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The frustration and despair of Tory MPs felt towards Rishi Sunak’s top team is revealed in leaked WhatsApp messages obtained by Sky News.

One MP called the parliamentary operation a “shitshow” and “crazy”, while another said they were “at a loss” at the handling of a crunch Monday night vote on excluding MPs arrested on suspicion of serious sexual or violent offences.

They echo comments Tory MPs have made privately to Sky News.

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There is fury today among Tory MPs after most found themselves on the losing side of a vote on a Lib Dem and Labour motion to exclude any MP arrested for a serious offence from the parliamentary estate, which would bring Westminster into line with many other workplaces.

The bulk of Tory MPs backed a different plan – to exclude MPs at the point of charge, arguing that MPs could easily become the target of vexatious complaints.

It was a free vote, which meant MPs did not have to vote on party lines.

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However, in a move that baffled Conservative MPs, when the Commons came to vote to overturn the opposition motion, the Tory whips did not put up “tellers” – vote counters – and so it could not be held, meaning the opposition motion passed.

This often happens because of disorganisation or confusion about events in the chamber, and often marks a failing of either the Tory whips or the Commons leader’s office – figures appointed by Mr Sunak.

The WhatsApps show a government minister – Anne Marie Trevelyan – summoning Tories after initially losing the Lib Dem vote: “Anyone on estate who didn’t vote on amendment O please return asap! Lost amend by one vote. Otherwise the decision is arrest Not charge.”

Other Tories – Jill Mortimer and Jack Brereton – add weight to the appeal to vote down the Lib Dem motion, as does minister Greg Hands.

Brendan Clarke-Smith calls the Lib Dem plan to exclude MPs from parliament on arrest “an attack on basic civil liberties”.

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However, Cambridgeshire MP Anthony Browne suddenly announces three minutes later: “Division off!”

There is incredulity with Pauline Latham demanding to know what has happened, adding: “This is crazy.”

Conservative MP Angela Richardson. Pic: House of Commons
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Conservative MP Angela Richardson said the vote was a shitshow. Pic: House of Commons

Miriam Cates explains to colleagues there were no tellers, Angela Richardson says “what a shitshow!”, Andrea Leadsom says “A sad day”. Ms Cates says: “I am completely at a loss to understand why those of us who shouted ‘no’ were not told that there were no tellers” – indicating frustration with Mr Sunak’s parliamentary operation.

Mr Clarke-Smith says: “Angela better hope her interview goes well then. Unbelievable.” This is a reference to Angela Rayner, who is currently under police investigation and could be interviewed under caution in coming weeks. She denies all allegations and has not been arrested and Labour says this will not happen, but even if she were, she would not be excluded because the reason for arrest is unlikely to pass the serious offence test.

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The dialogue concludes with Mr Brereton saying: “We’re all going to be banned from the estate now…” and Ms Cates saying, “Watch the vexatious complaints roll in…”

One Tory said there was an “end of days vibe” in the Tory Party and the messages were evidence of a “meltdown” because the Tory whips can’t handle simple votes.

They too call it a “shitshow”.

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‘I was told this was a wonder drug but not warned about the deathly consequences’: 100 faces of infected blood scandal

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'I was told this was a wonder drug but not warned about the deathly consequences': 100 faces of infected blood scandal

“Losing Gary, my soul mate, was beyond painful,” says Kathryn Croucher, whose husband died aged 42 in 2010.

“Every day was a struggle dealing with the knowledge he was HIV and Hepatitis C positive.”

“Mum always said she was given a death sentence,” recalls Ronan Fitzgerald. His mother, Jane, died aged 54 after being infected with Hepatitis C when she was 16. “It was a ticking time bomb.”

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The faces of the infected blood scandal.

More than 30,000 Britons were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

Around 3,000 people have died as a result of the scandal, while many more still live under the shadow of health problems, debilitating treatments and stigma. Now, the findings of a public inquiry, first announced in 2017, will finally be published.

These are 100 faces of infected blood victims that either they, or their families, have shared with Sky News.

Click the images to read their stories.

Sky News will have full coverage of the infected blood report on TV, online and on the Sky News app today.

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Sky News would like to thank everyone who contributed to this project.

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Julian Assange wins High Court bid to bring appeal against extradition to US

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Julian Assange wins High Court bid to bring appeal against extradition to US

Julian Assange will be allowed to appeal against his extradition to the United States.

Two judges responded today to US assurances that Mr Assange will not face the death penalty – and can rely on the First Amendment right to free speech if he faced a trial for spying.

The WikiLeaks founder faces prosecution in the US over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information after the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017. Pic: Reuters
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017. Pic: Reuters

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a police van after being arrested in London in 2019. Pic: Reuters
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a police van after being arrested in London in 2019. Pic: Reuters

Edward Fitzgerald KC, representing Assange, criticised the assurances of Joe Biden’s US administration at the hearing. He said: “Based on the principle of the separation of powers, the US court can and will apply US law, whatever the executive may say or do.”

He added most of the promises were “blatantly inadequate” – but they had accepted the promise about the death penalty.

In written submissions, the barrister said while the assurance over the death penalty was “an unambiguous executive promise”, the other assurance does not give “any reliable promise as to future action”.

The barrister added: “What needs to be conclusively removed is the risk that he will be prevented from relying on the first amendment on grounds of nationality.”

But James Lewis KC, representing the US government, insisted the “judicial branch of the United States will take due notice of this solemn assurance given by its government in the course of international relations”.

In written submissions, he said there is “no question” that Assange, if extradited, “will be entitled to the full panoply of due process trial rights, including the right to raise, and seek to rely upon, the first amendment as a defence”.

He later told the court: “The assurance does make it clear that he will not be discriminated against because of his nationality.

“He can and will be able to raise all those arguments and his nationality will not prejudice a fair trial.”

Today’s decision is the latest chapter in 13 years of legal battles and detentions for Australian-born Mr Assange.

A woman attends a protest outside the High Court on the day of an extradition hearing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in London, Britain, May 20, 2024. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska
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Supporters of Mr Assange have been gathering outside the High Court. Pic: Reuters

A police officers looks on near a placard outside of the Royal Court of Justice.
Pic: Reuters
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Pic: Reuters

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The US authorities want to put Mr Assange on trial over 18 charges, nearly all under the Espionage Act.

They claim his actions with WikiLeaks were reckless, damaged national security, and endangered the lives of agents.

During a two-day hearing in February, lawyers for Mr Assange asked for permission to challenge a judge’s dismissal of the majority of his case to prevent his extradition.

In March, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson dismissed most of Mr Assange’s legal arguments – but said unless assurances were given by the US, he would be able to bring an appeal on three grounds.

These assurances are that Assange would be protected by and allowed to rely on the First Amendment – which protects freedom of speech in the US – that he is not “prejudiced at trial” due to his nationality, and that the death penalty is not imposed.

People attend a protest outside the High Court 
Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

People attend a protest outside the High Court
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Pic: Reuters

Supporters of Mr Assange have already been gathering outside the High Court to continue their calls for his release.

Mr Assange is currently being held in London’s high security Belmarsh prison.

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Hunt for two suspects after man dies in Glasgow stabbing

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Hunt for two suspects after man dies in Glasgow stabbing

Detectives are on the hunt for two men following a fatal stabbing in Glasgow at the weekend.

Police Scotland said the force received a report of a man being attacked and stabbed in Saracen Street, Possil, at around 5pm on Saturday.

Emergency services attended and took the 27-year-old victim to the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, where he later died.

The death is being treated as “suspicious” ahead of the completion of a post-mortem examination.

Investigating officers have since established that two men were involved in the attack.

The suspects have been described as white and in their 30s.

One was wearing a light-blue top and black shorts, while the other was dressed in a white top, black shorts and black trainers.

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Officers have been gathering and reviewing CCTV footage from in and around the neighbourhood as the probe continues.

Additional patrols have also been mobilised to the area, and anyone with information or concerns can approach these officers.

Read more from Sky News:
The stories behind 100 victims of infected blood scandal
Probe launched after man dies in police custody

Detective Inspector Lesley-Ann McGee said: “It was a warm, sunny day and there were lots of people out enjoying the weather in Saracen.

“I am asking them to get in touch with us with any information that could assist us in establishing the motive for this attack. If you saw, heard or know anything please contact us.

“I’m also asking people with dashcam or doorbell recording equipment to check for any footage that could assist our investigation.

“A family is mourning the loss of a loved one and it’s imperative we are able to answer how their loved one died.”

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