2023: Tinubu Promises To Recruit More Teachers, Give Student Loans

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu has promised to recruit more teachers and also give student loans as part of efforts to develop the education sector and also build the youth capacity.

Tinubu made the promise at the British Royal Institute in London.

“Youths are the greatest asset of tomorrow,” Tinubu said in Chatham House while fielding questions from participants at the event, adding that they will be part of his “all-inclusive” government, pointing to the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

“The education system is to change. We would overhaul it and tinker with some areas with the philosophy that no one would be left behind. There will be student loans for all. We are going to reform the Almajiri system, We are equally going to build more schools, recruit more teachers and train them,” the former Lagos State governor said.

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To further help young people, he said if elected, his government would equally introduce technology hubs where youths can acquire digital skills to better develop their leadership skills.

“Youths can even develop technological languages on their own and make a better 21st-century approach to governance in Nigeria,” he said.

Monday’s event focussed on economic and foreign policies as well as national security among others.

Earlier, the former Lagos State governor was spotted in London with some chieftains of the party ahead of the event. Some of them include the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai and his Jigawa State counterparty, Abubakar Badaru; former Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi amongst others.

Tinubu is in the 2023 presidential race alongside frontline candidates including Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Nurses Join Other Striking UK Staff In 2nd December Walkouts

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 22: Health Minister Steve Barclay arrives in Downing Street to attend the weekly cabinet meeting in London, United Kingdom on November 22, 2022. Rasid Necati Aslim / Anadolu Agency (Photo by Rasid Necati Aslim / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)

 

Nurses across most of Britain will next month hold the first strikes in their union’s 106-year history, joining a host of other UK workers taking industrial action over pay.

Staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland — but not Scotland — will walk out on December 15 and 20, after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union said the government had turned down an offer of negotiations.

It will be the latest industrial action in Britain, where decades-high inflation and a cost-of-living crisis has prompted staff in various sectors to demand pay rises to keep up with spiralling prices.

The nurses’ strike will be sandwiched between the first of a series of two-day walkouts by national railway workers, while postal service employees will stage fresh stoppages in the run-up to Christmas.


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Numerous other public and private sector staff, from lawyers to airport ground personnel, have also held strikes this year.

“Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve,” said RCN head Pat Cullen.

The union, which wants a pay rise significantly above inflation, announced earlier this month that a ballot of its more than 300,000 members had found a majority in favour of strikes.

“Ministers have had more than two weeks since we confirmed that our members felt such injustice that they would strike for the first time,” Cullen said, adding that an offer of formal negotiations was declined.

“They have the power and the means to stop this by opening serious talks that address our dispute.”

The RCN will next week announce which particular arms of Britain’s sprawling state-funded National Health Service (NHS) will be affected by the walkouts.

‘Challenging times ‘

Amid the waves of industrial action, British inflation has continued its recent surge, reaching a 41-year high of 11.1 percent in October on soaring energy and food bills.

Bosses in the NHS said in September that nurses were skipping meals to feed and clothe their children and struggling to afford rising transport costs.

One in four hospitals had set up foodbanks to support staff, according to NHS Providers, which represents hospital groups in England.

The government says it has accepted independent pay recommendations, and given over one million NHS workers a pay rise of at least £1,400 ($1,590) this year.

That follows on from a three-percent increase last year when public sector pay was frozen.

But the RCN says this leaves experienced nurses worse off by 20 percent in real terms due to successive below-inflation awards since 2010.

In Scotland, the union has paused announcing strike action after the devolved government in Edinburgh, which has responsibility for health policy, reopened pay talks.

UK health minister Steve Barclay said he was “hugely grateful for the hard work and dedication” of nurses and regretted the strikes.

The NHS has “tried and tested plans” to minimise disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate, he added.

“These are challenging times for everyone and the economic circumstances mean the RCN’s demands, which on current figures are a 19.2 percent pay rise, costing £10 billion a year, are not affordable,” he said.

The RCN has questioned the UK government’s economic rationale, noting it spends billions of pounds on agency staff to plug workforce gaps.

It points to independent research it commissioned indicating that the finance ministry would recoup 81 percent of the initial outlay of a significant pay rise through higher tax receipts and savings on future recruitment and retention costs.

In the last year, 25,000 nursing staff left the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register, it said.

Other UK health unions are also balloting workers for industrial action, while ambulance staff in Scotland are due to walk out on Monday.

Meanwhile, across the wider economy, numerous sectors look set to continue their strikes into the new year.

UK Top Court Rejects Scottish Independence Vote Plans

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon holds a press conference in Edinburgh on November 23, 2022 after the Supreme Court blocked a new vote on independence. The UK Supreme Court rejected a bid by the devolved Scottish government in Edinburgh to hold a new referendum on independence without the consent of London. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP)

 

Britain’s highest court on Wednesday rejected a bid by the devolved Scottish government in Edinburgh to hold a new referendum on independence without London’s consent.

The unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court torpedoed the Scottish nationalist government’s push to hold a second plebiscite next year.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who leads the Scottish National Party (SNP), said she respected the ruling, but accused Westminster of showing “contempt” for Scotland’s democratic will.

Scotland’s government will instead treat the next UK general election due by early 2025 as a “de facto referendum” on separation, she told a news conference.

“We must and we will find another democratic, lawful and constitutional means by which the Scottish people can express their will. In my view, that can only be an election,” she added.

Outside the court, David Simpson, 70, who first voted for the SNP in 1970, said he was still hopeful of achieving independence in the future.

“This is not the end of the road,” he told AFP. “There is nothing impossible.”

Alister Jack, the UK government’s secretary of state for Scotland, welcomed the ruling.

“People in Scotland want both their governments to be concentrating all attention and resources on the issues that matter most to them,” he said.

‘Mandate’

The Supreme Court’s Scottish president, Robert Reed, said the power to call a referendum was “reserved” to the UK parliament under Scotland’s devolution settlement.

Therefore “the Scottish parliament does not have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence”, Reed said.

Sturgeon’s SNP-led government in Edinburgh wanted to hold a vote next October on the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

The UK government, which oversees constitutional affairs for the whole country, has repeatedly refused to give Edinburgh the power to hold a referendum.

It considers that the last one — in 2014, when 55 percent of Scots rejected independence — settled the question for a generation.

But Sturgeon and her party say there is now an “indisputable mandate” for another independence referendum, particularly in light of the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Most voters in Scotland opposed Brexit.

Scotland’s last parliamentary election returned a majority of pro-independence lawmakers for the first time.

Opinion polls, however, indicate only a slight lead for those in favour of a split.

At the UK Supreme Court last month, lawyers for the government in London argued that the Scottish government could not decide to hold a referendum on its own.

Permission had to be granted because the constitutional make-up of the four nations of the United Kingdom was a reserved matter for the government in London.

Scotland not Kosovo

Lawyers for the Scottish government wanted a ruling on the rights of the devolved parliament in Edinburgh if London continued to block an independence referendum.

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain, Scotland’s top law officer, said Scottish independence was a “live and significant” issue in Scottish politics.

The Scottish government was seeking to create its own legal framework for another referendum, arguing that the “right to self-determination is a fundamental and inalienable right”.

But the Supreme Court rejected international comparisons raised by the SNP, which had likened Scotland to Quebec or Kosovo.

Reed said that international law on self-determination only applied to former colonies, or where a people is oppressed by military occupation, or when a defined group is denied its political and civil rights.

None of that applied to Scotland, the Supreme Court president said.

He also rejected the SNP’s argument that a referendum would only be “advisory” and not legally binding.

Any such vote would carry “important political consequences” regardless of its legal status, the judge said.

Sturgeon’s SNP ran in the 2021 Scottish parliamentary elections on a promise to hold a legally valid referendum after the Covid crisis subsided.

Man Utd’s Greenwood Faces Attempted Rape Trial Next Year

Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood will face trial next year on charges of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault, a judge said on Monday.

Greenwood, 21, arrived at court in Manchester, northwest England, wearing a hoodie bearing the slogan “Fumer tue” (Smoking kills in French) with a dark suit.

At a short hearing at the city’s Minshull Street Crown Court, the player spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.

Judge Maurice Greene set a start date of November 27, 2023, for the trial, which is expected to last 10 days.

The footballer had his bail extended on condition that he does not contact witnesses or the complainant.

Greenwood spent two days remanded in custody in October after an alleged breach of bail conditions.

He was first arrested in January over allegations relating to a young woman after images and videos were posted online.

Within hours of the allegations surfacing online in January, Greenwood was suspended from playing or training with United and has not played for the club since.

The attempted rape is alleged to have taken place in October 2021.

The controlling and coercive behaviour relates to a period beginning in November 2018.

He is alleged to have made threatening and derogatory comments towards the complainant, as well as accessing and monitoring her social media accounts.

The charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm is dated December 2021.

All three charges relate to the same complainant. Greenwood did not enter any pleas and a further procedural hearing was set for February 10 next year.

Greenwood has played 129 times for United, scoring 35 goals.

A product of the club’s academy — and once considered one of English football’s brightest prospects — he signed a new contract in February 2021 that runs until at least 2025.

Greenwood made his England debut against Iceland in September 2020, but he and Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden were sent home after breaching the team’s coronavirus guidelines.

Nike suspended and later terminated its sponsorship deal with the player, while Electronic Arts confirmed his removal from active football squads.

UK’s New PM Heads To G20 With Veiled Attack On China

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (C) arrives at the Ngurah Rai International Airport ahead of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia on November 14, 2022. (Photo by Firdia Lisnawati / POOL / AFP)

 

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak headed to his debut G20 summit Sunday urging world powers to unite against exploitation of the global economy by “malign actors”.

After becoming the UK’s third premier this year, Sunak is set to have his first bilateral meetings with US President Joe Biden and other world leaders at the summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Beyond supporting Western unity against Russia over Ukraine, Sunak wants allies to shore up the international financial system including the World Trade Organization, according to Downing Street.

Developing nations must have access to credit for economic growth without becoming reliant on “exploitative” lenders, Sunak is expected to tell the summit, echoing past G7 criticism of China.


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The WTO should be reformed to curb the “manipulation of global markets by malign actors”, he will also say in another coded critique of G20 member China.

Sunak’s pre-summit warnings against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime have been clearer.

“We will call out Putin’s regime, and lay bare their utter contempt for the kind of international cooperation and respect for sovereignty forums like the G20 represent,” he said in a statement Saturday.

While Putin is not attending the summit, Sunak’s spokesman said the prime minister would confront Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Bali.

Some pundits had queried whether Sunak might go soft on Russia in view of the economic crisis affecting Britain, on the back of surging energy prices.

But Sunak’s spokesman told reporters that Britain’s support for Ukraine “will not fade or alter”.

In Bali, Sunak “will speak with our allies in one voice on this”, the spokesman added.

Sunak is due to return to Britain early on Thursday and head straight into his finance minister’s presentation of an emergency budget statement.

The statement is expected to include painful tax hikes and spending cuts, after Sunak’s short-lived predecessor Liz Truss panicked markets with a spree of unfunded tax cuts.

Sunak said Thursday’s budget would “set out how we will get this country on the right path”.

“But addressing the biggest economic crisis in a decade will require a concerted effort by the world’s largest economies -– these are not problems we can solve alone,” he said before flying to Bali.

“At the G20, leaders need to step up to fix the weaknesses in the international economic system which Putin has exploited for years.”

Charles III Leads First Remembrance Sunday As King

Britain’s Catherine, Princess of Wales, (L) Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales (2L) and Britain’s King Charles III (R) attend the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 12, 2022. (Photo by CHRIS RADBURN / POOL / AFP)

 

Charles III is to take part in his first Remembrance Sunday event as king, laying a wreath in tribute to UK and Commonwealth war dead, as Britain’s new prime minister also lauds Ukraine’s defenders.

The 73-year-old monarch had previously deputised for his mother Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September aged 96 after a year of failing health.

Since 2017, she had watched the annual service from a balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) overlooking the Cenotaph.

Last year a back complaint forced her to miss the ceremony in central London, just weeks after an unscheduled overnight stay in hospital.

Charles, who served in the Royal Navy in the 1970s, laid a wreath on her behalf.


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Now king and commander-in-chief of British forces, he will lay his first wreath at the war memorial as reigning monarch.

The ring of red artificial poppies — Britain’s symbol of remembrance — is mounted on black leaves, with a ribbon in the king’s scarlet, purple and gold horseracing colours.

Buckingham Palace said a similar wreath would be laid on behalf of his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, for the first time.

Camilla, 75, will watch the event from the FCDO balcony.

Two minutes’ silence marks the start of the sombre tribute. It begins on the stroke of 1100 GMT with the distinctive chime of Big Ben, which returns to regular service after a five-year renovation.

New Conservative leader Rishi Sunak will attend his first Remembrance Sunday as prime minister.

“This year more than ever, we are reminded of the huge debt of gratitude we owe those who lay down their lives to protect their country,” Sunak said in a statement.

“As we fall silent together on Remembrance Sunday, we will honour the memories of the men and women we have lost, and pay tribute to the brave soldiers of Ukraine as they continue their fight for freedom.”

Remembrance Sunday is the culmination of days of events to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in conflict.

On Thursday Camilla laid a cross at the Field of Remembrance outside London’s Westminster Abbey, alongside 70,000 other symbols left by military associations, and a space dedicated to the late queen.

On Friday — Armistice Day, marking the end of hostilities in World War I — a service was held at the National Memorial Arboretum in central England.

The king, queen and senior family members on Saturday attended an annual concert organised by the Royal British Legion veterans’ charity.

On Sunday, around 10,000 veterans will march past the Cenotaph including 400 who fought in the Falklands War, 40 years ago.

Other royals expected on Sunday include Charles’s eldest son and heir, Prince William, and William’s wife Kate.

Rishi Sunak, Set To Be The UK’s First Hindu PM

New Conservative Party leader and incoming prime minister Rishi Sunak waves as he arrives at Conservative Party Headquarters in central London having been announced as the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest, on October 24, 2022. AFP

 

 

Rishi Sunak, the Conservatives’ new leader, has capped a stunning political comeback that marks a dramatic rise to power for the son of immigrants from Britain’s old empire.

Liz Truss’s political implosion after just 44 days in office allowed the former finance minister to become the first prime minister of colour.

“Indian son rises over the empire,” read a headline on the Indian news channel NDTV, adding: “History comes full circle in Britain.”

At 42, Sunak will also become the youngest prime minister of modern times once he is confirmed in office by King Charles III.

The former hedge fund investor, an observant Hindu, failed in the summer to persuade the Tory grassroots that he was a better option than Truss.

But having correctly predicted her economic agenda would spark turmoil, he was able to throw his hat into the ring for a second time.

After securing the public support of more than half of Conservative MPs, his only remaining challenger Penny Mordaunt was forced to withdraw — following the failure of former leader Boris Johnson’s own bid.

Fabulously rich from his previous career in finance, Sunak faces daunting challenges in power, from an economic crisis to uniting his fractious party.

Some within it remain highly critical of Sunak, viewing him as disloyal for triggering the downfall of Johnson in July.

He has also been mocked as out of touch with Britons struggling with decades-high inflation — perhaps best symbolised by wearing expensive Prada loafers to a construction site visit on the summer campaign trail.

Video footage also emerged of a 21-year-old Sunak — educated at Winchester College, an exclusive private school, and the University of Oxford — talking about his friends.

“I have friends who are aristocrats, I have friends who are upper-class, I have friends who are, you know, working-class,” he says, before adding: “Well, not working-class.”

‘Dishy Rishi’

Rishi Sunak, Britain’s former chancellor of the exchequer and candidate to become the next prime minister, delivers a speech at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London on July 12, 2022. Conservative party said, with 11 hopefuls currently vying for the job. (Photo by Niklas HALLE’N / AFP)

A details-oriented policy wonk with a background in economics, Sunak has sought to present himself as a stable choice at a time of crisis.

An early backer of Brexit, he took over as chancellor of the exchequer in February 2020 — a baptism of fire for the Tory rising star as the Covid pandemic erupted.

He was forced to craft an enormous economic support package at breakneck speed, which he now insists must be paid off with sound fiscal plans.

In India, Sunak is better known through his wife, Akshata Murty. She is the daughter of Indian tycoon Narayana Murthy, the billionaire co-founder of information technology group Infosys.

The Sunaks met while studying in California and they have two young daughters, along with a photogenic dog.

The ex-minister’s Instagram-friendly profile earned him the media nickname of “Dishy Rishi”.

Until last year, he held a US Green Card — which critics said suggested a lack of long-term loyalty to Britain.

And he has been dogged by difficult questions over Murty’s failure until recently to pay UK taxes on her Infosys returns, which opinion polls suggest was viewed with deep disfavour by voters.

Sunak has also been damaged by the scandals of Johnson’s tumultuous premiership.

He ended up with a police fine for breaching Covid rules after joining a birthday gathering for the then-prime minister at Downing Street.

Johnson was also fined following an investigation into the “Partygate” affair.

Along with the controversy over his family fortune, the scandal sullied the reputation of the teetotal Sunak, who admits only to a fondness for Coca-Cola and sugary confectioneries.

Waiter to wealth

Britain’s former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Conservative MP, Rishi Sunak leaves from an office in central London on October 23, 2022. British Conservative Rishi Sunak on Sunday announced he is standing to be prime minister, just weeks after failing in a first attempt and setting up a potentially bruising battle with his former boss Boris Johnson. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP)

Sunak represents the constituency of Richmond in Yorkshire, northern England — a safe and overwhelmingly white Conservative seat he took over in 2015 from former party leader and foreign secretary William Hague, who described him as “exceptional”.

Theresa May gave Sunak his first job in government in January 2018, making him a junior minister for local government, parks and troubled families.

Sunak’s grandparents were from Punjab in northern India and emigrated to Britain from eastern Africa in the 1960s.

They arrived with “very little”, Sunak told MPs in his maiden speech.

His father was a family doctor in Southampton on England’s south coast, and his mother ran a local pharmacy.

Sunak waited tables in a local Indian restaurant, before progressing to Oxford and then Stanford University in California.

He swears his oath of allegiance as an MP on the Hindu Bhagavad Gita.

He insists his own family’s experience, and that of his mega-rich wife’s, are a “very Conservative” story of hard work and aspiration.

Who Is Likely To Replace Truss As UK’s PM?

Liz Truss (Photo by Daniel LEAL / POOL / AFP)

 

Here are the main contenders who could run to succeed UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, after she announced her resignation on Thursday:

Rishi Sunak

Sunak, the former chancellor of the exchequer, lost convincingly to Truss in this summer’s Tory leadership vote among party members after she promised to slash taxes and regulations without curbing government spending.

This came after Sunak, 42, had garnered greater initial support among Tory MPs.

At hustings, he warned Truss’s plans were reckless and could worsen decades-high inflation and hurt market confidence in the UK.

Proved correct, Sunak has now emerged as the bookmakers’ early favourite.

A YouGov poll on Tuesday found he has the best approval ratings of the touted alternatives to Truss.

Yet he is viewed by some as divisive and out-of-touch: privately educated, wearing Prada loafers and married to an Indian billionaire’s daughter who avoided UK taxes.

Many party members, who could make the final decision, are also unwilling to forgive him for his role in ousting ex-prime minister Boris Johnson, his erstwhile close ally.

Boris Johnson

The former premier left office early last month after a revolt among his cabinet and Tory MPs, sparked by the resignation of Sunak and others, following months of controversies.

Encouraged by several strong hints from Johnson himself, speculation has swirled ever since that he would attempt a comeback — though few expected it to happen this quickly.

The Times and The Daily Telegraph wrote Friday that the 58-year-old was privately asking MPs to back him in the race.

The ever-ebullient Brexit figurehead remains popular with a section of Conservative MPs and the party. But his brand among the wider electorate was severely damaged by his scandal-tainted three-year tenure.

A recent YouGov poll showed that around two-thirds of respondents had an unfavourable opinion of him.

Johnson has kept a low profile since resigning, giving a paid speech in the United States last week and now holidaying in the Caribbean.

He was thought to favour Truss in the summer leadership contest — although his former top aide-turned-arch-critic Dominic Cummings argued that this was because he expected her tenure to be disastrous and short-lived, paving the way for his return.

Penny Mordaunt

The current cabinet member, 49, was an early grassroots favourite to succeed Johnson, and came close to beating Truss to make the final run-off against Sunak.

The former defence and trade junior minister was a strong Brexit supporter and a key figure in the 2016 “Leave” campaign.

But she faced criticism during the recent leadership race, with some MPs dismissing her as ineffective in government roles.

Mordaunt’s profile rose this week after she was sent out Monday in place of Truss to answer an urgent question in parliament from the Labour opposition about the recent economic turmoil.

Mordaunt was seen as coping well with the febrile House of Commons session, where she was forced to confirm the absent prime minister was “not (hiding) under a desk”.

Among other potential runners, new finance minister Jeremy Hunt and former cabinet heavyweight Michael Gove were both said to have ruled themselves out, while Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has remained silent.

Johnson Eyes Comeback As UK Tories Race To Replace Truss

 

Contenders to succeed British Prime Minister Liz Truss canvassed for support Friday, with her predecessor Boris Johnson reportedly considering a sensational comeback as he picks up dozens of early nominations from Conservative MPs.

Truss’s announcement Thursday that she will resign after less than seven weeks in office has also prompted renewed calls from opposition parties for an early general election to end months of political chaos.

After her tax-slashing mini-budget last month sparked economic turmoil, two departures from her new cabinet and an eventual revolt by Tory lawmakers, Truss admitted she “cannot deliver the mandate” party members had handed her in the prior leadership contest.

British newspapers featured sombre images of Truss’s last speech outside the door of No. 10 Downing Street, with leftwing broadsheet The Guardian headlining its front page: “The bitter end”.

Truss only succeeded Johnson on September 6 after a weeks-long campaign against Tory rival Rishi Sunak, vowing a radical overhaul as Britons struggle with a cost-of-living crisis.

Having warned correctly of the disastrous consequences of her debt-fuelled tax promises, former finance minister Sunak has emerged as an early favourite to succeed Truss.

But the scandal-tarred Johnson may also be in the mix for a dramatic comeback bid, despite leaving Downing Street with dismal poll ratings.

“He couldn’t could he…” read the front page headline of the Tory-supporting Daily Express tabloid.

Conservative party managers announced a truncated election process, which requires candidates to garner 100 nominations from colleagues by Monday afternoon, ahead of another possible vote of members next Friday if two remain in the race.

‘Mandate’

So far there are no formal contenders, but the contest was widely expected to be a three-horse race between Sunak, Johnson and senior cabinet member Penny Mordaunt.

Political website Guido Fawkes, which is running a rolling spreadsheet of Tory MPs’ declared support, had Johnson on 52, Sunak on 47 and Mordaunt on 18 by early Friday.

Rightwing broadsheet The Daily Telegraph reported Johnson was set to fly back from a holiday in the Caribbean and was urging MPs to back him.

An ally told the paper that if the Tories want to avoid losing the next general election, “they need to revert” to Johnson as “the guy with a mandate who is a seasoned campaigner”.

There are precedents, The Telegraph wrote, with Harold Wilson and Winston Churchill both returning for a second stint after leaving office — albeit not mere weeks after being forced out.

Johnson in his final question time in parliament in July dropped a hint, saying: “hasta la vista baby”.

The Times reported some Tory MPs were threatening to quit the party if the divisive figure returned as leader, however.

Tory MP Crispin Blunt told the BBC that Johnson was a “fantastic communicator” but Sunak was “a much more serious personality” who could impart a “serious message” to the country.

Some senior figures including new finance minister Jeremy Hunt have already ruled themselves out, while others such as Defence Secretary Ben Wallace have remained silent.

Other candidates could include a representative of the party’s right such as Suella Braverman, whose resignation as interior minister Wednesday helped trigger Truss’s downfall.

– ‘Soap opera’ –
Contenders have until 2:00 pm (1300 GMT) on Monday to produce the minimum 100 nominations from their fellow Tory MPs.

That means a maximum of three candidates will emerge from among the 357 Conservatives in the House of Commons.

If necessary, they will vote to leave two candidates standing, and hold another “indicative” vote to tell the party membership their preferred option.

If no single candidates emerges, the rank-and-file will then have their say in an online ballot next week.

The Telegraph called the truncated process “sensible” in an editorial.

But for Labour and other opposition parties, the governing party is showing contempt towards the electorate.

Demanding an immediate general election, more than two years ahead of schedule, Labour leader Keir Starmer said Britain “cannot have another experiment”.

“This is not just a soap opera at the top of the Tory party — it’s doing huge damage to the reputation of our country,” he said as the Labour Party showed a runaway lead in the polls.

The Guardian backed an early general election, saying only this would “give the British people the fresh start that they need and deserve”.

But former Tory minister Nicky Morgan told Times Radio that a general election was “the last thing that the country needs”.

Who Is Invited To Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral And Who Was Not?

Members of the public pay their respects at 4.57am, as they view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, as it Lies in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on September 19, 2022.

 

Hundreds of foreign royals and heads of state are expected to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London on Monday for one of the biggest diplomatic gatherings in decades.

Westminster Abbey has space for about 2,000 people. Around 500 heads of state and foreign dignitaries along with their partners are expected, according to BBC and Sky News reports.

Also attending Britain’s first state funeral for six decades will be the queen’s family members, courtiers, public figures and UK politicians.

World royalty

A host of royals from Europe and further afield have confirmed their attendance at the funeral for Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will attend — their first overseas trip since assuming the throne in 2019. The visit marks a departure from Japanese tradition, which rarely sees the emperor attend funerals.

Europe’s royal families are closely related after centuries of mingling their bloodlines, so it will be no surprise to see several monarchs from the continent.

King Harald V of Norway, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Philippe, King of the Belgians will all attend.

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, who scrapped a series of events marking her 50th jubilee following the death of her third cousin, Queen Elizabeth, is also coming.


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Spain’s King Felipe VI will be there with his wife Queen Letizia. So too will his father, former king Juan Carlos I, who abdicated in disgrace in 2014 and now lives in self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates.

Although Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and its de facto ruler, had been invited, it emerged late on Sunday that he would not be attending.

There has been international outrage at the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey by Saudi agents.

Global leaders

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s wife, Olena, seems likely to attend, having visited the queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall on Sunday.

US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill head the diplomatic guest list and flew into Britain late on Saturday, also paying their respects in front of the coffin on Sunday.

Unlike some other leaders who have been asked to come in motor coaches arranged by the British government, Biden has reportedly been given permission to use his armoured presidential limousine, known as The Beast.

French President Emmanuel Macron will attend, the Elysee Palace said, to show the “unbreakable” bond with Britain and pay respects to the “eternal queen”.

He is also among the leaders allowed to use their own transport, British officials said.

Authoritarian Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil are also coming.

China will send its vice-president, Wang Qishan, at the UK government’s invitation.

Despite Britain’s Brexit divorce from the European Union, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council head Charles Michel will go as well.

Other heads of state at the funeral will include Presidents Sergio Mattarella of Italy, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Isaac Herzog of Israel and Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea.

In a symbolic move to pay tribute to the queen, whose 2011 state visit to the Republic of Ireland helped heal decades of tensions over Northern Ireland’s position in the UK, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin will be present.

– Commonwealth countries –
Numerous leaders will come from countries where Queen Elizabeth was the head of state.

They include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese and New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern.

Leaders will also come from other states in the 56-nation Commonwealth, of which Queen Elizabeth was the symbolic figurehead.

They include South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Fijian PM Frank Bainimarama.

Not invited

Due to strained ties, the United Kingdom has opted to invite ambassadors, not heads of state, from several countries — Iran, Nicaragua and North Korea.

Russia and Belarus are among a small group of nations excluded altogether following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin — under a travel ban to the UK due to sanctions — had already said he would not attend.

But not inviting any Russian representative to the queen’s funeral was “particularly blasphemous towards Elizabeth II’s memory” and “deeply immoral”, the foreign ministry spokeswoman in Moscow said Thursday.

Russia and Belarus have embassies in London and their presidents sent King Charles III messages of condolences.

Other countries with no invitations are Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela and Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

Five Things To Know About The Queen’s Coffin Procession

Lady usher of the Black Rod, Sarah Clarke arrives to pay her respects at 06:29am after the final members of the public paid their respects pay their respects, passing the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, Lying-in-State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on September 19, 2022.

 

The ceremonial processions taking Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin to London’s Westminster Abbey and then towards her burial place at Windsor reflect the ancient traditions of the British monarchy.

Hauled by the Royal Navy

Royal Navy sailors will use ropes to pull the queen’s lead-lined coffin mounted on a gun carriage from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey. Their comrades in a team of 142 sailors will walk alongside to act as a brake if necessary.

This tradition dates back to Queen Victoria’s funeral in February 1901.

The horses meant to haul the gun carriage weighing more than two tons panicked and began kicking, threatening to drop the coffin.


READ ALSO: Who Is Invited To Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral And Who Was Not?


One of the queen’s relatives, Prince Louis of Battenberg, a Royal Navy captain, suggested to the new king, Edward VII, that this problem could be avoided by replacing horses with sailors.

Nine years later when Edward VII himself died, this idea was put into practice again and it has since become an unchanging tradition at state funerals.

Pallbearers in bearskins

Eight soldiers from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards will have the task of carrying the queen’s coffin from Westminster Hall to the gun carriage outside, and then into Westminster Abbey.

One of the most ancient in the British army, the regiment is among five infantry regiments that make up the Queen’s (now King’s) Life Guard.

The regiment’s soldiers normally wear tall bearskin hats, a uniform they copied from the grenadiers of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, defeated at Waterloo in 1815.

The soldiers will be accompanied by Service Equerries to the Queen, attendants who assist the royals in carrying out public duties.

Guard of Honour

Three regiments will play a particularly important role in the procession, marching very close to the queen’s coffin.

The Yeomen of the Guard, the oldest military unit in the British Army created in 1485, and the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms are two former bodyguard units for the royals that now perform only a ceremonial role.

The Yeomen of the Guard always wear a red-and-gold uniform dating back to the Tudor era (16th century).

One of their best-known activities is searching the Palace of Westminster for gunpowder before the State Opening of Parliament.

This annual ritual commemorates the Gunpowder Plot, a failed attempt led by Guy Fawkes to blow up King James I and parliament in 1605.

They will be followed by members of the Royal Company of Archers, who acted as bodyguards for Elizabeth II whenever she was in Scotland.

Some detachments from other regiments in Britain and from the armed forces of the Commonwealth, a group of countries headed by the British monarch, will rejoin the funeral procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner near Buckingham Palace.

Elizabeth II’s royal house

While members of the royal family led by the new King Charles III will follow the casket, following them will be members of the queen’s royal household, including the most senior officer of the royal household, the lord chamberlain.

In front of them will come the pipers and drummers of the Scottish and Irish regiments, and the Brigade of Gurkhas made up of soldiers from Nepal who are part of the armed forces. There will also be 200 Royal Air Force musicians.

6,000 troops

Around 6,000 soldiers, sailors and air crew from the British armed forces will take part in the procession, Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Tony Radakin told the BBC on Sunday.

At several points along the route they will perform a royal salute, for example when they pass the Victoria Memorial commemorating the queen.

“For all of us, this is our last duty for Her Majesty the Queen and it’s our first prominent duty for His Majesty King Charles,” he said.

Who Is And Who Is Not Invited To Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral?

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, Lies in State in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster, in London. KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTHPOOLAFP

 

Hundreds of foreign royals and leaders are expected to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London on Monday in one of the biggest diplomatic gatherings in decades.

Westminster Abbey has space for around 2,000 people, so only heads of state and one or two guests have reportedly been invited to Britain’s first state funeral for six decades.

A handful of countries have meanwhile not been invited to the funeral due to political considerations — sparking a furious outburst in at least one case.

Here are some of the key guests, and some who did not make the list:

World royalty

A host of royals from Europe and further afield have confirmed their attendance at the funeral of one of the world’s longest-serving monarchs.

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will come, in their first overseas trip since assuming the throne in 2019. It also marks a departure from Japanese tradition which rarely sees the emperor attend funerals.

Europe’s royal families are closely related after centuries of mingling their bloodlines, so it will be no surprise to see several monarchs from the continent in the congregation.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and Crown Princess Beatrix, Philippe King of the Belgians, King Harald V of Norway and Prince Albert II of Monaco will all attend.

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, who scrapped a series of events marking her 50th jubilee following the death of her third cousin Queen Elizabeth, is also coming.

Spain’s King Felipe VI will be there too — and so will his father, former king Juan Carlos I, who abdicated in disgrace in 2014 and now lives in self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates.

Global leaders

US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden head the diplomatic guest list, after the White House confirmed they would come to the funeral.

Unlike some other leaders who have been asked to come in coaches arranged by the British government, Biden has reportedly been given permission to use his armoured presidential limousine, known as The Beast.

French President Emmanuel Macron will also attend, the Elysee said, to show the “unbreakable” bond with Britain and pay respects to the “eternal queen”.

He is among the other leaders allowed to use their own transport, British officials said.

Strongmen leaders Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil are also coming.

Despite Britain’s Brexit divorce from the European Union, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and European Council head Charles Michel will be present as well.

Other heads of state at the funeral will include presidents Sergio Mattarella of Italy, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Isaac Herzog of Israel and Yoon Suk-yeol of Korea.

In a symbolic move to pay tribute to the queen whose 2011 state visit helped heal decades of tensions, Ireland’s Taoiseach, prime minister Micheal Martin, will also attend.

Leaders of realms and Commonwealth countries

Numerous leaders will come from the countries that still counted Elizabeth II as their monarch and from members of the 56-nation Commonwealth.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose nations have the British sovereign as their head of state, are all set to come.

From the Commonwealth of mainly former British colonies will come leaders including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.

Not invited

Russia and Belarus are among a small group of nations to be excluded from the queen’s funeral following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a British government source said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin — under a travel ban to the UK because of sanctions — had already said he would not attend.

But not inviting any Russian representative to the queen’s funeral was “particularly blasphemous towards Elizabeth II’s memory” and “deeply immoral”, the foreign ministry in Moscow said on Thursday.

Military-run Myanmar, a former British colony, and long-time pariah North Korea have also been snubbed, the British source said on condition of anonymity.