The Telegraph 2024-07-09 00:12:43

LIVE Politics latest news: Keir Starmer will not appoint veterans minister to Cabinet, confirms No 10

Sir Keir Starmer’s new Cabinet will not include a standalone minister for armed forces veterans, Downing Street has confirmed. 

No 10 said John Healey, the Defence Secretary, will represent veterans as part of his wider brief. 

Johnny Mercer, the former Tory MP, attended Cabinet as the minister for veterans’ affairs in Rishi Sunak’s administration. 

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said at lunchtime: “First and foremost, the Defence Secretary will represent veterans at Cabinet. Veterans are part of our military family and the Secretary of State will drive work with Cabinet colleagues to deliver for them.

“The Government is determined to change how we do government, stopping silos and working collaboratively across departments to serve the public, including veterans.”

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Macron rejects his prime minister’s resignation

Emmanuel Macron has refused the resignation of his prime minister, asking him to remain as the head of the government temporarily for “stability” after chaotic election results left the government in limbo.

Gabriel Attal arrived at the Elysée palace at 11.30am to tender his resignation after his centrist coalition came second in the parliamentary election to a leftist coalition.

Mr Attal said he would remain in office if needed after the president asked him to stay on “to ensure the stability of the country.”

Mr Macron thanked Mr Attal for leading the centrist coalition’s campaigns in the European and French parliamentary elections.

The president could try to form a moderate Left coalition, though he has ruled out collaborating with the hard-Left France Unbowed.

If negotiations fail, Mr Macron could appoint a non-partisan expert government to manage day-to-day affairs, subject to parliamentary approval.

Gérard Larcher, the president of the French senate, said on Monday that Mr Macron “has plunged us into political instability”.

“An electoral cartel of the hard-right and left, with no future due to fundamental disagreements, comes in first but cannot claim to govern France with a project that would lead to economic and social disaster,” he said in a statement posted on X.

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Kyiv children’s hospital hit in daytime hypersonic strike

The main children’s hospital in Kyiv was struck in a Russian missile barrage, which killed at least 20 people across Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces fired more than 40 long-range munitions, including the hypersonic Kinzhal, at different cities in a rare daytime raid.

Rescue workers were dispatched to Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital amid reports that children were trapped in the wreckage of the building.

Parents holding bloodied babies, crying and dazed, were photographed trying to escape the carnage after the strike.

Young patients could be seen receiving treatment on the street as local authorities promised the missile attack would not disrupt services at the hospital.

Footage shows a medical worker in blood-stained scrubs joining the rescue effort as emergency services and volunteers passed individual bricks along a line in a scramble to free people trapped under the rubble.

The hospital’s roof has caved in and there are plumes of thick, black smoke rising from what appeared to be the impact zone.

Children hooked up to IV drips and their parents, some wearing face masks, were seen waiting patiently in a queue of seats next to the hospital, as officials said patients would be moved away from the damaged facility.

Emergency workers were met with blood-lined floors, doors and windows blown off their hinges and hospital beds and equipment scattered as they looked for survivors.

A woman was pictured carrying a young child, wrapped in a sheet, being carried out of the hospital. The child was bleeding from its forehead, nose, neck and arms.

The blue-tinted windows on the outside of the hospital were blown from their frames and piles of rubble was strewn on the floor as part of the building collapsed.

Patients at the hospital were being evacuated to nearby facilities in the city, Serhii Popko, head of Kyiv’s military administration, said, as another raid siren was sounded over the capital.

“The hospital has been damaged by a Russian strike, people are under the rubble, the exact number of wounded and dead is currently unknown. Now everyone helps to sort out the debris: doctors, ordinary people,” Mr Zelensky wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“Russia cannot help but know where its missiles are flying, and must fully answer for all its crimes: against people, against children, against humanity in general.”

“It is very important that the world should not be silent about it now and that everyone should see what Russia is and what it is doing,” the Ukrainian president added.

The attack has already generated international condemnation with the British government labelling the attack “appalling” while Paris said it was “barbaric”. 

The long-range barrage on Ukraine came as Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, met Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, to discuss a potential peace deal to end the war. Mr Orban has also visited Mr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin in recent days.

Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said the attack was one of the heaviest on the capital since the target of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Local authorities reported that debris of Russian missiles intercepted by Ukrainian air defence systems rained down on six neighbourhoods in the Ukrainian capital, damaging residential blocks and offices.

There were at least seven confirmed deaths and 25 people wounded in the strikes on Kyiv, according to city authorities.

In Kryviy Rih, central Ukraine, at least 10 people were killed and 31 others injured, Oleksandr Vilkul, the city’s mayor, said.

Three more people died in Pokrovsk, in eastern Ukraine, when missiles struck an industrial facility.

The cities of Dnipro and Kramatarosk were also targeted.

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Suella Braverman’s Tory leadership campaign dealt blow as key ally abandons her

Suella Braverman’s prospective Conservative leadership campaign has been dealt a blow after a key ally abandoned her. 

The former home secretary has seen the campaign organiser from her Autumn 2022 leadership bid switch allegiance to Robert Jenrick, the former immigration minister, who is also widely expected to throw his hat into the ring to replace Rishi Sunak.

Danny Kruger, co-chair of the New Conservatives, a right-wing grouping of MPs, is understood to be now backing Mr Jenrick, who quit his Cabinet post over the refusal by Rishi Sunak to take a tougher approach to immigration.

Both Mrs Braverman and Mr Jenrick pushed Mr Sunak to block any appeals against Rwanda deportation on human rights grounds, have called for the UK to quit the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and proposed a cap on net migration, which was finally accepted for the Tories’ election manifesto.

However, Mrs Braverman has faced criticism from some MPs for her attacks on the campaign’s blunders before the polls closed and is the only prospective candidate to have suggested an accommodation with Reform UK leader Nigel Farage.

“These interventions have made her so unpopular that it’s not going to work. There’s a lot of affection for Suella but some of the things she has done showed a lack of judgement. It’s a pity,” said a senior Tory.

“Private polling is clear. It basically says that party members want the policies of Nigel Farage and the presentation of [Lord] David Cameron.”

Mrs Braverman and Mr Jenrick as well as former health secretary Victoria Atkins all took to the airwaves on Sunday to present their assessment of the Tory defeat – although all refused to say whether they would be standing.

Kemi Badenoch, the former business and trade secretary, is seen as a frontrunner with Priti Patel, another former home secretary, and Tom Tugendhat, the former security minister, also said to be considering pitching for the leadership.

On Sunday, speaking to GB News’s Camilla Tominey, Mrs Braverman said that parts of the Tory party still wanted “more of the same”, but she warned: “We’ve all got to be searingly honest, it’s going to be uncomfortable for some people, or we don’t have any hope of fixing it.”

She said she was having “lots of conversations with colleagues” surrounding a potential leadership bid. “I’m very flattered and very encouraged by what people are saying to me. But this is a really difficult time for our party, there are lots of things to think about,” she added. “We need to agree on the diagnosis of the problem before we reach a resolution on the prescription.”

Mr Jenrick said that migration was “at the heart” of the loss of trust in the Conservatives, citing the number of votes the party had lost to Reform UK.

Echoing the words of Ms Braverman, he said: “I’ve been a member of this party since 1997 when I was 16 years of age. I’ve been with it through thick and thin. I want to ensure that it has the right diagnosis of what’s gone wrong, and that diagnosis is not about personalities. It’s about principles and ideas.”

One Tory said one of the two should stand aside as it would be a mistake for both to challenge for the leadership. “Robert has appeal to the right because of his stance on migration but has an urbanity that also appeals to the centre of the party,” they said.

Ms Atkins, who is from the One Nation centre-left grouping in the party, appeared to pitch herself as a unity candidate. She said that the Tories must talk as a “unified party” and insisted that the public was still “instinctively Conservative”, wanting lower taxes and to “thrive in their personal lives and their livelihoods”.

Supporters of Ms Patel also portrayed her as a unity candidate, in being from the Right of the party but having drawn support from those from the centre and left in the form David Gauke and George Osborne.

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Germany’s immigration is out of control and my daughter is safer in Spain, says Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos said he believes Germany’s influx of migrants was “too uncontrolled” and that the country has changed considerably in the 10 years since he left.

The Germany and Real Madrid star, who returned to his home country for the Euros this summer, said he welcomed migrants but concluded that Germany was not successful in managing mass immigration.

In an interview recorded before his country lost to Spain on Friday, he compared the two countries and agreed with his interviewers that there was a feeling of “loss of control” in Germany.

When pressed by a conservative-leaning podcast, he replied: “I believe that this control over certain issues has simply slipped away a little over the years and there’s a reason for that. In my opinion, the reason is that people have overwhelmed them.”

He said that it was “great” how Germany had greeted migrants with open arms, before adding that “it was just too uncontrolled”.

He added: “I think we didn’t manage it, this basically very positive approach that I support 1000 per cent, because I find that sensational, that people come to us from the outside and then are happy.”

He said he thought the impact of migration was “underestimated”, and was “in the end something too uncontrolled”.

“Clearly when many people come, there is always a percentage who do not do us good, just as there is among Germans,” he said, adding that German attitudes to migration have become divided.

Germany has been split on the topic since Angela Merkel’s decision to allow a million refugees to enter Germany in 2015 with the far-Right Alternative for Germany (AfD) entering the German Parliament in the aftermath.

Olaf Scholz’s “traffic light” coalition passed reforms allowing dual citizenship but the AfD rose to new heights, recently coming second in the European elections.

Kroos’s comments come after his former Real Madrid teammate Kylian Mbappé urged the French to reject “extremists” and vote against Marine Le Pen’s far-Right National Rally in legislative elections. Le Pen hit back at Mbappé for being “too wealthy” to represent French migrants.

Earlier in the interview, before the issue of migration was raised, Kroos said he would be staying in Spain after retiring from Real Madrid, in part because he didn’t feel his home country was safe enough for his daughter.

‘Daughter not safe in Germany’

He said he felt that Germany had become less secure since he left, and was now concerned his child would not come back “unharmed” from a night out alone.

Kroos told the Lanz & Precht podcast: “I think Germany is a great country and I’m happy to be here, but it’s not really the same country that it was 10 years ago when we left.”

The central midfielder said that when his seven-year-old daughter gets older, he would rather she goes out in a Spanish city at 11pm than a German one.

He added that if he moved back to Germany he would be concerned about his daughter coming home from a night out, a feeling that he “wouldn’t have had that 10 years ago”.

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Clarkson offered landlady £1m for pub within minutes of meeting her

Jeremy Clarkson offered almost £1 million to the owner of a pub within minutes of meeting her.

The former Top Gear presenter, 64, has been developing his Cotswold smallholding for the popular Amazon series Clarkson’s Farm.

Keen to find a pub to sell his produce, Clarkson arranged to meet with the landlady of The Windmill near Burford in Oxfordshire, and is said to have offered her a vast sum over a coffee.

The pub is nestled deep in the Cotswold countryside and boasts of views across the Windrush Valley, as well as being just 10 miles from the presenter’s Diddly Squat Farm.

Set on five acres of its own land, the presenter hopes to transform the venue into a pub that will only serve British produce, and offer farmers a free pint.

Publican Jackie Walker, 79, had been invited to Diddly Squat to discuss the terms of a potential deal for The Windmill.

She told MailOnline: “A film crew had come into the pub and the next thing I knew someone with Clarkson knocked on the door and asked if I was interested in selling.”

Mrs Walker, who opened the rural pub with her late husband Alan in 1983, visited Clarkson’s home near the village of Chadlington to discuss terms over a coffee.

She said: “The first thing Jeremy said to me was I suppose you want a lot of money for this.”

It has been reported that almost £1 million was offered almost immediately, and Mrs Walker accepted. Clarkson has secured the freedom of the pub, which is not affiliated with a brewery, meaning he can sell his own beer on site.

Mrs Walker said: “It did make me laugh, but that is Jeremy Clarkson.” She said she had not been planning to sell the place, but wasn’t that happy with how it was being run, adding “I am not getting any younger.”

“I assume he will make a TV series out of it. I really do hope that he can make a big success of the place and restore it back to how it was. My husband and I had so much fun running it.”

Clarkson has been seeking a pub as a venue to market his own products, including his Hawkstone ale.

Renovation work on The Windmill, which Clarkson described as “full of dead rats” with lavatories that are “illegal”, has begun.

Mrs Walker, who stepped back from the day-to-day running of the pub when her husband died 11 years ago and allowed leaseholders to step in, said she hopes Clarkson can make the pub as successful as it was in its early days, when it was popular with locals and tourists.

She said the pub was often “packed” in its early days and known for good food.

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Parents accused of stabbing 14-year-old daughter to death

A 14-year-old girl was stabbed to death at home after a confrontation with her parents, a court has heard.

Scarlett Vickers suffered a single stab wound to the chest in the incident at a semi-detached house in Darlington, County Durham on Friday evening.

Her parents Simon Vickers, 49, who works for the 3M manufacturing plant in Newton Aycliffe, and Sarah Hall, 44, who is unemployed, appeared in court on Monday morning charged with her murder.

Sarah Kemp, the prosecutor, told Newton Aycliffe magistrates’ court that the fatal stabbing had followed an incident at the family home.

Georgia Snowden, representing the victim’s mother, told the court her client disputed the facts of the prosecution case and was “absolutely distraught”.

Police and paramedics were called to Geneva Road, Darlington, just after 11pm but Scarlett was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both defendants were dressed in grey police-issue sweatshirts and trousers and Ms Hall shook throughout the five minute hearing.

Ms Kemp told the court: “There was an incident at the home address in Darlington resulting in the fatal stabbing of Scarlett, the 14-year-old daughter of both defendants.

“She suffered a single knife wound to the chest resulting in her death. This is not a matter that can be dealt with here and I ask the case be sent to the crown court.”

Steven Hudd, the district judge, told Mr Vickers and Ms Hall: “The offence of murder is one which can only be heard at crown court. I am sending your case to Teesside Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing on Aug 5.”

He said if either defendant wished to make a bail application, there would be an opportunity to do so on Wednesday – but they were remanded in custody until then.

Det Supt Craig Rudd, the senior investigating officer, said: “This incident has resulted in the tragic death of a young girl, and our thoughts are with her family and friends.

“I would like to thank the local community for their patience and co-operation while investigative work is still being carried out at the scene, and to reassure residents that we believe this to be an isolated incident.”

Neighbours spoke of their “utter shock” following the death of the teenager.

Floral tributes were placed outside the house, some by teenage girls who were school friends of Scarlett’s.

One message read: “To Scarlett. Rest easy sweet girl, we all love and miss you. Sleep well from Demi and Lexi.”

A neighbour said: “It’s hard to take in. Simon has a good job and his partner comes across as very pleasant as well, she would always smile and say hello.

“It’s hard to imagine what could have happened for things to go as wrong as this. The first anyone knew was when the police cars and ambulance arrived.”

Another neighbour said: “I spoke with Sarah earlier that day, we were talking about shopping. I used to see their daughter playing in the garden, they’ve always seemed like a pleasant family. It’s such a shock that a young girl’s life has been lost in that way.

“It’s incredibly sad and I think most of us who live nearby are struggling to get it out of our heads. It’s been an utter shock.”

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