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  • Keith Lemon fans rush to support star following surprising announcement

    Keith Lemon is getting ready to put his artistic talents to good use as he swaps celebrity silliness for arts and crafts. The Celebrity Juice presenter, who studied art and design at Leeds College of Art, will present Channel 4's brand new show, The Fantastical Factory Of Curious Craft, alongside Naked Attraction host Anna Richardson.Taking to Instagram to share the news, he said: "Can finally announce that I've recently and still am very busy working at 'The Fantastical Factory of curious craft' with the lovely @annarichardso. Sooo much joyous fun! Anyone who knows me knows I enjoy a bit of arts and craft! Will be on the telly early next year on C4." Fans and celebrity friends were quick to show their support with Emma Bunton commenting: "Can't wait for this!" and a follower writing: "Yes Keith... looking forward to this soooo much." "Your artistic skills are legendary Mr L," another added.Keith Lemon and Anna Richardson posing togetherThe brand new show will see crafty competitors create their own artistic props of 'epic proportions' on set of a surreal factory, according to a new brief given to them by 'factory owner' Keith each episode. In the first round, crafters will create a bespoke item for Keith to judge. He will then choose the three most impressive creations with the help of quality control experts to advance to round two, where a celebrity guest will commission them to make 'the most fantastical creation of their lives'. And one of those three contestants will be chosen as the winner of the show.Speaking of his new role, Keith said: "I've always had love for making things, drawing and painting. I'm also a very good dancer. But that's for a different show. I honestly can't wait to get in that Fantastical World of Factory of curious craft to marvel at the mad skills of our crafters! In fact, I'm changing my middle name of Ian to 'craft'! Keith Crafty Lemon! Word!" Keith already channels his creative side into the designs of his own clothing brand, Kil Clothes, which he and good friend Holly Willoughby has been spotted wearing. He also regularly shares his artistic creations on his Instagram account, using the hashtag LemonArt.

  • EU given Brexit draft with backstop scrubbed out, UK sources admit

    PM’s negotiators intent on waiting until last minute before sharing plan with Brussels. Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiators have so far only presented the EU with a draft of the withdrawal agreement with the backstop scrubbed out, UK government sources have confirmed. In a move that has caused tensions with EU leaders, Johnson’s team are refusing to put forward a written proposal to Brussels at this stage for fear it will be rejected out of hand or publicly rubbished. Instead, they want to wait until almost the last minute before the October summit before presenting a plan to the EU, with just two weeks before the UK is due to leave the bloc. The UK government source said the two sides had debated alternatives to the backstop in written discussion documents - such as an all-Ireland regulatory zone and customs checks away from the border - but they would not be putting forward a legal text to the EU at this stage. There have been reports that David Frost, the UK’s lead negotiator, is keeping a plan locked safe in his briefcase but the wording has not been shared with Brussels. Frustration with the UK’s approach broke into the open on Monday as Xavier Bettel, the prime minister of Luxembourg, gave a press conference next to an empty podium following a meeting with Johnson, who refused to take part because of loud protests nearby. Bettel said the UK government needed to put on paper an alternative to the Irish backstop, and appeared to suggest that party political considerations might be standing in the way. “I told him: ‘I hear a lot but I don’t read a lot.’ If they want to discuss anything we need to have it written [down] … Don’t put the blame on us because they don’t know how to get out of the situation they put themselves in,” Bettel said. As the chaotic scenes were played out, the European commission issued a statement disclosing that its president, Jean-Claude Juncker, had told the prime minister it was his responsibility to come forward with legally operational solutions and that “such proposals have not yet been made”. Johnson has brushed off the Luxembourg incident with a claim that he is still working towards a deal and believes EU leaders will want to strike an agreement because they have had a “bellyful” of Brexit. He spoke to Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, on Tuesday morning, agreeing to have further discussions with her in New York at the UN general assembly next week. There are only three days left until the end of the 30-day deadline Merkel gave Johnson last month to come up with alternative solutions to remove the need for a backstop, which Eurosceptics in parliament refuse to vote for because it could keep the UK indefinitely in a customs union. Johnson is also likely to meet Donald Tusk, the European council president, at the UN conference and No 10 hopes that some progress towards a deal could be made at that summit. However, many in Brussels are sceptical there is enough time left to do a deal. It is just one month before the crucial EU summit on 17 October, where Johnson hopes to secure a deal, and six weeks before the UK is due to leave on 31 October unless it requests an extension. Johnson is mandated by the UK parliament to seek a three-month extension if he does not strike a Brexit deal by then. He has insisted he will not do this but has not set out how he would avoid such an outcome. Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, refused on Tuesday to rule out a second prorogation as part of No 10’s tactics to achieve a no-deal Brexit. Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether the current suspension of parliament could happen again, Buckland said: “Harold Wilson said a week is a long time in politics. It seems like an hour is a long time in politics at the moment. “For me to sit here and imagine what might happen at the end of October, I think, is idle. What I do know, if we are able to, we will have a Queen’s speech in mid-October, there will be debate during that time and a vote as well, and perhaps a series of votes. “Parliament has already shown its power. It had a week in September where it made pretty significant legislation. I think the idea that somehow parliament has been prevented from having its voice doesn’t seem to be borne out by events, frankly.”

  • Anneka Rice out of 'Strictly' group dance after being injured by Anton Du Beke

    The 60-year-old TV presenter revealed Anton Du Beke threw her in the air when she already had an injured shoulder.

  • Meghan Markle shared a never-before-seen photo of Baby Archie in her birthday tribute to Prince Harry

    Meghan Markle shared a new never-before-seen photo of baby Archie on Instagram to celebrate Prince Harry's 35th birthday.

  • Amber Gill and Ovie Soko: Love Island winner rules out romance

    Love Island winner Amber Gill has shot down fans' hopes that she will get together with fellow islander Ovio Soko.Gill, 22, said that although she receives a lot of messages from social media users desperate to see her couple up with close friend Soko, she believes that they work best as friends.

  • The world ignored the warning signs - and now the Middle East is on the brink

    Donald Trump’s hostility towards Iran and support for Saudi Arabia has made a delicate situation explosive. Like a furious maelstrom, roiled by opposing currents, the crisis in the Gulf gains in intensity and destructive power almost by the day. On Sunday, Donald Trump said the US was “ locked and loaded”, ready to respond to attacks on an oil facility in Saudi Arabia, in which it believes Iran was involved. But warning bells, akin to those used to alert fog-bound mariners steering towards rocks, have been ringing out for months. They have mostly been ignored. The daunting bill for multiple acts of political insouciance, measured in lives and petrodollars, is now coming due. It’s easy and convenient to solely blame Iran, as American and British officials routinely do without conclusive evidence. Rather, it is serial western and regional miscalculations that have drawn us ineluctably into this dread vortex. How can disaster be averted? Who can stop a slide into a wider war that could swiftly engulf regional states from Israel to Saudi Arabia, and drag in US, British and maybe even Russian forces? Clues can be found in the mistakes that led to this point. Answers, if they exist, will only come through informed statesmanship of the sort signally lacking so far. Mention of which brings us, first, to Trump and Iran. Tehran’s regime has been viewed as a threat by the US since the 1979 revolution. But it was Trump, with his unrivalled ability to make bad situations worse, who ripped up the Iran nuclear deal on 8 May last year, imposed punitive economic sanctions, and sparked the immediate crisis. His enmity has hurt Iran’s citizens - but not the regime. In erring so idiotically, Trump preferred the advice of his discredited former national security adviser, John Bolton, over the personal pleadings of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. He also gave short shrift to his chum Boris Johnson, then foreign secretary, who made a last-minute dash to Washington. A damaging rift with Europe over Iran began that day. Iran’s fractious, fractured leadership rallied, improbably unified by Trump. Military and clerical hardliners are now taking the fight - a fight, as they see it, against regime change by the US - to their enemies, principally the Saudis and Israelis. Old geopolitical faultlines were recklessly aggravated and inflamed. Any sensible policy would seek to balance the regional claims of Shia Muslim Iran and the Sunni house of Saud. But the west - turning a blind eye for decades to pitiless autocracy, legalised misogyny and religious bigotry - has continued to court Riyadh and its corrupting riches. Here again Trump jumped in, making shockwaves. Not content to cement the Saudi alliance during his first overseas visit as president, Trump made crown prince Mohammed bin Salman his new best friend. When the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents, Trump turned defence attorney. He is even trying to sell Salman nuclear technology. What would you think, were you in Iran’s shoes? The failure of US and British leaders, among others, to halt Salman’s disastrous war of choice in Yemen marked another stage in this downward spiral. Ignoring war crimes and what the UN calls a worst-in-the-world humanitarian catastrophe, they continue to peddle arms, advice and diplomatic cover for Riyadh. When the Yemen civil war began in 2015, there was scant evidence of active Iranian military support for the Houthi rebels. Yet now, reacting opportunistically to US attrition, Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards are apparently supplying - directly or indirectly - the drones, missiles and limpet mines used to attack Saudi oil fields, airfields and tankers. What a result. Let’s presume to question the US’s chief diplomat, Mike Pompeo, about this extraordinary own goal. Hey, Mike, how do you turn a disagreement into a war? His answer: punch your opponent into a corner from which he cannot escape. What did Trump, Bolton and CIA director Gina Haspel think would happen when the US shredded the enrichment deal? What’s happening is that Iran is resuming the very activities that so alarm them. Or here’s a question for another well-known international statesman: Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Is Iran already seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, as you claim - or are your pressure tactics more or less guaranteeing that it will? If it does, then that, surely, will be in large part thanks to your endless sabre-rattling. How does this make Israel safer? This threat of general conflagration, whipped up by design or sheer incompetence, now overshadows the region as a whole. In the name of repulsing Iran, Israel is almost daily engaged in covert military operations against Tehran’s allies and proxy forces in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria - where, shamefully, civil war still rages. It gets worse. Reports from Kuwait say the drones that hit the Saudi oil installations at the weekend overflew the country, suggesting they came from Shia militia bases in Iraq. In this developing regional war, Israel and the Saudis are, in effect, on the same side. Iraq’s government wants no part of it. But, thanks to the vacuum left by the US after the 2003-11 occupation, Tehran wields considerable influence in Baghdad. The very last thing Iraqis want is the Americans coming back, using their territory as a forward base in a wider Iranian siege. Yet Trump suggested exactly that last year. Can this scenario be ruled out? Not entirely. And so reason takes flight and the maelstrom builds. Urgently needed now are competent leaders who know how to calm a storm before all are sucked under. . Simon Tisdall is a foreign affairs commentator