UK's William Hague attacks Assad's Syria elections plan

 

William Hague read out an agreed statement in which the Friends of Syria vowed further help for Syria's opposition

Presidential elections in Syria will be a "parody of democracy", UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

Mr Hague said Syria's government had an "utter disregard" for life, and President Bashar al-Assad decision to call an election for 3 June "disgusted" the international community.

The foreign secretary also announced the Syrian opposition would have its diplomatic status in the UK upgraded.

Syria's three-year conflict has left some 150,000 people dead.

The UK is continuing to push for President Assad to stand down, but he has sought a third seven-year term in the elections.

'Illegitimate'

Mr Hague hosted a meeting of the The Friends of Syria group - made up of Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US - in London.

Afterwards, he said: "We are of course united in our disgust and anger at what's happening in Syria and the ruthless utter disregard for human life."

The group agreed a short communique criticising the decision to hold an election at a time when millions of people were displaced and the bloodshed was continuing.

Mr Hague called on the whole international community to "reject these illegitimate elections", saying: "We've also agreed unanimously to take further steps to... do everything we can to hold the Assad regime accountable for the terror it is perpetrating."

He promised the UK government would increase its humanitarian efforts, with £30m of extra funding.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said this money would be used for "a range of different things including helping the opposition and supporting regional sustainability".

In a separate media briefing, US Secretary of State John Kerry commented on France's claim that the Assad government has used chemical weapons at least 14 times since October.

He said he had seen "raw data that suggests that there may have been... a number of instances in which chlorine has been used in the conduct of war".

Mr Kerry added: "If it has, and it could be proven, then that would be against the agreements of the chemical weapons treaty and against the weapons convention that Syria has signed up to."

"Out of today's meeting, every facet of what can be done is going to be ramped up - every facet. That includes political effort. It includes aid to the opposition. It includes economic efforts, sanctions," he said.

Friends of Syria was set up in 2012 in response to moves by Russia and China to block UN resolutions against the Assad government.

The meeting comes days after UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi stepped down over lack of progress in ending the crisis.

 

More on This Story

Syria's war War in Syria

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 489.

    The irony is the "Rebels" worst enemies isn't the government now but the extremists who are fighting for their own agenda and using any means to do it. What The FOS group hasn't or/and most likely doesn't care about is even if they overthrow Assad it'll either be Libya all over again with a weak leadership leading to more instability or Islamic extremists calling the shots.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 488.

    We in Syria have an anecdote which tells of a woman boiling pebbles to dupe her hungry children that she is cooking food for them so that they'll stop crying.The Western powers are doing the same to shut up the Syrian people.The choice is very clear: the certainty that Iran will prevaile if the regime wins or the faint possibility that extreme islamists will dominate. The latter are easy to defeat

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 487.

    486 posts, and not 1 to say that we should intervene, or the logistics involved,or those very good statesmanlike reasons why the UK simply MUST take the lead.Time for all of us to give this up,as there is no sway of opinion to tell us how wrong we are to say "No" to yet another proposed foreign war.Let us sit this one out, and say no more aid until the USA, Eurozone, Moslem World, etc.,contribute

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 486.

    "the UK is continuing to push for President Assad to stand down, but he has sought a third seven-year term in the elections"
    So who do they want to replace him the nice chaps the Americans are backing I.s.i.s I believe there called. Hague maybe talk instead of the Sunni slaughter houses butchering the minority christians. It's strange how you don't care for this potential genocide.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 485.

    It's no coincidence that the current enemies of the west represent the last resistence to the global banking cartels and therefore they must go. Covert funding and arming of terrorists resulting in regime change and if that doesn't work, send in the cruise missiles. One way or another, the sovereignty of every nation will be lost. Iraq, Libya, Syria - they all have or had public central banks.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 484.

    The only thing that's a "parody" Mr. Hague is your foreign policy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 483.

    @461.

    The Ukraine does not have a Libyan dictator like Gadaffi or Assad or Saddam. The Ukranian people & parliament are not protesting now against their new temporary leader.

    No the protestors & instigators are simply russian agents trying the same take over tactics as in Crimea with russian troops waiting on the border.

    ISAF should now enter the Ukraine with 5-10 thousand peace keepers.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 482.

    People on hear asking why Hague is against democracy in "other countries" , I am surprised at the question as I thought everyone knew by now that politicians don't want democracy anywhere as most of them would be out of a job

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 481.

    John Kerry throwing another unverified claim of chemical weapons usage , will he again pluck some magical number (1429) out of the sky ?

    When he quoted that magic number last year he was not made to provide any evidence even though no other source claimed such a high (or accurate !) number of casualties/deaths.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 480.

    @478.

    The west (governments & most people) support democracy, not murderous dictators. Assad is a dictator, is it better for a leader to resign or destroy his whole country & hundreds of thousands of people & should the world not encourage Assad's resignation & fair UN verified elections ??

    Many people in the Ukraine wanted a new leader & democracy, not a russian puppet.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 479.

    Quote from William Hague "We are of course united in our disgust and anger at what's happening in Syria and the ruthless utter disregard for human life."

    Would that be the "rebels" who :
    1. Murdered 48 people in a blast near the Turkish border.?
    2. Shot a Times journalist in the legs and beat up him and his colleague ?

    I used the term "rebels" as it seems the BBC refuse to call them terrorists !

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 478.

    In Ukraine a democratically elected president was evicted by a howling mob, just imagine that in UK. We evict Cameron by rioting! In both Ukraine & Syria the "West" now supports illegal " take overs" by (in some cases) terrorists because it suits their anti Russian/Assad policies. Just who are the good guys here??

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 477.

    It has to be proven who has been using these chlorine & chemical weapons, Syria or the rebels ?

    On other world issues & international treaties it seems that many countries are selfishly happy to do nothing & let evil continue. Whereas some countries like many western countries who get accused of being the world's police at least try to do something to uphold international rules & can be proud.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 476.

    @453.

    The elections in Syria will be run by a dictator who has been in power for way to long, do you think they will be fair ? Or is this a case where some countries like Russia don't want fair elections because they are scared of extremists maybe being elected who won't want to be russian puppets?

    The Crimea election was full of mistakes & without proper security & checks.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 475.

    Reckon that this topic has been done to death,every argument has been raised,EXCEPT the "Whys", "Hows" ,"WHO Withs" and "Whens" of any Western Military Involvement, I think it is that anyone of that view can see no reasons,for there are no reasons, to send our Armed Forces into action, and so their silence is golden,though their eyes can see the views expressed here and elsewhere.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 474.

    Yes no one should want to rush in & be involved in wars. This Syria war is also complicated with Russia & Iran heavily involved & why should "onward christian soldiers" get involved & pay the costs & lives & get no thanks for trying to stop the war & human suffering.

    One issue is Syria using chlorine & chemical weapons against the treaty they signed & should other countries just ignore this ?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 473.

    There's 'bad guys' (using an Americanism) on both sides. Siding with one over the other is effectively subsidising terrorism.

    And why are we so arrogant to sit up way up high in our moral ivory embellished towers telling other nations what to do?

    The age of the empire is over. Time to concentrate on putting our own house in order, before involving ourselves (again) in foreign conflicts.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 472.

    I deplore the lack of leadership and moral fibre on the whole question of Syria, the world seems to just wring its hands as thousands die or are displaced. It does not bode well for the future at all. Edmund Burke wrote:
    „All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 471.

    I take it Tony Blair and Gordon Brown .Will be helping Assad .TONY.B has previous on how to get a none elected in the P.Ms Job.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 470.

    Hague is the worst foreign secretary we have ever had. He only wants to be an American poodle and suck up to Saudi Arabia for their oil.

    He just doesn't get it! The British public have said no to intervention in Syria or supporting a rabble of Saudi / US backed Islamists.

    Our politicians have learned nothing from Iraq or Afghanistan.

 

Page 1 of 25

 

More UK Politics stories

RSS

Politics Live

  1.  
    13:07: Watching from the Millennium Bridge
    The Havengore passes under the Millennium Bridge in London

    The crowds may not be of quite the same size as in 1965 but there are new vantage points that weren't available 50 years ago.

     
  2.  
    13:04: Watching the funeral

    emails: Churchill's funeral will always be remembered by me, as on the Thursday before the funeral we had bought our first television from Radio Rentals, it was black and white and I watched the funeral on it with my parents.

     
  3.  
    13:03: Churchill's hearse

    emails: My grandfather, Charles Meeking, drove the hearse that took Winston Churchill's casket from the Festival Hall Pier to Waterloo Station as he was the senior driver for Kenyon's Funeral Services in London. My father had a picture from a broadsheet newspaper of the hearse and my grandfather clearly visible through the windscreen - it may well still be in the loft at my mother's house.

     
  4.  
    13:00: Havengore from above
    Havengore passing underneath Blackfriars Bridge

    An aerial shot of the Havengore passing under Blackfriars Bridge.

     
  5.  
    12:56: John Emmerson

    emails: My Dad took me to see the funeral procession, I was 10 years old and we travelled from Warrington down to London on a coach. I fell asleep on the way back and woke up in Wigan!

     
  6.  
    12:54: Michael Smith, Ottawa

    emails: As a 17 year old I had gone to the abbey to pay my respects to Churchill the night prior to the funeral. After a five hour or longer slow walk with what seemed like thousands of other mourners that crossed the Thames twice I finally passed the great man lying in state. To this day I respect Winston Churchill as the greatest Englishman ever and we were lucky to have had him.

     
  7.  
    12:54: The Havengore passes HMS Belfast

    The Havengore passes HMS Belfast, a major military landmark on the Thames. Tourists on board the famous warship wave as the smaller vessel passes by, the BBC's Duncan Kennedy says.

     
  8.  
    12:51: Paul Sayles, Misawa, Japan

    emails: I was living in Dunoon, Scotland at the time and watched the entire event on TV. I think all of my family was moved by the rendering of honours by the crane operators as Sir Winston passed the docks on his way home. I still remember the feeling 50 years on as if it was that day.

     
  9.  
    12:49: On its way
    Havengore

    The Havengore makes its way down the Thames, with those on board including pipers and volunteers reprising the role of pallbearers.

     
  10.  
    12:45: Tower Bridge opens
    Tower Bridge

    Tower Bridge is opening its gate as a mark of respect as the Havengore makes its way down the Thames.

     
  11.  
    12:44:

    emails: I was seven at the time of the funeral, and we had not long had a television. It was switched on for the early part of the ceremony, but, unfortunately, we were in the middle of moving from Cheshire to Shropshire, and had to go house-hunting on that day, it being a Saturday. Consequently, much as I wanted to stay at home and watch the funeral, I couldn't. I've regretted this for fifty years - I am looking forward to seeing the recording later!

     
  12.  
    12:43: 'Lovingly restored' BBC News Channel

    The BBC's Ben Brown says the Havengore has been "loving restored" by its current owner from a stage when "grass had been growing through the deck" a few years ago.

     
  13.  
    12:42: 'Fitting tribute' BBC News Channel
    The Havengore recreating Winston Churchill's funeral cortege

    The BBC's Duncan Kennedy, on board a boat on the Thames, says it was a "fitting tribute" that Churchill's coffin was placed on the front of the Havengore boat and carried down the river because of his role as naval secretary.

     
  14.  
    12:39: Labour NHS debate Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Asked about the internal debate within Labour about health policy and the role of the private sector, shadow minister Steve Reed tells the BBC that the opposition backs "what works". Pressed on this, he says the NHS must be reformed to give more control to the people who use it rather than "privatised".

     
  15.  
    12:29: 'Proud day' Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Asked if it is a "sad day" for his family, Rupert Soames says it quite the contrary. "It is a proud day. It is a triumph he is still remembered," he tells the Daily Politics. "What could be better."

     
  16.  
    12:24: 'In gratitude'
    Message on wreath reading: 'From the nation of today, and the youth of tomorrow - in gratitude'

    Relatives and politicians left messages on wreaths during the service at the Houses of Parliament earlier.

     
  17.  
    12:22: Peter

    I remember, age 11, seeing his funeral on TV. My mum had turned it on. Even then, I knew he was special, but the scale of his funeral made that clear. Now, having read his books, and others, I realise he was a complex and fallible man, who became an extraordinary leader when put under extreme pressure.

     
  18.  
    12:18: 'A great Briton'
    David Cameron at Churchill ceremony

    Earlier, David Cameron paid tribute to "a great leader and a great Briton" after laying a wreath at the feet of the statue of Churchill in Parliament. "He knew that Britain was not just a place on the map but a force in the world, with a destiny to shape events and a duty to stand up for freedom," he said in the shadow of the famous bronze sculpture of Churchill.

     
  19.  
    12:17: 'Great reforming home secretary'

    Rupert Soames, one of Churchill's grandsons, says he was one of the few people in the country who was "cross" on the day of the funeral because, as a five-year old, he was deemed too young to attend. Mr Soames, who remembers sitting on his grandfather's knee during weekends in the country, tells the BBC's Daily Politics that Churchill should be remembered as more than a wartime prime minister - adding that he commissioned the Beveridge Report in the 1940s and was "one of the great reforming home secretaries" before World War One.

     
  20.  
    12:15: Tony Guise

    emails: Although I lived in Aston, Birmingham, I so clearly remember the monochrome coverage from the BBC, as my parents and other family members gathered around our tiny television. I was seven-years old and shall never forget the sense of an historic moment. Never thought that memory would still be with me 50 years later!

     
  21.  
    12:14: Colour-coordinated wreaths
    Leaders of UK political parties with wreaths at Houses of Parliament

    Labour leader Ed Miliband, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron laid appropriately-coloured wreaths during the service at the Houses of Parliament.

     
  22.  
    12:08: John Simpson on Churchill

    The BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson examines how an all-too-human politician became a great wartime prime minister.

    Winston Churchill giving V-for-victory sign
     
  23.  
    12:01: Tories 'rule out post-election deal with UKIP'

    Conservative chairman Grant Shapps has ruled out any post-election deal with UKIP should there be another hung parliament. Speaking at a campaign event, Mr Shapps said May's election was set to be "incredibly close" and his party was solely focused on gaining power in its own right.

     
  24.  
    11:59: Philip Keevill

    emails: 50 years ago today I was in London, paying my respects to Sir Winston Churchill. I'd seen something on the BBC News the evening before and told my Mum I'd like to go. We were living 30 miles from Preston at the time. My Mum didn't hesitate. We went to Preston station, bought tickets for the overnight sleeper train, and headed south. When we came out of Westminster Abbey, the press pounced on us. Apparently we were the last people to be admitted, and we were in that evening's papers!

     
  25.  
    11:57: Wreath leaves Tower of London
    Wreath carried from Tower of London to Havengore

    A wreath is being carried from the Tower of London to the Havengore boat, which will then carry it along the Thames to Westminster.

     
  26.  
    11:52: Sense of destiny
    Celia Sandys

    Churchill's grandaughter Celia Sandys says her grandfather had a "huge sense of his destiny" and was the "man Britain needed at that time".

     
  27.  
    @BBCArchive 11:51: BBC Archive
    Churchill

    tweets: Would Churchill's depression have prevented him becoming PM today? http://bbc.in/1DmUaec #BBCChurchill

     
  28.  
    11:50: Rob Thornton, Bines Green

    emails: Churchill's funeral was one of the few things I remember vividly from my childhood... I was a 13-year old schoolboy at the time... My parents, who had both been involved in the war - my father serving in the Army - watched in silence on TV and I clearly remember the cranes on the river dipping in salute. Their reverence was a very salutary lesson in what being a truly great man really meant and I have never forgotten that.

     
  29.  
    11:48: Professor David Durling

    emails: I grew up in London in the shadow of World War Two, and had a keen sense of gratitude to Churchill. As an 18-year old, I found a place among the wharves near Blackfriars Bridge, and paid my respects as the Havengore sailed past. I found myself entirely alone, and it was a moment never to be forgotten.

     
  30.  
    11:47: Gift of the gab
    Winston Churchill giving a speech in Walthamstow in 1945

    Winston Churchill is known as one of history's greatest orators, and he attributed his legendary speech-making skills to an Irish-born politician who taught him the gift of the gab as a young man, says the BBC's Greg McKevitt.

     
  31.  
    11:44: Commons 'man through and through'

    Commons Speaker John Bercow has been paying tribute to Churchill as a parliamentarian. Speaking at a special commemoration service in Parliament, Mr Bercow said the wartime leader was a House of Commons "man through and through" and had resisted blandishments to join the House of Lords. Churchill, he said, believed that the "cut and thrust of debate and the searing searchlight of scrutiny were vital".

     
  32.  
    11:42: Barbara Lancaster MBE, Leeds

    emails: I still remember my father, who was a staunch Labour man, saying there will never ever be another politician like him in your lifetime.

     
  33.  
    11:37: Boat ceremony BBC News Channel

    The BBC's Ben Brown, at the Tower of London, says in about 30 minutes a wreath made by Royal British Legion - at the poppy factory in Richmond - will be carried to the Havengore, the boat which carried the wartime prime minister's coffin along the Thames 50 years ago. The boat will then set off on the same journey again from the Tower of London to Westminster, and Tower Bridge will be raised at 12:45 GMT as a mark of respect. Once it reaches the waters opposite the Palace of Westminster, there will be special service and wreath laying in the waters.

     
  34.  
    11:33: Havengore in 2015
    The Havengore docked in London

    And here it is in 2015, being prepared ahead of the anniversary events.

     
  35.  
    11:31: Havengore 50 years ago
    Winston Churchill's coffin on a boat - the Havengore - on the Thames on the day of his funeral

    Here's the Havengore 50 years ago.

     
  36.  
    11:29: Stephen O'Sullivan

    emails: I watched the funeral on the BBC, I was five-years old and it is the first television memory I have, something I've always remembered to this day. I knew it must have been important because things were quiet and everybody knew that it was happening. I remember the procession, the train, the boat journey past the dipped cranes on the Thames. I asked my mother whether everybody got a funeral like this and she replied "oh no, this is different, he was an important man". Older now, I appreciate how important.

     
  37.  
    11:21:

    If you have any pictures of Churchill's state funeral 50 years ago, or other relevant pictures you'd like to share, please send them to yourpics@bbc.co.uk.

     
  38.  
    11:20: US/UK special relationship 'alive' BBC News Channel
    Winston Churchill with US President Franklin Roosevelt in 1943

    The US ambassador to the UK, Matthew Barzun, tells the BBC he is "inspired every day" by Sir Winston Churchill. He says the wartime leader was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States and the special relationship between the US and the UK is still "alive" as the countries stand "shoulder to shoulder" in the fight against Ebola in Africa and ISIS in Iraq.

     
  39.  
    11:17: Boris on 'extremist losers'

    Boris Johnson, who recently published a biography of Churchill, has been making a few headlines of his own this morning. In an interview with The Sun, he has described men who join religious extremist groups such as Islamic State as "losers" who are likely to be users of pornography. Such individuals often turn to violence to boost their own-self esteem, he has suggested.

     
  40.  
    11:12: 'Spellbinding orator' BBC News Channel
    Winston Churchill making a speech during the 1945 election campaign

    Historian Sir David Cannadine pays tribute to Churchill, describing him as a "spellbinding orator" and "at times a marvellous determiner of military strategy" who was regarded as a saviour of the country. "Even though he was a controversial figure, I think that verdict has stood the test of time," he says.

     
  41.  
    @BBCArchive 11:05: Archive footage

    are live tweeting archive footage from Churchill's funeral, replicating the BBC coverage of that day as it unfolded in 1965. Go to https://twitter.com/BBCArchive to follow the coverage.

     
  42.  
    11:01: Warship aspirations

    Not all senior politicians are in the Commons for the Churchill commemoration, with politics continuing elsewhere. On a visit to Portsmouth, Chancellor George Osborne says the UK should aspire to build a new warship every two years and to make the Royal Navy the "most modern" fleet in the world.

     
  43.  
    10:52: Cameron lays wreath
    David Cameron lays a wreath at Churchill ceremony

    Prime Minister David Cameron lays a wreath at the Churchill commemoration ceremony at the Houses of Parliament.

     
  44.  
    10:51: Migrant election vote BBC News Channel

    The BBC's Louise Stewart tells the BBC News Channel this election is the first time where migrants will swing the vote in certain constituencies - most of them in London and the Midlands. "They don't vote as a blob - so many seats are tightly fought - but they could make a real difference, and they are of course more likely to support parties in favour of immigration."

     
  45.  
    10:46: Havengore ceremony BBC News Channel
    BBC's Ben Brown

    The BBC's Ben Brown is on board HMS Belfast on the Thames, where the Havengore, the boat which carried the wartime prime minister's coffin along the river from Tower of London to Westminster 50 years ago, will make the journey again later. Tower Bridge will be raised at 12:45 GMT for the ceremony.

     
  46.  
    10:39: Migrant election vote

    Let's break away from events 50 years ago for a moment. Migrant voters could have a "decisive" impact in a range of key marginal seats in the forthcoming general election, a new study has found. Almost four million foreign-born voters in England and Wales will be eligible to cast a vote on 7 May, according to a report by academics at the University of Manchester and the Migrants' Rights Network.

     
  47.  
    10:34: A million mourners
    People standing on roofs to see Churchill's funeral

    Crowded streets forced people to use every vantage point to see the funeral procession 50 years ago. A million mourners lined the route in London, while 25 million people in the UK - just under half the entire population of the country - saw it on television. About 350 million viewers, a tenth of the world's population, watched around the globe.

     
  48.  
    @PhilippaBBC 10:28: Live ceremony Philippa Thomas BBC News

    tweets: We'll have live ceremony coverage @BBCWorld 1245 #GMT MT @BBCArchive: Churchill's political career #BBCChurchill

     
  49.  
    10:26: 'Fitting tribute'

    Churchill's grandson, MP Sir Nicholas Soames, says the Westminster events were a "fitting tribute" to his grandfather and a "strong reminder of all he did for his country". Emma Soames, Churchill's granddaughter, adds: "To me growing up he was a grandfather, but I came to realise at his death that he was so much more than that."

     
  50.  
    @bbcArchive 10:24: Share your memories BBC Archive

    tweets: Do you remember the day of Churchill's funeral? Share your memories with us #BBCChurchill pic.twitter.com/5gzSwuWKsP

    BBC graphic
     
  51.  
    10:23: Churchill in numbers
    Winston Churchill doing a radio interview in 1928

    Churchill's career in the House of Commons began in 1900 and spanned 64 years, the longest in the 20th Century. While he was a member of the Commons, Churchill sat for two parties, represented five constituencies and contested 21 elections. He held numerous ministerial positions and served as prime minister twice.

     
  52.  
    10:00: 'Unprecedented funeral'

    Former BBC correspondent Martin Bell tells the BBC News Channel that Churchill's state funeral was "unprecedented - we will not see the likes of it again". He says the nation was "absolutely riveted" by the funeral. "It was very quiet, dignified, almost devotional - it's hard to imagine anyone drawing that kind of emotion, it was the passing of a great man," he says.

     
  53.  
    @BenBrownBBC 09:51: Ben Brown, BBC News Presenter

    tweets: On board HMS Belfast for BBC news channel coverage of 50th anniversary of Sir Winston's state funeral #Churchill2015

     
  54.  
    09:45: 'Inspired a nation'

    Prime Minister David Cameron, who is attending a remembrance service for Sir Winston Churchill at the Houses of Parliament, says the wartime leader's legacy "continues to inspire not only the nation whose liberty he saved, but the entire world". He adds: "2015 is a year to remember Winston Churchill's extraordinary life of achievement, to admire and to celebrate it anew, and to give thanks for his service not only to the country he loved, but to humanity as a whole."

     
  55.  
    09:34: 'Touched nation's heart'

    Churchill had "touched the nation's heart", his great-grandson said. "The story of how he first entered politics, he fought 19 general elections, and he was not always right on the issues, but people so admired what he managed to do in 1940 to inspire a nation and lead them through his great speeches and oratory. So he retains a very warm place in the nation's heart and the family have been bowled over by all the coverage."

     
  56.  
    09:33: 'Proud day'
    Randolph Churchill lays a wreath at the statue of his great-grandfather Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square

    The great-grandson of Sir Winston Churchill says the wartime leader would be "surprised but thrilled" at the commemorations of the 50th anniversary of his state funeral. Randolph Churchill, who was accompanied by Churchill's grandaughter Celia Sandys, says it is a "proud day" after he laid a wreath at the statue of the leader in Parliament Square.

     
  57.  
    09:12: Churchill anniversary

    A reminder that BBC Parliament is re-broadcasting the state funeral of the UK's wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill in about five minutes.

    Crowds lining a London street as the coffin of Sir Winston Churchill passes along
     
  58.  
    08:54: 'Different election' BBC Radio 4

    Back to contemporary politics for a moment. Former Labour minister Peter Hain says he believes more and more people will "swing behind" Ed Miliband as the election approaches. He rejects claims by his former colleague Alan Milburn that the election could be a repeat of 1992 - which Labour narrowly lost. "I don't recognise 1992 at all and I went through that election," he tells Today. "This is a very different election."

     
  59.  
    08:48: 'Britain at a standstill'

    "It was the day Britain came to a standstill, the world watched and an era passed" - BBC South of England Correspondent Duncan Kennedy looks back at the day of Winston Churchill's funeral - 30 January 1965.

     
  60.  
    08:40: Controversial Churchill

    For some, Sir Winston Churchill remains an intensely controversial figure. The BBC's Tom Heyden writes about the 10 greatest controversies of Churchill's career.

    Churchill statue, Westerham
     
  61.  
    08:31: Churchill's place in history BBC Radio 4

    Historians Simon Heffer and Andrew Roberts have been discussing Sir Winston Churchill's place in history on Today and considering how he would have adapted to contemporary politics. They agree it is "completely impossible" to compare him with today's leaders as they face lesser challenges and "you need the crisis to create the statesman". Simon Heffer says Churchill would have struggled with modern media scrutiny given his fondness for whisky first thing in the morning and his "dictatorial" style. But Andrew Roberts says Churchill never over-ruled his generals and the "granite" he showed in 1940 and 1941 undisputedly make him the greatest occupant of No 10.

     
  62.  
    08:15: NHS row BBC Radio 5 live

    Labour's shadow health minister Liz Kendall tells BBC 5 live Breakfast that former Labour health minister Lord Darzi is "wrong" for thinking that using the private sector is the way to make "the big changes we need" to public services like the NHS. "I just don't think that that's the case," she says. It comes after Lord Darzi told the BBC the NHS should prefer providers who deliver the highest quality care - whether they are "public, private or not-for-profit".

     
  63.  
    08:02: 'Million-strong crowd' BBC Breakfast

    The BBC's Duncan Kennedy, outside St. Paul's Cathedral in central London, tells BBC Breakfast a million-strong crowd gathered between the cathedral and Westminster Abbey for Sir Winston Churchill's funeral 50 years ago. "In many places it was 20-people deep as many regarded him as the greatest Englishman who ever lived... he's one of those rare leaders that is remembered in life and in death, however history ultimately judges him," he says.

     
  64.  
    07:51: Churchill's funeral BBC Radio 4

    Broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby tells Today he will be watching the replay of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral on BBC Parliament this morning. It will be poignant for him, he says, since his father Richard - whose commentary on the event has lived so long in the memory - also died 50 years ago.

     
  65.  
    @BBCBenThompson 07:41: Housing shortage

    BBC business correspondent Ben Thompson tweets: 150,000 new homes built across UK last year but is it enough if demand still outstripping supply? @CountrysideProp boss - 0750 @BBCBreakfast

     
  66.  
    07:37: Behind the scenes at Westminster

    Parliament is not sitting today due to events marking the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral. But those wanting a different insight into how the famous institution works might like to read about a new BBC documentary - Inside the Commons - to be broadcast next week. Michael Cockerell and his team have been behind the scenes at Westminster and not all MPs have been happy about it.

    Documentary-maker Michael Cockerell
     
  67.  
    @BBCr4today 07:28: Medical training BBC Radio 4

    tweets: Plan to reduce length of medical training will lead to "lower standard of expertise" @thomasdolphin, @TheBMA #r4today

     
  68.  
    07:20: 'Dirtiest campaign' The Independent

    Ukip leader Nigel Farage says this general election could be the "dirtiest" campaign in British history. Writing in the Independent, he accused the Conservatives and Labour of employing "attack-campaign" election strategists and "hurling hundreds of thousands of pounds at Facebook and twitter".

     
  69.  
    07:07: Funeral film BBC Radio 4

    The TV pictures of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral remain "compelling viewing" 50 years on, James Rowland from BBC Archive says. There was a "little bit of damage" on the original film and dirt that had to be cleaned off, he tells Radio 4's Today, prior to its rebroadcast on BBC Parliament today. He reflects on the fairly rudimentary camerawork used in 1965, compared to today's standards, remarking that the pictures seem "slightly twitchy".

     
  70.  
    07:06: Churchill event timings

    Here are some of the 50th anniversary timings if you want to plan your day:

    • The Houses of Parliament will host a remembrance service and wreath-laying ceremony at 09:00 GMT
    • BBC Parliament is re-broadcasting the state funeral, which runs for a little over four hours, at 09:15 GMT.
    • Tower Bridge will be raised at 12:45 GMT as the Havengore repeats its 1965 journey from the Tower of London to Westminster
    • Westminster Abbey will host a ceremony from 18:00 GMT, with flowers laid at the green marble stone placed there in memorial to Churchill.
     
  71.  
    06:58: Churchill anniversary
    The Havengore carrying Sir Winston Churchill's coffiin along the Thames

    A bit more about what's happening in London later to mark the 50th anniversary of the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey will both host remembrance services, and there'll be a ceremony recreating the flotilla which carried Churchill's coffin along the Thames from the Tower of London to Westminster Pier. Members of Churchill's family will travel along the Thames on the Havengore, which carried his coffin 50 years ago.

     
  72.  
    06:51: 'Three parent baby law'
    Daily Telegraph

    And the Daily Telegraph's lead is on concern from the Church of England that legislation is being rushed through to allow children to be born with three genetic "parents". The technique - mitrochondrial DNA transfer - is being promoted as a way to combat a series of inherited medical conditions.

     
  73.  
    06:45: 'Religious slaughter of animals'
    The Times

    Meanwhile, the Times leads on a big rise in the number of food animals slaughtered without stunning. The British Veterinary Association - which wants the practice banned from Britain - says the number of animals killed in this way has risen by 60%. The paper says this is because of campaigning by Muslims for traditional slaughter methods.

     
  74.  
    06:41: 'Migrant voting power'
    The i

    Migration is the focus of the i newspaper. It says immigrants could decide the result in 70 marginal seats, and Conservatives fear "migrant voting power" could cost them the election.

     
  75.  
    06:36: 'Gas bill rip-off'
    Daily Express

    It's a "gas bill rip-off" for the Daily Express, which says figures show the big six energy suppliers are enjoying bumper profits, as temperatures plummet. The paper says the big firms will pocket an extra £114 per household in the coming year.

     
  76.  
    06:34: The newspapers
    The Guardian

    A quick look at what's making the headlines in the newspapers. Energy prices take a prominent place in a few, with the Guardian saying real take-home pay is less now than it was in 2001, according to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Men and young workers have noticed the greatest fall in spending power, the paper adds.

     
  77.  
    06:28: Missed Newsnight and This Week?

    Don't worry if you weren't glued to your telly seven hours ago - you can catch up with the full editions of Question Time and This Week by clicking on the 'Live Coverage' tab on this page.

     
  78.  
    06:24: Cameron tribute to Churchill
    Winston Churchill statue outside parliament

    Last night Downing Street released the text of the message on the wreath David Cameron will lay at the statue of Winston Churchill, which stands just outside the Commons chamber. The PM has written: "Britain was so incredibly fortunate that in our hour of greatest need there came forward one of our greatest ever statesmen. 50 years on the light has not dimmed. David Cameron."

     
  79.  
    06:22: Churchill anniversary
    Richard Dimbleby Richard Dimbleby commentating on Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral for the BBC

    Fifty years to the day, BBC Parliament is re-broadcasting the state funeral of the UK's wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill. Introduced by Sir Winston's grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames, the historic broadcast runs for a little over four hours. Fourteen reels of film, complete with impeccable commentary by Richard Dimbleby, have been restored, joined and re-mastered. The showing starts at 09:15 GMT.

     
  80.  
    06:20: Good morning Alex Hunt Politics editor, BBC News Online

    Hello and welcome to a fresh day's coverage of political developments ahead of the 7 May General Election - yes there's just 97 days to go now. You'll be able to listen or watch all the BBC's political output today on this page and we'll be bringing you all the best clips, quotes, analysis, reaction and breaking political news throughout the day. If you want to see what to expect, here's yesterday's campaign countdown.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • The AmericansThe good guys?

    A US TV show examining the Cold War is offering a radical revision of history, writes Eric Kohn

Programmes

  • A car being driven by Cruise Automation technologyClick Watch

    The tech which could allow any car with an automatic gearbox to become self-driving

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.