Ben Wallace refutes General Sergei Shoigu’s allegations that the UK is helping Kyiv gather nuclear material to use on the battlefield
– Rishi Sunak, who launched his bid yesterday morning, has received public backing of more than 150 Tory MPs
– As of last night, 155 MPs said they are backing Mr Sunak, while 25 had spoken out in support of Ms Mordaunt
– A further 54 who were hoping Mr Johnson would return are yet to publicly reveal to whom they will now back
– Mr Johnson earlier said he had in fact reached the ‚very high hurdle of 102 nominations‘ as he bowed out
– Ms Mordaunt’s team, though, believe his decision to pull himself from the race will ‚propel her over the line‘
Trotz seiner Favoritenrolle will der britische Verteidigungsminister Ben Wallace sich nicht um die Nachfolge von Premierminister Boris Johnson als Chef der konservativen Tory-Partei bewerben.
“We coordinated very closely with the US, in particular around the Isis-K threat, which we anticipated although tragically were not able to prevent, but it is certainly right to say we got our civilians out of the processing centre by Abbey gate, but it is just not true to suggest that other than securing our civilians inside the airport that we were pushing to leave the gate open.
“In fact, and let me just be clear about this, we were issuing changes to travel advice before the bomb attack took place and saying to people in the crowd, about which I was particularly concerned, that certainly UK nationals and anyone else should leave because of the risk.”
The British Ministry of Defence declined to respond to allegations they were to blame for keeping the gate open, but said in a statement: ‚Throughout Operation Pitting we have worked closely with the US to ensure the safe evacuation of thousands of people.
The Pentagon criticised the leaking of the call details reported in Politico, telling the news website: “This story is based on the unlawful disclosure of classified information and internal deliberations of a sensitive nature.
“As soon as we became aware of the material divulged to the reporter, we engaged Politico at the highest levels to prevent the publication of information that would put our troops and our operations at the airport at greater risk. We condemn the unlawful disclosure of classified information and oppose the publication of a story based on it while a dangerous operation is ongoing.”
Commanders calling in from Kabul relayed that the Abbey Gate, where American citizens had been told to gather in order to gain entrance to the airport, was “highest risk,” and detailed their plans to protect the airport.
“I don’t believe people get the incredible amount of risk on the ground,” Austin said, according to the classified notes.
On a separate call at 4 that afternoon, or 12:30 a.m. on Thursday in Kabul, the commanders detailed a plan to close Abbey Gate by Thursday afternoon Kabul time. But the Americans decided to keep the gate open longer than they wanted in order to allow their British allies, who had accelerated their withdrawal timeline, to continue evacuating their personnel, based at the nearby Baron Hotel.
The Telegraph understands that unless Mr Biden relents, UK troops are due to start to withdraw from Kabul airport towards the end of the week as they are expected to step up efforts to evacuate as many as 6,000 people.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace updates MPs – returning to the House of Commons after their Christmas break – on the latest in the Middle East, following the assassination of Iran military leader Qassem Suleimani last week. He makes the statement in place of Boris Johnson, who is chairing a meeting of the UK national security council to discuss the crisis.
Mr Corbyn branded the drone strike on the leader of Iran’s feared Quds Force an “assassination” and told the House of Commons that it was widely regarded as illegal.
And he accused the prime minister of hiding away from scrutiny after Mr Johnson sent defence secretary Ben Wallace to answer MPs’ questions on the 3 January killing in Baghdad.
In the absence of Mr Johnson, who is on a Caribbean holiday with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, Defence minister Ben Wallace said Washington has a right to respond to earlier attacks from Iran that resulted in an assault on the US embassy in Baghdad.
The ICC said it took the findings very seriously. The MoD has said the allegations are unsubstantiated.
Anna Soubry MP (pictured) said the couple “should not have been named in the media”, adding that a new law was “needed” to make it a criminal offence to name suspects before charge unless it is in the interests of justice.
The pair were pictured on the front pages of the Mail on Sunday, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Mirror, Sunday Express and Sunday People yesterday morning, as well as on numerous news websites.
“The way we were initially perceived was disgusting although those who knew us did not doubt us for a second.
We were both released without charge or further action. We are totally overwhelmed by the support we have received from people all over the world and we would like to thank everyone single one who has done that.“
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The Surrey Police officers were called to investigate a red light „hovering“ over a bus station in Redhill – around six miles from the airport.
But when they arrived, they found the mysterious beam was just a warning light on top of a crane.
(23.12.2018) Transport Secretary Chris Grayling would not give details of what measures had been put in place, but said some of them were “military capabilities”, adding: “There are a range of measures which are there today which should give passengers confidence that they are safe to fly.”
The first departure from Gatwick this morning was a Norwegian flight to the capital of Lapland, Rovaniemi — described as the “official Hometown of Santa Claus” — which left at 6.34am.
The conference call was joined by the Cabinet Office minister, David Lidington – Theresa May’s de facto deputy; the home secretary, Sajid Javid; the security minister, Ben Wallace; and the defence minister Stuart Andrew.
Lidington was said to have pressed for the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence to update their rapid deployment protocols for signing off requests for military assistance.