London News Highlights
Hello and welcome to the London news section of the Toast magazine, where I fill you in on the happenings in London over the past month.
As it is October, it seems only fitting that the news remains just as spooky as the current season, and what could be more scary than the current state of our government? Three prime ministers in just as many months (Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak)! We have witnessed history this month, as Liz Truss became the shortest tenured prime minister of the UK at forty-five days, beating George Canning, who lasted fifty-six days. Truss remained prime minister until a leadership election was held, where Rishi Sunak became leader of the conservative party after Penny Mordaunt dropped out of the race. After Truss’s resignation Labour and the Lib Dem leaders Stamer and Davey called for a general election to be held, with Davey tweeting ‘We don’t need another conservative prime minister lurching from crisis to crisis. We need a general election now and the conservatives out of power.’ Personally I don’t think I’ll be sad to see her go, as I don't wish to have a woman who couldn’t outlast a cabbage running this country. But I don't imagine we will be much happier being governed by a man who is twice as rich as the current king of England in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
In the middle of September this year, shortly after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a new Met Police commissioner was sworn in by King Charles III. The new commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, swore an oath of allegiance to the king and said his priorities for the next month were to ‘lead a Met that enables Londoners and visitors from all over the world to safely pay their respects to Her late Majesty The Queen’ and ‘[continuing] to police local communities, we will begin the journey of reform to renew policing by consent’.
Rowley was appointed by then-Home Secretary Priti Patel and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in July after the resignation of controversial predecessor Cressida Dick in February.
In other news, calamity in the art world as activists cause minor damage to the frame of Da Vinci’s masterpiece, ‘Sunflowers’! On the morning of the 14th, two ‘just stop oil’ members threw soup onto the painting and spoke about the protection of art seemingly being more important than the future of our planet whilst gluing themselves to the wall of the national gallery. "What is worth more, art or life? Is it worth more than food? Worth more than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?", said one protester. The two were arrested on charges of criminal damage and aggravated trespassing but pleaded not guilty in court on Saturday the 15th. The painting remains unharmed, unlike the public opinion of the pressure group, with people saying their methods are counterproductive and embarrassing.
Only 10 days later, two protesters of the same group smeared a custard pie over the face of a waxwork of King Charles III in Madame Toussauds. The two were swiftly arrested. The Met Police said in a tweet ‘We responded quickly to an incident at Madame Tussauds after two people threw food at a statue at approximately 10:50hrs. They have both been arrested for criminal damage’. The protesters - named as Eilidh McFadden, 20, and 29-year-old Tom Johnson - released a statement saying ‘We are here because we seek to protect our freedoms and rights, because we seek to protect this green and pleasant land which is the inheritance of us all. The science is clear. The demand is simple: just stop new oil and gas. It's a piece of cake’.
This most recent act of protest comes only weeks ahead of COP27, which King Charles III was advised by outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss not to attend. COP27 is the 27th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, and will take place between the 6th and 18th November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he will not be in attendance.
Thank you for reading the October 2022 edition of the London News article in the Toast, have a happy Halloween and you’ll see me again next month!