Thursday briefing: Battle royal looms over Brexit | World news

Top story: MPs challenge Cummings plan to ignore parliament

Hello – it’s Warren Murray bringing you the stories to carry you forward into the day.

Parliament will not be made an irrelevance by a “maverick populist who spouts off to his blogger friends” (that being Dominic Cummings), says Labour’s Peter Kyle, one of the MPs determined that Boris Johnson and his top adviser must not succeed in any plan to push through a no-deal Brexit against the will of parliament.

The fixed-term parliaments act means Johnson would not have to resign immediately upon losing a confidence vote, and could drag things out past 31 October allowing a hard Brexit to take place before any election. But an alternative prime minister might also come forward claiming the confidence of the Commons, which could oblige the Queen to sack Johnson and appoint the claimant as head of a new government. Amid swirling speculation over who might prevail in such a confrontation – and debate over whether the Queen would have to adjudicate – rebel MPs are working on a plan to force parliament to sit through the autumn recess, giving them three weeks’ more sitting time to somehow stop a no-deal Brexit.

Dominic Grieve, the Tory MP and former attorney general, has said it would be unconstitutional for Johnson to defy any vote of no confidence and remain in Downing Street until after the Brexit deadline of 31 October. But Cummings, approached by Sky News outside his home on Tuesday, gave a rare public comment suggesting that parliament would be unable to thwart him and Johnson: “I don’t know very much about very much. Mr Grieve … we’ll see what he’s right about.” Cummings preceded the remark by saying that he doesn’t think of himself as arrogant.

Machete attack on policeman – A London police officer has been left in a critical condition overnight after being slashed with a machete by the driver of a van he stopped. The attack took place in Leyton. The policeman managed to use his Taser despite having been stabbed, and the suspect was then arrested by another officer. The injured officer, in his 30s, was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Canada murder suspects dead – The bodies have been found, police say, of two teenagers wanted in Canada for triple murder. Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were suspects in the killings of Australian Lucas Fowler, 23, American Chynna Deese, 24, and Canadian botanist Leonard Dyck, 64 – all of whose bodies were found beside a highway in British Columbia. A manhunt stretching across 3,000km and three weeks reached its conclusion near the banks of a Manitoba river when police discovered a battered boat, then belongings of the fugitives, then their bodies. The manner and time of their deaths has not been released. British Columbia’s RCMP assistant commissioner Kevin Hackett said that until police sorted out what happened, “we will not conclude this file”.

Thursday catch-up

> Mark Acklom, 45, a lifelong con artist who became one of the UK’s most wanted fugitives, has been given five years’ jail for swindling his then-girlfriend out of £300,000 before disappearing. He was caught in Switzerland and extradited.

> Almost 67,000 new cases of asthma in children across 18 European countries could be prevented every year if levels of tiny particulates polluting the air are cut to those recommended by the World Health Organization, experts have determined.

> Puerto Rico has its third governor in less than a week. Ricardo Rosselló resigned in disgrace last Friday, handing the reins to Pedro Pierluisi, who was then deemed ineligible by the high court. Wanda Vázquez has now been sworn in.

> The family of Nora Quoirin, 15, is continuing its appeal for help to find the London girl who went missing from a Malaysian resort. Police say they have not ruled out foul play in the disappearance of Quoirin, who has learning and developmental disabilities.

> Boris Johnson has pledged £250m for artificial intelligence research at the National Health Service to predict who might get sick, from what, and when. Pricey IT projects are a touchy subject at the NHS – remember “Connecting for Health”?

> Packaged cocaine worth £2m has washed up on a beach in New Zealand and police have asked local people to hand in any more they find.

‘Trump has no place here’ – Donald Trump was greeted by protests in El Paso when he visited the site of one of the weekend’s mass shootings, which have been partly blamed on the racially-charged language he has fostered in American politics. In a direct counter to Trump’s visit, the Democratic presidential candidate and El Paso native Beto O’Rourke gave a speech declaring that Trump “has no place here … He’s helped to create what we saw in El Paso on Saturday”.

‘He’s not welcome here’: Trump faces backlash over Ohio and Texas visits – video report

Trump and first lady, Melania arrived in El Paso from Dayton, Ohio, where they had visited some of those who were injured in Sunday’s attack in that city. Trump did not have any public events scheduled in either city – aides said he would meet privately with victims, their families, first responders and hospital staff. Trump said it had been an “amazing day” and told members of the press: “I wish you could have been there to see it.” The media were not allowed to join his hospital visits.

Warning over uni fees – Cutting tuition fees for students in England would have severe consequences for universities already struggling financially, a Lords committee has said. Ministers are considering the Augar report into higher education and funding, which recommended tuition fees fall to a maximum of £7,500 per year, from £9,250 at present. The House of Lords science and technology committee said the recommendation should be implemented only if the government was prepared to fully compensate universities with additional teaching grants.

Not minted – The Royal Mint produced no 1p or 2p coins last year, for the first time in decades. No £2 coins needed to be made either. The future of copper coins has been debated; the Treasury says 60% of them are squirrelled away by people after being used for only one transaction, but the government has said it has no plans to phase out any denominations of UK currency. About 2.2 million people in the UK are estimated to be almost entirely reliant on cash on a daily basis, especially the elderly and those in rural communities.

Today in Focus podcast: The mum who hunts paedophiles

Libby Brooks investigates Scotland’s self-styled “paedophile hunters” who use Facebook to track down adults intent on grooming children for abuse. Plus: Labour’s Diane Abbott on the legacy of the late Toni Morrison.

Today in Focus

The mum who hunts paedophiles

Lunchtime read: Go for the stories

“Beware signs saying ‘Lit d’inondation’ (prone to flooding)! We didn’t and watched our hire car float out to sea in Collioure, on the Mediterranean.”

“In Slovenia we ended up in a hut drinking homemade schnapps at 11am and eating cheese made with milk from the cows next to us.”

Hiking in Triglav national park, Slovenia

Hiking in Triglav national park, Slovenia. Photograph: spyderskidoo/Getty Images/iStockphoto

“We were given a bottle of French champagne by the tough-looking chaps on the next table. The waiter whispered that they were Russian Mafia …” Guardian readers share some of their favourite travel memories.


It’s transfer deadline day, and Romelu Lukaku is set to join Internazionale after Manchester United accepted the Italian club’s latest offer of £70m including add-ons for the striker. David Luiz could be on his way to Arsenal, with Chelsea believed to be open to letting him join their London rivals as Unai Emery’s side are also set to seal the £25m signing of the Celtic defender Kieran Tierney. Tottenham have reached an agreement with Real Betis to sign Giovani Lo Celso for a club record-equalling €60m (£55.3m) while Mauricio Pochettino is also hoping a deal for Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon can be completed before tonight’s deadline.

In horse racing, Britain’s youngest trainer, Chelsea Banham, had her first runner on Wednesday night and insisted there is no reason for anyone to worry about the troubled disciplinary past of her father, Gary, who was at one stage given an indefinite ban from the sport.

And following Bjorg Lambrecht’s death in the Tour de Pologne on Monday, the eighth of an international rider since 2016, William Fotheringham asks, is the sport really worth it?


Asian stocks have had a better session overnight thanks to more encouraging Chinese trade data and signs that Beijing wants the yuan to strengthen again. But terrible figures showing German industrial production at its lowest for nine years will continue to cast a shadow over proceedings. The FTSE100 looks like opening up around 0.75% while the pound is at $1.216 and €1.084. And for a primer on what it all means for the future, our economics editor Larry Elliott is writing today about how the rise of Trump shows that globalisation is coming to an end – and why that is a good thing.

The papers

Airport chaos leads on the Mail: “Wish you weren’t here!” and the i: “Summer of air chaos: pilots vote to strike”, whereas it’s all about Brexit for the Guardian: “New rebel bid to halt no deal amid fury at PM’s enforcer” and the Telegraph: “McDonnell: I’ll send Corbyn to Palace to stop no-deal Brexit”.

Guardian front page, Thursday 8 August 2019

Guardian front page, Thursday 8 August 2019.

The FT reports: “Aggressive rate cuts and dismal data accelerate dash into bonds”, the Express says: “Study proves you can fight off dementia” and the Times reports: “Million more young adults still living with parents”.

The Mirror has a report on: “Slaughter safaris sold by Brit” and the Sun picks up yesterday’s story about tardigrades crash-landing on the moon, which it labels: “Micro pigs on the moon” – which is an extremely zoologically incorrect description of these creatures which seem equally to inspire adoration and disgust.

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