Top story: Note to Corbyn – ‘You need to step up now’

Good morning – I’m Warren Murray, let’s get your day started.

Alastair Campbell, who was Tony Blair’s director of communications, has declared he no longer wishes to be a Labour member. Campbell was expelled from the party after revealing he voted Lib Dem in the European elections. The “people’s vote” campaigner now says, in a letter to Jeremy Corbyn, that he intends to leave regardless of the outcome of his appeal against suspension: “I see no strategy in place that remotely meets the electoral or policy challenges ahead … To have any chance of stopping [Boris] Johnson and stopping a hard Brexit, you need to step up now, and signal leadership of the anti-Brexit, anti-populist cause, though it may be that loss of trust in your approach to Brexit means it is too late to win back many former supporters.”

The Economist’s Anne McElvoy, who has been touring Europe for a BBC Radio 4 documentary, writes for the Guardian today that “the timeline and the ‘Boris factor’ are changing the calculation on the continent” around how to handle the threat of no deal. “Now there’s a growing realisation that parliament may not reject this option, and that Brussels will have to face up to the prospect.” As the country heads towards the 31 October deadline, the Guardian has analysed the previous stated positions of some of the key players in the Vote Leave camp. Despite now claiming the referendum delivered a mandate for a hard Brexit, Dominic Raab is among those who campaigned on the basis that a deal with the EU was a certainty but is now making rather different noises.

Terror plotter will stay nameless – The identity of Britain’s youngest terrorist, who plotted to murder police officers in Australia, will remain a secret for the rest of his life following a high court ruling. The teenager from Blackburn, Lancashire, can be identified only as RXG. When he was 14 he instructed an Australian jihadist to launch attacks during a 2015 Anzac Day parade in Melbourne. Now 18, he was jailed for life at Manchester crown court in October 2015 after he admitted inciting terrorism overseas. A ban on identifying him would normally expire upon his 18th birthday but Dame Victoria Sharp granted him lifelong anonymity in a ruling delivered on Monday.

Trump’s race problem – Donald Trump is facing fresh accusations of racism after a tirade against Elijah Cummings, a prominent minority Democratic congressman, and referring to his majority black electoral district of Baltimore as a “rodent-infested mess”. The Baptist minister and activist Rev Al Sharpton has accused Trump of attacking the city in “the most bigoted and racist way”, adding that the president “has a particular venom for blacks and people of colour”. From Barack Obama to “the Squad” and others, Sabrina Siddiqui, one of our reporting team in Washington, lists some of the prominent political leaders of colour whom Trump has singled out for attack in highly personalised ways.

Is police surge the answer? – Boris Johnson’s plan for 20,000 new police could prove a recipe for disaster rather than addressing Britain’s violent crime wave, an expert says. Marian Fitzgerald, criminologist and former Home Office official, says the new recruits will need mentoring and supervision, placing greater demand on experienced officers. “The promise is calculated to appeal to the public. Yet if [Johnson] keeps it, with no commitment to fund other aspects of policing, the public will be paying a lot more for little observable improvement.”

Composite image showing Boris Johnson in a bobby's helmet

Boris Johnson on the beat. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Jamie Grierson writes that with violent crime up and and the proportion of cases solved falling, the Tories’ claim to be the party of law and order is under threat. The government’s serious violent crime strategy states there are clear links to “poor life outcomes” – and alongside policing budgets, funding is being cut for early intervention services that deal with these issues. So can rising violent crime be tackled through increased policing alone?

Environment defenders under siege – The Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte has replaced Brazil as the most murderous country in the world for people defending their land and environment. Global Witness says 164 defenders were killed across the world in 2018 for standing up to miners, loggers, farmers, poachers and other industries. In the Philippines, 30 were killed in 2018, with half of the deaths related to agribusiness. Globally, mining was the sector responsible for the most killings – 43. But the sharpest rise was in murders of people trying to protect water sources, which increased from four to 17.

Wake-up call on CBT – Cognitive behavioural therapy is an effective way to tackle chronic insomnia and should be used more widely, researchers say. Sleeplessness is thought to badly affect about 10-15% of adults, and is linked to depression, difficulties in functioning and accidents. CBT techniques include staying away from the bed when awake and restricting the number of hours spent in bed. A review of four controlled trials found participants fell asleep nine to 30 minutes sooner after completing a CBT course for insomnia, and lay awake at night for between 22 and 36 minutes less. Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, says it supports the idea that CBT for insomnia should be offered through GPs. She called on the NHS to honour pledges for more mental health therapists and more psychologists trained to deliver CBT.

Today in Focus podcast: Carl Beech and the VIP paedophile ring

In 2014 Carl Beech claimed he had been a victim of child sexual abuse by high-profile politicians. His allegations snowballed into a multimillion-pound police investigation, but, rather than exposing a paedophile ring, Beech ended up jailed for perverting the course of justice. Simon Murphy discusses the story. And: Shaun Walker on the possible poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Today in Focus

The lies of Carl Beech

Lunchtime read: The hogs that ate Barcelona

Overlooking a city of more than 20 million residents and tourists, Collserola Natural Park has become a battlefront between the human and the natural worlds. On hot Catalan nights, wild boar descend on Barcelona where they root up turf, munch trash, attack dogs, plunder cat-feeders, hold up traffic and run into cars. The city has been desperately searching for a way to keep them from colonising leafy neighbourhoods home to footballers, bankers and celebrities. In one case a policeman tried to shoot a boar with his service revolver, but hit and maimed his partner instead.

Wild boar sow

‘The urban boar has become a species unto itself … it’s not healthy for the boar, or for us.’ Photograph: Tim Flach/Getty Images

Further afield – Berlin, Houston, Hong Kong – wild boar have been seen roaming around town at all hours. In Rome, scenes of them rooting through uncollected garbage have come to symbolise the decline of the city. “The urban boar has become a species unto itself,” says Jorge Ramón López Olvera, the vet scientist heading Barcelona’s targeted boar culling programme. “It’s become habituated to city life, and we are transforming it. It’s not healthy – for the boar, or for us.”


Police in Brazil investigating rape allegations against the footballer Neymar have closed the case due to a lack of evidence, the Sao Paulo attorney general’s office has said. Joe Root could return to the No 3 spot for the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston to shore up England’s struggling top order. Ineos team principal Dave Brailsford ploughed on through a storm of criticism to toast a seventh Tour de France win in eight years, writes Jeremy Whittle.

The Football League has barred Bury from starting the new season, suspending Saturday’s scheduled League One home match against MK Dons after the owner, Steve Dale, again failed to provide evidence that he has the money to pay the club’s debts and ensure it is able to field a team. And members of the USA’s World Cup-winning team have hit back at what they describe as a “ruse” after US Soccer claimed the women’s team were paid more than their male counterparts between 2010 and 2018.


The pound has slumped to a 28-month low as investors react to the escalation of no-deal rhetoric by Boris Johnson’s government. This morning sterling is sitting around $1.213 and €1.089 while the FTSE is forecast to open higher. Markets have mostly been higher in Asia with the US and China heading into another round of trade negotiations today.

The papers

The fall in the pound is featured on several front pages. The FT has: “Sterling stumbles after Johnson’s ministers stir no-deal Brexit fear”, the Times’ splash is almost identical: “Sterling slumps amid fears of no-deal Brexit”, and the Guardian has: “Pound on the slide as alarm over no-deal Brexit grows”.

Guardian front page, Tuesday 30 July 2019

Guardian front page, Tuesday 30 July 2019.

The Express carries Boris Johnson’s warning to Brussels: “Kill backstop and we can do a deal”, while the i carries news of Nicola Sturgeon’s meeting with Johnson: “Scotland fights back against Johnson”, and the Mirror has a bizarre revelation: “Boris hires Mirror chicken as adviser” (more on that here).

The Telegraph reports: “Teenage terrorist can never be named”, the Mail has a story about the VIP sex ring accuser: “‘Nick’ police searches broke law” and the Sun reports that Amazon’s in-home devices are listening to people having sex: “Alexa! Stop being a perv”.

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