‘I’d rather put my phone in a blender!’: No10 aides REFUSE to hand over private messages about prorogation after release of Operation Yellowhammer files on No Deal Brexit

  • The government forced to release redacted versions of the documents connected to no-deal Brexit planning
  • No10 refused the request to hand over communications of key advisers about decision to suspend Parliament
  • Operation Yellowhammer dossier says a no deal Brexit would lead to delays in medicine, and public disorder
  • Michael Gove said request for messages from aides was 'unprecedented, inappropriate and disproportionate'
  • Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the documents 'confirm the severe risks of a no-deal Brexit'
  • It comes on the same day an Edinburgh court decided that the prorogation of parliament was unlawful
  • Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve responded last night and renewed calls for a second referendum

Remainers today threatened to expel Boris Johnson from Parliament after he finally released the government’s No Deal risk assessment – but refused to hand over No10 aides’ private messages.

The government bowed to the will of the Commons by issuing redacted versions of the Operation Yellowhammer documents connected to no-deal Brexit planning, in response to MPs voting for it to happen.

But the PM refused to comply with a Commons demand to publish personal messages between special advisers -known in Westminster as Spads – about his controversial five week prorogation of Parliament. 

A Scottish court yesterday ruled that Mr Johnson had acted unlawfully in suspending the Houses, suggesting he might have misled the Queen about his ‘improper’ motive. 

One former adviser jibed that he would ‘rather put my phone in a blender’ than hand it over to rebel MPs.

However, former Tory Cabinet minister and rebel ringleader Dominic Grieve condemned the refusal to release the material and warned that Mr Johnson could be held in contempt of Parliament.

‘It could end up with the prime minister being expelled from the Commons, but it is for the House to decide,’ he told the Times.

The newly released government dossier of ‘worst case planning assumptions’ says a no deal Brexit would lead to delays in medicine, illegal fishing boats, public disorder, delays at the border and rising food prices for those on the lowest incomes. 

When most of the documents were leaked earlier this year, they were headed ‘base case’, and civil servants faced accusations of ‘scaremongering’.

No food shortages are predicted but a reduction in the ‘availability and choice of products’ is predicted if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Despite this, the document, which features 20 ‘key planning assumptions’ – one of which is partially redacted – reveal some very real concerns over a no deal exit including electricity price increases, delays to medicine imports, protests across the UK and disruption to the financial services sector. 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace tried to play down the dire scenario, saying the Government was planning ‘every day’ to mitigate the potential effects. 

‘That is why we are doing things about it,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ‘That is why the Chancellor opened his cheque book, that’s why we are spending the money on doing lots of things to mitigate those assumptions. 

‘Every day, we plan everything from whether we need to find alternative suppliers, whether we need to go out to the private sector to charter things, whether we need to plan using our Army or our police forces in certain scenarios.’ 

In a letter to Mr Grieve, Michael Gove said the request for communications from key aides – such as Dominic Cummings – to prorogue Parliament was ‘unprecedented, inappropriate and disproportionate.’ 

Mr Gove added that ‘to name individuals without any regard to their rights or the consequences goes beyond any reasonable right of parliament.’

Politicians and conservationists demand a ban on the ‘absolutely inexplicable’ trophy hunting of iconic endangered species such as elephants, rhinos and giraffes

  • A letter urging for a ban was signed by more than 50 MPs and 50 wildlife groups
  • his was given to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
  • The convention bans hunting for commercial trade but trophy hunting is exempt
  • United States is by a sizeable margin the largest importer of hunting trophy

Dozens of European politicians and conservation groups have called for ban on the trophy hunting of such endangered species as elephants, giraffes and rhinos.

Commercial trade in more than 1,000 endangered species of animals and plants is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

These animals are listed under the convention’s so-called Appendix I.

The hunting of animals for trophies, however, has been exempt from this ban, as the activity is deemed as being ‘non-commercial’.

The MPs and wildlife groups — which numbered more than 50 each — petitioned CITES for a wider ban on August 18, 2019

Dozens of European MPs and conservation groups have called for ban on the trophy hunting of such endangered species as elephants, giraffes and rhinos. Pictured, a baby giraffe that was killed by trophy hunter Charlie Reynolds, right, on a trip run by Umlilo Safaris of South Africa

The letter was given to CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero during the global wildlife conference being held in Geneva, Switzerland from August 17-28. 

The meeting is tasked with evaluating CITES’s rules — however the issue of trophy hunting had not been on the agenda for discussion.

‘A considerable number of Appendix I species trophies are traded each year (including) trophies of species listed as extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or near threatened on the IUCN Red List,’ the letter said.

It called on CITES to ‘treat the trade in hunting trophies in the same manner as it treats all other trade in wildlife.’

The convention, it added, must ‘implement an immediate moratorium on the import of all Appendix I species.’

The move comes after trophy hunters made headlines and dominated social media this past weekend with an image of a dead giraffe, slayed by trophy hunters, going viral. 

Outrage at the killing came from all over the world, including notorious outspoken condemner of trophy hunting and comedian Ricky Gervais, BBC star and ex-footballer Gary Lineker and Giles Coran, a British food writer and television presenter.

Many celebrities have thrown themselves behind the cause, including Kevin Pietersen the famed ex-England cricket player who is now an activist against rhino poaching.   

The signatories also called for a ban on the practice of rearing lions in captivity for the purpose of providing hunters with trophy kills.

Hunters are known to prey on a broad range of species, including cheetahs, crocodiles, elephants, giraffes, grey parrots and rhinoceros, as well as primates like chimpanzees.

Commercial trade in more than 1,000 endangered species of animals and plants is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Pictured, an Indian one-horned rhinoceros and its calf walk within the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam

‘CITES permits have been issued (to) hunters wanting to shoot and take home trophies of some of the world’s most endangered animals,’ said the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, which is lobbying for a change in the CITES’ rules.

A report by the campaign notes that the United States — the biggest importer of such trophies, by a considerable margin — has issued around an estimated 200,000 import permits in the past decade alone. 

This is figure is nine times that of the second-largest importer, China, whose permit issuing rate has surged from just 18  back in 2007 to 2,141 a decade later, the campaign noted.

The report also highlight a recent increase in trophy hunting by citizens of a number of other countries, including Austria, Belgium, Canada and Russia.

In Africa, government-licensed hunting is a common practice, with tourists paying to shoot a limited number of animals from selected species.

In defence of the controversial practice, countries that sell licenses for the trophy hunting of endangered species often note that the proceeds of such are used to fund conservation and anti-poaching activities.

They also cite wildlife experts who assert that hunting can, in moderation, help to aid long-term conservation projects — an opinion which is not universally shared.

The MPs and wildlife groups — which numbered more than 50 each — petitioned CIRES for a wider ban on August 18, 2019. Pictured, elephants cross the Mara River in south-west Kenya

The CITES exemption for trophy hunting is ‘absolutely inexplicable,’ Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting founder Eduardo Goncalves told the AFP.

Trophy hunting, he added, is a ‘global multi-million dollar industry’, which is ‘clearly commercial’.

‘The loophole that allows trophy hunters to shoot endangered species must be closed immediately.’

Angela Merkel tells Boris Johnson a Brexit deal to ditch the backstop CAN be done ‘in the next 30 days’ but warns Germany is prepared for No Deal in face-to-face meeting in Berlin

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Angela Merkel delivered a Brexit boost to Boris Johnson today as she said ditching the backstop was possible if the UK can come forward with a practical and workable alternative within the next 30 days as she also insisted Germany is ready for a No Deal split. The German Chancellor said if the UK could solve the ‘conundrum’ of the Irish border protocol then she would be willing to listen to the proposals. Mr Johnson welcomed the ‘blistering timetable of 30 days’ as he said he agreed the ‘onus is on us to produce those solutions’ as he suggested the previous government led by Theresa May had failed to adequately set out alternatives.

Millionaire businessman behind Ghd hair straighteners Martin Penny, 63, was found hanged in his bedroom by his wife after he feared he would go bankrupt

Father-of-two Martin Penny, 63, (left) who was worth £80m after his ghd products (inset, and right) took the world by storm, hanged himself in the master bedroom of his home in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. His family told the hearing of their concerns about how he was suffering from insomnia and anxiety, how he feared bankruptcy and said his condition deteriorated after he was prescribed a number of different drugs. Sister Barbara Penny told the Harrogate inquest: ‘He had anxiety all his life. ‘He had never talked about suicide ever until he took those drugs. I have never seen him in that state ever.’ Mr Penny’s wife Diana found him dead in the master bedroom of their home on June 18, last year.

Young mother, 22, slams ‘inconsiderate’ commuters who refused to give up seats on packed train forcing her to breastfeed baby son on floor

  • Sophie Molineux, 22, was forced to sit on a train floor as she breastfed her baby
  • She and her partner stood up, taking turns carrying the baby on the journey

Sophie Molineux, 22, was travelling from Shropshire to Ludlow Castle for a day out with her partner Rob Moore, 25, when she was forced to breastfeed baby Chester, one, on a ‘filthy’ train floor (pictured main). Miss Molineux (inset with Chester) said other passengers ‘refused to acknowledge her’ and there were ‘so many who would have been able to stand up’ and offer her a seat. She added plenty more walked past her while she was breastfeeding but still made no offer to help and she added she hoped to raise awareness so people might be ‘more considerate’ in the future.

Prince Andrew brushes off paedophile Jeffrey Epstein fallout with a round of golf as he takes to Spain’s Valderrama course

Prince Andrew has taken time away from the fallout following Jeffrey Epstein’s death by playing golf in Spain. The Duke of York – who was friends with the late paedophile – has been keeping a low profile in the luxurious development of Sotogrande and playing golf at Valderrama, which costs €400 a round excluding a buggy. The 59-year-old royal, who is the Queen’s third child, has also attended a friend’s 50th birthday and gone for lunch and dinner at two exclusive restaurants, Cancha Dos and Gigi’s Beach, according to local media. Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied any knowledge of Epstein’s alleged behaviour. Buckingham Palace said in a statement said this week: ‘The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.

Murdered newlywed officer Andrew Harper, 28, was ‘dragged under burglars’ getaway van for hundreds of yards before being hit by a police dog vehicle’ – as inquiry focuses on nearby travellers’ camp

PC Andrew Harper (pictured left) was attending the scene in Sulhamstead, near Reading, before he was dragged down the road by a Seat van and reportedly then hit by police dog unit vehicle. A witness said he heard an officer yelling: ‘Stay with me, stay with me, keep breathing,’ as PC Harper lay fatally injured in the road. PC Harper and his bride were due to go on honeymoon next week, but late on Thursday night the couple’s dreams were shattered in the cruellest fashion when the officer lost his life in the line of duty. Yesterday officers were seen attending a nearby Travellers’ site near Burghfield, where inquiries were carried out in relation to the incident (pictured bottom right). Top right: An overview of the scene.

Alexis Sanchez could be ‘made to train with Man United RESERVES

We look our best in subdued colors, sophisticated cuts, and a general air of sleek understatement. When I was young, I lived like an old woman, and when I got old, I had to live like a young person.

 

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