Iranian ambassador summoned to Foreign Office and told to end prisoner’s arbitrary detention
The Iranian ambassador has been told of the UK’s “grave concern” at the decision to bring fresh court proceedings against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after the diplomat was summoned to the Foreign Office.
The family of the 42-year-old British-Iranian woman say she was told to attend court in Iran, where she is currently under house arrest, on Monday and to prepare to return to prison following the hearing.
Source: The Guardian Politics, Zaghari-Ratcliffe: UK expresses ‘grave concern’ over fresh court proceedings
Unite leader calls action ‘grave injustice’, while Momentum says suspension is ‘attack on the left’
Labour’s left has called for Jeremy Corbyn to be swiftly reinstated, with a group representing more than 30 MPs declaring it would “work tirelessly” in support of the former leader until his case is resolved.
Following his suspension on Thursday over comments about antisemitism, Corbyn convened a call with leaders from Unite and the Communication Workers Union, as well as supportive MPs, the party pressure group Momentum and other left affiliates.
Source: The Guardian Politics, Labour’s left calls for Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension to be lifted
Supporters of ex-leader rallying behind him to fight disciplinary action taken over his response to antisemitism report
Labour was plunged into turmoil after the party suspended Keir Starmer’s predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, in the wake of a damning report into antisemitism that found the party responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.
The decision to suspend Corbyn for saying the problem of antisemitism within Labour was “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by opponents and the media sent shockwaves through the party and led to rumours of a split.
Source: The Guardian Politics, Turmoil in Labour as Corbyn’s allies strongly object to suspension
As France and Germany impose tough measures and infections continue to rise, the UK appears gripped by paralysis
The decision not to implement a two- or three-week “circuit breaker” lockdown in October, using the school half-term to minimise the inevitable disruption, can now be added to a list of paths not taken by the UK government in its coronavirus response. As the French and German leaders have gone before their people in recent days to explain new measures to try to inhibit a rising second wave of infections, the British public have instead been subjected to a barrage of conflicting opinion and interpretation from national and local politicians, scientists, business leaders and the former supreme court justice Jonathan Sumption, who is among supporters of a new campaign set up to oppose what it describes as curbs on “essential freedoms”.
With Wales and Northern Ireland (as well as the Irish Republic) already under stricter regimes than England, and a system of five tiers operating in Scotland in contrast with England’s three, the UK seems headed in the opposite direction to our European neighbours. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, used a televised address on Wednesday to summon a “collective effort” to apply a brake to the disease’s spread during a four-week period of tough restrictions. After a video conference with Germany’s 16 state leaders, Angela Merkel announced similar measures. Challenged by rightwing critics in parliament, her apt retort was that “freedom is not every man for himself, it is responsibility – for oneself, one’s family, the workplace. It shows us we are part of a whole.”
Source: The Guardian Politics, The Guardian view on a second wave of Covid-19: getting freedom wrong | Editorial
After the party’s ‘day of shame’ the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn risks turning the opposition inward at a crucial time for British politics
Labour has been braced for months for the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on antisemitism during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. The release of the report on Thursday was generally expected to mark what Keir Starmer duly called it, a “day of shame” for the party, in which Labour took its punishment, confessed its sins and apologised to Britain’s Jewish population. Few expected events to take the dramatic course they then did, with Mr Corbyn’s unwillingness to apologise and his subsequent suspension from the party he recently led threatening to eclipse the larger issue.
The report’s findings are nevertheless clear and stark. Labour, it says, was responsible for unlawful and antisemitic acts of harassment and discrimination. There were multiple failures in the party’s system for handling antisemitism complaints, including inconsistent approaches, poor training and lack of transparency. There was also, more broadly, a Labour culture that “at best, did not do enough to prevent antisemitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it”. The report concludes that antisemitism within Labour could have been tackled more effectively if the party leadership had chosen to do so.
Source: The Guardian Politics, The Guardian view on Labour and antisemitism: a question of leadership | Editorial
Corbyn is the first ex-leader to be suspended from Labour – but he wouldn’t be the first to be expelled
Jeremy Corbyn already had a special place in the political record books. His more than 600 career Commons votes against Labour make him easily the most rebellious backbench MP ever to become a party leader. But Corbyn’s suspension from the party he led until April this year is a spectacular new first.
No former Labour leader in history has ever been suspended from the party. However, if Corbyn’s suspension – which he has said he will “strongly contest” – leads to his eventual expulsion, he will share a fate with a very different former Labour leader, in the shape of Ramsay MacDonald.
Source: The Guardian Politics, From MacDonald to Corbyn: a history of Labour leaders who ran afoul of the party
Auditors criticise south London council for ignoring warnings as No 10 sends taskforce
Ministers have sent in a taskforce to oversee Croydon council after a devastating audit report revealed the Labour-run authority is on the verge of bankruptcy after making a string of risky property investments and failing to keep control of social care budgets.
Auditors heavily criticised the south London council for ignoring over three years of internal warnings over its finances, accusing it of “collective corporate blindness” and fostering a governance culture in which poor spending decisions were not robustly challenged or scrutinised by councillors.
Source: The Guardian Politics, Croydon council on verge of bankruptcy after risky investments
Over the summer, the government ignored advice about controlling Covid. A new study shows we’re paying the price
The number of Covid infections is doubling every nine days in England, and in some areas, such as the south-east, London and the south-west, the R number is now above two. These are the alarming findings from the report of the React-1 study by researchers at Imperial College London, released today.
The study, which obtained nose and throat swabs from a random sample of the population in England that were analysed using a “gold standard” PCR test, shows the prevalence of coronavirus infection in England has increased across all age groups. The greatest increase has been among people aged 55-64 years, while the highest overall prevalence (the number of infected people at the time the study was carried out) was among 18 to 24-year-olds – an estimated 2.25% in that bracket across England likely have the virus that causes Covid.
Source: The Guardian Politics, The greatest tragedy of England’s second wave is that it wasn’t inevitable | Charlotte Summers
European commission president says key issues are level playing field and fisheries
Trade and security negotiations between the UK and the EU are making good progress, Ursula von der Leyen has said in the most optimistic comments to date on the state of the Brexit talks.
As the negotiations moved to Brussels after seven days in London, the European commission president said: “We’re making good progress but [there are] two critical issues: level playing field and the fisheries, [where] we would like to see more progress.
Source: The Guardian Politics, Brexit talks making good progress, says Ursula Von der Leyen