MPs from all parties say failure to release Russia report is ‘affront to democracy’

If a week in politics is a long time, how would you describe eight months? An eternity? That’s the length of time Boris Johnson has been sitting on the report into Russian interference in UK democracy. He says it cannot be released because the UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee has not been reconvened since it was dissolved for the December 2019 general election and has no members. But this is a feeble excuse when one realises that the only reason for this is, Boris Johnson nominates everybody on this committee…

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New Brexit drama: government ordered to hand over all information on prorogation

It seems the first controversy to happen during the prorogation of Parliament is about the very same shutdown. MPs have passed a backbench motion ordering Boris Johnson to hand over all documents relating to Downing Street’s preparations for a “no deal” Brexit and to the prorogation, along with all private messages by his most senior aides relating to these matters. The reason, according to The Guardian, is so rebel MPs can “prove he misled Parliament”. The Graun continues: MPs voted to force him to publish Operation Yellowhammer documents setting out government plans…

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Remember Nazanin? After Tories forgot her, London’s Labour Mayor has called for her to be freed

Fair play to Sadiq Khan, Labour’s Mayor of London, for bringing the plight of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe back to public attention. Nazanin, as you should well recall, is a charity worker who was jailed in 2016 on trumped-up charges of trying to engineer a “soft” revolt against the Iranian regime, when in fact she had been celebrating that country’s New Year with family members who live there. Boris Johnson, as UK Foreign Secretary, made matters infinitely worse for her when he stupidly suggested that the Iranian authorities’ claims were right and she…

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Tories block move to publish Universal Credit briefings. You KNOW what this means

For years, the Conservatives in government have been telling us that Universal Credit is better for everybody, helping the claimant into work and then towards better-paid work at less expensive to the taxpayer in a streamlined system. But the result of Labour’s Opposition Day debate on the controversial system seems to prove one thing: The Tories’ claims were nothing more than the vilest of lies. Why hide the reports otherwise? If they don’t say anything that would turn the public against the Tories, then there wouldn’t be any need to…

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No respite for Nazanin

We have just heard the sad news that Nazanin’s extension has been refused and she has returned to prison. Here is the moment she said goodbye to a distraught Gabriella #FreeNazanin pic.twitter.com/YBEIbOdQb4 — Free Nazanin (@FreeNazanin) August 26, 2018 What a shame. This was nothing to do with efforts by the Conservative government to negotiate the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from the Iranian prison where she has been unjustly held for so long on false charges. She had been released for three days to see her daughter, and it had…

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People are asking, ‘Where’s Yulia?’ But does it matter?

Yulia Skripal has been discharged from hospital, according to doctors there – but we don’t know where she has gone. Channel 4 News has said the Russian embassy has accused British officials of “isolating” Ms Skripal, the daughter of the former spy who was targeted in the Salisbury poison gas attack, and “concealing important evidence”. The report stated: “The 33-year-old Russian national was discharged from hospital [on April 9] and taken to what’s described as a ‘secure location’. Medical staff said she had asked for privacy, stressing it was not…

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe may be released early – and it’s nothing to do with Boris Johnson

At least, that’s the impression This Writer is getting from the announcement today (December 21). It seems Mrs Zaghari Ratcliffe, will be deemed eligible for early release by the Iranian judiciary, as she has served one-third of her prison sentence. She was detained by the authorities in Iran last year, on charges of trying to incite a “soft” revolt against the Iranian regime by training journalists, when she was trying to return home after a holiday there. The announcement is a clear snub to UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who…

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Crisis point: May’s government risks being in contempt of Parliament over refusal to release Brexit papers

Theresa May’s minority Conservative government was in crisis after Parliament ordered her to release 58 secret studies into the economic effects of Brexit – and her ministers refused to say whether they would agree to the demand. Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Exiting the EU, Keir Starmer, used an antiquated procedure called a “humble address”, in which the Queen is asked to direct that the documents – “sectoral impact assessments” – must be released. As this was an Opposition motion, the government refused to allow Conservatives to vote on it. Several…

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Why is Amber Rudd still detaining a torture victim, despite condemnation from the judiciary?

This is inexcusable behaviour from the holder of one of the highest offices in the UK government. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has made no attempt to justify her continued imprisonment – let’s call it what it is – of an asylum-seeker from Chad, in Africa. She has ignored repeated court orders requiring her to do so, and couldn’t even be bothered to send a Home Office barrister to the hearing yesterday (August 23). Are the Conservatives now showing open contempt for the law? A high court judge has said she…

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On Employment and Support Allowance, Ms Patel isn’t sitting pretty

The new Parliamentary session is going to be very hard on Iain Duncan Smith and his team (if you can call it that) at the Department for Work and Pensions. His skiving employment minister Priti Patel discovered this on her very first day back. Ms Patel, who had the hypocrisy to criticise the UK’s workforce as lazy at a time when her own Parliamentary attendance record was among the lowest in the House of Commons, faced an inevitable series of questions on the government’s botched release of figures relating to…

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