The Telegraph 2024-07-12 00:12:36

LIVE Starmer admits thousands of prisoners will be released to tackle overcrowding – live updates

Sir Keir Starmer has admitted thousands of prisoners will have to be released to tackle the overcrowding crisis as he insisted high-risk offenders will remain locked up.

It has been reported that some prisoners could end up serving just 40 per cent of their sentences to free up capacity in Britain’s prisons.

On Thursday morning, the Prime Minister insisted there would be “exemption categories” for high-risk prisoners.

“I can’t tell you how shocked I am to be in this position,” he said. “It’s a basic function of government to have enough prison places for those that the courts are sending to prison.”

Earlier this year the crisis was so acute that there were fewer than 250 spaces left in the men’s estate in England and Wales, out of a capacity of 85,000.

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‘RIP the love of my life’: Crossbow victim’s boyfriend pays tribute

The boyfriend of one of the three women killed in a crossbow attack in Hertfordshire has said she was “stolen from me too soon”.

Alex Klein, who was in a relationship with Hannah Hunt, the 28-year-old daughter of the BBC racing commentator John Hunt, posted a picture of the pair on Instagram with the words: “RIP the love of my life, I will never forget you, stolen from me too soon.

“The brightest light in my life. My brave queen for life. Until we meet again… I love you Hansy.”

Mr Klein also posted pictures of the couple at an investor event, as well as a picture showing them kissing and embracing in a swimming pool. “Forever with me,” he wrote.

Mr Klein’s Instagram account suggests the couple took a holiday to Tenerife in March last year.

Hannah died alongside her mother Carol, 61, and sister Louise, 25, when they were attacked at their home in Bushey on Tuesday.

Kyle Clifford, the suspected killer, was detained in Lavender Hill Cemetery, close to his home in Enfield, north London, on Wednesday night following a huge manhunt. Louise Hunt is understood to have recently broken up with him.

A woman answering the door at the home of Mr Klein, a short drive from the house where Carol, Hannah and Louise were killed, told The Telegraph: “My family are all devastated. We are in mourning, and we need space to grieve for the loss of Carol, Hannah and Louise. This has been truly terrible for all of us.”

Three close friends of Carol Hunt have said they are “together in grief” after she was killed.

Dionne Smith, 58, Abigail Phillips, also 58, and 60-year-old Lea Holloway, told reporters outside St James’ Church in Bushey on Thursday: “She was a lovely, lovely person. We can’t believe what happened. We were a four, and now there’s only three. It doesn’t seem real. We are together in grief.”

Lea Holloway said she had known Mrs Hunt since she was 16, describing her as a “beautiful person”. Speaking outside the church, she said: “We grew up together and were pregnant at the same time. 

“This is the stuff nightmares are made of. It’s very difficult. She was the nicest, kindest, sweetest person you could ever meet. A beautiful person. They were a lovely family and they [the daughters] were lovely girls.

“They were making their way through life and their lives have been taken too soon. It’s the thing of nightmares. I feel for their eldest daughter and John. I can’t imagine what it would be like.”

Hannah Hunt worked as a beautician in Radlett, Hertfordshire, while her younger sister ran a successful dog grooming business in Bushey, where the family lived.

Posting a tribute, Hannah’s colleagues said they were struggling to come to terms with the news.

In a post on Facebook, The Anti-Ageing Clinic said: “She was a fantastic therapist, and clients loved her. We send our condolences and prayers to her dad, sister and family. She was very much a part of our team. Please bear with us at this terrible time.”

Su Kehinde, 60, a neighbour of the family, paid tribute to them as she laid flowers close to their home. She said: “They were the loveliest, gentlest family. They did not deserve this. They were beautiful souls.”

Writing on Louise’s social media, Kara Gregory wrote: A beautiful, kind-hearted soul taken way too soon. I’ll cherish our memories working together; Louise, fly high sweet angel.”

Also posting on the page, Carol Lynne Oates wrote: “The nation is in shock and utter disbelief at such a senseless act. A beautiful family gone, for what? 

“My prayers go to you, Hannah and your mum. May you all RIP. I hope your dad and wider family can somehow find the strength and courage to carry on.”

Meanwhile, detectives investigating the killings have carried out further searches at a house in Rendlesham Road, Enfield, where it is believed Clifford lived.

Police staff wearing gloves and face masks were seen outside the property, which was first searched on Wednesday.

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Pictured: Man wanted after suitcases containing body parts found

Two suitcases believed to contain human remains have been found by police.

Officials were called to reports at 11.57pm on Wednesday of a man seen “acting suspiciously with a suitcase” on Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, Avon and Somerset Police said.

A spokesman said that officers arrived at the bridge within 10 minutes but the man had already fled the area “leaving the suitcase behind”.

A second suitcase was located nearby a short time later.

A force spokesman said: “Sadly it’s believed the suitcases contain human remains.

“Our Major Crime Investigation Team has launched an investigation. Locating the man who left the suitcases and identifying the deceased are our priorities.”

Acting Bristol Commander Vicks Hayward-Melen described it as a “very disturbing incident”.

She said: “An immediate search of the area was carried out by officers on the ground with the support of the National Police Air Service and HM Coastguard following the discovery of the suitcases. These searches remain ongoing.

“Initial enquiries have established the man was taken to the bridge in a taxi. The vehicle has been seized and the driver is helping us with our enquiries.” 

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LIVE Russia warns of new arms race over German hypersonic missiles

The Kremlin warned of a new arms race after the US agreed to deploy hypersonic missiles in Germany.

Russia said it would develop a “military response” to the move, announced on the sidelines of the Nato summit in Washington.

Washington and Berlin said in a joint statement on Wednesday that they would begin deploying long range weapons in Germany for the first time since the Cold War to demonstrate their commitment to Nato and to European security.

In response, Sergei Ryabkov, the deputy Russian foreign minister, said: “Without nerves, without emotions, we will develop a military response, first of all, to this new game.”

Later, Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the US, warned that Washington’s actions would lead to an arms race.

“The Americans are increasing the risk of a missile arms race,” Mr Antonov said, adding that “instead of aspiring for peace, like Russia does, the Americans took a dangerous militarist path”.

The US intends to base SM-6 and Tomahawk missiles in Germany. The SM-6 missile is designed to attack aerial targets at long distances. Tomahawks are Cold War-era cruise missiles with a range of approximately 1,500 miles.

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French police stand by as Channel migrants leave Normandy beach for Britain

French police have been photographed standing by as a small boat carrying migrants set off across the Channel.

Around a dozen officers, some with riot shields and batons, were seen at the water’s edge at Gravelines, Normandy. The beach is a popular launching point for migrants, who often hide in sand dunes before attempting the crossing.

Migrants had previously told The Telegraph they would travel to the UK “as soon as possible” following Labour’s election victory.

Figures showed that 484 migrants have reached the UK since Sir Keir Starmer was elected with a landslide 172-seat majority and scrapped Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda deportation scheme on day one of his Government.

Home Office figures showed 419 people made the journey in six boats on Tuesday, suggesting an average of around 70 per boat and taking the provisional total for the year to date to 14,058.

This is 10 per cent higher than the number recorded this time last year – 12,772 – and up six per cent on the same period in 2022, when the figure stood at 13,318, according to government data.

Reacting to the figures, Robert Jenrick, the former immigration minister, said scrapping the Rwanda policy without a plan was “sheer stupidity”. He added: “‘Smash the gangs?’ Sir Keir has surrendered to the people smugglers.”

It comes as Yvette Cooper, the Home Secretary, announced the establishment of a new border security command. Work to recruit its leader is under way, with the Government preparing a Bill to create counter-terror powers aimed at tackling organised immigration crime.

The Home Office says the command leader – expected to be appointed within weeks – would draw together the work of intelligence agencies, police, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force.

Ms Cooper said Labour would “tackle the root of the problem” by targeting the criminal smuggling gangs “making millions out of small boat crossings, undermining our border security and putting lives at risk”.

Speaking in Washington, where he is attending the Nato summit, Sir Keir said: “This a command that will lead on smashing the gangs. I do not accept these are the only gangs that can’t be brought down.”

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King speaks Welsh at Senedd as he marks 25 years of devolution

The King said his respect and affection for the people of Wales had “deepened with every passing year” as he marked the 25th anniversary of Welsh devolution.

The monarch, 75, told politicians gathered at the Senedd that it had been a lifetime privilege to witness the great changes that had taken place since he officially opened it with his late mother in 1999.

He also spoke of his “great pleasure” to see his elder son, the Prince of Wales, develop his own relationship with “this special land”, highlighting William’s return to Anglesey – “a place which I know means so much to him” – just this week.

The King used his speech, spoken partly in Welsh, to highlight his concern for the environment.

“We now look forward to the tasks that we face in the next quarter-century, not least the challenge we all share as inhabitants of this threatened planet – a challenge which I know you are seeking to meet with energy and determination,” he said.

Their Majesties arrived earlier to loud cheers from the crowd gathered outside the Welsh Parliament in a sunny Cardiff Bay after a rousing rendition of the Welsh national anthem.

The Queen was wearing a pink coat dress by Anna Valentine and straw hat by Lock and Co as well as a Leek broach while the King wore a navy morning suit.

As they made their way up the steps greeting dignitaries, excited schoolchildren waiting outside the entrance to the Senedd yelped in delight with one shouting: “It’s the King and the Queen, the King and the Queen, I told you they’d come in a car!”

The couple last visited the Senedd in September 2022, following the death of Elizabeth II.

In a speech also delivered partly in Welsh, the King expressed his “immense gratitude” for his time serving as Prince of Wales, promising that Prince William also held a deep love for the country.

Since ascending the throne, the King has maintained his passion for Wales and has pledged to continue his long association with the country.

He told those gathered at the Senedd that both he and his wife were “delighted” to be there to mark such a “significant milestone in our history” – its 25th anniversary.

“It is a milestone on a journey which it has been my privilege, all my life, to share with you,” he said.

“During times which have seen great change, profound sorrow, and tremendous achievement. Through it all, my respect and affection for the people of this ancient land have deepened with every passing year.

“It is a privilege to share your love for this special land.”

The King acknowledged that in 1999, when the National Assembly for Wales was established, it was impossible to know what lay ahead but that trust was placed in the common desire for the welfare of the people of Wales.

“Looking back at the distance travelled since then, I hope you can feel a real sense of pride in the respect that has been earned; and in the contribution that has been made to the lives of so many,” he added.

“Welsh minds have indeed been directed to Welsh matters, and the distinct voice of Wales is heard with clarity and purpose.”

The King hailed the differences of opinion regularly voiced within parliament, hailing its inclusivity and noting its recognition that “there are many different ways to love and serve one’s country”.

The Senedd, he said, had become more than a symbol, but “essential to the life of Wales”.

Earlier, the King and Queen were welcomed to Cardiff by the Royal Welsh, who formed a Guard of Honour, marking the first time the King has seen them since he was appointed their Colonel-in-Chief on St David’s Day.

They met people from the community who have contributed to its workings over the last quarter of a century including Claire O’Shea, a cancer campaigner, from Cardiff.

Diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer which is now at stage 4, Ms O’Shea is undergoing palliative treatment to extend her life.

She was repeatedly misdiagnosed with IBS which motivated her to engage with the Senedd, giving evidence to the health and social care committee to improve care for women in Wales with gynaecological cancer.

She shared her story to demand better cancer treatments and results in Wales.

On meeting the King, she said: “I was pleased because I have been campaigning on cancer in Wales and knowing what he has been going through personally and what Princess Catherine has been going through as well I felt I could connect with them on an issue and I think that’s really helpful.

“It was very quick but really nice actually because he passed his sympathies to me and was interested in how successful the campaign was and is going and how it was going to continue.

“It was a good experience. I never imagined I’d meet the Royal family and I did not think I would ever necessarily want to do it. It is not something you really think about but I am really pleased I have done it, it was really good.”

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Larry the cat breaks Chief Mouser record

Larry the cat has become Downing Street’s first Chief Mouser to serve under six prime ministers after Sir Keir Starmer’s general election victory.

The black-and-white tabby arrived from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in February 2011 and has been one of the few constants at No 10 ever since.

Sir Keir’s landslide win last week means Larry has now served more occupants of Downing Street than any of his predecessors.

The 17-year-old moggie has also been in his role during the premierships of Lord Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.

But he has four more years fighting Westminster’s mouse problem ahead if he is to become the longest-serving mouser.

That accolade is held by Peter III, who held the post between 1947 and 1964 but only served under five prime ministers – Attlee, Churchill, Eden, Macmillan and Douglas-Home.

The original Peter was the second cat to serve in the formal role, succeeding Treasury Bill, and was in post for 17 years.

Between the two cats came Peter II, who took the job as a two-month-old kitten but was struck by a car in Whitehall after just six months and was put to sleep shortly afterwards.

Larry, whose full honorary title is Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, is held in higher regard than either Sir Keir or his predecessor Mr Sunak, an Ipsos poll found last week.

The survey showed 44 per cent of people have a favourable opinion of Larry, while just four per cent take an unfavourable view.

This makes him significantly more popular than the new Prime Minister, who is seen favourably by 34 per cent and unfavourably by 41 per cent.

Just 22 per cent of voters had a favourable view of Mr Sunak at the end of his time in Downing Street, with 58 per cent having an unfavourable opinion.

Larry has provided no shortage of memorable moments during his time at Downing Street.

He faced his first calls to resign within months of starting the job in 2011 after he was spotted sleeping on the job for hours as a Downing Street press conference took place.

But these were rejected by the then prime minister’s spokesman, who insisted he “brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people”.

Larry was introduced to Barack Obama, the then American president, by Lord Cameron within months of taking the job.

He has occasionally come to blows with Palmerston, the mouser at the Foreign Office, and Downing Street paid for him to see a vet after he was wounded in one of their fights.

On July 26, 2016 the backdoor to No 10 was left open, and Palmerston, sneaked in. In the ensuing fight, Larry lost his collar and Palmerston’s ear was damaged. Palmerston was later evicted by resident police with Larry regaining his No 10 territory back

In 2016, the then outgoing prime minister Lord Cameron posted a snap showing Larry snuggled on his lap amid rumours the pair didn’t get on.

In 2022, Larry was memorably captured on camera chasing a fox from outside the Prime Minister’s residence, marching it backwards, over a railing and into a bush late at night.

It has been reported Sir Keir is planning to bring a dog to Downing Street to help ease his son and daughter into life in No 10.

Asked before the election whether he would take after Boris Johnson, who brought in Dilyn, Sir Keir said his children “have been on a campaign to get a dog for a number of years now”.

“[A] German shepherd is the current favourite, although there’s a range of possibilities, so we shall see,” he told Times Radio.

“But as I say I’m getting into dangerous territory now because if my boy and girl get hold of this footage, I’ll be confronted with it when I get back to them.”

The Starmers already have a cat of their own, Jojo, a rescue cat who is likely to view the move to Downing Street with some apprehension.

Ms Truss, Mr Johnson’s successor, said she started her short tenure “itching” because “the place was infested with fleas”, saying there were claims but “no evidence” Dilyn was at fault.

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