Sky News cameraman killed in Eqypt

Mick Dean was shot while covering protests in Cairo.

A Sky News cameraman is one of two journalists reported to have been killed in Egypt this morning.

Mick Dean, 61, was shot while covering protests in Cairo. He was reportedly taken to hospital but died a short time later.

Gulf News reporter Habiba Ahmed is also reported to have been killed during violent clashes in the Egyptian capital.

The killings happened as Egyptian security forces attempted to clear two protest camps occupied by supporters of former president Mohammed Morsi.

According to reports on the BBC, witnesses claim to have seen “at least 40 bodies”, while the Muslim Brotherhood has said that the death toll is now in the hundreds.

Deane was working with Sky News Middle East correspondent Sam Kiley who has been reporting from inside Rabaa al Adawiya protest camp in Cairo. Kiley talked about coming "under very heavy gunfire" and said the camp was facing a "massive military assault on largely unarmed civilians in very large numbers".

Riot police attack a protest camp in Cairo (Source: Reuters)

Sky News said in a statement: "It is with the greatest regret that Sky News announces the death of Mick Deane, an experienced camera operator, while working on assignment in Cairo this morning.

"Mick was part of a Sky News team reporting on the disturbances in the city with Middle East Correspondent Sam Kiley when he was shot and wounded. Despite receiving medical treatment for his injuries, he died shortly afterwards. None of the other members of the Sky News team were injured in the incident.

"Mick, aged 61, was a hugely experienced broadcast journalist. He had worked with Sky News as a camera operator for 15 years, most recently across the Middle East and previously in the United States. He was married with two sons."

Head of Sky News John Ryley said: "Everyone at Sky News is shocked and saddened by Mick’s death. He was a talented and experienced journalist who had worked with Sky News for many years. The loss of a much-loved colleague will be deeply felt across Sky News. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family. We will give them our full support at this extremely difficult time.”

This piece first appreared on Press Gazette

Mick Dean. Photograph: Press Gazette
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Why Theresa May can't end speculation of an early general election

Both Conservative and Labour MPs regard a contest next year as the solution to their problems. 

One of Theresa May’s first acts as a Conservative leadership candidate was to rule out an early general election. After a tumultuous 2015 contest and the EU referendum, her view was that the country required a period of stability (a view shared by voters). Many newly-elected Tory MPs, fearful of a Brexit-inspired Ukip or Liberal Democrat surge, supported her on this condition.

After entering Downing Street, May reaffirmed her stance. “The Prime Minister could not have been clearer,” a senior source told me. “There won’t be an early election.” Maintaining this pledge is an important part of May’s straight-talking image.

But though No.10 has wisely avoided publicly contemplating an election (unlike Gordon Brown), the question refuses to die. The Conservatives have a majority of just 12 - the smallest of any single-party government since 1974 - and, as David Cameron found, legislative defeats almost inevitably follow. May’s vow to lift the ban on new grammar schools looks to many like an unachievable task. Former education secretary Nicky Morgan and former business minister Anna Soubry are among the Tories leading the charge against the measure (which did not feature in the 2015 Conservative manifesto).  

To this problem, an early election appears to be the solution. The Tories retain a substantial opinion poll lead over Labour, the most divided opposition in recent history. An election victory would give May the mandate for new policies that she presently lacks.

“I don’t believe Theresa May wishes to hold an early election which there is evidence that the country doesn’t want and which, given the current state of the Labour Party, might be seen as opportunistic,” Nigel Lawson told today’s Times“If, however, the government were to find that it couldn’t get its legislation through the House of Commons, then a wholly new situation would arise.”

It is not only Conservatives who are keeping the possibility of an early election alive. Many Labour MPs are pleading for one in the belief that it would end Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. An early contest would also pre-empt the boundary changes planned in 2018, which are forecast to cost the party 23 seats.

For Corbyn, the possibility of an election is a vital means of disciplining MPs. Allies also hope that the failed revolt against his leadership, which Labour members blame for the party’s unpopularity, would allow him to remain leader even if defeated.

Unlike her predecessors, May faces the obstacle of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (under which the next election will be on 7 May 2020). Yet it is not an insurmountable one. The legislation can be suspended with the backing of two-thirds of MPs, or through a vote of no confidence in the government. Alternatively, the act could simply be repealed or amended. Labour and the Liberal Democrats, who have demanded an early election, would struggle to resist May if she called their bluff.

To many, it simply looks like an offer too good to refuse. Which is why, however hard May swats this fly, it will keep coming back. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.