ATHENS (Reuters) – The United Nations envoy for divided Cyprus said on Friday he was ending a shuttle diplomacy bid to continue peace talks in Geneva, saying rival sides failed to agree on conditions.
Gunmen opened fire on the bus in Minya province, south of Cairo, as it headed to a church.
As election campaign resumes, Labour leader to draw link between UK foreign policy and terror attacks, and criticise Tories over police cuts
Corbyn says he has spent his whole political life working for peace.
But do not doubt my determination to take whatever action is necessary to keep our country safe and to protect our people on our streets, in our towns and cities, at our borders.
Corbyn says terrorists are trying to divide us.
Terrorists and their atrocious acts of cruelty and depravity will never divide us and will never prevail.
They didn’t in Westminster two months ago. They didn’t when Jo Cox was murdered a year ago. They didn’t in London on 7/7. The awe-inspiring response of the people of Manchester, and their inspirational acts of heroism and kindness, are a living demonstration that they will fail again.
Corbyn praises those in Manchester who helped the victims of the bombing.
The people who we ask to protect us and care for us in the emergency services, who yet again did our country proud: the police; firefighters and paramedics; the nurses and doctors; people who never let us down and deserve all the support we can give them.
And the people who did their best to help on that dreadful Monday night – the homeless men who rushed towards the carnage to comfort the dying, the taxi drivers who took the stranded home for free, the local people who offered comfort, and even their homes, to the teenagers who couldn’t find their parents.
Corbyn starts by talking about the Manchester Arena attack. He condemns the attack, but he says the rally in Manchester afterwards was inspiring.
Jeremy Corbyn is about to give his speech on terror policy.
Before he starts, Angela Smith, the Labour leader of the Lords, who is introducing Corbyn, asks people in the audience to stand in silence for a moment to honour those killed in Manchester.
As Claire mentioned in her briefing, the Times has a remarkable poll today showing the Tory lead down to five points. It suggests that Theresa May and her party have been badly damaged by the row about the Tory manifesto plans for social care, which triggered an unprecedented U-turn.
Here are the key figures.
Exclusive: Tory poll details: poll drop took place BEFORE terror attacks pic.twitter.com/AkaHUOZGdn
At the start of the election campaign Mrs May had personal approval ratings of 10 per cent. They dropped into negative territory for the first time on Monday, reaching minus 7 per cent, before returning to plus 1 per cent in yesterday’s poll. Mr Corbyn’s ratings began on minus 42 per cent and peaked on Monday at minus 11 per cent, dropping to minus 16 per cent yesterday. The parties are almost neck and neck in terms of how favourably they are regarded, with Labour on minus 8 per cent and the Conservatives on minus 7 per cent. YouGov interviewed 2,052 adults on Wednesday and yesterday.
Here is the IFS presentation with the charts on the manifesto plans for public spending (pdf).
And here are two of the key charts.
In his opening statement (pdf) Carl Emmerson, the IFS deputy director, said there was a good chance the Tories would have to raise taxes, in ways they have not announced, if they win the election. He said:
[The Conservative plans mean] another parliament of austerity for the public services, including an incredibly challenging period for the NHS and real cuts to per pupil funding in schools. It is not clear that this would be deliverable. Barely two months after the 2015 general election they announced spending plans that were less tight than set out in their manifesto. Maybe they would do that again. I would also not bet against a Conservative government finding some additional tax raising measures.
Here are the charts from the IFS briefing on tax and benefit policies (pdf).
And here are some of the key ones.
The former Scottish Green party leader Robin Harper has taken the unusual step of endorsing Ian Murray, the Labour candidate defending the party’s only Scottish Commons seat, in the largely affluent constituency of Edinburgh South.
In a sign that tactical vote-switching is influencing key contests along constitutional lines for often complex reasons in Scotland, Harper said he was backing Murray as he too was a unionist, pro-UK voter and wanted to prevent a Scottish National party win in the seat.
My party, the Greens, has decided not to stand a candidate in this unnecessary election to save resources. For myself, as a unionist as well as a Green, I have little option but to vote Labour or Liberal.
Here is a statement from Paul Johnson, the IFS director, summarising the findings of the IFS’s manifestos analysis.
In one sense the two main parties have rarely offered the British such a clear and substantial choice. One is promising relatively low levels of spending, tax and borrowing, while the other is promising a much bigger state. But neither is being really honest with the public. It is likely that the Conservatives would either have to resort to tax or borrowing increases to bail out public services under increasing pressure, or would risk presiding over a decline in the quality of some of those services, including the NHS.
Labour’s commitment to a much bigger public sector would require higher taxes that affect many of us. A bigger state than the one we have been used to is perfectly feasible as many countries have demonstrated, but Labour should not pretend that such a step-change could be funded entirely by a small minority at the very top. In particular the large increase in company taxation that they propose would undoubtedly affect a far broader group than that.
And this is what the IFS briefing says about Labour and Tory plans for the wider economy.
Labour’s promised £250bn of additional infrastructure spending over 10 years would support the economy in the short term and, if well spent, the long term too, taking advantage of very low government borrowing costs. But alongside other commitments it would involve the national debt remaining close to current high levels.
Both main parties plan to increase the minimum wage significantly. By 2020, Conservative plans would see three times as many people on the minimum wage as in 2015. Under Labour plans it would be more than five times, with more than a quarter of private sector workers and 60% of those aged 18 to 24 having their wage set from Whitehall. There is a case for a higher minimum wage, but we simply do not know beyond what point further rises would start to impact employment significantly. This makes sudden large increases risky, especially for young people.
This is what the IFS briefing says about Tory and Labour plans for public spending.
Conservative plans for NHS spending look very tight indeed and may well be undeliverable. A real increase of £8bn over the next five years would extend what is easily the lowest period of spending increases in NHS history to 12 years (1.4% average annual growth between 2010–11 and 2022–23, with just 1.2% a year from 2016-17 onwards). Labour promise to spend more (2.0% growth per year), but even their plans look tight against historic norms (UK health spending grew by an average of 4.1% above inflation between 1955–56 and 2015–16).
The original Conservative manifesto proposal on social care – with no cap on individual payments – made no attempt to deal with a fundamental challenge for social care policy, which is the lack of available insurance for uncapped care costs. It now looks like a cap on costs will be introduced. A green paper, followed by a consultation – as the chancellor announced in March – would be a better way to make policy then Monday’s U-turn on the proposed change in direction that was announced the previous Thursday.
This is what the IFS briefing says about Tory and Labour welfare policies.
The Conservatives would go ahead with very big cuts to working age welfare benefits. These would save £11bn a year in spending by 2021-22 and a little more in the long-run but would reduce the incomes of the lowest income working age households significantly – and by more than the cuts seen since 2010.
Labour’s manifesto in fact commits it to cancelling only a small minority of these cuts to come, plus a number of much smaller giveaways including reversing some cuts already made. As a result, benefit measures to be implemented in the coming years would still be a significant takeaway from the poor, on average, under Labour. Changing this would require finding several billion pounds extra from somewhere.
This is what the IFS briefing says about Labour and Tory tax policies.
Labour have a set of policies intended to raise £49bn per year from the “rich” and, overwhelmingly, from companies. The policies would indeed raise tax significantly. But the £49bn calculation includes some factual mistakes with regard to part of their tax avoidance package, optimistic assumptions and unspecified tax increases. Their proposals could be expected to raise at most £40bn in the short run, and less in the long run.
The large majority of Labour’s tax rises come from the taxation of companies. These can raise significant sums and the headline rate under Labour would still be the lowest in the G7. But as ever there are real trade-offs. Like all taxes these would reduce the incomes of UK citizens – through lower wages, higher prices, or lower investment returns including those accrued within private pensions;
You can read the text of Carl Emmerson’s opening remarks at the IFS briefing here (pdf).
You can watch the IFS briefing live here.
Carl Emmerson, the IFS deputy director, is speaking now.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies is about to publish its analysis of party election manifestos at a briefing in Westminster.
According to the summary sent out under embargo until 9am, their verdict on the Tory and Labour plans is highly critical.
Neither Conservatives nor Labour are properly spelling out consequences of their policy proposals.
The Conservatives have very few tax or spending commitments in their manifesto. Additional funding pledges for the NHS and schools are just confirming that spending would rise in a way broadly consistent with the March budget. These plans imply at least another five years of austerity, with the continuation of planned welfare cuts and serious pressures on the public services including on the NHS. They could allow the deficit to shrink over time with no additional tax rises over the coming parliament. But getting to budget balance by the mid-2020s, their stated aim, would likely require more spending cuts or tax rises even beyond the end of the next parliament.
In his speech Jeremy Corbyn says: “Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.”
This is a reference to the evidence emerged after the Iraq war, partly in the Chilcot inquiry but also elsewhere, showing that Tony Blair was warned by the intelligence services that invading the country would increase the terrorist threats.
The JIC assessed that al-Qaida and associated groups continued to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to western interests, and that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq.
The JIC assessed that any collapse of the Iraqi regime would increase the risk of chemical and biological warfare technology or agents finding their way into the hands of terrorists, not necessarily al-Qaida.
Our involvement in Iraq radicalised a few among a generation of young people who saw [it] as an attack upon Islam.
For the record, here are the extracts from Jeremy Corbyn’s speech released in advance.
On fighting terror threats generally
This is my commitment to our country.
I want the solidarity, humanity and compassion that we have seen on the streets of Manchester this week to be the values that guide our government. There can be no love of country if there is neglect or disregard for its people.
To keep you and your family safe, our approach will involve change at home and change abroad.
At home, Labour will reverse the cuts to our emergency services and police. Once again in Manchester, they have proved to be the best of us.
We will also change what we do abroad. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.
That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions.
This is what Ben Wallace, the security minister, said about the speech that Jeremy Corbyn is giving later today, extracts from which have been briefed in advance.
First of all, I think [Corbyn’s] timing is incredibly disappointing and crass given there is a live police operation … This is why his timing is also appalling, because I don’t think the substance of what he says is correct at all.
Q: Do you accept that the Iraq war contributed to this?
No, says Wallace. The person responsible was the terrorist.
Q: Jeremy Corbyn will criticise cuts to the police in a speech today. Some 19,000 police posts have gone. Have the cuts gone too far?
Wallace says Corbyn’s timing is “incredibly disappointing and crass”.
Q: Are companies like Facebook letting terrorists off the hook?
Wallace says the government thinks they can do more.
Q: NHS England have told trauma units to be on standby. Have they given specific information about threats?
Wallace says that is predominantly precautionary.
Sarah Montague is interviewing Ben Wallace.
Good morning. I’m taking over from Claire.
Ben Wallace, the security minister, is about to be interviewed on the Today programme.
Andrew Sparrow is now picking up the live blog.
A reminder: you can sign up here to receive our daily election briefing email, the Snap.
Today is what the Fair Funding for All Schools campaign is calling a national day of action against cuts in funding.
Caroline Lucas, the Green co-leader seeking re-election in Brighton Pavilion, will be speaking at one rally on her home turf this afternoon, and her party has also set out plans to boost school funding by £7bn each year by 2022.
The Tories’ plans for our schools will leave teachers stressed and stretched, and risk our children’s education. PTAs are already fundraising to pay for essential equipment like pens and glue sticks; the situation is getting desperate.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats will publish their manifesto today, with a focus on Brexit and what they will say is the need for a second referendum ahead of any deal that could “wreck the future for our children, our economy and our schools and hospitals”.
Leader Mark Williams – who was, until the dissolution, the party’s only Westminster MP in Wales – will launch the manifesto promising that voters should have the chance to reject any deal and instead stay within the EU.
Lord Carlile, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, has been speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme about how authorities can deal with those suspected of having links to extremism.
He says it was a “grave mistake” for the coalition government to remove control orders.
There was a political resistance to imposing these orders on people who were reasonably suspected of being terrorists.
The use of Tpims has increased since the 2015 election from about zero to seven today.
It’s very easy to say we need more police … I do not believe the number of police officers is the central issue.
Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, has been on Radio 4’s Today programme ahead of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech later this morning about the links between British foreign policy and terror attacks.
Gardiner says the Labour leader’s argument is a nuanced one:
There is no simple causal relationship … We need profoundly to reassess the ways in which there are linkages.
Libya is a country in which we intervened … what we did there was made a military intervention and then withdrew and that country has been in chaos.
The pattern that we’ve seen time and again has been one in which military intervention has gone in hard but then lost its way … Look back to Iraq, look back to Afghanistan … the stabilisation of a country is so important.
Absolutely clearly the responsibility for these atrocities is with those who have perpetrated them … but they use these things as an excuse.
These are people who simply want to destroy our way of life … There is no negotiating with these people.
Schools in England will face real-terms funding cuts for years to come if the Conservatives win the general election, according to analyses by two thinktanks. The figures show year-on-year falls over the coming parliamentary term despite a Conservative manifesto promise to redirect £1bn in additional funding to state schools by slashing free school meals for infants.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said school funding would fall by nearly 3% by 2021, even with the additional £1bn a year, after adjusting for inflation and a rise in students enrolled.
Welcome back to the politics live blog as national campaigning restarts after a pause in the wake of the Manchester terror attack.
I’m Claire Phipps with what you need to know today, and the early news. Our live Manchester coverage continues here.
Good counter-terrorism is when you have close relationships between the policing and intelligence services. That is what we have … It’s also about making sure we get in early on radicalisation. But it’s not about those pure numbers on the street.
our foreign policy reduces rather than increases the threat to this country … Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.
That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions. But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people that fights rather than fuels terrorism.
Exc: Times/YouGov poll would give the Tories an overall maj of TWO (down from working maj of 17) if swing repeated uniformly across Britain
It would have been unedifying, to say the least, to watch Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn squabble as the body count was still rising – but they must now join a conversation that has already started without them. Even if we consider it opportune to hold our tongue for some amount of time, there’s no way to pause our brain’s ability to form opinions. There’s fierce disagreement about both the cause of this sort of violence and the most effective policy responses … How can we expect these events not to dominate election discourse for the remainder of the campaign period?
A conventional interpretation will settle about this terrible week, in which Mrs May was saved from her botched manifesto by the need to be prime ministerial in response to an atrocity. The temporary suspension of campaigning, it will be said, came at the ideal moment for her and changed the subject from social care to security, on which she is strong and Mr Corbyn is weak.
It’s always a mistake to read the election up so close, though. Almost all elections are won by fundamental questions determined long in advance of the campaign itself. When Jo Cox was murdered during the European referendum campaign there were confident predictions about its impact. In the event, there was no impact. The campaign had been going on for 40 years.
Southeast Asia’s leading budget carrier AirAsia would look into C919, China’s first homegrown large passenger jet which recently completed its maiden test flight, AirAsia’s chief executive said Thursday.
The joint feasibility study on China-Mauritius free trade agreement (FTA) has been completed on a positive note, an official with the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.
The Ministry of Commerce Thursday rejected US claims that China is behind the global steel overcapacity, saying its exports have little impact on the US steel industry.
Unlike most asteroids that are either icy or rocky, 16 Psyche is composed almost entirely of metallic iron and nickel, similar to the core of the Earth. If anyone could mine that asteroid, the resulting riches would collapse the paltry Earth economy of around $74 trillion.
Chinese political advisors met on Thursday to discuss how to better regulate the country’s real estate market, especially ways to rein in speculation in metropolises and reduce stocks in small cities, during a biweekly consultation meeting.