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David Cameron showed a ‘significant lack of judgment’ by lobbying, MPs will say 

David Cameron showed a ‘significant lack of judgment’ by lobbying ministers on behalf of Greensill Capital, MPs will say

  • David Cameron showed ‘significant lack of judgment’ in lobbying for Greensill
  • Criticised after messages to ministers and top civil servants on their behalf
  • Comapny wanted access to billions of pounds through Covid support schemes

David Cameron showed a ‘significant lack of judgment’ in his lucrative lobbying work for a controversial finance firm, MPs will say today.

The former prime minister is criticised in a major report after sending dozens of text messages to ministers and top civil servants on behalf of Greensill Capital.

The Treasury committee found he should have ‘taken a more restrained approach’, having made contact 56 times in four months, particularly as ‘signals’ showed the now-collapsed firm was in trouble.

The company, for which the ex-Tory leader was reportedly paid more than £730,000 a year as a senior adviser, wanted access to billions of pounds through Covid support schemes.

David Cameron (pictured) showed a 'significant lack of judgment' in lucrative lobbying work for Greensill Capital, MPs will say today

David Cameron (pictured) showed a ‘significant lack of judgment’ in lucrative lobbying work for Greensill Capital, MPs will say today

But Greensill’s claim that it would support small businesses was ‘more of a sales pitch than reality’, the MPs found.

The Treasury is also criticised for not telling Mr Cameron to use ‘more formal methods of communication’ and for failing to consider whether his contact with the department ‘posed any reputational risks’.

Tory MP Mel Stride, chairman of the committee, said last night: ‘Our report sets out important lessons for the Treasury and our financial system resulting from both Greensill Capital’s collapse and David Cameron’s lobbying. The Treasury should have encouraged David Cameron into more formal lines of communication as soon as it had identified his personal financial incentives.

‘However, the Treasury took the right decision to reject the objectives of his lobbying, and the committee found that Treasury ministers and officials behaved with complete and absolute integrity.’

It is the first parliamentary report into the lobbying scandal, which erupted earlier this year. The MPs note in their report today that the ‘economic benefits from Mr Cameron’s relationship with Greensill were clearly very significant’ and point out his use of the firm’s private jets, including for personal trips.

The former prime minister is criticised in a major report after sending dozens of text messages to ministers and top civil servants on behalf of Greensill Capital

The former prime minister is criticised in a major report after sending dozens of text messages to ministers and top civil servants on behalf of Greensill Capital

His ‘obvious personal links’ with those he was lobbying are clear from his ‘Love Dc’ sign-off when writing to the Treasury’s top civil servant Sir Tom Scholar, and his habit of sending texts and WhatsApp messages to their private mobile phones.

The report concludes: ‘Mr Cameron’s use of less formal means to lobby Government showed a significant lack of judgment, especially given that his ability to use an informal approach was aided by his previous position of prime minister.’

It notes that he ‘did not break the rules governing lobbying by former ministers’ – which apply only in the first two years after leaving office – but adds that this shows ‘there is a strong case for strengthening them’.

Last night, Mr Cameron said: ‘While I am pleased that the report confirms I broke no rules, I very much take on board its wider points. I always acted in good faith, and had no idea until the end of last year that Greensill Capital was in danger of failure. However, I have been clear all along that there are lessons to be learnt.’ 

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This post originally posted here United Kingdom News

The ex-President showed that defeat, the disgrace of his insurrection

The ex-President showed that defeat, the disgrace of his insurrection and the deaths of 400,000 Americans in a pandemic he downplayed don’t hurt his appeal
The ex-President showed this weekend that defeat after a single term, the disgrace of his insurrection against American democracy and the deaths of 400,000 Americans on his watch in a pandemic he downplayed don’t hurt his appeal to Republicans. In fact, the efforts of potential 2024 rivals to replicate his extremism show Trump’s strange magic is only validated by his transgressions.
The former President was the star turn at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas Sunday — an organization that once lionized a champion of global democracy, President Ronald Reagan, yet has morphed into a Trump cult.
“We were doing so well until the rigged election happened to come along,” Trump said, voicing the lie at the center of the conference that he has made the entry point for GOP candidates in 2022, potentially poisoning US elections for years.
There is an argument that a former President who is out of power but still desperate for attention should just be ignored. Certainly, a rambling, vain and lie-filled speech by Trump lacked coherence and any kind of aspirational appeal, instead highlighting his characteristic cocktail of racial demagoguery, personal swipes at enemies, mountainous falsehoods and desperate trawling for personal adulation. To an outsider, it may have come across as tedious and a pale imitation of the rollicking and sometimes even humorous appearances that paved Trump’s path to power in 2016. But in hitting every sensitive hot spot in the conservative media canon — from law and order to “cancel culture” to immigration, to complaints that all the media speaks about is “race, race, race,” Trump demonstrated his still unmatched capacity to sell outrage politics. But more than that, he demonstrated his ability to conjure an alternative belief system that is divorced from reality but that his supporters immediately adopt — the hallmark of strongmen leaders throughout history.
He for instance launched into a searing attack against former Attorney General William Barr, who for most of his time in office acted as a political shield for Trump’s crushing of political norms but drew the line at his election lies.
“I said, ‘Bill, you got to move your ass. Our country is under attack,’ ” the former President said, thus confirming his own unprecedented assault on US democratic institutions while complaining that Barr had not authorized investigations into false claims of voter fraud in Pennsylvania. His admission underscored yet again that even the most zealous enablers who fail to buy into his abuses of power are sooner or later branded by the ex-President as heretics.

Trumpism is on the march in red America

Trump is not just popular at CPAC where the crowd greeted his speech with glee. That his populist extremism is now being implemented by GOP governors across states he won shows his enduring power. So do the countrywide efforts by Republican state lawmakers to restrict voting based on his lies about a stolen election. Trump’s capacity to orchestrate the behavior of Republicans is almost as intact as it was when he was sitting in the Oval Office — his derailing of a bipartisan, independent probe of the January 6 outrage is proof of that. All these are reasons why Trump cannot be just disregarded.
Six months after his supporters ransacked the US Capitol — amid an effort by top GOP officials to reinvent the history of that moment, the former President’s threat to American democracy remains extreme. And even if Trump never runs for President again — and he gives every impression of already being launched on a four-year campaign — the brand of grievance politics he invented and maintains will be on the ballot — as his list of possible heirs, from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, shows.
So while much of Trump’s speech was backward looking, providing a rosy and untrue picture of an administration that left his country deeply divided, the false belief system that has captured the hearts and minds of millions of voters is real.
The crucial question is whether the message that is so electric to Trump’s supporters will still cause the kind of revulsion among suburban and more moderate voters who deserted Trump’s GOP and saw him lose the House, the Senate and the White House over a single four-year term.
And could another messenger like DeSantis or Noem, or Texas Gov. Greg Abbott make it quite so bewitching to the conservative base?
The former President is relentless on targeting issues like undocumented migration, the calls by some liberals to defund the police and the rising crime wave to paint the country as out of control and under the sway of far left wingers — as a possible route to broadening his appeal.
But his continued torching of truth comes at a time when President Joe Biden is noticeably all but ignoring his predecessor, positioning himself as a moderate, traditional commander-in-chief. This week, Biden will discuss gun violence and crime in the cities that has spiked as the pandemic eases its grip. He will likely plead with Americans again to get vaccinated to finally defeat Covid-19 — even as Trump acolytes like Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado claim the government vaccine effort is akin to Nazism.
But even as Biden tries to carry out his vow to unite the country and to work across the aisle with Republicans on infrastructure reform for instance, it’s clear that ultimately the biggest impediment he faces is from Trump’s undiminished power. CPAC was for instance an example in microcosm of the fact that much of America’s voting public now lives in an alternative reality in which Trump won the election and Biden lost. Speaker after speaker alluded to election fraud — despite the lack of any evidence that stood up in any of Trump’s failed legal and political attempts to overturn a free and fair elections.
His behavior underscored yet again that the regular battle between conservatism and liberalism over the meaning of America itself has been superseded. One political party is still deep in thrall of a leader who never stops lying and is dedicated to overturning the US democratic political system itself.

Cheering against the vaccine

At one moment on Saturday, which exemplified the grip of ideology on the right, the CPAC crowd cheered the fact that Biden missed his vaccine goal, with more than 30% of adults — most of them in conservative states being hit by the Delta variant of Covid-19, still yet to get at least one dose.
That reaction shocked the government’s top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been made a scapegoat by conservatives keen to cover up Trump’s own disastrous handling of the pandemic.
“It’s horrifying. They are cheering about someone saying that it’s a good thing for people not to try and save their lives,” Fauci told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
It was noticeable that while Trump demanded rightful recognition for the vaccine that was developed under his administration — as he claimed to have saved 100 million lives — he made no call for people to get vaccinated.
The ex-President’s reluctance to spend his political capital on a matter that conflicts with the orthodoxy of many conservatives and that could save thousands of lives remains striking, even after he spent months during the early stages of the pandemic trashing science-based public health guidance. And Trump had the power to change minds at the CPAC gathering since 70% of attendees who took part in an unscientific straw poll chose him as their preferred candidate for 2024.
The worst public health crisis in 100 years has now fallen prey to the same relentless churn of misinformation and lies which has stifled the truth of what happened last November in conservative circles. Trump bills his multiple failures in a crisis which he promised would simply “go away” as a massive triumph.
And the potential candidate many conservatives would like to see on a ticket with him in 2024, Noem of South Dakota, is billing her refusal to adopt basic public health guidelines that save lives as a political virtue.
“We’ve got Republican governors across this country pretending they didn’t shut down their states; that they didn’t close their regions; that they didn’t mandate masks,” Noem said at CPAC.
She appeared to be drawing a contrast with DeSantis and Abbott — who took a more restrictive but still lax approach — with a future Republican primary debate in mind.
“Now I’m not picking fights with Republican governors. All I’m saying is that we need leaders with grit.”
The fact that her largely rural state, with few of the big cities that helped Covid spread quickly, had 230 deaths per 100,000 people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University — ranking it 10th in that metric among the 50 states — raises serious questions about Noem’s record. As does the reality that South Dakota also had 14,090 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people, giving it the third highest rate in the nation.
But as Trump has shown, an ability to reinvent the truth and to ignore reality might be the most important asset in a potential presidential candidate, in the Republican Party, three years before the next election.

Boris Johnson told social distancing at big events can be scrapped

Author: Claudia Aoraha
This post originally appeared on Breaking UK news and exclusives | The Sun

BORIS Johnson will be told that social distancing at big events can be scrapped after a pilot scheme showed no spike in Covid cases.

Crowds should be able to return without social distancing from June 21, while experts have said older vaccinated people should “get out there and socialise”.

🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates

Football fans wearing masks at Wembley Stadium

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Football fans wearing masks at Wembley StadiumCredit: AFP

Crowds should return without social distancing, and double-vaccinated Brits should go out and 'socialise'

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Crowds should return without social distancing, and double-vaccinated Brits should go out and ‘socialise’Credit: Alamy

It comes as people are being “terrified” by messages that things may not ever go back to normal – despite the success of the vaccine rollout.

And after initial results from pilot schemes, the Prime Minister will be told next week that there were no spikes in Covid cases among attendees.

With precautions like staggering entries and good ventilation, crowds can return to large events without distancing – following the monitoring of sports games that have already taken place.

A source familiar with the report, according to the Telegraph, said ministers will be told that the pilots have shown “there are some effective ways to manage risk that could remove the need to have social distancing at events”.

The conclusions will be framed as an “initial view” from scientists – with more pilot events coming next month.

With infections dropping to below 50 per 100,000 people in more than 95 per cent of the UK, ministers say that the lifting of all restrictions is in sight.

BACK TO ‘NORMALITY’

Prof Tim Spector OBE, who leads the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, told the Mirror: “Rates are low, we’re not out of it yet but we can be optimistic.

“We shouldn’t be too worried about meeting people outside. I think we can start to increasingly enjoy life as long as we’re sensible.

“This is reassuring for elderly people who have been isolating for a year and have been double vaccinated, to say: ‘Look guys, your risk is so small, you should get out there and socialise.

“Two elderly vaccinated people should be able to go out and give each other a hug.

“We’re just not being honest in that for people who are double vaccinated the risks are tiny.

With precautions like staggering entries and good ventilation, crowds can return to large events without distancing

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With precautions like staggering entries and good ventilation, crowds can return to large events without distancingCredit: Getty

“A lot of people are still being terrified by Government messages and may never go back to normal.”

Current coronavirus rules state that you must keep two metres from people outside of your household or support bubble.

But Brits can meet outdoors with six people, as well as drink and dine at al fresco hospitality venues.

But social distancing is set to be in place until June 21 at the earliest, according to Boris Johnson’s roadmap.

Current infection levels are among the lowest to have been recorded by experts at the ZOE Symptom Tracker app, with just 757 infections being logged each day in England.

There are currently 1,046 new symptomatic cases of Covid in the UK on average compared to 1,165 daily cases a week ago.

This is a decrease of 10 per cent from last week and study lead, Prof Spector said that rates are beginning to plateau, moving the UK into a new era of the pandemic.

VACCINE ROLLOUT

Three regions also recorded no new infections, these are the East of England, the North East and Northern Ireland.

This comes after Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said meetings between fully vaccinated people are “incredibly safe”.

He added that England was “extremely close” to allowing people to meet indoors – but that we needed to “hold the line for just a teeny bit longer”.

Professor Van-Tam warned that there would be “bumps in the road” as Covid lockdown restrictions were rolled back.

He said: “I would be highly confident, scientifically, that if those were reputable vaccines, then indeed it would be incredibly safe for those two people to meet.”

He also noted that following the rules would be “frustrating at times for people, particularly those who’ve had their two doses, but we need to make sure we don’t have to go backwards again”.

“My sense is that probably we are at or close to the bottom at the moment in terms of this level of disease in the UK,” he said.

Professor Van-Tam said it was “inconceivable” that there would be a rise in cases as mixing returned.

However, he said he hoped vaccinations would stop the NHS from being overwhelmed as it was in the winter.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock receives a jab of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam

Sophie Wessex 'quietly showed how she will step up in times of crisis or tragedy'

“While possibly needing to keep a brave face on for her children and for the rest of the country over the next few weeks, it would be gratifying to think that The Queen also has empathetic Sophie to confide in and to take comfort from.”

Judi previously suggested Sophie appears to have been with the Queen, comforting her during this period.

She explained: “She looked and sounded sympathetic and empathetic, sounding very much as though she had been at the Queen’s side offering the right words and support for a woman famous for her stoicism and emotional resilience.

“We don’t know if The Queen bravely masks her emotions in private as she does in public but if she needed the right level of mirrored personal sadness and sympathy to allow herself to share her grief in a way that parents sometimes can’t do with their own children at a time like this then it would seem that Sophie would fit the bill perfectly.”

This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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Freddie Mercury beautiful gift to Brian May showed his 'pride' and love for Queen bandmate

Freddie Mercury’s generosity was legendary. He carried a little black book with him everywhere and kept constantly noting down friends’ birthdays so that he never forgot a gift. He grandly flew his nearest and dearest to parties all over the world but he also paid for Christmas dinners to be delivered to AIDS patients in hospital. And yet, little is known about any gifts he gave to his Queen bandmates May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. Until now.
Brian gave a major interview this week based around his musicianship and focussed on his many iconic guitar solos.

While he was discussing the creation of the Bohemian Rhapsody solo, he remembered a wonderful moment in the studio with Freddie during those sessions.

He said: “You know, one day Freddie had a big smile on his face when I came into the studio and he popped a cassette into the player and said, ‘Listen to this, darling. This is going to surprise you.'” 

READ MORE: Freddie Mercury girlfriend Mary Austin 70th Birthday today: Their love in their own words

Brian said: “And what he’d done was spend the whole morning putting together all the guitar solos that he could find in the work that we’d done, and he’d strung them all together.”

Of course, this was in a time long before digital wizardry when everything had to be done painstakingly by hand, which shows how thoughtful and dedicated a friend Freddie was.

The Queen guitar legend added: “It was quite amazing… Freddie was very proud of the stuff that I’d done and that we’d done together.”

People often forget that, as well as playing air guitar while strutting his stuff on stage, Freddie was also a capable guitarist himself, which made his appreciation of Brian’s talents even more special.

Unfortunately, Brian also had to confess that the story doesn’t quite have a happy ending.

When it came to receiving gifts, Freddie’s needs were simple: “A little gift, a gesture, a nuance…means far more than someone buying you Big Ben. It is totally farcical to assume that people who have money don’t need little gestures like that, like everyone else.”

“There might be people who pooh-pooh that kind of stuff but they must be very boring types.

“Some people think you have all this wealth, so ‘What can I possibly get you as a present? You have everything so I can’t buy you anything.’ I think that’s a cop-out.

“There’s tons of things I need. I hate all those excuses. They think they can’t give you something that doesn’t cost much because it’s going to be beneath you, but that’s absolute cr*p.”

Freddie was certainly extremely generous when he gave gifts but he also spent time choosing what to get, to perfectly suit each person. Even, in fact, after he died.

Elton John described the tearful moment he heard a knock on his door at Christmas in 1991, just weeks after Freddie has passed away.

He said: “My drag name is Sharon and Freddie was Melina. In this beautiful pillowcase was this watercolour painting. The note that went with it said, ‘Dear Sharon, I saw this at auction and I thought you would love it. I love you, Malina’. You can imagine how much I cried.”

Not only was it a beautiful work of art, it was a watercolour by Elton’s favourite artist, the 19th Century painter Henry Scott Tuke.

Elton added: “He was dying and he still thought of his friends.”