PolLaw Express: 21st August edition.

Your daily dose of politics and the law. NI intrigued? Covered. UK focused? Sure. US-centric? You got it.

PolLaw Express blog photo

Welcome to the daily news round-up via my e-newspaper. Here are the top stories from today:

  1. How Oscar Pistorius’s release from prison was blocked (via The Guardian)
    ~ There was confusion and outrage following the announcement that Pistorius was due to be released from prison, only for the confusion to be increased following a U-turn decision preventing his release.

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was due to be released from prison and subjected to house arrest today. He has just finished serving 10 months of the five-year sentence he received last year for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. However, the country’s Justice minister, Michael Masutha, challenged this initial decision for early prison release and sent the case to the parole review board.

Confusion was added to the initial public outrage due to differing legal interpretation. Masutha, when sending the case to the parole review board, referred to the letter of the law: it says a prisoner “shall serve at least one sixth of his sentence before being considered” prior to parole. The Justice Minister said the parole board should only have begun considering parole on Friday, after Pistorius had completed a sixth of his sentence. However, the parole board had decided that Friday was the date on which Pistorius could be released into correctional supervision.

However, this article examines the case and queries whether there was a political influence behind the decision to prevent the early prison release of Pistorius, adding that ‘this is not the first time that we have seen high-level intervention in the Pistorius case.’

2. Iraq Inquiry: Lord Morris says PM could ‘pull plug’ on Chilcot report (via BBC News)
~ Well, whilst we are still Waiting for Chilcot, the former Attorney General for Tony Blair has stated that Prime Minister David Cameron may yet step in and ‘pull the plug’ on the inquiry into the Iraq war.

The independent inquiry was established in 2009, with a report due date set for 2011. Chairman Sir John Chilcot has previously written to Cameron, saying he is unable to set or estimate a timetable for publication.

Lord Morris, a former Attorney General, branded the inquiry committee a ‘disgrace’ for delaying its report, and Parliament could vote to force it to publish its report. However, another former Attorney General Dominic Grieve told the BBC he disagreed with Lord Morris calling for a parliamentary vote on the inquiry in order to speed up publication of the inquiry’s report.

The inquiry was commissioned then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown to investigate the background to UK involvement in the Iraq War, which had commenced when Tony Blair was Prime Minister in 2003. To date, it has cost around £10 million.

A spokesman for the Chilcot inquiry delivered a statement to the BBC, saying:

 ‘Sir John and his colleagues understand the anguish of the families of those who lost their lives in the conflict…

‘A timetable for the completion of the report will be provided once the Maxwellisation process is complete.’

To paraphrase that which Vladimir and Estragon said in Waiting for Godot:
“Let’s go.”
“We can’t.”
“Why not?”
“We’re waiting for Chilcot.”

(Can you tell that it is one of my favourite plays?)

3. Are Labour MPs worried about Jeremy Corbyn? (via BBC News)
~ With Liz Kendall recently saying she would ‘join the resistance’ of Labour MPs who would attempt to thwart the more radical plans of Corbyn if he were to win, is there perhaps a growing number of Labour MPs and supporters concerned about the consquences of a Corbyn victory?

Corbyn may be aware of this murmurs. He has recently stated he would expect Labour MPs to support his plans if he wins, saying if his party’s MPs refused to back his policy agenda, he would utilise his grassroots supporters.

Yet some MPs believe the left-winger would find it almost impossible to command loyalty, considering his history of rebellion against successive Labour leaders. However, many MPs do not expect any immediate attempt to remove Mr Corbyn if he were to win the contest. It is thought that an attempted coup would be seen to be dismissing the democratic will of the party.

Shadow cabinet members Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt are already establishing a group called Labour for the Common Good to pursue alternative ideas and policies to those proposed by Corbyn.

(I also found this article from POLITICO EU to be intriguing. Asking how it has happened that Corbyn, who made the ballot at the last minute, is now on the verge of winning the leadership contest, the author states ‘it was a catalogue of accidents and mistakes.’)

4. From bailout to ballot box (via POLITICO EU)
~ A week is a long time in politics, but the past two days turned the week – and the country’s political scene – around in Greece.

On Thursday, the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation, thus calling for a snap election.This comes just seven months after he took office, and brings concerns of uncertainty and political instability to a debt-stricken country. This shock resignation announcement from Tsipras had followed weeks of speculation over a plotted rebellion by far-left members of his Syriza party over the Greece’s third bailout.  The result? The Greek electorate are to take to the polls for the third time in 2015.

The election is most likely to be held on the 20th September. This article highlights a very interesting point – Syriza, when elected in January of this year, promised to reject bailout terms forced on Greece. The party will now have to run on a pro-bailout message, following the recent -and desperately needed – bailout oversaw by Tsipras.

‘…the stakes will be much lower than in January. Back then, the challenger, Tsipras, vowed to tear up Greece’s bailout agreement and promised Greek voters everything from blocking privatization and erasing a large part of the public debt to repealing unpopular taxes, preventing further pension cuts and delivering a major boost to social spending….

This time around, having broken all those promises, Tsipras’s Syriza… will run, albeit grudgingly, as a pro-bailout party.’

The article also highlights the price to be paid for the latest democratic action: potential new ministers have to be broken in, delaying negotiations on Greek debt. It may also lead to a worsening of the recession for this year.

5. Kevin McGuigan murder: Top PSNI officer confirms worse kept secret – members of the IRA carried out killing (via The Belfast Telegraph)
~ A story from my part of the world today, following on from the coverage around the recent murder of a prominent Belfast Republican. This is the news that confirms what we already knew – it was an IRA hit.

The murder of  Kevin McGuigan was apparently a joint enterprise, which involved current members of the IRA and Action Against Drugs. As details of the ongoing police assessment emerged yesterday, it appears to confirm that the murder was a reprisal killing, made in retaliation for the murder of a leader within the IRA, Jock Davison. Detectives however have ‘no intelligence or evidence’ to link McGuigan to the Davison killing.

A senior police source described the murder as being the result of ‘two factions coming together to assist each other in a common goal.’
That the IRA may be involved will have political repercussions here.
First Minister Peter Robinson warned that Sinn Fein simply could not remain in the Executive if the IRA was found to be involved. He further said that he would confer with other parties and the Secretary of State to discuss and initiate exclusion procedures should this prove to be the case.
The IRA ordered and publicly declared the end of its armed campaign a decade ago, having initially declared a ceasefire in 1997; that it still seemingly actively exists will prompt further questions – and political concerns.

It just goes to show that they apparently haven’t gone away, you know.

To read these headlines and more besides, why not visit PolLaw Express?


PolLaw Express: 17th August edition.

Your daily dose of politics and the law. NI intrigued? Covered. UK focused? Sure. US-centric? You got it.

PolLaw Express blog photo

Welcome to the daily news round-up via my e-newspaper. Here are the top stories from today:

(We have quite the jam-packed day, so let’s get straight into it.)

Spotted, part one: This article from The New York Times, discussing whether ‘online journalism’ in an attempt to remain relevant, modern for so-called ‘target audiences’ and endure in a fast-paced market is actually sacrificing genuine and informative journalism for cheap ‘click bait’.

I follow a lot of newspapers on social media platforms, and I have found click bait to be an increasingly common trend. Some newspapers repost old articles from months ago in an attempt to appear on timelines, others post tweets deliberately written in ‘internet speak’ or exploiting old memes in a clear attempt to appear ultra modern for the average social media user.

Oh, please.

Click bait is boring, too obvious and rather pathetic – if you cannot clearly identity and target an audience with a well-researched and intelligent piece of journalism, then whisper it, but perhaps you should not be posting news pieces at all?

Spotted, part two: this article focusing on Facebook and its latest attempt of being everything to everyone.

This time, it has updated and revamped its ‘Notes’ section on a user’s page (that section is often left untouched, I know I for one never use(d)it) as it now seeks to attract bloggers et al to Facebook.

So, not only will people be continuing to post in detail about their nights out and their Starbucks coffee, but we can now be subjected to blog posts from our friends, too.

  1. Why most of the ‘Stop Corbyn’ schemes won’t work (via BBC News)
    ~ It’s that great conundrum, is it not? Tell people ‘don’t think of elephants’, so naturally they automatically think of elephants. The case in point right now is that there is a giant white-vest wearing elephant in the room, and senior Labour members do not know how best to deal with him as he comes ever closer to claiming the leadership crown. (Or military-style hat, seeing as the man himself would like to see the back of the monarchy in the UK.)

    This article discusses how many ‘stop Corbyn’ schemes – or to borrow the catchy Campbell slogan, ‘ABC – Anyone But Corbyn’ devised by those aiming to stop his victory will not work, whether it is through media criticism or circumnavigating contest regulations to exploit loopholes.

    Voters in the Labour leadership contest are given the chance to rank the standing candidates in order of preference. The first preferences are counted up, and the person with the fewest is eliminated from the contest – and the votes they received are given to whoever each person that voted for them rated as their second preference, and so on. If none of the candidates achieve 50% of the vote, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and their votes are given to whoever they put as their higher preference amongst the two remaining candidates.

    So based on current polling, it all comes down to attempting to predict whether those voting for Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper are more likely to put Corbyn as their next preference.

    The problem is, there is no decent publicly available evidence that either of them are.  There is also no arithmetic reason why non-Corbyn candidates withdrawing would prevent a Corbyn victory.

    The only way you can affect the number of votes Corbyn gets is by trying to second-guess the second preferences of people who vote for eliminated candidates. But, as the article demonstrates, there is still no obvious way to tactically out-vote Corbyn. Rather ironic for a candidate who only made the short-list at the last-minute, isn’t it?

    Spotted: this sarcastic gem of a line by article author Ed Brown:  ‘Crazy thought though it might be, you can happily vote for candidates on the basis of, y’know, how good you think they are.’

2. Labour  leadership contest: David Miliband backs Kendall (via BBC News)
~ His brother stole the leadership crown from under his nose, but now Miliband Senior seeks to influence another leadership contest by announcing his support for Liz Kendall.

NB. The irony. The Unions opted for Ed, to David’s expense. Given this, perhaps this is why David (a true Blairite) is supporting Kendall (another Blairite)? Corbyn has undoubtedly the majority of union support.

David Miliband wrote in The Guardian (once you translate the political theory and history lessons) of how a Corbyn victory would only succeed in taking the party ‘backwards’, and also warned that the ‘angry defiance’ of his campaign would lead only to electoral defeat.

He said he was backing Kendall  as leader, but she herself has acknowledged that she is trailing in the polls.

This comes as Andy Burnham said he would offer Corbyn a role in the party if he won the contest. He also said that only he could beat Corbyn and unite the party, whilst praising his opponent and saying he shared many of his views

But Yvette Cooper said Burnham should withdraw from the race if he was not prepared to oppose the left-winger.

3. UK inflation rate rises to 0.1% (via BBC News)
~ The UK’s inflation rate turned positive in July, with the Consumer Prices Index measure rising to 0.1% from June’s 0%.

According to the Office for National Statistics, this can be mainly attributed to a  smaller fall in the price of clothing. The Retail Prices Index measure of inflation was unchanged at 1%.

CPI has been almost flat for the past six months, having turned negative in April for the first time since 1960.

This follows on from the considerable speculation over when the Bank of England – which has a target inflation rate of 2% – might start to raise interest rates, triggered by comments made by the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. (You can read my blog post on this talk delivered by Mr Carney here.)

However, Mr Cameron has said it was ‘hard to envisage a rate rise this side of Christmas’.

This comes as a policy-maker from within the Bank of England has warned against waiting too long to actually raise interest rates, saying that this undermines the UK’s recovery.

Monetary Policy Committee member Ms Forbes said a rate hike took between one and two years to take full effect. As a result, rates would need to rise ‘well before’ inflation hit the Bank’s 2% target, she said.

4. BBC Trust chairwoman urges end to ‘political pressure’ (via BBC News)
~ The BBC/Government row has taken another turn.

The Chairwoman of the BBC Trust has stated her belief that politicians should stop pressurising the BBC and the public should have more of a say in its future.

Rona Fairhead, writing in The Indy, said that the BBC’s future must be ‘driven by evidence and fact, not by prejudice and not by vested interest’.

She also complains of MPs attempting to interfere in the broadcaster’s affairs.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has said a debate is needed over whether the BBC should become more ‘precise’.

The corporation’s Royal Charter is up for renewal next year.

Ms Fairhead said the public wanted independent scrutiny and regulation of the BBC, but that they wanted this done by a separate body representing licence fee payers, not by politicians:

‘That independence has needed defending over decades, not just from governments but also from parliament, with a growing tendency in recent years for select committees to question BBC executives about detailed editorial decisions.’

5. Stormont research shows low income is top reason for food bank use (via BBC News)
~ Quite a sad story from my neck of the woods today.

Research from the Department for Social Development shows that people rely on foodbanks for reasons other than problems with benefits.

The Department’s research has found that 33% of people in Northern Ireland use them because they are on a low income. This is compared to the 18% who are waiting for social security payments.

Social development minister, Mervyn Storey has said: ‘It is a situation which none of us should be happy with’.

He went on to say that this is an issue which involves:

‘society – not just government – but collectively we need to take a strong look at why this is happening in Northern Ireland’.

6. Mark Regan: ‘There’s huge health inequality between Northern Ireland and England’ (via The Belfast Telegraph)
~ This is a Q and A article involving the CEO of South Belfast’s Kingsbridge Private Hospital and the development director of its parent company, the 3fivetwo Group.

There are some good comments and quotes in the article, but this is the one which stood out for me:

There is a serious inequality in terms of elective healthcare here in Northern Ireland versus that in England. However, we must remember how fortunate we are to have an NHS that offers life-saving emergency surgery immediately. When it comes to non-emergency or elective surgery – that is things such as hip replacements, spinal surgery, cataracts and so forth – we are way off the pace in terms of the time you wait.

Did you know that, in England, the target which is achieved in the most part is for you to have surgery within 18 weeks from the day the hospital gets your GP referral letter? In Northern Ireland, that same composite target is around 50 weeks, and we failed to meet any of the targets in the most recent Department of Health’s report in relation to waiting times.

When asked whether whether he believed that waiting times for inpatient and outpatient treatment have improved, Mr Regan commented:

No, absolutely not. In each of the last four quarterly reports from the Department of Health, the figures have been getting worse. There has been little or no change in the plan, and the NHS is not able to rapidly increase capacity the same way the private sector can. The problem is, the report will show numbers and graphs, not the faces of the hundreds of thousands who are affected by this. Real people.

To read these headlines and more besides, why not visit PolLaw Express?

PolLaw Express: 13th August edition

Your daily dose of politics and the law. NI intrigued? Covered. UK focused? Sure. US-centric? You got it.

PolLaw Express blog photo

Welcome to the daily news round-up via my e-newspaper. Here are the top stories from today:

(We have quite the jam-packed day, so let’s get straight into it.)

  1. Connecticut court overturns death penalty and spares death row inmates (via The Guardian)
    ~ This article makes for an interesting read – I particularly found it intriguing given my year studying abroad in America, coming to understand to differences in legal reasoning and jurisdiction across the nation’s states.

    Three years after the state of Connecticut (traditionally a Democrat stronghold) abolished the death penalty for any future crimes, the state’s highest court today spared the lives of all 11 men who were already on death row when the law took effect, stating that it would be unconstitutional to execute them.

    Connecticut passed a law in April 2012 to repeal the death penalty – only for future crimes. The state has had just one execution since 1960, when serial killer Michael Ross was executed in 2005.

The ruling today comes in an appeal from Eduardo Santiago, whose attorneys had argued that any execution carried out after repeal would constitute as ‘cruel and unusual punishment’. Santiago had faced the possibility of lethal injection following his conviction in 2000 of murder-for-hire killing and being sentenced to the death penalty.

The Connecticut Supreme Court, in a 4-3 ruling, agreed with his position.

Santiago’s attorneys had argued that it would be wrong for some people to face the death penalty, whilst others face life in prison for similar murders.

2. John Bercow: Up to MPs to lift Commons applause ban (via BBC News)
~ An interesting little news story today, covering Parliamentary convention and the potential re-writing of same.

Speaker John Bercow,  who had previously rebuked SNP MPs for clapping in the Commons in May- has said that it  would be up to the MPs to lift the applause ban, if this is sought.

When speaking at the Edinburgh Festival, the Commons Speaker said, “If the House wants to change its procedures, it can, if they vote to do so.”

MPs currently register their approval by shouting: “Hear, hear!”

But if MPs lifted the ban on applause, the Speaker promised to be ‘the servant of that new procedure’.

When censoring the SNP MPs in May, Bercow further  advised them:

‘The convention that we do not clap in this chamber is very, very long established and widely respected, and it would be appreciated if members showed some respect for that convention.’

The SNP heeded the Speaker’s request and stopped their clapping in the chamber. although Mhairi Black recently remarked:

“So you’re not allowed to clap like an ordinary person, but you’re allowed to bray like a donkey.”

3. Yvette Cooper: Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies ‘not credible’ (via BBC News)
~ Yvette Cooper is aiming to force her way back into the Labour leadership contest, after weeks of Corbyn-dominant news. This statement of intent comes as the ballots are prepared to be distributed among the registered voters.

Cooper today said that her left-wing rival Jeremy Corbyn lacked economic credibility, and consequently he would keep Labour out of power. Conversely, Corbyn has insisted that his policies are ‘serious’ and he urged his rivals not to indulge in ‘personal abuse’.

Cooper has previously held back from directly criticising Mr Corbyn, but she issued a warning today of the dangers of a Corbyn victory.

In a speech in Manchester, she accused the Islington North MP of ‘bad economics’. She argued that his policies, which included renationalisation, quitting Nato and quantitative easing are not radical. In addition, she stated that they would not stand up to scrutiny, and most importantly would not get Labour elected.

Whilst her comments echo that of many within the Labour party, include senior members, there is a fear that further criticism of Corbyn merely strengthens his case. In addition, considering the increasing popularity of Corbyn, there is concern that criticising him ignores those within Labour who support a new direction for the party – one which is demanded by the electorate.

Rival candidate Andy Burnham has stated that such critical attacks on Mr Corbyn merely ‘misread the mood of the party’. He went on to state that there was a ‘yearning out there for a different style of politics’.

Cooper told BBC Newsnight there was a serious risk that the party would split if  Corbyn were to win the leadership contest:

‘I don’t want to see that happen, I can’t bear to see that happen because I think there is too much at stake and when you’ve got families who depend on Labour to stop their tax credits being cut, to say goodbye to power and to the possibility of winning the next election is wrong.’

When asked if she would sit in a Jeremy Corbyn shadow cabinet, Cooper replied that she would not be able to argue for policies such as the return of the Labour Party’s Clause IV.

She said that whilst she feared Labour could be out of power for a generation should Corbyn win, she would not walk away from the party.

4. Calais migrant crisis: Fences ‘push migrants elsewhere’ (via BBC News)
~ Following on from the news that around 2500 migrants were rounded up by Greek police and locked inside a stadium in the island of Kos for nearly 24 hours as Greek police are stretched to breaking point after an unprecedented wave of immigration, problems are still occurring in Calais.

French police have stated that any fences which are built to stop Calais migrants crossing to the UK will simply push the problem elsewhere. Such fences are considered to be a ‘short-term solution’ by the French police, who argue that migrants would simply move to places with weaker security.

The UK government has spent approximately £7 million on putting up new fencing, as ministers say that everything possible is being done to protect and secure the UK’s border.

5. DATA: Trump won the debate – or at least talked the most (via POLITICO)
~POLITICO went to Lazer Lab at Northeastern University and have spent the past week analysing and assessing the statistics following on from the recent Fox televised GOP debate. This article covers their – rather interesting – findings.

I took two main points from the article in question:

Firstly, it was all about The Trump. This is evident when considering both the number of words he spoke during the debate – which represents how much of the debate he controlled – and the number of turns he was given to speak – illustrating how often the moderators gave him control of the floor. Trump spoke almost twice as many words as Ted Cruz, or Rand Paul. He was also the sole candidate who spoke more than any of the moderators. In terms of the number of the number of times they were given the floor, the moderators gave the most attention to Trump (26 times). Perhaps this is why he lead the post-debate poll in Iowa? (See the PolLaw Express blog post from the 11th August at number five for details on the poll in question.)

Secondly, the GOP candidates tended to use the opportunity of a televised debate as a platform to criticise leading Democrats – when not criticising each other, that is. It clearly demonstrates that the Republicans are well aware of the threat posed to them by a certain Democrat candidate who goes by the name of Hillary Clinton.

A number of candidates mentioned Hillary Clinton, with Scott Walker mentioning her the most of any of the other candidates. President Barack Obama was also mentioned a number of times throughout the debate; the graph shows Cruz, Paul, and Bush all bringing him up.

6. Hillary Clinton email probe turns to Huma (via POLITICO)
~ Speaking of Hillary Clinton, how can I turn down the opportunity to bring up the latest chapter of her current headache, aka Emailgate?

Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s trusted confidante and aide, is increasingly becoming a central figure in the aforementioned email scandal that is causing her boss much woe on the campaign trail.

Republicans and federal judges, who are seeking information about Clinton’s communications while she was running the State Department, may now be preparing to question Abedin after Clinton told a federal judge that Abedin had had her own email account on Clinton’s server on Monday.

This comes as Clinton agreed to hand over her private computer server and several thumb drives containing thousands of emails to the FBI on Tuesday following the revelation that Clinton had at least two ‘top secret’ category emails stored on her unsecured computer network. Classified materials with national security implications are supposed to be stored in a secured area and only accessed by those who have special clearance.

On Wednesday, Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill dismissed questions about how the two issues — the email server and Abedin’s unusual work arrangement — may or may not have overlapped by accusing the political right of playing politics with this line of inquiry.

Congressional Republicans are now seeking to investigate Abedin’s ‘special government employee status’ when Clinton was Secretary of State, while suggesting that she may have had a conflict of interest.

As a result of this news, a memo has been sent by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to her supporters this week in an attempt to gain control of the situation by urging them to remain calm. Clinton not only has the above ongoing and increasingly complex Emailgate to contend with – she is currently witnessing diminishing polling numbers, and a summer surge by independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.

To read these headlines and more besides, why not visit PolLaw Express?

PolLaw Express: 12th August edition.

Your daily dose of politics and the law. NI intrigued? Covered. UK focused? Sure. US-centric? You got it.

PolLaw Express blog photo

Welcome to the daily news round-up via my e-newspaper. Here are the top stories from today:

  1. Labour prepares to elect new leader as registration deadline closes (via BBC News)
    ~ As the Labour party enters the final step of preparations for the upcoming leadership election, party officials are having to scrutinise thousands of new applicants seeking to register in the upcoming vote.

The latest figures show that almost 450,000 people are eligible to vote in the contest; as mentioned yesterday (see number three), Labour party officials have recently stated that as many as 1,200 applications have so far been rejected as bogus.

The four candidates have continuously urged their supporters to sign up and the deadline for registration – which has now passed – was actually extended after the party website suffered from apparent ‘technical issues’ which were addressed via the Labour party’s official twitter account.

Starting this Friday, ballots will be sent out to the registered supporters, with the result to be announced at a special conference on the 12th September.

There have, however, been concerned calls to postpone the contest over fears the leadership election is now under threat of being sabotaged by members of other parties.

These have been dismissed by the party, which says efforts to weed out non-party supporters will continue up until results day.

As noted by The New Statesman, some 610,753 people applied to vote in Labour’s leadership contest. After the deadline extension, the party today further gained 17,755 new members, 99,703 new affiliated members (from trade unions and socialist societies) and 51,295 new registered supporters.

The total electorate stands at 299,755 full members, 189,703 affiliated members and 121,295 registered members.

TNS states that ‘it is Corbyn, who is already on course to win the contest, who is likely to benefit’ from this flurry of registration. Whether that is true remains to be seen. But we shall find out soon enough, come the 12th September.

2. Simon Danczuk calls for Labour leadership race to be halted (via BBC News)
~ Another day, another Labour MP’s plea for temporarily postponement of the party’s leadership election.

After senior Labour MP Barry Sheerman called (see number three) for the leadership contest to be ‘paused’ over fears it has been infiltrated by supporters of other parties – suggesting subtle sabotage at the leadership election due to be held in September – earlier this week, it is now the turn of Simon Danczuk to voice his concerns.

Danczuk has added to calls for the party’s leadership race to be halted amid claims non-Labour supporters are infiltrating the vote, joining the ever-growing ranks including fellow MPs John Mann, Graham Stringer and the aforementioned Barry Sheerman.

Danczuk said that Labour’s interim leader Harriet Harman should halt the leadership contest, and instead call an emergency meeting to assess the claims of ‘infiltration’ by those whom he claimed are not genuine party supporters.

In addition, he stated his belief that the process may have to be rerun, and warned that if Mr Corbyn wins he would not be able to command discipline and order amongst Labour MPs – many of whom, he claimed, would not vote for ‘crazy left-wing stuff’.

Conversely, backbench MP Diane Abbott has recently defended the process used for the leadership contest. She stated that criticism of same was coming from those ‘who think their side will lose’.

3. Julian Assange set to be cleared as sex allegations expire (via The Telegraph)
~ Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder who has been seeking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than three years, is expected to be cleared of three sexual assault claims next week.

He is avoiding extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over alleged crimes, which include violent sexual assault.

It has emerged that he has spent so long in hiding that the allegations have expired. It means that within a week, three of the four claims he faces will have reached their five year expiry date under Sweden’s statute of limitations.

Consequently as a result, Assange is due to be cleared, Swedish prosecutors told the Times.

Whilst stringently denying the allegations, Assange has spoken openly of his fears that he will eventually be extradited on to the US to face charges relating to the huge leaks of sensitive data, published by Wikileaks.

This comes after Swedish prosecutors were criticised for ‘victimising’ Assange regarding revelations that they had interviewed 44 people in the UK, but were actually refusing to question the WikiLeaks founder in the London embassy.

4. Russia and NATO ‘actively preparing for war’ (via The Telegraph)
~ According to a new report published by the think-tank European Leadership Network, rival war games by both Russia and NATO may represent the greatest build-up of military tension witnessed in Europe since the Cold War.

Rival military exercises by both the Russian armed forces and NATO troops have resulted in several near-miss incidents that could result in confrontation between the two sides, the report claims.

The report also warns that global leaders – particularly those in Europe – will need to consider a new arms control treaty in an attempt to avert the possibility of these heightened tensions ultimately resulting in war.

The European Leadership Network’s report comes amid the most intense fighting for six months in eastern Ukraine.

It states that:

‘We do not suggest that the leadership of either side has made a decision to go to war or that a military conflict between the two is inevitable, but that the changed profile of exercises is a fact and it does play a role in sustaining the current climate of tensions in Europe…’

In addition to the suggestion of the consideration to adopt a new arms treaty, the report also recommends improvements in NATO-Russian communication to avert near misses.

To read these headlines and more besides, why not visit PolLaw Express?

PolLaw Express: 11th August 2015 edition.

Your daily dose of politics and the law. NI intrigued? Covered. UK focused? Sure. US-centric? You got it.

PolLaw Express blog photo

Welcome to the daily news round-up via my e-newspaper. Here are the top stories from today:

  1. The mother who defends stop and frisk: ‘What about my dead son’s civil rights?’ (via The Guardian)
    ~ This is a very emotive article from The Guardian, and it discusses the case of 14 year old Akeal Christopher, who was shot and later died in Brooklyn in 2012. His mother, Natasha Christopher, believes her son was killed as a result of the decision for the NYPD to cease in using the tactics of stop and frisk.

Stop and frisk was controversial, in that young black men were disproportionately targeted by the police using such tactics. Civil rights activists had long campaigned for such practice to be halted, and in New York in 2013, a Manhattan Federal court judge ruled in favour of ending stop and frisk.

Three years after the death of Akeal Christopher,his killer remains unknown – but it is likely that they still live in the neighbourhood. The failure of the police to find this shooter and thus deliver justice for Akeal, as well as countless other young people who have lost their lives through localised gun violence has reinforced the conviction of Ms Christopher in that the use of stop and frisk should be reinstated in order to save lives in the black community.

As she herself states,

‘They took away stop and frisk and left us with nothing but streets full of guns’

When implemented in New York City during the 1990s by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and then police commissioner Bill Bratton, stop and frisk tactics aimed to improve quality of life in a far more serious manner than the Broken Windows policy, which had focused primarily on petty criminals.

This new method of policing aimed to reduce the number of guns on the street and deter would-be criminals. Within a few years, crime in the city began to plummet, and by 2012, almost two decades later, the city went from having 9.6% of the nation’s homicides to having 2.3%.

2. Would UK military action against IS in Syria be legal? (via BBC News)
~ One of the main issues which will be faced by returning MPs after their summer recess is likely to be whether to authorise military intervention against the Islamic State (IS) extremists in Syria – a controversial, and complex issue indeed.

This would not be the first round of contemplation and debate on the topic. Parliament has already rejected military intervention in Syria, back in 2013.

However, ministers have been stating that circumstances have since changed – most notably with the rise of IS and related violence – and that they would only proceed with UK military intervention this time with the backing of Parliament.

Yet this is not technically necessary. Since the 2003 Iraq War, it may have become convention to seek the approval of Parliament for military intervention – but there is actually no legal requirement for Parliamentary approval for military action. So, whilst ministers may say they would not proceed without a Commons vote, they can rest assured of their belief in their knowledge of international law, which would permit such military action sans Parliament’s sign-off.

(No doubt, though, it simply looks and sounds better for the government to seek and gain a Parliamentary majority of approval. The government can thus claim legitimacy from a democratic exercise.)

This comes as last September, Prime Minister David Cameron did not rule out committing the UK to air strikes, and seemingly suggested that the UK could legally take military action in Syria without a formal request for assistance from President Assad, as he stated that Assad’s position is ‘illegitimate’.

Rather confusingly, the UK is actually already engaged in carrying out air strikes on IS targets in Iraq.

This article offers a handy guide to all sides of the arguments, both for and against military intervention – so perhaps it is going to be printed and filed by returning MPs to aid them in preparation for a potential future vote?

3. Labour bans 1,200 people from leadership contest vote (via BBC News)
~ No, you did not misread that. Labour’s problems are still ongoing, and in this ironic action, Labour seek to ensure democracy at the party’s leadership election by undemocratically preventing some from participating in voting.

These 1,200 people have been banned from voting in Labour’s leadership contest as they apparently support rival parties, and thus may have ulterior motives in attempting to cast a vote in the leadership election. (Such political intrigue! Quite frankly, I am shocked. Shocked, I say.)

Labour said they believed this number would rise, as officials continue to check the credentials of new members hoping to take part. The party has also said those who have been excluded from voting include film director Ken Loach, journalist Toby Young, and Tory MP Tim Loughton.

In addition,among the 1,200 were some 214 people from the Green Party, 37 from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, 13 Tories, seven from UKIP and one from the BNP.

According to the Labour party,  verification checks will be ongoing even once votes had been cast.

The latest figures show Labour’s membership stands at around 282,000, which is an increase of more than 80,000 since the party’s recent General Election defeat.

This follows on from Alastair Campbell’s warning via his blog yesterday (see here at number four) that Labour must not elect Jeremy Corbyn – hours before The Times confirmed it would splash on the latest polling figures indicating a Corbyn victory as its front-page today. The YouGov poll revealed that a sample of 1,400 eligible voters would place Corbyn on 53% – 32 points ahead of previous frontrunner Andy Burnham.

Corbyn told BBC Radio London today that whilst his campaign was going ‘very well’, it was too early to be caught up in polling results, stating that ‘we should be a little bit cautious.’

4. Why is Tony Blair so unpopular? (via BBC News)
~ I can remember Tony Blair winning his second and third elections on a continued wave of personal popularity, so it seems rather ironic that he may just be one of the most unpopular Prime Ministers to have left office. This article covers the key moments which may have resulted in such a verdict.

This in particular caught my eye:

One would expect the Labour Party to revere Mr Blair as its greatest electoral asset. But the opposite is true.

He is reviled by many in the party, and his supporters are in decline as a new generation of Labour MPs has entered Parliament, rejecting Mr Blair and the way he tried to rid their party of its left-wing elements.

Mr Blair was more successful as a party leader winning elections than he was as a governing prime minister.

Fulfilment of his moderate reforming agenda was hampered for several years because of the antipathy of his chancellor, Gordon Brown, who increasingly resented Mr Blair, and wanted him out of Downing Street so that he could take his place.

This gave birth to the struggle that characterised the decade 1997-2007, between “Blairites” and “Brownites”.

As we know, such a struggle has continued, and still dominates today – as Liz Kendall knows all too well.

This conclusion rather sums up the situation:

The fact remains though that almost a decade after leaving Number 10, Mr Blair’s public standing is even lower.

The lack of palpable progress in the Middle East, in Africa, and in world religions, do not of themselves explain the hostility.

Rather, it has been his contacts with regimes and individuals of questionable morality, and his money-making activities and his homes, all of which have been regularly aired by a profoundly suspicious press, that seem to have caused the damage.

Members of the Labour Party cannot understand why it is necessary for their former leader to make so much money and to be travelling the world in private jets.

(Would a certain Jeremy Corbyn ever be tempted to travel in private jets to deliver speeches for a substantial pay cheque…?)

5. Donald Trump leads post-debate Iowa poll (via POLITICO)
~ Again, I can assure you that you did not misread the above.

After a dominant (he spoke the longest) performance during the recent Fox live televised GOP debate, one Donald Trump is enjoying yet another bump in the polls, as the GOP again endures the headache of how does the party solve a problem like The Trump?

Donald Trump now leads the GOP field in Iowa, according to a Suffolk University poll that was released today. However, last week’s debate may have just opened the door for other candidates also.

Trump, who came in at 17 percent among likely GOP caucus voters, was 5 points ahead of his nearest rival, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

To read these headlines and more besides, why not visit PolLaw Express?

PolLaw Express: 10th August edition.

Your daily dose of politics and the law. NI intrigued? Covered. UK focused? Sure. US-centric? You got it.

PolLaw Express blog photo

Welcome to the daily news round-up via my e-newspaper. Here are the top stories from today:

(As previously mentioned, I was away on holiday in the utterly charming city of Prague; I had promised to return to the daily news round-up posts, and so here I am. Let’s get to it.)

  1. Judge upholds anonymity of 14 year old convicted of stabbing teacher (via The Guardian)
    ~ A judge refused to allow the media to name a 14-year-old boy who admitted stabbing his teacher, stating that the teenager’s welfare had to come before public interest in his crime.The Sun newspaper had made an informal application to the judge at Bradford crown court to lift an anonymity order protecting the boy, and other children from Dixon Kings academy who witnessed the attack on science teacher Vincent Uzomah which occurred in June.Under S 39 of the Children and Young Person’s Act, reporting restrictions had granted anonymity to the boy in question. The act contains a provision which permits a judge to dispense with anonymity in relation to a child or young person after conviction.

    In refusing the application, judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, said the application posed a ‘very legitimate question’ which would ‘strike a chord with some’.  Whilst freedom of the press was a ‘major feature of our society which must be protected’, the judge ultimately rejected the application. He argued that the welfare of the boy ‘must come first and the public interest must give way’.  He went on to cite Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees respect for private life.

2. NHS vulnerable to health card fraud, government admits (via BBC News)
~ What an awkward story to emerge, considering the EU in/out referendum which will begin to gather momentum over the coming months.

The Department of Health has been forced to admit that the the NHS is potentially vulnerable to fraud due to loopholes in the issuing of European Health Insurance cards. This news comes following an investigation undertaken by the Daily Mail, discovered how people who had never worked in the UK were able to obtain a free EHIC card. Health services abroad were then able to claim back the costs of their treatment from the UK authorities.

A Hungarian reporter working undercover for the Daily Mail revealed how she was able to obtain an NHS number, and subsequently an EHIC card. Ani Horvath claims that she was then able to access a range of medical treatment in Hungary, with the Hungarian authorities able to recoup costs from Britain.

The government has stated it will be looking urgently at tightening the system.

The EHIC is designed to cover the cost of state-provided healthcare for British travellers in certain European countries. It covers emergency treatment and certain pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care – providing the reason for a patient’s visit is not specifically to give birth.

Around five million EHIC cards were issued by the NHS in the last 12 months. It is not clear how many of these were to non-UK nationals.

3. Labour contest should be paused – MP Barry Sheerman (via BBC News)
~ Oh dear, Labour. Even though I have been away on holiday, the party doesn’t stop for this political party.

Senior Labour MP Barry Sheerman has called for its leadership contest to be ‘paused’ over fears it has been infiltrated by supporters of other parties – suggesting subtle sabotage at the leadership election due to be held in September.

Sheerman said those registering to take part in the election for Ed Miliband’s replacement included members of the Socialist Workers Party, the Green Party, the Conservatives and UKIP.

This comes as Labour rejected claims of ‘hard left’ and Conservative supporters only signing up so that they may back left winger Jeremy Corbyn. The -growing – popularity of Mr Corbyn’s campaign has recently sparked warnings from the other candidates, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, over fears about the party moving to the left.

An exclusion list is being drawn up of those who have stood against Labour in the past or had helped others to oppose the party. In addition, under new rules introduced by previous leader Ed Miliband, people can sign up as registered supporters for £3 and take part in the vote. They are asked to confirm they ‘support the aims and values of the Labour Party’.

Mr Sheerman’s comments follow similar sentiments from two backbench MPs, Graham Stringer and John Mann, who have also recently called for the leadership contest to be halted.

Whisper it, but apparently The Times will splash tomorrow on another poll suggesting Corbyn will emerge victorious in September.

(You can read my past comments on the ongoing woes of the Labour Party here; stay tuned for a post this week on the latest The Thick of It-worthy chaos.)

4. Choose anyone but Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader, says Alastair Campbell (via The Guardian)
~ Keeping to the Labour theme, we have an Labour big gun coming forward once more (remember that time he vowed to ‘topple’ the next Labour leader if they were not performing satisfactorily?) in an attempt to cajole the masses.

The former Communications Director for Number 10 has stated his belief via his blog that Labour could be finished in modern politics if Jeremy Corbyn goes on to win the leadership. He has urged the party to choose ‘anyone but Corbyn’ – despite having previously said he would not intervene in the contest. This change of heart comes from his belief that the party would be heading for a “car crash, and more” under Corbyn’s leadership, should be emerge the victor in September.

To quote from the blog post:

And whilst I accept that I cannot survey the post electoral scene and say with any certainty  that a Labour Party led by Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper or Liz Kendall will win the next election, I think I can say with absolute certainty that a Corbyn-Tom Watson led Labour Party will not. For that reason alone, I agree with Alan Johnson that what he called the madness of flirting with the idea of Corbyn as leader has to stop. That means no first preferences, no second preferences, no any preferences. It frankly means ABC, Anyone But Corbyn.

Nor should anyone imagine that once he is there, it will be easy to replace him, no matter how low we fall in the polls. On the contrary, if he fails to win, many of those who helped him get close to it will feel they can just keep on playing the politics of opposition against whoever beats him, and use their new found influence in the party to take that person out.  If Corbyn wins, no matter how inclusive and emollient he might try to be, then stand by for his supporters and backers bringing back the politics Kinnock and others fought so hard to beat. I doubt that the deselection processes will spare those MPs who nominated him to get him on the ballot paper and now say they regret it. In short, stand by for chaos, in the PLP and in the party in the country. To those of his supporters who will say this is alarmism, I say just look back and see how this story has unfolded before.

(I suppose that the ‘ABC – Anyone But Corbyn’ mantra is coming to become the latest buzzword for many in the Labour Party – goodbye to ‘aspiration‘.)

This intervention from Campbell in the latest in a series of aired views from within the Labour elite.

Senior Labour figures dating from the Blair and Brown era have been evidently growing concerned about the prospect of a Corbyn victory. Politicians including Alan Johnson have voiced their concerns about the electability of a leader from the leftest of left of the party.

Such warnings do not appear to have dampened the momentum behind Corbyn’s campaign, however. Corbyn is now 1/5 with bookmaker William Hill to receive the most first-preference votes and he is 11/8 favourite to win overall, having now overtaken the previous frontrunner Burnham.

5. Saying no to EU laws: how Cameron’s plan would work (via BBC News)
~ David Cameron is seeking an easier means to reject new EU legislation, and this article offers a handy guide to how Member States v EU legislation proposals actually works.

National parliaments can currently voice opposition to new EU rules, but lack the power to strike them down on their own. Cameron however has said a key part of his EU renegotiation strategy – in the lead up to the UK referendum on its EU membership – will involve reforms to give national parliaments the necessary powers to actually ‘block’ unwanted EU laws.

The European Commission has said in the past that it recognises the need to give national parliaments a greater role in the legislative process – although proposals to change the bloc’s treaties have so far not been proposed.

6. Illegal immigration: Minister pledges crackdown on ‘rogue employers’ (via BBC News)
~ Immigration minister James Brokenshire has warned that businesses employing illegal workers will be hit with ‘the full force of government machinery’.

He has stated that ‘rogue employers’ who employ illegal migrants were denying UK citizens the opportunity of employment, driving down wages and thus gaining an ‘unfair advantage’.

According to The Times, immigration officers are now prepared to carry out raids on cleaning firms, building sites and care homes in a bid to crackdown on illegal immigrant employment.

Brokenshire went on to say:

‘Experience tells us that employers who are prepared to cheat employment rules are also likely to breach health and safety rules and pay insufficient tax.

‘That’s why our new approach will be to use the full force of government machinery to hit them from all angles and take away the unfair advantage enjoyed by those who employ illegal migrants.’

This follows on from comments made by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond that the EU will not be able to preserve its living standards if it is forced to absorb millions of migrants from Africa in the ongoing migrant crisis. Hammond has called for EU laws to be overhauled and reformed in an effort to ensure that people coming from Africa to Europe can be deported back to their home country.

Spotted whilst on holiday, via Legal Cheek: move over, Humans of New York. We have now been graced with the creation of ‘Humans of Law’, apparently. (I must confess that, sarcastic cynicism aside, I have enjoyed reading many an open and engaging statement; I was pleasantly surprised at how many lawyers spoke of the real need to tackle the problem of elitism in the legal profession.)

To read these headlines and more besides, why not visit PolLaw Express?

PolLaw Express: 30th July edition.

Your daily dose of politics and the law. NI intrigued? Covered. UK focused? Sure. US-centric? You got it.

PolLaw Express blog photo

Welcome to the daily news round-up via my e-newspaper. Here are the top stories from today:

(This is the last daily news round-up for a time, as I will be going on holiday tomorrow morning. See you on the 10th August!)

1. British forces illegally detained Afghan suspect, Court of Appeal rules (via The Guardian)
~ The Court of Appeal today ruled that an Afghan suspect was detained illegally by British forces for almost four months and denied access to a lawyer.

Serdar Mohammed, who was captured by UK soldiers in April 2010, was not handed over to the Afghan security services until July that year – this was despite regulations requiring any transfer to take place within 96 hours. Mohammed has since claimed that the Afghan authorities tortured him.

The case highlights the effect of UK forces overseas being subject to the European Convention on Human Rights, rather than the Geneva Conventions on warfare. It is a legal position on which the judges involved – the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Lord Justice Beaston – expressed misgivings.

In their judgment, they referred to their:

‘significant reservations in respect of the correctness of the decision extending the ECHR to the battlefield as established by the decision of the Strasbourg court in [the case of ] Al-Skeini. We are, however, bound by the decision of the supreme court in Smith v MoD, which applies the decision in Al-Skeini.

‘Difficult questions, both legal and practical, will undoubtedly arise as to how the ECHR protections, designed to regulate the domestic exercise of state power, are to be applied in the very different context of extraterritorial military operations.’

Regardless of this, the three judges went on to state that :

‘The arrangements made by the Secretary of State in relation to the deployment of HM armed forces to Afghanistan, and for the detention of those engaged in attacking HM armed forces did not enable persons to be detained by HM armed forces for longer than 96 hours….

‘[Mohammed’s] claim succeeds because the Secretary of State is unable to show a lawful basis for the detention.’

Mohammed is now seeking damages for his unlawful detention.

2. David Cameron criticised over migrant ‘swarm’ language (via BBC News)
~ Prime Minister David Cameron has been criticised for his description of migrants trying to reach Britain as a ‘swarm’.

When asked about the latest Calais crisis, he spoke of ‘a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain’.

In the latest crisis to strike Calais, hundreds of migrants tried to enter the Channel Tunnel overnight. Thousands of migrants have been trying to reach the UK from Calais this week, with nine people killed attempting to cross the Channel in the past month.

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said in a statement that the Prime Minister ‘should remember he is talking about people and not insects’ and called the use of ‘divisive’ language a ‘worrying turn’.

The UN Special Representative for International Migration accused British politicians of adopting a ‘xenophobic response’ to the migrants crisis and said their the language had been ‘grossly excessive’.

This is in addition to criticism from the Refugee Council, which works with refugees in the UK, said his comments were ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dehumanising’. It added:

‘This sort of rhetoric is extremely inflammatory and comes at a time when the Government should be focused on working with its European counterparts to respond calmly and compassionately to this dreadful humanitarian crisis.’

3. Calais migrant crisis: Cameron warns UK is ‘no safe haven’ (via BBC News)
~ In addition to the above news story, we have another one.

David Cameron has warned that the UK will not become a ‘safe haven’ for migrants in Calais, after hundreds continued their attempts to cross from France.

The Prime Minister warned that illegal immigrants would be removed, as migrants told the BBC they remained determined to reach the UK.

Mr Cameron was speaking after people gathered for a third night at fencing at the Channel Tunnel freight terminal. Over 3,500 attempts have been made this week to get into the tunnel.

This comes as new fencing supplied by the UK government is being installed in Calais and Eurotunnel said it would protect the platform area where vehicles are loaded on to the train shuttles.

Kent Police has for the first time asked for neighbouring forces to provide officers to help in the policing of Operation Stack – where lorries wait on the M20 in the county when Channel crossings are disrupted.

Highways England said there were nearly 6,000 lorries parked on the motorway as part of Operation Stack, which will continue into the weekend.

4. Labour leadership: Beware the muddled huddle (via BBC News)
~ This is simply an interesting little article courtesy of Mark Mardell about the ongoing Labour leadership contest.

Mr Mardell notes that he cannot ‘help noting that the Labour leadership has been having an attack of the vapours.’

He goes on to make several interesting points about the aftermath of the recent General Election and the consequence for Labour:

Complacency is never wise, but perhaps a bit of perspective is valuable.

We may be at a critical break point, but we may not. Democratic politics tends to go in cycles.

After a longish time in government, which ends in defeat and disappointment, it takes a while for the electorate to trust that party again.

He concludes on an intriguing note:

Cameron won the centre ground of competence – Ed Miliband was seen as extreme, but not because of the mansion tax.

He was seen as extremely unlikely to be a good prime minister.

Elections are won in the centre ground – but that means shared perceptions of competence and charisma, hopes and fears, not a nauseating mixture of Marmite and marmalade.

You can also read this article from The News Statesmen; it wearily bemoans the calibre of the leadership candidates, asking ‘where are the giants?’

Look out for this paragraph:

Small wonder that Tory MPs went off for the summer recess with a spring in their step. One minister I spoke to before the House adjourned said, ‘The only question for Labour in 2020 is the scale of our victory over them.’

5. Hillary Clinton Losing Strength in New National Polling (via Time)
~ Just six weeks after announcing her candidacy, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers are continuing to fall, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll that was released on Thursday.

Across nearly every key metric, whether it is from trustworthiness to caring about voters to leadership, Clinton has seen an evident decrease in public approval, as likely Republican rivals have erased her leads in the poll. Clinton has a net -11 favourability rating in the poll, with some 40% of the American public viewing her positively and 51% negatively, with more than 50% of independents on the negative side.

If the election were held today, Clinton would be tied with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the poll—down from significant leads in a May 28 survey—but would top the current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

Speaking of Donald Trump, you can read the POLITICO take on the poll here.

POLITICO states how Trump’s strength in the aforementioned poll comes primarily from male voters; he has around 24 percent of the vote among men. Yet surprisingly, he also leads among female voters, with 15 percent of the vote to Bush’s 12 percent and Walker’s 9 percent.

POLITICO does wryly add that the poll was conducted between the 23rd – 28th July, prior to the controversial statements by Trump’s attorney about an incident in which Trump’s ex-wife accused Trump of assaulting her, and entirely before The New York Times reported Trump had called a female attorney deposing him “disgusting” for asking to take a break so that she could use a breast pump.

To read these headlines and more besides, why not visit PolLaw Express?

I will be away on holiday (ahoj, Prague!) from this Friday 31st July to Saturday 8th August. PolLaw Express daily news round-ups will therefore not be posted during these dates, and will resume on Monday 10th August.