The Telegraph 2024-07-03 21:11:54

LIVE General election latest: Boris Johnson’s return won’t have done Tories ‘any good at all’, says Farage

Nigel Farage claimed Boris Johnson’s eleventh hour general election campaign intervention for the Tories “won’t have done them any good at all”.

Responding to Mr Johnson’s speech at a Tory rally last night, Mr Farage, the Reform UK leader, told TalkTV: “He is the man with the big majority. He is the man that opened the door to mass migration. He is the guy that brought in loopy net zero policies.

“He is the man that couldn’t tell the truth to the House of Commons. He won’t have done them any good at all.”

Mr Johnson made a surprise appearance at a campaign event in central London where he warned voters of the perils of handing Labour a “sledgehammer majority”. 

The former prime minister said it was “not too late” to “draw back from the brink” and stop Labour, urging his audience to “tell everyone else” the same.

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

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Queen and Duke of Edinburgh become members of Order of the Thistle at Scottish service

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh donned the elaborate green robes of the Order of the Thistle on Wednesday as they were formally appointed into the highest order of chivalry in Scotland.

The pair were installed as Royal Knights at a private ceremony at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, where they were joined by the King and the Prince of Wales, in their velvet mantles, and the Duchess of Edinburgh.

The King also personally selected Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Scotland’s first black professor, Baroness Sue Black, a forensic anthropologist and Baroness Helena Kennedy, a barrister and women’s rights campaigner, to join the order.

On arrival, the royals received a royal salute by a guard of honour founded by the Royal Company of Archers, which functions as the King’s body guard in Scotland, and the band played the National Anthem.

They entered the cathedral at the rear of a 33-strong procession.

The Princess Royal, who is also a Royal Knight of the Thistle, was listed in the official programme but did not attend as she continues her recovery from an accident involving a horse that left her with minor head injuries and concussion.

The service, which took place in the Thistle Chapel, was broadcast over loudspeakers to the congregation, although the speakers failed to pick up the Queen’s induction.

According to the order of service, the Queen stood in front of the King with Richard Scott, the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry and Chancellor of the Thistle and The Very Reverend Prof David Fergusson, the Dean of The Thistle.

The King said: “It is our pleasure that Her Majesty The Queen be installed a Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle.”

The Queen was then asked to stand in a stall on the right of the King to recite the oath, pledging to defend Christianity, to maintain the honour and dignity of the Order and to “never bear treason about in my heart against our Sovereign Lord The King, but shall discover the same to him”.

The Lord Lyon King of Arms then proclaimed the style and titles of Her Majesty before the King spoke with the same words to install the Duke.

The King appointed his younger brother, the Duke of Edinburgh, to the order to mark his 60th birthday.

He appointed the Queen to the order last June, and she wore the green mantle for the first time the following month at a service of thanksgiving in Edinburgh.

The Duke holds several patronages of Scottish charitable organisations including the Edinburgh International Festival, while the Queen is patron of Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres, founded in Edinburgh in 1996, as well as several other Scotland-based charities.

The Order recognises 16 Scottish men and women who have held public office or who have contributed in a particular way to national life.

In England, it is second in precedence only to the Order of the Garter.

The King is the Sovereign of the Order, and appointments are entirely in his personal gift and do not require prime ministerial advice.

Elizabeth II decided in 1987 that women should be eligible for the Thistle in the same way as men.

Current Knights and Ladies of the Thistle include Lady Marion Fraser, a music teacher and ex-Director of St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh, and Sir Garth Morrison, previous Chief Scout of the UK.

In addition to the 16 Knights and Ladies, the Princess Royal and the Prince of Wales are also Royal Knights of the Thistle.

Hundreds of children and well-wishers lined the Royal Mile hoping for a glimpse of the royals.

Among them was Holly Cooper, 11, who waited outside with 80 children and parents from the Queen Victoria Military Boarding School, in Dunblane, for more than three hours.

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Boat with pro-Reform slogans left on Starmer’s street

A boat with pro-Reform slogans has been left on Sir Keir Starmer’s street in London.

The vessel carries messages claiming that the Labour leader is planning a “Ulez cash grab across Britain” and urges voters to support Reform UK. It is not clear whether Nigel Farage’s party played any role in the stunt.

It was left on a trailer in a parking space on Sir Keir’s street.

The Telegraph understands that the incident has been reported to the police as intimidatory.

Words on the boat reference the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez), the charging scheme for high-polluting vehicles which Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, has rolled out across the capital.

“Labour will spread Sadiq Khan’s Ulez cash grab across Britain,” it says.

The boat carries the name HMS Toolmaker – a reference to Sir Keir’s frequently repeated line that his father worked as a toolmaker.

It also carries a quote attributed to Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader: “This (Ulez) isn’t just about London. This is coming to towns and cities across the whole of the UK,” it says.

A slogan on the keel of the vessel says: “The tide is turning, vote Reform.”

It is not clear who left the boat on the street.

When Labour was laying the groundwork for its manifesto last year it initially said it supported Ulez-style “clean air zones”. However, following the party’s defeat in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election in July 2023 – a loss which was widely blamed on Mr Khan’s expansion of Ulez – the commitment to rolling out the zones was ditched.

In the wake of the by-election result, Sir Keir said Labour had to “face up” to the electoral damage caused by the policy.

Sir Keir has previously faced protests outside his home from Just Stop Oil and from pro-Palestine activists.

Labour and Reform UK were contacted for comment.

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‘State schools are in pieces – my 4-year-old autistic daughter is living proof of that’

Are you currently on a state school waiting list because of Labour’s private school tax plans? Email

Sam Howell is running out of time. There are 61 days until the start of term and her daughter, Maddie, 4, who has autism, is facing the prospect of being left without a school place in September.

It’s certainly not for want of trying. Sam has visited a dozen schools over the past year within a 20 mile radius of her home in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, but all can either not cater for her daughter’s behavioural needs or are full.

As a last resort, the council has given her a place at a local mainstream school which says they can only accept Maddie if they receive more funding to adapt the school to fit her needs, a funding application which isn’t guaranteed to be accepted.

The current preschool she attends has also ruled out being able to accommodate Maddie meaning she cannot be held back to wait for a space to open up at a special educational needs school.

Ms Howell fears Labour’s tax raid on private education will pile even more pressure on the state school sector – with children like Maddie left to bear the consequences.

She says: “100pc the system is going to fall to pieces, absolute pieces because there are going to be no spaces for anyone.

“There are going to be children who aren’t getting any help. It will be horrendous.

 “It’s [state schools are] failing the children and you just feel so alone dealing with it.

“There’s not enough staff to be helping, there’s not enough funding. The schools don’t have the experience trying to keep up with the rapid increase of all of these children coming to the surface with learning difficulties and it’s so hard to get a diagnosis.”

Funding for special educational needs and disabilities (Send) pupils in state schools has remained frozen for more than a decade and Sam says the signs are clear to see.

“If you’ve got a diagnosis it’s real, the struggle that child is having whether they are on the spectrum or they’ve got another disorder, these children need help and it’s as if they just don’t belong anywhere and schools clearly don’t have the money to facilitate these children, they are getting lost and it’s failing them massively. It’s awful as a parent to see it happening and to go through it.” 

Sam’s experience presents a snapshot of the experiences of thousands of parents with children who have special educational needs and disabilities. It is precisely why so many have turned to the private sector.

There are currently 111,154 Send pupils in private schools who receive additional support. The figure, which equates to almost one in every five pupils, has grown dramatically in recent years. It’s up 7.5pc from last year alone and almost 70pc in the past decade.

But Labour’s tax raid on private schools looks set to put an end to that.

The party has said pupils with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) will be exempt from VAT. What they haven’t mentioned is this document, which sees the local authority cover the cost of school fees, is nigh on impossible for families to access.

Labour’s own shadow education secretary previously admitted the system is “broken” with the backlog stretching back two years in some instances for children to have their paperwork processed.

Of the 111,154 Send pupils in the private sector, 103,508 don’t have an EHCP. Using Labour’s own estimations it means up to 7,246 pupils, often with diverse and complex needs, will be forced out of private schools and into a state system which is already crumbling. In Scotland, no such funding scheme exists.

Sam says it is hardworking single-parent families like her who will be the losers of Labour’s policy.

“There will be a domino effect, it will be awful,” She says on the shortage of spaces.

“Surely they [Labour] can see how bad this is? It’s nationwide, this issue.”

Sir Keir Starmer has repeatedly defended the controversial policy by saying the £1.5bn the party hopes to raise as a result of the levy will be spent on state schools, including the flagship pledge to recruit 6,500 new teachers.

The figure may sound grand but given there are more than 25,000 state schools in Britain, it means for every school that gets one additional teacher, three schools will get none. A brief look at Labour’s manifesto shows none of the £1.5bn raised would be spent on support for Send pupils in state schools.

Julie Robinson, the chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, which represents around 1,300 private schools, has called on Labour to carry out a “full impact assessment” to understand what impact its VAT levy will have on Send pupils.

She said: “Over 100,000 children and young people without an EHCP receive specialist Send support in our schools.

“VAT on their parents’ fees will disrupt education for thousands of them, placing further strain on state Send provision, which is already in crisis.

“Without a full impact assessment, Labour cannot say what the immediate effect of its policy would be on Send services and local councils.

“There is a real risk that they would unintentionally pour fuel on a fire that is already very much ablaze.”

As for Sam, she is at a loss with what to do and feels she will be left with no choice but to keep her daughter at home come September, which will see her fall further behind her peers.

“Maddie is dysregulated and has unpredictable behaviour. She can get very upset or aggressive because she can’t control her emotions and her communication is behind,” she says.

“I feel forced to say ‘ok let’s chuck her in this mainstream and hope for the best’ but as her mum I just don’t feel comfortable with it. I feel for them and I feel for my daughter.

“Because of how unequipped they are, I will have to keep her with me and just deal with it.”

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Watch: Man lodged inside overhead locker after severe flight turbulence

An airline passenger was catapulted into the roof of an aircraft and became wedged among the overhead storage lockers during sudden turbulence.

Thirty passengers were injured when their Air Europa flight from Spain to Uruguay encountered the severe turbulence and was forced to make an emergency landing in Brazil on Monday.

Footage from inside the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner showed a man’s legs dangling from an overhead locker.

Other passengers can be seen helping the frightened passenger down as shouts and cries fill the cabin and belongings lie strewn across the floor with thirty passengers injured in total.

“People who did not have their seat belts unfortunately suffered consequences, injuries,” Daniel Montañez, a passenger, told CNN. “There were people broken, people on the floor, people screaming, people who felt bad, people bleeding.”

“We thought we were going to die there, but thank God it didn’t happen,” another said.

In a statement on Monday, Air Europa said: “The plane has landed normally and those who sustained different types of injuries are already being treated.”

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Mother admits to ending life of terminally ill son

A mother has admitted live on radio to ending the life of her terminally ill son when he was seven years old.

Antonya Cooper, from Abingdon in Oxfordshire, acknowledged she was potentially admitting to manslaughter, but said authorities would have to act fast if they chose to prosecute as she is suffering from her own terminal cancer diagnosis.

Ms Cooper, 77, whose son, Hamish, had stage-four cancer before his death in 1981, said she would happily face the consequences for ending his life.

Aiding assisted suicide can be prosecuted with a maximum prison sentence of 14 years in England and Wales.

‘Beastly’ cancer treatment

Hamish was five when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that mostly affects children, and was initially given a prognosis of three months to live.

After 16 months of “beastly treatment” at Great Ormond Street Hospital, his life was extended but he was left in great pain, Ms Cooper said.

Hamish died at home on Dec 1 1981 after Ms Cooper administered morphine to ease his pain. The mother likened his death to an “amputation” and said she would “never get over” it.

She said: “He was expressing that he had pain and I said, ‘Would you like me to take the pain away?’

“He said, ‘Yes, please, Mama’, and so I gave him a dose of morphine sulphate through his Hickman catheter.

‘The time was right’

“We had watched him brave through all that beastly treatment, we had had him for longer than the original prognosis, so the time was right.”

Ms Cooper added: “The simplicity of it is that you suffer an amputation and it takes you time to learn to live with that amputation.

“You never get over it because you’ve lost that limb, it’s gone for ever, but you learn just to cope.”

In the years after Hamish’s death, Ms Cooper had four more children and helped to launch what is now known as Neuroblastoma UK – a charity dedicated to finding a cure for the “aggressive” childhood cancer.

Speaking to BBC Radio Oxford, she claimed Hamish knew she was intending to end his life, when he asked her to stop the pain.

‘I was not going to let him suffer’

She said: “I feel very strongly that at the point of Hamish telling me he was in pain, and asking me if I could remove his pain, he knew, he knew somewhere what was going to happen.

“But I cannot obviously tell you why or how, but I was his mother, he loved his mother, and I totally loved him, and I was not going to let him suffer, and I feel he really knew where he was going.”

Asked if she understood she was potentially admitting to manslaughter or murder, Ms Cooper replied: “Yes.”

However, given that she is facing her own incurable cancer, she said authorities would have to take swift action if they chose to bring charges.

“If they come 43 years after I have allowed Hamish to die peacefully, then I would have to face the consequences. But they would have to be quick, because I’m dying too,” she added.

‘Seeking a kind end’

Ms Cooper is undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with breast and pancreatic cancer, which has spread to her liver.

She said Hamish’s suffering and her own diagnosis have cemented her feelings about euthanasia – so she has joined Dignitas, the assisted dying organisation.

“The whole point of assisted dying is to be able to seek a kind end for yourself if you know you’re going anyway and not to be wracked with pain and not to be testing the facilities of some local loving hospice,” she said.

Along with raising awareness of neuroblastoma to help others, Ms Cooper hopes her work with the charity will be another part of her “legacy” after she dies.

A police spokesman said: “Thames Valley Police is aware of reports relating to an apparent case of assisted dying of a seven-year-old boy, in 1981.

“At this early stage, the force is making enquiries into these reports and is not in a position to comment further while these investigations continue.”

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Ex-DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to face trial over 18 sex offence charges including rape

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the former leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, has appeared in court over 18 sexual assault charges, including one count of rape.

The ex-MP for Lagan Valley, who wore a dark blue suit and has grown a beard since his last court appearance on the historical sex abuse charges, spoke only to confirm his name and age.

Asked if he wished to enter evidence, Sir Jeffrey, who has said he will fight the charges, said, “not at this stage”.

His wife and co-accused Lady Eleanor Donaldson, also confirmed her name and date of birth at Newry magistrates’ court. She is facing five charges, including aiding and abetting rape. She responded “no” when asked if she wished to enter evidence.

The hearing was held to establish whether there was enough evidence to send the pair to trial.

Judge Eamonn King said “I am satisfied there is a prime facie case to answer.”

The pair will return to court on September 10 for an arraignment hearing at Newry Crown Court before an expected later trial.

Sir Jeffrey originally faced 11 charges at an earlier April court appearance.

He is now accused of a total of 18 offences after Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service considered police evidence.

Lady Eleanor is to face five charges, rather than four, which are one count of aiding and abetting rape, three charges of aiding and abetting indecent assault and one count of cruelty to a person under 16 years.

They are alleged to have occurred between 1987 and 2008 and involve two victims.

Sir Jeffrey is facing a single count of rape, four counts of gross indecency and 13 counts of indecent assault. Lady Eleanor’s aiding and abetting charges relate to two complainants and are alleged to have occurred between 1987 and 2006.

There was a heavy media and police presence outside Newry magistrates’ court after chaotic scenes at Sir Jeffrey’s April court appearance.

Police had to form a protective line to hold the crowd back when Sir Jeffrey arrived in April. In contrast on Wednesday morning, he entered the courthouse largely in silence, except for the clicking of photographer’s cameras.

Sir Jeffrey and his wife were arrested on March 28 at their County Down home.  He quit as DUP leader after he was charged.

In May it was confirmed he would not stand in the general election and he lost his seat when the snap July vote was called, along with all sitting MPs.

The timing of Wednesday’s court appearance, just a day before polls open, could prove damaging for the DUP and its new leader Gavin Robinson, whose East Belfast seat is on a knife-edge.

At the time of his arrest, Sir Jeffrey’s political stock was high. He had successfully faced down opposition in his party to end the DUP’s two-year boycott of Stormont over post-Brexit trading arrangements after extracting concessions from the government in Westminster over the Irish Sea border.

Sir Jeffrey, Northern Ireland’s longest -serving MP, was elected leader of the DUP in 2021. In 2003, he had left the Ulster Unionist Party because of his opposition to the Good Friday Agreement and joined the DUP.

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