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Emotional King unveils statues of late parents at the Royal Albert Hall ahead of Festival of Remembrance | UK News

The King and Queen unveiled statues of the Elizabeth II and Prince Philip as they arrived for the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

The life-sized bronzes, commemorating the late Queen and her husband’s dedication to the concert hall, were installed as part of its 150th anniversary.

King Charles appeared emotional as he looked up at the statue of his late mother at Saturday’s unveiling ceremony.

The King and Queen were later accompanied at the festival by nine other members of the Royal Family, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak observed the event from a box to the left of the royals alongside his wife Akshata Murty while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer sat in a separate box to the right with his wife Lady Victoria.

Hosting the annual event, Clare Balding said that servicemen and women who have lost their lives are “kept alive with our words, our memories, our tributes”.

There were performances from British soul singer Mica Paris, pop star Calum Scott, Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery and tenor Alfie Boe, who performed Bring Him Home.

Statue of Queen Elizabeth II
Statue of Queen Elizabeth II

The statue of Prince Philip at the Royal Albert Hall
The statue of Prince Philip at the Royal Albert Hall

The Princess Royal led a tribute to those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest military campaign of the Second World War.

This year’s Festival of Remembrance marked 80 years since the battle, which saw around 65,000 seamen lose their lives.

Other tributes at the festival included to the bereaved who have lost loved ones through military service.

Footage marking the 70th anniversary of the Korean War was shown, with contributions from people who had served.

There were also tributes to the Windrush generation and their contribution to the British armed forces, marking the 75th anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush’s arrival in the UK.

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The royals joined the crowd to sing Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind after the remembrance book, containing the names of British war dead, was brought into the centre of the hall.

It was carried by petty officer Stuart Jones and his family, accompanied by recently reunited Royal Navy families.

Sir Keir Starmer with his wife Lady Victoria

The event ended with a rendition of God Save The King followed by three cheers after which King Charles waved to the crowd who applauded as he left with the other royals.

On Sunday, His Majesty will lead the nation in remembrance at the Cenotaph following a day of violent clashes in central London between counter-protesters and police, who attempted to stop them from interfering with a major pro-Palestinian march.

Bibby Stockholm: Asylum seekers may be housed on barge from today – as govt unveils new migration policy | Politics News

Asylum seekers could start being housed on the Bibby Stockholm barge as soon as today – with the government announcing further measures to combat illegal migration.

About 50 people are expected to be in the first group of migrants to board the vessel docked in Portland Port, Dorset, despite local opposition.

Inside the Bibby Stockholm barge

Protesters in Portland in Dorset after the Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge arrived from dry dock in Falmouth, Cornwall, where it is due to house migrants. Picture date: Tuesday July 18, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Migrants. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The developments come as the government begins a so-called “small boats week” – with a series of announcements on the issue that Rishi Sunak has promised to solve.

Fines for employers and landlords who allow people who arrive by illegal means to work for them or live in their properties are to be hugely increased.

Civil penalties for employers will be increased up to a maximum of £45,000 per worker for a first breach and £60,000 for repeat offenders, tripling both from the last increase in 2014.

Landlords face fines going from £1,000 per occupier to £10,000, with repeat breaches going from £3,000 to £20,000. Penalties relating to lodgers will also be hiked.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick told Sky News that the Bibby Stockholm will accept its first occupants “in the coming days”.

The Home Office did nothing to dampen suggestions the arrivals could come on Monday. Various expected dates have been given and then missed in the past, however.

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Mr Jenrick offered a guarantee that it is a “safe facility” after the firefighters’ union warned it is a “potential death trap”, citing concerns including overcrowding and access to fire exits.

“We hope that the first migrants will go on to the boat in the coming days, I’m not going to give you an exact date – but very soon,” he said.

He said increasing the numbers on the barge to the capacity of about 500 is still the plan despite concerns from the Fire Brigades Union over the vessel initially designed to house about 200.

The government is also reconsidering plans to fly people who arrive by unauthorised means 4,000 miles to Ascension Island, according to multiple reports.

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Home Secretary Suella Braverman (centre) tours a building site on the outskirts of Kigali during her visit to Rwanda, to see houses that are being constructed that could eventually house deported migrants from the UK. Picture date: Saturday March 18, 2023.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman (centre) tours a building site on the outskirts of Kigali during her visit to Rwanda

The proposals to use the British Overseas Territory are apparently being considered by ministers and officials as a “plan B” if the Rwanda plan fails.

Deep in the South Atlantic, the volcanic island could house an asylum processing centre as an attempt to reduce the number of small boats crossing the Channel.

The plans to remove asylum seekers who arrive by unauthorised means to Rwanda have been stalled by legal challenges that will end up in the Supreme Court.

Met Police chief unveils plan to reform the service and restore trust in wake of David Carrick case | UK News

London’s police chief has unveiled his vision on how to reform the force and win back public trust over the next two years.

The Turnaround Plan coincides with another week of scandal for the Met after the crimes of rapist PC David Carrick were revealed.

The plan has nine priorities including building the “strongest ever neighbourhood policing”, improving public protection and safeguarding, giving victims a “compassionate” service, and showing communities “we care and respect them”.

It comes as the Carrick case prompted separate, urgent action to double-check all police to see if anyone of concern has slipped through the net.

All police in England and Wales must be checked against national databases by the end of March, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said on Friday.

Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the next two years would be critical and that he was “determined to win back Londoners’ trust”.

He also again condemned the “appalling criminality” of Carrick and the missed chances to stop him.

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“I know our communities need to see reform in the Met, on issues of standards and culture but also in how we do more to reduce crime,” he said.

“We must and will act now,” he added.

PC David Carrick
The Carrick case has brought fresh shame on the Met

“My promise to you is I, my senior team and the tens of thousands of hard-working and honest officers and staff will reform the Met and do all we can to give Londoners confidence in their police service,” Sir Mark said in a statement on Friday.

However, he admitted that “painful truths” had been revealed that would “not be resolved overnight”.

The plan also includes attending every home burglary, an extra 1,600 Police Community Support Officers, a new anti-corruption and abuse command, and doing more to target men who use violence against women and girls.

Londoners have 12 weeks to give feedback on the plan, which is published on the Met’s website. An updated version will then be published in April.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he “wholeheartedly” backed the plan and would start with funding 500 more PCSOs with more investment to be announced in the coming weeks.