company – which is majority state-owned – was a “private-sector project”.

This was despite repeated criticism of the project from the US and European allies, which said the pipeline would make Europe too reliant on Russian gas. Other European governments said the link was vital to secure energy supplies amid a surge in gas prices in 2021.

Germany told the Kremlin that a condition of the deal, which had been set to transport Russian gas 761 miles through the Baltic Sea, was that Russia would continue to use onshore gas pipelines through Ukraine.

But internal economy ministry documents warned after a meeting with Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor-turned-Gazprom lobbyist, that the state fossil fuels giant “could not be forced” to do so.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, Nord Stream 2 was officially cancelled. Both pipelines – Nord Stream 1 and 2 – were then destroyed by unknown attackers in September that year.

Reacting to the newspaper revelations, Robert Habeck, the Green Vice-Chancellor, called the previous government’s judgment a “historic mistake”. “We should have never made ourselves dependent on Putin’s gas.”

Felix Banaszak, the Green MP, went further, calling for a public inquiry and describing Nord Stream 2 as “the biggest economic, energy and foreign policy failure since the founding of the federal republic”.

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