Boris Johnson speaks to Iranian foreign minister about Briton held in jail – Politics live

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Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen

11.27am GMT

The speaker has granted three urgent questions, Labour whips say.

3 UQs 12.30: 1. @mtpennycook on Brexit Impact Assessments 2. @KateOsamor on Patel & visit to Israel 3. @StephenTwigg Saudi blockade of Yemen

11.16am GMT

This is from my colleague Heather Stewart.

Am told government has signalled to Speaker that Johnson will say few words about Zaghari-Ratcliffe case before his Daesh statement.

11.09am GMT

On the BBC News just now Jack Straw, the Labour former foreign secretary, is being interviewed. He says he does not understand why Boris Johnson is not prepared to admit he made a mistake. Johnson is putting his amour propre first, he says.

Straw says the Iranian revolutionary guards are in charge of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detention. They welcomed Johnson’s comments, Straw says.

11.06am GMT

The Boris Johnson Commons statement should come at about 12.30pm.

One Government oral statement today:

Boris Johnson – Counter Daesh Update

11.01am GMT

This is what Yvette Cooper, the Labour chair of the Commons home affairs committee, tweeted about Boris Johnson’s Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe error last night.

Hard to find words for how appalling this is. For him it’s just another lazy, arrogant failure to check facts. For her it’s incarceration

10.57am GMT

Boris Johnson has spoken to his Iranian counterpart about the Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Foreign Office has confirmed. A formal statement is due soon.

10.50am GMT

Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, will be making a Commons statement – about about Islamic State, not Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the BBC’s Norman Smith reports.

So..seems no Boris Johnson statement on #nazarin …but he will be making Commons statement on IS

Sounds like Boris Johnson wants to avoid formal apology/correction over #nazarin but cd clarify his remarks in IS statement

10.47am GMT

Anna Turley, the Labour MP for Redcar, has given a statement to her local paper explaining that she will away from parliament until Christmas because she is recovering from major surgery. But her office will still be functioning, she says, and her absence will not affect any votes because she will be paired.

Why I won’t be around as much for the next couple of months…

10.42am GMT

On the Today programme this morning Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, also defended Priti Patel’s decision to hold a range of work-related meetings while on holiday in Israel. Patel was reprimanded yesterday because she did not warn the Foreign Office or Downing Street in advance about what she was up to.

Asked about this, Fox said:

I find it utterly unsurprising that the international aid secretary would want to talk to charities while she is on holiday in a particular area about whether or not we can use the British aid budget to diminish the humanitarian problems of people in that area.

It’s not in any way forbidden to do that.

When I’m on holiday I doubt my wife would give me time off to do anything other than have a holiday.

10.33am GMT

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has responded to Liam Fox’s attempt to play down the significance of Boris Johnson’s error about Zaghari-Ratcliffe this morning. (See 9.36am.) Ratcliffe told the Press Association:

It is a misstep, and time will tell how big a deal it is. It clearly is a gaffe, it clearly looks like it has had serious consequences, and we will see how serious they are.

But it is also welcome that a government minister is acknowledging that Nazanin is being held as a bargaining chip.

10.27am GMT

Here is the picture of Theresa May meeting with other party leaders late yesterday afternoon to discuss the Westminster sexual harassment scandal.

Related: Labour urges May to treat sexual harassment consistently across parties

9.57am GMT

As my colleague Jessica Elgot reports, Liam Fox also said in his Today interview that the British public will not accept the diluting of animal welfare standards, a day after Donald Trump’s most senior trade adviser said a US-UK trade deal hinged on scrapping EU food standards regulations, including on chlorinated chicken.

Related: Fox says public won’t accept lower food standards in chlorinated chicken row

9.47am GMT

For the record, this is what Boris Johnson told the Commons foreign affairs committee about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe last week.

When I look at what Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing, she was simply teaching people journalism, as I understand it. [Neither] Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe nor her family has been informed about what crime she has actually committed. And that I find extraordinary, incredible.

[Johnson’s] statement shows that Nazanin had visited the country for anything but a holiday. For months it was claimed that Nazanin is a British-Iranian charity worker who went to see her family when she was arrested … Mr Johnson’s statement has shed new light on the realities about Nazanin.

On 1 November [Johnson] said that Nazanin ‘was training journalists’ in Iran. I have immediately clarified that this is not right as she is not a journalist and has never trained journalists at the Thomson Reuters Foundation where she is project manager in my media development team.

She was in Iran on holiday to show her daughter Gabriella to her grandparents when she was arrested at Tehran Airport on 3 April 2016. Like Richard Ratcliffe, her husband, I see a direct correlation between this statement by Boris Johnson, who rightly condemned the treatment that Nazanin has received in Iran, and the fact that Nazanin was brought once again into Court on Saturday 4 November and accused of ‘spreading propaganda against the regime.’

9.36am GMT

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, did a round of interviews this morning to promote the new trade bill being laid in parliament today. But he spent much of his time having to defend his fellow cabinet Brexiter, Boris Johnson.

Here are some of the key points he made about Johnson.

I think people in the Iranian regime, which is a very brutal regime, are using this as an excuse to hold a UK citizen in the most tenuous of circumstances.

I think what we are seeing here is an attempt to discredit the foreign secretary without thinking first of all what the impact may be and what excuses it may give to the Iranian regime to act improperly.

This is a regime that is acting in an absolutely appalling way and we’ve got to be very careful that in attempting to have a legitimate political debate or even point scoring in the United Kingdom that we make life more difficult for someone who’s being held abroad in one of the most spurious and unacceptable grounds.

There’s nothing that the foreign secretary has said that would give the Iranian regime any justification for increasing the length of sentence here.

9.18am GMT

Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative former minister, was on ITV’s Good Morning Britain talking about the Westminster sexual harassment scandal. Declaring that she had never been sexually harassed herself when she was an MP – “I think for the very obvious reason that nobody would have expected to make very much progress if they tried” – she told the programme that much of what was being said was “a lot of nonsense”.

I don’t have a problem with Westminster tidying up its grievance procedures.

My problem has been with the whole of this chaotic scandal which has engulfed Westminster. Now there are serious complaints and those I take very seriously indeed. But most of this has been a lot of nonsense.

9.10am GMT

Number 10 are saying the fact that there would not be a cabinet this morning did come up at one of the lobby briefings yesterday. No cabinet meeting was scheduled for today because it is not a full parliamentary week. A mini recess starts tonight, with MPs back in the Commons on Monday.

9.04am GMT

According to BuzzFeed’s Emily Ashton, No 10 are saying there was no cabinet scheduled for this morning anyway.

Downing St insist that cabinet not cancelled but was never going to happen today due to mini recess starting this eve

8.58am GMT

In his morning London Playbook email, Politico Europe’s Jack Blanchard explains why Theresa May may have decided that the prospect of going ahead with this morning’s cabinet is just too ghastly.

Theresa May will chair a meeting of her Cabinet this morning. It may not be the happiest of gatherings. Sitting around the table will be:

— Her first secretary of state, Damian Green, who is under investigation by the Cabinet Office over allegations, which he denies, that he made unwanted advances towards a young Tory activist and had “extreme” pornography on an office computer.

8.55am GMT

The Daily Mail’s Jason Groves is reporting that this morning’s cabinet meeting has been cancelled that.

Cabinet cancelled this morning. Probably for the best in the circs where 2 ministers facing calls to resign + a third is under investigation

8.51am GMT

Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, is under increasing pressure to admit that he made a mistake last week when he said that a British-Iranian woman was “teaching people journalism” when she was arrested in Iran. Her family and her employer insist Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was just in the country on holiday, but Johnson’s comments have raised the possibility of her jail sentence being extended. Here is our overnight story.

Related: Boris Johnson ‘mistake’ could harm case for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, say family

I would like [Boris Johnson] to retract in Parliament, in parliament rather than in a phone call to his counterpart, what he said, and say clearly that Nazanin wasn’t training journalists and that she was just there on holiday.

Liam Fox on Boris Johnson: “We all make slips of the tongue.” A British citizen is facing 5 more years in an Iranian jail. #r4today

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Source: iran
Link : Boris Johnson speaks to Iranian foreign minister about Briton held in jail – Politics live


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