Accompanied by her family and the Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe came face to face with Boris Johnson for the first time since her release in March, reports PA.
Siddiq said that after six years of “unjust and unlawful imprisonment” the British-Iranian dual national deserved to “hear directly” from Johnson about why it took so long to get her home.
In 2017, Johnson, then foreign secretary, wrongly claimed that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been training journalists at the time of her arrest in 2016. Following his remarks, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was summoned before an unscheduled court hearing where his comments were used as proof that she was engaged in “propaganda against the regime”.
When asked if Johnson would be apologising to Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a spokesperson for the prime minister said:
I think it is important to remember that it was the Iranian government who were responsible for her unfair detention, and the decision to release her was always in their gift. However, I would point back to the prime minister’s words, his answers to questions on this before and he has previously apologised for his comments in 2017.
Siddiq, the MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, said the prime minister looked “quite shocked” after Zaghari-Ratcliffe told him how his words affected her and that she had “lived in the shadow” of them for the past four and a half years.
“I was really proud she did say that,” added Siddiq. “She wanted to make it clear to him that she’s happy now, she’s grateful, she appreciates the fact that she is home now, but there was a time when the words had a big impact.”
That’s all for our live coverage for today. Here’s a summary of the day’s main developments in case you missed them.
It’s been an unusually busy Friday in UK politics, following the announcement of civil service job cuts, tension between parties in the Northern Ireland assembly and a terse meeting between Boris Johnson and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
Here are the day’s main events:
Thanks for following today, I’m handing over to my colleague Euan O’Byrne Mulligan for the rest of the evening. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
The Stormont assembly has failed to elect a new speaker after the DUP said it would not support the process as part of its protest against the Northern Ireland protocol.
The move will stop the devolved assembly from being able to
UUP MLA Mike Nesbitt, one of the candidates for speaker, was not elected in the cross-community vote, despite his candidacy receiving backing by 51.9% of MLAs.
SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone also failed in his bid to be speaker, receiving 71.3% of the vote but also failing to receive sufficient cross-community support.
Boris Johnson and his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Støre have signed a new joint declaration meaning Norway will, according to its leader, cooperate “more extensively with the UK than any other country in the world”.
At a meeting in London, the two leaders “underscored their full support” for any choice by Nordic partners to enhance their security, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.
They also discussed the “pressing need” to boost the supply of sustainable energy, with the UK prime minister remarking that “the sky was the limit” when it came to collaboration between the two countries on the issue.
The pair discussed the security situation in northern Europe and stressed that Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “barbaric” invasion of Ukraine and “hostility” towards neighbouring states was “totally unjustified”, the spokesperson added.
“Both leaders underscored their full support for any sovereign choice made by Nordic partners to enhance their security,” they said.
No 10 said the leaders agreed on the need for Nato allies to back Ukraine politically, taking a “unified approach” that “avoids giving Putin licence to further twist the knife in the wound of Ukraine”.
The Guardian’s political editor Heather Stewart has the full story on the mass resignation of the 16-strong executive of Wakefield constituency Labour party (CLP).
The executive accuse Keir Starmer of stitching up the selection of a candidate for the forthcoming byelection.
Party members in Wakefield claim the leader’s office has failed to abide by Labour rules, by allowing the local party only one seat of five on the panels for longlisting and then shortlisting candidates.
They argue that neither of the two people who made it through to the shortlist, Kate Dearden and Simon Lightwood, have local roots, and several other plausible candidates, including the deputy leader of Wakefield council, Jack Hemingway, were passed over.