The Telegraph 2024-07-09 04:12:37

LIVE Politics news latest: Tory chairman Richard Holden quits role

Richard Holden has quit as Tory chairman after the party suffered its worst election result in modern political history.

Mr Holden, a former transport minister, said the review of the party’s disastrous election campaign would “best take place with a new set of eyes to help provide the clearest view.”

“Therefore, that process should happen under a new Party Chairman, and I will step aside as soon as you can confirm a replacement,” he told Rishi Sunak in his resignation letter.

His departure was announced as Mr Sunak unveiled his shadow cabinet to challenge Sir Keir Starmer’s new Labour Government.

The only other change is the departure of Lord David Cameron who is stepping back from frontline politics and will not take up the post of shadow foreign secretary. He is replaced by Andrew Mitchell, his deputy.

Mr Sunak’s snap election campaign was plagued by blunders, starting with his declaration of it in the rain, his decision to leave D-Day early and culminating in a scandal over bets on the early election by members of his inner circle and the campaign team.

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

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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 22 people, including two children, in strikes on the Ukrainian capital. A further 82 people were injured, the city’s military administration said.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, 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, the 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”. 

Sir Keir Starmer, the Prime Minister, said: “Attacking innocent children. The most depraved of actions. We stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression – our support won’t falter.”

On the day of the missile attack, Poland and Ukraine signed a bilateral security arrangement in which Warsaw promised to look into ways to use its own air defences to intercept Russian missiles and drones heading for its borders in Ukrainian airspace.

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.

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

Metinvest, Ukraine’s largest mining company, said 10 employees were killed and 30 injured in a strike at a coal processing plant in the city.

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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Wimbledon blames rain for drop in spectators in first week

Wimbledon has suggested the weather rather than competition from other events or a lack of star players is to blame for a dip in attendances at this year’s tournament.

Fewer visitors were recorded on every day of the tournament’s opening week, except for Tuesday when Andy Murray, the two-time Wimbledon champion, was expected to play in the first round of the men’s singles.

Tournament records reveal 282,955 fans had passed through SW19, around 10,000 fewer than in 2023, a near 4 per cent drop.

Torrential downpours had certainly dampened enthusiasm from expectant visitors with nearly a month’s worth of rain (38.6 mm) falling in the space of a single week, according to Met Office data, recorded at nearby Kew Gardens.

Wimbledon defends its empty seats

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Friday alone saw half a month’s worth of rainfall (26.6mm) in a single day and the lowest attendance on Wimbledon’s fifth day (36,360) since 1998 – excluding the pandemic-restricted 2021 tournament.

As the second week of the tournament began Sally Bolton, head of the All England club, denied Wimbledon had lost its allure for fans following the absence of stars like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.

She said: “This year the weather has been so variable and so bad at times that I think at the moment our assessment is it’s almost certainly the weather that’s impacting [attendance].

She added: “I think the real challenge for everyone is the variability of the weather.

“Even those who are just using weather apps can see that you are coming in, looking two days ahead and it looks like it’s getting better and then it changes.”

“None of us had seen how excited people would become about the likes of [Carlos] Alcaraz [the defending Wimbledon champion] and [Jannik] Sinner [the World number one] and others.

“There is genuine excitement about this new generation.”

However in a week featuring a general election and Euro 2024, Ms Bolton said it was becoming increasingly difficult to grab viewers attention.

She added: “I think the broader challenge for tennis and sport is that competition for people’s attention and time is just ever greater from a whole range of different things.”

Ms Bolton dismissed concerns that the semi-final clash between England and the Netherlands on Wednesday would affect Wimbledon attendance, commenting: “I am not concerned about a football impact.

“At this point, I am still concerned about it still raining”.

England’s Euro 2024 quarter-final victory against Switzerland on Saturday was watched on BBC One by a peak audience of 16.8 million people.

Challenging tournament

Asked if this was the most challenging tournament to schedule since her tenure began, in 2020, Ms Bolton replied: “Probably from a scheduling standpoint and just the unpredictability of the weather, it just means that when you are looking ahead to a day, you start with a plan in mind and the rain really is quite unpredictable.”

A total of 79 matches have been cancelled so far, many of them junior players owing to a combination of the weather and player injuries.

Ms Bolton said they were prepared to accept fluctuations in attendance because of tickets being held back for its famous queue.

She added: “The weather has been so terrible that perseverance in the queue has been even greater this year than it ordinarily is.

“We’re never about maximising our attendances, we’re all about protecting the queue and making sure that we have still got that accessibility, accepting that, as a result of that, [there is] some variability on the numbers that we will end up achieving.”

“Every year when we get back to the end of the championships we look back and try and analyse the data to understand what might drive that.”

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The weather for the tennis does not look likely to improve immediately, as yellow weather warnings for rain have been issued by the forecaster across parts of southern England and south Wales on Monday night and in northern Scotland on Tuesday night.

Andrea Bishop, of the Met Office, said: “It has been a damp start to Wimbledon, with more than double the rainfall we’d expect to see over the Greater London area in the first week.

“It is the influence of low pressure which has been bringing periods of rain, and this doesn’t look like it’s changing over the next couple of days.

“But, there is some good news for fans, as there is a signal towards drier conditions overall by the weekend.

“Although there should be some sunny spells, there will still be showers in places with temperatures generally below average for the time of year.”

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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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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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Macron rejects his prime minister’s resignation

Emmanuel Macron asked his prime minister not to step down as he pleaded for calm after chaotic parliamentary election results left the country facing a hung parliament.

Gabriel Attal offered his resignation on Sunday night after parliamentary election results pushed Mr Macron’s party into second place, triggering frantic talks to form a new government.

Mr Macron on Monday said he had turned down the resignation, and asked Mr Attal, 35, to remain in post for now to “ensure the stability of the country” just two weeks ahead of the Paris Olympics.

The New Popular Front, or NFP, which comprises Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s hard-Left France Unbowed (LFI), Communists, Greens and Socialists, came first in Sunday’s snap legislative election, taking 193 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.

Mr Macron’s centrist Together group came second on 165 seats and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) and its allies came third on 143 seats, in a stunning setback for the hard-Right party that polls had predicted to come out in front.

The snap election was called in the wake of the Macron camp’s humiliating defeat to RN in last month’s European parliamentary elections.

Mr Macron insisted it would bring “clarity” over the French electorate’s wishes.

However, it has ended in confusion as the three main blocs fell far short of the 289 seats required for an outright majority, raising the prospect of deadlock until a workable majority can be cobbled together, which could take weeks.

With no single group approaching an absolutely majority, the options include the NFP seeking to form a minority government and support on a bill-by-bill basis (as Mr Macron’s minority government has over the past two years), a broad coalition for the centre-Left and centre-Right, or a government of technocrats.

Flush with its unexpected pole position, the Left-Green alliance announced that it would come up with its own candidate for the next head of government “within the week” to replace Mr Attal.

Mr Mélenchon, whose LFI won the most seats in the alliance (74), on Sunday evening unilaterally called on Mr Macron to “leave or appoint a prime minister” from the NFP, which he implied should come from his party.

He insisted the NFP should then be allowed to instantly start rolling out its soak-the-rich programme that that would boost the minimum wage by14 per cent, cut the retirement age from 64 to 60 and freeze on energy prices and essential goods – if necessary by decree.

His lieutenant Manuel Bompard confirmed the party stance on Monday, saying: “The president must appoint as prime minister someone from the NFP, to implement the NFP’s programme, its whole programme and nothing but its programme.”

But Socialists and Greens are keen to put other names forward for prime minister, pointing out that together they form a larger group than Mr Mélenchon’s.

Socialist Olivier Faure, for his part, hoped that the NFP would be “in a position to present a prime ministerial candidate within the week”. Both he and Marine Tondelier, the Green Party leader, said that the figure should be someone “consensual”, which appeared to rule out the divisive Mr Mélenchon. However, one of his loyalists, Mathilde Manot, said the Leftist firebrand was “absolutely not disqualified” for the post.

Many commentators said it was totally unrealistic for the NFP to think it could impose its radical programme without support from a wider coalition.

“The truth is that the Left cannot hope to govern without compromising, in one way or another, with more centrist forces,” wrote Left-leaning editorialist Laurent Joffrin. “French voters did not give it a mandate to implement its programme, but to prevent the RN from taking power. Let’s not forget that the lion’s share of NFP MPs in the new assembly were elected by voters from another party.”

With Mr Macron due to fly out on Wednesday to a Nato summit in Washington, his camp argued that it was up to the president to appoint the new prime minister from the largest group in parliament that can form a workable majority.

“It is important not for the president, but for the country, to have a majority that can govern and take decisions, that can pass a budget and that can implement public policy,” said an Elysée source.

“Today, no one coming out of the election is able to claim that….The president must find a personality who is capable of emerging from this.”

The Macron camp is seeking a coalition with what it calls a “Republican arc” of centre-ground MPs, excluding LFI and RN.

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 warned.

On Monday night, Mr Mélenchon refused to rule himself out as the next French prime minister, despite reservations from his own camp saying: “I’m part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

He insisted that according to French political tradition, it was up to his LFI party to decide.

“Since the country has known situations of cohabitation, the party with the majority chooses a prime minister. I think it’s a wise rule.”

He said a name would be put forward “this week”.

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