A EUROPHILE minister who said the vote to leave the European Union made him “sick to the pit of my stomach” is being lined up to replace Brexit secretary David Davis, according to reports. Theresa May is said to be mulling a shock move to put Ben Gummer, who campaigned vociferously for Remain, in charge of the history-defining divorce talks with Brussels. The Cabinet Office minister, who is seen by Tory insiders as a rising star in the party, made no attempt to hide his dismay when asked about the result of the June 23 referendum. His appointment in place of Mr Davis, who was a key architect of the successful Vote Leave campaign, would infuriate eurosceptics who up until now have trusted the PM to deliver a clean Brexit. But it would be met with delight in Brussels, where the Brexit Secretary’s repeated tough talking about walking away from a bad deal has caused anger and anguish. According to The Times Mr Davis would be “promoted” to the role of Foreign Secretary in such a reshuffle, with fellow Brexiteer Boris Johnson facing the prospect of being shunted out of the Cabinet.
Senior civil servants have been told to ensure that their plans for a hung parliament are ready before the end of the week in case the election does not deliver a decisive result. Planning has been stepped up after officials across Whitehall told The Times two weeks ago that only a cursory effort had gone into preparing for scenarios that did not involve the Conservatives winning a majority. These developments reflect the increased uncertainty over the election, with polls showing a wide range of outcomes and unhappiness among Tories with their campaign. One Whitehall source said: “A senior civil servant sat in a meeting and said, ‘We’ve just all been told to prepare our plan for a hung parliament.’ This goes further than before.”
Theresa May will try to push the final few days of the election campaign back onto Brexit, setting out measures to boost international trade. The Prime Minister will put forward plans to set up a ‘board of trade’, whose members would lead delegations of business people from all regions of the UK across the world to hunt out new opportunities. She will also highlight a promise for a new network of Trade Commissioners, whose job it will be to live and work in areas where the opportunities for new trade are greatest, promoting British products. The election campaign has been dominated by security issues since the weekend’s terror attack in London, but with 48 hours to go till polling opens, Ms May’s pledges will seek to re-focus on her what she believes is her strongest suit. She said: “The opportunities for our economy from Brexit are great, and I am determined the benefits of new jobs and prosperity will be spread equally across the United Kingdom – helping to build a stronger and more united country.”
The parties are using data and targeted digital ads as never before as we enter the home straight in this General Election. Hundreds of voters across the county have participated in Sky News’ Invisible Election Project seeking to understand how – and by who – “dark ads” that are not normally visible elsewhere are being used. As Sky News reported earlier, the targeting of social media adverts and the use of data are now a huge part of election campaigning, but have limited or even no regulation from the Election Commission. Hundreds of responses from Sky News viewers reveal the online battle. The Conservatives are currently blanketing the internet, particularly sites such as YouTube, with video adverts, such as attack ads on Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott.
An offer of a free Banksy print to people who vote against the Conservatives is being investigated by police. Avon and Somerset Police has received a number of complaints over the secretive street artist’s offer. Applicants from six Bristol constituencies have to send him a ballot paper photo showing a vote against the Tories to get the print. Police said anyone taking part in the offer could also be prosecuted. A police spokesman said: “We’ve received a number of complaints about an offer of a free Banksy print to people living in six Bristol constituencies in exchange for them voting in a certain way in the forthcoming election and we can confirm we’re investigating the offer. “It is a criminal offence under the Representation of the People Act 1983 for any voter to accept or agree to accept a gift or similar in return for voting or refraining from voting.
Nick Clegg will accuse Theresa May of putting the safety of Britons at risk after Brexit, after she failed to explain how the police will retain access to EU anti-terror information. The former Liberal Democrat leader will condemn the Prime Minister for vowing to pull the UK out of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) – whatever the cost. Outside the ECJ, Britain is likely to lose the right to share data through the Europol enforcement agency and the Schengen information system, which holds the names of 8,000 suspected terror suspects. On Monday, Ms May was asked if she had an “alternative plan” to keep the national security data flowing but simply referred vaguely to trying to agree “appropriate oversight” of the information. Instead, the Prime Minister vowed: “I am very clear that the European Court of Justice and its jurisdiction in the UK is going to be ended”.
LABOUR and the Conservatives are resuming national campaigning today in the wake of the London Bridge terror attack. As Labour continues to narrow the gap with the Tories in the latest polls, here are live updates and the latest opinion polls. YouGov’s latest seat estimate predicts that the Conservatives will win 305 seats, 21 short of a majority. The pollster put Labour on 268 seats, the SNP on 42 seats and the Liberal Democrats on 13 – enough for a three-way coalition. Senior civil servants have been told to draw up plans for a hung parliament as experts continue to predict that this week’s election will return no overall majority. According to the Times, one Whitehall source said: “A senior civil servant sat in a meeting and said, ‘We’ve just all been told to prepare our plan for a hung parliament.’ This goes further than before.”
Confused about what is likely to happen on Thursday? That would not be surprising. The polls have, after all, produced very divergent results. In the last few days, for example, one has put the Conservative lead over Labour as low as one point and another as high as 12. So how should you try and make sense of the final polls as they appear on Wednesday and Thursday? And what should you look out for as the results themselves are eventually declared on Thursday night? There is one crucial statistic to keep in your mind in the next few days. At the last election in 2015 the Conservatives were seven points ahead of Labour in the national vote and that secured them an overall majority of 12. So, any poll that puts the Conservative lead at six points or less is suggesting that the Conservatives will be less far ahead of Labour than two years ago – and, consequently, could potentially be at risk of losing their overall majority.
Prime Minister Theresa May is set to fall 21 seats short of a majority in the House of Commons, according to a projection by polling company YouGov. The study showed that the Conservatives would win 305 seats, fewer than won by David Cameron and shy of the 326 needed to pass laws with a majority. It follows a string of concerning polls for the Prime Minister, the most recent of which from ICM showed her party’s lead further narrowing by one point. When Ms May called the election, her party was on course for a landslide win and had poll leads of around 20 points. On Saturday, YouGov said its model suggested the Conservatives were on course to win 308 seats but the number had fallen by Monday. The opposition Labour Party is likely to win 268 seats, YouGov’s model showed on Monday, up from 261 on Saturday.
TORY leader Theresa May’s bid for a landslide general election victory came crashing down after pundits cut the gap between her and Labour to one point. Politics buffs Survation made the shock prediction only two days before millions of voters cast their ballots. The study was conducted before Islamist militants killed seven and injured 48 during a bloody frenzy along London Bridge and nearby Borough Market on Saturday. But if true the result would humiliate Mrs May, who had been predicted to win comfortably on Friday. Three weeks ago numerous polls put the Tory leader on course for an easy landslide win in the election, which she claims to have called to secure a stronger hand ahead of critical Brexit talks. But Mrs May’s campaign struggled after she proposed a plan to force the elderly to pay more of their social care bills – dubbed as the so-called dementia tax.
Nicola Sturgeon has refused to rule out trying for a third independence referendum within a short period if she lost her planned second vote. The First Minister was challenged twice during a special edition of the BBC’s Question Time programme in Edinburgh to promise that the result of a second referendum would be respected for a minimum period, such as a generation or 25 years. But, to groans form the audience, she argued it would not be right to tie the hands of the Scottish people by making such a pledge. Her answer raises fears she is pursuing a ‘neverendum’ strategy, demanding new independence votes until she gets the result she wants. However, during a difficult half hour, she was repeatedly lambasted over her refusal to drop her plans for another referendum and warned she was losing the support of even some SNP supporters.
NICOLA Sturgeon has risked angering Theresa May by claiming Scotland will become independent by 2025. The SNP leader made the bold prediction despite the country overwhelmingly voting to stay in the UK less than three years ago. Speaking ahead of Thursday’s general election, she again laid out her demands for a second vote on breaking up the union. Asked if she would get her wish before 2025, she told ITV: “I think Scotland will be independent, yes. But that’s a choice for the Scottish people.” She refused to be drawn on an “arbitrary date” but added: “I believe Scotland will be independent, I’ve always believed that. “Actually, Scotland becoming independent – we won’t leave the British Isles. “Scotland will just move from becoming a devolved country to an independent country. “But those links and relationships that hold the British Isles as an entity will continue.”
NICOLA Sturgeon now says she believes Scotland will be independent by 2025 – despite demanding a second referendum next year. The SNP leader claimed she had not changed her timetable for breaking up the UK though, and accused the interviewer of using an “arbitrary date”. The Scottish First Minister was speaking to ITV’s Julie Etchingham for a programme that was broadcast this evening. She said her country should not be told to “shut up” by the rest of the UK during the Brexit negotiations. Speaking about Scotland’s place in the upcoming talks with Brussels Ms Sturgeon said: “In 2014, we were told if we voted Yes we would imperil our place in the EU. So, Scotland voted No to – amongst other things – to protect its place in the EU.”
Elderly patients with common mental health problems are facing ‘clear discrimination’ at the hands of the NHS, experts warned yesterday. A study found that people in their 70s with depression or anxiety were four times less likely to be referred for therapy than those in their 20s. The researchers, led by experts at the University of West London, said the elderly are being ‘under-referred’ for talking therapy by GPs, despite evidence they are more likely to turn up and generally respond better to treatment than younger people. Their study examined more than 80,000 referrals for patients in the South West. The team found that 23 per cent of people aged 20 to 24 with mental health problems were referred for talking therapies – four times the proportion of 70 to 74 year-olds, of whom only 6 per cent received a referral.
Older patients who have common mental health problems are not being offered talking therapies, despite benefiting more from them than younger patients, experts have said. The authors of a new study published in the British Journal of General Practice say evidence shows elderly patients are being “under-referred” for counselling and other kinds of talking therapies. The researchers, led by Dr Sophie Pettit of the University of West London, launched a new study looking at the rates of referral for patients of different age groups. They found that the proportion of patients being identified with common mental health problems peaks for patients aged 20 to 24 where 23 percent are referred for talking therapies. But just 6 percent of 70 to 74-year-olds were referred for talking therapies according to the study, which examined more than 80,000 referrals for patients from the South West of England.
Country dwellers already have less hassle, cleaner air and more beautiful open spaces than those in the city. Now it appears they could also be more likely to survive cancer. Rural patients were 29 per cent less likely to die from their disease than those in the city, a study has found. Ease of getting a GP appointment and personal relationships with family doctors could allow rural patients to get help quicker, researchers suggested. The findings contradicted previous research which suggested that those who needed to travel further to hospital had a higher risk of dying.
Thousands of operations on children are being cancelled each year, often because NHS hospitals do not have enough beds, staff or equipment. Procedures to repair broken bones, remove rotten teeth or insert grommets are among the 46,211 operations that have been cancelled over the last four years, NHS figures show. A total of 12,349 surgeries on children and young people were cancelled during 2016-17 alone, in the latest sign that under-pressure hospitals are struggling to give patients timely care. The real number of cancellations is likely to be much higher as the figures obtained by Labour under freedom of information laws cover barely half of England’s 153 acute hospital trusts.
Thousands of breast cancer patients could be effectively cured with a drug that has shrunk aggressive tumours by two thirds in a trial, researchers say. The disease is the most common kind of cancer in Britain, developing in 55,000 more people and killing 11,000 each year. Scientists in the US have developed a twice-daily pill that would be taken alongside the standard hormone therapies given to up to 70 per cent of women with breast cancer, such as tamoxifen and the aromatase inhibitors. Abemaciclib works in about half of patients with a usually fatal form of the disease that has metastasised and stopped responding to frontline medicines, according to findings presented at the world’s largest cancer conference this week.
Islamic State has flooded the internet with violent jihadist propaganda in the wake of Saturday’s attack in London, an analysis shows. Hundreds of videos which urge supporters to attack the West have been posted on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Telegram, the encrypted messaging application. One video uploaded to Google Drive and seen by The Times shows a bloodstained map of London Bridge and urges followers to “do Jihad” in Europe. Another promises that the Islamic state has a “waiting list of people wanting to become suicide bombers” while a third warns that the “nations of the Cross” will see their “blood spill like an ocean” and the “black flag [of Isis] in their hearts”.
ISIS is vowing a terrifying “bloodbath” leading to total “destruction” as Britain recovers from its third terror attack in three months. The terror group has sent a telegram to a major European country with a chilling image of an AK47 on top of the ISIS flag and a newspaper surrounded by bullets. It warns “what awaits you is even more destructive and more terrifying” including “car bombs, trucks rushed, improvised explosive devices”. Promising that “all this will become your daily life until you are collapsed”, the document lists eight demands the country must respond to in seven days “in order to stop this bloodbath”. Among them is the “immediate sales of arms” to ISIS, “the release of all Muslims” arrested on terror offences”, and for “all Muslims to be free to leave and live in the Islamic State”.
Brits have taken to social media to mock ISIS after it claimed responsibility for the London Bridge terror attack. In typically British fashion people are using dark humour to ridicule the group using the trending hashtag #IslamicStateClaims. Extremists are being blamed on a host of problems – from the rising cost of Freddos and the shrinking size of Quality Street to Bake Off leaving the BBC. Satirical jibes sweeping social media are blaming ISIS for killing Eastenders character Lucy Beale, removing the Galaxy Truffle from Celebrations and miss-selling people PPI. It comes after ISIS said the three assailants who went on a crazed rampage on London Bridge and in Borough Market on Saturday night, killing seven people and injuring nearly 50 more, were part of their network. And last week ISIS attempted to claim responsibility for an assault on a casino in the Philippines but it was later confirmed to be a robbery gone wrong. So social media users are mocking the group by blaming them on a number of other comical issues.
Following a radical Islamic terrorist attack in London that killed seven and injured dozens more, experts say such attacks in the West could increase in the near future. One reason, they say, is that terrorists are encouraged to conduct more attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, which started on May 26 and lasts through June 24. “During Ramadan, [terrorists] believe they are under a heavier obligation to carry out jihad, and they believe the reward is multiplied if they die during jihad in Ramadan,” said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst at the Clarion Project. “And so from their perspective, they are willing to kill a lot of people – in their minds, send them to hell – to maximize their own chances to get to paradise,” Mauro said.
Nigel Farage has once again highlighted it’s all well and good calling for solidarity in the wake of yet another terror attack on British soil, but what’s needed is proper political action to defeat radical Islam. Farage told Fox News: “We’re less shocked than we used to be. We’re kind of getting used to this which is very, very bad news. “People are beginning to say ‘what are our leaders actually going to do?’ Just expressing sorrow and using words like solidarity simply isn’t enough.” Isn’t it about time we heard a coherent, no-nonsense counter terror plan from someone?
A group of Muslim leaders yesterday called on other imams to refuse the rite of funeral prayers to the London and Manchester attackers. They said their action was unprecedented but they wanted to convey their anger at perpetrators of terrorist acts by disowning them from the Muslim community in Britain. The pledge, signed by 132 imams, came after Theresa May called for the country to unite to defeat Islamist terrorism, declaring “enough is enough”. Two of those who helped to collect signatories used the same phrase but said they were reflecting grassroots anger in Muslim communities rather than responding to the prime minister’s call.
Muslim community leaders have come together to condemn the London Bridge attack and to tell terrorists their actions go against the core teachings of Islam. A panel of speakers at the East London Mosque said they will continue to work to counteract terrorists’ ‘twisted narrative and their perversion’ of the religion. It came as 130 imams and religious leaders from diverse backgrounds refused to perform the traditional Islamic prayer for the attackers – a ritual that is normally performed for every Muslim regardless of their actions. In a statement, they said: ‘Consequently, and in light of other such ethical principles which are quintessential to Islam, we will not perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer over the perpetrators and we also urge fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw such a privilege.
BRITISH Muslims must go beyond simply condemning terror attacks, and turn their energies to challenging the mindset behind them, a Cabinet Minister said today. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, a Muslim, said members of his faith must be prepared to “ask ourselves searching questions” about the extremism that sparks such atrocities. He said: “As British Muslims, we rightly condemn terror attacks. But we must go further. It is not enough to condemn. Muslims must challenge too. “This will take courage. All communities must feel confident in calling out extremism where they see it.” There was no avoiding the fact that the attackers “think they are Muslims, they identify as Muslims” acting in the name of Islam. That gave Muslims “a special, unique burden” even though the terrorists in no way represented their “peaceful, wonderful religion.
Muslim communities across the country have condemned the terror attacks in London and Manchester. In Leeds, one mosque leader who, along with 130 other imams, has refused to say funeral prayers for the London attackers, told ITV News that it was important to tackle the root cause of extremism. “We have a wider role to play in tackling extremism,” Qasir Asam said. “That’s obviously firstly being vigilant and reporting whenever we see an indication of extremism, but at the same time I think we need to dig a bit deeper … and tackle those root causes to ensure that not one more life is lost on our soil.” That sentiment is shared elsewhere – moderate Muslims are agreed enough is enough, but they want everyone to play their part.
No one at the BBC takes account of accusations of bias, according to the presenter of Newsnight. Evan Davis said the BBC is constantly getting emails from licence fee payers accusing them of pandering to certain political parties. But he claimed that ‘no one at the BBC takes those kinds of things into account’ because it is ‘very rare’ for the issue to be brought up. His remarks at the Hay Festival come days after the corporation was accused of Left-wing bias in its Election Debate programme. Speaking at the festival in Wales, Mr Davis said: ‘All the time we get those emails. And honestly, no one at the BBC takes those kinds of things into account. ‘Maybe people at the very top of the BBC do, I don’t know. Maybe they do. But none of the people who are making programmes do.’