Lord Resigns in Drug Scandal

By Rowan Williams
  • – Lord Sewel resigns in scandal of cocaine and prostitutes
  • – Turkish peace process tense after bomb attack
  • – China downplays South China Sea drills


The Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Sewel, has resigned following allegations of drug taking. Lord Sewel stepped down after the Sun on Sunday released a video appearing to show him taking cocaine with prostitutes. A police investigation has been opened into Lord Sewel following the video’s release. Lord Sewel also resigned as chairman of the Lords privileges and conduct committee. The Sun on Sunday claims that the video was filmed in Lord Sewel’s London flat, not far from the House of Lords.

Turkey’s peace process with its Kurdish population has been put under further strain, after a car bomb attack that killed two Turkish soldiers. Turkish authorities have blamed the attack in the town of Lice on militants from the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. The bomb attack follows air strikes by the Turkish military on PKK positions in northern Iraq. The strikes mark the first offensive by Turkey since a peace process with the PKK began in 2012.

China has downplayed the significance of its naval drills in the South China Sea and criticised other nations for occupying islands in the region. China’s naval drills east of Hainan island were common practice and an important part of training, Xinhua news service reported. A separate Xinhua commentary on Sunday claimed that the Philippines’ request for international arbitration on territorial disputes was a violation of past agreements with China, showing Manila to be a “fickle player” in the dispute.

The Papers

Political stories make most of the headlines today. The Independent on Sunday leads with news that a UK referendum on EU membership will take place “within a year”. A referendum on EU membership could now be held in June 2016, the paper writes. The Sunday Times leads with news of an alleged “Hard left plot” to infiltrate the Labour Party’s leadership elections. The Labour Party has defended its membership application process following claims that a surge in membership had been caused by left-wing activists. The Observer leads with news that a U-turn by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has cost the taxpayer £100 million. Hunt shelved plans on capping elderly care costs to £72,000, the paper reports. The Sunday Telegraph leads with news that Prime Minister is to take the fight to Islamic extremist group the Islamic State. David Cameron has ordered plans to strike at jihadists in Libya, the paper writes.

British Media on China

On flying in China: the arrest of a man who attempted to light a fire on a Shenzhen Airlines flight in China has received some coverage from UK media. The Independent reports that “an emergency landing was carried out” after the man had been restrained by passengers on the plane. The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian feature the same agency piece, which reports that the incident “appears to point to a serious breakdown in security at Taizhou airport” where the flight had departed from.

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