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26 September 2019

Five things you need to know today: Johnson under fire, and Shapps copies Grayling’s homework

Also: abortion now legal across Australia.

By New Statesman

PM under fire over Brexit language

Boris Johnson has come under fire in the Commons for his use of inflammatory language regarding Brexit. 

The Labour MP Paula Sheriff told the House that, “We should not resort to using offensive, dangerous of inflammatory language for legislation that we do not like”. She added that MPs regularly received death threats which quote the Prime Minister’s own words referring to “betrayal” or “traitors”, or describing the recently passed anti-No Deal BRexit bill as the “Surrender Act”. “We must moderate our language, and it has to come from the prime minister first.”

Johnson described the comments as “humbug”. In response to similar comments from Tracy Brabin, elected as MP for Batley & Spen after the murder of Jo Cox, he said that the best way to honour the latter’s memory was to “get Brexit done”.

Berger to contest north London seat for Liberal Democrats

Luciana Berger is to fight the north London seat of Finchley & Golders Green for the Liberal Democrats at the next election. Berger, who quit the Labour party in February over its failure to tackle anti-semitism, posted an open letter to her current constituents in Liverpool Wavertree on Twitter.

Over a quarter of secondary pupils receiving private tuition

Around 27 per cent of secondary pupils now receive private tuition, a survey has found – a number that has risen by half, from 18 per cent, since 2005. The poll, from the Sutton Trust, found that extra tuition was most common in London, where 41 per cent of pupils received it (up from 34 per cent in 2005). In addition, almost a quarter of secondary school teachers have worked as private tutors.

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Last Australian state legalises abortion

New South Wales has legalised abortion, meaning that the procedure will for the first time be legal across the entirety of Australia. A bill approved by the state’s lower house means that terminations can now be conducted up to 22 weeks into a pregnancy, or later if two doctors agree. Previously, a century-old law meant that abortions were only available in the state if a doctor deemed there to be a serious risk to a woman’s health.

Shapps follows in Grayling’s footsteps

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has taken a leaf out of his much mocked predecessor’s book, in a surprisingly literal sense. The Guardian has examined the statement he gave regarding the collapse of Thomas Cook, noting that it is almost identical to the one Chris Grayling gave when Monarch Airlines went bust in 2017, with a few of the nouns and numbers changed. Good to see this government supports recycling.

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