The Los Angeles will move to a new stadium in 2020Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos says he has no intention of moving the franchise to London despite reports of a potential relocation.The Chargers, who moved to Los Angeles in 2017, were linked with a move to London on Tuesday.The NFL staged four games in London this season and has played 28 games in the city since 2007.”We’re not going to London,” said Spanos, 69. “We’re not going anywhere. We’re playing in Los Angeles.”He added: “No consideration has been given to the Chargers playing anywhere other than Los Angeles at the new stadium in Hollywood Park next season and beyond. “There have been no discussions of any kind between the NFL and the Chargers regarding moving to London. Both our office and the Chargers are entirely focused on the success of the team in Los Angeles.”The Chargers moved to Los Angeles for the 2017 season and play at Dignity Health Sports Park. They will move to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood next season, which will also be the home of the Los Angeles Rams.
Georgino Wijnaldum became the first Dutch player to score a Champions League goal in each of his last three seasonsChampions League holders Liverpool collected another victory in their relentless campaign by sneaking past Genk at a subdued Anfield.Jürgen Klopp’s side lost to Napoli in their opening Group E game – their only loss in any competition this season – but have picked up three straight wins to move towards the knockout stages.Georginio Wijnaldum stabbed into the roof of the net from close range after captain Sebastian Dewaest made a mess of clearing James Milner’s low cross.With the hosts failing to build on their 14th-minute lead, Genk’s Tanzanian striker Mbwana Samatta powerfully headed in the equaliser at the near post from a corner five minutes before half-time.But having scored twice in Belgium when Genk were beaten 4-1 on 23 October, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the match-winner early in the second half, spinning and converting a low strike into the bottom corner.Liverpool move top of the group ahead of Serie A side Napoli, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Red Bull Salzburg.Signs for Man City to exploit?Liverpool ultimately edged this test against Genk but know their sternest challenge of the season will come on Sunday against Premier League champions Manchester City.With that huge clash in mind, Klopp decided to rest some first-team regulars, including captain Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Andy Robertson.Despite the victory, Liverpool’s biggest concern will be a lack of clean sheets – now just one in their past nine games in all competitions – given that their defence provided such a solid base last season as they agonisingly missed out on the title to City, but became champions of Europe for the sixth time.The Reds lacked their usual fluency and zip at times, and that seemed to permeate into the stands, as the usual fiery Anfield Champions League cauldron was lukewarm for large periods, sporadically bursting into life and after both goals.The hosts dominated the ball with 72% possession and fired off 28 shots – with Mohamed Salah’s low drive from an angle and curling effort both struck wide.Divock Origi, who scored decisive goals in the semi-final and final for Liverpool last season, dragged a shot off target, while his low, skipping drive was pushed away by 21-year-old goalkeeper Gaetan Coucke at full stretch.After Oxlade-Chamberlain had made it 2-1, Genk could have equalised for a second time late on, but Bryan Heynen’s thumping effort was pushed away by Alisson, extending their run without a victory in the Champions League proper to 16 games – a competition record.Fixtures piling up for Reds
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his fifth Champions League goal for LiverpoolThe biggest talking point a couple of hours before kick-off was Liverpool’s decision to play their Carabao Cup quarter-final at Aston Villa and Club World Cup semi-final in Qatar within 24 hours of each other, fielding two separate teams.Klopp had previously ruled out this possibility but the club said in a statement that although it was “not an ideal scenario” the outcome was reached in “the best interests of the competition”.Liverpool have won 14, drawn three and lost only one of their games in all competitions this season, though that winning habit and squad depth will be severely examined after the international break.That is the price they have to pay for success.From 23 November to 2 January, the Reds face an arduous period of 12 games in 37 days across three competitions – the Premier League, Champions League and Club World Cup – with an FA Cup third-round tie still to be determined in the first week of 2020.That suggests there will be plenty more rotation. Of the six players brought into the starting line-up here, Oxlade-Chamberlain was on the scoresheet once more, Naby Keita worked hard in midfield beside him and Joe Gomez contributed four clearances and three interceptions at the back. More of the same will be required from the fringe players over the coming months.’We didn’t finish our situations’Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp to BT Sport: “We didn’t finish our situations in the way we could have done. We had a lot of shots and some really big chances that we usually use. We didn’t do that and it kept the game open. That gave them a lot of energy.”The players came through but you saw after a while it gets hard to get that rhythm and at the end of the game it was not there. “We got a little bit of trouble but not really. It was job done. If we had scored two or three in the first half, nobody would have thought that couldn’t have happened. But it went 1-1 and then it got tricky. Now we are all good.”Man of the match – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Two of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s three shots were on target – more than any other playerLeaky at the back – the best of the statsLiverpool remain unbeaten in their past 24 home matches in European competition (W18 D6 L0), since a 0-3 defeat against Real Madrid at Anfield, in October 2014.Genk have played more matches in the history of the European Cup/Champions League without winning than any other club (16 – W0 D8 L8),Liverpool have conceded in eight consecutive matches in all competitions, last going longer without a clean sheet between September and October 2014, under Brendan Rodgers (a run of nine).Salah has been directly involved in 68 goals in 59 appearances for Liverpool at Anfield across all competitions (50 goals and 18 assists).Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored four goals in his last four games for Liverpool, as many as in his previous 45 appearances for the Reds across all competitions.Three of Georginio Wijnaldum’s past four goals for Liverpool have come in the Champions League at Anfield (also netting two against Barcelona in May).What’s next?Liverpool host Premier League rivals Manchester City in a huge game at Anfield on Sunday, 10 November (16:30 GMT). They take on Napoli in their next Champions League game on 27 November, also at home.
Five of Jorginho’s six goals for Chelsea have been scored via the penalty spotChelsea came back from 4-1 down to draw a Champions League thriller against an Ajax side who had two men sent off.Tammy Abraham scored an early own goal, Jorginho equalised with a penalty but Quincy Promes then headed Ajax ahead.Kepa Arrizabalaga’s own goal and Donny van de Beek’s low strike gave Ajax a three-goal lead at Stamford Bridge.Cesar Azpilicueta pulled one back, Ajax had Daley Blind and Joel Veltman sent off before Jorginho’s second penalty and Reece James’ effort made it 4-4.Chelsea thought they had grabbed a sensational victory when Azpilicueta smashed a loose ball into the net but the goal was ruled out after a video assistant referee review showed the ball had struck Abraham’s arm before falling for the Blues captain.It leaves three teams on seven points in Group H, with Ajax moving top on goal difference, Chelsea second and Valencia third after they beat Lille 4-1 in Spain.More to follow.
Jo Swinson and her husband Duncan Hames were the subjects of a viral misleading story on Facebook
Misleading politics stories go viral online all the time. The action gets particularly frantic during an election campaign.This is the story of how one tale – involving Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and her husband Duncan Hames – became one of the most-shared politics stories in the first few days of 2019’s battle, with a potential audience of more than 1.5 million people.A BBC Trending investigation tracked down the people, from an Italian in North Wales to a barman in London, who exaggerated genuine facts and helped the story go viral via some of Britain’s biggest political pages and groups on Facebook.Multiple versions of the story exist, many with different details. But the false allegation at the core is the same: that Ms Swinson’s husband personally benefits from European Union funds and this is the main reason why she is against Brexit.Where did it come from?The first trace we can find of the story was in a tweet by an account called @SammyPants6 on 30 September, which showed a number of screenshots.But the story really went viral a few hours later when a tweet by an account called “HenryVIII” was retweeted more than 1,000 times.
Some elements of the tweet are correct. Duncan Hames, who was an MP from 2010-2015, works for the UK branch of Transparency International.The Berlin office of the non-governmental organisation received a grant of 4m euros (£3.4m) from the European Commission in 2018. But the funding for the UK branch – again, the one that Mr Hames works for – is separate. It did receive smaller EU grants: £21,000 in 2016/17 and £2,000 in 2017/18.The European Commission funds many charities and NGOs and grants go to general accounts – not Mr Hames’ own pocket.How the story got twistedAccording to the viral tweet above, the grant paid to Transparency International, which works on anti-corruption projects, explains why Ms Swinson and Mr Hames “love the EU so much”.But both have a long record of support for the EU. They supported Remain in the 2016 EU referendum, before Hames joined Transparency International.The Liberal Democrats declined to comment for this story.
Ms Swinson and Mr Hames are longstanding supporters of the European Union
BBC Trending spoke to “Henry VIII” via Twitter direct message. The person behind the account claims to be an Italian man named Dino living in north Wales.The account mainly shares posts written in Italian and about Italian politics, but we were not able to independently verify his identity.”I wanted to know why Jo was so pro-EU,” he wrote. “I was told to always follow the money.” He says he posted the tweet after looking into Transparency International’s financial accounts, which are published online. Two days later the story jumped from Twitter to a far larger social network. The following post appeared on the Facebook page of Michael Barton, a freelance writer based in London:The post sticks to the same facts in the tweet by “Henry VIII”. Mr Barton told the BBC that he didn’t see the original tweet and instead compiled the post after conducting his own research.This post caught on, and more and more people started talking about Ms Swinson’s husband in Facebook groups and on Twitter. Judging from the groups and pages where the story was spread, it’s clear that most of the impetus came from Brexiteers – some supporters of the Conservatives or Brexit Party, and others who are left-wing Labour activists. The online rumours became so strong that the UK branch of Transparency International released a statement in early October.”Transparency International UK (TI-UK) is independent and politically impartial and does therefore both engage with and objectively criticise politicians regardless of their political opinion or party affiliation,” it said. “TI-UK has neither advocated for or against the UK’s continued membership of the European Union.”TI-UK is not working on any projects funded by the European Union.”The story continues to spreadBut that press release did not stop the story from spreading and morphing. It exploded into the mainstream when it was shared by Leave.EU, a pro-Brexit Facebook page with almost a million followers. This post was shared 18,000 times and received thousands of likes and comments:It got even further traction over the next few days when it was written up by politically themed Facebook pages with big followings that purport to post news stories.One called “Unity News Network”, which was set up by UK Independence Party activists, put up a post broadly similar to the examples above. The post linked to an article which hinted at “sinister facts” and asked: “Does Mrs Swinson have a vested interest in remaining in the EU?”Oliver Down of Unity News Network told the BBC: “We did not imply anything but merely asked the question to allow readers to make up their own mind.”Others pushed the facts of the story past the breaking point. Nye Bevan NewsOn 4 October a Facebook page and website called Nye Bevan News, which describes itself as “pro-proletariat” and “anti-establishment”, posted its version of the story.This time it included clearly inaccurate statements: that Mr Hames “owns” Transparency International and that the organisation is a “family company.”The editor of the page is Ben Jenkins, a 34-year-old originally from South Wales who works in a bar in London.Mr Jenkins’ page often shares positive posts praising “Old Labour” figures like Tony Benn and Nye Bevan. It also frequently criticises “New Labour” figures like Tony Blair and his former communications chief Alastair Campbell, who is now a backer of staying in the EU.
When he met BBC reporters, Mr Jenkins denied that he set out to be misleading, but described the wording of his post about Swinson as “spin”.”We’re all Alistair Campbell’s illegitimate children,” Mr Jenkins said, referring to Campbell’s stint as the No 10 communications chief and the frequent description of him as a “spin doctor”. “He taught us how to do this and he can deal with the consequences.” Mr Jenkins said his page enlists a number of volunteer moderators. No money changes hands, he said, but his popular page – it has more than 113,000 likes – shares their posts. “They get traffic, I get content,” he said.Peak popularityThe post reached a far bigger audience in pages and groups with names like “British Voice”, “WTO Brexit Now” and “We Support Jeremy Corbyn”, according to research by misinformation expert Maarten Schenk of Trendolizer.These groups came from across the political spectrum, including communities supporting Labour, the SNP, the Brexit Party, UKIP, and the Conservatives.While it kept spreading on Facebook, the post took a month to reach its peak. It was one of the most popular politics posts on the social network on 4 November.It has now been posted by at least 248 different pages and groups, had close to 50,000 interactions (shares, comments and likes), and the story has now been viewed by a potential audience of over 1.5 million, according to analysis from BBC Monitoring.
Getty ImagesWhere did the misleading story appear?248Different Facebook groups and pages where it was posted47,000+Interactions: Likes, shares, comments1.5m+Potential audience: followers of pages where story appearedSource: BBC Monitoring Disinformation team, CrowdTangleFrom one obscure tweet, this misleading story has entered mainstream conversation as the UK gears up for an election on 12 December.When we wrote an unrelated article last week we quickly received an email saying: “It is widely reported that Jo Swinson’s husbands company has received in excess of £4 million from the EU, why doesn’t the BBC report this on mainstream news?”
Election splits over Brexit revealed in Facebook groups
Death threats circulate in Brexit Facebook groups
Not just SwinsonThe Swinson story is one example of a misleading story politics story going viral. But it’s not the only one – or even the first one related to the 2019 election. One of the most viral election videos so far was produced by Joe.co.uk, a left-leaning site aimed at young men.”Monster Crash” is a joke video with a serious message – it implies that Boris Johnson and the Conservative cabinet member Jacob Rees-Mogg stand to profit by engineering a financial crash brought on by a no-deal Brexit.
This video has 4m views on Facebook and Twitter
The video indirectly references a story which went viral in anti-Brexit circles, again at the beginning of October. Again there were multiple versions of the story, but at the heart of all of them were allegations that financial speculators who help fund the Conservative Party are pushing the UK towards a no-deal Brexit.However, last month the prime minister renegotiated a deal with the EU, which Mr Rees-Mogg voted for. This would seem to pour cold water on the conspiracy theory that they are working to trigger a no-deal Brexit “monster crash” for financial gain.As with the Swinson story, several of the elements of the story are true – for instance Mr Rees-Mogg does have a stake in a major investment fund.But, as the BBC’s Simon Jack has explained, “there has not been enough evidence produced that a few shadowy financiers are pulling the strings of a no-deal Brexit puppet.”‘Fake news?’Online misinformation has become a hot topic ever since completely made-up posts with fake headlines like “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President” spread during the 2016 US presidential election.
The (almost) complete history of ‘fake news’
The city getting rich from fake news
Three years later, online misinformation is more ambiguous, and arguably more difficult to spot. Social media companies have taken some steps to combat outright fakes. Fact-checkers have multiplied, and audiences are savvier. Today, misinformation more often resembles the story about Ms Swinson – deploying genuine facts out of context to point to a inaccurate or biased conclusion.But the effect can be the same. As it spirals through the internet, and is rewritten and re-shared, kernels of fact fall by the wayside, and mistruths spread like wildfire.Have you spotted misleading posts? Is there something the team should be investigating? Email usFollow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending, and find us on Facebook. All our stories are at bbc.com/trending.
Midfielder Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy, manager Unai Emery confirms.
The general election date is set and most MPs are entering campaign mode. Others, however, are clearing out their desk for the last time. The House of Commons will lose over 1000 years of parliamentary experience with more than 60 incumbents preparing to stand down – and there may be more to come.Here are the ones we know about so far:Independents Ken Clarke is the longest serving MP in the House of Commons, known as the father of the house, having served his Rushcliffe constituency for almost half a century. A long-time supporter of the UK’s membership of the EU, he was expelled from the Conservative Party by Boris Johnson, after he rebelled against the government over Brexit.
Mr Clarke ran three times for Conservative leader
Sir Oliver Letwin, the former Conservative minister and West Dorset MP, who was recently at the forefront of Parliamentary attempts to delay Brexit.”With great sadness” former Chancellor and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (Runnymede & Weybridge) said he would leave the House of Commons after not being restored to the Conservative Party before the election.
Hammond lost the Conservative whip in September
Former Education Secretary and Brexit rebel Justine Greening (Putney), who said she can “achieve more positive change outside Parliament” and will now focus specifically on improving social mobility.
Greening represents Putney which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU referendum
One-time Conservative leadership candidate and walking enthusiast Rory Stewart (Penrith and the Border), who is focusing on trying to beat Sadiq Khan in next year’s London mayoral election as an independent candidate. Former Home, and Work and Pensions, Secretary Amber Rudd – MP for the ultra-marginal Hastings and Rye seat – who resigned from the cabinet and surrendered the Tory whip over Brexit in September. She was not among those who later had the whip restored by the PM.Former Home Secretary Amber Rudd standing downGuto Bebb (Aberconwy), another Brexit rebel kept out in the cold by Boris Johnson – and so unable to stand as a Conservative candidate. Likewise Nick Boles (Grantham & Stamford).
Nicky Morgan (Loughborough), the current culture secretary, surprised Westminster watchers by announcing her departure, citing the “clear impact” on her family and “the other sacrifices involved in and the abuse for doing the job of a modern MP”.Claire Perry (Devizes), a former energy minister and president of COP26, a UN climate change conference.Sir Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex), grandson of wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill, who was among those kicked out of the party by Boris Johnson over his opposition to a no-deal Brexit.He has now been welcomed back into the fold, but is standing down.Readmitted rebels Alistair Burt (North East Bedfordshire), Richard Harrington (Watford), Richard Benyon (Newbury).
Famous family: Sir Nicholas Soames with his grandfather Sir Winston Churchill
Former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon who has been the MP for Sevenoaks since 1997 and before that MP for Darlington.Sir David Lidington (Aylesbury) de-facto deputy PM under Theresa May wants to spend more time with his family while he is “still in active and good health”. Former miner – and former minister – who has been in Parliament for 33 years – Sir Patrick McLoughlin (Derbyshire Dales).
Skip Twitter post by @Patrick4Dales
This morning, I am announcing my intention to retire as the Member of Parliament for Derbyshire Dales at the forthcoming General Election— Patrick McLoughlin (@Patrick4Dales) October 30, 2019
End of Twitter post by @Patrick4Dales
Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden), who cited “the intensity of abuse arising out of Brexit” in her resignation statement. Jo Johnson (Orpington), the PM’s brother, who resigned from the cabinet over Brexit.
Jo Johnson resigned as business minister
Other Tory MPs leaving the green benches will be:
Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford)
Glyn Davies (Montgomeryshire)
Keith Simpson (Broadland)
Nick Hurd (Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner)
Mark Prisk (Hertford and Stortford)
Bill Grant (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock)
Sir Hugo Swire (East Devon)
David Tredinnick (Bosworth)
Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster)
Seema Kennedy (South Ribble)
Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth)
Mims Davies (Eastleigh)
Sir Alan Duncan (Melton and Rutland)
Peter Heaton-Jones (North Devon)
Margot James (Stourbridge)
Mark Lancaster (Milton Keynes North)
Ross Thomson (Aberdeen South)
Sir Henry Bellingham (North West Norfolk)
Nick Herbert (Arundel & South Downs)
Labour Of the Labour MPs who have announced their intention to step aside, a good number are either Brexiteers or against a second referendum. Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse) and Sir Kevin Barron (Rother Valley) have all voted for Theresa May’s Brexit deal at some stage. Veteran trade unionist Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley) and Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) backed leave in the 2016 referendum. John Mann (Bassetlaw) has already left and now sits in the House of Lords. Ex-shadow justice minister Gloria De Piero (Ashfield), who expressed concern over the “lack of tolerance for different viewpoints” within her party in her resignation speech.
Skip Twitter post by @GloriaDePiero
Tonight I thanked local Labour members for enabling me to serve the people of Ashfield for 9 yrs. I will continue to give the job 💯 but I won’t be the Labour candidate at the next election. Thank u for giving me the opportunity to serve. It’s been the greatest honour of my life.— Gloria De Piero (@GloriaDePiero) July 19, 2019
End of Twitter post by @GloriaDePiero
One-time leadership challenger Owen Smith (Pontypridd).Labour MP Owen Smith to stand downAnn Clwyd (Cynon Valley), who at 82 is the oldest woman to sit in the House of Commons.Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside) – who quit Labour over anti-Semitism within the party – and Joan Ryan (Enfield North) and Ann Coffey (Stockport) now of Change UK. Suspended ex-Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North) is retiring. Now independent MP John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness) is having a baby with his partner. Other Labour MPs stepping down are:
Stephen Pound (Ealing North)
Stephen Twigg (Liverpool West Derby)
Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham)
Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West)
Teresa Pearce (Erith and Thamesmead)
Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-Under-Lyme)
Albert Owen (Ynys Mon)
Jim Cunningham (Coventry South)
Ian Lucas (Wrexham)
Helen Jones (Warrington North)
Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West)
Vince Cable was the second politician to appear on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing
Former party leader – and cabinet minister in the coalition government – Sir Vince Cable (Twickenham). Former coalition government minister Sir Norman Lamb (North Norfolk), who is leaving Westminster to focus on setting up a fund for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities. Former Conservative and Change UK MP Heidi Allen (Cambridgeshire South), who only joined the Lib Dems a few weeks ago, said she had suffered “utterly dehumanising abuse” as an MP in a letter to her constituents announcing her future intentions. Heidi Allen to stand down as MP The SpeakerIn addition to being the House of Commons referee, former Conservative John Bercow is the MP for Buckingham, which he has represented since 1997. Before he announced his decision to step down, the Conservative Party said it intended to break convention and run a candidate against him at the next election.
John Bercow served as Speaker for 10 years
More on the election
Troubled baby goods retailer Mothercare has called in administrators, putting 2,500 UK jobs at risk.There will be a phased closure of all of its 79 UK stores, administrators from PwC said.The UK firm “has been loss making for a number of years”, but international franchises are profitable, PwC said.On Monday the baby goods firm said it was “not capable” of being sufficiently profitable and that it had failed to find a buyer.Clive Whiley, chairman of Mothercare said there was “deep regret and sadness that we have been unable to avoid the administration of Mothercare” and that the board “fully understand the significant impact on those UK colleagues and business partners who are affected.””However, the board concluded that the administration processes serve the wider interests of ensuring a sustainable future for the company, including the wider group’s global colleagues, its pension fund, lenders and other stakeholders.”
Mr Hammond said he felt “aggrieved” at his treatment by the party
Former Chancellor Philip Hammond is to leave Parliament “with great sadness” after deciding against standing as an independent in his Surrey constituency.Mr Hammond lost the Conservative whip in September after defying Boris Johnson over a no-deal Brexit.As a result, he cannot stand as a Tory candidate in Runnymede and Weybridge, which he has represented since 1997.He said he would not stand as an independent as that would be a “direct challenge” to the party he loved.
Mr Hammond was among 21 Tory MPs thrown out of the parliamentary party in September for backing legislation designed to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal – the so-called Benn Act.Unlike a number of the group, he has not had the whip restored after rebelling again earlier this month to back Labour calls for more time to scrutinise Boris Johnson’s deal.The PM blamed him and other former Tory rebels for stopping the UK leaving the EU on the 31 October deadline. Which MPs are standing down?In a letter to constituents, Mr Hammond said he continued to feel “aggrieved” at his punishment given he had been a member of the party for 45 years and had served as an MP for more than two decades.”The Conservative Party that I have served has always had room for a wide range of opinions and has been tolerant of measured dissent.
Philip Hammond was a constant by Theresa May’s side despite reported disagreements
“Many parliamentary colleagues have defied the party whip on occasions without any action taken against them.”But he said he would not follow the lead of a number of former colleagues, such as Dominic Grieve and Anne Milton, who are standing as independents in the 12 December election. “I remain a Conservative and I cannot therefore embark on a course of action that would represent a direct challenge in a general election to the party I have supported all my adult life,” he said.’Broad-based’He said he would continue to make the case for a Conservative Party that was “broad-based, forward-looking, pro-business and pro-markets”. “I will remain an active party member and will continue to make the case for doing whatever is necessary to deliver a close negotiated future economic and security partnership with the EU.”Mr Hammond served as chancellor for three years under Theresa May, during which he angered Tory Brexiteers for his opposition to a no-deal exit and desire to maintain the closest possible trading relations with the bloc. Before that was foreign secretary, defence secretary and transport secretary under David Cameron.He acquired the nicknames Spreadsheet Phil and Box Office Phil for his attention to detail and somewhat dry political style.Elsewhere, ex-minister Nick Herbert has joined the growing list of Tory MPs from the One Nation wing of the party deciding not to contest the next election, saying he would step down as MP for Arundel and South Downs to focus on his new role as chairman of the Countryside Alliance.Other leading Conservative figures who are leaving Parliament include Amber Rudd, Nicky Morgan, Rory Stewart and Margaret James. But announcing her intention to stand as an independent in Guildford, Mrs Milton said she wanted to “represent her constituency without being bound by party politics”.
The RMT has announced drivers and guards will take 27 days of industrial action
A union has announced 27 days of rail strikes during during December and on New Year’s Day as part of a long-running dispute over train guards. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said its guards and drivers working for South Western Railway (SWR) had been left with “no choice” but to take industrial action. The union said the dispute would continue for as long as SWR “refuse to give assurances” on the role of guards. SWR has been approached for comment.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied accusations of Russian interference
The government has denied claims it is suppressing a report on alleged Russian interference in UK democracy until after the general election.Sources said No 10 was stalling on releasing the report, which has gained the standard security clearance.A former head of MI5, Lord Evans of Weardale, is among those calling for the document to be published.Foreign minister Christopher Pincher said the PM would release the report in “due course”.He added: “We cannot rush this process at the risk of undermining our national security.”The report, by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, was finalised in March and referred to No 10 on 17 October. It examines Russian activity – including allegations of espionage, subversion and interference in elections – and includes evidence from UK intelligence services such as GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 concerning covert Russian attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum and 2017 general election.Approval for its publication has yet to be given – and is not due to be until after polling day.Dominic Grieve, the chairman of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said there was no legitimate reason for delaying the report and voters had a right to see it before going to the polls.During an urgent question in the Commons, the former attorney general said there was a “longstanding agreement” that the prime minister would endeavour to respond to the committee’s reports within 10 days.Mr Grieve also said the intelligence agencies had indicated that publication of the report would not prejudice the discharge of their functions.But foreign office minister Mr Pincher sad the turnaround time for the report was “not unusual” – and gave examples of reports that had taken six weeks to get Downing Street’s approval.’Clearly politically motivated’Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said Downing Street’s decision not to clear the report for publication before the general election was “clearly politically motivated”.”This is nothing less than an attempt to suppress the truth from the public and from Parliament and it is an affront to our democracy,” she told the Commons.Ms Thornberry said No 10 realised the report would lead to “other questions about the links between Russia and Brexit and with the current leadership of the Tory party, which risks derailing their election campaign”.She went on: “Publish this report and let us see for ourselves, otherwise there is only one question: what have you got to hide?”Mr Pincher denied the decision not to publish the report before the election was politically motivated.
Lord Evans, who was MI5 director general until 2013, earlier told the Today programme ministers should explain why they were not prepared to release the report.”In principle, I think it should be released,” he said.”Part of the reason for having an Intelligence and Security Committee is that issues of public concern can be properly considered and the public can be informed through the publication of the reports once they have gone through the security process.”He added: “If the government have a reason why this should not be published before the election, then I think they should make it very clear what that reason is.”Ex-terrorism watchdog Lord Anderson said on Monday further delay would “invite suspicion” of the government’s motives ahead of the election.