ROME — Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday that six EU countries had agreed to take in some 150 migrants who have been blocked from docking in Italy, resolving the latest standoff over immigration to Europe across the Mediterranean//AIWA! NO!//
The migrants have been stranded on the Spanish charity ship Open Arms since it picked them up off Libya in early August, and Rome’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, refused to allow them to disembark.
Migrants try to stay afloat after falling off their rubber dinghy during a rescue operation by Moas off the coast of Zawiya in Libya ( Reuters )
Conte said in an open letter to Salvini that the migrants would be shared out among France, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg.
Yet that’s exactly what Boris Johnson is contemplating with his sinister threat to prorogue – or suspend – the UK parliament to ensure that MPs can’t stop a no-deal Brexit on October 31st. We know it’s undemocratic. What we don’t know, but will test in the courts, is whether it’s unlawful. That legal process starts tomorrow in the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
Around 70 MPs and peers from Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru are among the petitioners. The future of the country is at stake, and working together across parties in the best interests of the people of the entire UK has never been more important. The team also includes Jolyon Maugham QC of the Good Law Project, which is backing the action, with Balfour+Manson instructing a counsel team headed by Aidan O’Neill QC and assisted by Professor Kenneth Armstrong.
The action is being brought before the Court of Session because it sits throughout August, unlike the English courts. We’re asking the Court to declare that the Prime Minister can’t advise the Queen to suspend parliament and stop it voting on no deal. If the Court agrees, then Boris Johnson will not be able to suspend the Commons for that purpose without parliament’s permission. We live in a country where our rule of law protects citizens from government. This is what is being invoked here.
The legal petition has already granted permission to go ahead, and – given the urgency of the situation – tomorrow’s initial hearing will determine how to proceed. Like any legal process, this costs money and a crowdfunder has been set up at crowdjustice.com for anyone who would like to help.
Boris Johnson’s reckless proposal to shut parliament down is undemocratic and simply cannot go unchallenged. I’m not prepared to stand back and allow the Prime Minister to take us out of the EU without a deal. That was not on the ballot paper in 2016 and will devastate our economy for perhaps generations.
My city, Edinburgh, is home to more than 39,000 EU nationals, more than anywhere else in Scotland. As many as 5% of all jobs in the capital are filled by workers from EU countries, with this ratio much higher in many of the key sectors and institutions across tourism, hospitality, health and social care, and financial services. Within higher education alone, EU workers constitute 17% of all Edinburgh University staff, while Edinburgh records a higher proportion of EU national students than any other UK city.
The financial services industry provides £5bn in gross value added to Edinburgh’s economy and employs 50,000 people. The UK enjoys the benefits of 750 international agreements through our membership of the EU, but the loss of ‘financial passporting’ would, at the very least, cause major disruption as it would mean we are unable to service markets and trade within the EU and other international markets.
Edinburgh’s economy is more reliant on financial services than the London economy or any UK city economy. Boris Johnson wants to put all this at risk, in turn putting the livelihoods of my constituents at risk. He made a political calculation to get himself into Downing Street and although it worked for him, his lies will come back and bite the country in a big way.
You don’t solve problems by creating borders, but by building bridges. The way to resolve this constitutional crisis is to give the people a final say on Brexit, with the option to remain in the EU. The answer certainly isn’t Scottish independence, which some of my Labour colleagues would do well to remember. Breaking up successful economic and social unions does not work, as Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said at the weekend.
In 2014, Alex Salmond threatened a no-deal Scexit if the UK government wouldn’t let him share the pound. Now, the SNP is offering an even more extreme version – wanting to ditch the pound and hope for the best with a new fantasy currency, with flags and borders more important than people’s wages, pensions, mortgages or savings.
All the wrong-headed arguments for Brexit are the same as the wrong-headed arguments for independence. And when things go wrong, nationalists – Tory or SNP – simply blame others. An age-old political diversion tactic. Now the PM is employing that tactic by blaming the EU before a no deal Brexit in order to shirk responsibility for his own mess.
Rather than seeking to divide our communities, it’s time to bring people together. Let’s start by coming together to show Boris Johnson that he can’t take away parliament’s control and force through a catastrophic no-deal Brexit.
For weeks we’ve known that Meghan Markle would be involved with the September issue of British Vogue and now we’re beginning to see the work, as she is the first in British Vogue history to guest-edit the September issue, collaborating with editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, who called her “the country’s most influential beacon of change”.
Edward reveals in his editor’s letter that it all started with an email in January. Meghan reached out to him and they would later meet up in London to start putting the issue together. He goes on to share what it meant to him, as a Black man, to see Meghan become a member of the royal family, that he never imagined that it would be “someone of my colour”.
The issue is called “Forces for Change”, featuring 15 changemakers who are “reshaping public life for global good” and personally chosen by Meghan herself. They are:
Adwoa Aboah, Mental health campaigner and model Adut Akech, Model and former refugee Ramla Ali, Boxer Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand Sinead Burke, Diversity advocate and lecturer Gemma Chan, Campaigner and actor Laverne Cox, LGBTQIA+ advocate and actor Jane Fonda, Campaigner and actor Salma Hayek Pinault, Women’s rights advocate, actor and producer Francesca Hayward, Royal Ballet principal dancer Jameela Jamil, Body positivity advocate and actor Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Author Yara Shahidi, Founder of Eighteen x 18 and actor Greta Thunberg, Climate change campaigner and student Christy Turlington Burns, Founder of Every Mother Counts and model
And you’ll note there’s a mirror in one of the spaces that represents you, me, us, and our potential to push for better.
The issue will also include Meghan’s interview with Michelle Obama (!!!) and Prince Harry’s interview with Dr Jane Goodall. British Vogue has released a shot of Meghan to accompany her editor’s letter:
“My instructions from the Duchess were clear: ‘I want to see freckles!’” says Lindbergh, who spoke to her over the phone on the morning of the New York shoot. “Well, that was like running through open doors for me. I love freckles.”
“As you will see from her selections throughout this magazine, she is also willing to wade into more complex and nuanced areas, whether they concern female empowerment, mental health, race or privilege. From the very beginning, we talked about the cover – whether she would be on it or not. In the end, she felt that it would be in some ways a “boastful” thing to do for this particular project. She wanted, instead, to focus on the women she admires.”
Here’s a behind-the-scenes video from the shoot – Meghan shows up alongside Edward near the end:
Of course, the British tabloids, they’re still dragging her for it, getting creative with how to criticise the project. We’ll get into that later. For now, let’s focus on the women she admires. Like Sinéad Burke. Have you ever seen her TED Talk? I hadn’t until last night when the Vogue cover was released. The whole point of the issue is to encourage people to see the world differently, to consider another perspective. I learned a lot from just 10 minutes of Sinéad’s perspective.
Click here for more on Sinéad and the other 14 women profiled in British Vogue.
Three of the four great offices of state (Chancellor, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary) are held by the children of immigrants, two are held by children of refugees//CRIMSON TAZVINZWA/
Sajid Javid is Chancellor, Priti Patel is Home Secretary, Dominic Raab is both Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State
Michael Gove becomes Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, his fifth Cabinet job. Matt Hancock remains Health Secretary and Gavin Williamson is Education Secretary. Amber Rudd remains Work and Pension Secretary and Geoffrey Cox stays as Attorney General.
Jacob Rees-Mogg becomes Leader of the House of Commons
Grant Shapps is appointed Transport Secretary and Alok Sharma is International Development Secretary.
Ben Wallace is Defence Secretary, Steven Barclay remains Brexit Secretary, Liz Truss is promoted to International Trade Secretary, Andrea Leadsom is Business Secretary, Nicky Morgan is the new Culture Secretary. Robert Jenrick has been appointed Housing Secretary, Robert Buckland is Justice Secretary, Alun Cairns keeps his position as Welsh Secretary.
Jeremy Hunt has left the government after reportedly turning down the offer of Defence Secretary.
Twelve or more Cabinet ministers have been sacked or resigned. Penny Mordaunt, Liam Fox, Greg Clark, Damian Hinds, James Brokenshire, David Mundell, Chris Grayling and Jeremy Hunt are no longer in government. Earlier, Philip Hammond, David Lidington, David Gauke and Rory Stewart pre-emptively resigned from the Cabinet.
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes and Commons Leader Mel Stride have been fired. Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley and Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright have also reportedly been removed.
Three of the four great offices of state (Chancellor, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary) are held by the children of immigrants, two are held by children of refugees.
The new Cabinet will meet for the first time at 8.30 tomorrow morning (if Boris can get up on time).