UK news | The Guardian

Latest news, breaking news and current affairs coverage from across the UK from theguardian.com

18/08/2018 08:30 PM
Families torn apart as visa misery hits foreign spouses
‘Hostile environment’ has left couples with one non-EU partner facing discrimination, delays and huge bills

On 17 December last year, Paige Smith stood on a bridge above a road in north London. “I don’t remember too much, just standing there, looking over the edge, thinking ‘I’m just going to jump’, but then two police officers – I don’t know where they came from – managed to talk me down.”

Smith, 24, had been left suicidal by the Kafkaesque nightmare in which she and her Albanian fiance, Fatjon Ballmi, 23, had found themselves since becoming engaged.

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18/08/2018 07:23 PM
Fashion boss gives £1m boost to People’s Vote campaign
Superdry co-founder Julian Dunkerton calls for new Brexit poll and says fear is growing about prospect of no deal

The campaign for a referendum on the final Brexit deal has been boosted by a record £1m donation, amid growing public concern that Britain will leave the EU without any agreement.

The multimillionaire Julian Dunkerton, who co-founded the Superdry fashion label, said he was making the donation to the People’s Vote campaign because he saw a “genuine chance to turn this around”. He claimed that, if Brexit had happened 20 years earlier, his brand would never have been a success.

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18/08/2018 06:00 PM
Honeyed words do nothing to curb prejudice against the disabled | Nick Cohen

Those in direst need of support deserve more than euphemisms to alleviate their plight

Your guard should go up when you are told that the politically correct policing of speech is nothing more than an insistence on good manners. Take a cool look at those who think it their business to tell you what to say and write. More often than not, you will find yourself staring at small-time autocrats with a control fetish. Activists who scour the Twitter accounts of the objects of their hatred, and squeal with inquisitorial delight when they find “problematic” language they can use to build a case for the prosecution, can be called many things – “polite” is not one of them.

And yet and but and for all that, the unashamed racism of respectable society that was commonplace 40 years ago has nearly vanished from mainstream discourse – in public at least. The jokes about breasts and nancy boys, the Benny Hills and John Inmans, once a staple of TV comedy, have gone too and good riddance to them. However bad misogyny, racism and homophobia are, they are at least under attack.

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18/08/2018 05:20 PM
People's Vote backers rally in Edinburgh for say in final Brexit deal

Ex-Lib Dem leader Menzies Campbell, comedian Rory Bremner and broadcaster Gavin Esler among speakers

Campaigners demanding a public vote on the final Brexit deal rallied in Edinburgh on Saturday to increase pressure on the UK government.

Backers of the so-called People’s Vote gathered in Festival Square to call for Theresa May’s deal on leaving the EU to be put to the electorate.

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18/08/2018 04:58 PM
Former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli vows to fight deportation

Ghana-born 38-year-old appeals as Home Office tells him to go following jail term

Kweku Adoboli, the former UBS trader who caused a $2.3bn (£1.8bn) financial loss – the biggest in UK history – has vowed to fight attempts by the Home Office to deport him from the UK to Ghana, his country of birth.

Adoboli, 38, has not lived in Ghana since he was four years old and describes himself as British.

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18/08/2018 04:19 PM
Suspect arrested after 63-year-old stabbed to death in Walworth, London

Victim pronounced dead at the scene and 67-year-old man arrested in Denmark Hill remains in custody

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a 63-year-old man was stabbed to death in London.

Police were called to an address in Walworth in the south-east of the city on Friday afternoon.

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18/08/2018 03:57 PM
London bus cuts to hit working-class hardest, says watchdog

TfL cuts to include routes used by workers living on outskirts to reach low-paid, central jobs

Leaked Transport for London plans to cut bus routes connecting the outskirts of the city with the centre will disproportionately affect working-class people, a transport watchdog has said.

More than 30 TfL bus services will be reduced, including longer routes from the south-east to west London, some of which are more than an hour long end to end, including the 53, 171 and 172.

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18/08/2018 02:42 PM
Stolen tractor used to rip cash machine off Dorset shop wall

Police say thieves caused significant structural damage and closed road for public safety

Thieves in Dorset have brought new meaning to the phrase “hole in the wall” after stealing a tractor to rip a cash machine out of a shop wall.

Police received several calls just after 4am on Saturday to report the theft in progress from a shop in Fleet Street, Beaminster.

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18/08/2018 02:40 PM
Jim Sheridan suspended from Labour over antisemitism row comments

Former MP said he no longer respected the Jewish community because of their work with ‘Blairite plotters’

The former Labour MP Jim Sheridan has been suspended from the party after he appeared to say he had lost “respect and empathy” for the Jewish community over the party’s antisemitism row, it is understood.

Sheridan had been criticised for a social media post which suggested that Jewish Labour members were acting in concert with “Blairite plotters” to undermine the leadership.

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18/08/2018 02:12 PM
UK has not 'woken up' to far-right threat, says ex-counter-terror chief

Mark Rowley urges politicians and media not to underestimate threat of domestic extreme rightwing groups

The UK has not “woken up” to the threat posed by the far right, the former head of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism unit has said.

Mark Rowley urged politicians, the media and communities not to underestimate the threat of far-right groups, citing how National Action, a proscribed neo-Nazi organisation, has “a strategy for a terrorist group” with online materials advising on how to sow tension and discord in communities and evade police surveillance.

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18/08/2018 02:11 PM
A Titanic success: how Boris Johnson inspired my viral Brexit satire

Josh Pappenheim’s short film based on the blockbuster features Cameron, Johnson and Gove as the doomed ship’s crew

When the satirist Armando Iannucci was asked if he would make a Brexit version of his show The Thick Of It, he replied that there was no point, such was the absurdity of the reality.

Yet political satire still has its place – a fact that was underlined last week when an online comedy short sending up Brexit became a viral hit, racking up more than 10 million views.

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18/08/2018 02:00 PM
Likely identity of Oscar Wilde’s American sweetheart ‘Hattie’ uncovered
Biographer pinpoints the woman who stole writer’s heart on his 1882 US book tour

It was on his famous 1882 lecture tour of the United States and Canada that Oscar Wilde briefly lost his heart to a woman called “Hattie”.

He wrote to her: “When I think of America I only remember someone whose lips are like the crimson petals of a summer rose, whose eyes are two brown agates, who has the fascination of a panther, the pluck of a tigress, and the grace of a bird. Darling Hattie, I now realise that I am absolutely in love with you, and for ever and ever…”

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18/08/2018 01:59 PM
Caroline Lucas: ‘So much time is wasted in parliament’

The MP talks about fearing for her life in Cambodia, getting arrested and how Westminster makes her swear more than she should

A girl named Rachel transformed my childhood. Life was safe, suburban and comfortable, but ours was a home without books. I met her aged 11, and she introduced me to the joys of poetry and literature. It opened my mind to ideas I could never have dreamed of.

I organised a strike at my secondary school. Lessons were cancelled, but we weren’t allowed to go home. In retrospect, I can see the safeguarding issues that might have created, but at the time it felt the greatest injustice.

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18/08/2018 01:59 PM
RSPB boss: Britain has one last chance to save endangered species

Chief executive warns of a devastating loss of wildlife if three new parliamentary bills do not rein in UK farming practices

Ministers may have only 12 months to rescue Britain’s degraded environment and to save its endangered birds and animals. That is the stark conclusion of Michael Clarke, chief executive of the RSPB, who has warned that parliamentary bills – to be published over the next year – will have to make crucial changes to the way our farms and fisheries are run if the wildlife and landscape of the nation are to be rescued from their dangerously depleted condition.

“We are on a cusp, and if we fail to act decisively we will pay the price in coming years,” Clarke told the Observer last week.

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18/08/2018 01:22 PM
Sandhurst cadets allegedly waterboarded fellow recruit - report

Commander of military academy confirms that allegation is under investigation

Military police are investigating allegations that two cadets waterboarded a fellow recruit at Sandhurst military academy.

According to a report in the Sun, two officer cadets allegedly held the individual down and poured water over a cloth covering his face, creating the sensation of drowning.

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18/08/2018 01:00 PM
Muslim women call for more equality in running UK mosques
Activists challenge lack of prayer spaces and exclusion from management roles

Muslim women in Scotland are campaigning to be given more equal facilities for praying and to be involved in running mosques.

Scottish Mosques For All was set up to highlight the importance of including women in decision-making. More than a quarter of mosques in the UK have no facilities for women and, in the remainder, access is often restricted and the space they are given inadequate.

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18/08/2018 12:59 PM
Workers pay the price as big British companies squeeze their suppliers
Managers admit buying from factories that fail to pay the minimum wage

A fifth of British companies have found they use suppliers who are either paying their staff late or at illegally low rates, a survey has found, raising further concerns about the treatment of vulnerable workers.

Suppliers to one in 10 British companies are failing to pay the minimum wage, according to a survey of managers for the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.

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18/08/2018 12:00 PM
No-fault evictions making hundreds of families homeless each week
A law allowing landlords to throw out private tenants without giving a reason is exacerbating the crisis

Hundreds of families are being made homeless every week in “no-fault” evictions by landlords keen to cash in on rising property prices or put the rent up.

Analysis of quarterly eviction and homelessness data by the pressure group Generation Rent suggests that 216 households evicted every week in England under section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act are becoming homeless. These are known as no-fault evictions because landlords do not need a reason such as rent arrears or property damage to kick tenants out. The end of a private tenancy is now the single biggest cause of homelessness in England, with the number of cases more than trebling from 4,580 to 16,320 between 2009 and 2017.

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18/08/2018 11:35 AM
No-deal Brexit may force rethink of vote - ex-civil service head

Impact would be so grave UK would have to review decision to leave EU, says Bob Kerslake

Britain may have to rethink the decision to leave the EU if the government is unable to strike a Brexit deal with Brussels, a former head of the civil service has said.

Bob Kerslake said the consequences of a no-deal exit would be so serious that the UK parliament would have to consider whether it could allow it to go ahead.

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18/08/2018 09:36 AM
gal-dem Guardian takeover proves diversity breeds creativity

Women and non-binary people of colour gained a new platform and magazine learned to better reflect its rich, diverse readership

Working with the Guardian on gal-dem’s takeover of Weekend magazine was an incredible exercise and a clear demonstration of the power of championing marginalised voices. The feedback has been overwhelming and the fact that sales spiked significantly are both clear reminders of the fact that diversity breeds creativity.

As young women and non-binary people of colour who rarely see themselves celebrated in mainstream media (and as a generation who rarely buy print media), this has been a particularly illuminating project. Much of the content produced for the Guardian issue is no different to the content which we publish on our website, the only difference was the sheer reach of the Guardian’s platform.

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18/08/2018 07:00 AM
'It looks like you're a lazy idiot': hoarders welcome medical classification

People say WHO decision to class hoarding as a disorder may improve public understanding

David Woods was a university student when he formed an insatiable appetite to find out more. He bought books – lots of them. Thirty years on, the 50-year-old council worker is surrounded on all sides by his ever-growing collection: 15,000 books and DVDs fill his small bungalow on the outskirts of Edinburgh. “It’s quite tricky to let go of some stuff,” he admits.

Woods is a hoarder, as is his housemate Lynda. They’re midway through an anxiety-ridden declutter, which has already resulted in one transit van full of “stuff” being taken away, with about six more left to fill. By the end, they hope, there may even be room to sit down.

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18/08/2018 12:01 AM
UK public backs tough action on plastic waste in record numbers

Size of consultation response could lead to ‘latte levy’ and other fiscal measures in budget

An unprecedented number of people have backed tough action against plastic waste in a government consultation that could pave the way for a series of fiscal measures in the autumn budget.

The government will say response is evidence that there is broad public support for reducing single-use plastic waste through measure such as a “latte levy” on coffee cups, similar to the plastic bag charge, and tax incentives for recycling.

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18/08/2018 12:01 AM
Corbyn to criticise tech firms' media influence in Edinburgh speech

Labour leader will give Alternative MacTaggart lecture at annual TV festival

Jeremy Corbyn will use an appearance at Edinburgh television festival to criticise the role of billionaire owners, and large internet companies such as Facebook, in the British media.

“A strong, diverse and independent media is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy and society,” Corbyn said on Friday in a preview of the speech next week.

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18/08/2018 12:01 AM
Nigel Farage hits out at MPs as he joins forces with hard Brexit group

Controversial MEP links up with Leave Means Leave to fight Theresa May’s Brexit plan

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage is to lend his support to a hard-Brexit campaign group, he has said.

Farage accused MPs and the Lords of refusing to enact the result of the 2016 EU referendum and said he would join forces with the property tycoon Richard Tice to argue against Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal.

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17/08/2018 05:12 PM
Cracking summer: UK insurers expect rise in subsidence claims

Heatwave has caused damage to walls of homes, with south-east particularly susceptible

Insurers are bracing themselves for a spike in subsidence claims after this summer’s heatwave led to cracks appearing in walls across south-east England.

Several big-name insurers have reported that subsidence incidents are up 20% on this time last year. The fear is that that those returning from holidays will see fresh damage and in September there will be an influx of substantial claims.

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17/08/2018 05:00 PM
Revealed: asylum seekers' 20-year wait for Home Office ruling

Charities say making people wait two decades in abject poverty is ‘utterly barbaric’

The Home Office has left some people waiting more than 20 years for decisions on their asylum claims, according to data obtained exclusively by the Guardian, in delays charities say are unacceptable and “utterly barbaric”.

Seventeen people received decisions from the Home Office last year on claims they had submitted more than 15 years ago, four of whom had waited more than 20 years for a decision. The worst case was a delay of 26 years and one month after the person initially applied for asylum.

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17/08/2018 04:16 PM
Gilla Gelberg obituary

My wife, Gilla Gelberg, a psychotherapist working for the NHS in Newham, east London, has died aged 63, after being knocked down by a bus outside her workplace in Stratford. She was the psychodynamic psychotherapy team leader, working with individuals from diverse backgrounds with complex issues in which social deprivation, family abuse and refugee status converged. Despite the stress and challenges, this was her dream job, the culmination of years of training and clinical experience.

Born in Bloemfontein, in apartheid South Africa, daughter of Misha Gelberg, who owned and ran a men’s clothing store, and Shula Machnes, a former dancer, Gilla moved to London in 1978. A professional jazz vocalist in the early 1980s, she had a much stronger drive to help people, especially children, with emotional difficulty and trauma.

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17/08/2018 03:44 PM
Stormy Daniels blames Celebrity Big Brother withdrawal on custody issue

Channel 5 rejects adult film star’s account of her failure to appear on the show

Stormy Daniels has blamed her last-minute decision to pull out of an appearance on Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother on a “custody development” involving her child.

The adult film star, whose allegations of an affair with Donald Trump have dogged the US president, was to appear as the high-profile guest star on the long-running reality TV series.

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17/08/2018 03:17 PM
Woman's Weekly's 'exploitative' contracts anger authors

As well as slashing fees for short stories, the magazine has demanded fiction writers waive all rights to their work

The new issue of the Woman’s Weekly fiction special is out now, promising its readers short stories from writers who “never fail to come up with new twists and turns and unexpected plots”. But, in a twist that may have surprised the editors, authors are up in arms over a new contract that demands all rights for any story it publishes.

Woman’s Weekly has been a British newsstand favourite for a century, with its blend of cakes and crochet, fiction and fashion. It is now part of media giant TI Media, which produces magazines including Homes & Gardens and Marie Claire.

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17/08/2018 03:10 PM
Well done Ticketmaster for closing resale sites – but it ain't over yet

GetMeIn and Seatwave are on their way out but Viagogo and StubHub will snap up touts

Ticketmaster’s decision to shut down its ticket resale sites – GetMeIn and Seatwave – has been greeted with widespread approval.

The two websites will be replaced with a system allowing fans to sell unwanted tickets at face value, albeit with Ticketmaster collecting a 15% commission.

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17/08/2018 02:46 PM
'He loved making people laugh': fans mourn Barry Chuckle at Yorkshire funeral

Chuckle Brothers fans flocked to remember one half of comedy duo, after his death age 73

The hearse was just pulling in to Rotherham United’s football ground when the first cry rang out. “To me!” shouted one woman. “To you,” yelled another. Inside one of the funeral cars, Paul Elliott, better known as Paul Chuckle, sat silently, head bowed. His brother Barry was dead, and along with it a lifelong comedy partnership, the Chuckle Brothers.

Among the mourners was Tommy Cannon. One half of Cannon and Ball, he knows how special it is to be part of a double act. “Losing Barry will be like losing an arm for Paul,” he said. “If I’m ever doing anything without Bobby [Ball] I’m always looking around to see where he is.”

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17/08/2018 01:42 PM
Anger over plan to move Pankhurst statue away from parliament

Critics say relocating effigy of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst would be a scandal

A row has erupted over plans to relocate a statue of the suffragette pioneer Emmeline Pankhurst from its site near the Houses of Parliament to the private Regent’s University in Regent’s Park, London.

The statue, which was funded by suffragettes, was unveiled in Victoria Tower Gardens near the House of Lords by the then prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, in 1930.

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17/08/2018 07:00 AM
Sadiq Khan: London planners must prepare for no-deal Brexit

Mayor instructs resilience forum to assess impact of food and medicine shortages

Sadiq Khan is to instruct the body tasked with planning for terrorism attacks and disasters such as the Grenfell Tower fire to start making preparations for a no-deal Brexit, to assess whether London could face potential shortages of medicines and food.

The London mayor said the government was dragging its feet and leaving businesses and EU citizens in limbo by refusing to guarantee their rights in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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16/08/2018 12:54 PM
A-level results raise policy questions – but first let's celebrate achievement | Jon Andrews

Despite the upheaval of the redesigned qualifications, many trends persist

We all know coverage of exam results day is fairly formulaic. Pictures of teenagers jumping up in the air clutching pieces of paper, stories about twins with a string of A*s who are now off to Cambridge, and a parade of people trying to explain all the changes that have happened that year and how it is now all different to before.

Students receiving their A-level results on Thursday will be the first to do so in the latest wave of redesigned qualifications in England. The changes, which began during Michael Gove’s tenure at the Department for Education, mean a move away from modular qualifications and coursework towards linear assessment at the end of two years of study – largely through examinations.

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15/08/2018 03:43 PM
With 676 counter-terror investigations, how do police focus resources?

In wake of Westminster incident, huge number of live cases raises questions over best way to prevent attacks

The investigation into the alleged terror attack outside parliament is one of hundreds being conducted by authorities in the UK.

Downing Street officials revealed on Tuesday that counter-terror police and MI5 had 676 investigations open at the end of June.

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15/08/2018 10:58 AM
As a social landlord, I want a proper plan to tackle homelessness | Alan Fraser

After a decade of cuts and plummeting staff levels, providers of housing and support want more than promises

It has been a big week for government housing announcements: the government has quietly backed down from plans to remove protection for short-term supported housing funding; has said it plans to end rough sleeping within a decade; and has announced a “new deal” for social housing tenants.

It is important to acknowledge that the government has sought to listen to the people and organisations it should be listening to when drawing up these strategies: supported housing providers, rough sleeper organisations and social housing tenants. And the plans do, broadly, tackle some of the problems. It’s helpful to hear that hostel funding will be protected, that rough sleepers will be given appropriate support, and that social housing tenants’ concerns will not be sidelined and ignored.

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15/08/2018 07:25 AM
Westminster crash: security measures face further scrutiny

Review reportedly issued stark warnings after 2017 Westminster Bridge attack

The latest apparent attack in Westminster will inevitably lead to further scrutiny of the security measures currently in place to protect parliamentarians as well as Londoners and tourists in the capital.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks, lines of crash-rated bollards, concealed barriers in the forms of balustrades and steel barriers were placed around Westminster and outside the Houses of Parliament.

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14/08/2018 08:09 PM
Labour frustration mounts as Corbyn wreath row drags on

Party hoped for effective summer campaign, but leader struggles to shake off questions over PLO ceremony

Jeremy Corbyn had planned to spend the summer making the case for a Labour government to voters up and down the country – putting his party on the front foot, in case Theresa May is forced into an early general election.

Instead, while loyal supporters were queuing to see him speak in Stoke-on-Trent on Tuesday, he was facing questions for the fourth successive day about what wreaths were laid by whom and why, in a Tunisian cemetery four years ago.

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14/08/2018 04:36 PM
How prepared is the EU for a future surge in migrant arrivals?

Migration numbers have fallen since 2015 peak, but countries are still grappling with the political and practical fallout

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14/08/2018 02:43 PM
Aftermath of motorway bridge collapse in Genoa – video

A huge chunk of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, can be seen missing in footage posted on Twitter by the Italian politician Sergio Battelli. At least 20 people have been confirmed dead

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14/08/2018 01:58 PM
How the Houses of Parliament crash unfolded – video report

A man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences after a car crashed into cyclists and pedestrians before hitting security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.

The suspect, in his late 20s, was arrested and taken to a police station in south London. Police are treating it as a terrorist incident. Two people were taken to hospital

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14/08/2018 11:42 AM
Moment car crashes into barriers outside Houses of Parliament – video

Footage from the BBC shows the moment a car crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Tuesday morning. A man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences. Two people have been taken to hospital and their injuries are not thought to be serious 


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14/08/2018 10:30 AM
Westminster car crash: handcuffed man taken away by police – video

A man has been arrested after a car crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament in London, injuring at least two people, Scotland Yard has said.

"At this stage, officers do not believe anybody is in a life-threatening condition. Cordons are in place to assist the investigation. Westminster tube station is closed," it said.

Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command is leading the investigation and has yet to determine whether or not this was a terrorist incident.

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14/08/2018 08:29 AM
Houses of Parliament: armed police swoop on crashed car – video

Footage shows armed police surrounding a crashed vehicle outside the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday morning. Scotland Yard says a man has been arrested 

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13/08/2018 06:31 PM
Where does the blame lie when something goes wrong at hospital?

NHS colleagues claim Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba was ‘scapegoated’ after Jack Adcock’s death in 2011

Who is to blame when something goes wrong in a hospital and a patient suffers injury or a setback, or even dies, as a result? Is it an individual or team or, given the complexity of healthcare, have the flaws been in a wider system, and hinged on available resources, not just clinical decisions?

Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba’s role in the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock in 2011, and especially the series of legal and disciplinary processes that triggered, would have sparked renewed debate about these profound and troubling questions at any time.

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11/08/2018 04:00 PM
A son-in-law with big plans to take Sports Direct upmarket

Michael Murray, fiance of Mike Ashley’s daughter Anna, is now his ‘head of elevation’ and a key player in House of Fraser’s future

He’s only just become Sports Direct’s W1A-style “head of elevation”, but Michael Murray, the fiance of Mike Ashley’s daughter Anna, is likely to take another step up with the takeover of House of Fraser.

The ailing chain’s 59 shops are partly a property play for Ashley, who will be renegotiating all the leases with landlords over the next year.

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08/08/2018 10:17 PM
'Boris has caused offence' over burqa remarks, says Theresa May – video

Former foreign secretary has caused offence by saying that Muslim women who wear burqas look like 'letterboxes' or 'bank robbers', said Theresa May.

Johnson, who resigned last month over the Chequers Brexit deal, prompting an outcry from other politicians and Muslim groups with his comments. 'It was the wrong language to use. He should not have used it,' the prime minister said. 

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08/08/2018 03:13 PM
CCTV said to show Ben Stokes mocking and throwing cigarette at gay men outside nightclub – video

Ben Stokes was the 'main aggressor' in a late night street fight in Bristol that left one ​man with serious facial injuries including a broken eye socket and deep cut to his face, a court heard.

The England cricketer knocked out Ryan Ali with one punch while the firefighter appeared to be backing away from a confrontation, a jury at Bristol crown court was told.

The court heard that Stokes had been out with teammates in Bristol city centre celebrating victory over the West Indies in an ODI last September. He and fellow cricketer Alex Hales were denied re-entry to Mbargo, after returning to the nightclub, where they had earlier been drinking, at 2.08am after the venue had stopped allowing patrons in for the evening.

The prosecution's case is that at around 2.35am Stokes was captured on CCTV, brawling with co-defendants Mr Ali and Ryan Hale. All three deny a charge of affray. 

Footage was earlier shown to the jury that the prosecution said depicted Stokes mocking Kai Barry and William O’Connor, described as a 'flamboyant, extrovert and openly gay young couple' before flicking the stub of a lit cigarette towards the head of O’Connor. 

The trial continues.

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