PM urges NI parties to ‘seal power-sharing deal’

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionBoris Johnson: “I am committed to Good Friday Agreement” Boris Johnson has urged political parties in Northern Ireland to step up their efforts to restore devolved government, during talks in Belfast. The PM held a series of meetings with the five main Stormont parties, in which Brexit was also discussed. NI has been without a government since January 2017, when the power-sharing DUP/Sinn Féin coalition collapsed. On Tuesday, Mr Johnson held a private meeting with senior DUP figures, whose support he relies on in Parliament. What is direct rule? Q&A: The Irish border Brexit backstop Q&A: What is happening at Stormont? Who’s calling the shots on NI policy? The prime minister left …

Johnson’s new-look cabinet meet for first time

Stephen Barclay: Brexit secretary (retains post) Michael Gove: Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and no-deal Brexit planning Ben Wallace: Defence secretary Liz Truss: International trade secretary Matt Hancock: Health secretary (retains post) Gavin Williamson: Education secretary Nicky Morgan: Culture secretary Andrea Leadsom: Business secretary Amber Rudd: Work and pensions secretary (retains post) Jacob Rees-Mogg: Leader of the Commons See the full cabinet here Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionJacob Rees-Mogg learns of new role from the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg Following his appointment, Mr Rees-Mogg, who led the pro-Brexit Tory European Research Group (ERG), denied there had been a “Leave” takeover of the cabinet. “Boris is bringing the country together, the party together, through his cabinet appointments,” …

MP’s Twitter used for angry resignation

The thread told the MP to “call a by-election” and informed Mr O’Mara he should consider the Twitter posts as Mr Arnold’s “resignation”. Read more Yorkshire stories Mr O’Mara, 37, quit the Labour party in July 2018 after being suspended over alleged misogynistic and homophobic comments posted online. His victory against former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg in the Sheffield Hallam seat was one of the shocks of the 2017 general election. Report End of Twitter post by @garetharnolduk Following his resignation, Mr Arnold took to his own account and tweeted: “Well, I can’t sleep. “Did I do the right thing? Did I go the right way about it? Did I act in anger and frustration? “I expect I’ll come …

UK ‘will have to face consequences of no deal’

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMichel Barnier says Theresa May and her ministers never threatened to leave without a deal during negotiations The UK will have to “face the consequences” if it opts to leave without a deal, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has said. Michel Barnier told BBC Panorama the thrice-rejected agreement negotiated by Theresa May was the “only way to leave the EU in an orderly manner”. He also insisted Mrs May and her ministers “never” told him during Brexit talks she might opt for no deal. Publicly, Mrs May has always insisted no deal is better than a bad deal. In his first UK broadcast interview – conducted in May before the start of …

May to chair emergency meeting on Iran crisis

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionA Royal Navy frigate can be heard warning Iranian armed forces, before the oil tanker is seized The prime minister will chair the government’s emergency committee Cobra on Monday after a British-flagged tanker was seized by Iran in the Gulf. Theresa May is expected to receive updates from ministers and officials and discuss maintaining the security of shipping in the area. It comes amid reports ministers are considering freezing Iranian assets. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to update MPs later on further measures the government will take. On Sunday, ministers denied domestic politics meant the government had taken its “eye off the ball”. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Jeremy Hunt …

No-deal Brexit would be UK’s choice, Ireland says

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionSimon Coveney: Ireland would have to protect its place in the EU single market If the new UK prime minister wants to “tear up” the existing withdrawal agreement with the EU “we’re in trouble”, Ireland’s deputy PM has said. Simon Coveney said the decision for a no-deal Brexit would be the UK’s but added checks “of some sorts” would be needed in the Irish Republic. Ireland would have to protect its place in the single market, he told the BBC. Both men vying to become UK PM say they want to change the withdrawal deal and, in particular, the so-called backstop. Mr Coveney warned: “That’s a little bit like saying, ‘Give me …

Hunt backs protection for Christians worldwide

Christian persecution ‘at near genocide levels’ Alarm over China’s Church crackdown Pope decries killing of Christians It said the Foreign Office should identify the “particular character” of discrimination against Christians, alongside “similar definitions for other religions”. Boris Johnson, Mr Hunt’s rival in the Conservative leadership race, also signalled his backing for the report. Image Copyright @BorisJohnson @BorisJohnson Mr Hunt said he thought officials should clearly call out specific anti-Christian hatred using the term ‘Christophobia’. “We need to recognise that there is a specific Christian-related issue that goes beyond the championing of freedom of religious belief,” he added. The bishop’s report estimated estimated that one in three people suffer from religious persecution, with Christians the most persecuted religious group. ‘Not about …

Bid to make no deal more difficult scrapes through

He tweeted that it “makes it much harder for incoming prime minister to suspend Parliament”. Not selected The UK had been due to leave the EU on 29 March, but this date was delayed after MPs repeatedly rejected Theresa May’s deal. Currently, the date for exit is 31 October. If that date is reached without a deal being agreed on the separation process, then the UK will leave without one. MPs have consistently voted against this option, but the prime minister could try to get around that by closing Parliament – proroguing – in the run-up to Brexit day, denying them an opportunity to block it. Why there’s more to the Northern Ireland bill Can the new prime minister force …

‘Inconsistency’ around blue badges ‘needs to end’

A spokesperson from the Welsh Government said: “We welcome this review and the opportunity to give evidence. We will consider the findings and respond in due course.” ‘No real information’ Tina Sharp, from Knighton in Powys, who contributed to the committee’s inquiry, said it was “really difficult” for people to apply for blue badges. The 55-year-old has used a wheelchair for the past 15 years as she has Arnold-Chiari malformation which affects brain and spinal cord development. She also had to apply for a blue badge for her father because he “wouldn’t have known where to start” which would have left him “house-bound”. Ms Sharp said many people use libraries to seek help to make their application, but 10 libraries …

Why are the UK and China arguing about Hong Kong?

Demonstrators argue it threatens Hong Kong’s autonomy (its right to rule itself) and undermines its independent legal system. They fear China could use it for political reasons. In 1984, then prime minister Margaret Thatcher signed the Joint Declaration with the Chinese government. In it the two countries agreed that Hong Kong would be handed back to China in 1997, on a number of conditions. These included the region’s high level of autonomy and maintaining certain rights not granted in mainland China. It was also agreed that Hong Kong’s capitalist system, which was different to China’s communist model, would continue. The agreement would be in place for the following 50 years – that’s until 2047. Related Topics Hong Kong extradition protests …

The children of the devolution look to the future

Image copyright Anne Macphail Image caption Places like Stranraer can still feel a long way from the seat of power Forty years after I left here, what you might call peripheral Scotland still feels a long way from the centre political power. The birth of the Scottish Parliament doesn’t seem to have done much to narrow the perceived gap. James Mitchell, professor of politics at Edinburgh University, says: “The same argument that was always applied for having a Scottish Parliament – that Scotland was distinct and different – equally applies at the local level. “The local authorities and communities are diverse with different interests, different priorities. “We stand out in comparative European terms as one of the most centralised places …

How pop divas dominated Glastonbury’s last day

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionChristine and the Queens on equality in music The Cure might have been headlining the Pyramid Stage, but Glastonbury’s final day was all about envelope-pushing pop divas. Billie Eilish, Janelle Monae and Christine And The Queens played across the site, bringing with them messages of liberation, empowerment and acceptance. Monae, who headlined the West Holts stage, delivered a potent mix of sex and politics, encouraging the crowd to embrace their sexuality by declaring: “Say it loud, I’m dirty and proud”. A field away, Christine and the Queens’ Heloise Letissier was also preaching tolerance, pronouncing the Other Stage “a safe space – because if there’s no judgment, then anything can happen”. Both artists …

Tunnel blow to 2.8bn electrification scheme

The 133-year-old tunnel between south Wales and England has its own pumping station which brings out an estimated 14 million gallons of water (64 million litres) a day to prevent it being flooded by an underwater spring. Faster service plan between Cardiff and London Train named after sporting legends ‘Teething problems’ for new GWR train Network Rail has conceded it is a “very challenging operating environment to run 25 kilovolts of electric through” but insist journeys will not be affected because the new multi-million trains that serve the route are diesel and electric hybrids. Trains travelling into and out of the tunnel will be powered by the overhead wires but they will switch to diesel to travel under the Bristol …

How does ‘climate emergency’ affect us?

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Will consumers turn their back on international imports to save energy? Half of China’s emissions are from factories making goods for customers in the West, according to the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth. “We don’t want to import [things] from China, we want to make them in Wales,” said Paul Allen, director of the Zero Carbon Britain research centre at CAT. Image caption Greenstream Flooring “upcycles” carpets, and boss Ellen Potts is optimistic about future opportunities If we buy less stuff, and “reduce, reuse and recycle” it would inevitably affect businesses and jobs. They might need to be innovative and use new materials or perhaps change their own products. This would have …

Brexit Party ‘at risk’ of illegal donations

Amounts below that do not have to be declared, but some critics – among them ex-PM Gordon Brown – have said there is no way of telling whether those smaller amounts come from British or foreign sources, and therefore the system may be being abused. How are political parties funded? The Brexit Party topped the polls at last month’s European elections. During the campaign, it said donations of £25 or less had accounted for 90% of its total funding. It raised more than £2m from small donors, thousands of whom paid £25 each to become registered supporters. But Mr Brown suggested the party was getting round the declaration rules by accepting multiple “untraceable” donations directly online. Political parties have 30 …