G7 to discuss action over Russia and China threats – follow live 💥👩💥

French foreign minister fist bumps Dominic Raab’s elbow during G7 arrival

Boris Johnson’s government is seeking agree action from G7 partners on the threats posed by China and Russia. Leading talks in London, foreign secretary Dominic Raab is keen to push a joint rebuttal unit to tackle Russian disinformation.

It comes as the Tories have a 17-point lead over Labour in Hartlepool for the crucial by-election seat, according to a shock new poll. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said his party was still “climbing a mountain” after its 2019 general election defeat.

Elsewhere, Alba leader Alex Salmond has claimed he could have “destroyed” SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon during their spectacular fall-out. “If I wanted to destroy her, that could have been done.”

Meanwhile, the EU has stolen a march on Britain over a trade deal with India. The EU-India pact could be forged as early as this weekend, while the UK government announced only an enhanced partnership with India.

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SNP slips back in election poll

The latest Opinium survey for the Scottish election finds the SNP slipping back by 2 per cent on the constituency vote, with the union-backing parties getting small uplifts.

Adam Forrest4 May 2021 11:56

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Brown: PM’s position ‘untenable’ if he’s found to have broken rules

Former Labour PM Gordon Brown has had more to say about the various “sleaze” claims surrounding the government – saying public service “cannot be a platform for private gain”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: “I think if he’s (Boris Johnson) breached the ministerial code and he’s told the House of Commons something that turns out not to be true, that becomes untenable.

“I think the issue at the moment is, can you have rules for gifts? People should not be receiving gifts because they’re in government because you become beholden to people, you become in their debt, you cannot have that and clearly gifts have got to be declared.”

Adam Forrest4 May 2021 11:42

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G7 ministers separated by screens as talks begin

As the G7 foreign ministers’ discussions get under way, foreign secretary Dominic Raab and his counterparts were separated from one another by clear screens in order to minimise the Covid risk.

Raab began the meeting by running through the agenda, with sessions today focused on “geopolitical priorities”. Ministers are set to talk about relations with Russia, China and Iran, as well as the crisis in Myanmar, violence in Ethiopia and Syria.

A working dinner at Lancaster House will close the first day’s session.

Dominic Raab kicks off G7 talks

(PA)

Adam Forrest4 May 2021 11:19

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Starmer: Vaccine rollout would have happened under Labour

Returning now to some of the more interesting comments made by Keir Starmer this morning. The Labour leader claimed “the inequality that’s built into our economic model is morally unjust” and “economically stupid”.

The Labour leader told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The inequality and injustice in our economy were baked in because of austerity before we got to the pandemic … We’ve got to decide, do we go on to a different and better future, or do we go back and try to patch up what we had before?”

Asked if the purchasing of the vaccines would have happened under Labour, Starmer told Today: “Well, of course it would.

“We would have set up a taskforce and, in fact, during the course of last year, we were pressing on the government the need for taskforces on a number of issues, including getting our schools back open again as quickly as possible, which ended up being a right fiasco.”

Adam Forrest4 May 2021 10:48

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Another grim poll for Labour

The latest Opinium poll for The Times has the Tory candidate Andy Street 17 points ahead of Labour’s Liam Byrne in the West Midlands mayoralty contest.

Adam Forrest4 May 2021 10:08

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Salmond claims he could have ‘destroyed’ Sturgeon

Alex Salmond has claimed he could have “destroyed” Nicola Sturgeon if he’d really wanted to.

It follows the SNP leader’s revealing interview with The New Yorker, in which she talked about the civil war with her old boss over harassment complaints.

“I think my political opponents – I don’t know, maybe Alex himself … There was an element of ‘We can break her,’ you know,” Sturgeon told the US magazine. “That was how it felt.”

Salmond reportedly “chucked” when told about the comments, before adding: “If I wanted to destroy her, that could have been done.”

Sturgeon and Salmond in happier times

(Getty Images)

Adam Forrest4 May 2021 09:37

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G7 foreign ministers arrive for talks

Foreign ministers from the G7 group of industrialised nations have arrived at Lancaster House in London for their first face-to-face summit in more than two years.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab, wearing a face mask, welcomed counterparts from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, the US and EU – with awkward forearm bumps replacing the usual handshakes.

Along with the problems of coronavirus, the blustery weather also posed difficulties for the Foreign Office, with the red carpet rolled out for the visiting diplomats initially refusing to stay in place in the gusts whipping across the Lancaster House courtyard.

French foreign minister fist bumps Dominic Raab’s elbow during G7 arrival

Adam Forrest4 May 2021 09:35

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Only one-third of candidates in English local elections are women

More action needs to be taken to encourage women into politics, says the UK’s leading charity for gender equality.

This comes as data revealed only one third of candidates in this week’s English council elections are women.

Research carried out by the Fawcett Society charity and the Democracy Club discovered that fewer than one in four police and crime commissioner candidates are female in England and Wales. They also found only one in four mayoral candidates are women.

Jon Sharman4 May 2021 09:26

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Khan wants Olympics back in London

Sadiq Khan has said he wants to bring the Olympics and Paralympics back to London if he is re-elected as mayor. Labour’s candidate promised to explore bidding to host the 2036 or 2040 games.

The incumbent said: “Not only would future London Olympics bring the world’s finest sportsmen and women to London, it would help fast track much needed green infrastructure projects such as Crossrail 2 and the Bakerloo Line extension, bringing with them long term jobs and investment.”

Local and mayoral elections will take place on Thursday.

(Getty)

Adam Forrest4 May 2021 09:07

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Truss dodges questions on PM’s flat refurb

Liz Truss has claimed Boris Johnson’s explanation of the saga of refurbishing his Downing Street flat was “very clear” and pushed aside renewed questions about the sleaze scandal this morning.

Truss told Sky News: “I think these allegations and counter-rumours from what’s going on in No 10 are of very, very little interest to people across the country.

She added: “[Mr Johnson] spends every waking hour thinking about how we’re dealing with Covid, our vaccination programme and this is frankly a distraction from those really important issues that people care about.”

Pressed further about the renovation, Ms Truss said: “The prime minister is very clear that he’s covered the cost of these refurbishments, that he’s been working with officials, that he’s declared in line with the appropriate rules.”

Adam Forrest4 May 2021 08:59

G7 to discuss action over Russia and China threats – follow live

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