Rich Tory MPs
The Telegraph reports that “Conservative MP Adam Afriyie puts his Westminster mansion on market for £16.75million”
A Tory MP who has been a staunch critic of the Parliamentary expenses system and said MPs cannot live on £67,000 a year has put his London home up for sale for £16.75million. Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, is selling his eight bedroom Grade II* Listed Georgian house next to Westminster Abbey, with views of the Palace of Westminster.
The estate agent’s particulars include photographs of a bedroom with a pink duvet, as well as statues in an ornate garden. Sources close to Mr Afriyie said he was selling the property because his wife and five children wanted to move to a new home in west London.
G7 and Corruption
The Guardian reports that “Cameron puts corruption on G7 agenda after Fifa bribery scandal”
David Cameron is preparing to warn fellow world leaders at the two-day G7 summit that starts in Germany on Sunday that the Fifa bribery scandal must be a trigger for international action against corruption. The prime minister will criticise what he will call a widespread “taboo” in pointing the finger at corrupt institutions, and will say the Fifa scandal has shown how focusing on an organisation can provide the impetus for cleaning-up operations.
“In the last fortnight we have seen the stark truth about Fifa. The body governing football has faced appalling allegations that suggests it is absolutely riddled with corruption. And Blatter’s resignation this week presents an opportunity to clean up the game we love. It is also an opportunity to learn a broader lesson about tackling corruption,” he will say. “Just as with Fifa, we know the problem is there, but there is something of an international taboo over pointing the finger and stirring up concerns.”
The Independent reports Greg Dyke as saying “Sepp Blatter will be arrested and forced out of Fifa in a ‘couple of months’”
Greg Dyke, the Football Association chairman, has predicted that world football boss Sepp Blatter will be arrested and forced out of Fifa in a “couple of months”. He also said England would not stage the 2018 or the 2022 World Cups if they were taken away from Russia and Qatar should corruption allegations surrounding the awarding of either tournament be proven.
Asked whether, if he had to choose, he would bet on Mr Blatter being arrested, Mr Dyke replied: “Yes.” Mr Dyke also said there was a difference in “values” between Europe and Africa, in an interview with the Guardian. “My experience in Africa is that when people go into politics in Africa, it’s incumbent upon you as part of that to look after your family. That’s just cultural; it’s a cultural difference,” he said.
Alex Brummer in the Daily Mail says “Ditching the Euro is the only way to avert a catastrophe like the ‘Lehman Brothers moment’ of 2008”
Thunder and lightning rumbled and flashed across the sky over Athens yesterday, as if the ancient gods knew that after a week of brinkmanship between the economic masters of the eurozone in Berlin and the leftist Greek government of Alexis Tsipras, a critical debt payment to the International Monetary Fund of €300million would not be paid – and Europe would lurch to the brink of crisis once more.
Now, the great uncertainty that has brought Greek commerce to a crashing halt will continue to the end of the month at least. Bad news indeed in a nation where business, banking, the broader economy and perhaps most importantly, the political system, are coming apart at the seams.
As one emotional former government official warned me privately, Greece is ‘fast approaching its Lehman Brothers moment’. That is the point at which the full bankruptcy of the state is exposed, and not just the eurozone but the rest of the world is rocked as it was in September 2008 when the American investment bank collapsed.
Greek Finance Crisis
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph says that “IMF has betrayed its mission in Greece, captive to EMU creditors”
The International Monetary Fund is in very serious trouble. Events have reached a point in Greece where the Fund’s own credibility and long-term survival are at stake. The Greeks are not withholding a €300m payment to the IMF because they have run out of money, though they soon will do.
Five key players in the radical-Left Syriza movement – meeting in the Maximus Mansion in Athens yesterday – took an ice-cold, calculated, and carefully-considered decision not to pay. They knew exactly what they were doing. The IMF’s Christine Lagarde was caught badly off guard. Staff officials in Washington were stunned.
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras turned to Russia for support yesterday – as he attacked Western creditors for trying to impose ‘absurd’ austerity conditions on his crippled nation.
In an emotional address to the Greek parliament last night, the hard-Left leader said he would never accept conditions proposed by the EU and International Monetary Fund, which include a big hike in VAT and cuts to the pensions of the poor.
‘The proposals submitted by lenders are unrealistic. The Greek government cannot consent to absurd proposals,’ Mr Tsipras said. He had already stunned the IMF on Thursday by announcing a £220million debt repayment would not be made on time.
UKIP and “Gay Pride”
The Guardian reports that “Ukip banned from gay pride march after party’s inclusion stokes anger”
Ukip has been banned from one of Britain’s biggest gay pride parades in an apparent U-turn by organisers who say they are worried about the safety of participants. The inclusion of Ukip in the original lineup of the Pride in London march set for 27 June had been controversial.
Many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community spoke out against the involvement of the party, which has been linked to a string of allegedly homophobic controversies. Following the creation of a petition calling for the party to be banned, Pride organisers said they had rejected Ukip’s application to take part on safety grounds. Organisers said the decision was not politically motivated.
However, a report by Raheem Kassam on the same news in Breitbart expresses it slightly differently:
But following a campaign against the party by political groups and full-time, left-wing LGBT activists, it appears that the organisers have caved.
The Express also reports on this.
EU Referendum “Out” Campaign
The Telegraph’s Christopher Hope reports that Nigel Farage has asked “Let me lead the ‘out’ campaign in the EU referendum”
Nigel Farage will make an audacious attempt to lead the ‘out’ campaign with just over two years left to the in/out EU referendum in his first speech since the election on Saturday. The UK Independence Party leader will organise series of public events and meetings all over the country in a move which will sound the starting gun for the “out” campaign.
Tens of millions of Britons will be given the chance to vote on whether Britain should leave the EU in a referendum before the end of 2017. The question they are likely to be asked is: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?”
The Express reports that “Terror suspect let back in to UK because of Human Rights Act – so when will we scrap it?”
The 56-year-old man, known as ZZ, was excluded from the UK in 2005 after leaving for a short trip and has been trying for nine years to get back in. The dual Algerian-French national was once in a North African terror cell and had links to hate preacher Abu Qatada.
An Arabic weapons manual was also found in his Camden garage when it was searched by authorities, security sources told the Special Immigrations Appeals Commission. But because his wife and eight children have lived in the UK for their whole lives, he has been allowed to stay under the controversial Human Rights Act. ZZ has been allowed in despite being “not frank” in his evidence to the panel.
Paris Climate Change Summit
The Guardian reports that “West must pay up to secure deal at Paris climate change summit, warns Fabius”
French minister says COP21 climate conference’s success in curbing emissions requires rich nations to fulfil earlier funding pledges to finance poor countries. Rich countries must keep their financial promises to the poor on global warming, or key international climate change negotiations this year risk falling apart, the French foreign minister will warn his counterparts in other developed nations this weekend.
The G7 group of industrialised countries are meeting on Sunday and Monday in Germany, and a key subject of the discussions will be the forthcoming UN climate change negotiations, scheduled for a crunch conference in Paris this December, which will determine world governments’ response to the climate crisis for decades to come.
Poor countries want financial assistance from the rich nations – which have, historically, been the most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions – to help them reduce their carbon output, invest in clean technology and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Former Liberal Democrat areas which got cash for pet projects because of the party’s clout in the Coalition now face being starved of investment. Funding cuts will bite in areas such as the South West, a former stronghold which lost every Lib Dem seat at last month’s general election.
A leading Tory promoted in the reshuffle said: “The South West is going to get f*** all.”
In the Coalition, the Lib Dems were accused of ‘pork barrel politics’ , securing funding for pet projects in their own constituencies. Former Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander famously announced a tax break for ski lifts which hugely benefited his highlands constituency. He also bailed out the London-to-Inverness sleeper train and agreed a petrol discount for rural constituencies – the vast majority of which were Lib Dem.
The Independent reports that Channel 4’s Jon Snow has been attacked for calling Iraq Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz ‘a nice guy’
Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow was under fire last night on social media for describing former Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz as “a nice guy”. Aziz, who was sentenced to death in 2010 for the persecution of Shiites, died in hospital in the city of Nasiriyah after a heart attack in prison.
He was a loyal defender of Saddam Hussein and a senior member of the regime until it was toppled by the second Gulf War. Snow, who interviewed Aziz several times, provoked fury when he posted on his Twitter account after learning of the death: “Nice guy in a nasty situation – made no better by Bush/Blair’s Shock and Awe.”