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Bizarre row erupts in north London election race as Women’s Equality candidate labelled ‘anti-feminist’



Women's Equality Party candidate Nimco Ali Women's Equality Party

A bizarre row has erupted after an election candidate for the Women’s Equality Party was accused of being “anti-feminist” for standing against Labour.

FGM survivor Nimco Ali is running in the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency, a seat won by Labour’s Catherine West in the 2015 General Election.

Born in Somalia, Ms Ali arrived in the UK aged four. Three years later she was forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) when she was on a family holiday in Djibouti, east Africa.

A bizarre row has erupted after an election candidate for the Women’s Equality Party was accused of being “anti-feminist” for standing against Labour.

FGM survivor Nimco Ali is running in the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency, a seat won by Labour’s Catherine West in the 2015 General Election.

Born in Somalia, Ms Ali arrived in the UK aged four. Three years later she was forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) when she was on a family holiday in Djibouti, east Africa.

She has campaigned against FGM throughout her life and co-founded the charity Daughters for Eve which works to protect girls and young women who are at risk.

But Ms Ali, who is only the second British-Somali to ever run for Westminster, said that since her candidacy was announced she has been on the receiving end of “misplaced anger” from Labour-supporting men and women.

The 34-year-old said she has received dozens of messages via email and social media accusing her of being anti-feminist for trying to unseat a strong female Labour MP.

One typical message read: “Why isn’t the Women’s Equality Party running in Conservative seats and against male candidates? Apart from against Philip Davies I don’t see that happening.”

Ms Ali told the Standard: “I’ve had Labour supporters saying to me ‘if you stand then we might lose’ but I think ‘sort yourself out, sort out your policies’.

“A lot of Labour members and supporters have told me I am dividing the vote.

“But so many people are complaining about Labour not having a strong leader. You only have to look at the way the manifesto was leaked. Someone is briefing against him.

“It is members of their party that have the audacity to say to me that I am splitting the vote, a split party that I once believed in having petty fights.”

Ms Ali said that she wants to make it clear that she has not chosen to stand against a woman but has chosen to stand against the mainstream parties which she believes are “failing to address women’s equality issues”.

Ms West took the north London seat from former Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone in 2015 securing a majority of 11,058 over her rival. Dawn Barnes, the Lib Dem candidate this June, is expected to mount a strong challenge.

Labour’s Catherine West is campaigning to be re-elected in Hornsey and Wood Green (Lucy Young)

Ms West told the Standard: “I think the important thing is that people have a choice and that they [the candidates] should be able to stand wherever they want.”

She pointed out that it was unlikely Ms Ali would attract Labour voters in the constituency given that she voted for Tory politician Zac Goldsmith for London Mayor.

Ms Ali has been accused of being close to the Conservatives. One of her four brothers Mohamed is chair of the Somali Conservatives and she was offered the chance to stand in a “safe seat” for the party.

But Ms Ali has insisted she is not a Conservative and could not stand for the party because of policies like the child benefit cap.

Ms Ali said she plans to fight the campaign by focusing heavily on issues including knife crime and making sure there is support for women in the constituency.

She said: “I want to focus on issues such as knife crime and gangs that are being neglected by the mainstream parties. There are many mothers that feel like they have been left behind. Many people have lost their lives to knife crime in the last couple of weeks. That is completely unacceptable.

“We want to help the mothers who could be at the forefront of preventing this violence to engage with the police and so on.”

The Women’s Equality Party manifesto includes policies such as 40 hours of free childcare per week from the end of parental leave until a child reaches school age.

The feminist party has seven candidates standing in the June 8 election include party leader Sophie Walker, who will stand in Shipley against Conservative Philip Davies.


Spy poisoning: How could the UK retaliate against Russia?



BBC — UK Prime Minister Theresa May is braced to take “extensive measures” against Russia should it not offer a credible explanation of how an ex-spy and his daughter were poisoned on British soil with a military-grade nerve agent.

“Should there be no credible response,” Mrs May told parliament, “we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom”.

But what could the UK actually do – both on its own, and with the help of allies? And how likely are the US, EU and others to be on board?

Direct action

Britain could expel Russian diplomats, as it did after the poisoning of former Russian Federal Security Service operative Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 with radioactive polonium.
But many argue that this, and the other measures that were taken after that killing – including visa restrictions on Russian officials – did not go far enough. The man identified as the main suspect, Andrei Lugovoi, is not just at large, he is now a Russian MP.

So what else could the UK do?

  • Expel senior diplomats, perhaps even the Russian ambassador, and known Russian intelligence agents
  • Take some sort of action to bar wealthy Russian oligarchs from accessing their mansions and other luxuries in London, as suggested by Tory MP and House of Commons foreign affairs committee chair Tom Tugendhat. One way this could happen is through the use of Unexplained Wealth Orders, which allow government officials to seize assets including property until they have been properly accounted for
  • A boycott of the Fifa World Cup in Russia later this year by officials and dignitaries – a symbolic move that UK allies are unlikely to emulate
  • Taking Russian broadcasters such as RT (formerly Russia Today) off the air – broadcasting regulator Ofcom has said it will “consider the implications for RT’s broadcast licences” after Mrs May speaks on Wednesday.
  • Pass a British version of the 2012 US Magnitsky act, which punishes Russians involved in corruption and human rights violations with asset freezes and travel bans. It is named after a Russian lawyer who died in custody after revealing alleged fraud by state officials. MPs have been pushing for a Magnitsky amendment to be added to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill now going through Parliament

More EU sanctions?

Current sanctions on Russia that Britain supports are imposed via the European Union. They were first passed after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 and backed rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine. Some 150 individuals and 38 companies have been targeted with visa bans and asset freezes.

EU countries are already divided on the sanctions, with diverging views among members states as to how Russia should be treated. States like Hungary, Italy and Greece have all supported the weakening of sanctions.

Some doubt whether Britain could convince the bloc to further toughen its measures against Moscow, especially with the UK on its way out of the Union.

Could Nato act?
By framing the poisoning as a possible “unlawful use of force” by Russia against the UK, Theresa May prompted questions as to whether this could be a matter for Nato, the military alliance of 29 countries.

The alliance’s policy of collective defence – under Article 5 – states that an attack on any one ally is seen as an attack on all.

It was invoked for the first and only time by the United States after the 9/11 attacks in New York.

Lord Ricketts, a former UK national security adviser, told the BBC that such an “unlawful act” warranted the involvement of Nato.

Any action “will be much more effective if there can be a broader, Nato-EU solidarity behind us”, he said.

But Downing Street has played down suggestions that this is an Article 5 matter.

For its part, Nato has called the attack “horrendous and completely unacceptable”. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the incident was of “great concern” to the alliance, which has moved in recent years to deter Russia by sending troops to Poland and the three Baltic states.

Lord Ricketts suggested one option involving Nato could be a reinforcement of resources on the group’s eastern flank.

Are UK’s allies showing support?
The UK could also seek to bring the issue to the UN – and seek to gather international support for action against Russia.

Theresa May has already spoken to France’s President Macron and the two leaders “agreed that it would be important to continue to act in concert with allies”, according to Downing Street. Although Mrs May has not yet spoken to President Trump about the case – there have been “conversations at a senior official level”.

The UK has already internationalised the matter by asking Russia to provide a “full and complete disclosure” of the Novichok nerve agent programme to an international agency, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Indeed, the magnitude of the response that may be announced on Wednesday will depend on the scale of international co-operation that Mrs May can secure, says BBC Diplomatic Correspondent James Landale.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called the attack an “outrage” and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson went further, saying the attack “clearly came from Russia”. President Donald Trump himself has not spoken out.

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Royal welcome and noisy protests await Saudi crown prince on UK trip



LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s grand welcome for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will begin on Wednesday with a lunch with Queen Elizabeth, as the two countries seek to widen longstanding defence ties into a far-reaching partnership.

Both sense an opportunity to broaden their existing relationship: Britain is looking for trading partners as it exits the European Union, and Saudi Arabia needs to convince sceptical investors about its domestic reforms.

But as Prince Mohammed and Prime Minister Theresa May meet, demonstrators will protest both countries’ roles in Yemen where war has killed an estimated 10,000 people and where 8.3 million people depend on food aid and 400,000 children have life-threatening levels of malnutrition.

Inside May’s Downing Street offices the two leaders will launch a “UK-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council” – an initiative to encourage Saudi Arabia’s economic reforms and foster more cooperation on issues such as education and culture, as well as defence and security.

“It will usher in a new era of bilateral relations, focused on a partnership that delivers wide-ranging benefits for both of us,” May’s spokesman told reporters.

Britain is vying to land the stock market listing of state oil firm Saudi Aramco, but no decision is expected this week.

Later this month Prince Mohammed visits the United States, which also wants the lucrative listing, although sources said both countries may miss out.

British officials were privately delighted at the decision by Prince Mohammed, 32, to choose Britain as the major western destination on his first foreign trip since becoming heir to the Saudi throne last year.

The British government is keen to transform its historic defence relationship into two-way trade and investment, eyeing both an expanded market in Saudi Arabia for service sector exports, and attracting Saudi cash to finance domestic projects.

Business deals are possible with British defence group BAE Systems and European weapons maker MBDA, and initial agreements could be concluded on gas exploration, petrochemicals and other industries, according to British and Saudi sources.


The three-day visit will include two audiences with the British Royal family, a briefing with national security officials, and a prestigious visit to the prime minister’s country residence.

May intends to use the private dinner at Chequers, a 16th-century manor house 40 miles (60 km) northwest of London, to bring up concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, her spokesman said.

A Saudi-led military coalition is fighting the Houthi movement in Yemen, generating what the United Nation said in January was the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Demonstrators drive a van with a large protest poster on it during a protest against the visit by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in central London, Britain, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

“You can expect them to discuss Yemen, and the prime minister to raise deep concerns at the humanitarian situation,” May’s spokesman said. “She will also reiterate how seriously we take allegations of violations against international humanitarian law.”

Speaking to reporters in London on Monday, Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country had failed to effectively communicate the reasons behind its involvement in Yemen, but that they had not chosen to start the war.

Protestors are planning to target the Saudi officials over Yemen and other human rights issues, and Britain for licensing 4.6 billion pounds of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia since 2015.

Buses have spent two days touring London with banners accusing Prince Mohammed of war crimes, with more planned for Wednesday ahead of the main rally.

“It is vital that people show up to the protest tomorrow outside Downing Street to make clear that the UK government’s complicity in the war on Yemen is not supported by the public and that we demand a peaceful and humane foreign policy,” said Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition.

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LONDON: Man ‘deliberately drove’ at Somali woman days after Parsons Green terror attack, court hears



THE TELEGRAPH — A man deliberately tried to kill a Muslim woman by driving his car into her, just days after the Parsons Green terror attack, a court has heard.

Paul Moore is accused of targeting Zaynab Hussein because of the colour of her skin and the fact she was wearing a hijab, five days after the attempted attack in London last September.

The 21-year-old allegedly drove his Volkswagen Up! into Ms Hussein – a Somali national – after spotting her in a Leicester street shortly after 8am on September 20. Witnesses claimed he was laughing at the time.

Just moments later he is accused driving the same vehicle at a 12-year-old schoolgirl, a short distance away in an attempt to cause her serious harm.

The jury was told how Ms Hussein, a Somali national, was struck once and subsequently driven over again moments later during the incident which took place in Leicester.

A jury of seven men and five women at Nottingham Crown Court were told Mr Moore had tried to kill Ms Hussein “purely because of the colour of her skin” and her “perceived Islamic faith”.

The prosecution said four other people were in the car with Moore during the incident and they had begged him to let them out afterwards.

Opening the case against Mr Moore, prosecutor Jonathan Straw said: “(Moore) carefully and deliberately, in an act of calculated evil, aligned his wheels so the front and back wheels were over her (Ms Hussein).

“He did not know her. He tried to kill her purely because of the colour of her skin and because of her perceived Islamic faith as she was wearing a hijab.

“It is no coincidence, we say, that there had been a bomb at Parsons Green Tube station in London, said to have been carried out by sympathisers of Islamic State.”

Mr Straw said it was only thanks to members of the public and medical professionals that Ms Hussein’s life was saved.

He continued: “She had received severe fractures to her pelvis, her spine, and one of the bones in her leg was broken.

“Having deliberately, we say, tried to kill Zaynab Hussein, the defendant then drove at a second victim – a 12-year-old schoolgirl.

“He did not hit her, he brushed her, but it is only by the grace of God and nothing more that she was saved.”

Mr Straw said Moore intended to offer no defence, adding: “It may well be he has no defence. He admits he was the driver.”

In a recorded interview played to the court, Reece Bishop, a passenger in the car at the time of the alleged attack on Ms Hussein, told police: “He was just driving like a maniac. I thought we were going to be dead. He said ‘I feel like running someone over. Anyone.’

“It all happened so fast. He turned the steering wheel and he just hits her out of the blue.”

On the recorded interview with police, Mr Bishop said Moore was laughing as he drove at Ms Hussein.

Mr Moore denies attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and dangerous driving.

The trial continues.

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