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Manchester has already accommodated over 1,000 refugees fleeing Afghanistan

Manchester has been welcoming refugees for weeks now

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Thomas Nugent / Geograph

Over 1,000 refugees fleeing Afghanistan have already been housed in hotels here in Manchester, new figures are suggesting today.

It is believed that at present, capacity in the three hotels being used in Manchester is full and the government is now seeking to place people in other parts of the country.

The hotels being used have not been disclosed by the government.

Several weeks before the Taliban seized total control of the country, Manchester’s town hall had already been working with the Home Office and Foreign Office to place people fleeing to safety in initial quarantine.

This comes after Mancunians were thanked by local refugee charity, Care 4 Calais, who have seen an influx of donations delivered throughout the week from people across the city at one of their numerous drop-off points, one of which is at Beetham Tower down Deansgate.

A huge sum of money has also been donated, with the charity surpassing their initial £30,000 target for the ‘Afghan Welcome Packs’ with £40,000 in donations.

Founder Clare Moseley, who set up the charity in 2015, said on the efforts: “It’s just been fantastic.

“I’m a Northerner myself and we’re really proud of Manchester for responding in this way. We’ve had numerous locations accepting donations for us and I believe they are pretty full. We have had people bringing car loads and van loads of stuff.”

Following the Taliban’s take over of the country earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that over 20,000 Afghans will be eligible to be resettled in Britain across the next five years, with women and girls given priority status.

The first evacuation flight from the war-torn country arrived in the UK on Sunday, with the second touching down late on Tuesday night, and another landing early on Wednesday morning.

For more information on how you can help the refugees fleeing Afghanistan, visit the following links:

British Red Cross
UNICEF
AllWeCan.org
United Nation Refugee Agency 
Refugee Council

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Gary Neville ‘considering running for Manchester mayor’ after joining Labour party

The football pundit has officially joined the Labour party

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Gary Neville is reportedly eyeing up the position of Manchester mayor after joining the Labour party, a government official has claimed today.

The Manchester United legend, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of Boris Johnson and the Conservative party, confirmed that he had joined the party on a BBC podcast this week.

He said: “I have joined in the last few days the Labour Party. That is purely for myself, I want to support Labour.

“I do believe we need a progressive Labour Party, but one that not just looks after what would be the left side of the party, it has to come towards the centre.”

And when asked whether his move could mean running for public office, he replied: “I don’t know at the moment.”

Culture secretary Lucy Powell has since confirmed that Neville has joined the party, saying he had discussed it with her ‘for a while’. She then added that he could potentially run as Labour’s Greater Manchester mayoral candidate in 2024.

Powell, who is also the MP for Manchester Central, said: “I personally think he’s more than capable of navigating – well, steaming – his way through the world of politics! Look forward to helping.”

Powell’s tweet was in response to a rumour from Jim Waterson, the media editor of The Guardian, who claims Neville is ‘not ruling out’ running to become the mayor of Greater Manchester.

Neville has previously expressed doubts about his abilities in the world of politics, however, saying in the podcast: “I say to myself sometimes I’m able to communicate, I know what I want, I have got a business mind, I can manage people in respect of businesses.

“But I just think I’d get eaten alive. I don’t know what Whitehall is like, Westminster is like.

“I can only imagine what you have to do there to survive and I don’t play the game, so how can I get in?”

Greater Manchester’s current mayor Andy Burnham is one of the most popular politicians in the country right now, and achieved landslide victories in the 2017 and 2021 mayoral elections.

Burnham worked as an MP between 2001 and 2017 and was a government minister under Gordon Brown, the most recent Labour PM to date.

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Number 10 apologises to the Queen for lockdown parties on eve of Prince Philip’s funeral

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@Number 10 / Flickr

Downing Street has said sorry to the Queen over the lockdown parties held on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral.

Number 10 apologised after new reports revealed there were two parties held at the address the day before the Queen was pictured alone at Philip’s funeral.

According to the prime minister’s spokesperson, it was ‘deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning’.

Defence Images / Flickr

They said: “It’s deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning, and No10 has apologised to the Palace.

“You’ve heard from the Prime Minister this week, he’s recognised No10 should be held to the highest standards and take responsibility for the things we did not get right.

“We have apologised to the Palace.”

According to the new reports, around thirty Downing Street staff held two parties the night before the Queen sat alone at Prince Philip’s socially-distanced funeral.

Advisors and civil servants have been accused of hosting a party and ‘drinking into the early hours’ of the morning of April 16th 2021, The Telegraph reports.

Eyewitnesses claim people at the party danced to music and went to the Co-op on the Strand ‘with a suitcase’ to stock up on wine.

No 10 Downing Street / Flickr

These eyewitnesses claim that some partygoers ‘worried there was too much wine spilling on the basement carpet’, while one person broke a child’s swing allegedly belonging to the prime minister’s son Wilf.

At the time, the rest of the country was under instructions to not socialise indoors with anyone but their own households, and to only meet others outdoors in groups of six or two households.

This comes as Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure to resign after admitting to attending a Downing Street garden party in the first national lockdown in May 2020.

The Prime Minister said he went into the garden just after 6pm on May 20th 2020 to thank staff but ‘believed implicitly that this was a work event’.

 

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Downing Street staff ‘held two parties’ night before Queen sat alone at Prince Philip’s funeral

Reports claim staff danced to music and ‘went to Co-op for wine’

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Number 10 / Flickr

Around thirty Downing Street staff held two parties the night before the Queen sat alone at Prince Philip’s funeral, according to new reports.

Advisors and civil servants have been accused of hosting a party and ‘drinking into the early hours’ of the morning of April 16th 2021, just hours before Queen Elizabeth was forced to sit alone at the socially-distanced funeral of Prince Philip, The Telegraph reports.

Eyewitnesses claim people at the party danced to music and went to the Co-op on the Strand ‘with a suitcase’ to stock up on wine.

These eyewitnesses claim that some partygoers ‘worried there was too much wine spilling on the basement carpet’, while one person broke a child’s swing allegedly belonging to the prime minister’s son Wilf.

At the time, the rest of the country was under instructions to not socialise indoors with anyone but their own households, and to only meet others outdoors in groups of six or two households.

This comes as Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure to resign after admitting to attending a Downing Street garden party in the first national lockdown in May 2020.

The Prime Minister said he went into the garden just after 6pm on May 20th 2020 to thank staff but ‘believed implicitly that this was a work event’.

Number 10 / Flickr

He said: “With hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside. I should have found some other way to thank them.

“I should have realised that even if it technically fell within the guidance, there would be millions who did not see it that way. I offer my heartfelt apologies.

“I know people up and down the country have made huge sacrifices and I understand the anger and rage they feel that people in Downing Street were not following those rules.

“I regret the way the event was handled and I wish we could have done things differently.”

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