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‘Regrettable choice of words’: EU backs down after calling Falklands by Argentine name – PM | Politics News

Rishi Sunak has criticised the EU for a “regrettable choice of words” after it appeared to endorse the Argentine name for the Falkland Islands.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said his view was it would have been “entirely unacceptable for the EU to question the Falkland Islanders’ right to decide their own future”.

A diplomatic row risked breaking out after the EU referred to the disputed territory as Islas Malvinas in a declaration that was agreed at a recent summit.

The declaration – agreed at the European Union and the Community of Latin American and the Caribbean states (Celac) earlier this week – read: “Regarding the question of sovereignty over the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands, the European Union took note of Celac’s historical position based on the importance of dialogue and respect for international law in the peaceful solution of disputes.”

Mr Sunak’s spokesman said the EU had now “clarified that their position on the Falklands has not changed”.

“To be clear, the Falkland Islands are British, that was the choice of the islanders themselves,” they said.

“The EU has rightly now clarified that their position on the Falklands has not changed after their regrettable choice of words.

“And just as a reminder, in the 2013 referendum, 99.8% of islanders voted to be part of the UK family. It’s a position supported by international law and the UN Charter which is binding on all UN members.

“And we will continue to defend the Falklands’ right to self-determination in all international forums and have called on the EU to respect the democratic rights of the Falkland Islands.”

He added: “The concern is any suggestion that EU states would recognise Argentina’s claims on the Falklands, which they have now clarified is incorrect.”

Both the UK and Argentina lay claim to the Falkland Islands, fighting a war in 1982 that culminated in the deaths of 255 British service personnel and 649 Argentines .

The 40th anniversary of the war was marked last March.

The Falkland Islands is officially classified as a British Overseas Territory, a position the EU reaffirmed in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty.

Nurses’ strike: Health Secretary Steve Barclay says he is ‘left with no choice but to proceed with legal action’ | Politics News

The government will take a nursing union to court in an attempt to stop its latest strike action.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are due to walk out for 48 hours from 8pm on Sunday night until 8pm on Tuesday 2 May after rejecting the latest pay offer from the government.

But Steve Barclay, the health secretary, has written to RCN boss Pat Cullen, saying the union’s current six-month strike mandate runs out at midnight on 1 May.

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After talks to solve the issue last week failed, Mr Barclay said: “I therefore regretfully provided notice of my intent to pursue legal action with a view to protecting patients, NHS workers and RCN members whilst continuing to seek a way to resolve this through official channels.”

Ms Cullen said the RCN had told the government such action was “wrong and indefensible” but “the threat sadly became a reality”.

In an email to members, she added: “The only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them – including in court.

“It’s so wrong for the government to use taxpayers’ money to drag our profession through the courts.

“We’re determined to show that the nursing profession is strong and determined and defend our members’ right to strike.”

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Thousands of nurses are due to strike for the May bank holiday

In a statement released after the news broke, Mr Barclay said he had been “left with no choice but to proceed with legal action”.

He added: “I firmly support the right to take industrial action within the law – but the government cannot stand by and let a plainly unlawful strike action go ahead nor ignore the request of NHS Employers.

“We must also protect nurses by ensuring they are not asked to take part in an unlawful strike.”

Ms Cullen confirmed members would not be asked to walk out if the court ruled against them, saying: “If the government succeeds in silencing members like you and convinces the court to stop part of our strike, then we’ll have no choice but to cut it short.”

She added: “Our strike action has always been safe and legal. We would never ask our members to do anything unsafe or against your professional code.”