Displaying items by tag: UK
Following Boris Johnson stepping down as Conservative Party leader we can pray for God to move in the frenzy of political activity this summer. Pray for God to lead those who have a vote as they consider who should be elected. Pray for our next leader to be the person God uses to restore integrity to the core of our politics and a commitment to truth, honesty and public service. Before the current upheaval, the government had been reviewing several pieces of legislation. Now much of this is up in the air. Pray for our leaders and those who have a vote to take this opportunity to debate and discuss improved support for those facing financial hardship. In September the Public Order Bill and Schools Bill are scheduled to be updated. Pray that no government proposals or considerations on these bills will be lost during the summer recess.
John Harding moved to Ukraine in 2018 and has appeared in a video appealing for help from Boris Johnson. He is a captive of pro-Russian separatists in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) who told him he could face the death penalty. He was captured in May, while fighting with the Azov regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard, when Ukrainian units defending the south-eastern city of Mariupol were forced to surrender. Friends and family of Mr Harding confirmed to the BBC it was him in the video, and his family are being supported by the Foreign Office. He had been in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region to use his skills as a combat medic and help in the fight against pro-Russian rebels. Also, British aid worker Paul Urey, died while being held by pro-Russian separatists. DPR Officials said he died on 10 July from underlying health conditions and ‘stress’. Pray for the families whose fathers, brothers and sons are being held in appalling conditions.
The Church of England has urged the Government to ensure age verification systems are put in place to protect under-18s from online pornography. The widespread availability of porn to children means they are growing up in a culture where violent, degrading and harmful sexual activity is being normalised. In 2017, porn checks were approved by Parliament under the Digital Economy Act but plans to implement them were abandoned in 2019 when the Government claimed they would be covered by future legislation. The abandoned Online Safety Bill stated, ‘pornographic websites could face large fines and risk being blocked if they do not have age verification systems in place to prevent children from accessing content.’ But now the Government announced, ‘further parliamentary consideration of the Bill is delayed until after the summer recess.’
Archie Battersbee’s parents, Hollie and Paul from Southend-On-Sea, have been fighting a legal battle since their son was found unconscious with a ligature around his neck in a tragic accident in April. On 15 July, Mr Justice Hayden ruled ‘it is in Archie's best interests for life-support to be removed as it is futile, compromises Archie’s dignity and serves only to protract his death rather than prolong his life.’ Archie's family appealed the decision. At the time of writing, the president of the Family Division of the High Court, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson are considering arguments at a Court of Appeal. Pray for Archies’ parents who said, ‘Planned death is another name for euthanasia, which is illegal in this country. It is for God to decide what should happen to Archie, including if, when and how he should die’.
In April, the UK said some people arriving on small boats from France to claim asylum would be sent to Rwanda - a policy meant to deter dangerous channel journeys. But MP Diana Johnson, chair of the home affairs committee, said it ‘appears to have gone unnoticed’ by migrants. A group of MPs said there is ‘no clear evidence’ that the UK's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda will stop risky Channel crossings and numbers have significantly increased since it was announced.
SNP ministers are facing a new legal battle over the definition of women, after they were accused of flouting a court ruling stating that biological men cannot be counted as female. The campaign group For Women Scotland claimed Nicola Sturgeon’s administration was trying to ‘redefine women yet again’ by issuing transgender rules it says are ‘wholly incompatible’ with a landmark court victory, which it won only five months ago. The feminist organisation was backed by Scotland's top civil court in its claim that SNP legislation designed to increase the number of women on public boards was unlawful as it stated that anyone ‘living as a woman’, regardless of their biological sex, would count as female. However, the Scottish Government has issued new statutory guidelines which state transgender women should still be counted as female in the workplace quotas, so long as they hold a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). Trina Budge, a director at For Women Scotland, said, ‘The Government seems incapable of either abiding by a court order, or understanding that the definition of woman does not include any males.’
France and Germany are pressuring Brussels to take the hardest possible line towards the next Tory leader over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Both Tory leadership candidates have pledged to press ahead and scrap goods checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Brussels says the Northern Ireland Protocol bill is illegal and will retaliate with lawsuits and import tariffs to strategic UK exports. Senior EU sources said the bloc would prefer to restart talks with a fresh face rather than Liz Truss, who has been running the negotiations. Ms Truss initially adopted a conciliatory approach after taking over as the UK’s chief negotiator from combative Lord Frost. But her position has hardened recently as she became frustrated at the lack of movement in the talks. EU insiders believe she dropped her friendly approach when it became clear that Boris could be ousted over partygate.
Boris Johnson sacked Michael Gove after Mr Gove advised Boris to quit on Wednesday, July 6th evening. By the next morning, 62 government resignations had accumulated. Boris announced he is resigning as the Conservative Prime Minister at mid-day Thursday, July 7th. He will still be PM until the autumn as there must always be a prime minister. A contest for leadership will now begin. God is not surprised by flawed individuals in high places. This is a reality since Adam and Eve chose their own way in the garden. Romans 13:1 recognises those in positions of power are allowed there by God for a purpose. Pray for God’s purposes for our nation to be fulfilled. Ask God to raise up His leaders so that the British Isles can reclaim its dignity at home and abroad. Pray for every member of our Government to be trusted once more by their fellow MPs and the public (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Andrew Hill and Dylan Healy will stand trial for ‘mercenary activities’. Dylan is a chef who volunteered as an aid worker. He was captured with another Briton, Paul Urey, at a checkpoint in April while driving to a village to rescue a family. There is no news of Paul Urey. On the same day of their capture, Russia released a video of Andrew Hill in military uniform, saying he had surrendered. This follows last month’s death sentence for Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin who faced the same charges as Andrew and Dylan. Hearings are held at a Russian proxy court in eastern Ukraine, which is not internationally recognised. Russia has rejected calls for their release as they no longer implement the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights. The men’s fate is decided by the pro-Russian breakaway Donetsk People's Republic. Pray for the prisoners, who will be in atrocious conditions, and their families, who desperately want them home.
The CEO of the UK Health Security Agency said, ‘Covid hospitalisation numbers are expected to rise further’ as Covid cases jumped by 32% in a week. The Office of National Statistics reported ‘Over 1.7m people were infected on 7th July’. People are encouraged to ‘go about their normal lives but take precautions’ by handwashing, keeping a distance from others where possible and wearing a face-covering in enclosed, poorly ventilated areas. In England 9,000 Covid patients were hospitalised on 30 June, twice as many as at the start of June. The latest rise in Covid infections was 500,000 cases last week. One in 30 has the virus. It is ‘quite likely’ that hospital numbers will peak above where they were in the spring. There is evidence of a slight reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines on variants, but they are still keeping the majority of people safe from severe disease and hospitalisation. People with Covid symptoms should stay at home.