Trump says he’s trying to help A$AP Rocky after rapper ordered to remain in Swedish jail

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Swedish ambassador to the US insists it’s ‘perfectly safe’ for people of colour to visit the country//Clémence MichallonNew York @Clemence_Mcl

Donald Trump says he’s trying to help A$AP Rocky as the rapper has been ordered to spend six more days in a Swedish jail while prosecutors investigate him over a street fight in Stockholm.

“We hope to get him home soon,” the president told a pool reporter on Friday, saying that First Lady Melania Trump had brought the situation to his attention.

Prosecutors requested more time for their investigation of the 30-year-old US rapper, producer and model, whose real name is Rakim Mayers. A district court granted the request.

Daniel Suneson, the prosecutor in charge of the case, said the court decided to keep A$AP Rocky in custody because of an alleged flight risk.

“This gives us time to complete the investigation,” Suneson added.

The artist’s lawyer, Slobodan Jovicic, said the decision was expected but unfair, and that A$AP Rocky was innocent.

“He believes he was assaulted and has acted in self-defence,” Jovicic told journalists.

The detention of A$AP Rocky has gained widespread attention. More than 600,000 people have signed an online petition for his release, while fellow artists have also expressed their support.

Kim Kardashian called senior White House advisor and Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner about the issue, after which Mr Kushner flagged the situation with Mr Trump, The New York Times reported citing a person familiar with the communications.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch met him on Friday and was due to hold talks on the issue with the foreign ministry and the justice department during a two-day visit to Sweden.

Karin Olofsdotter, the Swedish Ambassador to the United States, told TMZ her embassy has been in contact with the US State Department, members of Congress and the White House.

Asked what she would like to tell people who believe that it’s not safe for people of colour to travel to Sweden, the ambassador said in part: “I would say it’s perfectly safe and people are of course more than welcome. The more Americans who want to come to Sweden, the better.”

A$AP Rocky was detained on 3 July along with his bodyguard and two other members of his entourage in connection with a fight in a Stockholm city-centre street in the early hours of 30 June.

Before his arrest, he uploaded videos to his Instagram account of an altercation with two men, alleging they had followed him and his entourage and that he had not wanted any trouble.

The bodyguard was released without charge while a judge on 5 July extended the detention of A$AP Rocky and his two other associates.

The performer was in Stockholm for a concert and has had to cancel several shows in his European tour.

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Conservatives in for ‘difficult night’ in local elections

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Deputy chairwoman Helen Whately admits they will be a chance to “kick the government”, amid predictions of a Brexit backlash; Alan McGuinness, political reporter/Sky News

The Conservatives are in for a “difficult night” in Thursday’s local elections, a senior party figure has admitted.

Deputy chairwoman Helen Whately admitted the poll will be a chance to “kick the government”, amid predictions of a backlash over the delay to Brexit.

Ms Whately rejected suggestions Theresa May was a ‘problem’ for the party

Prime Minister Theresa May requested a second delay to Britain’s departure earlier this month. The EU agreed and the UK is now due to leave on 31 October – seven months later than originally planned.

The MP for Faversham and Mid Kent said she had seen “more anger than before” on the doorstep, but stressed it was frustration with politicians in general and not just her party.

She told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I think there’s no doubt that it’s going to be a difficult night for us.”

Ms Whately said this was because the seats which are being contested were last up for grabs in 2015, which was a “high point” for the Tories.

When it was suggested that it was actually due to frustrations with Brexit, she said he had experienced that from voters on the doorstep, adding: “What I say to them is yes I realise that, I realise how frustrated you are with Parliament, actually I’m frustrated too as an MP.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party Leading In Latest European Election Poll

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Sky Views: Electric Farage highlights Remainers’ Europe confusion

Jeremy Corbyn told to back the second referendum to halt the surge in support for former Ukip leader … By Ned Simons/Huffpost

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has opened up a five-point lead in the polls ahead of next months European elections.

A YouGov poll, commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign, puts the Brexit Party on 27%, ahead of Labour on 22% with the Conservatives trailing on 15%.

The survey put the Lib Dems on 9%, the Greens on 10% and Ukip on 7%.

Change UK, the party formed from The Independent Group of ex-Tory and ex-Labour MPs, was trailing on just 6%.

It came as Vince Cable said the pro-Remain parties would have been better “fighting together under the same banner” in the elections on May 23.

Farage officially launched his new party last week and announced Annunziata Rees-Mogg – the sister of Jacob Rees-Mogg – as one of its MEP candidates.

But according to the survey, Labour would cut the Brexit Party’s lead to just three points if Jeremy Corbyn pledged to hold a second referendum.

The poll showed that in those circumstances, support for Labour would increase slightly to 23%, while support for the Brexit Party dropped to 26%.

Labour MP Margaret Beckett, a supporter of People’s Vote, said the poll showed if anyone can stop Farage winning it was Labour.

“There is nothing to be gained by denying that we support the public getting the final say which is what the overwhelming majority of our voters, members and MPs want,” she said.

“If we hedge our bets or say we back another form of Brexit, Labour loses voters and Farage will storm to first place.”

Theresa May has said she is determined to get a Brexit deal through parliament before that date, which would mean voting would be cancelled.

However, that not only means winning a “meaningful vote” on a deal – which has already been rejected three times by the Commons – but also than passing a bill formally ratifying the agreement in law.

Much is likely to depend on whether cross-party talks with Labour can agree to a common way forward – with the two sides expected to take stock of progress when MPs return to Westminster after the Easter recess.

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Jeremy Corbyn on course for Downing Street

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Jeremy Corbyn voting in 2017 //
Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images


Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party has to be the main beneficiary of public anger, scooping up disgruntled Conservative voters at a local, national and European level.

A flurry of polls suggests Jeremy Corbyn is on course to sweep into Downing Street following a general election, as voters turn their anger on the government for failing to deliver Brexit.

A poll of polls for The Sunday Telegraph predicts the Conservatives would lose 59 seats if a vote were held today, making Labour the largest party in the Commons. This would not be enough to secure Corbyn a working majority but would put him in prime position to agree on a power-sharing deal with other progressive parties such as the SNP, Lib Dems or Change UK.

Meanwhile, high profile Tories at risk of losing their seat if a snap vote is called include former leader Iain Duncan Smith and Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, who has been widely courted by prospective leadership contenders.

A separate poll by Opinium put Labour seven points ahead of the Tories, echoing the findings of YouGov polling last week which showed Tory support had slumped to its lowest level in six years.

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The survey in The Independent put Theresa May’s party on 28% in the event of a general election, down four points since the start of April, with only a two thirds of voters who backed the Tories in the 2017 election saying they would back them again.

Earlier this month dozens of Tory association chairmen wrote to Conservative campaign headquarters warning that the Tories face an electoral “wipeout” at local elections in early May.

Since then, however, things have gone from bad to worse. Theresa May was forced to ask for yet another extension to Article 50 which delays Brexit until Halloween, meaning the UK will have to contest European Parliamentary elections, three years after Britain voted to leave the EU.

A survey from Hanbury Strategy, the first to poll British voter intention ahead of EP elections, shows Labour on 37% with the Conservatives way behind on 23%.

It appears Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party has be the main beneficiary of public anger, scooping up disgruntled Conservative voters at a local, national and European level.

Angry at her failure to successfully navigate the UK out of the EU, it appears Theresa May’s dramatic U-turn in reaching out to Corbyn was the final straw for grassroots supporters in finally turning against the party. Associations claim one of the main attack lines on Labour – that the veteran socialist represents a risk to national security – has effectively been nullified after the prime minister chose to engage him in the Brexit process.

The Telegraph reports that “amid growing calls for May to resign, Conservative Party lawyers potentially opened the door for MPs to formally oust the prime minister within months, with officials advising the influential 1922 Committee that the panel could rewrite the rules currently preventing MPs from ­mounting more than one attempt to oust a leader per year”.

There was also a word of warning from Labour’s leader in the European parliament. Richard Corbett and other grandees have said that the party will be deserted by millions of anti-Brexit voters if it fails to clearly back a second referendum in its manifesto for next month’s EU elections.

It comes “amid growing fears at the top of the party that it could lose a generation of young, pro-EU voters if it does not guarantee another public vote”, The Guardian says.

MPs say that young people, as well as many other Remainers, could turn instead to unambiguously anti-Brexit parties, including the fledgling independent group Change UK, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the SNP.

The leader article in The Times says “Corbyn, a lifelong Brexiteer, has no desire for a second referendum but if his party’s membership twisted his arm at this autumn’s conference, he might see that as a price worth paying for getting closer to Downing Street”.

“The risk to Labour votes in leave-supporting seats, against a Brexit vote split between the Tories, UKIP and Nigel Farage’s new party, should not be exaggerated” he writes, adding that “a Labour commitment to a referendum would also shoot the fox of Change UK, the party formed by the independent group of MPs” it adds.