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Boris Johnson To Meet Prince Charles In Rwanda Over Asylum Policy Criticism

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Boris Johnson is to meet with Prince Charles and to hold talks over a number of issues, including the UK’s Rwanda asylum policy, which the prince had criticised calling it “appalling”.

A report by Sky News on June 22 said that the pair will meet in the capital Kigali on Thursday, where they are attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

It is understood that Johnson will not be visiting the asylum premises and is choosing to give the whole issue a wide berth if at all possible, however, the Prince is likely to bring the policy up when they meet.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “They are due to meet, obviously they will encounter each other during the summit, but they are due to have a bilateral discussion as well.”

Prince Charles is not the only one to criticise the policy with campaigners, church leaders and the United Nations all doing so. Some of the criticism comes because of Rwanda’s human rights record but also because a similar system introduced for Israel failed.

This will be Johnson’s first visit to Rwanda during his time in No 10, with his spokesperson saying: “You will know that the prime minister’s time is always limited and to make time to do that he would therefore have to leave elements of the programme whereby he’s working with a unique set of world leaders on quite crucial issues.

“We think that the best use of his time for this short period he’s in Rwanda is to dedicate himself to some of the issues that will be raised at the summit and to work with other world leaders on some of those issues we’ve talked about, not least Ukraine and global security.”

The issue is also likely to come up Johnson meets with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, but stressed the spokesperson said: “there is a host of other issues to discuss.”

They added: “You would expect the PM to raise human rights issues, as he has done in the past.

“We want Rwanda to uphold and champion the Commonwealth values, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. And we want due process for all those in detention and fair and transparent application of the rule of law.”

Charles, the heir to the throne, will represent the Queen as head of the Commonwealth at the CHOGM summit.

 Prince Charles is known to hold strong views and is not shy to express them, which could make the meeting with Boris Johnson in Rwanda somewhat strained, with the prince known to be vehemently against the government’s asylum policy.


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Eighteen More Russian APCs Destroyed By Ukraine In Latest Combat Losses Update

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Eighteen more Russian APCs destroyed by Ukraine in latest combat losses update. Image: Twitter @GeneralStaffUA

ON Tuesday, July 5, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence published updated figures of combat losses inflicted on Russian forces since the beginning of the war, including the destruction of more Russian APCs.

Another 18 Russian forces Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) were destroyed by Ukrainian forces on Monday, July 4, according to Ukraine’s military update on Russia’s combat losses since February 24.

This represents the highest APC change since June 27.

According to the latest data, another 150 Russian soldiers died in battle, which has brought the total to around 36,350.

Five more Russian tanks were also destroyed as well as one more Russian MLRS.

The other significant increase in figures is the loss of two Russian artillery systems which takes the number destroyed by the Ukrainian army to 806 and the destruction of two Russian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) takes the total losses to 660.

Загальні бойові втрати противника з 24.02 по 05.07 орієнтовно склали / The total combat losses of the enemy from 24.02 to 05.07 were approximatelyhttps://t.co/DikZbFuPDq#stoprussia pic.twitter.com/3qHNDp14jH

— Генеральний штаб ЗСУ (@GeneralStaffUA) July 5, 2022

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine revealed that Putin’s army had suffered the greatest losses on Monday, July 4 in the Sloviansk and Donetsk directions.

A detailed breakdown of the 132nd day of the war also shows that the loss of the 18 Russian forces Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) now means Ukraine has destroyed 3772, while the destruction of five more Russian tanks now means that Putin’s army has now lost 1594 in total.

#Russian losses as of July 5 according to @GeneralStaffUA #StopRussia pic.twitter.com/N3ZOyo4p11

— ArmyInform (@armyinformcomua) July 5, 2022

The loss of more Russian tanks comes after videos emerged on Monday, July 4, of two T-80BV tanks being captured by Czech volunteer forces.


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Crops Valued At £36m Destroyed As Labour Shortages Hit UK Farmers

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Crops valued at £36m destroyed as labour shortages hit UK farmers Image [email protected]

Labour shortages in the UK have resulted in crops valued at more than £36m (€41,9m) being destroyed with the number of applicants for seasonal workers having dropped dramatically.

According to Sky News on July 5, farmers are facing millions of pounds of losses after the seasonal worker visa granted by the Home Office fails to deliver sufficient numbers of workers.

According to farmers spoken to by Sky News, visa processing delays and a collapse in the number of Ukrainian workers coming to the UK after the Russian invasion have resulted in a shortage of workers. Added to that Russians who had been granted visas, have since had them cancelled.

According to those agencies recruiting workers from Russia, no reason was given for the cancellation despite there being no ban on Russian workers taking up seasonal jobs.

Figures provided by the Home Office show that the 60 per cent of the workers given seasonal visas were from Ukraine, while eight per cent were from Russia.

The war in Ukraine has meant the numbers of applicants from the country has all but dried up, and with countries in Europe having an open door policy for those fleeing the conflict most have chosen to relocate elsewhere on the continent.

Sandfield Farms Managing Director Derek Wilkinson, told Sky News that labour shortages had already cost around £250,000 of his asparagus and spring onion crop. The company which employs 750 seasonal workers said that the lack of demand for the jobs and visa issuing delays had resulted in them being unable to hire sufficient workers.

Visas are taking around six to seven weeks to be issued according to Sandfield Farms.

Wilkinson said: “It’s ridiculous, if we haven’t got the people we simply can’t harvest the crop.

“We try to recruit locally and there just aren’t the people out there. British people just don’t want seasonal work, if you live in the UK you need a permanent job. We do try to recruit but we’d get very little uptake.”

By comparison he said: “I speak to growers in Holland and Germany all doing the same thing and they can get a visa processed in a few days, so I’m not sure why it takes so long.

“That meant at the beginning of May, we were 40 per cent short of people we should have here. They were recruited but they just hadn’t had the visas processed.”

He added that as a result the company had already lost around 45,000 kilograms of asparagus valued at around £150,000 (€174,375), and 750,000 bunches of spring onions worth nearly  £100,000 (€116,000).

The number of seasonal workers coming to the UK has steadily fallen since the introduction of the BREXIT seasonal worker regime in 2018. Prior to its BREXIT and its introduction, EU workers were free to travel and take up the available work.

Despite the shortages of labour the government wants to phase the visa out altogether by 2024, instead opting to encourage automation and local employment.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has warned that the government’s plans are unrealistic. Tom Bradshaw, Deputy President of the NFU, said: “We have a very low level of unemployment, we have 4 per cent unemployed and millions of vacancies so it is unrealistic for it to be delivered from the domestic workforce when there are plenty of permanent roles.”

He added that: “The Migration Advisory Committee identified that seasonal horticulture is unique and we should embrace that.

“We should look to the sector to enable it to grow deliver fresh British food and vegetables to our consumers, its a wonderful success story, it’s something we can do really well with our climate, but at the moment we feel we have our hands tied behind our back.”

Sir Robert Goodwill, the Conservative chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, agrees telling Sky News the seasonal worker scheme should remain.

Citing concerns and uncertainty over labour supply could prevent investment by the industry further adding to contractions already being seen in some parts of the farming sector.

“We want it to be a permanent scheme. If you’re planting a vineyard or building a packhouse you need to be sure that you have labour to come and do that work into the future. The scheme is very successful and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t make it permanent.”

The Home Office denies that visa applications have been delayed acknowledging that priority is being given to Ukrainian applications, but insisted it was still meeting the “service standard” of eight weeks.

A spokesperson said: “We are processing straightforward applications for seasonal worker visas within service standard and it is wrong to say that there are delays in issuing those visas.”

The British Berry Growers Association said that the ready availability of seasonal workers prior to BREXIT, made many more agricultural sectors viable. However the lack of workers now puts many of these in doubt including the growing of berries.

They put the value of crops destroyed in 2021 at more than £36m (€41,9m) worth of crop because they could not be harvested.

Madeleine Sumption, Director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said that labour shortages could significantly change the types of crops grown in the UK.

She said: “In the long run, if there are fewer workers available we might expect the UK to return to a position a little closer to how it was in the early 2000s where we weren’t producing as much labour-intensive produce.

“In the short run that can be quite disruptive for farmers who have built a business model that relies on the availability of a substantial number of seasonal workers.”

The total losses to Britain’s farming industry are not known but must run into hundreds of millions if just one sector, berry growers are reporting losses of more than £36m (€41,9m) due to labour shortages.


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BREAKING: Senior Civil Servant Claims Johnson Knew About Chris Pincher

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BREAKING: Senior civil servant claims Johnson knew about Chris Pincher. Image: Alexandros Michailidis/shutterstock.com

ACCORDING to a former top civil servant, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was spoken to personally about the Chris Pincher allegations back in 2019.

The former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, Lord Simon McDonald, has claimed that Boris Johnson knew about allegations against the former deputy chief whip, Chris Pincher – who was suspended from the Conservative Party on Friday, July 1 after sexual misconduct allegations.

Mr McDonald claimed the Tory Party leader knew about the accusations and that Downing Street was lying about the events.

“I have written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards – because No 10 keep changing their story and are still not telling the truth,” he said.

“They need to come clean. The language is ambiguous. It’s sort of telling the truth and crossing your fingers at the same time.”

Despite being investigated back in 2019, Mr Pincher was working within the party up until last week when he was forced to resign following accusations that he had groped two men.

Since then further accusations of historical sexual misconduct have been brought to light. Mr Pincher denies all allegations.

However, Lord McDonald said that he and others had been “deceived” by Pincher and Johnson.

Mr Pincher “deceived me and others in 2019”, and “cannot be allowed to use the confidentiality of the process three years ago to pursue his predatory behaviour in other contexts,” he said.

Pincher was made deputy chief whip during a party reshuffle back in February, however, No10 denied claims that Boris knew about the allegations before giving the 52-year-old a promotion.

However, on Monday, July 4, Downing Street made a U-turn on that statement: “The Prime Minister was aware of media reports that others had seen over the years, and some allegations that were either resolved or did not progress to a formal complaint.”

“In the absence of a formal complaint it was not appropriate to stop an appointment on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations,” No10 said.

The former head of the Foreign Office said that there was a formal complaint: “The original No10 line is not true and the modification is still not accurate,” he said.

“Mr Johnson was briefed in person about the initiation and outcome of the investigation.

“There was a “formal complaint”. Allegations were “resolved” only in the sense that the investigation was completed; Mr Pincher was not exonerated.

“To characterise the allegations as “unsubstantiated” is therefore wrong.

“I am aware that is unusual to write to you and simultaneously publicise the letter.

“I am conscious of the duty owed to the target of an investigation but I act out of of my duty towards the victims.

“Mr Pincher deceived me and others in 2019.

“He cannot be allowed to use the confidentiality of the process three years ago to pursue his predatory behaviour In other contexts.”

This morning I have written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards – because No 10 keep changing their story and are still not telling the truth. pic.twitter.com/vln9FU4V50

— Simon McDonald (@SimonMcDonaldUK) July 5, 2022


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