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BBC News (Nov 1990 - )
#11
17 killed in Boyle explosion amid largest police raid on the IRA 

[Image: IMG_Boyle1761s.jpg]
  • IRA detonate bomb in Boyle during shootout with police
  • Joint RUC/Garda operation raids four sites across the border region with little success.
  • Reports that mission was undermined by Garda leak
  • Kevin McKenna, the organisation's chief of staff, arrested at his home


The quiet town of Boyle, 35 miles from the Irish border, was the scene of the worst terror incident in Ireland since the 1970s last night, amid the largest raid ordered on the IRA since the beginning of the Troubles. Hospital authorities at Roscommon University Hospital, where the majority of the injured were taken, have confirmed that 17 people were killed last night, with dozens more taken to hospital with serious injuries, including a number of children. Firefighters have been continuing to fight the blaze at site of where the warehouse believed to be a store for the IRA once stood, with a number of other houses and buildings surrounding the site severely damaged. The Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, today visited the injured and expressed his condolences, calling the bombing “an act of unparalleled butchery.” Local TD Terry Leyden has expressed his “shock and outrage,” and has called for an immediate investigation by the Government into the events and into the operation as a whole.


The bombing came amid the failure of the most ambitious joint operation undertaken by the British and Irish police against the IRA, which was ordered in response to the assassinations of former government ministers Michael Portillo and Norman Lamont in London late last year. Four major sites, including the warehouse in Boyle were raided by the RUC and the Garda under the orders of Irish justice minister Ray Burke and the Home Secretary, William Croft. Sources close to the operation, who have spoken to BBC News on the condition of anonymity, have slammed the running of the operation, citing incompetence on behalf of the RUC’s commanders, poor communication between the two forces, and a repeated allegation that an IRA informer within the Garda informed them ahead of time to move the majority of their weapons. A number of handguns and bomb making materials were retrieved, along with 3 rifles in total, with many now unaccounted for. A number of weapons stored in Boyle along with the van bomb were destroyed.


In a concurrent operation, Kevin McKenna, who has been identified in multiple reports as the chief of staff of the Provisional IRA, was arrested following a shootout at his home in Smithborough, in which two of his accomplices were shot by police. Under the rules of the Green Book, the IRA’s code of conduct, McKenna will automatically lose his rank, with his successor unknown. A quiet and reclusive figure, little is known of McKenna aside from his reported close affiliation with Gerry Adams. McKenna is expected to be charged with terrorism offences.
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#12
Soviets refuse British Ambassador’s reappointment 
  • Sir Rodric Braithwaite returns to Moscow but Soviet government refuse to participate in accreditation process 
  • Foreign Minister Valery Boldin states British government ignored request for a new Ambassador to be appointed
  • Boldin says diplomatic staff can remain safely in Moscow but will not be considered government representatives
[Image: 220px-Smolenskaya_Nab_10_03.JPG]

The Soviet Union have refused to accept the re-appointment of Sir Rodric Braithwaite as the British Ambassador to the Soviet Union, the BBC has learned. 

In a blow to the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the UK and Soviet Union in the aftermath of the Carmichael affair, Sir Rodric and his staff had boarded a plane to Moscow to resume their roles but were informed by Soviet Foreign Ministry officials upon arrival that their accreditations would not be accepted.

The Soviet Union have allowed Sir Rodric and his diplomatic staff access to Moscow but under the terms of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the British officials cannot be considered formal diplomatic representatives until the process has been completed. 

The move has raised shock and concern in the international community given that the accreditation process is usually a mere formality. 

In response, a statement from Soviet Foreign Minister Valery Boldin was released, stating that:

Quote:We asked the British government to appoint a new Ambassador as a show of good faith when relations were restored. Sir Rodric presided over the former British mission that was tainted by the actions and fallout from last year’s events and so we wanted a clean break. We asked for a new Ambassador and we were refused. 

This is yet another insult to the Soviet Union from the British government, following in the wake of the actions of their former Security Minister. If relations are to be restored then we must see signs that the British will listen to our requests and not ignore them.

Sir Rodric and his staff are welcome to safely remain in Moscow for as long as they wish but they do not hold diplomatic accreditation and as such will not be considered as representatives of the British government. 

We hope that the British government appoint a new Ambassador as a show of good faith after the scandals and insults of the past.

The move by the Soviets comes as a direct rebuke to Foreign Secretary Dylan Macmillan, who announced to the House of Commons that he had authorised Sir Rodric’s return in a move to normalise diplomatic relations and return to the status quo.
Redgrave | A-Team
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#13
Shock poll shows UK in favour of joining European single currency
  • Poll by European Movement UK shows 39% of British public in favour of joining European single currency
  • Voters against single currency and in favour of British pound rank at 36%
  • 1 in 4 voters undecided on the issue
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A new poll has shown that 2 in 5 British people are in favour of a European single currency.

The poll, commissioned by the European Movement UK, a think tank advocating closer European integration, found that 39% of Britons support the idea of the UK adopting a single currency. Britons against a single currency came in a close second at 36% with a quarter of all respondents stated they had not yet decided on the issue.

The European Movement UK commissioned the poll in response to the ongoing debate about the Maastricht treaty and the policies of the UK government towards Europe.

Speaking on behalf of the European Movement UK, consultant Brendan Donnelly said:

“This poll shows how the British public support closer European integration. The government have committed to a referendum on the issue of a single currency and we will campaign wholeheartedly for the adoption of a single currency. From the divisions of a few decades ago to this point, we are proud that Europe is growing ever closer.”

In response, Professor Kenneth Minogue, the Chairman of the Bruges Group, a think tank that opposes closer European integration said that:

“This poll confirms that the very existence of the British pound is on the line. A proud part of our national heritage is at risk and this should serve as a wake up call to those who value the pound. We expect a referendum on this issue and it is vital that the British public shows they are against a single currency. The government may talk of ‘opt-outs’ but the only definitive way to keep Britain away from a European currency is for a democratic vote to show the pound is valued above all else.”
Redgrave | A-Team
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#14
Prime Minister signs the Maastricht Treaty
  • Aubyn Myerscough flies to Maastricht to sign landmark agreement
  • Treaty will found massively expand European integration
  • The government will now look to ratify the treaty in Parliament amidst referendum divisions
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Prime Minister Aubyn Myerscough pictured outside the British Embassy after signing the treaty

The Prime Minister, Aubyn Myerscough, has signed the Maastricht Treaty on behalf of the United Kingdom.

The signing took place at a ceremony in Maastricht and featured representatives from the twelve member states of the European Communities, who signed the treaty as plenipotentiaries, marking the conclusion of the negotiating period.

The Prime Minister was quoted later in an address to a group of British diplomats and civil servants at the Embassy, saying that:

Quote:“It is a treaty for a new Europe, ready for a new era, committed to fighting the challenges we face together. It is a treaty that reminds us that what 12 nations is  committed to is a ‘union among the peoples of Europe”. It reminds us that the now European Union is not about government, bureaucracy, and state control but it is about the people, community, and the public interest. The interest of ours - and the Community’s citizens - must always come first and foremost.”

However, whilst all signatories were in agreement in Maastricht, the domestic situation back at Westminster looks less certain as the treaty heads to ratification by Parliament. The terms negotiated by the government indicate a preference for a referendum on a European single currency only but Labour has recently placed an Opposition Day motion calling for a referendum on ratifying the treaty. A vote on the motion could indicate levels of parliamentary support for such a proposition.

The Maastricht Treaty cannot come into effect until all twelve signatory states ratify the agreement. France and the Netherlands have already announced plans to hold a referendum on the treaty but a referendum is not formally required in the UK to ratify Maastricht.
Redgrave | A-Team
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#15
 Windsor Castle destroyed, investigation begins
  • Queen’s residence “entirely destroyed” by “intense blaze”
  • Fire service and police will now begin an investigation into the cause
  • Fears raised for the extent of lost artwork and valuables
  • Experts estimate restoration could cost “into the tens of millions”
[Image: 1511362261813.jpg--.jpg?1511362261000]

Windsor Castle, the largest inhabited castle in the world and a primary residence of Her Majesty the Queen, has been destroyed after an intense fire that broke out in the early hours of the morning. 

The Queen was not in residence during the blaze and castle staff were swiftly evacuated whilst the dedicated castle fire service attempted to tackle the incident. 

The inferno, first reported at 23:10 pm GMT, ultimately saw an operation involving over 200 firefighters from 6 fire brigades involved in trying to stop the fire. Nearby residents in Windsor were also evacuated from their homes and it took nearly twelve hours for the blaze to eventually be put out, by which time the castle had been entirely destroyed.

Five firemen were taken to hospital with minor injuries and there were no fatalities or serious injuries.

An investigation has been launched by the Windsor fire services and police force, in order to determine the exact origin of the blaze. 

A salvage operation is also currently underway, led by a coalition of the Royal Household, officials from the Department of the Environment and the conservation architects Donald Insall Associates. However, experts fear that many priceless or highly valuable artworks and valuables have been lost to the fire.

Furthermore, experts believe that the cost of restoring the castle and resulting insurance claims will run as high as £40-50 million pounds, with further questions raised as to how the restoration and any replacement of valuables will be funded. 

Speaking on behalf of the Queen, her Private Secretary Robin Janvrin said 

Quote:“Her Majesty is highly distressed by the loss of Windsor Castle, a home where she and her family have enjoyed many happy memories over long years. She would like to thank the emergency services and castle staff for their brave, heroic efforts in combating the fire.”
Redgrave | A-Team
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#16
Prime Minister resigns
  • Aubyn Myerscough stands down after heart attack
  • Statement confirms PM’s life is “not in danger” 
  • Conservatives to elect successor within the next few days 
[Image: landgettyimages-643065008.jpeg]
Prime Minister Aubyn Myerscough, pictured in February 1992, just before signing the Maastricht Treaty

The Prime Minister, Aubyn Myerscough, has resigned after suffering a heart attack that caused him to be rushed to hospital.

According to a Downing Street spokesperson, Myerscough made the decision to resign after consulting with his doctors and family. The Queen visited Myerscough in hospital, where he informed her of his intention to resign as Prime Minister once the Conservative Party elected a successor. 

In a brief statement, Downing Street said:

Quote:“The Prime Minister, Aubyn Myerscough, informed Her Majesty the Queen that he intends to resign his office after suffering a heart attack. 

Whilst his life is not in danger, the Prime Minister believes that it is paramount the country has a leader able to dedicate themselves fully to the role and that he cannot do this whilst recuperating following surgery. 

The Prime Minister will remain in office until the Conservative Party chooses a successor and he will be supported in day to day duties by the First Secretary of State, Alun David Williams, and the rest of the Cabinet.”

Myerscough entered 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister in February 1991, having been elected to succeed Marcus Drummond-Macbeath in the wake of the Carmichael affair. A backbencher from his election as MP for Lewisham East in 1983 until his election as PM, Myerscough’s government began by dealing with the fallout from the Carmichael affair and the revelations that Drummond-Macbeath had illegally wiretapped rival politicians during his Premiership.

Over the next 13 months, Myerscough’s government focused on a variety of domestic policy issues, notably by introducing initiatives such as Family Hubs, Areas of Natural Beauty and the Millennium Corps. Furthermore, the Myerscough ministry also oversaw the Rome negotiations in Europe, the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, the ongoing peacekeeping mission in Iraq and a renewed round of diplomatic tensions with the Soviets.
Redgrave | A-Team
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#17
Euphemia Fournier-McLeod loses libel case
 
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Euphemia Fournier-McLeod outside the High Court ahead of today's verdict.
 
The former deputy Prime Minister and Education Secretary, Euphemia Fournier-McLeod, has lost her defamation action against the prominent Tory backbencher, Sir Teddy Taylor.  In a short judgement following a three weeks of hearings at the High Court in London, Justice Rodger Bell ruled in favour of Taylor, saying that the argument put forward by his legal team that the comments that were the subject of this action were fair comment, and that “it is not within the remit of the court to rule on the acceptability of political rhetoric.” Speaking outside the High Court, Taylor spoke of “an important victory for the freedom of speech,” saying “Ms McLeod is well within her rights to get offended at my comments, as that was my intention. What she is not within her right to do, and this was vindicated by the court today, is try and use her wealth and power to shut down legitimate freedom of speech.” Ms McLeod’s and her legal team were unavailable for comment.
 
“A vicious attack dog”
 
The acrimonious dispute between the former frontbench minister and one of the Conservative Party’s most notorious and controversial backbenchers was sparked by a statement made to the press by Mr Taylor following the now infamous expose of Ms McLeod in the Sun newspaper, in which he accused her of being “a vicious attack dog for the queer alliance of open degenerates, liberals and socialists that seek to undermine our way of life.” He also made reference to her husband, also a subject of the Sun’s article, as a “chicken livered buggerer.” Leading for the defence, Richard Rampton QC said Taylors remarks were based on what he had read in the Sun’s article, as well as the “vast swathes of public evidence supporting the right of my client to make a judgement on Ms McLeod’s character,” citing multiple comments to the press discussing her sexuality. Critical to the defence’s argument as well were comments made by Peter Tatchell, the veteran gay rights campaigner, defending Ms McLeod, which the defence said lent credence to the “queer alliance” quote. There is no indication at this stage whether Ms McLeod will attempt to appeal the verdict, however the book is not yet closed on this case entirely either way, as Taylor has indicated he may petition the court to order Ms McLeod to pay his legal fees, a potentially costly action which could cause significant financial difficulty for her.
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