A Labour candidate has pulled out of the election race over using an anti-semitic remark.
Gideon Bull denied calling a Jewish councillor Shylock directly but admitted using the term during a private meeting.
The Haringey councillor, who was standing in Clacton, Essex, said he did not realise the Shakespearean character was a Jew.
The Labour Party has not responded to Mr Bull’s resignation.
A complaint about Mr Bull’s use of the term was made to the party in July.
Mr Bull said it was “entirely false” that he had been referring to councillor Zena Brabazon.
He said: “I used an analogy when referring to a housing decision being called in by backbenchers.
“I was not referring to the councillor, who was not part of the call in.
“When she politely informed me that this saying was offensive, I immediately apologised and explained that I did not know that Shylock was Jewish and I would never have mentioned Shylock if I had known this. I grew up in a working class area in Ilford where this was a common saying, but I didn’t know it was offensive.”
He added the “most important thing” was to get a Labour MP elected in Clacton, where his parents live.
Shylock is a ruthless Jewish moneylender and principal antagonist in The Merchant of Venice.
Ms Brabazon declined to comment.
One person has died and 15 others have been hurt in a crash between two buses and a car in south-east London.
The crash occurred on Sevenoaks Road in Orpington at about 22:10 GMT on Thursday.
London Ambulance Service said one person was pronounced dead at the scene and 15 people had been taken to hospital. Three have serious injuries.
A man who was driving the car has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, the Met said.
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) sent 60 firefighters to the scene of the collision.
Fire crews rescued several people from the single-decker buses, helped carry out first aid and made the vehicles safe, according to LFB Assistant Commissioner Graham Ellis.
Road closures have been put in place and police have advised motorists to use alternative routes.
Six bus routes have also been diverted.
Evidence that women are being driven to sex work because of problems with universal credit must lead to government action, MPs have said.
A number of women told the work and pensions committee they turned to sex work because their benefits payments did not cover their basic needs.
The committee said the government had previously been “dismissive” of the issue but had now changed its position.
The government said it was taking the evidence “very seriously”.
The committee has been investigating a potential link between universal credit and “survival sex” – when people, overwhelmingly but not exclusively women, turn to sex work to meet their basic needs, including food, shelter and clean clothes.
Universal credit merges six benefits into one payment and was designed to simplify the benefits system and help people move into work.
However, the committee has heard evidence that problems with the new system, including a five-week wait for the first payment, are forcing some women to rely on sex work.
A 21-year-old woman – referred to as T to protect her identity – told the committee she was abused as a child and had not been to school since the age of 11. She worked in a cafe, then became a carer – gaining a social care qualification – but had to leave her job because of mental health problems.
She said she turned to sex work because her universal credit payments were not enough to cover her basic living costs.
“It is horrible to say, but it is the easiest thing to keep us girls alive,” she said.
Advances are available while people wait for their first payment, however this must then be paid back from subsequent payments so T said she continued to struggle to make ends meet.
“I only spend £20 on gas and electric a fortnight… I am trying my best, £30 on shopping, not a penny over, because if I go a penny over I can’t get other stuff that I need, tampons and things.
“By the time I got [the advance payment] I had spent it and then I was waiting another three to four weeks for my benefit.
“Even then when I got my benefit, they were taking £150 off my benefit and I was left with £50.”
She said she is now “sofa-surfing”, having been evicted from her house because she fell behind on rent payments.
‘I left the baby next door’
An adviser for a London-based housing association shared the experience of one mother – referred to as Ms J – who had resorted to survival sex after being caught shoplifting because she could not afford to buy food.
“The manager said if I gave him [oral sex] he’d let me off. What could I do? It was that or have the police called,” she said.
“He said afterwards that if I did the same next week he’d let me have forty quid’s worth of stock. It seemed like a fortune.”
The woman had faced long waits for her universal credit payments, which she said did not cover her basic costs.
“In the end, I held out for two weeks. I got my [universal credit] money, and again it was short, and again it was gone on bills before I’d even thought of food.
“So, I left the baby with next door and went down to the shop… It’s been like that for months now.”
The committee said the government’s initial response to the issue was “defensive, dismissive and trite”.
In a written submission to the committee’s inquiry, the DWP described reports linking universal credit and survival sex as “anecdote” and said the benefits system could not be “robustly attributed as a sole cause” of the issue.
However, after listening to the testimony of women, work and pensions minister Will Quince apologised for the department’s previous submission and said there was a need for better understanding of the issue.
The committee’s chair, independent MP Frank Field, said he welcomed the minister’s comments but said they must be accompanied by action.
“The department, having belatedly acknowledged that there is a problem, must take the steps to resolve it,” he said.
The committee’s report made a number of recommendations, including scrapping the five-week wait for the first payment and, in the meantime, offering non-repayable advances to vulnerable claimants who would otherwise suffer hardship.
It also called on the department to take account of people’s “lived experience” of universal credit and publish a review on improving services and support for those engaged in survival sex.
A DWP spokesperson said it was “committed to providing a safety net for the most vulnerable in society” and had made improvements to universal credit, including extending advance payments, removing waiting days and allowing claimants to continue to be paid housing benefit for two weeks after moving on to universal credit.
The five-year-old daughter of a British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran on spying charges has returned to the UK.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, a charity worker from London, has been detained for three years over the allegations which she denies.
Gabriella – who has been living with her grandparents in Tehran – has returned to start school.
Her father Richard said it had been a “long journey” to having her home.
“Gabriella came back to us late at night, a bit uncertain seeing those she only remembered from the phone,” he said.
“Now she is peacefully sleeping next to me. And I am just watching.”
Thanking the British Embassy and the Iranian Foreign Ministry, he added: “It has been a long journey to have her home, with bumps right until the end.”
Gabriella has visited her mother at least once a week since her arrest in April 2016.
‘Job not yet done’
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family insist she was in Iran to introduce her daughter to relatives.
Last week, they told the Times that her parents had agreed Gabriella should return to the UK for the start of the school year in September but postponed the decision after Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was taken to a psychiatric hospital.
Mr Ratcliffe had told the BBC that his wife was hoping for a “magic” last-minute release to enable her to come home with Gabriella.
Speaking after being re-united with his daughter, he added: “Of course the job is not yet done until Nazanin is home. It was a hard goodbye for Nazanin and all her family. But let us hope this homecoming unlocks another.”
A man stabbed to death at a London Underground station was a football fan on his way to a match, the BBC has been told.
The Arsenal supporter was killed in an “unprovoked attack” on the platform at Hillingdon station on Tuesday.
He had been on his way to the Emirates Stadium to see the Gunners face Nottingham Forest in the third round of the Carabao Cup, a source said.
It is the third murder investigation on the Tube network this year.
No arrests have been made over the attack, which Det Supt Gary Richardson described as “a shocking act of violence”.
He said the British Transport Police (BTP) investigation was in its “early stages”.
“We believe a group of young men were involved in an altercation on the platform before one of the men received a fatal stab wound,” he said.
Police were called to the station in west London shortly before 16:00 BST and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Danielle Foster, who was driving past Hillingdon station at the time of the stabbing, said upon “hearing so many sirens, I knew something terrible had happened”.
“Lots of people were being turned away from the station as it had been closed,” she said, adding: “Then the police helicopter began circling the scene.”
Hillingdon station was closed by Transport for London (TfL) while police searched the area.
The station has since reopened.
So far in 2019 more than 110 murder investigations have been launched across London by the Metropolitan Police and BTP.
Commuters have been told not to travel from London Waterloo during the rush hour after a fire closed nine platforms.
The lineside blaze damaged cabling outside the station, meaning trains cannot use platforms 16-24.
Network Rail said “significant damage” had been caused to equipment, meaning trains will be delayed or cancelled.
Disruption is expected for the rest of the day while the Thursday morning rush hour may also be affected.
Network Rail said its engineers would be working through the night to fix the damage.
Waterloo is the busiest and largest railway station in the UK.
The platforms which are closed are normally used by trains serving Windsor, Reading, Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.
However, services from other platforms are also being affected because trains have to be diverted or revised.
- Circular services via Hounslow, Richmond, Strawberry Hill and Kingston have been cancelled
- Trains between Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside are diverted via Kingston
- Trains between Waterloo and Exeter/Salisbury are terminated and will restart from Basingstoke
Passengers were warned that services on other routes may also be subject to short-notice cancellations or delays.
In a joint statement, Network Rail and South Western Railway said commuters were “strongly advised to use alternative routes where possible and check their journeys before travelling at southwesternrailway.com for ticket acceptance and service details”.
Some passengers took to social media to express their frustration at the travel disruption.
One Twitter user described the situation as an “absolute shambles”, while others complained about being given the wrong or no information at all by train station staff.
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (day two):|
|Middlesex 384 Malan 166; Carey 4-54 & 189-5 Robson 73*, Simpson 56|
|Glamorgan 171 Lloyd 67; Helm 5-53, Roland-Jones 4-45|
|Middlesex (7 pts) lead Glamorgan (3 pts) by 402 runs|
Middlesex have a formidable lead of 402 over Glamorgan at 189-5 in their second innings, going into day three in Cardiff.
Sam Robson (73*) and John Simpson (56) have strengthened the visitors’ grip.
Toby Roland-Jones (4-45) made the most of a helpful pitch as Glamorgan were hustled out for an inadequate 171.
David Lloyd’s 67 was the top home score, while Tom Helm (5-53) wrapped up the innings with his fifth wicket after his first-evening purple patch.
Lloyd shared half-century stands with Billy Root and Chris Cooke before the visitors’ seamers re-established control, as Glamorgan’s last five wickets mustered just 28 runs.
A lead of 213 runs was not enough to persuade Dawid Malan to enforce the follow-on, wanting to avoid batting last on the most bowler-friendly Championship pitch of the season in Cardiff.
Although Middlesex slumped to 85-4, they were never under pressure thanks to their first-innings lead, and the Robson-Simpson century partnership blossomed in the evening sunshine to grind down Glamorgan hopes of avoiding a first defeat of the campaign.
Glamorgan vice-captain David Lloyd told BBC Sport Wales:
“A very difficult day, they hit their lengths more regularly than we did, then we started well with the ball in the second dig but it’s always tough when you’re chasing the game.
“It’s a wicket where you have to be positive and get forward because it’s starting to go more up and down- it’s about looking to score rather than sit there and wait for things to happen.
“We’ve showed in previous games that we can battle draws out so you never know, we’ll have to try to bat the rest of the game and we can do it if we get our mindsets right.”
Middlesex bowler Tom Helm told BBC Radio London:
“It took a bit longer to get the fifth one than I had in my head last night, but Toby had four and I’m very happy with it.
“If you get the ball in the right area, the odd one zips through and it changed a bit from day one.
“There’s so long left in this game, we can bat for as long as we want and it’ll be interesting to see how the morning goes, they’ll come out fired up but we’ll see how we go.”
Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel on the club’s pre-season tour of the US.
The 33-year-old France defender is out of contract at the end of the 2019-20 season and is a reported target for French clubs Bordeaux, Rennes and Lyon.
“We are very disappointed by Laurent’s actions, which are against our clear instructions,” said Arsenal.
“We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.”
Bordeaux have reportedly offered Koscielny a three-year deal.
The central defender joined Arsenal in the summer of 2010 for a fee of around £10m.
A frustration that had been brewing for some time – analysis
BBC Sport’s David Ornstein
Towards the end of last season, Arsenal and Koscielny were in negotiations over a contract extension – most likely for an additional year on top of his remaining 12 months.
The conversation was progressing positively but then Arsenal were beaten by Chelsea in the Europa League final, a result that has had major repercussions for the Gunners.
As well as causing significant damage to their recruitment plans and possibilities, it also changed certain situations regarding existing players and none more so than Koscielny.
The 33-year-old is understood to have become increasingly discontent since his return in December from an Achilles injury, primarily over the management of his playing schedule and the direction in which he feels the team and club are moving.
While Koscielny was optimistic that Champions League qualification could lead to a better future for both parties – hence the contract talks – missing out exacerbated his misgivings and led him to decide the time had come to move back to France.
On returning from a summer break and with firm interest from clubs in his homeland, Koscielny informed Arsenal of his wish to leave and hoped his nine years of service and professionalism until this point would help achieve an amicable resolution.
However, Arsenal rejected the request and made it clear that they need and expect the Frenchman to honour his contract and be a key part of their squad in the coming campaign.
Given that head coach Unai Emery was happy with Koscielny’s performance in 2018-19 and already faces other issues in central defence, the view was that he could only go if a bid landed that reflected his value and importance to Arsenal.
Koscielny argues that Arsenal are reneging on an agreement that would allow him exit as a free agent during the current transfer window, something the Gunners strenuously deny.
He is also thinks Arsenal have – or will receive – an “acceptable” offer, but some privy to the proposal admit that “acceptable” is subjective and others insist there is nothing on table.
When Koscielny told Emery in a face-to-face meeting on Wednesday morning that he would not be joining the team on their pre-season tour to the USA, the Spaniard was furious.
Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi later sent Koscielny a message expressing bitter disappointment and warning the player that not travelling would be in breach of contract.
Koscielny replied emphasising his stance and on arrival at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground on Thursday morning the captain confirmed he would not be boarding the flight.
He will be required to train alongside the players who are not on the America trip – mainly youngsters – with disciplinary proceedings under way to determine his punishment.
Arsenal officials are fuming about the situation, which from a sporting perspective gives them a headache in central defence – an area they were already looking to strengthen this window.
They are close to completing the 30m euros signing of William Saliba from Saint-Etienne, however the 18-year-old will be loaned back to the Ligue 1 side for the entirety of next season.
Meanwhile, Rob Holding is recovering from a knee injury and there are concerns over the development and readiness of Konstantinos Mavropanos to provide a credible option.
Arsenal are keen to sell Shkodran Mustafi but the German is under contract until 2021 and has no desire to depart.
A driver targeted cyclists and police outside the Houses of Parliament in an attack designed to “kill as many people as possible”, a court has been told.
Salih Khater aimed his car at members of the public before swerving towards police officers in Parliament Square, his trial at the Old Bailey heard.
His actions of 14 August 2018 were “designed to cause maximum death and injury”, the jury was told.
Mr Khater, 30, of Birmingham, denies two counts of attempted murder.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Alison Morgan QC said the defendant first drove at cyclists waiting at traffic lights, before driving at officers guarding the side entrance to the Palace of Westminster and then crashing into a security barrier.
She said: “He caused widespread fear and chaos but miraculously, and contrary to his intentions, he did not kill anyone that day.
“Those who were faced with a vehicle being driven at them at high velocity somehow, and largely by their quick responses, managed to avoid death or very serious injury.”
Ms Morgan told jurors Mr Khater’s reason for the attack was unclear.
But she suggested that by targeting officers guarding the Palace of Westminster, the defendant had a “terrorist motive”.
She added: “Using his car in the way that he did, driving in the manner and direction he did, the prosecution alleges that it is obvious that he intended to kill as many people as possible.”
Jurors were shown CCTV footage of the defendant’s silver Ford Fiesta driving at cyclists before crashing into barriers as two uniformed police officers dived out of the way.
Footage also showed Mr Khater driving through Parliament Square at 01:00 BST, allegedly conducting reconnaissance.
He returned about six hours later and completed four laps of the square before launching the attack, jurors were told.
The Sudanese national, who was granted asylum in the UK in 2010, had shown signs of “paranoia” about British authorities in the months leading up to the attack, the court heard.
Ms Morgan told the jury: “The defendant selected an iconic site. This was no coincidence.”
Mr Khater has also pleaded not guilty to two alternative charges of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.
The trial continues.