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Tory chairman denounces ‘painful woke psychodrama’ – latest updates

Tory chairman denounces ‘painful woke psychodrama’ – latest updates
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Boris Johnson receives legal questionnaire over partygate from police

Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden has denounced what he claimed was a “painful woke psychodrama” sweeping the West as he gave a speech on so-called “cancel culture” hosted by a right-wing think tank.

Speaking at the controversial Heritage Foundation in the US, Mr Dowden dubbed “woke” ideology as a “dangerous form of decadence” at a time when “our attention should be focused on external foes”.

He said a West “confident in its values” would not be “obsessing over pronouns or indeed seeking to decolonise mathematics”.

Elsewhere, No 10 has revealed Boris Johnson’s responses to his Metropolitan Police questionnaire into lockdown parties will not be made public. The PM, who has appointed his own lawyer, is set to claim the three leaving parties he attended were part of his “working life”.

Follow live updates below

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PM set to lead Cobra meeting amid Ukraine crisis

Boris Johnson will lead a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee today as he maintained there is still time for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis.

As efforts continued to avert a war in eastern Europe, Mr Johnson and US President Joe Biden stressed there remains “a crucial window for democracy”.

In a call on Monday evening, the two leaders agreed western allies should stay “united in the face of Russian threats”, and will keep in close contact as the situation develops, according to a No 10 spokesperson.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Johnson had pointed to warnings from the US that Russia could invade imminently, but also said there is still time for Russia to step back from the “edge of a precipice”.

Mr Johnson cut short a planned overnight stay in Cumbria on Monday, instead returning to Downing Street to chair Tuesday’s Cobra meeting, No 10 said, after the Prime Minister received a briefing on the latest intelligence from the UK’s spy chiefs.

Giving details of Mr Johnson’s call with the US leader on Monday evening, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister and President Biden updated one another on their recent discussions with fellow world leaders. They agreed there remained a crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to step back from its threats towards Ukraine.

“The leaders emphasised that any further incursion into Ukraine would result in a protracted crisis for Russia, with far-reaching damage for both Russia and the world.

“They agreed that western allies must remain united in the face of Russian threats, including imposing a significant package of sanctions should Russian aggression escalate.”

Joe Middleton15 February 2022 07:35
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Boris Johnson urges Vladimir Putin to ‘step back’

Boris Johnson has urged Vladimir Putin to step back from “the edge of a precipice” and called the situation in Ukraine “very, very dangerous”.

Mr Johnson on Monday told reporters that the “evidence is pretty clear” that Russia is planning an invasion and that there were “all sorts of other signs that show that there are serious preparations” going on.

He added that there was “still time” for the Russian president to step back.

He added: “This is a very, very dangerous, difficult situation, we are on the edge of a precipice but there is still time for President [Vladimir] Putin to step back.”

The prime minister also warned Russia that there would be economic and political consequences in the event of an invasion.

He added that Europe needed to cut its reliance on Russian hydrocarbons, including the Nord Stream pipelines.

He said: “We need to find alternative sources of energy … and get ready to impose some very, very severe economic consequences on Russia.”

Maroosha Muzaffar15 February 2022 07:15
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Mayor’s office says change of Met Police leadership was only way out

A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan has defended his decision to oust Cressida Dick as the commissioner and said it is the mayor’s job to stand up for Londoners and hold the police to account on their behalf, besides supporting the police in bearing down on crime.

The statement came after the Metropolitan Police Federation declared it had “no faith” in Khan.

“With trust in the police among Londoners shattered following a series of devastating scandals exposing evidence of racism, misogyny, homophobia, harassment and discrimination in the Met, it was the Mayor’s view that a change of leadership was the only way to address this crisis in trust,” the spokesperson said.

“The mayor has always made clear that there are thousands of incredibly brave and decent police officers at the Met, who we owe a huge debt of gratitude. But the series of scandals seen in recent years has tarnished the reputation of the police, which is so crucial to policing by consent.

“Downplaying the scale of the change required is only going to hinder, not help, the vital process of restoring Londoners’ trust in the Met,” the spokesperson added.

Maroosha Muzaffar15 February 2022 06:45
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ICYMI: Keir Starmer sparks outrage by saying UK can ‘take advantage of Brexit opportunities’

After Keir Starmer sparked outrage by saying the UK can take advantage of the “opportunities” of Brexit during a visit to the north east of England, he faced backlash from several quarters.

Naomi Smith, chief executive of the Best For Britain campaign group, said Labour must move beyond the rhetoric and start to challenge the government on details [about Brexit opportunities].”

She told The Independent: “If Labour are serious about creating post-Brexit opportunities they must start by improving the botched Brexit deal, making trade easier with our closest neighbours and avoiding a race to the bottom for standards in the UK.”

Read the full story here:

Let’s take advantage of ‘Brexit opportunities’, says Keir Starmer

Labour has ‘joined the Tories on Brexit’, claims SNP

Maroosha Muzaffar15 February 2022 06:15
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Met official says some officers are ‘racist’ but organisation isn’t

A senior Met Police official conceded that some officers in the force were “racist” and had “racist views”. But, deputy assistant commissioner Bas Javid added, the Metropolitan Police Service was not a “racist organisation”.

Mr Javid said that he was “extremely disappointed” to hear the allegations from black officers that discrimination was getting worse in the Met Police, according to BBC Newsnight.

He said: “The fact that you’ve had officers or staff come to you to make allegations… what I’d like to see is an organisation where people feel comfortable to come forward and report it so we can deal with it effectively.”

One of the officers who had spoken to the BBC earlier this month had said that racism within the force had become “worse” and that “officers accused of discrimination did not face adequate sanctions”.

Maroosha Muzaffar15 February 2022 05:45
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Metropolitan Police Federation declares ‘no faith’ in London Mayor

After Sadiq Khan forced Cressida Dick to quit as commissioner last week, the Metropolitan Police Federation has declared “no faith” in him.

The federation, representing nearly 31,000 rank and file officers, claims that the London mayor has “undermined the professional, dedicated and incredibly difficult work” of police officers.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the move was not taken lightly. “We have let the Mayor’s office know in no uncertain terms how our brave and diligent colleagues deserve better.”

He added: “The atmosphere amongst Metropolitan police officers is horrendous – it’s rock bottom. Officers in London feel saddened and angry that commissioner Cressida Dick has been pushed out in the way she has. She was reforming. She was changing. The culture is changing. We are deeply disappointed with the actions of the mayor.”

Maroosha Muzaffar15 February 2022 05:15
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US and UK still hope for diplomatic agreement over Ukraine

The leaders of the US and UK are still harbouring hope that a diplomatic agreement can be reached over the Ukraine crisis.

In a 40-minute call on Monday, Joe Biden and Boris Johnson agreed that a deal was still possible despite threats of Russia’s imminent military action.

During the transatlantic call, the two leaders said that there “there remained a crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to step back from its threats towards Ukraine,” Downing Street said.

A spokeswoman added: “The leaders emphasised that any further incursion into Ukraine would result in a protracted crisis for Russia, with far reaching damage for both Russia and the world.

“They agreed that western allies must remain united in the face of Russian threats, including imposing a significant package of sanctions should Russian aggression escalate.”

Maroosha Muzaffar15 February 2022 04:30
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Keir Starmer accuses Boris Johnson of giving in to right-wing conspiracy

Sir Keir Starmer confirmed on Monday that he received death threats after prime minister Boris Johnson’s Jimmy Saville claims.

Mr Johnson had said that Starmer had failed to take action against the paedophile Jimmy Saville.

Speaking to BBC Radio Newcastle, Mr Starmer said that the PM was “wrong” to “repeat” a “right-wing conspiracy.”

He said: “It’s very important for me to say that what the prime minister said was wrong, it was very wrong. He knew exactly what he was doing.

“There has been a right-wing conspiracy theory for some time that’s a complete fabrication.

“He fed into that, and that has caused difficulty, but my preference is not to talk about that because, as I say, I have got young children and I don’t particularly want them to hear too much of what may or may not be said about me,” he said.

Maroosha Muzaffar15 February 2022 03:49
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We are pausing our rolling political coverage this evening and will resume on Tuesday. Thank you for reading.

Tom Batchelor14 February 2022 20:50
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Labour peer’s daughter died after ‘unexplained headache’

The mother of a woman who died of unexplained swelling of her brain has told an inquest that “proper care” would have saved her.

Gaia Young, whose father was the late Labour peer Michael Young, was 25 years old when she fell severely ill on 17 July last year after spending the day cycling and meeting friends.

Her death has been treated as unexplained because the first post-mortem carried out on her came back inconclusive.

Here is the story:

Peer’s daughter died after unexplained headache ‘was misdiagnosed’, mother says

Lady Young said her daughter Gaia had lived a ‘healthy’ life before she died in July 2021

Tom Batchelor14 February 2022 20:44