Officials put the brakes on investigating a Labour councillor who was accused of being a paedophile in order to help the party during the 2015 General Election campaign, an independent inquiry has concluded. A child protection expert’s report – seen by the Manchester Evening News – finds that two Bury Council officers acted under either “direct political influence” to downplay the allegations against the councillor, or “the mistaken belief by senior officers that they needed to be seen to be doing their best to protect members of the Labour group from any political embarrassment at a sensitive time“. After the election the councillor, Simon Carter, was convicted of downloading sexual images of children…
The report is one of a number of probes into the scandal which has engulfed Labour in Manchester. Last month the Council’s Chief Executive Mike Owen resigned before a disciplinary could be completed; it is alleged he admitted stalling child protection procedures in “a favour” for Labour (he has denied this). The council’s director of children’s services Mark Carrilin also resigned after being found guilty of serious misconduct. Just last night it emerged that Labour has suspended Mike Connolly, the elected former leader of Bury Council, from the party. This Labour scandal continues to unravel…
The Sun has the first picture of Salman Abedi. They report he may have received terror training on trips to Syria and that forensic police carried a “Know your chemicals” booklet out of his home yesterday. He recently grew a beard and was seen chanting in Arabic in the street in the last few weeks.
The Times reports Abedi travelled to Libya three weeks ago and returned in the last week, and that he may have attended a terrorist training camp in the country.
The Mirror says he was known to security services as an associate of Raphael Hostey, the British ISIS recruiter who was reportedly killed in a drone strike in Syria last year.
The Guardian reports Abedi used a crude, homemade device constructed in Britain and packed in a bag. The FT says he was not the subject of any current intelligence inquiries, had a history of gang membership and only recently turned to radical Islam.
The Telegraph says a bomb-maker could still be at large and the Mail reports fears an Islamist terror cell is on the loose. That is why the threat level was raised.
ISIS has claimed responsibility in a statement on its Amaq Agency:
“With Allah’s grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the Crusaders in the British city of Manchester, in revenge for Allah‘s religion, in an endeavour to terrorise the mushrikin, and in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims. The explosive devices were detonated in the shameless concert arena, resulting in 30 Crusaders being killed and 70 others being wounded. And what comes next will be more severe on the worshippers of the Cross and their allies, by Allah’s permission. And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the creation.”
Worth noting their numbers are significantly inflated and their claim to responsibility is unconfirmed.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 23, 2017
“So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them, from now on, losers, because that’s what they are. They’re losers. We’ll have more of them, but they’re losers. Remember that.”
Meet Sam Wheeler, the Corbynista vying for selection as Labour’s candidate in the Manchester Gorton by-election. Unite-backed Wheeler is at the centre of a vicious selection battle after Labour moderates succeeded in getting pro-Corbyn Rebecca Long-Bailey kicked off the selection panel and replaced with Keith Vaz. Corbynistas fear Vaz, backed by Tom Watson, will favour Afzal Khan, despite his anti-Semitism row issues. One Labour moderate tells Guido that Corbyn’s enforcer Karie Murphy, another Unite crony, has been trying to get Vaz kicked off the selection panel. Meanwhile Momentum are pushing hard. A source says: “Momentum members have been sent up to Manchester from London to influence the local membership. They’re pulling out all the stops”. So far the Labour leader’s office have failed to win any by-election selections, so a Corbynista has yet to face the electorate. Could that change in Gorton?