Damian Green is the victim of a “vendetta” by retired police officers who leaked information about pornography found on an office computer, Boris Johnson has claimed. As the Metropolitan Police faced a growing Tory backlash over its role in Mr Green’s downfall, Theresa May echoed Mr Johnson’s comments by saying she “shared the concerns” from “across the political spectrum” about the officers’ conduct. The Prime Minister, who had criticised Scotland Yard in her written response to Mr Green’s resignation letter, also put Met Commissioner Cressida Dick under renewed pressure to make sure the leak was “taken seriously and properly looked at”. Scotland Yard believes two former officers may have committed criminal offences which could lead to prosecutions, and has referred them to the Information Commissioner’s Office over alleged breaches of data protection laws.
POLICE faced mounting anger yesterday after the actions of two former officers contributed to the downfall of Theresa May’s deputy Damian Green. The officers, accused of leaking details about pornographic material found almost a decade ago on Mr Green’s computer, were warned they could even face prosecution. A clearly angry Prime Minister said she expects alleged breaches of professional conduct “to be taken seriously” and other Tory MPs said the former officers deserved criminal action. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said Scotland Yard had referred the two retired officers to the Information Commissioner’s Office over possible breaches of data protection legislation.
Boris Johnson has said the conduct of ex-police officers in revealing information against Damian Green has the “slight feeling of a vendetta” and said he hoped the now ex First Minister would be able to return to government eventually. Mr Green, Theresa May’s deputy resigned last night after he was found to have been dishonest in his claims not to know that pornography had been found on his computer. Mr Johnson raised concerns that the former first secretary of state may have been the victim of a “vendetta”, describing the leak of secret details from a police raid of his parliamentary offices as “a bit whiffy”.
THERESA May last night heaped pressure on Scotland Yard to investigate two ex-cops who leaked details about porn found on sacked Damian Green’s office computer. And Boris Johnson accused the officers of a vendetta against the PM’s deputy, saying the scandal was “a bit whiffy”. Ex-Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick and ex-Detective Constable Neil Lewis could face unlimited fines if found guilty of data protection offences. Yesterday the Met referred the pair to the Information Commissioner over alleged misuse of confidential data gleaned from a historic investigation.
The retired police officer who leaked details about the pornography on Damian Green’s computer had “liked” anti-Tory posts on Facebook, The Times can reveal. Neil Lewis, 48, who assessed Mr Green’s computers during a Commons leaks inquiry, liked a post from a campaign to remove the Conservative government as well as satirical articles containing abuse against ministers. The disclosure came as Theresa May said that the pornography leaks must be properly investigated. Conservative MPs called for laws requiring police to keep material confidential even after leaving the service.
THERESA May sparked a war with police last night after being forced to axe Damian Green. Two former officers had revealed pornography was found on the First Secretary of State’s computer. The Prime Minister has insisted that leaks about this must be “properly investigated”. Retired Metropolitan Police detectives Bob Quick and Neil Lewis revealed details of a 2008 raid on Mr Green’s Westminster office. Mr Green, an old friend and close ally of Mrs May, was sacked earlier this week after a sleaze inquiry found he lied over whether he knew that the porn had been found on his computer. He has denied “hurtful” claims that he downloaded and viewed the X-rated material.
Boris Johnson has piled fresh pressure on police over de facto deputy Prime Minister Damian Green’s sacking, claiming he is the victim of a “vendetta”. The Foreign Secretary backed his ousted Cabinet colleague, branding the leak of secret details from a raid on the Ashford MP’s parliamentary office as “a bit whiffy”. He added his voice to calls for further investigation of the way police eviden e about legal porn being found on Mr Green’s work computer in 2008 became public.
The retired police officer who leaked information which resulted in the sacking of Damian Green ‘liked’ anti-Conservative posts on Facebook, it emerged last night. Retired detective constable Neil Lewis, 48, reportedly went online and clicked on the post by a campaign group called ‘Sack The Tories’ in 2016. The information leaked by Mr Lewis and former counter-terrorism boss Bob Quick led to Mr Green, 61, being sacked by Prime Minister Theresa May. It came as the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation last night joined Mrs May and Boris Johnson in slamming the two ‘abhorrent’ retired officers.
The head of the Metropolitan Police Federation joined forces with Tory MPs last night to condemn the “abhorrent” actions of two retired officers who helped to bring down Damian Green. Ken Marsh, chairman of the organisation that represents 30,000 rank-and-file officers, strongly criticised leaks revealing that pornography had been found on the parliamentary computer of Mr Green, who resigned as deputy prime minister on Wednesday. Theresa May said that she expected the leaks, which are the subject of a criminal inquiry, to be “properly investigated” and “taken seriously”. Influential Tory MPs rounded on the former counterterrorism chief Bob Quick and Neil Lewis, a retired detective constable.
The government’s key EU Withdrawal Bill has cleared the latest stage of its Parliamentary journey after ministers avoided a defeat on the date of Brexit. MPs voted in favour of setting Brexit at 23:00 GMT on 29 March 2019 – with the caveat that ministers can change it if necessary. Theresa May has said this would only happen in “exceptional circumstances” and “for the shortest possible time”. The EU bill has now completed its committee stage. The EU Withdrawal Bill is a key part of the government’s Brexit strategy. It aims to end the supremacy of EU law, which would be copied into UK law in order to ensure a smooth transition on Brexit day.
Theresa May is to meet Poland’s new prime minister a day after the EU took unprecedented action to stop the country’s slide into authoritarianism. The PM is visiting Warsaw for meetings with Mateusz Morawiecki, who has been in office for less than a fortnight since the resignation of his predecessor Beata Szydlo. The European Commission on Thursday decided to recommend the invocation of Article 7.1, starting a legal process that could see Poland’s voting rights suspended on the Europe Council and warning that “the entire structure of the justice system” was being compromised by authoritarian reforms. Over the last two years Polish government has passed 13 laws that would help it stuff courts with political appointees, including tribunals that decide the validity of election results. It comes amid a growing nationalist movement in the country operating with the tacit support of the government
THERESA May flew to Warsaw on Thursday to agree a new defence cooperation deal with Poland in the face of the worsening security threat from Russia. In an attempt to signal that the UK’s close friendship with Poland will continue after Brexit, the Prime Minister is to announce a string of military initiatives including join training, exercises and information sharing. She will also back close co-operation to help tackle cyber threats and alleged Russian “fake news” propaganda. Britain will provide £5million for a new joint strategic communications project that will include measures to detect and counter Russian information operations.
Tens of thousands of patients will have operations cancelled with immediate effect to make space for winter emergencies after NHS bosses issued the first edict from a national crisis team. Hospitals are expected to cancel all non-urgent operations until mid-January, the health service’s national emergency pressures panel said. It also recommended adapting day-case units to be used as inpatient wards and converting routine follow-up clinics into more urgent clinics for patients referred by Gps. The plans are designed to take pressure off hospital wards and avoid repeats of previous winters when many hospitals have had to close their A&Es because they are overwhelmed.
Hospitals have been told to cancel thousands of non-urgent operations in preparation for a surge of patients after Christmas. Guidelines sent out by an emergency panel of NHS officials have advised trusts to do whatever they can to free up beds. This includes cutting back on their routine work including hip and knee replacements, outpatients appointments, scans and x-rays. The NHS is bracing itself for the busiest period of the year and there is usually a spike in A&E attendances immediately after New Year. Officials have been heavily advertising GP surgery and pharmacy opening hours in an attempt to discourage the public from going to hospital.
HEALTH chiefs have told struggling hospitals to cancel all non-urgent surgery until mid-January to avoid a winter meltdown. The unprecedented call will leave up to 600,000 patients in pain at Christmas as they await ops such as hip replacements or cataract removals. NHS England said there was an expectation that under-pressure hospitals should defer all elective surgery to make room for emergency cases. The directive is the first to be issued by the new National Emergency Pressures Panel.
Charities are demanding action over an EU ‘loophole’ which could deny thousands of children cancer drugs. In a letter to European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, campaigners criticised drug companies who are currently allowed to exclude children from cancer drug trials. Charities including the Institute of Cancer Research and Teenage Cancer Trust say around 3,600 British children could miss out on life-saving drugs as a result. The loophole lets firms avoid doing trials of new medications on children in some cases if the drugs are for adult cancers – even if they may work for both age groups.
A deposit return scheme for plastic bottles should be introduced urgently to combat pollution of the world’s oceans, MPs say today. They recommend a refundable charge of 10p to 20p on top of the price of a drink to ensure a high rate of bottle returns. A report by the Commons environmental audit committee said recycling rates could increase to 90 per cent if the scheme was introduced. It reveals that while 57 per cent of used plastic bottles are recycled in household waste, this has not improved since 2012, largely as a result of EU rules. A European directive from 2011 says waste should be measured by weight rather than volume for recycling targets.
MPs have called for a UK-wide scheme to charge a deposit for drinks bottles, which is paid back when they are returned for recycling. The Environmental Audit Committee said the government should also legislate that 50% of plastic bottles should be made from recycled plastic content by 2023. The plan would ease the plastic crisis that currently sees nearly half of 13 billion plastic bottles used each year end up littered, in landfill or incinerated, the latter producing 233,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every twelve months. All public premises that serve food or drink including leisure and sports centres should be required to provide free drinking water on request, the committee added, while companies should be made financially responsible for the plastic packaging they produce.
A nationwide bottle deposit charge is the central recommendation of a new parliamentary report on plastic waste, which MPs said should be introduced as soon as possible. The report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has also said that all public premises which serve food or drink should have to provide free drinking water. Small charges for plastic bottles which are then refunded when bottles are returned are commonplace in a number of countries. The report also recommends a target of 50 per cent of plastic bottles to come from recycled plastic by 2023.
British citizens will be getting blue passports back after Brexit! From the first day of Brexit, March 29th, 2019, the burgundy-coloured passports with the EU insignia on will stop being produced and then in October anyone wanting a new passport will receive a traditional blue coloured one. Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis told The Sun: “I recognise that for many people who voted in that referendum, they want to see things that are different. “One of the most iconic things about being British is having a British passport. “So from the first day we leave, new passports will look different and within five months they will be very different, because they will be dark blue again. “We wanted to return to the dark blue passport because we recognise the string attachment people had to it.” This is something Brexiteers have campaigned for – during the referendum, Nigel Farage said it would be the first sign Brits were getting their country back. Well, now they’ve got it. Hopefully control of borders and the legal system will follow next!
British passports will return to having blue covers after Brexit, it has been confirmed. The new design, which will no longer include the European Union insignia, will replace the burgundy cover that has been a feature of the UK passport since the 1980s once Britain leaves the EU in 2019. Home Office Minister Brandon Lewis said the new passport will be the “most high-tech and secure we have ever seen”, making it more resistant to fraud and forgery. A £490 million contract to redesign and produce a new version of the document was announced earlier this year. The passport is routinely redesigned every five years and Eurosceptics view the new contract as a way to ditch the EU burgundy cover in favour of a return to the colour of the past.
British passports will change to a blue and gold design after Brexit, Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis has announced. Once the UK has left the European Union, passports will no longer be required to conform to EU standards. In a move to symbolise the UK’s national identity, the cover will be changing from the current burgundy colour to navy blue, which was the colour of the first UK passport to come in the form of a book in 1921. The design was changed to burgundy when the UK joined the European Union.
BRITS will get their iconic dark blue passports back after Brexit, ministers announce today — in a stunning campaign victory for The Sun. The Government has agreed to our demand to scrap the EU’s burgundy model, enforced on the nation from 1988. Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said: “One of the most iconic things about being British is having a British passport.” From the first day of Brexit, March 29 2019, burgundy-coloured new passports will still be issued, but no longer with any EU insignia on them. And five months later in October – when the current passport manufacturers’ contract expires – all new British passports will be issued in the dark blue colour that was once famous across the globe.
Blue passports will be issued in the UK after Brexit, ministers are expected to announce today. The burgundy shade will be discarded in favour of the navy that was used for British passports until 1988. That change has long been seen as a symbol of the UK ceding sovereignty to the 28-member bloc. Demands for a return to the original colour featured heavily in the Leave campaign ahead of the EU referendum.
British passports issued after October 2019 will be dark blue and gold, replacing the burgundy model required under EU membership. The British passport is redesigned every five years, and the new version will come into production next autumn when the current contract expires, the Home Office has announced. The return of the navy cover, first used in 1921, is being hailed as a victory by pro-Brexit MPs, who had campaigned for a return to the colour. The government said the new passport, which would include updated features and technology, would be one of the most secure in the world. Brandon Lewis, the immigration minister, said: “Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world.
The traditional blue British passport will make a return after Brexit in a move to reclaim our ‘national identity’. The European Union-approved burgundy document was controversially introduced in 1988. But the Home Office has confirmed it will be scrapped when we leave on March 29, 2019. They will gradually be phased out so those with existing passports will not have to change them until they expire. Burgundy-coloured new passports will still be issued without any EU insignia on them until the current passport contract expires five months after Brexit. The new blue and gold travel documents will be issued to those renewing or applying for a new passport from October 2019.
BREXIT campaigners have reacted with fury after it emerged the UK’s passports could made in Germany after we leave the EU. After quitting the bloc in 2019, the UK will ditch the hated burgundy passport it was forced to adopt by the EU three decades ago. The Government is set to re-introduce the iconic dark blue design as a powerful symbol of Britain’s independence from Brussels. But Tory MP Mark Pritchard today raised fears a Berlin-based company could win the right to redesign the travel document. During a session in the House of Commons, the patriotic backbencher called for a debate on the matter. He said: “Does the Leader of the House share my concern that the new British passport from 2019, a black passport not a purple passport, could be designed and printed in Germany. “Made in Berlin, rather than made in Britain.”
FRANCE’S opposition leader today called for a referendum in his country on the future direction of the European project in what would be a nightmare scenario for Brussels. Laurent Wauquiez, the new boss of the French conservative party, said new plans for an EU in which members could opt for simple economic cooperation should be drawn up and put to the vote. He said in future the bloc should be based on three tiers, ranging from those countries that want to be part of a federal state through to others that want a simple free trade pact. The proposals would present an horror situation for Europe’s elite, who are currently trying to railroad through plans for increased integration between all remaining 27 states. French voters were last asked to voice their opinions on the EU in referendum form in 2005, when they comprehensively rejected what was then billed as a European constitution.
Voters across the EU agree terrorism and immigration are the most important issues facing the bloc — far ahead of the economy, unemployment, or climate change. Immigration is the EU’s greatest concern at 39 per cent with terrorism just a little behind at 38 per cent, according to the latest Eurobarometer poll. There was more than a 20 point difference between terrorism and the next closest concern, the economic situation, at 17 per cent. Following was the state of member nations’ public finances (16 per cent), unemployment (13 per cent), and climate change (12 per cent).
A TOP French politician today laid into the EU over its handling of the Brexit negotiations saying it should stop attempting to “punish” Britain for leaving the bloc. In an eviscerating attack the new leader of France’s conservative party accused some within the bloc of displaying “excessive aggressiveness” towards the UK over its referendum decision. Laurent Wauquiez launched a furious broadside at Angela Merkel, saying she was the most “intransigent” European leader getting in the way of a good Brexit settlement and also railed against French “arrogance”. And he called on the EU to “swiftly” move onto discussions about a future trading relationship with the UK after member states insisted there will be no such talks until March.
Catalonia’s ousted president, Carles Puigdemont, last night hailed a triumphant comeback for independence parties in hotly disputed elections called by the Spanish government, a victory that opens up a dramatic new chapter in the secession crisis. Appearing among supporters in Brussels to cries of “President!”, Mr Puigdemont declared the “Catalan Republic” victorious in the face of the direct rule imposed by the government of Mariano Rajoy. “The Spanish state has been defeated, Rajoy and his allies have lost,” he said, insisting the result was one “no one can dispute”. He demanded the “legitimate” government now be fully restored and the prosecutions of independence leaders dropped.
The secessionist parties of Catalonia have regained their majority in the regional parliament after Thursday’s vote. The victory, albeit by a slim margin, will likely give fresh momentum to the push to break away from Spain, although separatists did lose support compared to the last vote in 2015, and a pro-unity party for the first time became the biggest single bloc in the Catalan parliament. The result is a blow to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who dissolved the Catalan parliament after separatists held a referendum on October 1, declaring the region independent thereafter.
Exiled leader Carles Puigdemont said the Catalan people have ‘sent a message to the world’ as he hailed victory for separatists in regional elections on Thursday night. Pro-independence parties won an outright majority with 99 per cent of votes counted setting up a fresh showdown with Madrid and issuing a sharp rebuke to EU leaders who backed the unionist cause. Speaking from exile in Brussels, Mr Puigdemont he said he and his government must be allowed to return to Spain where there is currently a warrant out for his arrest. He also branded the result a ‘slap in the face’ to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who had called the election after kicking Mr Puigdemont from office.