Marcus Rashford thanks artist for Withington mural

Footballer Marcus Rashford has thanked the artist who painted a mural of him near to where he grew up.

Street artist Akse has created the artwork on the side of Coffee House Cafe in Copson Street, Withington, Manchester.

He said the England and Manchester United star’s recent successful campaign to extend free school meals inspired the project.

Rashford tweeted an image of the finished mural with a “thank you”.

The artwork, based on a photograph by Daniel Cheetham, was done in collaboration with Withington Walls, a community street art project.

Following Rashford’s campaign, the government announced it was to spend more than £400m on a winter grant scheme to support poor children and their families in England.

It follows the footballer’s campaign in June which led to the government changing its policy to allow children to claim free meals during the holidays.

Rashford became an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list last month.

Manchester-based artist Akse said the mural was close to where the footballer grew up in Old Moat, Withington, before his family moved to Wythenshawe.

Rashford’s mother provided the quote on the mural, which read: “Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose.”

“It’s incredible,” said Ed Wellard of Withington Walls. “Akse is a world class artist but it’s exceeded my expectations. It is amazing.”

Akse said he had a video call with 23-year-old Rashford while working on the painting.

“It was very kind of him to take time to chat with me,” he said.

“I hope the mural will inspire the local community as he has inspired the whole nation with his campaign to fight child food poverty.”

Nearly 160 migrants attempt to cross Channel to UK

Six boats carrying 159 people have been found by UK authorities as migrants continue to try to cross the English Channel.

The Home Office released Tuesday’s figures and said authorities in France prevented about 30 people making the journey on the same day.

Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney said the criminals behind the crossings were breaking the law.

UK authorities were “relentlessly” going after those responsible, he said.

He said: “We are working side by side with France to increase beach patrols and enhance surveillance to stop the crossings at source, breaking up the ruthless gangs who facilitate this activity, and locking up the people smugglers responsible.

“We are returning migrants who have no right to stay in the UK to safe countries with flights every week and will do whatever we can to make this route unviable.”

More than 7,915 people have crossed the Channel in more than 600 boats this year.

Boris Johnson congratulates Biden in phone call

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has congratulated Joe Biden on his US election win, in their first phone conversation since last week’s vote.

It is believed that Mr Biden called Mr Johnson ahead of other leaders of major European countries.

The prime minister said he looked forward to “strengthening the partnership” between the US and UK and work on “our shared priorities”.

The media declared Mr Biden the election winner on Saturday.

But counting is ongoing in some states, with incumbent President Donald Trump disputing many of the results.

In a tweet, the prime minister said: “I just spoke to @JoeBiden to congratulate him on his election.

“I look forward to strengthening the partnership between our countries and to working with him on our shared priorities – from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy and building back better from the pandemic.”

Stephen Lawrence family criticises undercover police inquiry

The parents of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence are losing confidence in the public inquiry into undercover policing, their lawyers have said.

In an opening statement for Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Imran Khan QC said the campaigner had doubts the inquiry would reveal why her family were spied on.

Counsel for Stephen’s father Dr Neville Lawrence echoed her concerns.

The Lawrences also raised questions about the number of police officers granted anonymity during the inquiry.

It emerged that undercover officers had spied on the family’s campaign for justice, with whistleblower Peter Francis claiming he had been tasked with finding “dirt” on the Lawrences and their supporters.

Currently, the cover names of 51 officers must remain secret, along with 119 of the real names of officers and staff.

So far, one has been published – David Hagan – but there are four others who remain anonymous that Dr Lawrence would like identified.

Heather Williams QC, representing Stephen’s father, said if the family were at least given the cover names, they would be able to give evidence about what the police spies did.

Stephen was murdered by a gang in 1993 and incompetence and racism within the Met Police marred the original investigation.

Two of his killers, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were jailed nearly 20 years later but the remaining three suspects never faced justice.

Baroness Lawrence believes it was only the public nature of the Macpherson Inquiry into her son’s death that meant racism in the force was exposed.

The Lawrences have called on inquiry chairman Sir John Mitting to appoint panel members to help him focus on issues including racism, as the previous inquiry did.

Mr Khan said: “The fact that the Metropolitan Police and the individual officers have made applications for anonymity and, more importantly, that they have been granted, is a travesty and goes against everything that a public inquiry stands for and what Baroness Lawrence expected.

“It appears to her that this inquiry is more interested in protecting the alleged perpetrators than the victims.”

Cornish grandmother of drowned baby admits cruelty

The grandmother of a baby who drowned in a bath while she was out of the room has admitted child cruelty.

Eleven-month-old Chanelle Grenfell died on 26 December 2017 after Shirley Grenfell left her bathroom for two to three minutes, Truro Crown Court heard.

Mrs Justice Juliet May said the death was the result of “tragic inattention” by the 53-year-old “loving grandmother” from Illogan, Cornwall.

Grenfell was given a one-year jail sentence, suspended for 18 months.

The court was told Chanelle, who was brought to Grenfell’s home for the night by her parents, died after Grenfell left the room to fetch a towel.

After the alarm was raised the baby was taken to hospital in Truro, and then to Bristol, but died a day later.

The judge said she accepted Grenfell had only been out of the bathroom for two to three minutes and came back to find Chanelle on her back under water.

Grenfell admitted the lesser charge after a jury failed to find her guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence at an earlier trial.

The trial heard the NHS advised babies and toddlers should be put into a bath filled with no more than 5cm (2ins) of water and should not be left alone for a moment.

The bath at Mrs Grenfell’s house had 14cm (5.5 ins) of water in it at the time, the court heard.

Defending, Simon Laws QC said the case was a “world away from many cases of child cruelty” and the tragedy was with Grenfell every day.

The court was read a victim impact statement from Chantelle’s mother, Kirsty Mankee.

She said her daughter “was much loved” and she hoped “this tragedy makes people think about leaving their kids in the bath”.

Mary Wollstonecraft statue: Mother of feminism sculpture provokes backlash

A memorial to the “mother of feminism” is to be unveiled in north London, after a 10-year campaign.

The sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft by artist Maggi Hambling CBE will go on display on Newington Green, Islington, from Tuesday.

Born in London in 1759, Wollstonecraft was an 18th Century author and radical who promoted the rights of women.

The silvered-bronze sculpture has drawn criticism from some who have queried the inclusion of a naked female figure.

Bee Rowlatt, chair of the Mary on the Green campaign for a statue, said: “Her ideas changed the world. It took courage to fight for human rights and education for all.

“But following her early death in childbirth her legacy was buried, in a sustained misogynistic attack. Today we are finally putting this injustice to rights.

“It’s not your average memorial statue at all.

“It’s not of her, it’s for her, and the statue draws you in. I hope it sparks a conversation about Wollstonecraft and her extraordinary life.”

The unveiling, which will be live-streamed at 19:00 GMT, will be the culmination of a decade of campaigning to raise the £143,000 required to create the statue.

It portrays a silver female figure emerging from a swirling mingle of female forms.

More than 90% of London’s monuments celebrate men, compared to a population of 51% women, according to the campaign.

However, it has been met with criticism for its symbolic depiction of a female figure, rather than being a lifelike representation of Wollstonecraft.

Some have also queried the decision to make the figure naked.

Writer Tracy King tweeted: “There is no reason to depict Mary naked unless you are trying to be edgy to provoke debate.

“Statues of named men get to be clothed because the focus is on their work and achievements.

“Meanwhile, women walking or jogging through parks experience high rates of sexual harassment because our bodies are considered public property.”

Author Caroline Criado Perez, who campaigned for Jane Austen to appear on the £10 note, said the statue “feels disrespectful to Wollstonecraft herself”.

Wollstonecraft was born into prosperity in 1759, but her father, a drunk, squandered the family money.

Like her mother, she often suffered abuse at his hands.

As a woman, Wollstonecraft received little formal education but she set out to educate herself and at 25 opened a girls’ boarding school on Newington Green, near the site of the statue.

Wollstonecraft was 33 when she wrote her most famous work “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” which imagined a social order where women were the equals of men.

She mixed with the intellectual radicals of the day – debating with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Joseph Priestley.

She died aged 38 following the birth of her daughter, the author Mary Shelley.

Ms Hambling said: “This sculpture encourages a visual conversation with the obstacles Ms Wollstonecraft overcame, the ideals she strived for, and what she made happen.

“Clothes define people and restrict people, they restrict people’s reaction. She’s naked and she’s every woman.

“It’s been compared to a rocket of hope going up to the sky, tracking the fight for female empowerment Wollstonecraft started.”

The Suffolk-based artist says Wollstonecraft would be “dancing a foxtrot in her grave” to celebrate Kamala Harris becoming the first female US vice president.

The Mary on the Green campaign has been supported by TV presenter Anita Rani who lives near the site of the statue.

Ms Rani said: “She was someone who just never gave up, she always fought for others, she was a badass – and it cost her.”

US election: Technical error blamed for PMs Biden tweet glitch

The government has blamed a “technical error” for a Boris Johnson tweet congratulating Joe Biden on his US election victory which faintly showed the name “Trump” in the background.

Social media users commented on the discrepancy while the Guido Fawkes website said the message also included the word “second term” buried in it.

Officials said two messages were prepared before the result was known.

The alternative one had been “embedded” in the other by mistake, they said.

Mr Johnson posted the message on Twitter on Saturday after broadcasters in the US and elsewhere declared the Democratic former vice-president the winner.

Incumbent President Donald Trump is refusing to accept the outcome and is mounting a series of legal challenges in certain states.

The PM’s message read: “Congratulations to Joe Biden on his election as president of the United States and to Kamala Harris on her historic achievement.

“This US is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security.”

But the message appeared to include traces of a different message referring to Mr Trump, who has been in office since 2017.

A government spokesperson said: “As you’d expect, two statements were prepared in advance for the outcome of this closely contested election.

“A technical error meant that parts of the alternative message were embedded in the background of the graphic.”

UK ministers have said they are excited about working with Mr Biden on issues such as climate change and trade while Mr Johnson has said there is “more much that unites than divides” him and the President-elect.

In recent days, Mr Biden’s team has sought to downplay lingering tensions over Mr Johnson’s role in Brexit and past comments he has made about both President Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama.

Mr Biden, who has made his opposition to Brexit well known, has insisted maintaining peace in Northern Ireland is paramount to any post-Brexit UK-US trade deal.

Rev Richard Coles: Its the love story we all need

BBC presenter and former pop musician the Reverend Richard Coles said the marriage of two of his parishioners was the “love story we need right now”.

A tweet from the vicar of St Mary’s church, Finedon, Northamptonshire, about the wedding of Lizzie Forbes and Lee (Eric) Hearn won 27,500 “likes”.

The Communards keyboard player said he “moved mountains” to officiate at the event just before the second lockdown.

He was one of the many “cogs” that got the couple together, the bride said.

Mr Coles said in his tweet “Eric from the cricket club” came to see him to tell him he loved Lizzie, but she had emigrated to Australia and he wanted to know what to do.

He told his parishioner: “You know what to do,” and Mr Hearn flew to Sydney.

Lizzie Hearn, 31, said when she met Eric 11 years ago there was an immediate “spark” but as they both were going out with other people, they remained friends.

Then in 2016 they were both single again and “got together”.

But she had decided she wanted to go travelling and to live in Australia.

She said after coming home for a visit a few months later: “I realised I wanted to be with him.”

However, she still wanted to work in Australia and returned there.

A few months later Mr Hearn came to visit after his “chat” with Mr Coles and she came back to the UK early.

“We have been together ever since,” she said.

Mr Hearn, 38, said: “I always knew our love story was something that would happen in the end. I’ve played the long game.”

Catholic Church abuse: Cardinal Vincent Nichols criticised over leadership

The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has, at times, shown he cares more about the impact of abuse on the Church’s reputation than victims, a report says.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse criticised the leadership of Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and the Vatican.

It also said bishops had swept abuse under the carpet for decades.

The cardinal is yet to respond to the allegations in the report.

The inquiry said that Cardinal Nichols had shown “no acknowledgement of any personal responsibility to lead or influence change”.

“Nor did he demonstrate compassion towards victims in the recent cases which we examined,” it said.

The inquiry said the Catholic Church’s “explicit moral purpose has been betrayed by those who sexually abused children, and by those who turned a blind eye and failed to take action against perpetrators”.

It also said the cardinal, who apologised for the Church’s actions when he gave evidence, “did not always exercise the leadership expected of a senior member of the Church, at times preferring to protect the reputation of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales and in Rome”.

The report said two previous inquiries into abuse in the Church, by Lord Nolan in 2001 and Lady Cumberlege in 2007, brought change and improvements, but their recommendations were implemented too slowly and not in full.

It highlighted that in 2016, internal correspondence between members of the Diocese of Westminster’s safeguarding commission described a victim of sexual abuse as “manipulative” and “needy”.

The report states: “Real and lasting changes to attitudes have some way to go if the Roman Catholic Church is to shake off the failures of the past.”

There is also criticism for the Vatican, with the inquiry describing its actions as in “direct contrast with Pope Francis’ public statement on child sexual abuse”.

In 2019, the Pope called for “concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church”.

The Holy See did not provide a statement to the inquiry and the ambassador at the time refused to give evidence.

The report, the latest in a series of publications from the IICSA, said child sexual abuse was “far from a solely historical issue”, adding that more than 100 allegations of abuse had been reported each year since 2016.

Between 1970 and 2015, the Church received more than 3,000 complaints of child sexual abuse against more than 900 individuals connected to the Church, the inquiry found.

Those complaints involved over 1,750 victims and complainants but the report said the true scale of abuse was much higher and would likely never be known.

Michael J Fox goes back to Back To The Future for cameo in Lil Nas X video

Actor Michael J Fox has reprised his role as Marty McFly in a new video for rap star Lil Nas X.

Fox appears in a trailer for the upcoming single, Holiday, which sees Nas arrive in the Wild West just as Santa Claus is thrown out of a saloon.

After he picks up Santa’s hat, Nas discovers he’s been chosen as “the new Santa” and must travel to the future.

As he sets off on a reindeer, Fox shouts after him: “Whatever you do Nas, don’t go to 2020!”

It is the first time Fox has played his most famous character on screen since Back To The Future Part III in 1990 (although he previously recorded dialogue as Marty McFly for the 2015 video game Lego Dimensions).

In the video, he even wears the same cowboy outfit as in the third film, where his time-travelling teenager was trapped in an old Western town.

The cameo comes a week after the 59-year-old said he may be forced to retire from acting.

Speaking to People magazine, Fox said his “short-term memory is shot” as a result of Parkinson’s, which he was first diagnosed with in 1991.

“I always had a real proficiency for lines and memorization,” he told the magazine.

“And I had some extreme situations where the last couple of jobs I did were actually really word-heavy parts. I struggled during both of them.”

Admitting that “acting is getting tougher to do,” he said that writing was now his main creative outlet.

Fox was one of the biggest stars of the 1980s, thanks to his roles in the Back To The Future films, as well as the TV sitcom Family Ties and projects like Teen Wolf and Casualties Of War.

He began to notice tremors in his hands while shooting the comedy Doc Hollywood in 1991, and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s shortly after.

After going public with his diagnosis in 1998, he continued acting, notably starring in Spin City from 1996-2001 and appearing as a recurring guest star on legal dramas Boston Legal and The Good Wife.

His struggle with the degenerative disease was documented in his 2002 autobiography, Lucky Man, where he revealed he had turned to drink after the diagnosis, almost destroying his marriage in the process.

He described his symptoms as including “rigidity, shuffling, tremors, lack of balance [and] diminished small motor control”. In recent years, he has also struggled with his speech, and practices tongue-twisters to improve his diction.

Lil Nas X, who achieved overnight fame in 2019 with his country-rap crossover Old Town Road, releases his new single on 13 November.

It is not yet known whether Fox will have a bigger role in the full video.

The star last played McFly as a gift to Chris Martin’s son Moses, whose favourite film is Back To The Future.

Fox joined Coldplay on stage in New Jersey in 2016, playing Johnny B Goode – recreating one of the original movie’s pivotal scenes.