London Politics News LIVE: Boris Johnson says it’s ‘wrong’ that partygate damaged UK reputation abroad
Sinn Fein leader praises Queen for ‘life of service’
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has passed on her congratulations to the Queen on a ‘lifetime of service’ on her Platinum Jubilee.
Ms McDonald was reacting to the news that a tree was to be planted on the grounds of the Parliament Buildings in Stormont to mark the Jubilee.
The leader of the Republican Party said: “I think it’s important that we respect the identity of our British citizens.
“I think it’s completely appropriate and I welcome this decision.
“For those who will celebrate the jubilee, I wish them good luck and a happy jubilee and for those of us who do not believe that we are now big enough, bold enough, generous enough to recognize the identity of others.”
She added: ‘May I also give the British Queen a word of congratulations because 70 years is quite a record.
“That’s what you call a life of service.”
Watch: Lavrov mocks Truss after Ukraine talks
Here is the clip of Sergei Lavrov dismissing talks with Ms Truss earlier this afternoon.
Russian minister mocks ‘deaf’ Truss as Ukraine talks bog down in Moscow
The Russian foreign minister has claimed talking to British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is like “a deaf man talking to a blind man” as talks over the Ukraine crisis stall in Moscow.
Sergei Lavrov said he was “disappointed” at the lack of progress in negotiations as Ms Truss urged Russia to defuse amid growing fears it could invade Ukraine.
Ms Truss’s trip to Moscow was the first such visit by a foreign secretary in more than four years and comes as the British government seeks a “diplomatic route” to help defuse tensions on the Ukrainian border.
The latest estimates suggest Moscow has 130,000 troops massed in the border region and neighboring Belarus, close to the strength some analysts say is needed to stage a full-scale invasion.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Lavrov said the UK continued to ignore Russia’s security concerns.
“I’m kind of disappointed that it’s kind of like talking to a deaf person,” he said. “It’s as if they were listening to us but not hearing.”
Senior British diplomats meet Taliban to discuss humanitarian situation
Senior British diplomats met with senior Taliban figures to discuss the “catastrophic” humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
The UK does not recognize the Taliban regime which seized power in 2020 amid chaotic scenes as Western forces retreated from Kabul.
UK Special Envoy for Famine Prevention Nick Dyer, UK Mission in Afghanistan Acting Chargé d’Affaires Hugo Shorter and Deputy Head of Mission Hester Waddams held talks with senior Taliban leaders.
“British officials returned to Afghanistan today for talks on how to respond to the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country,” a government spokesman said.
They met with Taliban figures, including foreign affairs chief Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi and intelligence director Abdul Haq Wasiq.
Starmer attacks the Stop The War coalition
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Stop the War coalition was “naive” and “supports authoritarian leaders who directly threaten democracies”.
In an opinion piece for the Guardian, Sir Keir said Russian President Vladimir Putin would view the campaign group as “signalling virtues”.
He wrote: “At best they are naive, at worst they actively rescue authoritarian leaders who directly threaten democracies.
“There is nothing progressive about showing solidarity with the aggressor when our allies need our solidarity and – above all – our practical help more than ever.”
Former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn is the deputy leader of the group, which will hold an online rally titled “No War in Ukraine: Stop NATO Expansion” on Thursday evening. Mr. Corbyn will speak at the event.
Scotland to drop face masks in schools
Pupils and teachers in Scottish secondary schools will no longer need to wear face masks in class from the end of this month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
She said the change – from February 28, when all schools have returned from mid-term break – is an “additional step to allow children and young people to return to a more normal experience at school. after many, many months of sacrifice.
Face coverings will still be required in other common indoor areas of secondary schools, the Prime Minister added, but this will be subject to ‘regular review’.
The announcement came 24 hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the latest domestic restrictions in England – including the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive – will likely be lifted later this month, “a full month earlier”.
Downing St wishes Prince Charles a ‘speedy recovery’ from Covid
Downing Street has said Boris Johnson hopes the Prince of Wales recovers quickly after testing positive for Covid-19.
A No 10 spokesperson said: ‘The Prime Minister wishes the Prince of Wales a speedy recovery.
UK ‘will not intervene militarily if Ukraine is attacked’, says PM
Boris Johnson said Britain was sending military support to Ukraine, but made clear it could not intervene militarily if attacked.
“Poland and the UK offer direct military support to our Ukrainian friends. We both believe in a sovereign and independent Ukraine,” he said in a clip pooled for broadcasters.
“The UK provided defensive weapons in the form of anti-tank missiles, we trained Ukrainian troops. That’s all we can do at the moment,” he said.
“Ukraine is not part of NATO. What we are defending is the right of Ukraine, like any other sovereign independent country, to aspire to it.
PM: ‘Obviously fake’ party damaged UK reputation
Boris Johnson has said it is “patently wrong” that partygate has damaged the UK’s international reputation, following criticism from former Prime Minister Sir John Major.
Ben Wallace: defensive equipment sent to Ukraine
Body armor, helmets and combat boots are among the latest equipment Britain has sent to Ukraine, the defense secretary has said.
Ben Wallace, in a written statement to MPs, said: “I can announce today that in response to a request from the Ukrainian government, we are providing additional defensive equipment including body armor, helmets and boots of fight.
“The first shipments arrived in Kyiv this week. This is a purely defensive capability and poses no threat to Russia.
“This package, requested by the Ukrainians, complements the training and capabilities Ukraine already has and those also provided by the UK and other allies in Europe and the US.”