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COVID inquiry to begin with ‘difficult to watch’ film of family testimonies | UK News

The long-awaited COVID inquiry will hold its first public hearings today with an opening statement from chair Baroness Hallett and a film of testimonies from bereaved families that’s been described as “difficult to watch”.

Baroness Hallett, a retired judge, has promised to put the 226,000 victims of the pandemic at the heart of the investigation into the government’s response.

However, she has been criticised by some families for not giving more time to hear their stories – with a demonstration planned outside the London hearing.

Only one bereaved family member is due to give evidence during the opening module examining the country’s resilience and preparedness.

Baroness Hallett has said that more bereaved families will be heard during later modules.

Leshie Chandrapala believes her father, Ranjith Chandrapala, would still be alive if he had been better protected as a key worker during the height of the pandemic.

Mr Chandrapala, a bus driver from northwest London, died in May 2020.

“It is a monumental day for us and we have been fighting for it ever since the pandemic started,” she said.

“We wanted to learn lessons very early on but the government were reluctant.

Ranjith Chandrapala
Mr Chandrapala was one of 27 London bus drivers to die in the first three months of the pandemic

“We want to learn the lessons so that in future pandemics we’re not going to have a death toll near as much as a quarter of a million people.”

She added: “My dad was a key worker and I need to know what measures were in place and how the Department for Transport, TFL, the bus operators, were working together to keep those bus drivers safe.

“We know that bus driver deaths were very high, disproportionate numbers of transport workers died during the pandemic. And why is that? Was there a lack of preparedness?”

Leshie Chandrapala
Leshie wants to know what thought went into protecting key workers like her dad

Read more:
COVID inquiry: Everything you need to know
Baroness Hallett: Who is the chair of the inquiry?

Bereaved families call for greater transparency

The inquiry has published a list of witnesses who are due to give evidence this week.

It includes Sir Michael Marmot, the author of a report into key worker deaths that found London bus drivers aged 20 to 65 were 3.5 times more likely to die from COVID between March and May 2020 than men in other occupations across England and Wales.

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COVID inquiry: Everything you need to know

Tuesday’s session will hear from Professor Jimmy Whitworth, an infectious diseases expert from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Dr Charlotte Hammer, an epidemiologist from Cambridge University.

The first module will run for six weeks, until 20 July.

An interim report will be published shortly afterwards, ending fears of a lengthy delay in publishing evidence gathered by the inquiry.

Blundell’s School: Teenager remanded in custody over alleged assaults at private school | UK News

A 16-year-old boy has appeared in court in connection with multiple alleged assaults at a Devon private school.

The boy, who cannot be named due to his age, appeared before Exeter Magistrates’ Court today charged with three offences accused of two counts of attempted murder relating to two youths, who also cannot be identified.

He is also charged with grievous bodily harm with intent against Henry Roffe-Silvester, a member of staff at the school.

The boy spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth, then nodded when the judge asked if he had understood the proceedings.

District Judge Stuart Smith remanded him in custody after the hearing ahead of an appearance at Exeter Crown Court on Tuesday.

Just Stop Oil protests have cost Metropolitan Police £4.5m in six weeks | UK News

Just Stop Oil protests have cost the Metropolitan Police more than £4.5m in the last six weeks, the force said.

Since 24 April, Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists have staged demonstrations every day – including disrupting events like the Chelsea Flower Show, Gallagher Premiership final and World Snooker Championship – in what they call “an indefinite campaign of civil resistance”.

Up to 8 June, nearly 13,770 officer shifts had been used dealing with the demonstrations, the Met said.

This has cost the force over £4.5m as they are diverted from other roles to control the demonstrations which have disrupted traffic and other high-profile events.

Officers have new powers, introduced last month, to force protesters out of the road if they are deemed to be causing significant disruption, and these have been used in 125 of the 156 slow marches which have taken place so far.

Police said 86 arrests have been made for failing to comply and 49 people have been charged so far.

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Just Stop Oil activists tweeted that they would only stop their protests when the government stops new oil and gas contracts

The £4.5m is on top of the £7.5m which had already been spent policing the series of protests JSO staged between October and December last year.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said: “In deploying the new tactics of moving slowly in front of traffic along highways, Just Stop Oil’s intent has been clear on disrupting road users.

“This has caused a significant impact to the public and officers have been responding as swiftly as possible once aware of the incidents.”

Handout photo issued by Just Stop Oil of three protesters at Chelsea Flower Show who have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage in connection with a Just Stop Oil protest. Picture date: Thursday May 25, 2023.
Protesters at Chelsea Flower Show who have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage

Demonstrations continued on Monday with protesters marching in various locations including Waterloo near the Imax cinema, Victoria Street and Cromwell Road, Chelsea.

Read more:
Who are Just Stop Oil?
Weather warnings across UK after hottest days of the year so far

JSO has pledged to carry on its protests ‘indefinitely’ until the government stops granting new licences for gas, coal and oil.

Mr Adelekan added: “We know that this action has been very frustrating for the public who just want to carry on with their day-to-day business.”

Just Stop Oil activists during  their slow walk protest in central London
Just Stop Oil activists during their slow walk protest in central London

He urged the public not to intervene and take matters into their own hands but to call the police to let them know where the incident is.

“It may look like we are not responding quickly enough, however policing protests is complex and there are steps officers must take to make sure our response is lawful and appropriate,” he said.

“You can see from both the arrest and charge figures that we are taking this operation very seriously, and once a protest is deemed to have caused serious disruption or may do so, we are taking swift action to stop it.”

Thunderstorm warnings across UK after hottest days of the year so far | UK News

Yellow weather warnings for thunderstorms and rain have been issued by the Met Office for across the UK after the hottest days of the year so far.

Four yellow thunderstorm warnings are in place from 12pm to 9pm on Monday and cover parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland, much of southern England and the Midlands and most of Wales.

Forecasters have warned the heavy downpours bring the increased risk for flash-flooding and may cause disruption to motorists on the roads and disrupt bus and rail services.

A yellow weather warning for rain has also been issued, covering southern parts of England and Wales until 9am on Monday.

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for thunderstorms and rain across much of the UK
The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for thunderstorms and rain across much of the UK

The forecast follows a weekend of scorching temperatures and heavy rainfall.

A temperature of 32C was recorded at Kew Gardens in southwest London on Sunday and much of the UK was hotter than Monaco and the French Riviera where temperatures languished in the low 20s.

However, temperatures fell just short of this year’s record high of 32.2C which was reached on Saturday in Chertsey, Surrey.

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Guardsmen faint under blazing sun

A total of 28.6mm of rain fell in Charlwood, Surrey, on Sunday afternoon, which is almost half the average for the whole month of June.

Met Office meteorologist Dan Stroud said potentially a month’s worth of rain could fall within a short period.

He said: “On Monday, we’re expecting a fine and hot start, temperatures rising fairly quickly during the course of the morning under strong early summer sunshine and that’s likely to spark a few thundery showers.

“Parts of Wales and England will see 30mm of rain in an hour, 60 to 80mm in some spots.

“North parts of Northern Ireland, southwest Scotland and the Highlands could see 20 to 30mm of rain in an hour during the thunderstorms, and 40 to 50mm in some spots.

“Potentially we are looking at a month’s worth of rain falling.

“The highest temperatures will be around Birmingham and in Wales.

“It will widely be 24C to 28C on Monday, with some spots sitting at the 30C to 32C mark.

“It will be warmer than Monaco, where it has hit 24.7C on Sunday and is expected to be 22 to 24C on Monday.”

istock flood picture
There is a chance of flash flooding in places, the Met Office says. File pic

A heat-health alert for hot weather remains in place until 9am on Tuesday.

The five regions of England under an amber alert – when the heat is likely to impact the wider population, not just the most vulnerable – are:

• West Midlands
• East Midlands
• East of England
• South East
• South West

A further yellow alert – when the weather is likely to impact vulnerable groups such as those with underlying health conditions, or the elderly – is in place for:

• North East
• North West
• Yorkshire and Humber
• London

The alert, issued by the UK Health Security Agency and the Met Office, covers England and provides warnings of hot weather which might impact the health of members of the public – and is designed to assist healthcare workers who are managing periods of “extreme temperatures”.

Slightly cooler temperatures are on the way from Tuesday onwards, with Thursday and Friday in the mid-high 20s, Mr Stroud added.

He said: “We are likely to see the hot weather continue although high pressure is starting to build in.

“That’s going to kill off the showers and moving into next week the temperature will dip slightly to the mid to high 20s.”

Some military personnel forced to use food banks as inflation tips members of Armed Forces into crisis | UK News

Some military personnel and their families have been forced to use food banks as high inflation and rising costs tip members of the Armed Forces into crisis, Sky News can reveal.

An unofficial food bank even exists at a large Royal Air Force base in Lincolnshire, a defence source said.

The voluntary facility at RAF Coningsby – home to Typhoon fast jet squadrons – was set up by an aviator to collect food donations from servicemen and women to support civilians in their local community. But the source claimed it is now being used by RAF personnel too.

The food bank serves civilians in the local community. Pic: Destiny Outreach Coningsby
The food bank serves civilians in the local community. Pic: Destiny Outreach Coningsby

Internal RAF documents seen by Sky News – as well as interviews with military sources and charities – offer a sense of the wider impact of the cost of living crisis on defence, including:

• The need for a number of service personnel to choose between “food or fuel”, with some unable to afford to drive home from their base to see family

• One aviator, a single mother, was forced to go without a hot meal for four days because she had spent her last money on baby milk formula

• The volume of enquiries to a key charity from or on behalf of military personnel seeking financial support has more than doubled

• There are individuals who can no longer even afford the price of the subsidised meals at their mess

• A sense of “discontent” at covering for striking public sector workers on better pay deals when the Armed Forces are not permitted to take industrial action themselves

While the documents referred to the situation inside the RAF, a Royal Navy source and an Army source said personnel in their respective services were also experiencing hardships.

The Royal Navy source said the Ministry of Defence was trying to do more to help, such as support with childcare costs.

“But I suspect more needs to be done,” the source said.

“I’m hearing … stories of sailors unable to head home at weekends or over leave periods due to travel costs, also service personnel using food banks or contacting service charities for assistance with debt management.”

The RAF says the food bank was not set up for its personnel. Pic: Destiny Outreach Coningsby
The RAF says the food bank was not set up for its personnel. Pic: Destiny Outreach Coningsby

‘The food bank is popular’

The UK provides its Armed Forces with a range of specific benefits such as access to subsidised housing and meals – as well as fuel grants in a bid to keep the offer to join the Army, Navy and RAF attractive and to retain talent.

The support is also in recognition of the particular hardships and inconveniences of military life, and the fact that anyone who serves has to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Yet analysis of morale across the whole of the RAF last year by military chaplains revealed that a limited number of personnel were resorting to food banks in the local areas.

An anonymous quote in the report read: “The food bank is popular.”

This was qualified with a footnote that warned: “Food bank use is reported across a majority of units, but nowhere is yet reporting widespread use”.

It continued: “Single figures per unit of families utilising food banks is a working estimate.”

The airbases RAF Benson in South Oxfordshire and RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire “are reporting the highest use of food banks”, according to the footnote in the report, which was entitled Chaplaincy Analysis of Whole Force Morale 2022 and dated 12 January 2023.

Overall, the report found that cost of living pressures as well as failings with military accommodation – such as faulty heating and vermin – were the biggest factors “adversely impacting” morale.

Drop-off points for donations have been set up at RAF Coningsby. Pic: Destiny Outreach Coningsby
Drop-off points for donations have been set up at RAF Coningsby. Pic: Destiny Outreach Coningsby

Separately, the defence source with knowledge of the food bank at RAF Coningsby claimed that service personnel had been using the facility “extensively”.

Asked how they felt about this, the source said: “Incredibly angry and frustrated that we had got to the point where service personnel had to rely on charitable agencies just to exist.”

A junior non-commissioned officer established the food bank – which has its own Facebook page – a couple of years ago to support the local civilian community, having been involved with this kind of charitable activity while posted overseas in the US.

According to the Facebook page, the food bank is run by a Christian group called Destiny Outreach Coningsby. It says it offers support to people living in the town of Coningsby and the surrounding villages.

“With the cost of living rising, please look out for one another. If you are in need of a food parcel then please contact us,” it said.

An RAF spokesperson made clear that the food bank was not set up by the RAF for its personnel. However, the spokesperson did not offer a comment on the record about the claim that serving aviators were using the facility.

The Ministry of Defence is understood to regard any use of food banks by military personnel as a “private life matter” and does not have any data to support claims of their alleged use.

However, officials at RAF Coningsby raised concern with Air Command last July about “a worrying increase in personnel seeking assistance and support across all welfare pillars as a direct result of the cost of living crisis”.

The warning was contained in a report, dated 22 July 2022, which was entitled Cost of Living Crisis – RAF Coningsby.

It mentioned the establishment of the food bank.

The report drew on information gathered from the experiences of four focus groups of about 150 personnel and families over a one-week period.

It listed several trends, including “pers [personnel] struggling to afford fuel to drive to work; … pers unable to travel home each week and having to stay on unit, reducing morale and wellbeing; real concern for the winter months where electricity and gas costs will further exacerbate the current situation”.

The paper suggested ways the military could offer relief, such as by increasing the rate paid for fuel use. It noted: “Personnel were having to decide whether to buy food or fuel.”

Armed Forces pay ‘an annual gamble’

The documents and defence sources said pay is another factor creating pressure for the military, especially given soaring inflation.

The chaplaincy analysis talked about a “sense of looming discontent” as service personnel may be called upon to fill in for public sector workers who are striking for better wages.

The Armed Forces Pay Review Body, an independent entity, makes a recommendation each year to the government on any pay increases for the military, which the Ministry of Defence draws upon before making its announcement on what the amount will be.

This should happen before the start of each financial year but is often delayed and any increase in salary is backdated to the beginning of April.

The Ministry of Defence has yet to announce this year’s settlement, though the pay review body has submitted its recommendations and an announcement is expected soon.

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‘If my economic policies fail it’s on me’

One RAF aviator described the process as “an annual gamble on what we may or may not receive”.

Asked what message they had for the government, the aviator said: “Understand that your military deserves to be fairly compensated for the role they play in support of the UK on all fronts … We see through the words and false promises and expect to be treated fairly in return for our commitment to the crown and our country.”

Sarah Atherton MP, an Army veteran and member of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said the government should give the military a 10% pay rise in line with inflation.

“We’ve never had such an unstable global security situation, and we need our Armed Forces to protect us when we want them to protect us,” she told Sky News in an interview.

“We need to make sure they are valued and they feel valued.”

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Do we have an inflation problem?

Stepping in to fill the void are military charities like the RAF Benevolent Fund.

It said enquiries about financial assistance from or on behalf of serving personnel more than doubled last year to 539 cases compared with 2021.

In response to questions about the cost of living and food banks, the RAF spokesman said: The food bank at RAF Coningsby was not set up by the RAF for its personnel, and the RAF offers a range of support, such as welfare officers who can offer financial advice and access to fuel grants and hardship funds provided by the RAF, and supporting charities and associations.

“More widely, defence has created a comprehensive package of support that includes the biggest pay increase in 20 years, freezing daily food costs, providing accommodation subsidies and saving up to £3,400 per child per year by extending wraparound childcare – this is in addition to wider cost of living support provided by the government.”

Last financial year, the government awarded service personnel up to the rank of one-star a 3.75% pay rise – described as the biggest percentage uplift in two decades. But inflation has since rocketed, with consumer prices in February jumping 10.4% from a year earlier.

Nicola Sturgeon calls arrest a ‘shock and deeply distressing’ after release without charge | Politics News

Nicola Sturgeon has been released without charge after she was arrested earlier today in connection with an investigation into SNP finances.

Scotland’s former first minister was taken into custody and questioned as a suspect.

After she was released Ms Sturgeon said in a statement: “To find myself in the situation I did today when I am certain I have committed no offence is both a shock and deeply distressing.

“I know that this ongoing investigation is difficult for people, and I am grateful that so many continue to show faith in me and appreciate that I would never do anything to harm either the SNP or the country.

“Obviously, given the nature of this process, I cannot go into detail. However, I do wish to say this, and to do so in the strongest possible terms.

“Innocence is not just a presumption I am entitled to in law. I know beyond doubt that I am in fact innocent of any wrongdoing.

“To the many people who have sent messages of support over these past difficult weeks – including since today’s news broke – thank you for your kindness.

“Thank you also to my close circle of family and friends who are giving me much-needed strength at this time.

“Finally, while I will take a day or two to process this latest development, I intend to be back in Parliament soon where I will continue to represent my Glasgow Southside constituents to the very best of my ability.”

Politics latest: Former first minister questioned

Upon her release, a Police Scotland statement said: “A 52-year-old woman who was arrested earlier today, Sunday 11 June, 2023, as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party, has been released without charge pending further investigation.

“The woman was questioned by Police Scotland detectives after she was arrested at 10.09am. She was released from custody at 5.24pm.

“A report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.”

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Nicola Sturgeon is in custody

Scotland’s former first minister was the latest high-profile figure in the party to be detained as part of Police Scotland’s Operation Branchform into the whereabouts of £600,000 of funding that had been earmarked for a second independence vote.

It is understood there have been complaints the ringfenced cash may have been used improperly by being spent elsewhere.

Her arrest came on the back of the detentions of party treasurer Colin Beattie and former party chief executive Peter Murrell – also Ms Sturgeon’s husband – who were both subsequently released without charge.

Police previously searched the SNP headquarters and Ms Sturgeon and Mr Murrell’s home as part of the investigation.

At the time of her arrest, a spokesperson for Ms Sturgeon said: “Nicola Sturgeon has today, Sunday 11 June, by arrangement with Police Scotland, attended an interview where she was to be arrested and questioned in relation to Operation Branchform.

“Nicola has consistently said she would co-operate with the investigation if asked and continues to do so.”

Politically this is a hammer blow for the SNP

This is the bombshell that senior SNP figures feared but knew was probably coming

Nicola Sturgeon’s arrest is seismic. It was unthinkable a few short months ago.

The party she once led was a political powerhouse run on a system of discipline.

But since her shock resignation earlier this year, there have been some nationalist figures emerging to suggest the SNP under Ms Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrell was secretive.

Leaked videos from around the time the police probe began showed Ms Sturgeon rubbishing suggestions all was not well with the SNP’s finances. The former first minister is now facing those very questions in a police interview suite under caution as a suspect.

Detectives will have been careful given the huge sensitivities in this case.

It has been suggested Ms Sturgeon’s detention was inevitable given the other two names on the latest SNP financial accounts were previously arrested.

But it still is incredible to see the reality play out in front of our eyes.

A luxury £100,000 motorhome was also seized from outside the home of Mr Murrell’s mother in Dunfermline, Fife.

An SNP spokesperson said: “These issues are subject to a live police investigation.

“The SNP have been cooperating fully with this investigation and will continue to do so however it is not appropriate to publicly address any issues while that investigation is ongoing.”

Ms Sturgeon’s arrest will intensify the scandal that has engulfed Scotland’s largest political party just months after she stood down as party leader and first minister in February.

At the time, Ms Sturgeon said she was quitting because the job “takes its toll on you and all around you”.

She said she believed part of “serving well would be to know almost instinctively when the time is right” to step down, adding: “In my head and in my heart I know that time is now, that it is right for me and my party and for the country.”

But months later, Mr Murrell was arrested – creating a sense of turmoil that has overshadowed the new leadership of Humza Yousaf, who was elected to replace Ms Sturgeon in a bitter and divisive leadership race in March.

Mr Yousaf previously said he was unaware the SNP owned a £100,000 motorhome until he became party leader.

He also admitted that he was unaware that the SNP’s longstanding auditors, Johnston Carmichael, had quit in September 2022 following a review of their client portfolio until he became party leader.

The party had been under pressure to find new auditors in order to file its accounts with the Electoral Commission by 7 July or risk being fined.

Last month Mr Yousaf confirmed the SNP had signed a contract with a new auditor more than half a year after the previous firm quit.

Read more:
Arrests, a luxury motorhome and a power couple’s fall: The inside story of SNP police probe
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross criticises SNP ‘secrecy, spin and cover-ups’

SNP MP Joanna Cherry said it was a “sad and difficult day for Scotland and for my party”.

“As I have said before I believe passionately in due process, respecting the integrity of an ongoing investigation and the principle of innocent until proven guilty and I shall not be commenting further,” she tweeted.

Labour’s Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray said the arrest was a “deeply concerning development”.

“The Police Scotland investigation must be allowed to proceed without interference.

“For too long, a culture of secrecy and cover-up has been allowed to fester at the heart of the SNP.

“The same culture that leads to police tents in front gardens created the deeply dysfunctional government that is currently failing Scots.

“Humza Yousaf must urgently come clean on what he knows – the people of Scotland deserve answers.”

Bath: Six boys and two girls aged between 15 and 17 arrested after 16-year-old stabbed to death | UK News

Eight teenagers – six boys and two girls aged between 15 and 17 – have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a 16-year-old boy was stabbed in Bath.

A 35-year-old woman, who was also stabbed in the incident, has been discharged after being treated in hospital.

Chief Inspector Ronald Lungu, of the Bath Neighbourhood Team, said: “This is a tragic incident and our thoughts this morning are very much with the family of the boy who has died.

“They were informed of what happened as soon as possible and are understandably devastated. Specialist family liaison officers will now be assigned to them to provide them with support and keep them updated.

“Officers arrived at the scene within minutes of the first call being received and an investigation into the incident is already being carried out, led by the Major Crime Investigation Team.

“We’ve identified a number of witnesses and we’ll be taking formal statements from them in due course but we’re also keen to hear from anyone who was at the address at the time who hasn’t yet spoken to police. If you can help, please call us on 101.”

Man charged with murder after bodies of married couple in their 30s found in Newhaven | UK News

A man has been charged with the murder of a married couple in Newhaven.

The bodies of a 33-year-old man and 30-year-old woman were discovered at a house on Friday night.

Derek Martin – a 64-year-old also known as Derek Glenn – is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.

Detective Chief Inspector Kimball Edey, from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: “Our thoughts remain with the families of the two victims at this extremely difficult time.

“While our work to establish the exact circumstances of what happened are ongoing, we are not seeking anyone else in connection with the matter.

“I’d like to thank the public for their understanding and remind them not to speculate or comment on anything which could jeopardise our investigation in the meantime.”

The victims’ next of kin have been informed.

Rishi Sunak nervously waits to see if more Boris Johnson allies will quit as MPs | Politics News

Rishi Sunak and the Tory high command are nervously waiting to see if more Boris Johnson allies quit as MPs – amid fears that the feud is set to plunge the party into civil war.

Johnson supporters claim two more MPs are on “resignation watch” after Nadine Dorries and Nigel Adams joined the former prime minister in quitting with immediate effect and triggering by-elections.

But some government loyalists think support for the rebellion is stalling. Claims by Johnson’s camp that up to six more MPs were poised to quit have failed to materialise so far.

Politics Hub: Live reaction to shock resignation

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What does Johnson quitting mean for Sunak?

Some of Mr Johnson’s closest allies – led by the newly knighted Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg – have publicly declared they are not quitting, despite offering vocal support for the former PM.

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Sir Jacob said: “I am not, unlike some of my fellow Boris admirers, resigning my Commons seat. I will fight my North East Somerset seat at the next election and campaign for a Conservative victory nationally.”

He also claimed Mr Johnson’s resignation – and his suggestion that he might fight another seat at the next election – “puts him in pole position to return as Conservative leader if a vacancy should arise”.

In his angry resignation statement on Friday evening, Mr Johnson said: “It is very sad to be leaving parliament – at least for now.”

Issuing a direct threat to Mr Sunak, Sir Jacob added: “I would most strongly warn Conservative Party managers against any attempt to block Boris if he seeks the party nomination in another seat.

“Any attempt to do so would shatter our fragile party unity and plunge the Conservatives into civil war.”

Read more:
Beth Rigby: Has Johnson got appetite to win again?
Sunday’s national newspaper front pages

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Nadine Dorries speaks to Sky News after resigning

Leading Brexit hardliner Lord Frost, writing in The Sunday Telegraph, also predicted a Johnson comeback – declaring: “True, he is leaving parliament, but only, as he himself says, ‘for now’.”

But party grandees opposed to a comeback by Mr Johnson – led by former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine – urged the party leadership to block a return to the Commons by the former PM.

“To me it is inconceivable that in these circumstances he could stand as a Conservative member of parliament again,” Lord Heseltine wrote in The Observer.

“It is up to Conservative central office to affirm an official Conservative candidate. No doubt he will now go out into the world and make huge sums of money, writing history as he thinks it was conducted. But it will have little to do with the reality that he has left behind.”

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From journalist to prime minister

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, called for a general election following the trio of high-profile resignations from the Commons, claiming Mr Sunak had lost control of his government.

“Rishi Sunak must finally find a backbone, call an election, and let the public have their say on 13 years of Tory failure,” Sir Keir wrote in the Sunday Mirror.

“This farce must stop. People have had enough.”

Blundell’s School: Teenager charged with attempted murder and GBH with intent after assaults at Tiverton school | UK News

A 16-year-old boy has been charged in connection with three alleged assaults at a school in Devon.

Two teenage boys and an adult were injured at Blundell’s School in Tiverton on Friday.

A suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be remanded to appear at Exeter Magistrates’ Court on Monday morning charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of GBH with intent, a spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said.

Officers were called to a school building at around 1am on Friday 9 June following reports of a serious assault.

The two teenage boys are both students at the independent school and remain in hospital.

One of the boys is in a critical condition and the other is in a stable but serious condition, officers said.

Their families remain with them and are receiving support from officers.

Undated general view of Blundell's School, Tiverton, Devon. A 16-year-old boy has been arrested after two students sustained multiple serious injuries at the private school. Devon and Cornwall Police were called to the site of the school, following reports of a serious assault at about 1am on Friday. Issue date: Friday June 9, 2023.
Blundell’s School in Tiverton, Devon

The man who sustained injuries is a member of staff at the school and was discharged from hospital on Friday.

Commander Superintendent Toby Davies said: “Our thoughts remain with the injured boys and their families in what must be a harrowing time for them.

“My officers are continuing to support them and the wider school community.

“We continue to fully investigate this incident and a scene guard remains in place at the school and is expected to remain there for the rest of the day.”

Officers are keen to remind the public not to speculate as to the identity of either the victims or the suspect.

Any suspect under the age of 18 is legally not allowed to be identified.

In a letter to parents and guardians, headteacher Bart Wielenga said the school is “confident” this was an isolated incident and there is “no ongoing threat or concern”.

Mr Wielenga said support is available for pupils following the incident.

Blundell's school, Tiverton, Devon
A police cordon was at the scene of the school

Read more from Sky News:
Another Boris Johnson ally to stand down as MP immediately
Second arrest made in search for high risk missing woman
At least three troops faint in military parade as temperatures soar

The mixed school costs £41,325 a year for senior boarders and more than £28,000 annually for those in years seven and eight.

Notable former pupils at the school include Ben Collins, thought to be the face behind Top Gear’s The Stig, and reality TV star Georgia “Toff” Toffolo.