SNP slapped down over opposition to Boris Johnson's mass testing plans – 'Huge mistake'

Addressing SNP health spokesmand Martyn Day, Mr Hancock said: “There were in the spring some people who complained about my determination to expand testing capacities at a record pace.

“We’re hearing some of those voices this morning out again and complaining that we want to increase testing.

“Both the SNP and the Labour Party opposite are making a huge mistake in opposing mass testing.

“It’s an incredibly important tool in our arsenal.”

JUST IN: EU threatens to drag Boris Johnson to court and slap ‘lump sum’ fine on UK – leaked paper

Mr Day had earlier questioned Mr Hancock on the viability of Operation Moonshot after representatives from the British Medical Associaition cast doubts on the plan’s deliverability.

The SNP MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk said: “We heard the Prime Minister describe his Operation Moonshot as the ‘only hope’ of avoiding a second national lockdown.

“Already some experts have described this mass testing strategy as being fundamentally flawed.

“Does the Secretary of State think the Prime Minister is gambling on something that the experts feel cannot be delivered?”

READ MORE: Beirut fire: Terrifying blaze rips through same Lebanon port devastated by huge explosion



Boris Johnson accused of breaking own COVID rules – Opposition MPs demand police action

Currently, gatherings of more than 30 people are illegal under the Government’s COVID-19 guidelines.

Those who break the rules could risk a fine of up to £1,000.

Opposition MPs are demanding an investigation and for police action if the claims are found to be true.

More to follow…



Tory MP leaves colleagues furious as he makes speech in Commons from OPPOSITION benches

Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne spoke from the Opposition bench as he said “there’s no room anywhere else” but his appearance has sparked fury from other Tories. The MP for New Forest West sat among the SNP benches in the House of Commons as he argued that Parliament’s social-distancing procedures are “ridiculous”. Sir Desmond asked his colleague, Sir Robert Syms MP: “Does he believe that it is proportionate given that in the last two weeks of July five times more people died of seasonal flu than of COVID-19?

“Are the measures that we’re taking proportionate when we had Hong Kong flu it carried 80,000 people, did we behave in this ridiculous way?”

Former Brexit secretary and Tory MP for Haltemprice and Howden, David Davis said: “We have a chamber that doesn’t work.”

While Sir Robert Syms said: “I don’t think this House is actually in a position to be calling itself a proper parliament”

Tory MP for Christchurch Chris Chope condemned the “knee-jerk way in which the Government is dealing with many of our constituents”.

READ MORE: Brexiteer plots revenge on Tory Remainers with new law

Steve Brine added: “We’re living a lie to the public at the moment. We’ve never worked harder, but we’re not working hard in SW1.”

The House of Commons has moved to a hybrid system during the coronavirus pandemic allowing MPs to particpate in the Chamber either in person or remotely.

The social distancing measures have resulted in long queues outside Parliament as MPs have to wait for the opportunity to vote.

After returning from recess, the number of MPs allowed into the Chamber remains at 50.

This could be increased if MPs were to wear masks and give speeches sitting down which has been deemed “obviously not practical” by parliamentary sources.

Tory MP Steve Baker posted a video on his Twitter of himself during the queuing and deemed the whole thing to be a “farce”.

Mr Baker captioned the video: “This is a farce. I should think we will be back to remote voting before we are all much older.”

He added: “There is a queue snaking all the way behind me.

“What is even worse than the practical reality is it is all being played out in front of the political lobby journalists.”



Putin crackdown: Opposition activist savagely beaten in Russia – 'my face is broken'

Yegor Zhukov, 22, is a blogger and presenter on the radio station Echo of Moscow. The activist suffered from “concussion” and a “traumatic brain injury” after being beaten.

His press secretary, Stas Toporkov, said: “At the moment, Yegor is being examined at the 67th hospital.

“The diagnosis has not yet been determined. Preliminary: concussion and traumatic brain injury.”

On Sunday evening, unknown attackers beat Mr Zhukov hear his house and were reportedly hiding on scooters.

In a statement Mr Zhukov wrote: “I have not suffered property damage, but my face is broken, I feel very bad.”

The police are considering starting a case under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, according to Interfax.

This is the second time the opposition blogger has been attacked.

In July, two people tried to attack Mr Zhukov near the entrance of his home.

He managed to hide from the attackers and did not receive any serious injuries.

READ MORE: Russia threat: UK security chief issues warning over new Kremlin plots

In late 2019, Mr Zhukov was convicted in Moscow for “inciting extremism” in political blogs he posted years ago.

But he received a suspended sentence of three years.

In a social media message, the young activist called for a society “filled with responsible and loving people”.

Mr Zhukov was a leading figure in the 2019 mass opposition protests.

He was arrested for directing street protests but the charge was dropped for lack of evidence.

In 2019, Mr Zhukov told the Russian court that “the only traditional value that the current Russian state truly honours and strengthens is autocracy.”

He added: “Autocracy that tries to break the life of anyone who sincerely wishes the best for their homeland, who doesn’t hesitate to love and take responsibility.

“I look ahead beyond the horizon of the years, and I see a Russia filled with responsible and loving people.

“This will be a truly happy place. Let everyone imagine this kind of Russia.

“And let this image drive you and your activities in the same way that it drives me.”



Putin crackdown: Opposition activist savagely beaten in Russia – 'my face is broken'

Yegor Zhukov, 22, is a blogger and presenter on the radio station Echo of Moscow. The activist suffered from “concussion” and a “traumatic brain injury” after being beaten.

His press secretary, Stas Toporkov, said: “At the moment, Yegor is being examined at the 67th hospital.

“The diagnosis has not yet been determined. Preliminary: concussion and traumatic brain injury.”

On Sunday evening, unknown attackers beat Mr Zhukov hear his house and were reportedly hiding on scooters.

In a statement Mr Zhukov wrote: “I have not suffered property damage, but my face is broken, I feel very bad.”

The police are considering starting a case under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, according to Interfax.

This is the second time the opposition blogger has been attacked.

In July, two people tried to attack Mr Zhukov near the entrance of his home.

He managed to hide from the attackers and did not receive any serious injuries.

READ MORE: Russia threat: UK security chief issues warning over new Kremlin plots

In late 2019, Mr Zhukov was convicted in Moscow for “inciting extremism” in political blogs he posted years ago.

But he received a suspended sentence of three years.

In a social media message, the young activist called for a society “filled with responsible and loving people”.

Mr Zhukov was a leading figure in the 2019 mass opposition protests.

He was arrested for directing street protests but the charge was dropped for lack of evidence.

In 2019, Mr Zhukov told the Russian court that “the only traditional value that the current Russian state truly honours and strengthens is autocracy.”

He added: “Autocracy that tries to break the life of anyone who sincerely wishes the best for their homeland, who doesn’t hesitate to love and take responsibility.

“I look ahead beyond the horizon of the years, and I see a Russia filled with responsible and loving people.

“This will be a truly happy place. Let everyone imagine this kind of Russia.

“And let this image drive you and your activities in the same way that it drives me.”



Taiwan opposition party barricade parliament to protest government ’tyranny’

The Kuomintang party (KMT) occupied legislature overnight to protest the president’s nomination of a close aide to a high-level watchdog, according to Reuters. Taiwan’s democracy is boisterous with fights and protests a common occurrence inside the parliament building.

In 2014, the Sunflower Movement involved hundreds of students occupying parliament to protest.

They demanded more transparency and feared China’s growing economic and political influence on the Chinese-claimed island.

The KMT began the protest in parliament late on Sunday.

They have remained there overnight by blocking the entry to the main chamber with chains and chairs.

The opposition party said they are protesting the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

They are also demonstrating against President Tsai Ing-wen who has forced bills through and nominated her senior aide Chen Chu to lead the government watchdog, Control Yuan.

In a statement the KMT called the ruling party “tyrannical”.

They said: “This year, the Tsai administration has become more tyrannical than before.

READ MORE: CHINA FURY: Hong Kong exodus as Taiwan bids to help citizens flee

They said: “This is simply trampling on the respect of their own members of parliament.”

The KMT traditionally favours close relations with China.

However, they are changing their policy due to a new leader Johnny Chiang in order to win back support.

In a setback for the party in June KMT mayor of Kaohsiung, a major city in southern Taiwan, lost a recall vote by a huge margin.

In January, the KMT were heavily defeated in the presidential elections allegedly because of their former pro-China stance.

In March, Mr Chiang was appointed new chairman of the KMT.

During his campaign Mr Chiang said that the policy known as the “1992 consensus” was no longer fit for purpose.

The consensus was an agreement between semi-official envoys from Beijing and Taipei in 1992.

The agreement said that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to “One China”.

The rejection of the diplomatic agreement could pose tensions between Beijing and Taiwan’s relationship.