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Boris Johnson news – live: PM has ‘LGBT+ blind spot’ as government defeated on genocide trade bill

The prime minister has an LGBT+ “blind spot” in cabinet, the UK’s first openly gay minister has said.

Lord Chris Smith, who served as culture secretary in Tony Blair’s government, said that this was a “matter of great regret” and urged Boris Johnson to diversify his top team in “the next year or two”.

Elsewhere, the House of Lords inflicted a third defeat on the government over the so-called genocide amendment, which aims to stop trade deals with countries guilty of such atrocities.

The crossbench peer Lord Alton put forward a fresh amendment on Tuesday, allowing a parliamentary panel of judicial experts to determine whether genocide had been committed by any of the UK’s trading partners. Previously, it had been suggested that the High Court should be given the power to do this.

The new amendment was backed by 367 votes to 214 in the Lords in the latest legislative tussle between the two chambers.

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Ministers urged to introduce new laws tackling ‘glorification’ of extremism

A “gaping chasm” in existing legislation on countering terrorism needs to be filled, an official watchdog has warned.

A report released by the Commission for Countering Extremism has urged ministers to introduce laws outlawing the “praising and glorifying of terrorists”, after it found that many extremist groups can spread their reach with impunity.

Sir Mark Rowley, the ex-national police lead on counter-terrorism who worked on the report, said: “Not only have our laws failed to keep pace with the evolving threat of modern-day extremism, current legal boundaries allow extremists to operate with impunity.

“Hateful extremism is creating an ever-bigger pool for terrorists to recruit from, as well as increasing violence, hate crime and tensions between and within communities. The current situation is simply untenable.”

Rory Sullivan24 February 2021 08:31
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Government suffers third defeat from peers over genocide amendment

The government has once again been defeated heavily in the House of Lords in a vote over a genocide amendment, designed to stop trade deals with countries guilty of such crimes.

A new amendment put forward by the crossbench peer Lord Alton, allowing a parliamentary panel of judicial experts to decide whether genocide had been committed, was backed by 367 votes to 214 in the Lords.

“Parliament must not allow itself to become part of an alibi for inaction,” Lord Alton warned.

Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn reports:

Rory Sullivan24 February 2021 08:07
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Morning, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling UK politics coverage.

Rory Sullivan24 February 2021 07:59

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