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Election Debate: Twitter Condemns Conservatives for Playing with Accounts

Mirror News Desk



Election Debate

The fire of criticisms ahead of the general elections is like a usual order that brings more transparency in the parties’ doings and the policies they support. Recently, Twitter issued a warning against Conservative Party that rebranded one of its Twitter accounts “factcheckUK” during an ITV general election debate poll.

The debate that took place between Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday drew huge condemnation from the users and the organisations on social media platforms.

Both the leaders clashed over which of them is best placed to safeguard the NHS if they win the general election, with the Labour leader accusing the prime minister of being ready to sell it off to US corporations.

Even though the Twitter handle was solely based for the Conservative Party press office (CCHQPress), the name and images on the page were switched to a purple background with a checkmark and name “factcheckUK”. The account was used to check facts of Corbyn’s statements during the election debate between the leaders.

As the CCHQPress account carries a blue verified badge by Twitter, it signified the fact that it was a real account. Even though the name and branding of the account was changed during the election debate, it succeeded in keeping its badge of authenticity. On retweets, the name “factcheckUK” was displayed to the users.

Most of the Twitter users called the move as misleading the citizens, while the Twitter spokesperson warned that “any further attempts to mislead people by editing verified profile information – in a manner seen during the UK Election Debate – will result in decisive corrective action”.

An independent British fact-checking charity, Full Fact, condemned the change of name and the purpose amid a pivotal election debate as inappropriate and misleading.

“Please do not mistake it for an independent fact checking service,” the charity wrote.

According to one of the Twitter policies, the social media platform is allowed to permanently suspend the accounts that pose as another person, brand, or organisation in a confusing or deceptive manner. This is called Twitter’s impersonation policy, which is enacted upon violation of its rules.

Other than FactCheck, Labour Party has joined the wave of criticism saying, “Conservatives’ laughable attempt to dupe those watching the #ITVDebate by renaming their twitter account shows you can’t trust a word they say.”

Against the criticisms, the Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly said that the Twitter account was clearly identified as conservative, and was fact-checking the claims put forward by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “It makes it absolutely clear it’s a conservative website, absolutely clear,” he further added.

The Conservative Party has been under fire earlier also for misleading usage of social media platforms, by posting unreal data related to the opposition. In the wake of misleading contents, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in late October announced the banning of political ads on its platform.

The policy that is to come into effect on November 22 will severely affect the online campaigning of different parties and put an end to acts defaming the political party’s image before elections.

Despite the criticisms, Johnson handed 51-49 win in election debate poll, indicating the fact that he is still the favourite amongst Britons.  


John McDonnell Makes Eleventh Hour Effort to Win General Elections

Mirror News Desk



John McDonnell

With only three days remaining for the general elections, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell, is expected to announce the plans for the first 100 days of the Labour Party in his speech in London on Monday.

Nationalising water and energy companies within 100 days of taking office and establishing “governing boards” comprising workers, politicians, industry experts, and customers are some of the things plans Labour has planned to entice voters.

With such eye-grabbing plans for the Britons released just 72 hours before the general elections, it won’t be wrong to claim that the move from Labour Party is a last attempt to gain a stronghold in some areas of the UK or to completely reshape the results of upcoming elections.

Also, it won’t be wrong to claim that the announcement from Labour MP, John McDonnell is to retaliate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan for the first 100 days of the Tory government on Wednesday.

Only thing wrong with the Labour’s announcement is the timing. The release of plans just 72-hours prior to the elections does not provide enough time for people to contemplate and figure out if Tories are  better than Labour.

According to sources, John McDonnell will also announce the details of the party’s first budget. McDonnell will promise to “give everyone the option of participating in how their utilities are run”.

“In our first hundred days we will start the process of bringing water and energy into public ownership. We’ll set up boards to run them made up of you, the customer, and you, the worker, as well as representatives from local councils, metro mayors and others,” McDonnell will say.

“We’ll create new People’s Assemblies to hold these boards to account and give everyone the option of participating in how their utilities are run.”.

Another lag to hit the Labour campaign is when John McDonnell will be laying out the plans, Tory leader Johnson will be attempting to crack the “red wall” of Labour seats across the North of England to ensure that Tories secure a majority in the parliament.

Also, Johnson’s continuous rebuttal of Brexit checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland post-Brexit, since Corbyn released documents claiming checks on Northern Ireland,  is expected to hit snag to Labour’s 100-day plan.

During an interview with Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Johnson said, “[This deal] allows the whole of the UK to come out of the EU including Northern Ireland and the only checks that there would be, would be if something was coming from GB via Northern Ireland and was going on to the Republic, then there might be checks at the border into Northern Ireland.”

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Justice denied after teen girl faced sexual abuse in children’s home

Mirror News Desk



Justice denied after teen girl faced sexual abuse in children’s home

Intervention of children’s commissioner has been demanded regarding the case of a teen girl, who is an alleged victim of a series of misconduct at the hands of social workers, police and medical authorities.

A 16-year-old girl, whose identity has been kept anonymous, was over four years ago the youngest minor placed in England’s secure hospital. She was allegedly subjected to sexual abuse while in the shelter of children’s social care in Sheffield. The victim is currently placed in the seclusion unit of a psychiatric hospital.

Victim’s mother said she remains under a constant fear that someday she might hear that her daughter has been found dead. The teen-victim was taken into care as her mother was unable to deal with daughter’s behaviour. Since the mother was herself a victim of child sexual abuse, she could not afford her daughter to experience the same fate.

Campaigners have reportedly reached out Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, as they have struggled to help the victim and her family since a couple of years.

In a statement, outreach worker Kathryn Kelwick, who fought for the victims of the Rotherham child abuse scandal, said the teenager was “horrendously exploited” during her stay at a children’s home in Sheffield.

The evidence collected by Kelwick and victim’s family indicates that while living at the children’s home, she could easily move in and out as per her will, despite dropping hints of being sexually abused after her return.

Louise Haigh, the teenager’s MP, was updated on the victim’s case on a regular basis. She called the case as “deeply disturbing” and assured raising the issue on several occasions with senior officials at Sheffield social services. Alan Billings, the police and crime commissioner for South Yorkshire, has accounted teen girl’s sexual abuse as “a shocking and sad story”.

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Labour Leads in Promoting Climate Change Policies, FoE Survey Reveals

Mirror News Desk



Climate Change Policies

Once again, climate change policies appear to have influenced the wave of elections in the country. Since the ministers from both Conservative Party and Labour Party are preparing for the upcoming general elections, many organisations and firms are actively indulged in bringing the truth to light.

A survey from Friends of the Earth (FoE), an international network of environmental organizations in 74 countries, stated that the Labour Party has the strongest policies to protect nature and combat climate change.

The survey has warned that the opposition election pledges could narrowly beat the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, while leaving the ruling Conservative Party far behind. Aviation has become a key specific area for Labours, who have now announced plans to impose taxes on people who are frequent flyers, taking action against much tougher carbon targets.

Well, the calls of escalating tax on frequent flyers to control the soaring number of flights have been in trend for quite some time and the Labours, being wise-enough, have quickly added this on their election manifesto, backing move to levy taxes on the 15 percent of people who take 70 percent of flights.

Moreover, Labours stated that expansion at Heathrow would be cancelled if it was not consistent with climate targets. The party also has plans to divert funds from the road programme to public transports after winning the general elections.

While comparing the parties on 45 policy points, the FoE league table gave the Labour, Greens, Lib Dems, Conservatives, 33, 31, 30 and 5.5 scores respectively.

Throughout the year, the environmental policies have had a huge influence on citizens, many of whom actively participated in climate protests, initiated by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. Not only in the UK, the protests spread throughout the world, with people demanding strict actions against factors promoting climate crisis, from their respective governments.

Reflecting upon the need of climate change policies, FoE spokesman Dave Timms said, “Environmental issues have been given greater priority in this election than ever before – and with the world in the midst of an ecological and climate crisis this must be the next government’s top priority.”

“Many of the policies that Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Green Party have put forward are commensurate with, or striving to meet, the challenges we face.”

Timms even criticised the ruling government saying, “It is disappointing we have not seen the same urgency, ambition or consistency from the Conservative Party.”

The FoE survey has raised problems for the political leaders of different parties. The Greens, who have a central motive of working on the principles of green politics, such as social justice, environmentalism and nonviolence, while protecting the planet, have complained that the scoring includes only the commitments made in manifestos.

Upon the growing complaints by the Greens, the Labours have challenged the party by devoting its top manifesto section with climate change policies. But every new step comes with a challenge. Labours are now under pressure from trade unions to simultaneously safeguard the jobs in the industry.

With unknown future of deadlocked Brexit, the Labours if succeed in winning the 2019 general elections will have a lot to work upon besides fulfilling their environmental promises.

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Brexit Party MEPs Resign to fulfil “Result of the Referendum”

Mirror News Desk



Brexit Party MEPs

After backing down from 317 seats in the first week of the election campaign, three of the Brexit Party MEPs have quit and asked the voters to support the Conservative Party in the upcoming elections.

Following the decision of the MEPs, it seems that the upcoming general elections will be opposite for Nigel Farage, who did splendidly well in the European elections this year.

MEPs Lance Forman, Lucy Harris, and Annunziata Rees-Mogg, sister of cabinet minister Jacob Rees Mogg, announced Wednesday morning that they had quit the party. On the other hand, fourth MEP John Longworth was ousted from the party for “repeatedly undermining” the election strategy of the party.

Party leader Farage linked the resignations of the Brexit Party MEPs, Rees-Mogg, Harris and Forman with their association to the Tories. He said, “One of them [Ms Rees-Mogg] is the sister of a cabinet minister. Another one has a boyfriend working for that cabinet minister and another one is a personal friend of Boris Johnson’s.”

He added, “We are disappointed that four of our MEPs don’t seem to understand that we both saved the Conservative party from large scale losses to the Liberal Democrats in the South and South West of England.

“We are also hammering the Labour Leave vote in its traditional heartlands making it much easier for the Conservatives to win many of those seats.”

All four Brexit Party MEPs have released a joint statement via a video, saying, “We are passionate democrats who believe the result of the referendum must be fulfilled . . . and while this deal is not perfect it is sufficient to remove us from the gridlock. Even if you and your family have never voted Conservative before — this is a unique time in history.”

Following the boost received from the endorsement of Rees-Mogg, Harris, and Forman, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now taken a step further in his election campaign. He has now released a plan for the first 100 days of his office post general elections in December.

He reiterated his promise of Brexit on January 31. He also promised an unspecific tax cut for “hard-working families”, a boost in school funding, stricter sentencing laws, and enactment of measures to restructure the entire immigration system.

With each passing day, general elections are witnessing new updates. Surprisingly, all have been in the favour of the Tories. However, the sudden resignation of Brexit Party MEPs has raised a question not just on their decision, but also on their intent behind such a move?

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NATO Summit: Leaders Gather for Official Reception Ahead of Formal Talks

Mirror News Desk



NATO summit

To mark the 70th anniversary of the world’s most powerful defence alliance, the international leaders would gather outside of London for formal talks on Wednesday.

Ahead of the two-days-long NATO summit, the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II welcomed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the leaders of the Alliance’s 29 member countries for the official receptions on Tuesday at Buckingham Palace and Downing Street.

In an attempt to eradicate some of the differences between the leaders, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson hosted talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the main gathering. Later, Johnson also held unscheduled bilateral talks with US President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

The aim of the NATO summit is to bring together the leaders to take decisions to further strengthen and modernise the alliance.

At a time when diplomatic flare-up between Trump and Macron over Turkey and ISIS has heightened, the summit would act as a means to minimise the tensions.

In November, the French President, who is a vocal supporter of Kurds, warned that Europe was facing the “brain death of NATO” caused by American indifference to the transatlantic alliance. It came after the US withdrew its troops from northern Syria, leaving the Syrian Kurds open to Turkish offensive in the region.

“When I look at Turkey, they now are fighting against those who fought with us shoulder to shoulder against [IS],” the French president said on Tuesday.

The move dismayed the European NATO members and complicated Turkey’s relations with other NATO allies. The US president while denouncing Macron’s claims, stated it as “very insulting” to other member states.

However, when both the leaders met at the US ambassador’s residence in London on Tuesday, there were sharp exchanges between both Trump and Macron. But on a later note, Trump acknowledged the need for greater “flexibility” in the way in which NATO responded to global threats and stated that he had a “very good discussion”, and welcomed Macron’s comments about financial burden-sharing.

The main event of the NATO summit is to take place at The Grove, a luxury hotel near Watford on Wednesday, where the world leaders would discuss about combatting cyber threats and those ranging from satellite disruption to the militarisation of space and the threat from space debris.

Ahead of the discussion, a family photo session of the NATO heads of state and government would take place, which would later be preceded by a press conference by the NATO secretary general.

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