Sadiq Khan’s former policing adviser has joined the Liberal Democrats, saying his children were no longer safe in London due to rising violence.
Leroy Logan, a former police superintendent, said he quit the Labour Party over the London mayor’s failure to “grasp” knife crime.
Mr Logan will now become policing adviser to the Lib Dem mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita.
Mr Khan said he was wished Mr Logan “all the best of luck in the Lib Dems”.
“I think lots of parents, me included, are concerned about safety in London and across the country,” the mayor added.
“One of the things I’ve been keen to do since I became mayor is to persuade the government to realise that their cuts over the last nine years have consequences.”
Speaking at the Lib Dem’s conference, Mr Logan said: “I’ve seen my children and their generation grow up in fear.
“It’s so tangible. It’s been normalised to such an extent it can happen anywhere, not just small pockets of deprived areas.”
Mr Logan said the mayor “doesn’t really understand” knife crime, and had “isolated himself” on the issue.
“He’s surrounded himself with people who think they are problem solvers, but are creating more problems on the street because they’ve lost touch with what is going on.”
Mr Logan previously criticised the choice of Lib Peck to run London’s Violence Reduction Unit – a role he had also applied for.
Ms Benita, who is running in London’s 2020 Mayoral election, said: “Sadiq has wasted his mayoral term in not addressing this issue with the urgency it needs.
“While he continues to blame other people, our young children in London continue to be traumatised, petrified and at risk. There is so, so much more we can do.”
Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock has signed a new long-term contract with the Premier League club.
The England Under-21 international has been at the club since he was four.
Willock, who made his debut in September 2017 in a League Cup game against Doncaster, started Arsenal’s first three Premier League games this season.
“It is only right in my heart and my mind to continue my career here,” the 20-year-old told Arsenal.com.
He added: “The manager has put a lot of faith in not just me but a load of youngsters so far this season – every day in training he is encouraging to us.”
The funeral of “very special” teenager Nora Quoirin, who died after vanishing on a family holiday in Malaysia, has been held in Belfast.
Nora’s family “united in unspeakable pain” to return to the same church where she was baptised as a baby, mourners heard.
Fr Edward O’Donnell said 15-year-old Nora had depended on others and “gifted others with immeasurable love and joy”.
She was missing for 10 days before her body was recovered on 13 August.
She was found beside a stream about 1.6 miles (2.5km) from the jungle resort of Dusun, where she was staying with her family.
A post-mortem examination revealed she died from internal bleeding probably caused by hunger and stress and Malaysian Police said there was no suspicion of foul play.
Nora’s family had believed she was abducted from their accommodation in the holiday resort.
Following the post mortem examination, her family said the test results gave “some information” but she died in “extremely complex circumstances”.
Nora had been described by her family as vulnerable having been born with holoprosencephaly, a disorder which affects brain development.
Speaking after her body was found, her Irish-French parents, Meabh and Sebastien, who lived in London, spoke of their heartbreak after losing their “truest, most precious girl”.
Fr O’Donnell recalled the “joy filled afternoon” for Meabh and Sebasatien when Nora was baptised at St Brigid’s Church in Derryvolgie Avenue.
Speaking of her “gentleness and her innocence”, he said she had brought much joy to her family, including her brother and sister.
Two more people have been arrested in a murder investigation in east London, police have said.
Santino Angelo Dymiter, 18, from Plaistow, was found fatally injured at Chadd Green on 26 August.
The two in custody are a 16-year-old boy arrested on suspicion of murder and a 24-year-old man suspected of assisting an offender.
A 14-year-old boy from Barking was charged with Mr Dymiter’s murder on Saturday and remanded to a secure unit.
He will appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.
Transport for London (TfL) will install a 20mph speed limit on all central London roads it manages from next year, following a consultation.
The scheme would see a new limit along 5.5 miles (8.9 km) of roads including Millbank, Albert Embankment and Borough High Street by May 2020.
There were nearly 2,000 responses to a public consultation which ran for five weeks until 10 July.
TfL said: “We know that lower speeds save lives; it’s that simple.”
The plan is part of the mayor of London’s Vision Zero scheme, which aims to eliminate all road deaths in the capital by 2041.
The affected roads include all those managed by TfL within the congestion zone, along with the Aldgate Gyratory.
The height of pedestrian crossings will be increased in seven “high-risk” locations, such as on the Embankment and outside Tate Britain.
Of the 1,912 public responses, about half said the plans would lead to more people walking. Some 59% said many more people would choose to cycle.
Nearly 50% of respondents believed the proposals would have no impact on the number of car journeys. Some 58% believed the number business journeys would not be affected.
Penny Rees, of TfL, said: “It’s clear people agree that making our roads safer will encourage Londoners to travel in more active and sustainable ways.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Every single death on London’s streets is one too many so I’m really pleased that Londoners have backed our plans.”
Roads which would have the new limits are:
- Albert Embankment
- Lambeth Palace Road
- Lambeth Bridge
- Victoria Embankment
- Upper Thames Street
- Lower Thames Street
- Tower Hill
- Aldgate gyratory including: Leman Street, Prescot Street, Mansell Street, Minories and Goodman’s Yard
- Borough High Street
- Great Dover Street
- Blackfriars Road
- Part of Druid Street (between Tower Bridge Road and Crucifix Lane)
- Crucifix Lane
- Part of Bermondsey Street (between Crucifix Lane and Tooley Street)
- Part of Queen Elizabeth Street (between Tooley Street and Tower Bridge Road)
Transport bosses have said they also hope to introduce lower speed limits on 93 miles (150km) of streets run by TfL across London over the next five years.
Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, Florence Eshalomi, said: “We suggest the Mayor considers going further to areas outside of the Congestion Charge Zone where walking and cycling should be safer.
“Every life lost on the road is tragedy. Particularly when the cause is a driver not obeying the speed limit.”
A 15-year-old boy has been stabbed to death in east London.
Police officers were called to Byford Close in Stratford at 18:45 BST on Tuesday following a report of a fight, the Met Police said.
One witness said she saw the teenager “collapse on to the floor” and paramedics “tried their best for an hour” but they were unable to save him.
No arrests have been made but the death is being treated as murder. It is the 93rd homicide in the capital this year.
The witness, who wanted to remain anonymous, said paramedics had “arrived straight away” to treat the boy “but when they couldn’t save him I saw one of them crying”.
A man who said he had lived in the area for 30 years told the Press Association there had been “numerous stabbings” in recent years.
“It used to be a peaceful area but now it’s become a terror to live in,” he said.
A section 60 order, which allows police to stop and search people, was put in place for the whole of Newham borough until 12:30.
A man has died and another is in hospital following a stabbing at a Tube station.
Police were called to Elephant and Castle station at about 23:30 BST on Sunday and found two men with stab wounds in a street nearby.
A 24-year-old man died on Monday and a 25-year-old is in a serious condition.
British Transport Police said it was “a shocking act of violence” and two men had been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.
Officers said they believed the stabbing happened during a fight between two groups of men and added they were treating the death as murder.
Keylin Tejeda, 32, from Elephant and Castle, said one of the victims was a regular customer at her pattie shop El Monte.
“I was coming from a restaurant with my partner and when we were passing by we saw him lying down.
“I could see who he was, I saw him. The ambulance were operating on him on the floor,” she said.
Det Ch Insp Sam Blackburn said: “This was a shocking act of violence and we are working tirelessly to identify and trace those responsible.
“While the investigation is still at an early stage, at this time we believe there was an altercation between two groups of men inside the Underground station and it is here the victims sustained their injuries before making their way on to the street.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the death “a senseless loss of a young life” and urged witnesses to contact police or Crimestoppers.
The death bring the number of homicides in the capital to a total of 92 so far this year.
A charity is appealing for help tracing two former schoolgirls who penned touching letters to an elderly stranger more than 60 years ago.
Sheila Scott and Brenda Barker, of Newcastle, were 12 when they contacted an 80-year-old living in a London home run by the Abbeyfield Society.
The hand-written messages were discovered in a scrapbook which belonged to the organisation’s founder.
The charity described them as a “wonderful snapshot in time”.
The girls – pupils at North Heaton Secondary Modern School and St John Ambulance Brigade cadets – wrote to a pensioner called Mr Halnan in May 1956.
The former newspaper seller, losing his sight due to cataracts, was set to undergo an operation.
Sheila, a fan of needlework and swimming, told him: “I took it upon myself to write to you. I hope it is a comfort to you.”
Brenda said she was 5ft 7in tall with light brown hair and hazel eyes, that her form mistress was named Miss Booth and her favourite lesson was maths.
Mr Halnan lived at an Abbeyfield property in Eugenia Road, Bermondsey, the first to be opened by the society set up by Richard Carr-Gomm.
Mr Carr-Gomm, who had given up his military career to help the homeless and lonely and was later awarded an OBE, kept the letters in a scrapbook.
He died in 2008, aged 86, and his family donated it to the society two years ago.
Abbeyfield research manager Sarah Heaney said the girls possibly wrote the letters after seeing publicity around the home’s opening.
“He [Mr Carr-Gomm] was very well networked, was friends with Audrey Hepburn and her mother who were benefactors of the first home, knew Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, and was close to King Freddie, the deposed king of Uganda,” she said.
“Yet amongst all this we find two extraordinary letters from two ordinary schoolgirls.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Abbeyfield Society’s national headquarters.
Fleabag must have sounded like an odd prospect on paper when it was first performed in 2013.
A monologue about an unnamed woman with a considerable sexual appetite who runs a guinea pig-themed cafe while mourning the death of her best friend is an unconventional premise to say the least.
But the TV series which the original play birthed has since become hugely successful and made a bona fide star out of its creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
The second and final series concluded earlier this year and now Waller-Bridge is back in the West End performing the original play. “As a hot ticket, it’s on a par with Harry Potter, as high on the list as Hamilton,” wrote Dominic Cavendish in The Telegraph.
It’s a fair assessment – the press night on Wednesday evening was an A-list event. Cast members from the TV show like Andrew Scott (the “hot priest”) and Fiona Shaw rubbed shoulders with Oscar-winner Rami Malek, 6 Music presenter Lauren Laverne and journalist Caitlin Moran.
But it’s the fans queuing at the stage door every night to meet Waller-Bridge who are the real testament to just how much the show has connected with audiences on a deep, emotional level. Young women in particular saw a lot of themselves in Fleabag, and grapple with the show’s same issues surrounding dating and feminism.
For fans who don’t have tickets, Fleabag is also being broadcast live in cinemas on 12 September and it could be the last chance to see Waller-Bridge play her most famous role.
Here are a few things to know about how Fleabag differs on stage and screen.
1. The core storyline is the same as the first TV series
Ironically, considering the theatre show came first, those who have watched Fleabag as a BBC series will feel like they’ve had several spoilers for the play.
Whether it’s the dates Fleabag goes on, the interactions she has with her family, or the underlying grief and guilt she feels about the death of Boo, there won’t be many surprising twists for Fleaophiles.
“After the TV show, the play felt like going to a gallery and looking at the artist’s sketchbooks,” said Kate Wyver in The Guardian. “The show is just so much more developed, so the play can’t help but feel a little disappointing.”
“I liked seeing the original source material,” added Laura Snapes in the same article. “But the play was originally such a bolt from the blue. If you see it now, you’re always aware: that’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge. When it’s freighted with the phenomenon, it doesn’t work.”
2. There’s no hot priest
The second series of Fleabag focused on the lead character’s relationship with a priest, played by Andrew Scott. The pair’s relationship was the focus of scrutiny from fans and critics alike.
“Why are we so horny for Fleabag’s Hot Priest?” asked The Huffington Post in one of many, many think pieces about the storyline.
“The real bedrock of [series two] was tied up with the idea of religion,” Waller-Bridge told BBC News earlier this year. “I was starting to write jokes about perspectives on the Christian faith and Catholicism, and that bled into the show.
“I liked the idea of Fleabag meeting her match in someone with the same intelligence and wit she has who leads a completely different life.”
Sadly, however, the hot priest is nowhere to be seen in the stage show. While some jokes and plotlines from the play are sprinkled through the second series (such as Fleabag’s sister’s disastrous haircut), the central storyline involving the hot priest was entirely new and written specifically for TV.
There was only ever meant to be six episodes of Fleabag, which is why the play has far more similarities to the first series than the second.
3. But there are still some surprises in the stage show
Many of the jokes in the play haven’t featured in the TV series, so there’s still plenty to enjoy with the stage version.
But that also applies to some of the more heart-breaking elements of the plot.
“There’s one emotional absolute gut-punch in the stage version that – presumably having been deemed just too upsetting for telly – may be new to much of the audience, noted Holly Williams in The Independent. “Guinea pig lovers be warned: it destroyed me.”
4. The staging is minimal, but effective
A monologue show in the West End is a pretty rare event, particularly in a large theatre space, and its success is reliant on a powerhouse performance from a single actor.
Speaking about seeing the play in the Wyndham’s Theatre, Holly Williams in The Independent wrote: “She probably wouldn’t have written this kind of show for such a grand old space. It inevitably feels rather small, just Waller-Bridge sat on a tall stool on an empty stage.”
Although Fleabag darts around from her cafe to job interviews to taxi rides to dates, those surroundings are left entirely to the theatre audience’s imagination as Waller-Bridge barely shifts from the tall stool she’s sitting on for the 65-minute duration.
The only aides are the changes in lighting and a few audio clips of some of the other characters, to help viewers with the different scenarios.
5. The “fourth wall” dynamic is different
A key element of the TV series was when Fleabag “broke the fourth wall” to speak to the viewer directly, adding in-jokes and her own analysis to the situation she was in.
The play is different, insofar as Fleabag is effectively addressing the audience for most of the show, but she does still clearly separate the moments where she’s speaking to another character. There are benefits and drawbacks to the slightly different dynamic she has with the audience on stage.
“Delivering a manner of monologue – she does many voices, and there is disembodied dialogue at certain moments – Waller-Bridge shows herself to be skilled at story, deadpan comedy and one-liners” wrote Craig Simpson of the Press Association.
“Added to this is a stunning ability to mime and do impressions which sets the stage show apart from the restrictions of a TV show, where her sudden comic personifications become scenes and other characters, actors with faces of their own.”
6. There is still a lot of sex
From literally the first scene of the first TV series, it was clear Fleabag wasn’t a show to watch with your family. But that is partially what has driven its appeal.
While the impact of porn on young people felt like more of a hot topic in 2013 than now – other elements of the show haven’t dated, and if anything feel more relevant now.
“I now wince a little at all the reviews of its original run – mine included – describing it as filthy, as if female sexual desire was inherently unclean,” acknowledged Natasha Tripney in The Stage.
“The show would never have achieved quite such a level of success if it were simply a collection of gags about anal sex and [pleasuring herself] over Obama. It’s subtler and smarter than that, incisive about self-sabotage, grief and the endless pressures women put upon themselves.”