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Labour warned Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election swing a ‘blip’ ahead of North Shropshire

Jacob Scott

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Brexit: Retired civil servant discusses fishing row

That is the verdict of voters in the southeast London constituency which the Tories held in spite of damning headlines about an alleged Downing Street lockdown Christmas do and furore over MPs second jobs. The vote in the Tory safe seat was the first in a series of closely-watched by-elections with voters in North Shropshire heading to the polls on Thursday to choose a replacement for Owen Paterson, who resigned after being found to have broken lobbying rules.

Voters in Old Bexley and Sidcup elected Louie French to Parliament with the 33-year-old winning 11,189 votes, compared to Labour’s Daniel Francis who received 6,711.

The Tory majority of 19,000 from 2019 was slashed to 4,478 on a reduced turnout of 34 percent while Labour enjoyed a 10 percent swing.

North Shropshire’s majority in 2019 was 22,949 on a 68 percent turnout with Labour trailing on 12,495 votes.

People in Mr French’s suburban London seat have suggested the Tories may be able to weather recent storms.

North Shropshire chooses a new MP on Thursday (Image: Getty)

Owen Paterson resigned in the wake of the lobbying scandal (Image: Getty)

Elizabeth Murray, manager of Bexley Country Market, said: “Some people would be affected by what’s in the media – things about the Christmas party, things about where they disagreed with what’s happening with Covid.

“But I would think it was a small issue. We’ve been quite pleased with the representation we’ve had.

“There’s a lot of negative things with Boris, but there’s negative things with everyone in Government.

“I would not like to be Boris. I think with Covid, even with Starmer or anyone else that got in, they would still have difficult issues with Covid.”

READ MORE ON EX-PATS ABANDONING SPAIN

Labour’s North Shropshire by-election candidate Ben Wood (Image: Getty)

Tory by-election candidate Neil Shastri-Hurst (Image: Getty)

She described Labour’s 10 percent swing as a “blip”, adding that initially she viewed Sir Keir positively, but now believes the Labour leader has flip-flopped on Covid.

Elizabeth added: “He agreed with everything [the Government] did with Covid and now he’s saying things are wrong.”

Bexley scrap metal dealer John Taylor put the reduced majority down to mid-term punishment for Mr Johnson’s government, adding that any party in power at this point would have suffered the same.

Cafe chain owner Clifford Eton said he was pleased with how the Government looked after his business during the pandemic.

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The Lib Dems beat the Tories in Chesham and Amersham (Image: Express)

He added: “Anyone in their position, because of the pandemic and Brexit, would struggle.”

But Mr Eton explained that Mr French needs to fight the corner of small businesses, protect policing and oppose road charges to keep his support.

By contrast, Labour supporter, Paula Woodcock, said she was delighted by the swing, but admitted Labour could not have won in the true blue seat.

In North Shropshire, internal polling from Labour puts the Tories on 40 percent, Labour on 33 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 11 percent.

People shopping in Oswestry as candidates campaign for votes (Image: Getty)

However, a Lib Dem analysis of postal voting data-led party insiders to insist the Tory vote has fallen from 52 percent to 44 percent while its has risen from 32 to 38 percent.

Nationally, Sir Keir’s party has opened up a huge lead in the polls, with Labour on 41 percent, up 3 percentage points, and the Conservatives on 32 percent, down four, in their largest lead in an Opinium poll since February 2014.

Adam Drummond, Opinium’s Associate Director, said: “While the shift is large, it is important to remember a couple of key points.

“Firstly, Boris Johnson is the king of comebacks, and we have seen him recover from difficult polling situations before.

“Secondly, Labour still has some key brand issues, with many voters not trusting them on the economy, and some voters cynical about whether Keir Starmer is strong enough for the top job.

“This might be why so many Conservative voters are moving to undecided, rather than straight to the Labour Party. However, unless the Conservatives can turn these numbers around quickly, backbenchers might start asking if the party is over for the Prime Minister.”

The North Shropshire by-election candidates listed alphabetically in order of surname are:

Suzie Akers Smith – Independent

Andrea Christabel Allen – UK Independece Party (UKIP)

Boris Been-Bunged – Rejoin EU

Martin Edward Daubney – The Reclaim Party

Russell Fraser Dean – The Party Party

James Alexander Elliot – Heritage Party

Howling Laud Hope – The Official Monster Raving Loony Party

Earl Elvis Phillippe Jesse – Freedom Alliance. The Real Alternative

Yolande Ann Kenward – Independent

Duncan Alistair Kerr – Green Party

Lilian Helen Margaret Morgan – Liberal Democrats

Neil Shastri-Hurst – The Conservative Party

Kirsty Rebecca Walmsley – Reform UK

Ben Wood – Labour Party

Read the full article via Shropshire Live at: https://www.shropshirelive.com/news/2021/11/19/list-of-candidates-published-for-north-shropshire-by-election/

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

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