Children in ‘crack dens’ and ‘brothels’? A Tory MP accidentally exposed the state of Britain’s care system.

In a now deleted tweet, Conservative MP for Mansfield Ben Bradley said that in his constituency, “One kid lives in a crack den, another in a brothel”. He went on to say that free school meal vouchers effectively lined the pockets of drug dealers and pimps. This tweet was part of a defensive thread explaining why he was one of over 300 Conservative MPs who voted against proposals to provide disadvantaged children in England with free meals until Easter 2021. But Bradley’s comments didn’t go unnoticed on Twitter: Putting “£20 going to a crack den” aside. It alarms me that Ben Bradley knows there’s a child living in a…

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Covert human intelligence sources have already been used to ‘sabotage’ the course of justice

In 2012, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton were convicted of the 2009 murder of PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll in County Armagh. Their campaign team, who call them the Craigavon Two, believe their conviction is a miscarriage of justice. Currently the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) bill is making its way through parliament. And the use of an MI5 agent in the Craigavon Two case underlines, again, how dangerous this legislation can be. A revelation On 21 October, Channel 4 News broadcast its investigation into the use of MI5 agents in Ireland. It revealed that MI5 agent Dennis McFadden could have been undercover in Ireland “for up to…

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Police ‘threatened’ parents of a murdered woman with £6,000 legal bill

A police force “threatened” an elderly couple with a £6,000 legal bill as they sought answers over their daughter’s murder, their lawyer has claimed.Fighting for justicePeter and Elizabeth Skelton have spent almost a decade fighting for justice after their daughter Susan Nicholson was killed in 2011. Initially, Sussex Police ignored their pleas for her death to be investigated. They insisted the circumstances were not suspicious, and an initial inquest found her death was accidental. Susan Nicholson was murdered by her boyfriend in 2011 (Family handout/PA)The West Sussex couple, who are in their eighties, spent around £10,000 of their life savings paying for experts to review the evidence. Only…

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Headteachers ‘speechless’ after ministers offer food standards advice during school meals battle

Headteachers have been left angry by a letter from ministers reminding them to provide pupils with nutritious food in school. It comes just days after MPs rejected a campaign to extend free meals to children during the holidays. “Speechless” The letter came from children’s minister Vicky Ford and junior health minister Jo Churchill. It was sent to school leaders on the morning of Friday 23 October to encourage them to offer a healthy and nutritious hot meal to their pupils during term-time. Heads received the letter two days after a Labour motion to offer free school meals to poorer children during holidays was defeated in parliament. The motion,…

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Nigerian president blames ‘hooliganism’ for 51 killings by security forces during protests

At least 51 civilians have been killed during unrest in Nigeria following days of protests over police abuses, the country’s president said.President Muhammadu Buhari blamed the violence on “hooliganism”. And he asserted that security forces have used “extreme restraint”.On Thursday 22 October, he said the government “will not fold its arms and allow miscreants and criminals continue to perpetrate acts of hooliganism”. “Devoid of sympathy”But many Nigerians are upset by what the president has not said. In a national address on 22 October, Buhari didn’t mention the shootings. Instead, he warned protesters against “undermining national security and law and order”.Okechukwu Nwanguma, of the Rule of Law and Accountability…

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Scientist warns we may struggle to curb coronavirus spread without closing schools for older kids

Ministers may be forced to close schools to older children if coronavirus (Covid-19) cases continue to increase at the current rate, a scientist has warned.Professor Neil Ferguson said the NHS would soon be unable to cope unless the spread of the disease was stemmed. His modelling led to the original lockdown in March.He said there were currently 8,000 people in hospital with coronavirus. That’s around a third of the peak earlier this year, and numbers are continuing to rise.Further actionHe said the restrictions on households mixing may not be enough, and further action may be needed: If we go beyond that there is a limit to what we…

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Here’s why the Overseas Operations Bill is pretty much an establishment stitch-up

A top military lawyer has warned that the Tory war crimes immunity bill is not what it seems. On closer inspection, it looks more like a Ministry of Defence (MOD) cash-saving exercise. One that could rob wounded and sick soldiers of their right to compensation. The criticism comes after new figures revealed that claims by military personnel against the military vastly exceed allegations of abuse from people in Iraq and Afghanistan. On 18 October, shadow defence minister John Healey revealed statistics which show that for every single allegation of abuse by UK troops in a warzone, 25 cases were brought by service personnel against the military. Healey warned…

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Leaked emails suggest shocking US mercenary plot in Bolivia

Bombshell leaked communications indicate scores of US military and intelligence veterans have been secretly recruited for wide-ranging covert action of an indeterminate nature in Bolivia. The private correspondence, which has already been reported on by Morning Star, and which hasn’t yet been fully verified, doesn’t offer specific details of what’s to take place and when. However, it does make clear something significant, and highly sinister, is in the works in the country. And apparently has been for some time, with around 1,500 mercenaries signed on to contracts of up to seven months for the operation. The deployment of these mercenaries was delayed by the elections being moved from…

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A right-wing ‘power grab’ in the Socialist Health Association could help to privatise the NHS further

On 23 July, Skwawkbox published revelations about alleged voting, constitutional, and financial irregularities at the Labour Party affiliated Socialist Health Association (SHA). Since the publication of that article, further allegations have come to light. Some members of the SHA, who wish to remain anonymous, spoke to The Canary about these allegations. In particular, they discussed how the current leadership has dealt with them. One longstanding member described events in the SHA as a “power grab by the right”. This “power grab” could go beyond the voluntary SHA to destroy the NHS as a healthcare provider that’s “free at the point of delivery”. Campaigning for “health and well-being” Founded…

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Overseas Operations Bill could stop wounded troops getting justice, top military lawyer warns

A top military lawyer has warned that the Tory war crimes immunity bill is not what it seems. On closer inspection, it looks more like a Ministry of Defence (MOD) cash-saving exercise. One that could rob wounded and sick soldiers of their right to compensation. The criticism comes after new figures revealed that claims by military personnel against the military vastly exceed allegations of abuse from people in Iraq and Afghanistan. On 18 October, shadow defence minister John Healey revealed statistics which show that for every single allegation of abuse by UK troops in a warzone, 25 cases were brought by service personnel against the military. Healey warned…

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