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Gary Neville rules out bid to become Labour MP as he joins Keir Starmer on conference stage | Politics News

Former footballer Gary Neville has ruled out any future bid to become a Labour MP.

Appearing at the party’s conference in Liverpool on Monday, he said he has “no intention of going into politics” as he does not want to give up the businesses he co-owns or his work in football.

The Manchester United defender turned Sky Sports pundit added that he is “not going to be tempted” to stand in the upcoming by-election in West Lancashire.

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The former England star confirmed he had joined the Labour Party back in January this year.

But speaking to broadcasters on Monday, he ruled out any further progression.

“It’s something that I’ve been asked regularly over the last 12 to 18 months,” he said.

“I’ve got no intention of going into politics at all because the reality is I love what I do so much.

“I love what I do in football. I love what I do in the in Greater Manchester with the businesses that I co-own.

“And I have to say that I wouldn’t want to give that up. I feel as though I’m happy in what I’m doing.

“I want to continue to do the things that I’m doing locally in Greater Manchester. I have to say that I feel politically motivated, but I can do as much, I think, for the Labour Party being here today as I can do being an MP.”

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Britain's Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and Former footballer Gary Neville attend Britain's Labour Party's annual conference in Liverpool, Britain, September 26, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

‘Get behind Keir Starmer’

In a later conversation on the main conference stage with Keir Starmer and shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell, Neville urged delegates to “get behind” the Labour leader as he is a “serious politician”.

Asked what advice he would give the party to put it on the path to victory, he said: “Remain laser-focused and aligned behind a single goal – which is to remove this Conservative government and put everything else aside and focus on that alone.”

He added: “Not only is this current government damaging us in our country, our relationships with our partners in Europe and around the world are broken and shattered.

“We need to rebuild our reputation and that is not going to happen under a Conservative government.”

Asked for his view on Liz Truss, Neville said: “She has tanked the pound lower than my reputation in Liverpool.”

Entering the stage, he had joked: “Usually when I see reds in Liverpool I’m in big trouble. It is the best reception I have ever had here.”

Primark rules out further price increases ahead to protect sales in tough economy | Business News

Primark has ruled out further price increases “beyond those already actioned and planned”, in a bid to protect sales in the tough economy.

The discount retailer’s parent firm Associated British Foods (ABF) made the announcement as it warned of lower group profits for its next financial year, which begins later this month.

The company said that it expected Primark, which has implemented price hikes this year to reflect surging energy costs, to face a spending slowdown due to the cost of living crisis hitting customers in its core UK market.

It said that while recent UK sales had proved resilient in its current fourth quarter – outperforming those in wider European destinations – they remained at around pre-COVID levels.

ABF said energy bills, the weak pound and euro relative to the dollar and its decision to limit further price hikes would hurt Primark and its margins next year.

The price action will be seen as a bid to protect its market share as shopper demand is tested.

It was revealed hours before the new Liz Truss-led government prepared to reveal an energy price freeze to help shield consumers and businesses from future bill shocks.

“We expect sales growth to be driven by the increase in retail selling space and like-for-like growth resulting from both the price increases implemented for autumn/winter this year and those planned for spring/summer next year”, its statement read.

“Primark has already been managing the challenges of supply chain disruption, inflation in raw material and energy costs and in labour rates, alongside the higher purchasing costs which have resulted from the strengthening of the US dollar over this financial year against sterling and the euro.

“To mitigate these pressures, in addition to the price increases mentioned above, there are also plans to improve store labour efficiency and deliver lower operating costs.”

It added: “Against this current volatile backdrop and a context of likely much reduced disposable consumer income, we have decided not to implement further price increases next year beyond those already actioned and planned.

“We believe this decision is in the best interests of Primark and supports our core proposition of everyday affordability and price leadership.”

It expected Primark’s profit margin for next year to be lower than the operating profit margin of 8.0% expected for the second half of this current financial year, which ends on 17 September.

Shares fell 8% in early deals.

The group retained its outlook for 2021/22, with its food business – including Twinings and Allied Bakeries – seeing stronger revenue due to higher demand and prices of ingredients.

UK High Court rules Saudi Arabia not immune from legal challenge over spyware against British resident | Science & Tech News

A human rights activist has been granted the ability to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after alleging Saudi agents assaulted him and infected his iPhones with spyware.

The High Court ruled on Friday that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) does not have immunity from facing the legal challenge under the State Immunity Act 1978.

Ghanem Al-Masarir, 41, is a satirist on YouTube and an activist who has lived in England since 2003.

He “has been prominently involved in campaigning for political reform and human rights in Saudi Arabia”, according to the High Court summary of his claim.

Mr Al-Masarir claims that the KSA hacked his phones using spyware developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, which has since been sanctioned by the US government for its involvement in alleged human rights abuses.

His claim is that the spyware allowed the Saudi regime’s staff “to access his microphone and camera to hear and record what he was doing”, say his lawyers at Leigh Day.

He was also assaulted in an attack outside Harrods in Knightsbridge, central London, on 31 August 2018 – the same year he was granted asylum in the UK – by people who he claims were acting on the behalf of the Saudi regime.

Lawyers representing the KSA argued there is no evidence that it was liable for the alleged phone infection or that the assault was committed on the kingdom’s behalf.

Mr Al-Masarir runs a YouTube channel
Image:
Mr Al-Masarir runs a YouTube channel

Mr Al-Masarir had been tipped off about the surveillance by staff at The Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the University of Toronto.

The Citizen Lab has brought many spyware cases and potential human rights abuses to light, including the tool’s alleged use inside Downing Street.

He described today’s ruling – which found against the KSA’s claim that it was immune from being hauled into an English court for the alleged actions – as a “huge relief”.

“The impact of the assault and the targeting with spyware, which I believe was orchestrated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has had a profound effect on my life,” he said in a statement following the ruling.

“I no longer feel safe and I am constantly looking over my shoulder. I no longer feel able to speak up for the oppressed Saudi people because I fear that any contact with people inside the Kingdom could put them in danger.

“I look forward to presenting my full case to the court in the hope that I can finally hold the Kingdom to account for the suffering I believe they have caused me,” he added.