Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Boris Johnson's stock on rise as he sets sights on Westminster

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has opened up a big lead over his rivals as the politician the public would like to see replace David Cameron.

Some 34% believe the London Mayor – who is seeking to return as an MP at the general election – should be the next Tory leader.

The YouGov poll for The Sun on Sunday found he was 19 points ahead of Home Secretary Theresa May, while Chancellor George Osborne was third favourite with just 9%.

However, there were concerns about whether he could cope with the serious duties of a prime minister. Just 7% named him as the politician they would trust most to have control of the nuclear button.

Erdogan wins presidential race

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared victory in Turkey's first direct presidential election.

The vote is a watershed in the country's nearly 91-year history that will ensure the current prime minister remains at its helm for at least another five years.

"I thank everyone who appointed me the 12th president of the Turkish Republic," Erdogan said in a victory speech delivered from the balcony of his Justice and Development Party headquarters in Ankara.

The three-time prime minister will now have to step down from that post and appoint a replacement.

"Today the national will won once again, today democracy won once again," he told a crowd of thousands of flag-waving and cheering supporters, striking a conciliatory and unifying tone after a bitter campaign marked by polarising rhetoric.

"You did not choose a president through an intermediary, you chose him yourself," Erdogan told his supporters. Until now, it was parliament that elected Turkey's presidents.

With 99% of ballot boxes counted, Erdogan had 51.95% of the vote, according to figures from the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Surrogacy row couple hit back

A couple have denied that they abandoned their son born with Down's syndrome to a surrogate mother in Thailand.

David and Wendy Farnell said the boy's surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, insisted she be allowed to keep the boy and that she threatened to also keep his healthy twin sister.

Mr Farnell – who has convictions for child sex offences but insists he has been rehabilitated – said he and his wife had to return with the girl because they were worried Ms Pattaramon would insist on keeping her too.

Mr Farnell admitted that if baby Gammy's Down Syndrome had been discovered earlier, he would have wanted the embryo aborted.

"If it would have been safe for the embryo to have been terminated, we probably would have terminated it," he told 60 Minutes on Australia's Nine Network. "No parent wants a son with a disability."

He added: "They sent us the reports but they didn't do the checks early enough."

Parliament's annual bar bill costs taxpayer £6m

The taxpayer subsidised Parliament's exclusive bars and restaurants to the tune of £6m last year.

Usually the House of Commons publishes figures that offset sales of souvenirs and gifts against spending on its catering service.

But in response to a freedom of information request, the authorities revealed that without that income the operation ran a deficit of £4.5m in 2013-14. That was down from £4.9m the previous year.

Dozens dead in Iranian passenger plane crash

A regional passenger plane has crashed while taking off from Iranian capital Tehran, killing 39 people and leaving another nine injured. The aircraft, an Iran-140 typically used for short domestic flights, crashed near Tehran's Mehrabad airport with 48 people on board.

The plane went down in a residential area after one of its engines failed.

State TV said the bodies of some of the victims were so badly burned they could not be identified.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz