The Speaker
Tuesday, 18 June 2024 – 15:52

A Week In Preview: Trump’s State Visit, Tory Leadership Race and Dealing with Migrant Boats

As the week gets into full swing we will see President Trump arrive continue his three-day state visit, more from Tory leadership contenders, migrant boats arriving on the Kent coast and continuing Sudanese protests. 

Tory leadership 

The latest to enter the Tory leadership contest in the race to be prime minister was Sam Gyimah MP on Sunday, who became the first candidate to announce the backing of a second referendum.

Gyimah – the 13th prospective PM – resigned from his post as universities minister in November 2018 in protest of May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement and has since been a strong advocate for a second referendum.

Speaking to Sky News‘ Sophy Ridge on Sunday he said he wanted to “broaden” the leadership race as there “is a very narrow set of views on Brexit being discussed”.

He said: “What most of the candidates are offering is to offer no-deal and a fudge on Theresa May’s deal which has been heavily defeated.”

The MP for East Surrey added that “we all want to move forward” from the Parliament deadlock and bring the country together through a final say on the Brexit deal which “is putting the country first”.

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Gyimah’s hope it to set himself apart from other Tories in the contest who have very similar stances on Brexit, but in doing so he has been sarcastically criticised on Twitter for running as a Liberal Democrat rather than a Conservative due to his backing of a People’s Vote.

Also condemning him on Twitter was Scottish National Party MP Stewart McDonald, who called out Gyimah for blocking a bill in parliament that would have pardoned gay men who were historically convicted for the crime of being gay.

McDonald wrote: “Sam ensured that the Bill did not become law.”


Trump’s state visit

Having just touched down in the UK for his state visit on Monday, protesters have already rolled-out five 20-metre-long anti-Trump banners in the Capital, created ‘penis protest’ crop circles for him to see upon his helicopter arrival and are due to unleash the famous diaper-wearing Trump baby. 

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Protests are set to take place in other cities such as Manchester, Belfast and Birmingham.

The police presence for the three-day visit will be enhanced, with armed police officers already spotted camped-out on three different points on the Buckingham Palace roof, as reported by the Telegraph.

On Trump’s visit to the UK in 2018, the President was smart to avoid being transported by car through streets – probably because of security risks and protesters – and instead took his helicopter for most trips, a plan that will likely be replicated over the next few days.

But before he even landed in Stansted airport on Monday morning, Trump began by adding another Twitter spat to his list between himself and the Mayor of London by branding Sadiq Khan a “nasty”, “stone cold loser”.

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The President’s bold remarks are in response to criticism from the Labour party and Mayor Khan who said it would be “un-British to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump”.

Talking to Sky News, Mayor Khan said that as the US’ closest friends “we have a duty to speak out” on Trump’s behaviour which has included rolling back women’s reproductive rights and defending far-right nationalists – referring to Nigel Farage.

It is expected to be an eventful and controversial trip from the President who will no doubt throw more curveballs into the mix during his time in the UK.


Migrant crossings in Kent

Coastguards have been assisting border force agents along the Kent coast since Saturday in response to a “record number” arrival of migrants.

There are fears the migrant crisis could escalate as it comes after 140 migrants were picked up crossing the Channel in May, a figure which exceeds the 138 in December 2018 when a “major incident” was declared.

The government confirmed there were a total of 74 migrants on the eight boats as authorities in France also intercepted two other vessels.

Criticising the Home Office for the rise in crossings, MP for Dover and Deal Charlie Elphicke took to Twitter calling the incident “a record number of boats arriving in a single day”.

He wrote: “The crisis was meant to be dealt with by Christmas, yet numbers continue to rise. It looks set to surge to record levels through the summer. The Home Office needs to get a grip on the crisis.”

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Home secretary Sajid Javid has vowed to halt the “deeply concerning” migrant Channel crossings to protect the lives of people using them as transportation to the UK.

The home secretary said: “Those who choose to make this dangerous journey across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world are putting their lives in grave danger – and I will continue to do all I can to stop them.”

“We will continue to seek to return anyone who has entered the UK illegally,” he added.

But with those from war-torn countries making up most of the individuals on the migrant boats, the problem seems to have only just begun as families fight to seek safer lives.


Arcadia faces administration

Fashion tycoon Philip Green is set to have his retail empire swiped from him this week unless three-quarters of creditors agree on plans that would cut high-street stores and rents.

Arcadia which currently employs 22,000 staff across more than 560 stores across the UK and Ireland, is reported to be underperforming compared to online rivals and has already announced shop closures to help fund the company’s pension scheme.

Green is seeking rent reduction on up to 200 of his firms’ stores and has offered landlords a 20 per cent cut of any proceeds if Arcadia is finally sold.

And as well as closing stores to fund the pension deficit, MP Frank Field – chair of the Commons’ work and pensions committee – has called on Green to use his own wealth to try and stay afloat.

The company operates stores under brands like Miss Selfridge, Topshop and Burton and will put its plans for cuts forward to a creditor vote on Wednesday where 75 per cent of creditors must agree on its proposals.

It also has to be agreed by the pension’s regulator because of the £750m deficit in Arcadia’s pension funds.

The news of Arcadia’s demise comes after Green was on Saturday charged with four counts of knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke, confirmed by Pima County’s Attorney’s office.

Deputy county attorney Lauran Deakin said: “Philip Green has been formally charged with four misdemeanour assault counts.

“These are class three misdemeanours. Each count has a potential sentence of up to 30 days in the Pima County jail, a fine of not more than $500, and up to one year of probation.”

Ms Deakin added an arraignment date had been set for June 19.

And in a statement from Arcadia, it said Philip Green was “disappointed” the charges he denies had been filed in his absence and added that Green would be represented by his lawyer at the forthcoming hearing.

Arcadia added: “Contrary to previous suggestions in the media there is no allegation of any sexual assault of misconduct made by the prosecution.” 

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