Posted on

Hunt replaces Johnson amid Brexit turmoil

Image copyright PA

Theresa May has launched a reshuffle of her top team after a string of resignations over her Brexit strategy plunged her government into crisis.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been named as the new foreign secretary after Boris Johnson quit, accusing Mrs May of pursuing a “semi-Brexit”.

His departure followed that of Brexit Secretary David Davis and several junior figures.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock replaces Mr Hunt as health secretary.

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, but the two sides have yet to agree how trade will work between the UK and the EU afterwards.

There have been differences within the Conservative Party over what shape Brexit should take – although on Friday, at the prime minister’s country retreat at Chequers, the cabinet reached a “collective” agreement on proposals for the future relationship between the EU and UK.

In his first comments as foreign secretary, Mr Hunt said he would be standing “four square” behind the prime minister “so that we can get through an agreement with the European Union based on what was agreed by the Cabinet last week at Chequers.

“This is a time when the world is looking at us as a country, wondering what type of country we are going to be in a post-Brexit world.

“What I want to say to them is Britain is going to be a dependable ally, a country that stands up for the values that matter to the people of this country, and will be a strong confident voice in the world.”

Mr Johnson said in his resignation letter that Mrs May’s proposals for post-Brexit trade would leave Britain a “colony” of the EU.

The Brexit “dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt”, he said.

Instead, “we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system.”

Mrs May said she was “sorry – and a little surprised” by Mr Johnson’s move after his apparent support on Friday.

She said the deal agreed by the cabinet after their “productive discussions” would “honour the result of the referendum” and allow the UK to “take back control of our borders, our law and our money”.

The prime minister earlier faced down backbench critics at a meeting of the 1922 committee, amid rumours they were close to getting the 48 signatures needed to trigger a no-confidence vote that could have removed her as prime minister.

Jeremy Hunt, who has been health secretary for the past six years and recently secured a £20bn boost in funding for the NHS, was a Remain campaigner in the 2016 EU referendum. He has since said he is a convert to the Brexit cause.

His appointment follows the promotion of staunch Leave supporter Dominic Raab to the cabinet as Brexit secretary – but the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said most of the top jobs in government were now held by ministers who had backed Remain.

There are potentially dozens of Tory rebels who want to halt Mrs May’s Chequers compromise but it is not clear how committed they are, added our correspondent, and Monday’s resignations might have left her with a more pliable and supportive cabinet.

Her future now depends on how Brussels reacts to her Brexit proposals – and what Mr Davis and Mr Johnson plan to do next, she added.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDavid Davis explains why he resigned

Both men had signed up on Friday to Mrs May’s blueprint for Brexit – but 48 hours later, first Mr Davis and then Mr Johnson said they could not commit themselves to promoting the plans as they did not believe in them.

Brexit minister Steve Baker and two ministerial aides also resigned.

After his appointment as Health and Social Care Secretary was announced by Downing Street, Mr Hancock said: “Really looking forward to joining @DHSCgovuk at such an important time for our great NHS. I can’t wait to get started.”

Attorney General Jeremy Wright is the new culture secretary, with backbencher Geoffrey Cox replacing him as attorney general.

Who is Matt Hancock?

Image copyright Matt Hancock
Image caption Matt Hancock greets users on his smartphone app
  • West Suffolk MP since 2010 and former Bank of England economist
  • Was a close ally and former chief of staff to then chancellor George Osborne
  • Supported Remain in the EU referendum
  • The 39-year-old father-of-three launched his own smartphone app after becoming culture secretary to better “connect” with his constituents

What about Jeremy Wright?

Image copyright PA
  • Former criminal lawyer who was first elected to Parliament in 2005 and currently represents Kenilworth and Southam
  • Attorney General for England and Wales Advocate General for Northern Ireland since July 2014
  • The 45-year-old father-of-two lists his interests as travel, especially to the United States, music, James Bond films and playing golf badly

Read more:

Posted on

Elvis Costello reveals cancer diagnosis as he cancels tour dates

Small but very aggressive cancer has been operated on, but recovery forces songwriter to pull out of tour

Elvis Costello has revealed he was recently diagnosed with a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy and has cancelled tour dates while he recovers from the subsequent treatment.

Writing on his website, the singer-songwriter said: Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, You should start playing the Lotto. He had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery. The message is the first time Costello has revealed he has cancer. He added: I was elated and relieved that our European summer tour could go ahead.

Having been told he would need three to four weeks of recovery, Costello began the tour, and played a number of concerts across Europe. But he has been advised to cancel the remaining dates by his doctor. The spirit has been more than willing but I have to now accept that it is going to take longer than I would have wished for me to recover my full strength, Costello said, adding apologies to fans who bought tickets for the cancelled concerts, who are told they should go to point of purchase for refunds.

He alluded to the nature of his cancer which is not specifically named by addressing his male fans: Gentleman [sic], do talk to your friends youll find you are not alone seek your doctors advice if you are in doubt or when it is timely and act as swiftly as you may in these matters. It may save your life. Believe me, it is better than playing roulette.

Elvis Costello is one of the UKs most celebrated songwriters, starting out in the late 1970s by channelling the energy of punk into classic, melodic songcraft, and going on to define the new wave sound. As well as releasing 24 solo albums, he has collaborated with figures including Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint and hip-hop band the Roots.

In his statement he also announced a magnificent new record of which we are truly proud, recorded with his band the Imposters, and planned for release in October. His previous record with the band was 2008s Momofuku, and it will be Costellos first new music since his Roots collaboration, Wise Up Ghost, in 2013.

Earlier this year, though, marked the first time versions of songs Costello recorded with Paul McCartney had been heard. These include demos they worked on for McCartneys 1989 solo album Flowers in the Dirt, some of which Costello later recorded himself. In the continuity of Paul McCartney collaborators, Costello said on their release, Im the person that stands between Michael Jackson and Kanye West and Rihanna. You just didnt know that about me. And thats a pop fact with which you can probably win a bet.

Read more:

Posted on

Top Republicans in Congress break with Trump over Putin comments

(CNN)After President Donald Trump’s spectacular press conference Monday beside Russian President Vladimir Putin , members of Congress– consisting of some effective Republicans– fasted to rebuke Trump’s efficiency on the world phase and Trump’s rejection to call Putin out for interfering in the United States election.

“There is no concern that Russia interfered in our election and continues efforts to weaken democracy here and worldwide,” stated Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, in a declaration. “That is not simply the finding of the American intelligence neighborhood however likewise your home Committee on Intelligence.”
Ryan continued, “The president needs to value that Russia is not our ally. There is no ethical equivalence in between the United States and Russia, which stays hostile to our the majority of standard worths and suitables. The United States should be concentrated on holding Russia liable and putting an end to its repellent attacks on democracy.”

    Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker stated the President “made us appear like a piece of cake” which Putin was most likely consuming caviar on the airplane house.

    “I was saddened and extremely dissatisfied with the equivalency that he offered in between them (the United States intelligence companies) and exactly what Putin was stating,” stated Corker, a Tennessee Republican who is not looking for re-election.
    Trump’s remarks that appeared to equivocate Putin’s rejection of Russian election meddling and the United States intelligence neighborhood’s evaluation were typically stimulated in the stable stream of criticism. Republican Politician Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, released a blistering declaration simply minutes after journalism conference covered.
    Sasse rebuked Trump’s declaration that he held “both nations accountable” for the shabby relationship in between the United States and Russia.
    “This is flat-out and unusual incorrect. The United States is not to blame. America desires a great relationship with the Russian individuals however Vladimir Putin and his criminals are accountable for Soviet-style aggressiveness,” Sasse stated in the declaration. “When the President plays these ethical equivalence video games, he offers Putin a propaganda win he frantically requires.”

    Some Republicans ‘deeply distressed’ by Trump

    Some Republicans in both your home and Senate– even some generally viewed as allies to the President– stated in the hours following the press conference that they were worried over exactly what they heard Monday.
    “The President’s top in Helsinki today must have been an effort at facing Russian hostility, hacking, and election disturbance,” Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, stated in a tweet. “Russia is not a pal or ally. As Americans, we defend our worths and interests abroad; however I fear today was an action in reverse.”
    “As a member of your house Armed Services Committee, I am deeply bothered by President Trump’s defense of Putin versus the intelligence companies of the United States &&his idea of ethical equivalence in between the United States and Russia. Russia presents a serious hazard to our nationwide security,” tweeted Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican.
    Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican who was amongst the Republicans leading recently’s dramatically partisan hearing of FBI representative Peter Strzok, explained Monday he did not see Russia as a United States ally.
    “I am positive previous CIA Director and existing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, DNI Dan Coats, Ambassador Nikki Haley, FBI Director Chris Wray, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others will have the ability to interact to the President it is possible to conclude Russia disrupted our election in 2016 without delegitimizing his electoral success,” Gowdy stated in a declaration.
    Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins stated she greatly disagreed with Trump’s remarks.
    “It’s definitely not useful for the President to reveal doubt about the conclusions of his own group,” Collins informed press reporters. “He has actually put together a premium intelligence group managed by Dan Coats and I would hope that he would take their analysis over the foreseeable rejections of President Putin.”
    Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who has had a close working relationship with Trump on problems connected to healthcare and tax reform, tweeted that the top was a “missed out on chance.”
    “Missed chance by President Trump to securely hold Russia liable for 2016 meddling and provide a strong caution concerning future elections,” Graham tweeted. “This response by President Trump will be seen by Russia as an indication of weak point and develop even more issues than it fixes.”
    Graham likewise cautioned Trump to leave a soccer ball, a present from Putin, beyond the White House.
    “If it were me, I ‘d inspect the soccer ball for listening gadgets and never ever permit it in the White House,” Graham stated.
    Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican who has actually been consistent critic, called the President’s efficiency “disgraceful.”
    “I never ever believed I would see the day when our American President would base on the phase with the Russian President and location blame on the United States for Russian aggressiveness. This is disgraceful,” tweeted Flake, who is not running for re-election.
    Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican and previous undercover CIA officer, revealed shock at Trump’s mindset to Putin and Russia.
    “I’ve seen the Russian intelligence control lots of people lots of people in my profession, and I never ever would have believed the United States President would be among them,” Hurd stated on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”

    Republicans reveal assistance for United States intelligence neighborhood

    Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger called Trump’s remarks rebuking the United States intelligence neighborhood evaluation “an injustice,” though he did not discuss Trump by name.
    “The American individuals should have the reality, &&to ignore the authenticity of our intelligence authorities is an injustice to the guys &&females who serve this nation. It’s time to awaken &&face truth. #Putin is not our good friend; he’s an opponent to our flexibility,” Kinzinger tweeted.
    The reactions followed Trump decreased to back the United States intelligence neighborhood’s finding that the Russians interfered in the 2016 United States election.
    Instead, Trump stated Putin was “effective and exceptionally strong” in his rejection.
    “I believe in both celebrations,” Trump stated of Russia and the United States intelligence neighborhood.
    “I have genuine self-confidence in my intelligence individuals, however I should inform you that President Putin was effective and exceptionally strong in his rejection,” Trump stated.
    A senior GOP congressional assistant informed CNN it’s “stunning he would disrespect our intel neighborhood on foreign soil. Beside Putin.”
    Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, an essential Trump ally, released a declaration supporting the intelligence neighborhood, however did not straight slam the President.
    “Russia interfered in the 2016 election,” Hatch stated in a declaration. “Our country’s leading intelligence companies all settle on that point. From the President on down, we should do whatever in our power to secure our democracy by protecting future elections from foreign impact and disturbance, despite exactly what Vladimir Putin or other Russian operative states. I rely on the great of our intelligence and police workers who have actually testified safeguard the United States of America from opponents domestic and foreign.”
    New Jersey Republican Frank LoBiondo, who chairs your home CIA subcommittee, likewise stated Trump missed out on a chance to barbecue Putin.
    “I highly disagree w/ declaration that Russia did not meddle in 2016 election. With all I have actually seen on House Intel Comm &&extra indictments of 12 Russian officers recently, it is clear Russia’s objectives. President Trump missed out on chance to hold Putin openly liable,” tweeted LoBiondo, who is not running for re-election .

    Democrats annoyed

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated Trump “took the word of the KGB over the males and females of the CIA.”
    He contacted Republicans to speak up.
    “In the whole history of our nation, Americans have actually never ever seen a president of the United States support an American enemy the method President Trump has actually supported President Putin,” the New York Democrat stated at a press conference.
    Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, tweeted “for the President to agree Putin over his own intelligence authorities and blame the United States for Russia’s attack on our democracy is a total disgrace.”
    Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, stated Trump humiliated the United States.
    “Once once again, @realDonaldTrump requires to the global phase to humiliate America, weaken our organizations, compromise our alliances, &&accept a totalitarian. Russia interfered in our elections &&assaulted our democracy. Putin needs to be held liable– not rewarded. Disgraceful,” Warren tweeted.
    Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, tweeted that sooner or later the United States would “turn the page on this dark chapter,” however it would not be simple.
    “This is an unfortunate, outrageous minute for our terrific country. We will recover our worths and reassert our worldwide management. We’ll turn the page on this dark chapter. It will not occur on its own. All of us should stand– to agree U.S. police and to secure all Americans,” Kaine stated.
    Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, called Trump’s declarations “dismaying and stunning and, in reality, appeasement.”
    “Donald Trump was a puppet, a piece of cake and a patsy. Not a President. He, in impact, rather of putting America’s interests initially, he blamed America initially and he blamed everybody other than Russia and himself,” Blumenthal stated on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”
    Speaking to Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room,” Democratic Rep. Jim Himes, likewise of Connecticut, stated that exactly what Trump’s actions throughout the top truly revealed is that the President merely “does not care.”
    Himes stated that “if the President had actually been company … perhaps Putin would have taken an action back,” however exactly what rather resulted was “a really disgraceful efficiency that puts our nationwide security at deep threat.”
    “What Putin received from the President was this,” Himes stated. “There is absolutely nothing you can do, absolutely nothing you can ponder so bad, that the most effective nation on the planet– the United States of America– will call you out on it.”
    Sen. Chris Murphy’s mouth was “still agape” by the time of his look on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper”– specifically since it appeared to be a “settled reality” by “everybody in the United States who understands exactly what’s going on” that the Russians had actually disrupted the 2016 elections, in spite of Trump declarations at the top.
    “The bar was so low for this interview,” the Connecticut Democrat stated. “All Trump had to do was use some moderate pushback versus the election disturbance, state something about the requirement for Russia to withdraw from eastern Ukraine and Crimea, and he could not do any of that.”
    He included, “America is a great deal weaker than we were entering into this today.”
    This story has actually been upgraded with extra advancements.