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Met confirms arrest of Gaza protester at Thornberry’s office

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 29/02/2024 - 1:50am in

Outrage among activists at anti-genocide protest

The Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed the arrest of a protester on Monday night at what outraged other protesters have said was a lively but entirely peaceful protest, outside the Islington office of Shadow Attorney Emily Thornberry, against Israel’s genocide in Gaza and the Labour regime’s support for it.

A Met spokesperson told Skwawkbox that a woman had been arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred and bailed ‘pending further investigations’:

A small demonstration was held in Islington High Street during the evening of Monday, 26 February. A woman was arrested at the scene on suspicion of inciting racial hatred. She was taken into custody and later released on bail pending further enquiries. Next due on a date in April.

Protesters against genocide and for the human rights of Palestinians have been demonised by politicians and supporters of Israel for supposed ‘hate speech’ since Israel’s slaughter of civilians in Gaza and the West Bank accelerated after the Hamas raid and the Israel military’s well-known – but ignored by the UK ‘mainstream’ media and politicians – killing of ‘immense’ numbers of its own citizens. The Tory government, aided by ‘opposition leader’ Keir Starmer, have continued to attack the civil rights of the UK people to protest.

Right-wing MPs, along with pro-Israel campaigners, continue to call for tougher police action against demonstrators, despite the overwhelmingly peaceful nature of protests.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Conservative Mayoral Candidate Susan Hall’s Council is Hiking Tax by the Maximum Legal Amount – But She’s Skipping the Vote

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 23/02/2024 - 6:22am in

The council that London Conservative mayoral candidate Susan Hall sits on is set to hike council tax by the maximum legal amount. 

At a Harrow Council meeting tonight (Thursday), the majority Conservative council is in line to put up council tax by the maximum 5%, raking in an extra £7.69m for the local authority’s coffers. 

Susan Hall sits on the council and chairs the planning committee. She told Byline Times she would not be attending the vote - the first full council meeting she’s missed in 18 years, according to the mayoral hopeful. She would not comment further. 

Hall has frequently attacked Sadiq Khan for putting up council tax at a Greater London Authority level, as have Conservatives across the capital.

Susan Hall has frequently hit out at Sadiq Khan's council tax rises (the Mayor levies a London-wide charge for GLA-linked bodies like the fire brigade, police and Transport for London)

Hall is also in line for a bumper 35% increase in her councillor allowance. Her large increase is because she chairs the licensing committee, which Byline Times understands meets just once a year. Her ‘special responsibility allowance’ is currently £2,500 a year, but is set to rise to £4,382. 

A Labour source said: “I’m sure she would practise what she preaches” and oppose the council tax rise. 

The councillor allowance hikes are backed by the opposition Labour group. 

Speaking to Byline Times, Cllr Susan Hall AM said: “I’m not going to comment on [council] tax...It’s the first meeting I’ve missed in 18 years. I can be forgiven for missing one.” 

On the councillor allowance hike, Hall added: “I've got thoughts on that, of course I do, it's just who I share them with.” 

She discussed the “dislike” for Sadiq Khan on the doorstep, particularly in outer London over the expanded Ultra Low Emissions Zone charge for the most polluting vehicles.

Hall said: “I’ve never seen anything like it. [On ULEZ] lots have finance on cars that don’t comply. You scrap it and still owe the money. The price of second hand cars has gone up hugely. ULEZ is a lot of money paid by some of the poorest people.”

Council tax is also a regressive charge, with hikes typically hitting the poorest hardest. 

In a budget document ahead of the meeting, Harrow council officials write: “Harrow remains one of the lowest funded Councils both within London and nationally. The Council does not benefit from large reserves compared with other London Boroughs and is at the lower end of the lower quartile for reserve balances held. 

“Over the last 10 years, up to 2024/25, the Council’s revenue support grant has reduced from £50.5m to £2.2m. The Council does receive other grant funding to support services, in 2023/24 this totalled £375m. However, these grants are all ring fenced to areas of activity and cannot be used to support the core budget, for example the Dedicated Schools Grant of £152m. 

“The Council does not receive specific funding to meet demographic growth and demand led pressures. In addition, inflation has increased significantly creating unfunded budget pressures. 

“For many years Council Tax has been increased to just below the referendum limits and full use has been made of the Adults Social Care Precept, both of which were in line with central government expectations. 

“The impact of this is that the Council is heavily reliant on Council Tax to fund its core services. In 2023/24 78% of the Council’s net revenue budget of £196.4m is funded from Council Tax.” 

The Conservative council budget note also complains that the cost of the 2023/24 pay rise for staff is £7.2m, and “therefore this left very little funding available for other demand pressures that have emerged in adult services, and other inflationary pressures.” 

Councillor allowances however allowances appear to be rising above inflation. 

The budget council tax hike can be viewed here.

The new 'special responsibility allowance' rates for 2024/25 - compared to £2,179 and £4,879 in 2022/23

Do you have a story that needs highlighting? Get in touch by emailing josiah@bylinetimes.com

Clean Air Activists Accuse London Mayor Sadiq Khan of ‘Burying’ his Controversial Silvertown Tunnel Project as Election Nears

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 23/02/2024 - 2:51am in

Anti-pollution campaigners have pledged to make a huge new vehicle-only river crossing in east London an election issue for Labour’s Sadiq Khan, as he tries to secure an unprecedented third term as Mayor this May. 

Activists have expressed frustration with Transport for London (TfL – chaired by the Mayor) and the Mayor's Office for “repeatedly refusing to answer basic questions” regarding the climate and pollution impacts of the so-called Silvertown Tunnel, which is set to connect the London boroughs of Greenwich and Newham next spring. 

It has led some anti-pollution activists to believe that Khan is trying to hide or downplay what constitutes his biggest infrastructure project as Mayor.

The Mayor, who has staked much of his mayoralty on reducing air pollution, rarely issues statements about the tunnel and has rarely visited it during construction – compared to frequent media events ahead of the new Elizabeth Line opening in 2022. 

A recent letter to TfL and City Hall figures from the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition, seen by Byline Times, sharply criticised environmental modelling used by TfL for the Silvertown project as unrealistic – accusing the public transport body of concealing the true increase in pollution and CO2 emissions that the project will result in.

Transport for London’s modelling of the pollution impacts of the new tunnel assumes that new tolls will be put in place at both the Silvertown Tunnel and the existing Blackwall Tunnel (thereby limiting traffic demand) – and remain in place indefinitely, despite there being no legal guarantees. Anti-pollution campaigners fear that a future mayor could simply tear up the tolls and lead to a surge in polluting vehicle crossings. 

The authors of the letter requested specific information on the real increase in pollution and CO2 emissions from the Silvertown Tunnel in various scenarios, as well as the impact of increased traffic in Newham, but say all requests have been refused.

TfL says it does not have the capacity to conduct new forecasts on the potential pollution impacts. 

But Stop the Silvertown Tunnel activists are urging TfL and the Mayor's Office to “respect London's voters” by providing all the information needed for a true assessment of the impact of the Silvertown project. 

Existing traffic modelling by TfL suggests that opening the Silvertown Tunnel to general traffic will increase traffic and emissions, regardless of new tolls. That could have major health impacts on communities at either end: Newham and Greenwich. Newham is among the poorest boroughs in London and already struggles with illegal pollution levels from toxic nitrogen dioxide (NOX) and particulate matter. 

When opened, the tunnel is expected to direct 20,000 to 30,000 additional vehicles into Newham every day, though TfL insists that as both boroughs are in the expanded Ultra Low Emissions Zone residents are partially protected. However, ULEZ does not actually ban the most polluting vehicles, it simply makes the drivers pay to pollute – suggesting that hundreds of heavy goods vehicles will still clog up the air. 

Campaigners say they failed to get a response from Transport for London to their concerns for nearly three months, until Byline Times approached TfL for comment. This week campaigners received a reply from Transport for London, apologising for the delay. 

A TfL spokesperson told campaigners: “TfL fully supports the need to keep London electoral candidates and Londoners updated on progress with implementing the Silvertown Tunnel.

"However, TfL must now focus on delivery and can no longer resource further theoretical modelling, given the comprehensive transport studies, quantitative assessments and modelling already undertaken and with findings now in the public domain, including environmental benefits.”

Photo: Anthony Hall/Alamy

“TfL remains both committed to monitoring the Tunnel’s impact and that electoral candidates will have the opportunity to meet and raise questions with TfL this year,” they added.

Dominic Leggett, a spokesperson for the Stop Silvertown Tunnel Coalition, responded by saying: "Tfl and the Mayor are outright refusing to tell candidates, the media, and the public the most basic facts about Silvertown. For example, with or without tolls, opening Silvertown will bring 20-30,000 more vehicles daily into Newham, already London's most polluted borough – and one of its most economically vulnerable. 

“We've asked TfL and the Mayor a simple question; how many more tons of dangerous particulates and NOX air pollution will these extra vehicles bring into Newham each year? It's an easy number for them to work out, but they've refused to answer. 

“Their refusal is entirely political; they just don't want residents, voters and media to know that Mr Khan's biggest project by far as Mayor, fundamentally undermines his own public health, social justice, air quality and climate policies.” 

He added that TfL modelling likely pollution levels under different scenarios was comparatively simple.

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Rob Blackie told Byline Times that, if he was elected, he would rename it the “Sadiq Khan Motorway” – adding that if Khan is proud of it “he should be delighted by this tribute to his mayoralty”.

Greenwich Green Party activist and London Assembly candidate Karin Tearle added: “Sadiq Khan was responsible for reviewing Silvertown when he became Mayor. And we proposed doing better [pollution] modelling. He hasn’t done that, and he's still not doing it now he’s going into a third term.”

A TfL spokesperson told Byline Times: “The Silvertown Tunnel scheme will address the chronic issues Londoners face at the Blackwall Tunnel as well as provide new cross-river public transport options by zero-emission buses. 

“We are committed to delivering an overall improvement in air quality and the introduction of user charging ensures we can effectively manage traffic to achieve this outcome.

"Furthermore, as part of our commitment to making sure this happens, we began a comprehensive programme of monitoring in 2020 and have regularly published reports and monitoring data which helps our understanding of local air quality. Once the tunnel opens in 2025, we will continue to publish reports showing how we are meeting our obligations, or if further changes need to be made.

“We are working hard to ensure that this essential new infrastructure is delivered with minimal impact to local communities and delivers transformative benefits to cross-river travel in east London. We will continue to engage with the local community and monitor traffic, air quality and other factors, both during construction and once the tunnel is open.”

The TfL spokesperson added: “Once open, the crossing, which is within the Ultra-Low Emission Zone and will be subject to a user charge [a toll], will also reduce congestion and improve the reliability and resilience of the Blackwall Tunnel, which will improve overall air quality in the local area.” 

Transport for London says that that Silvertown Tunnel will provide a "public transport-focused" river crossing, with zero-emission bus links across the Thames. But Leggett claims that while there will be a few hundred more buses put on per day over the crossing, an extra 15-30,000 private vehicles are expected to use the tunnel once open.

A Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition protest last summer, including Green Party Deputy Leader Zack Polanski. Photo: Ron Fassbender/Alamy

The scheme faced a six-month public inquiry before it was awarded a development consent order by the Secretary of State in 2017. It is being delivered by private consortium Riverlinx and will be managed by the firm after it’s completed – with TfL making repayments to the company for decades to come (TfL says this will come from the tolls). 

Since the “vast majority” of the funding is being raised through private finance, TfL says the cash cannot be diverted to an alternative scheme – such as making the tunnel open only for public or active transport options. SSTC campaigners contest this.

Construction on the tunnel is well underway, with the tunnelling completed and the new road network to allow access to the new tunnel now being installed.

The Mayor’s Office deferred to Transport for London for comment. 

This piece was updated after publication to include a fresh response from SSTC (we are happy to do the same for TfL).

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Unite Brighton/S Coast votes unanimously to picket next exec over Graham’s Gaza silence

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 22/02/2024 - 1:56am in

Members blast ‘refus[al] to implement Unite’s democratically agreed policy on international solidarity in respect of Palestine/Israel but of actively suppressing attempts to mobilise in support of Gaza’ and move to ‘pause’ Unite’s affiliation with Stop the War group

Unite Brighton and South Coast branch (SE 6246) voted unanimously last night in favour of a motion to picket the union’s next meeting of its executive, which takes place Monday March 11th 1pm at Unite’s HQ at Holborn in London.

The union’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, has been heavily criticised for her continued silence over Israel’s genocide in Gaza and for trying to thwart attempts to show solidarity with the people of Palestine. She has also been accused of banning or deterring union staff from participation in protests on behalf of Unite or showing official Unite banners on marches and at rallies.

The full motion reads:

Motion for branch meeting 20 Feb 2024

Many members by now will have seen the blistering speech by Jim Kelly, Chair of London and Eastern Region, in which he lays bare the General Secretary’s imposed policy of not only ignoring and refusing to implement Unite’s democratically agreed policy on international solidarity in respect of Palestine/Israel but of actively suppressing attempts to mobilise in support of Gaza.

Indeed, some 20,000 Palestinians had been slaughtered before Unite, on 3rd November, called for a ceasefire. Since then attempts to mobilise support have been met with obstruction, warnings issued designed to deter and silence Unite staff from speaking out on national marches, and in a particularly egregious move the General Secretary advised the EC to pause its affiliation with Stop the War. Unite members across the country are outraged at Unite’s continuing silence and failure to mobilise, particularly in light of the ICJ ruling that Israel may be committing the crime of genocide.

This branch demands that the

  1. Unite EC and constitutional committees use all means possible to publicise and encourage members to attend national PSC demonstrations in line with Union Policy as carried at Conference;
  2. Unite EC be present with their banner on national PSC demonstrations and provide a speaker, ideally the General Secretary;
  3. Unite EC and constitutional committees, as well as the Regional Offices, organise a visible Unite presence on national and local PSC demonstrations, providing members with the resources to attend including transport or reimbursement of travel fares;
  4. Unite HQ implement a social media plan that regularly reports on the on-going campaigns by Unite members as well as statements on social media channels of solidarity and support for the Palestinian struggle in Gaza, the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
  5. Unite immediately reinstate its affiliation to Stop the War

Further, that officers of this branch work with other branches to organise a mass lobby by members of the next EC meeting, Tuesday 5th March, 10.30am (tbc).

The exec is in fact planned for 11 March

    One branch member told Skwawkbox:

    The behaviour of our General Secretary Sharon Graham in seeking even to prevent others giving solidarity is despicable.

    Unite’s press office has been contacted for comment.

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    Video: protests for Assange as British justice goes on trial in extradition case

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/02/2024 - 10:31am in

    Up to 2,000 gather for ‘last chance’ to stop disgraced US case allowed so far by courts – but system seems stacked against Wikileaks founder, press freedom and public’s right to know

    Protestors outside the court on Tuesday

    Up to two thousand protesters gathered to demonstrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice today in London, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and his legal team are fighting in what may be their last chance to avoid his extradition to the US, where the Biden administration wants to lock him in a high-security prison for the rest of his life for the ‘crime’ of exposing the actions of the US military.

    Wikileaks embarrassed the US by revealing the wanton slaughter of Iraqi civilians – and the US wants its vengeance. To the UK’s shame, successive UK governments and courts have been all too eager to let the Americans have their way, despite the US case collapsing in disgrace when its main witness to Assange’s supposed ‘hacking’ of US systems admitted he had been lying the whole time – and plots by senior US officials to assassinate him. The admission should have seen the US laughed out of court, but UK judges granted its request anyway.

    Protesters massed to show their solidarity with the Australian journalist, who has been imprisoned in Belmarsh prison since 2019 after a long effective incarceration in the Ecuadorian embassy while the UK and US governments conspired against him and even bugged supposedly sacrosanct meetings with his lawyers:

    Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson gave the protest crowd a lunchtime update on the ‘absurd’ proceedings, which kept observers down to a handful despite the importance of the case, preventing even human rights groups from attending:

    As with all the hearings so far, the case against Julian Assange appears to be stacked. After the farce of the collapsed US case being granted anyway, Assange’s appeal was denied by a judge with deep security service connections.

    In the current case, one of the two judges was a lawyer for the Secret Intelligence Service and the Ministry of Defence, with clearance for access to ‘top secret’ information – and the other judge is the twin sister of right-wing former BBC chair Richard Sharpe, who resigned after an inquiry into his arrangement of an £800,000 loan for Boris Johnson before his appointment.

    Activist Steve Price, who represented Skwawkbox at the demo, summarised the day:

    On a cold day thousands gathered to lobby the court and raise public awareness of this situation. This morning at the RCJ, the chant of the day was “There’s only one decision – no extradition!” The demo was noisy, very colourful, with a visible but low-key police presence and many passing drivers honking horns in solidarity.

    Speakers included three Labour MPs – Richard Burgon, Zara Sultana and Apsana Begum, alongside Chris Hedges, Andrew Feinstein, Stella Assange and Julian’s brother and father, as well as lawyers, Reporters without Borders (RwB) and Wikileaks’ editor-in-chief. John Pilger, the great Australian journalist, was remembered with great affection.

    Julian’s brother said the Australian Parliament voted by two thirds criticising the UK and USA and demanding he be released and returned to his home country. Two of the lawyers, as well as RwB noted that this case has enormous implications for freedom of the press globally and there are obvious parallels with how journalists have been deliberately targeted by Israel in Gaza.

    The magistrate back in January 2021 decided Julian should be released solely on the grounds that he might kill himself, but this was overturned by the Home Secretary. There are a number of legal grounds his team will advocate for refusing the extradition. He has been detained in Belmarsh (in solitary confinement) for nearly 5 years, spent 7 years before that confined in the Ecuadorian Embassy. His health has deteriorated, it’s a form of torture, they’re slowly killing him. He is believed to be too ill to attend court today?

    They want to extradite him for the crime of journalism, for exposing their hypocrisy, their dirty secrets, their war crimes.

    Keir Starmer, the ‘human rights lawyer’, as he never tires of reminding everyone, has never spoken in Assange’s defence. As Director of Public Prosecutions, his actions are murky – because the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) destroyed its records of them and destroyed notes of what it destroyed. However, it is known that in the case of another extradition the US wanted – that of autistic hacker Gary McKinnon – Starmer flew in a rage to the US to apologise to his US government contacts as soon as then-PM Theresa May quashed the extradition on humanitarian grounds. The CPS and Sweden also destroyed records of their communications when the CPS was pressuring Sweden to continue to pursue Assange’s extradition there – no doubt a stepping stone to getting him to the US – on discredited rape allegations. Despite the destruction of evidence, it is known that the CPS told Swedish counterparts not to ‘dare’ drop its request and refused Sweden’s offer to come and interview Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy.

    Assange’s family and team have asked everyone who can make it to the court to continue demonstrating throughout the duration of the hearing to try to keep up pressure on the authorities. The Establishment’s relentless assault on Julian Assange is a war not just against him, but against press freedom and the right of the public to know what its supposed representatives are doing and to hold them to account.

    The UK justice system has a last chance to show it is fit for purpose. If it happens, it looks as though justice will have to be wrung out of it. Absolute solidarity with Julian Assange and all persecuted journalists everywhere.

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    London Council Breaches Human Rights Law After Subjecting Asylum Seeker to Degrading Treatment

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 15/02/2024 - 11:55pm in

    A local authority has been found in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) after it subjected an asylum seeker to degrading treatment for a period of at least seven months.

    A High Court judge ruled at the end of last month that Croydon Council breached Article 3 and 8 of the ECHR, under the Care Act 2014, in what is believed to be the first ruling in such a case where these duties overlap.

    This is because the ECHR breaches were in response to how Croydon performed its Care Act 2014 duties in failing to assess the asylum seeker’s "accommodation-related" needs and failing to provide suitable accommodation for him and his family.

    Garden Court Chambers (GCC) represented the claimant, named only as TMX, and were instructed by Monica Kreel of TV Edwards Solicitors.

    In a release GCC said: “The lengthy and detailed judgment provides helpful guidance on the complex interplay between the obligations of a local authority under the Care Act [2014], and the obligations of the Secretary of State for the Home Department under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.”

    “It is also a rare example of a local authority being found in breach of Article 3 ECHR for its failure to comply with its duties to provide care and support, including accommodation.

    “As far as we are aware, it is the first time that a local authority has been found in a reported judgment to be in breach of Article 3 ECHR by reason of a failure to perform its duties under the Care Act [2014].”

    Articles 3 and 8 of the ECHR are aimed at ensuring “no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, and that “everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”.

    So the question before Mr Alan Bates, sitting as Deputy High Court Judge, was this: “Where an asylum seeker’s physical or mental condition is such that they have accommodation-related care needs, who is responsible for providing the accommodation for that person? Is it the local authority responsible under the Care Act 2014, or does responsibility lie with the Secretary of State under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999?”

    The Claimant’s Case

    TMX is a 50-year-old asylum seeker whose claim remains outstanding. He has progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and functional neurological disorder. He also suffers from severe and varied nerve pain – called paraesthesia – and also has strong muscle spasms. He has described the pain he experiences as “agonising” and is a wheelchair user who cannot mobilise independently.

    From June 2022, he had been accommodated by the Home Office under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 in one ensuite bedroom in an asylum hotel facility in the Croydon area. That single bedroom was shared with his wife and their two children.

    GCC described this as “manifestly unsuitable” due to it being on the fourth floor as the lift could only just fit his wheelchair in and could not take him all the way back down to street level.

    At the same time, the building had steps at the front and the platform lift was “out of order the majority of the time”, meaning TMX was in effect confined to the building, and at significant risk in event of fire.

    GCC explained: “The bedroom was too small for him to store and use his disability-related equipment. The bathroom was inaccessible and did not have adapted toilet/shower facilities. The lack of space for him to mobilise using equipment meant he was bedbound.”

    “The room was badly ventilated, and TMX would become unbearably hot in the summer months, exacerbating his MS symptoms. The room afforded TMX no privacy from his children for his personal care. His children had to look away, or wait in the communal hallway when his wife provided his personal care as he lay in bed.”

    TMX’s case comes after the Byline Times as previously reported how 75% of councils have logged complaints about the conditions of asylum seeker accommodation, at a time when the Government had tabled plans to remove their ability to investigate those complaints.

    In April last year, it was revealed that the Government planned to “legalise” ‘hazardous’ accommodation for asylum seekers by exempting refugee housing from licensing rules for homes of multiple occupations (HMOs).

    HMO licences are one of the primary ways authorities ensure homes filled with large numbers of people they were not initially designed to fit aren’t a fire risk, dangerously overcrowded, damp, mouldy, or otherwise unsafe.

    However, the Home Office has in the last week cancelled plans to remove housing protections for asylum seekers after a judicial review was brought by a number of claimants. It said: “It is longstanding government policy that we do not routinely comment on individual cases.

    “If an individual does not have the right to be in the UK, we will make every effort to return to their country of origin or a safe third country.”

    The Home Office did not respond to a request for a comment on TMX’s case.

    The High Court Ruling

    During the hearing, there was no dispute that TMX had eligible needs for care and support under the Care Act 2014, and a care package was in place at all relevant times. Indeed, Croydon’s own assessments acknowledged the unsuitability of the accommodation.

    Where there was clarity needed was in the fact that while it was Croydon which was in fact accommodating TMX, the unsuitable property was provided by the Home Office. But on this point the court found in TMX’s favour, which was that the responsibility lies with the local authority.

    In handing down his detailed judgment, Mr Bates explained: “The council should, when assessing the claimant’s needs for care and support including accommodation-related needs, have ignored any current or potential provision of accommodation for him under Section 95 [of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999].”

    Having found that the council was responsible for accommodating TMX and his family, the judge went on to consider whether, by failing to provide suitable accommodation to him, had breached Article 3 and 8 of the ECHR.

    He added: “I am satisfied that the claimant’s remaining in unsuitable accommodation interfered with his physical and psychological integrity to a high degree comparable to the level crossing the severity threshold for breaching Article 3.

    “I have so found essentially because his remaining in that accommodation has been a ‘but for’ cause of various impacts on him which are intimately connected with the concept of ‘private life’ for the purposes of Article 8.

    “Those impacts have, in my judgment, substantially prevented him from: (a) pursuing any meaningful personal development, and (b) developing relationships with other human beings and the outside world save for his immediate family with whom he lives.”

    Monica Kreel, TMX’s solicitor from TV Edwards, said: "This is a fantastic judgment for our client and for other disabled asylum seekers. The High Court has recognised that Croydon Council, in ignoring our client’s dire accommodation and refusing to resolve the situation when it had a duty to do so, breached his Article 3 and 8 rights. He has now, finally, been moved to a small flat where he is receiving his care with dignity. "

    For its part, Croydon said it has accepted the High Court ruling and apoligised to TMX. A spokesperson added: “Our resident was being housed by the Home Office in line with 2018 Home Office guidance for asylum seekers with care needs.

    “Despite our attempts to provide the best possible social care, it is now clear that the unsuitable accommodation was a barrier to this. We are sorry that our resident had to go through the courts to get this outcome and we will of course be taking on board lessons from this case in our work with other residents.”

    Panicked by Feinstein, Starmer and Lammy issue near-IDENTICAL Gaza statements

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 12/02/2024 - 11:26am in

    Candidacy of Jewish left-winger in Starmer’s seat prompts pair to issue statements trying to con pro-Palestinian voters – but they don’t even bother to tweak the wording significantly

    Keir Starmer is rattled – and reportedly ‘raging’ – at the announcement that left-wing Jewish heavyweight Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC MP who fought apartheid under Mandela, is going to contest Starmer’s Holborn and St Pancras constituency at the next parliamentary election. Rightly so: Feinstein’s substance, integrity and principle cast a cold light on Starmer’s lack.

    But the incompetence and arrogance of the Labour right can’t help showing through. Clearly someone among Starmer’s advisers has decided it’d be a good idea to finally issue a statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza to try to mollify the huge numbers of voters who are outraged at Starmer’s sabotage of earlier parliamentary motions calling for one and his support for Israel’s ‘right’ to commit war crimes.

    So he and Lammy duly issued statements – or, to be more precise, one statement with hardly any modification and with most of the relevant portions identical, word for word, including the final sentence:

    Nobody’s buying what this pair are selling

    Shoddiness, incompetence, panic, or just the basic inability in that essential Establishment skill of faking sincerity – whatever the mix, Starmer and his acolytes are just not very good. That may be fly in an interview with media giving them the usual easy ride, but it won’t fool voters furious at their complicity in Israel’s mass slaughter of Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, in Gaza.

    Instead, it just shows how scared Labour is of a challenge by someone of substance, even in seats where they held a big majority last time round.

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    Jewish former S African MP Feinstein will stand against Starmer in Holborn St Pancras

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 11/02/2024 - 8:55pm in

    OCISA selects candidate to fight for ‘Labour leader’s seat at next parliamentary election

    Andrew Feinstein speaking at the ‘Stop Starmer’ initiative in London’s Conway Hall last year

    The OCISA group formed with the aim of ousting so-called ‘Labour leader’ Keir Starmer has selected Corruption Watch UK director Andrew Feinstein, a Jewish former South African MP and adviser to Nelson Mandela, to stand against Starmer in Holborn and St Pancras in the next general election. Feinstein now lives in the seat.

    Feinstein. the son of Holocaust survivors, has a long record of substance and principle that stands in stark contrast to his ‘broken every promise’ opponent, who is known as a ‘long-time servant of the security state’ and became known as the ‘kid starver’ after breaking promises to end the hated ‘universal credit’ benefit system and saying he would not end Tory benefit cuts that have put hundreds of thousands of children into poverty and hunger.

    Feinstein has also consistently stood against Israel’s apartheid and genocide in Gaza, arguing that the same tactics his ANC party in South Africa used to bring down apartheid there must be used against Israel and pointing his social media followers to information about Israel’s slaughter of innocents. Starmer, in contrast, has said Israel has the ‘right’ even to impose the blockade on Gaza that is causing horrific starvation and disease.

    Despite Labour’s significant majority in previous elections in the seat, the candidacy of someone with such substance and track record must be seen as a threat to Starmer’s position, particularly in a seat where one in six voters are Muslims and even more so in the light of South Africa’s leading role in the fight against the Gaza genocide – and soon against the UK’s complicity. The campaign is likely to be supported by large numbers of people from the constituency and around the UK, who are outraged at Starmer’s complicity in genocide and his abetting of the Tories’ assault on our rights and freedoms in the UK.

    Starmer and his team are said to be ‘raging’ at the news and deeply concerned:

    Those who wish to donate to Feinstein’s campaign fund can do so here.

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    Bookies slash Galloway Rochdale odds to 2/1

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 09/02/2024 - 3:15am in

    Reaction against Labour candidate and warm welcome for Workers’ Party GB hopeful cuts odds from 16/1

    Betting companies have slashed their odds against George Galloway winning the Rochdale by-election from 16/1 to 2/1 after the campaign saw the Workers’ Party GB candidate’s warm welcome contrast starkly with the hostile reception given to the Starmerite candidate, especially by local Muslims.

    The phenomenon aligns with the catastrophic national fall in Labour Westminster voting intention among Muslims voters who voted Labour in 2019 – from 86% then to half that now – because of their outraged at Keir Starmer’s appalling support for Israel’s genocide and other war crimes in Gaza.

    Not the Andrew Marr Show presenter Crispin Flintoff, who has been in Rochdale covering Galloway’s campaign, said:

    I am still buzzing over what I saw around George Galloway’s campaign. There were hundreds of people at the launch and his campaign is extremely well organised. At the same time, other parties and candidates seem to be in disarray.

    Starmer’s advisers have anonymously admitted that they fear the the impact of their enthusiasm for apartheid Israel, despite the ICJ’s findings against Israel for genocide, on the vote among Muslims and others horrified by the mass slaughter of Palestinians civilians in Gaza, mostly women – as well as the more general issue of the Labour right’s rampant Islamophobia and racism – and have already been proven correct in London boroughs and other areas after catastrophic local election results.

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    Anti-Fascist Group Takes on London Conservative Mayoral Hopeful Susan Hall, Branding Contender a ‘Racist’

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 08/02/2024 - 9:13am in

    A leading anti-fascist organisation has launched a campaign to “take on” Conservative mayoral candidate Susan Hall AM at the London mayoral election this May. 

    HOPE not hate kicked off their on-the-ground activism against the Sadiq Khan-opponent on Wednesday by leafleting at stations around London, accusing the Conservative mayoral hopeful of racism, in no small part due to her controversial statements on social media.

    A spokesperson for HOPE not hate said the group has “exposed her racist social media history”. That includes the Harrow-based politician having liked a tweet saying ‘It's never too late to get London Back!'. The picture was an image of the late Conservative MP Enoch Powell with the quote "It's never too late to save your country". This was not a quote from 'rivers of blood' speech-giver Powell but a slogan that was once on the British National Party website.

    She has also previously liked a tweet from a user suggesting Enoch Powell should have been Prime Minister, saying they'd like Enoch Powell to be an addition to a pack of Prime Minister playing cards. 

    Other examples pointed to by the group include quote-tweeting  an article from “notorious right-wing misinformation site” The Gateway Pundit, alleging a conspiracy to steal the 2020 US presidential election from Trump. 

    And she replied to a tweet from far-right commentator Katie Hopkins calling Sadiq Khan "our nipple height mayor of Londonistan" with an endorsement, saying: "Thank you Katie!". "Londonistan" is the term used to convey the idea that Muslims are taking over London.

    Hall also liked a reply to a tweet about Sadiq Khan's anti-violence against women and girls strategy that said "Well said Susan, that Labour Traitor RAT Likes that sort of thing" – being female genital mutilation and violence against women and girls. This is racially charged implying that Muslims support FGM and violence.

    Challenged about her social media activity on LBC last September – in particular the Enoch Powell meme and Katie Hopkins tweets – Hall told the LBC Radio phone-in she “can’t remember” doing so, adding: “I tweet, or I used to, all the time.” 

    “When I retweeted, oh no I think I liked it. I don’t know, this was a long time ago. That wasn’t in my mind, and I’m glad you given me the opportunity to say…” 

    Interviewer Nick Ferrari interjected: “I think you did, you retweeted it.” Hall replied: “I retweeted? I have no idea.” 

    She denied she was a supporter of the former Conservative provocoteur Enoch Powell, adding: “If you’re a serial tweeter, you tend to go through liking all sorts of things, and you sometimes read things and don’t see. If anybody is offended, then obviously, I would apologise.” 

    In October 2023, Hall was urged to apologise after that claiming Jewish communities in London were "frightened" by Sadiq Khan. The London Assembly member made the comments at a Conservative Friends of Israel at the Conservative party conference in Manchester.

    Prior to selection the Conservative Assembly member liked a tweet saying that Sadiq Khan is "begging for Londoners to do a Tower Hamlets postal vote for May next year and we all know how that works. #fraud" – effectively accusing Sadiq Khan of electoral corruption and promoting the idea that Muslims in electoral politics subvert democratic principles.

    And she has liked tweets targeting journalists, including on branding Sky's Matthew Thompson, then at LBC, a "virus". 

    Georgie Laming, Director of Campaigns at HOPE not hate said: “Susan Hall is clearly not fit to represent a diverse and multicultural city like London.

    “Her social media activity is some of the most egregious we’ve seen from a Conservative candidate, and that’s why we’ll be taking her on this election.”

    At the end of last year the campaign group polled over 1,000 Londoners and found that 64% believed Susan Hall’s social media conduct was “racist”. The group says it will be using “some of the most advanced voter analysis available” to identify areas in each constituency that might be most receptive to hard-right politics, and to target them with anti-Hall material. 

    Susan Hall’s team was contacted for comment.

    Do you have a story that needs highlighting? Get in touch by emailing josiah@bylinetimes.com

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