The home secretary is traditionally seen as one of the most difficult jobs in government – and the Sunday Times feels that Amber Rudd is now hanging on by a thread.
Looking ahead to her House of Commons statement on Monday, the paper argues that she needs to be authoritative and display a command of her briefing or, it concludes, she will be out.
The Sunday Mirror says that after being forced to make five public apologies last week, it is time for Ms Rudd to go.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, writing in the Observer, has also called for Ms Rudd to resign.
The Mail on Sunday believes her handling of the Windrush saga has not inspired confidence and she now looks a diminished figure.
The Sunday Telegraph urges the Conservatives to make amends for Windrush. The first thing they must do, suggests the paper, is to admit that the Home Office is not fit for purpose.
The Sunday Times highlights what it calls the first evidence of Russian attempts to influence the result of the last general election.
It says its research, in conjunction with Swansea University, discovered how more than 6,000 Russian Twitter accounts rallied behind Labour before the poll.
Tensions at the heart of government over the Brexit negotiations are highlighted in the Mail on Sunday.
The paper reports that Brexit Secretary David Davis has demanded the resignation of Theresa May’s chief negotiator, Olly Robbins, who is said to be trying to drive through plans for a new customs partnership with the EU.
The Times says Mr Davis has told the prime minister that she should ignore Mr Robbins and start listening to the cabinet.
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The Sun feels the tragic death of Alfie Evans has touched the nation. It thinks there are real questions to be asked about who has the final say on treatment for terminally-ill children.
The Sunday Mirror acknowledges that his parents’ actions and the authorities’ decisions will divide people, but it also believes it is not the right time to examine what happened.
There is much analysis of the proposed merger between Asda and Sainsbury’s.
For the Sunday Telegraph it makes a lot of sense, and would be a neat exit for Asda’s American owners, Walmart.
The Financial Times says it comes at a time when retailers and grocers around the world are facing immense pressure from Amazon, which recently acquired the Whole Foods chain.
When John Corcoran wrote about his experience of not being able to read or write until he was in his late forties, many readers sent emails saying that they too had literacy problems. Some described painful experiences at school, while others described hiding their inability to read and write through shame. Here is a selection of their stories.
I was in school during the 1980s and like John I was placed in the dunce class, which made my school life a living hell. I was a good kid who just wanted to get through the day and go home, but I didn’t fit in at all. When I graduated from school I had failed English, Maths, Science, History and Geography but I had scraped a GCSE C grade in woodwork. Aged 17 I decided to join the Royal Marines – thankfully academic accomplishment wasn’t high on their agenda, so training to be a commando wasn’t hindered by my poor reading and writing. But I still had to sit reading, writing and maths tests – I scored the lowest possible score which meant I could never be promoted. At the age of 24 I decided to leave but I was faced with a difficult situation – no qualifications. Thankfully the Marines offered me a fantastic opportunity to undertake an intensive GCSE English and Maths course. By this stage I’d matured enough to apply myself to successfully pass the course attaining two grade Cs – enough to become an NHS paramedic. Paramedic training was the beginning of my true education – I had to double my efforts to ensure I passed all the exams, often spending hours practicing writing and rewriting answers. My next big break came when I was offered me a place on a paramedic degree course and since then I have gone on to do several other university qualifications. Although I now consider myself a reasonably accomplished reader and writer I do still struggle. Recently I was reading a bedtime story to my son who noticed that I wasn’t as good a reader as his mother and that I still made mistakes. This kick-started a long conversation about me learning to read and write. I had never really shared my situation with either my son or my wife. Jonathan, Oxford, UK
I have quite a severe learning disability which in the 1960s was seen as being too lazy and stupid to learn. I was subjected to beatings and humiliation. Being told to stand in front of the class and hold open my exercise book and the class being encouraged to laugh at me was a regular occurrence. I left school with very little in the way of qualifications, still unable to write my name correctly, but I was able to get an apprenticeship into a job as a painter and decorator – I loathed it. A marriage, children, low pay and uninteresting work kept me in working poverty, with no practical way out. A messy divorce and social isolation had a significant impact upon my mental state. But then I read a book by the actress Susan Hampshire called Susan’s Story: My Struggle With Dyslexia. It helped me identify that I had a learning disability and gave me the motivation to get back into further education. Five years of study enabled me to gain an Higher National Certificate (HNC) and a route to a better job. Promotion after promotion followed. By the age of 49 I was running an organisation with a £30m turnover and 530 staff. But I decided to take early retirement at the age of 50 and focus my life on more self-improvement and putting something back into the community. I actually now read reasonably well, but find doing so exhausting as I have to concentrate quite hard. I also read quite slowly. My spelling and grammar are not top notch, but that’s a characteristic of me which I quite like. David, Birmingham, UK
At school my children were told they were lazy, didn’t try hard enough, and needed to set their expectations lower for academic success. They cried every day before school, and they would hide in the bathroom to avoid reading out loud because their peers would laugh at them. My second son exhibited all the warning signs of dyslexia, but wasn’t officially diagnosed until the 4th grade. The teachers kept telling me he was fine, progressing well enough, and that traditional reading strategies would eventually work but he was rapidly falling behind. It was with his dyslexia diagnosis that I realised that my husband is also dyslexic – it is inherited so it had to come from my husband or myself. My husband exhibits every symptom – his spelling is terrible, he has poor grammar, he consistently confuses words and the meanings of words, his reading is slow and choppy, and he struggles to put his thoughts on paper. He cheated his way through school and talked his way out of every situation he could. He still struggles with day-to-day activities that most people breeze through. My second dyslexic child was diagnosed in first grade. She was struggling with phonics, numbers, and spelling. She had previously loved school but had begun to hate it and would beg me not to make her go. My third dyslexic child has a much more moderate level of dyslexia than my other two. We are just finishing our third year of home-schooling and I am so proud of what our dyslexic children have accomplished. They are all above grade level and are truly brilliant kids who work hard and are anything but lazy or stupid. But I continually question whether or not I’m doing all I can do for my children and whether or not home-schooling is the best option for them. Kimberley, Florida, USA
I still remember a teacher telling me that I’d never amount to anything. I was put in the special needs class, but when the funding was cut we didn’t get any extra help and I left school with little. When my dad drove me to collect my exam results and I told him my grades, he said, “That wasn’t worth going for” (as in the entire time, not the journey on the day). It cut very deep, something I won’t forget. I bounced around jobs – I was a postman for three-and-a-half years and because I had grown up in the town where I did my post route I was familiar with where places were, even though I couldn’t read the addresses. Then one day in the snow I thought, “I can’t be a postman for my entire life.” Around this time, I was 22 or 23, my girlfriend said she thought I had some traits of dyslexia, so I went for a test and found out that I had the reading ability of a 13-year-old and the writing ability of an 11-and-a-half-year-old. I was upset and disappointed that it had never been picked up before. I went back to college then joined university as a mature student. I’m quite sociable and quietly confident and like John Corcoran I befriended girls, mates and randoms to survive. After two years of blagging and cheating I passed my Higher National Diploma (HND). My friends went on to do degrees but I knew my limits and had probably exploited all my friendships and opportunities. Since then I have progressed well, job on job, and I try to make relationships with people who want to help me. I’ve only been transparent with one boss but I’ve shared my problem with many other people – some believe me, most don’t. I read to my daughter a lot – I try to make it as fun as possible and do all the different voices, because I didn’t find reading fun when I was young, I couldn’t do it. I’m 40 now and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved but I am still bitter that as a child I didn’t get the help I needed. Rob, Worcestershire, UK
During nursery and primary school I struggled with the basics of reading and writing due to an undiagnosed hearing problem which affected my concentration. At secondary school my mum hired a private tutor for me which helped, but, like John Corcoran, I became a master at hiding my inability to properly read or write. I had such low confidence I found it easier to hide my illiteracy rather than pluck up the courage to ask for help, mainly through fear of being labelled “stupid” by other kids. After leaving school I felt so inadequate. I went for jobs that enabled me to hide my secret – which in turn lead to a deep sense of unfulfilment in life. I worked as a shop assistant and as a postman, and although these jobs required some level of reading and writing, I just became quite skilled at finding ways of dealing with situations that potentially called my literacy into question. I’m 39 now and my literacy has improved massively in my adult years. I read a lot, did some night school classes and re-took a couple of GCSEs. But I lack confidence and I still try to avoid situations where I have to spell in front of people – it’s almost like a mental block, I just can’t do it. James, London, UK
If you know someone who needs help
John Corcoran set up a foundation in his name to help adults and children with literacy skills – in California and online
In the UK the National Literacy Trust website lists organisations that promote adult literacy
These include Read Easy and the Reading Agency
I was educated at top universities on three different continents, I comprehend complex medical writings very well and passed my medical licensing exams in two countries, I can read quietly in my head – but I can’t read aloud. I had a chaotic childhood and my classrooms were crowded so the teachers didn’t have the time or energy to teach individual students how to read. Later on in life I compensated for that. I studied hard and passed with high grade point averages but I still feel that my foundation is weak. I think I am a smart person – I helped my peers in medical school with their school work and I speak two European languages, I have written lead articles in scientific and social sciences journals and went through medical school without cheating. I read extensively and promiscuously, so, I know a bit of everything. I am just afraid of reading aloud in public settings because I know I can’t read like others. If I have to read aloud I memorise the full text – medical school is all about memorising, which I know how to do very well – or I read short phrases from a PowerPoint presentation. My girlfriend has a PhD, she’s a professor. She thinks I am the smartest person in the world but she doesn’t know this weakness. I attempted telling her that I can’t read once but she ignored me and thought that I was being silly. I have always kept my secret. Maybe one day I will attempt to ask my girlfriend for help. Anonymous, USA
My reading began to fall behind in 8th grade, but I got through high school and college and even graduate school. I could read plays – there are no unnecessary adjectives so I could follow the plot – and I got a master’s degree in theatre. I worked really, really, really hard – I didn’t want to cheat. But there wasn’t a word for my inability to read. Once when I worked at a university I was in charge of designing invitations and sending them out for fundraising events. Even though I proof-read the copy, I transposed the telephone number for RSVPs. The phone rang in a boiler building on campus where two engineers who only spoke Mandarin worked. For two weeks I had to go to the boiler building and climb a ladder to reach the room where the phone rang. It wasn’t until I started working and doing on-air work – I work for the Voice of America – that I realised I still couldn’t read. I would go over it two or three times out loud before when I went on the air. When I was the White House correspondent for a US TV show I would read an article five times, underlining all the pertinent parts. Then I would go back and read everything I had underlined so I would know what the story was about. Later I got tested and found out that I had all sorts of dyslexic problems and I also had amblyopia [a vision development disorder also known as lazy eye]. The amblyopia was cured and I no longer have that, but I am still a very slow reader and I rarely read books. It was such a relief to find out I had a form of dyslexia – I have never made it secret. It explained everything. Having an undiagnosed disability affects one’s self-esteem. Carol, Virginia, USA
You may also like:
John Corcoran grew up in New Mexico in the US during the 1940s and 50s. One of six siblings, he graduated from high school, went on to university, and became a teacher in the 1960s – a job he held for 17 years. But he hid an extraordinary secret.
Read: ‘I was a teacher for 17 years, but I couldn’t read or write’
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Senior Tories have rallied around Amber Rudd, amid criticism for her failure to know specific migrant removal targets.
The home secretary said she had not seen a memo leaked to the Guardian suggesting she knew of the objectives.
Justice Secretary David Gauke said Ms Rudd “made a mistake but didn’t knowingly mislead” while Environment Secretary Michael Gove pointed to the vast sum of emails ministers receive.
But shadow home secretary Diane Abbott continued to call for Ms Rudd to quit.
“I am just surprised that she doesn’t seem to take the issue seriously enough to offer her resignation,” she told Radio 4’s Today programme.
Ms Abbott said it was the decision to set a numerical target for removing illegal immigrants that contributed to problems faced by the Windrush generation, where Commonwealth citizens, who came to Britain in the decades after World War Two were wrongly targeted.
“The danger is that very broad target put pressure on Home Office officials to bundle Jamaican grandmothers into detention centres,” she said.
Some of the Windrush generation have been threatened with deportation, lost their jobs or been refused access to medical treatment.
Their plight has sparked a storm of criticism for the government, with Prime Minister Theresa May apologising for their treatment.
Ms Rudd faced calls to resign from her position as home secretary after telling MPs earlier this week there had been no targets for migrant removal then later admitting “local” targets existed.
But in a series of late night tweets on Friday, she apologised, saying that although her office had been copied into the document she did not see it herself.
The memo, seen by the Guardian, from June 2017 set out Home Office targets for achieving 12,800 “enforced returns” in 2017-18. It also said targets had been exceeded for “assisted returns”.
She is expected to make a statement in the House of Commons on Monday to respond to what she called “legitimate questions” about illegal migration.
Analysis: Rudd’s position ‘far from solid’
By Jonathan Blake, BBC political correspondent
One by one cabinet ministers have offered support to their colleague Amber Rudd.
After a tense few hours on Friday evening when her position seemed to be uncertain, there is now an effort to rally round the home secretary.
She has given an explanation and an apology, and for MPs in her own party and the prime minister, that would appear to be enough.
To lose Amber Rudd would leave Theresa May further exposed to criticism of her own record at the home office. It would also upset the delicate balance of opinions on Brexit in cabinet with crunch votes on the government’s policy looming at Westminster.
But the home secretary’s position is far from rock solid. She has promised a statement to parliament on Monday. For Amber Rudd it may feel like a very long weekend.
The chair of the home affairs select committee, Yvette Cooper, has said “serious questions” need to be answered when Ms Rudd returns to the committee to give further evidence.
“We have obviously been given inaccurate information to Parliament twice now,” she said.
Asked whether ministers could cite the volume of emails received as an excuse, Ms Cooper said a “huge amount” of documents are received but systems had to be in place.
The environment secretary said that if these memos were not brought to the home secretary’s attention that was “regrettable”.
Michael Gove told Radio 4’s Today: “There are hundreds of documents which are copied in to a secretary of state’s office every day and week.
“She was very clear both in her apology and also in the fact that this specific document wasn’t placed in her box, wasn’t brought to her attention. It wasn’t a matter for decision.”
Justice Secretary David Gauke told the programme that Ms Rudd is an “excellent” home secretary.
“She has accepted that she made a mistake, she didn’t knowingly mislead the House of Commons, but she accepted she was inaccurate in her statements.
“She’s coming back to the House of Commons on Monday to correct the record.”
Under the Ministerial Code, if any minister “knowingly” misleads Parliament they are expected to resign.
Downing Street has already pledged its support to Ms Rudd, saying the prime minister has “full confidence” in her.
The six-page document, from Immigration Enforcement Agency boss Hugh Ind, states: “IE has set a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18, aided by the redistribution of resources towards this area.
“This will move us along the path towards the 10% increased performance on enforced returns, which we promised the home secretary earlier this year.”
It adds: “We have exceeded our target of assisted returns. We set an internal target of 1,250 of these returns for 2016-17… we delivered 1,581.”
More than six decades after the guns fell silent at the end of three years of bloody combat on the Korean peninsula, the two Koreas remain in a technical state of war.
Hostilities were ended with an armistice and no peace treaty has ever been signed – although with the recent declaration of a “new era” in relations, that may now be in prospect.
In fact, there are many examples – both historical and contemporary – where physical conflict has stopped but achieving a legal state of peace has proved elusive.
Some might surprise you.
Russia and Japan
The Soviet government declared war on Japan just days before Japan surrendered at the end of World War Two, in August 1945. It went on to annex the Kuril Islands that lie between Japan and Kamchatka in eastern Russia.
Those islands are still the obstacle to agreeing a peace treaty. Russia says its sovereignty over the islands was recognised in post-war agreements, but Japan refuses to renounce its claim to them.
The Soviet Union did not sign the 1951 peace treaty between Japan and the Allied Powers. It did sign a joint declaration ending the state of war and restoring diplomatic relations with Japan in 1956, but the territorial issues have stymied the conclusion of a formal peace treaty.
The islands in the way of WW2 peace deal between Russia and Japan
Allies of World War Two and Germany
Germany surrendered to its Allied enemies in May 1945. But because it went on to be partitioned between the victorious powers, there was no single German state that they accepted as being the sole representative of the former Reich.
With the onset of Cold War hostilities, the war technically did not finish until German reunification in 1990.
The German schoolboy jailed for writing to the BBC
Why unification was achieved in Germany
The state of war is said to have provided the US with the legal basis for stationing troops in Western Germany.
Montenegro and Japan
It took Montenegro nearly a century to make peace with Japan, after it supported Russia in the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese war, which ended in a surprise victory for Japan.
When Russia and Japan signed a peace treaty, Montenegro was forgotten and following the tumult of World War One, Montenegro became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and later Yugoslavia.
It was only in 2006, when Montenegro declared itself independent once again, that it finally agreed the peace deal enabling it to establish diplomatic relations with Japan.
The Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly (UK)
While some states of war endure for decades, others have lasted centuries – although, in this case, the state of war was entirely forgotten about.
The war has its roots in 1651 at the end of the English Civil War, when the Dutch fleet sided with the Parliamentarians and demanded reparation for the damage to their fleet by Royalist artillery, based in Scilly.
No reparations were made so, as most of England was in Parliamentarian hands, the Dutch specifically declared war on the Scilly Isles, accounts suggest. When the Parliamentarians took the islands, the Dutch left and no peace treaty was ever signed.
Three hundred and thirty-five years later in 1986, this fact was uncovered by Scilly islander and keen historian Roy Duncan, resulting in a visit to the islands by the Dutch ambassador to sign a peace treaty.
How harrowing it must have been for the Scilly islanders, the ambassador Jonkheer Huydecoper joked, “to know we could have attacked at any moment”.
Ancient Rome and Carthage
Going further back, in ancient times Rome and Carthage never agreed to peace after the Romans seized and destroyed Carthage at the end of the Punic wars in 146 BC.
More than 2,100 years later in 1985, the mayors of modern Rome and Carthage municipality – a modern-day suburb of Tunis – signed a peace treaty and an accompanying pact of friendship.