Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has squashed criticism that he is running scared of the general election, by announcing he will be a candidate. “I will be leading the party into battle,” Mr Nuttall said – but without revealing in which seat he will stand. The confirmation comes just days after Mr Nuttall was accused of hiding in a broom cupboard to escape journalists attempting to find out his intentions. The party is launching its election campaign in London on Friday morning. Though Mr Nuttall has not yet confirmed where he intends to stand, he is scheduled to be campaigning in Hartlepool on Saturday.
Paul Nuttall has confirmed he will stand in the general election after days of refusing to say whether he would throw his hat into the ring. The Ukip leader said he would not yet reveal the constituency, but there is speculation he will contest Heywood and Middleton, where Ukip cut Labour’s majority in a byelection in 2014, or Hartlepool, where he is campaigning at the weekend. Alternatively, Nuttall could again stand in his home town of Bootle, where he came second at the last general election but has little chance of overcoming Labour’s 28,000 majority.
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall finally confirmed today that he will stand for Parliament on June 8. But he kept the world guessing on the location of his target seat, saying he would name it in the next 48 hours. There is speculation the MEP will stand in the Greater Manchester seat of Leigh, where fellow Merseysider Andy Burnham stood down as Labour MP this week ahead of his expected election on May 4 as regional mayor. He said: “As the leader of the party I will be, obviously, leading the party into battle as I have done many times in the past. Mr Nuttall failed in February to beat Labour in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election.
A woman has been shot by police and four people arrested as part of an ongoing counter-terrorism operation in London and Kent. The woman in her twenties was injured during the swoop at an address in Harlesden Road, north London, shortly before 7pm on Thursday. In unverified footage from the scene, firearms officers can be seen outside a home before a number of loud bangs which sounded like gunshots were heard. The operation was not connected to an earlier incident where a man carrying knives was arrested on suspicion of planning a terror attack near Downing Street, Scotland Yard said. Police said a 16-year-old boy and a 20-year-old woman were arrested at the address where the woman was shot and a 20-year-old man was detained nearby. A further woman, aged 43, was arrested in Kent a short while later.
This is the moment armed police opened fire and shot a woman in her 20s during an anti-terror raid where a 16-year-old boy was also arrested. Dramatic video footage has showed the moment elite Met officers smashed their way into the terraced house in Willesden, north London at about 7pm last night. Five shots can be heard being fired and a woman in her 20s was hit and is under police guard in hospital in a serious but stable condition today. Four people, including a 16-year-old boy, were arrested at the address in Harlesden Road on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorist acts. Simultaneously a woman, 43, was arrested at an address in Kent.
Air pollution report
A High Court judge ordered the government to publish its strategy for improving air quality as he warned that pollution kills 64 people a day. Mr Justice Garnham rejected an application by Andrea Leadsom, the environment secretary, for a ten-week postponement until after the general election. He told her to publish the draft plan on May 9, five days after local elections, and warned that nitrogen dioxide, produced largely by diesel engines, costs 23,500 lives a year.
The Government has lost a High Court bid to delay publication of an air pollution plan – described as a “controversial bomb” by its own lawyer – until after the General Election. Environmental lawyers at ClientEarth have twice taken the Government to court over substandard plans that would have allowed air quality to be below minimum European Union standards for years. Ministers were twice ordered to come up with a better strategy, but missed the latest deadline of 24 April, claiming their were not able to publish it because Theresa May had called an election. Government enters a period of ‘purdah’ in which it cannot announce new policies that might influence the outcome of the vote. However it is able to act in ’emergency’ situations.
The government has been ordered to publish tough new plans to tackle air pollution after the high court rejected attempts by ministers to keep the policy under wraps until after the general election. In the latest defeat for ministers over their continued failure to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis, which is believed to be responsible for 40,000 premature deaths a year, Mr Justice Garnham said the secretary of state, Andrea Leadsom, was in breach of a court order to take action in the shortest possible time and that any further delays would constitute a further breach. He said it was essential to publish draft plans to cut air pollution immediately to safeguard public health. The judge rejected a government application to appeal, saying that ministers would have to go to the appeal court if they wanted to seek permission to challenge his ruling.
The UK is urgently drawing up new laws that will enable it to continue imposing sanctions on foreign countries after Brexit, the BBC has learned. Ministers began consulting on the plans last week after officials realised most of the powers to apply sanctions will disappear when the UK leaves the EU. The government hopes the move will allow it to continue to adopt sanctions alongside other members of the bloc. EU law is mostly used now for a travel ban, asset freeze or trade embargo. This UK’s move matters because some countries – including Germany – fear that Brexit will change the balance of debate within the EU and encourage nations such as Italy and Spain to argue that sanctions on Russia should be relaxed.
Angela Merkel has warned British politicians to rid themselves of “illusions” over the UK’s status after Brexit, as she takes a hard line ahead of negotiations. The German Chancellor told cheering Bundestag members Britain would become a “third-party state” after its departure and could not expect to enjoy the same rights as remaining nations. “A third-party state, and that’s what Britain will be, cannot and will not have at its disposal the same rights, or be in a better position than members of the European Union,” Ms Merkel said, to loud applause. “I have to say this clearly here because I get the feeling that some people in Britain continue to work under illusions, and that is a waste of time.”
Angela Merkel has said British politicians are still living under the “illusion” that the UK will retain most of its rights and privileges once it leaves the European Union. Addressing her parliament ahead of this weekend’s EU summit at which European leaders will formally adopt Brexit negotiation guidelines, the German chancellor said: “Countries with a third country status – and that’s what Great Britain will be – cannot and will not have the same or even more rights as a member of the European Union. All 27 member states and the European institutions agree on this.” “Ladies and gentlemen,” she continued, “you may think that all this is self-evident. But I have to put this so clearly because I get the impression that some in Great Britain still have illusions about this, and that is a waste of time.”
Theresa May has launched an unexpectedly blunt attack on Angela Merkel in the first clash of the UK’s Brexit negotiations with the EU. In a marked change of tone for the Prime Minister, she said the German Chancellor had shown how tough the negotiations would be at times. Mrs May hit out in an election campaign speech in Leeds after Mrs Merkel told the German Parliament the UK’s divorce bill must be settled before Brexit talks. Answering questions after her speech, the Prime Minister also backed Boris Johnson after he was criticised for suggesting the UK would back Donald Trump if he launched US airstrikes on Syria.
The European Union says it expects to finish allocating this year all of the 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) it has pledged to Turkey to help the country accommodate the nearly 3 million Syrian refugees living there. Senior European Commission official Myriam Ferran told EU lawmakers Thursday that “we consider we are on track. The deadline should be met.” Ferran said more than two-thirds of the money already has been allocated and 1.5 billion euros worth of contracts have been signed. The EU offered Turkey the money in March 2016 as part of a deal to prevent migrants from reaching Greece. The agreement also calls for giving Turkey fast-tracked EU membership and visa-free travel for Turkish citizens.
The debate raging within the EU as to what they will do the plug the gap left by the UK cash cow has taken another turn today with an Austrian Minister making it clear that his country will not stump up extra cash to fill the hole. Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz insisted that Austria would not increase its payments to the Brussels budget after the UK leaves. “Net contributions will not go up. There will have to be savings,” he said. Wide-eyed EU nationalists have continually pushed for more money and greater resources. Resistance to hand over even more money from European governments is set to put more strain on the faltering EU project.
General Election – Conservatives
A senior Conservative has warned the prime minister that unless she pulls out of the European Court of Human Rights she will still face problems on issues such as deporting terrorists. Lord Faulks, who was justice minister until last year, says that the election provides Theresa May with what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go for the “full fat” option and end Strasbourg’s oversight of human rights in the UK. Writing in The Times today, he says that withdrawal had been Mrs May’s original policy and it was in the Conservative Party manifesto in 2015. The aim had been to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, he says.
The Conservatives are expected to drop a pledge to withdraw the UK from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in their election manifesto. Theresa May last year said she wanted to quit the ECHR but is now expected to drop the commitment to ensure it is not a distraction during Brexit negotiations. The move will keep Britain wedded to European human rights law until 2022 – the end of the next parliament. “We have so much on our plate that we just don’t have enough time to do this. We have enough to do with Brexit, let alone the ECHR,” a senior minister told the The Daily Telegraph. Ms May’s initial plan was to enshrine the same rights in UK law, which would then prevent the Strasbourg court from having an overriding power. Previously, as Home Secretary, Ms May had raised concerns after Strasbourg blocked the government from expelling Abu Qatada, the hate preacher.
Theresa May is putting her mouth where she thinks there is electoral money. Bolton, where she launched her election campaign last week, Bridgend and Newport, in south Wales: this is the front line of the Tories’ advance on Labour’s heartlands. “I know this city is one of the places that people call a ‘traditional Labour area’,” she told a rally in Leeds last night. “But here — and in every constituency across the country — it may say Labour on the ballot, but it’s Jeremy Corbyn that gets the vote,” she said driving her home her appeal to former Labour voters to give her a “Brexit mandate”.
Theresa May has accused EU leaders of preparing to “line up to oppose us” over Brexit, as she made an audacious appeal to Labour supporters to “lend me their vote” to strengthen her hand. Speaking in the Labour stronghold of Leeds, the Prime Minister urged the party’s faithful to disregard “who you may have voted for in the past” and turn to the Tories in June. Pointing to the crucial EU withdrawal negotiations to come, Ms May said: “Everyone in our country has a positive reason to lend me their vote. “Because this election is not about who you may have voted for in the past. It is about voting in the national interest. Voting for the future.”
THERESA May is facing a grassroots rebellion in vacant safe constituencies after the party leadership has stopped them selecting prominent Brexit supporters. The Daily Express has learnt that members of the Hornchurch and Upminster association have threatened to quit over what was branded as “a Remoaner shortlist” of three offered for a seat which voted more than 60 per cent Leave. With Tory MP Dame Angela Watkinson retiring from the safe Tory seat in Essex, the constituency party had wanted Brexit veteran David Campbell Bannerman, who played a crucial role in the Leave campaign. But instead they were offered a government special advisor Simon Jones, London Assembly member Shaun Bailey and a Tower Hamlets councillor Julia Dockerill who won the selection on Wednesday night.
General Election – Labour
The polling looks ominous for Labour. Every vote for the party will count on June 8 as scores of MPs fight not just to win a national election – but to keep their own seats. At one meeting of MPs, a polling guru warned those with majorities smaller than 5,000 are at serious risk. Even putting the Tory poll lead aside, MPs fear a collapse of support for UKIP that could benefit Theresa May because she has taken on many of the party’s policies, like hard Brexit and grammar schools. Our analysis found that of the 100 tightest Labour seats, 61 have a majority smaller than the UKIP vote at the last election. So where are the tightest seats, and who are the Labour MPs running in them? We have looked at the 50 narrowest wins, by number of votes, for Labour at the last election – and all of them have majorities smaller than 5,000.
ONE MILLION new homes would be built over five years under a Labour government, Jeremy Corbyn pledged yesterday. Half of these homes would be council or housing association properties to help alleviate the housing crisis, he added while on the campaign trail in Harlow, at a time when the construction of affordable homes is at a 24-year low. The Labour leader visited an elderly couple who had just moved into a newly built and long-awaited council home in the Essex constituency, where the Tories hold a 8,350 majority. Mr Corbyn said: “We want that for everybody in this country. There doesn’t have to be such insecurity. Things can be very different. A Labour government won’t stand by and watch the housing crisis get worse.
General Election – LibDems
Tim Farron has announced the Liberal Democrats will introduce a policy that will place long-term homeless people straight into independent homes rather than emergency shelters, in a bid to end rough sleeping in Britain. The policy, which will be included in the party’s general election manifesto next month, will mean increasing grants to local authorities in order to fund homelessness prevention services more effectively. In a campaign visit to the Hundred Houses Society, a charitable housing association in Cambridge, Mr Farron said his party would also reinstate housing benefit for under 21-year-olds, which was abolished just weeks ago, despite campaigners insisting it could lead to increased homelessness in Britain. It comes as the Homelessness Reduction Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday, meaning councils will have a legal duty to give people meaningful support to resolve their homelessness and will implement measures to prevent rough sleeping in the first place.
Boris Johnson’s sister has joined the Liberal Democrats – to fight against hard Brexit. Rachel Johnson had hoped to campaign as a Member of Parliament for the party in the June 8 General Election, it is understood. Her hopes were dashed, however, by a rule requiring candidates to have been members for at least a year. Ms Johnson’s move signifies deep differences within the family over the issue of Europe.
Thousands of cancer patients are dying in hospital every year against their wishes, according to a new report. More than 62,000 cancer patients pass away in hospital per year – roughly 38% of all cancer deaths – of which 64% say they would prefer to die at home. The figures have been published in a study by Macmillan Cancer Fund. More than 1,700 people who had been diagnosed with cancer were surveyed by the charity. Just 1% said they wished to die in hospital, with 18% saying a hospice and 64% preferring their own home.
NHS leaders are urging Theresa May to give the health service an emergency cash injection of £25bn before 2020 or risk a decline in the quality of care for patients and lengthening delays for treatment. An influential group representing NHS trusts says that the care provided by hospitals and GP surgeries will suffer over the next few years unless the prime minister provides an £5bn a year for the next three years – and a further £10bn of capital for modernising equipment and buildings. NHS Providers is preparing to release its own manifesto next week, calling on the Conservatives and Labour to end what it calls the austerity funding of the health service. Saffron Cordery, the director of policy and strategy, said its analysis showed that there was a “revenue gap” of £4.5bn-£5bn a year in 2017-18 and “each of the subsequent two years as well”. Hospitals needed that sum, said Cordery, to get rid of their deficits of £800m-£900m a year, fulfil new NHS commitments on cancer and mental health and improve their performance against key waiting time targets.
The Cancer Drugs Fund, which cost the taxpayer £1.27 billion, failed to deliver “meaningful value” to patients – and even put some at risk of side effects, according to a new study. David Cameron set up the scheme in 2010 with the aim of increasing access to cancer medicines not routinely available on the NHS. But now a new study into the fund, which ended in 2016, has slammed its apparent lack of effectiveness, saying it was not good value for money. The study, published in the Annals of Oncology, claimed that the typical overall survival benefit for the drugs on offer was a mere 3.1 months of life.
Northern Ireland could remain in the European Union, if it united with the southern nation, it has emerged. EU leaders are due to meet this week to discuss their plans and terms ahead of Brexit negotiations with Britain. But the Financial Times has revealed that the leaders are already keen to offer an olive branch to Northern Ireland, by suggesting a future united Ireland would remain a member of the EU. Northern Ireland voted 55.8% to remain in the EU in the June election last year. The Good Friday agreement of 1998 currently allows for a vote on reunification should there be feeling that it would pass.
European leaders may be preparing to recognise a united Ireland, in a declaration that would pave the way for the north to swiftly rejoin the European Union. At their first Brexit summit on Saturday, the EU’s 27 leaders are expected to discuss a text stating that if Ireland unified, the north would automatically become part of the EU. The inclusion of the text is a victory for the Irish government, which had pressed for the inclusion of a “GDR clause”, a reference to the integration of the former east German state into the European Community after the fall of the Berlin wall.
The Queen has agreed to a “dress-down” state opening of parliament without carriages or robes because of the snap election. She will wear a day dress and hat for the ceremony and not the imperial state crown as she delivers the Queen’s Speech outlining the government’s plans for the year ahead. It will be the first time since 1974, when Edward Heath called a snap election, that the Queen has not worn the full ceremonial regalia for a state opening. The changes have been agreed between Buckingham Palace, the government and the parliamentary authorities because rehearsals for the state opening, which will now take place on June 19, clash with Trooping the Colour.