Assassination attempt on Nigel Farage

Several of the media report on the car crash from which our party leader escaped unhurt.

The Mail reports that his car was sabotaged.

Nigel Farage fears he has been the victim of an assassination attempt after his car was sabotaged, causing a terrifying motorway crash.

The Ukip leader careered off a French road after a wheel on his Volvo came loose while he was driving from Brussels back to his home in Kent.

When the police arrived at the scene, they told him that the nuts on all of the wheels had been deliberately unscrewed, The Mail on Sunday has established.

Mr Farage, who has received death threats during his tumultuous time as leader, last night spoke about the ‘frightening’ incident, which took place near Dunkirk.

‘It was the middle of bloody nowhere, and I was caught in a very bad position,’ he said. ‘There was a huge section of roadworks with cars going back and forth on the same side of the carriageway. I suddenly realised I was losing steering but there was no hard shoulder to pull on to. I slowed down, put the hazards on and then one of the wheels came off. I jumped over the wall as quickly as I bloody well could to get away from lorries and everything.’

When the emergency services arrived, they told a shaken Mr Farage that he had been the victim of a malicious act. ‘The French police looked at it and said that sometimes nuts on one wheel can come a bit loose – but not on all four,’ Mr Farage said.

When he was asked who he thought might have been responsible, Mr Farage replied: ‘I haven’t got a clue. Quite frankly, the way my life’s been over the past two-and-a-half years, nothing surprises me.’

The Sun reports that the wheel nuts had been loosened.

NIGEL Farage crashed his car after saboteurs loosened its wheel nuts.

The Ukip leader says a wheel fell off as he drove through motorway roadworks.

The “assassination bid” happened near Dunkirk as he drove his Volvo V70 home to Kent from the European Parliament in Brussels.

Mr Farage said: “‘It was in the middle of nowhere and I was in a very bad position.

“There was a huge section of roadworks with cars back and forth on the same side of the carriageway. I was losing steering but there was no hard shoulder.

The Express says he had to run for his life after the crash.

NIGEL Farage was forced to run for his life after his sabotaged car fell apart in the middle of a busy French motorway.

The UKIP leader was driving home from Brussels when the wheel of his Volvo fell off – forcing him to scramble over a wall to escape an oncoming lorry.

Police later told the shaken Farage that his car had been intentionally tampered with, leading to fears that an attempt had been made on his life.

But the unflappable UKIP leader said: “The way my life’s been, nothing surprises me.”

The road was limited to two lanes because of roadworks, making the situation even more dangerous for the UKIP leader.

“It was the middle of bloody nowhere, and I was caught in a very bad position

“I suddenly realised I was losing steering but there was no hard shoulder to pull on to.

“I slowed down, put the hazards on and then one of the wheels came off.

“I jumped over the wall as quickly as I bloody well could to get away from lorries and everything.”

Even the Mirror has the story.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage feared tonight he was the victim of an assassination attempt after his car was sabotaged.

Mr Farage, 51, careered off a road in France when a wheel on his Volvo V70 came loose while he was driving from Brussels to his home in Kent.

The MEP, revealing the incident which happened last October, said: “The French police looked at it and said that sometimes nuts on one wheel can come a bit loose – but not on all four.”

When he was asked who he thought might have been responsible, Mr Farage replied: “I haven’t got a clue.

“Quite frankly, the way my life’s been over the past two-and-a-half years, nothing surprises me.”

The Telegraph and ITV News also carry the story, but the BBC does not cover the incident.

Middle East

The executions in Saudi Arabia risk inflaming sectarian tensions, says the Guardian.

Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr risks worsening sectarian tensions, the US has warned, joining a chorus of critics from the West and the Middle East who have condemned the killing.

US state department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that the US was “particularly concerned” that al-Nimr’s execution risked “exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced.”

He said the US was calling on Saudi Arabia to ensure fair judicial proceedings and permit peaceful expression of dissent while working with all community leaders to defuse tensions after the executions.

The killing of Nimr, a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia’s ruling royal family, caused international outrage and a serious escalation of diplomatic tensions in the region, with unrest predicted in Shia-majority areas.

The Independent claims the executions threaten to plunge the area into greater turmoil.

The beheading of dozens of Sunni and Shia prisoners by the West’s main Middle East ally, Saudi Arabia, threatens to renew sectarian violence in the oil-rich kingdom and plunge the Middle East into greater turmoil.

The mass executions – in Riyadh, Mecca, Medina and in the eastern and northern regions – have been seen as a bloody statement of intent delivered by an increasingly powerless Saudi Interior Minister.

Among those killed was Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a leading Shia cleric with the rank of ayatollah, a political prisoner and vocal supporter of protests against the Saudi royal family. His death, which has sparked outrage in Iran, the dominant Shia power in the region, is likely to lead to an escalation of hostilities in Yemen, where a proxy war between the two nations is being fought.

And the US warns that the executions could fuel tensions, says the BBC.

The United States has expressed concern that Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr could further exacerbate sectarian rivalry in the Middle East.

The US State Department urged leaders throughout the region to redouble efforts to lower tensions.

Iranian protesters angry over the execution stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran, setting fire to the building.

Sheikh Nimr was one of 47 people executed for terrorism offences.

He was a vocal supporter of mass protests in the Saudi-Arabia’s Shia-majority Eastern Province in 2011.

In a statement, US state spokesman John Kirby appealed to Saudi Arabia’s government to respect and protect human rights, and to ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings.

UN boss Ban Ki Moon is unhappy about the executions, especially that of the top cleric, reports ITV.

A top Shia Cleric was reportedly killed during a mass execution in Saudi Arabia today, sparking protests and unrest among the country’s Shiite community.

Nimr al-Nimr was executed alongside 46 others after allegedly being involved in a series of attacks attributed to Al-Qaeda between 2003 and 2006.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has said he is “deeply dismayed” about the executions of 47 people, including cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, carried out by Saudi Arabia.

In a statement, his spokesman said:

Sheik al-Nimr and a number of the other prisoners executed had been convicted following trials that raised serious concerns over the nature of the charges and the fairness of the process.

The Secretary-General had raised the case of Sheikh al-Nimr with the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions.

The Secretary-General reiterates his strong stance against the death penalty. He points to the growing movement in the international community for the abolition of capital punishment and urges Saudi Arabia to commute all death sentences imposed in the Kingdom.

– SPOKESMAN FOR THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL

Ban Ki Moon also urged calm and restraint in reaction to the execution of Sheikh Nimr after demonstrators attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.

Sky News also carries the story.

The US has expressed concern that Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric will “exacerbate sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced”.

Officials including the White House’s deputy national security adviser have urged the Saudi government and other Middle Eastern leaders to “redouble efforts aimed at de-escalating tensions”.

It comes as protests in Iran saw the Saudi embassy in Tehran set ablaze by petrol bombs.

Following the execution of Nimr al Nimr, along with 46 others at prisons across the country, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said: “We reaffirm our calls on the Government of Saudi Arabia to respect and protect human rights, and to ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings in all cases.”

Sectarian anger following Saturday’s executions was also enflamed in eastern parts of Saudi, which is a Sunni-ruled country, with hundreds of Shia Muslims marching through the streets.

And the Express claims this could be the start of World War 3 as Iran threatens to destroy Saudi with ‘harsh revenge’ over the executions.

IRAN has threatened to destroy Saudi Arabia with a “harsh revenge” after it executed a prominent Shia cleric.

The country’s hardline Revolutionary Guards issued a chilling warning to the ruling Al Saud family saying they will topple the “pro-terrorist, anti-Islamic regime”.

The website of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also compared Saudi to notorious Islamic State executioner Jihadi John.

Mr Khamenei added: “The unjustly spilled blood of this oppressed martyr will no doubt soon show its effect and divine vengeance will befall Saudi politicians.”

It comes after the Sunni kingdom executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and three other Shi’ites along with dozens of al Qaeda members.

Labour reshuffle

The Independent reports on Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to change his shadow cabinet.

Jeremy Corbyn risks sparking a dangerous rift with Andy Burnham, who came second to him in the Labour leadership contest, by sacking the shadow Home Secretary’s closest political ally.

The Independent on Sunday has learned that Mr Burnham agreed to serve in Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet only if Michael Dugher, his leadership campaign manager, was also given a top job. Mr Dugher was made shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary in September, but just four months later is under threat in the forthcoming reshuffle.

Much of the speculation over who will be sacked in what has been described as a “revenge reshuffle” has focused on Hilary Benn, the shadow Foreign Secretary, who defied Mr Corbyn by voting for Syrian air strikes last month and gave one of the great modern House of Commons speeches defending his position. The shadow Defence Secretary, Maria Eagle, is also at risk of demotion, as is Chief Whip Rosie Winterton, even though the latter abstained over air strikes.

Mr Dugher is less high profile, but kicking him out of the Shadow Cabinet could be even more divisive as it would infuriate Mr Burnham, who remains one of the party’s heavy hitters. One in five members and supporters backed him in the leadership contest. Unlike the other leadership candidates, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, Mr Burnham agreed to join Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet for the sake of party unity.

The Guardian claims the Labour leader is ready to move Hilary Benn.

Jeremy Corbyn is ready to offer the shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, a move to another shadow cabinet post in what is likely to be an imminent, high-risk reshuffle aimed at ensuring that his top team speaks with one voice on foreign and defence matters, the Observer understands.

The Labour leader may make a series of highly controversial changes within days that could also include a switch for defence spokeswoman Maria Eagle.

The reshuffle – while not finalised, and with no date yet set – is being planned principally as a way to avoid the Labour leader publicly voicing opposing views to members of his shadow team on their specific briefs.

Corbyn believes that the party is remarkably united on most domestic issues, including economic policy, and that it now has to present a similar front on foreign affairs and defence in votes on key issues such as Trident in the coming months.

Tony Blair

Blair and other former ministers can no longer get free accommodation at British embassies when they’re earning money abroad, says the Telegraph.

Tony Blair and former ministers have been banned from staying for free at British embassies and using diplomats to help carry out their private commercial work, the Telegraph can disclose.

The Foreign Office said it wanted to prevent the “inappropriate use” of government staff and resources and avoid the perception abroad that such figures were representing the UK Government.

Instead, ex-ministers will only be able to make use of embassies and staff if they are working on official business.

The disclosure comes as the Telegraph reveals how Mr Blair – who has made millions of pounds since standing down as prime minister in 2007 – stayed rent-free in British embassies in France and the US at the taxpayers expense on several occasions.

The Telegraph has previously revealed how Mr Blair was given the run of the British ambassador’s official residence in Manila on a trip during which he was paid almost £400,000 for two speeches.

He also stayed at the UK embassy in Tripoli when meeting Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi on private business.

Boris

The Mail claims the Prime Minister may offer Boris a Cabinet job to force him to stay loyal in European referendum.

David Cameron is on standby to hold an emergency reshuffle in the next few weeks which could see Boris Johnson dramatically appointed to a frontline Government job.

No 10 fears that at least two Eurosceptic Cabinet Ministers – Leader of the House Chris Grayling and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers – could be on the brink of walking out of their jobs over Mr Cameron’s support for an ‘In’ vote in the EU referendum.

It could lead to an earlier- than-expected appointment to the Cabinet for Mr Johnson, who has previously said that he would not take a ministerial position before his term as London Mayor ends in May.

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