- News The Guardian
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson campaigns in north London. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPAJo Swinson has sought to quell a mini-rebellion in the Liberal Democrats about whether to stand in highly marginal seats held by Labour over the Conservatives, insisting the party must give voters a genuine remain option in the election.It comes after the party’s candidate in Canterbury, Tim Walker, stood down saying he did not want to risk helping replace the remain-minded Labour MP, Rosie Duffield, who has a majority of 187, with a strongly pro-Brexit Tory candidate.The Liberal Democrats have already replaced Tim Walker and threatened him with disciplinary action. Photograph: Tim WalkerThe Lib Dems have already replaced Walker and threatened him with disciplinary action. This prompted another candidate, Guy Kiddey in High Peak, to say he would step down if the disciplinary threat was not lifted from the “noble” Walker.Kiddey later tweeted he had been told he would be replaced as the candidate, adding: “They might have told me directly rather than leave it to unsuspecting journalists to break the news.”A party statement said: “Guy Kiddey is not our candidate for the High Peak. The local party will be announcing their candidate soon.”During a campaign visit in north London on Wednesday, Swinson denied she was losing control. “No,” she said. “We have a healthy debate within the party and some candidates have made their own decisions.”Speaking separately to Channel 4 News, Swinson stressed that the Lib Dems had stood aside as part of the so-called remain alliance with Plaid Cymru and the Greens, and for pro-remain former Conservatives such as Dominic Grieve and Anna Soubry.Labour “have been absent from all of that”, the Lib Dem leader said, and were not a party of remain. “We want to make sure that people have the chance to stop Brexit,” she added.The dispute, and the way it has been handled, has nonetheless enraged some Lib Dem activists.On Wednesday the party installed an outside candidate in Canterbury to replace Walker, after other local activists made it plain they would not replace him. Instead, Claire Malcolmson, a councillor in Dorking, Surrey, is being prepared to run in the seat.Kiddey, whose marginal Derbyshire constituency is held by Labour’s Ruth George with a majority of just over 2,322 from the Conservatives, said he wanted to show solidarity with Walker.The former Economist journalist said if he campaigned hard in High Peak he would split the vote and the Conservative candidate would win.However, the Lib Dems insisted the party would stand in the constituency. A party spokeswoman said: “The Labour party have failed to oppose Brexit. The Liberal Democrats will not be standing down for any party that is pursuing Brexit. We will be fielding a candidate in High Peak, giving voters the opportunity to stop Brexit and build a brighter future.”Kiddey said he had been appalled to receive an email on Tuesday night from James Gurling, the chairman of the Lib Dem election campaign, who wrote to inform candidates that “disciplinary action” had been instigated against Walker.“I was, and am, appalled at this response,” Kiddey said in a statement. “So is my now former election agent, who has resigned from the Lib Dems. This means that I am, in the absence of a replacement, not legally able to stand as a candidate in High Peak in the coming election, as I do not wish to be my own agent.“I will not seek this replacement unless the party retracts its implicit threat to candidates, drops its intended disciplinary proceedings against Mr Walker, and apologises unreservedly. I doubt it will, in which case I too will stand down and resign my membership tomorrow [Thursday], and I will vote Labour.”Marginal seats are parliamentary constituencies that have had a history of changing hands between parties, or in which the incumbent MP has a very small majority. Eleven seats were won by fewer than 100 votes in 2017. Often parties will target marginal seats with extra campaigning resources, as they are the places where they feel they are most likely to affect the balance in the House of Commons.There are several seats, including Kensington, Dudley North, Southampton Itchen and Newcastle-Under-Lyme, where the 2017 margin between the Conservatives or Labour winning the seat was between 20 and 30 votes. The most marginal seat in the country, though, is North East Fife, held by the SNP over the Liberal Democrats by just two votes.A three-way marginal, where the vote has recently been close between three parties, is much rarer.Kiddey said that there were many other Lib Dem candidates standing in marginal seats who felt the same as he did. “We are all as torn as Tim Walker, but none of us is as noble,” he said. “I’ve never met Mr Walker but, as a distant colleague, I stand by him and his decision to stand down.”His statement continued: “Even though the Lib Dems now plan to field a candidate to replace Mr Walker, I hope the good people of Canterbury have noted the spirit of his gesture and will honour its intentions.”He also criticised Swinson for her bullish leadership style. “I have spent much time apologising for it on the rainy doorsteps of High Peak, and it seems to have spread through the ranks of the party leadership,” he wrote.On Wednesday, Kiddey forwarded to the Guardian messages he claimed to have been sent overnight from High Peak Lib Dems. One read: “Completely support your statement. It’s a really difficult time at the moment and disciplining people for standing up for what they believe in is very disturbing. I think you have achieved a lot anyway given how invisible the Lib Dems were at the last election.”
- News The Independent
On Thursday night, Japanese Emperor Naruhito is to perform an ancient, highly secretive ritual, costing hundreds of millions of dollars in total, in which he feasts and spends the night with a mysterious “sun goddess”.The once-in-a-reign event, known as the Daijosai, is apparently to give thanks for good harvests, pray for the peace and safety of the nation and play host to his family’s ancestral gods.
- Style Hello!
Stacey Solomon and partner Joe Swash have shot their first ever Christmas card and the pictures are absolutely adorable. The festive shots show the Solomon-Swash clan decked out in seasonal jumpers as Stacey and Joe lean in for a kiss beneath the mistletoe while the kids look hilariously unimpressed. WATCH: Stacey Solomon talks wedding rumours on Loose WomenThe Loose Women star shared the snaps to mark the launch of the Card Factory’s Festive Family Photocards - a nifty in-store and online service that offers families the chance to have their very own family Christmas card photoshoot, à la Kardashians. The service will be available at select stores up and down the UK throughout November and online at CardFactory.co.uk until 20 December. MORE: ITV Palooza best dresses: Stacey Solomon, Holly Willoughby, Davina McCall and moreStacey and her family posed for the snaps to mark the launch of the Card Factory’s Festive Family PhotocardsStacey and Joe might look loved up in their Christmas snaps, but on Tuesday night Stacey, 30, revealed that partner Joe, 37, was less than impressed with her when they attended ITV's Palooza, held at the Royal Festival Hall. Although the pair had a fantastic time at the star-studded event, Stacey was desperate to get home to her three sons. MORE: Stacey Solomon reveals why Joe Swash is furious with her!Stacey shared a series of Instagram Stories with her fans on the night, including one filmed as the couple headed home. In the clip, she admits with a laugh, "Joe's not happy that I made him leave early!" Joe then interjects, "I bought a new jacket and waistcoat. Wasted!" "He's fuming!" his girlfriend concludes. "I'm sorry!" In her caption for the video, Stacey further explained: "There is an after party happening now but Joe and I are on our way home… loved being out, for about an hour, now I'm desperate to get home and see those pickles!"Stacey and Joe have been dating for around three years now, and on 23 May welcomed little Rex, their first baby together. Stacey is also a mum to sons Zachary, 11, and seven-year-old Leighton, while Joe has a 12-year-old son, Harry, from his previous relationship with Emma Sophocleous.Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.
- News The Independent
Your regular reminder that, in just a few weeks time, somebody really will win this election.Will it be Boris Johnson, who was today unable to visit a bakery because too many protestors had gathered outside to tell him to go away?
- Style Hello!
Despite being one of the favourites to win this year's Strictly Come Dancing, things almost went completely wrong this week for Oti Mabuse and Kelvin Fletcher. During an appearance on It Takes Two, the professional dancer revealed recently she "feared for her life" after a lift with Kelvin almost went completely wrong during the rehearsals for their Salsa last week. "Were you in fear of your life," questioned host Zoe Ball, to which Oti replied: "I was… Every week Kelvin starts slow, but then he progresses incredibly.""So when we were doing it, we thought 'let's both have our hands up," she added. "On Wednesday, he gets faster and I almost fly across the room… I was like, 'Oh my god, don't let me go!'" The comments come shortly after Oti was forced to hit back at claims which suggested Strictly judge Shirley Ballas made her cry after she said there was "a little bit too much rise and fall" in their performance.MORE: Kevin Clifton breaks silence on reports Alex Scott doesn't like dancing with Neil JonesShirley, 59, told the pair: "There's very minimal rise and fall in the Viennese Waltz, and there's just a little bit too much rise and fall for me. Also the fleckerl that you chose to dance, and if you choose to dance it, it's a rotary figure that should actually have more power, and it looked a little bit stuck, for me. Although I totally enjoyed the emotive part and I give you 100 per cent for that, also I want to take into account the other one minute and 25 seconds that you're dancing. But otherwise, I thought you did a grand job."WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVEIn response, Oti tweeted: "Just to be clear. Nothing @ShirleyBallas said to us was wrong nor did it make me tear, she was being honest and her critique is valuable to our journey, I'd like us to improve and as I stated before I was emotional about THE DANCE and how happy dancing made me feel (HAPPY TEARS)." Meanwhile, the couple are gearing up for Blackpool on Saturday and will be performing a Jive to Jailhouse Rock from Smokey Joe's Café.Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.