UK news | The Guardian

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

25/06/2018 02:20 PM
Male students in England and Wales more likely to kill themselves

Suicide rates among university students show slight rise but a significant gender difference

Suicide rates among university students in England and Wales have gone up slightly over the last decade, according to official statistics, which reveal that young male students are significantly more likely to kill themselves than female students.

In the 12 months to July 2017, ninety-five students killed themselves, which equates to 4.7 suicides per 100,000 students, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal.

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25/06/2018 02:14 PM
Government cautiously optimistic on Heathrow vote, says Grayling

Transport secretary claims strong support across political spectrum for third runway

The government is “cautiously optimistic” about winning a key parliamentary vote on the expansion of Heathrow airport, the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, has said, defending the controversial idea as being good for the whole of the UK.

The Conservatives, who have a three-line whip in place for their MPs, are likely to get significant Labour support in the vote on Monday after Unite called for Labour MPs to back the third runway.

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25/06/2018 02:02 PM
Boris Johnson flies to Afghanistan to avoid voting on Heathrow expansion - Politics live

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen

So, Boris Johnson is in Afghanistan. This is from the Afghan foreign ministry.

ملاقات معین سیاسی و سرپرست وزارت امور خارجه با وزیر امور خارجه کشور شاهی بریتانیا https://t.co/CBJjZyITlk pic.twitter.com/EiRXvFkeTD

Greg Hands, who resigned as an international trade minister last week so that he could vote against a third runway at Heathrow, told the World at One that he chose to resign, instead of doing what Boris Johnson is doing and finding an excuse to be away, because he made an explicit promise to his constituents at the election that he would vote against the plan.

He also said that until recently he thought government MPs would be given a free vote, which may help to explain why he was so specific in the promise he made to his constituents.

I wrote to the PM earlier this week on how I will honour these 2017 General Election pledges to the people of Chelsea & Fulham and vote against the Heathrow 3rd runway on Monday. pic.twitter.com/Mtad84N3Zx

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25/06/2018 01:39 PM
No plans to change law on single-sex spaces, government confirms

Confirmation follows remarks in support of trans community by Penny Mordaunt last week

The government has confirmed it has no plans to change the law to allow transgender people to use single-sex spaces such as changing rooms and toilets.

The equalities minister, Penny Mordaunt, last week told a committee of MPs that the trans community faced “discrimination and bigotry ... very much like what gay men went through in the 1980s” after some people self-defining as a gender different from their biological sex were turned away from single-sex spaces.

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25/06/2018 01:32 PM
Give Angela Merkel more time to set up EU migrant deals, say allies

CDU rallies round German chancellor after minister threatens to reject migrants registered in another EU state

Allies of Angela Merkel have called for the German leader to be given more time to set up new bilateral migration deals with other European countries, as she returned empty-handed from an emergency mini-summit in Brussels.

Sunday’s gathering of 16 European leaders had been hastily assembled to offer a lifeline to the German chancellor, as her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, is threatening to unilaterally turn away migrants already registered in another EU country at German borders unless the chancellor can come up with a European solution to the problem by 1 July.

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25/06/2018 01:26 PM
Met Office issues heatwave alert for England

Forecasters predict hottest day of the year so far with temperatures set to hit 30C

The Met Office has issued a heatwave alert on what could be the warmest day of the year so far, with temperatures forecast to remain high over the coming days.

The forecasting service said there was an 80% chance of heatwave conditions between Tuesday morning and Thursday evening in parts of England.

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25/06/2018 01:16 PM
Is Big Ben London’s most disappointing tourist attraction?

The gothic masterpiece is covered in scaffolding, prompting furious visitors to write one-star reviews on TripAdvisor

Name: Big Ben.

Age: 159.

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25/06/2018 12:52 PM
UK epilepsy drug set to be first cannabis-based medicine in US

US Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve Epidiolex for autumn launch

A treatment for childhood epilepsy developed by a UK firm is expected to be approved by US regulators this week, becoming the first cannabis-based medicine on the American market.

Epidiolex, made by GW Pharmaceuticals, is expected to receive official approval from the US Food and Drug Administration by Wednesday and the drug would then be launched in the US in the autumn. It should be available to prescribe by doctors in Britain and the rest of Europe by mid-2019 if the European Medicines Agency gives it the nod early next year.

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25/06/2018 12:22 PM
What do you think about legalising cannabis in the UK?

The government has announced a review into the use of medicinal cannabis – we want to hear your views

Mike Barton, chief constable of the Durham police force, has called for the ban on cannabis to be scrapped, arguing that it damages public safety, puts users in more danger, and gives millions of pounds to organised criminals.

His comments came after former Conservative leader William Hague said the UK government’s drug policy is “inappropriate, ineffective and out of date”.

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25/06/2018 12:14 PM
Heathrow airport: how MPs are likely to vote on the third runway

The positions of parties and key players before the Commons vote on expansion

On Monday evening MPs will vote on whether or not Heathrow airport should have a third runway. It is a deeply factious issue and, not unexpectedly, the divisions are complex.

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25/06/2018 12:07 PM
Two men arrested after Bristol attack that kills one and injures two

Police say incident at Redcliffe was isolated but step up patrols in area

A man has died and two others have suffered life-threatening injuries in a suspected armed burglary in Bristol.

Police have arrested two men from London on suspicion of murder following the incident at Redcliffe near the city centre in the early hours of Monday.

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25/06/2018 12:05 PM
Grenfell fire chief had no training in 'stay-put' policy, inquiry told

First incident commander on scene was not trained in how to re-evaluate advice to residents

The first fire brigade incident commander at the Grenfell Tower fire received no training in how to reverse the “stay-put” policy or in how to get children, old people and the infirm out of high-rise residential fires, the public inquiry has heard.

Occupants of the 24-storey block who called 999 were advised to stay in their flats long after the fire had started spreading through the facade. But Michael Dowden, a firefighter for 14 years and watch manager at North Kensington fire station, told the inquiry he had never been trained into how to re-evaluate the advice that was offered to people stuck in the block nor received any training in how to change that advice to a full evacuation.

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25/06/2018 11:04 AM
'The train came insanely close': graffiti artists on why they risk their lives

After three graffiti artists were killed by a train, our writer speaks to veterans of the scene – and enters a clandestine world of kings, tags, throw-ups and toys

‘We sometimes stand on station platforms,” a young graffiti artist tells me. “When a train comes in on the opposite side, we jump on the tracks and start painting the train in front of the bemused passengers. One time someone shouted, ‘Train!’ – meaning there was one coming down the line. Everyone jumped back onto the platform except me and another guy. We looked at each other, daring each other to break first. I won but the train came insanely close to hitting me. It had its horns blaring.”

The death this month of three London graffiti artists has raised many questions, in particular this one: why would young men risk their lives to write their names in prominent places? The bodies of Jack Gilbert, 23, Harrison Scott-Hood, 23, and Alberto Carrasco, 19 – known by the tags Kbag, Lover and Trip – were found on the tracks at Loughborough Junction. They are thought to have been struck by a train during the night. It was, say police, a particularly risky location, offering no refuge and no means of escape.

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25/06/2018 10:58 AM
Hermes couriers are workers, not self-employed, tribunal rules

Group of 65 couriers entitled to employment rights, minimum wage and holiday pay

A group of Hermes couriers have won their fight to be treated as workers instead of independent contractors in what has been described as one of the most significant victories against exploitation of gig-economy workers.

An employment tribunal in Leeds ruled that the couriers were entitled to receive the minimum wage and holiday pay, and to reclaim unlawful deductions from their wages, because they had incorrectly been classified as self-employed.

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25/06/2018 10:33 AM
Jeremy Hunt name curse strikes again at BBC

Yet another broadcaster replaces crucial consonant in health secretary’s surname

It is a verbal landmine that has gone off at Sky News, BBC Television and the BBC’s flagship morning radio show.

And once again, Jeremy Hunt’s name has been taken in vain, with a presenter on the Today programme mispronouncing his surname by replacing a crucial consonant.

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25/06/2018 09:34 AM
World of weird: the new exhibits at London's eccentric Horniman Museum

Museum’s director on how its epic anthropology collection fulfils its founder’s brief to “bring the world to Forest Hill”

The Horniman Museum’s new director is surrounded by more than 3,000 objects collected over a century ago to show the English how fascinating, different and frankly weird the rest of the world was, but the object he loves most was made in the past year.

The “eco-warrior’s helmet”, covered in spikes of sea shells, was created by the New Zealand artist Chris Charteris as an emblem of the resourcefulness of the Kiribati nation, whose archipelago homes are imminently threatened by climate change and rising sea levels.

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25/06/2018 09:05 AM
Countrywide seeks fresh funding as property sales slide

UK’s biggest estate agency group issues fourth profit warning in eight months

Shares in Britain’s biggest estate agent, Countrywide Properties, have plunged 25% after it issued its fourth profit warning in eight months and called on shareholders to raise fresh funds to cut its debt.

Countrywide, the company behind Hamptons, Bairstow Eves, Taylors and Gascoigne-Pees, has been hit hard by a downturn in the housing market in London and the south-east, a botched revamp of the business and growing competition from new online firms such as Purplebricks.

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25/06/2018 09:00 AM
The fight for trans equality must be recognised as a class struggle | Shon Faye
Trans people are frozen out of work – this will change only if we move beyond the vicious and obsessive arguments about the boundaries of identity

A third of UK employers are less likely to hire a trans worker, according to a new survey. This is hardly news to those of us in the trans community. People are much more transphobic than they think they are, according to the British Social Attitudes survey. Yes, 82% of people say they are not prejudiced against transgender people “at all”. But according to the same survey only 41% of Britons think trans people should “definitely”’ be able to teach kids. And only 43% are happy to confirm that trans people should be police officers.

Prejudice – much of it unconscious – makes employers less likely to hire a trans person. The fact that policing and teaching are specific areas where people don’t trust us is telling – in the public psyche, these are both considered positions of authority. It’s certainly easy to wonder if the persistent misrepresentation of trans people as deluded or deceitful has infected the minds of those who quietly decide not to hire them.

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25/06/2018 08:55 AM
Tributes paid to Briton killed in Cyprus hit-and-run

Charlie Birch, from Powys, Wales, struck by car as he walked along road near Paphos

Tributes have been paid to a 39-year-old British man who was killed in a suspected deliberate hit-and-run in Cyprus.

Charlie Birch, from Powys, Wales, was struck by a car as he walked along a road near Paphos with a 32-year-old man at about 2.30am on Sunday.

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25/06/2018 08:49 AM
Uber's appeal over London licence ban begins

Magistrate to decide if Uber is ‘fit and proper’ to operate after reforming business

Uber’s appeal against the decision not to renew its licence in London will begin on Monday.

The hearing will be held at Westminster magistrates court and will last for several days.

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25/06/2018 08:00 AM
Life as an NHS nurse in the 1950s: ‘Patients never had to wait on trolleys’

Laurel Robertson, 89, was born in St Lucia. Part of the Windrush generation, she came to Britain in 1958 and joined the NHS, working in A&E at St James’s, Balham, and later in occupational health


• 70 years of the NHS: a revolution that is reborn every day

I started my training as a midwife in St Lucia. Then I saw an advertisement saying that they were desperate in London to have qualified persons to help out, so I came here in 1958, when I was 20, and trained for three years at Mount Vernon hospital in Northwood.

As a trainee in St Lucia, there were a lot of restrictions. You had to jump out the window to see your boyfriend, that sort of stuff. Things were strict over here, too: we weren’t allowed to go to parties, so we had to leave one window open and jump out. I have no idea what would have happened if we got caught – we were too well organised for that.

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25/06/2018 08:00 AM
Free the London marathon ‘impostor’ – he has done no wrong | Phil Daoust
A homeless man picked up a lost number and crossed the finish. So what? The officials who jailed him are despicable

More than a million criminal cases go through the courts every year, so you expect the odd miscarriage of justice. But the case of Stanislaw Skupian still makes my blood boil. His “crime”, as I suppose we have to call it, was to join the 41,000 entrants in this year’s London Marathon without the correct paperwork.

After another runner lost his number a few hundred metres from the finish line, Skupian seems to have picked it up on the spur of the moment and decided to join the sweating hordes. Although it was such a hot day that more than 70 competitors ended up in hospital, magistrates were told the run was a “dream come true” for Skupian, who was homeless, separated from his wife, and had reportedly had a mental breakdown. They preferred to see it as “fraud by false representation” and sentenced him to 13 weeks in jail.

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25/06/2018 06:14 AM
Monday briefing: Corbyn hits turbulence over Heathrow vote

Labour leader’s union ally urges MPs to mutiny on third runway policy … Tory call for buy-to-let curbs … England surge to last 16 of World Cup

Good morning. I’m Martin Farrer with the best news and views this Monday morning.

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25/06/2018 06:00 AM
Pro-Corbyn group to launch drive for public vote on Brexit deal

Leftwingers shut out of cross-party campaign, says group aiming to change Labour policy

A pro-Corbyn group is to launch its own drive for a “people’s vote” on a final Brexit deal, with the aim of persuading leftwing Labour members concerned about backing a cross-party campaign.

Related: ‘EU referendum was a massive decision and people were lied to’

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25/06/2018 05:01 AM
London still the most desirable city for overseas workers

UK overall drops to fifth in survey because of cross-border movement fears after Brexit

London has retained its position as the most desirable city for overseas workers, beating New York, Berlin and Barcelona, according to the latest study by the Boston Consulting Group and totaljobs.com.

The UK overall, however, has dropped three places in the country rankings over concerns about the cross-border movement of workers following Brexit. The study also found that the number of British workers willing to seek employment overseas has soared to more than 60% – the largest increase in any country.

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25/06/2018 12:01 AM
UK Top 40 singles chart to include video streaming figures

Tally will take in Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube and Tidal, while streams from free and paid-for services will no longer be weighted equally

It has been a long and curious journey for the UK singles chart since Maurice Kinn first rang round a handful of record shops in late 1952 to compile a top 12 of the best-selling new records.

In that time, the charts have grown, with dedicated countdowns covering singles and albums as well as compilations and even genre- and format-specific charts. It has weathered the hype-heavy multi-formatting wars of the 1980s and 1990s, finally bending to digital with the introduction of downloads in 2004. A decade later, streams were added, marking the first time the UK chart measured anything outside of pure sales.

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25/06/2018 12:01 AM
Ministers shake up contract bidding rules

Government moves to rebuild trust and address criticism following Carillion collapse


Measures to make it easier for small businesses, charities, co-operatives and social enterprises to bid for government contracts will be unveiled by ministers on Monday in an attempt to rebuild trust, following the collapse of Carillion.

In the wake of criticism of the government’s handling of the outsourcing company, ministers plan to change the rules so that when companies are bidding for contracts, their “social values” will be taken into account, as well as whether they provide value for money for the taxpayer.

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25/06/2018 12:01 AM
UK-focused firms have struggled since Brexit vote, analysis finds

KPMG finds companies earning profits mostly abroad have benefited since EU referendum

Businesses that earn most of their profits abroad have benefited since the Brexit vote from an inflow of funds from investors at the expense of domestic companies that rely on sales in the UK, according to two separate analyses of the London stock market.

In the two years since the EU referendum, the disparity between the share performances of companies that operate largely inside the UK and ones that repatriate profits from foreign subsidiaries has almost reached a record high, said the accountancy company KPMG.

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25/06/2018 12:01 AM
Award-winning Wild West End garden opens in central London

Gold medal winning garden aims to improve air quality around busy Oxford Street

An award-winning garden aiming to bring peace, tranquility and improve air quality for London shoppers, opens on Monday off Oxford Street as part of a major project to green the West End.

The Wild West End garden, which won a gold medal at the Chelsea flower show last month, has been transplanted into the busy retail heart of the capital.

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24/06/2018 07:09 PM
'A money-making machine': families struggle to pay Home Office charges

Peter, a father of three from Trinidad, had to choose between accommodation and trying to stay in the UK

Imagine having to choose between paying for accommodation to keep a roof over your head and putting your savings towards an application to stay in the country you call home.

This is the decision Peter, 57, had to make in 2016 when his family were made homeless for a month because their landlord wanted the property back. They struggled to find someone else who would rent to them, given their short-term visa at the time. They were forced to use the savings they had for their Home Office fees to find daily accommodation.

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24/06/2018 07:09 PM
Slash 'obscene' Home Office fees, say MPs and campaigners

Call comes as inquiry begins into charges that soared under hostile environment policy

MPs and campaigners have called for urgent action to reduce Home Office fees as the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration launches an inquiry into the charges.

David Bolt issued a call for evidence as he started work on an inspection of the Home Office’s charging for asylum, immigration, nationality and customs services. Bolt said it would look at the rationale for the fees, including the amounts charged.

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24/06/2018 06:41 PM
UK's 'most patriotic' street gets bunting out again for England

The ironically named Wales Street in Oldham is bedecked in more than 1,500 St George’s flags

When the full-time whistle blew in Russia, the party on a terraced street in Oldham was in full swing. Children ran out to play football while the umpteenth rendition of the Fat Les song Vindaloo blared out on to the street dubbed “the most patriotic in Britain”.

More than 1,500 St George’s flags fly on the ironically named Wales Street, where every house is festooned with England colours and each family, even the street’s only Welshman, has caught World Cup fever.

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24/06/2018 05:15 PM
What next for the Glasgow School of Art? | Letters
Readers respond to the fire that destroyed Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece

The Glasgow School of Art should be reconstructed as it was (Editorial, 20 June). Mackintosh did not, after all, physically build it himself – his genius resides in the design and a faithful rebuild is no less a Mackintosh building than the original. Unrealised buildings by Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright have been constructed long after their deaths from original plans. The only difference is that Mackintosh’s art school had a previous existence. If there is an opportunity to return this marvellous building to three-dimensional life, so it can be physically experienced by future generations rather than only surviving as plans and photos, it should be taken.
Ian Simmon
Monkseaton, Tyne and Wear

• I agree with Ian Jack (Brick by brick, Glasgow must recreate its lost masterpiece, 23 June). Glasgow without its art school would be like London without St Paul’s. In addition to the massive negative impact on students and Glaswegians, its absence would dismay the many visitors to the city who come to wonder at Mackintosh’s masterpiece.

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24/06/2018 05:10 PM
Killed by keyhole surgery at close range | Brief letters
Death on the tracks | Murder of rich criminal | Mending Morris Minors | Bakewell pudding

The deaths of three graffiti artists is a tragedy for their friends and families (Lethal tags: London’s perilous places hold spray painters in thrall, 23 June), but we should also spare a thought for the train drivers who will be asking themselves “Was it my train that killed those three young men?” When a person dies after being hit by a train, the train driver may suffer years of mental anguish.
Dr David Harper
Cambridge

• “Officers originally thought Palmer had died of natural causes because of recent keyhole surgery to his chest, but it later emerged that he had been shot six times at close range” (Family of rich criminal offers £100,000 for leads to catch murderers, 22 June). Surely a mistake that anybody could have made?
Alan Woodley
Northampton

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24/06/2018 04:02 PM
Durham police chief calls for legalisation of cannabis in UK

Mike Barton says ban on drug is damaging public safety and market needs to be regulated

A chief constable has called for the ban on cannabis to be scrapped, arguing that it damages public safety, puts users in more danger, and gives millions of pounds to organised criminals.

Mike Barton, who leads the Durham police force, said people growing a couple of plants for personal use would not be subject to raids in his jurisdiction. Durham police are rated as outstanding in their effectiveness by the official police inspectorate.

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24/06/2018 03:04 PM
Gavin Williamson allies reject reports of threat to topple Theresa May

Sources say despite UK defence secretary’s request for more funding, he remains loyal

Allies of Gavin Williamson, the UK defence secretary, have moved to quash reports that he had threatened to topple the prime minister unless defence spending was increased, but warned there was significant backbench anger over Theresa May’s refusal to confirm the UK would remain a “tier one” military nation.

Williamson is scheduled to meet Philip Hammond in the next fortnight in a attempt to secure concessions ahead of a Nato summit in Brussels in July, following a tense meeting with May and the chancellor last Tuesday, which ended without any promise of further funding.

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24/06/2018 02:04 PM
James Henry Pullen, inmate, inventor and modelmaker extraordinaire

Exhibition highlights life and work of one of the strangest geniuses of the 19th century

In 1878, James Henry Pullen, a man who did not speak until he was seven and barely spoke a comprehensible word for the rest of his life, drew his own autobiography.

At a glance, it could be an account of the long, successful career of an eminent architect or engineer, full of drawings of beautiful ship models and handsomely equipped workshops. In fact, Pullen spent all but his earliest years in mental hospitals, but as a new exhibition reveals, gradually became modestly famous as one of the strangest geniuses of the 19th century.

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24/06/2018 01:14 PM
'The more we undermine May, the more likely a Brexit fudge' says Jeremy Hunt - video

Jeremy Hunt says Airbus's warning about job losses related to Brexit is 'completely inappropriate', and that 'siren voices' risk undermining the government at a key moment in the negotiations. He says the best way to achieve the 'clarity and certainty' businesses need is to back the prime minister in her negotiations with Brussels.

Jeremy Hunt hits back at Airbus over Brexit warnings on jobs

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24/06/2018 10:54 AM
Tony Blair says Trump must reassure EU of support for bloc

Ex-British PM says US stance risks individual nations falling into orbit of other powers

Donald Trump must reassure Europe by clearly stating his support for democratic values and the survival of the EU if the US is not to suffer as individual European nations are picked off by rival powers such as Russia and China, Tony Blair has said.

Speaking ahead of the US president’s visit to London and the Nato summit next month, the former British prime minister said Trump had to reassure Europe that he was not seeking the disintegration of the EU.

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24/06/2018 10:00 AM
In desirable Southwold, locals rise up against blight of empty holiday homes

Property investors accused of squeezing the life out of picturesque Suffolk resort and distorting economy

“We don’t wish to be sounding nimby, or that we’re not keeping up with the times,” worries Will Windell, a Southwold councillor, “but you need to see the effect that this stuff has in a real way on a small community.” The stuff, for the full-time residents of Suffolk’s picturesque coastal town, is the news that second-home owners in the area are exploiting a legal loophole to dodge council tax. “We’re subsidising all the local services,” says Windell, exasperated, in an impromptu meeting conducted over a dining table. “We pay for the refuse collection and the roads; these guys don’t, and it’s distorting the local economy.”

Earlier this month David Beavan, a retired farmer and Liberal Democrat candidate in the upcoming Southwold and Reydon byelection for the district council, researched Southwold’s most desirable streets – rows of grand townhouses and charming cottages closest to the beach – and discovered that 260 properties were registered as small businesses, intended as holiday lets for a minimum of 140 days per year and without any obligation to fulfil that requirement or to then pay any council tax. According to his follow-up survey, around 80% of those houses stood empty most of the time.

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24/06/2018 09:30 AM
Fresh controversy over firefighters’ ‘stay-put’ advice at Grenfell

Lawyers claim key staff were left unsure when to drop policy

All fire authorities were officially advised to train key staff to determine when they should abandon the “stay-put” policy for residents in burning tower blocks three years before the Grenfell tragedy, it has emerged.

But the quality and scope of the London fire brigade (LFB)’s training – outsourced since 2012 to a private contractor, Babcock International – is now under scrutiny amid claims that senior firefighters were ill-prepared for what confronted them during last year’s blaze, which claimed 72 lives.

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24/06/2018 08:35 AM
Hardline Tories tell May: get ready for no-deal Brexit

Ex-cabinet ministers among those who say leaving EU with no trade deal must be an option

Theresa May has been urged by hardline Brexiters to speed up preparations for a “no-deal” Brexit to put pressure on Brussels during withdrawal negotiations.

Sixty former cabinet ministers, MPs, economists and business figures signed a letter to the prime minister urging her to issue orders to departments to accelerate planning for Britain to operate under World Trade Organization rules if a deal cannot be done.

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24/06/2018 08:00 AM
Arron Banks ‘discussed digging dirt on journalists’
Donor to Leave.EU campaign ‘wanted to find personal stuff’ on BBC Newsnight editor

Arron Banks, who funded Nigel Farage’s Leave.EU campaign, talked about using private investigators to dig up dirt on journalists looking into his business activities, evidence seen by the Observer suggests.

Last week, the Observer published evidence that suggested Leave.EU co-ordinated its social media messaging with the Kremlin, including re-tweeting attacks against journalists and MPs by the Russian embassy.

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24/06/2018 06:05 AM
England’s cathedrals hark back to the middle ages to pull in crowds

Pilgrimages, pageants and a revival of the Mystery Plays aim to attract interest and precious funds

For centuries they have been places of quiet reflection, highbrow music and greyish stone. But now cathedrals are transforming their genteel image with bright colour, noisy processions and drama, reviving long-abandoned practices from the middle ages and drawing in the crowds.

Leading the pack in this medieval comeback is St Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire which on Saturday attracted thousands to its pilgrimage to mark the feast day of Saint Alban, the first Christian martyred in Britain. And on Wednesday the Chester Mystery Plays will be performed in the nave of Chester Cathedral, the original cycle of 24 plays condensed into one by old soap-opera hands for an 18-day run.

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24/06/2018 06:00 AM
Obesity epidemic demands more action and investment to protect children
As Theresa May announces strategy such as ban on energy drink sales to children, analysis shows government must go further

The government’s obesity strategy is a welcome step forward in tackling one of the leading causes of early death and blighted lives. After smoking, obesity is the single greatest cause of early deaths in the UK: some 30,000 people die early each year because of it. It results in more years of unhealthy life, diminishing the quality of life for people across the country. Obesity increases the prevalence of many physical and mental health issues, from heart disease to diabetes to cancer and depression. That’s why it’s so costly to the NHS – around £5.1bn each year and rising. And its wider costs to society are estimated to be over five times that amount.

Related: Supermarkets targeted in the battle against obesity

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23/06/2018 07:00 PM
Highland fury as Trump rival drives golf course plan forward
Environmentalists fear loss of dunes wildlife and warn of ‘flimsy promises’ about jobs

On a stretch of Scotland’s north-east coast, two historic acts of Highland pillage, separated by ages, are linked across golden sands. The village of Embo in Sutherland lies in the shadow of the grander cathedral town of Dornoch but its beach is known globally for the unique ecosystem its dunes support.

Now, a planning decision by Highland council has left many of the 1,200 animal and insect species to be found in this corner of Scotland facing an uncertain future. High on Ben Bhraggrie overlooking this place stands the 200ft statue of George Granville Leveson-Gower, the first Duke of Sutherland and the most ruthless perpetrator of the Highland clearances which harrowed this place two centuries ago. Some now fear another harrowing is imminent.

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23/06/2018 04:51 PM
About 100,000 people fill streets in central London for anti-Brexit march – video

Tens of thousands attended the demonstration marking the second anniversary of the EU referendum. Some marched in the hope of stopping Brexit, some just wanted to have a second referendum on the final deal, but young and old, Labour and Tory, they were all united in their pro-European passion

Anti-Brexit protest: estimated 100,000 march two years after vote

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23/06/2018 03:50 PM
'Where's Jeremy Corbyn?': anti-Brexit protesters chant in London – video

Thousands of pro-EU campaigners have marched from Pall Mall to parliament to demand a referendum on the terms of Brexit, two years on from the leave vote. The People’s Vote protest comes as pro-leave cabinet ministers push for a hard Brexit

Thousands take to streets in London on anti-Brexit march

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23/06/2018 01:01 PM
J Hus arrested in London and charged with carrying a knife

Rapper, 23, arrested near Westfield shopping centre in east London

The Mercury prize-nominated rapper J Hus has been arrested and charged with carrying a knife.

The 23-year-old, whose real name is Momodou Jallow, was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of a knife or bladed article after police stopped a vehicle near Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, on Thursday.

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22/06/2018 06:16 PM
Grenfell inquiry sacks expert architectural witness

Architect title protected in UK and John Priestley was last registered in 2010

The public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster has sacked its expert architectural witness after it emerged he was not a registered architect.

Related: Grenfell inquiry: fire brigade report shows blaze's rapid progress

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22/06/2018 05:27 PM
The death of the department store, a place out of time | Jess Cartner-Morley

Big, bland stores are at odds with modern consumers’ need for speed and individualism

I have a deep love for the fourth floor of John Lewis’s Oxford Street flagship. The homespun wizardry of the haberdashery department bewitches me like a grownup’s Diagon Alley. And when my children were little, I found the no-nonsense advice and cheery colours of the nursery department profoundly comforting. But even those of us who love department stores have to admit that it is, at this point, a sepia-tinted and nostalgic kind of affection.

The decline of the department store is in direct proportion to the rise of the brand. The allegiance of the modern shopper is to their favourite brand – with which they may have a “relationship” on Instagram or via pop-up shops – not to a permanent physical space.

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22/06/2018 05:05 PM
Is a post-Brexit Tory party an oxymoron?

The fractured party could go in one of several directions at the end of this bruising process

On Wednesday evening, peers finally nodded the EU withdrawal bill towards the statute book. At the same time, a few hundred metres away, the prime minister took to a makeshift stage in College Gardens to revive her vision of post-Brexit Britain.

Theresa May framed her remarks in terms of the crisis shaking the established order of liberal democracy across Europe and the US. If May has one core belief, it is that to fail to deliver on the EU referendum would fan the flames of populism.

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22/06/2018 01:20 PM
Woman jailed for not alerting UK authorities to friend's terrorist plot

Khawla Barghouthi knew about Rizlaine Boular’s plan for knife attack in Westminster

A woman who knew about her friend’s plot to launch a knife attack in Westminster has been sentenced to two years and four months in prison.

Khawla Barghouthi, 21, also faces deportation to Tunisia after she admitted failing to disclose Rizlaine Boular’s Islamic State-inspired plan to authorities.

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21/06/2018 04:50 PM
Government must 'wake up to universal credit flaws'

MPs criticise government for dismissing audit that revealed failings in welfare scheme

MPs have told the government to “wake up to reality” after it rejected criticism of universal credit by the public spending watchdog and insisted its faltering welfare reform was a “great British innovation”.

Opposition MPs reacted angrily to a ministerial statement made on Thursday morning by the work and pensions secretary, Esther McVey, in response to last week’s National Audit Office report into the troubled benefits system.

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20/06/2018 07:14 PM
May has won a key Brexit vote but what happens next?

PM has won fight over a ‘meaningful vote’ but there are more battles to come – in parliament and in Brussels

The Lords passed the Brexit bill on Wednesday night and after many months of bitter debate, it will eventually pass into law, without further amendment.

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20/06/2018 06:41 PM
The art of the U-turn: May scrambles to avoid Brexit bill defeat

The prime minister’s heavily dented authority takes yet another dink

Another day, another Commons confrontation flunked. Theresa May has turned the last-minute swerve into an art form – and by persuading Dominic Grieve, if not all of his band of followers, to swing behind the government on Wednesday, she avoided yet another much-anticipated showdown.

As so often in recent days, both sides of the Brexit civil war now raging in the Tory party declared victory.

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20/06/2018 06:21 PM
May's delay over Trump visit backfires as US-EU divide grows

PM is stranded while US president seems to revel in European leaders’ struggles

If Theresa May thought her favoured weapon – delay – would somehow ensure Donald Trump’s visit to the UK next month would be less controversial than if it had occurred last year, she appears to have miscalculated. Six months ago the president was plausibly an unpredictable nationalist constrained by the senior Republicans surrounding him. He had quit the UN’s climate change agreement but otherwise his foreign policy was largely a complaint that America had to pick up Europe’s tab.

The crisis in transatlantic relations was uncomfortable but containable. In May’s cabinet, the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, held sway, arguing that post-Brexit Britain had to remain close to a country with which it had a natural affinity, and anyway Trump’s re-election could not be discounted. The UK had no option but to ride, and if possible tame, the Trump tiger. The perennial role as America’s ambassador to Europe remained viable.

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20/06/2018 03:12 PM
Clare Smyth's best female chef award raises questions about sexism

British chef’s triumph is bittersweet as legitimacy of gender-specific award is questionable

The chef Clare Smyth is the first Briton to receive the World’s Best Female Chef award, which she accepted in Bilbao at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards on Tuesday night. Despite her own modest claims in the past that she is just a “traditional, boring chef”, Smyth’s talent is widely regarded as singular. Born in Northern Ireland, she remains the only UK woman with three Michelin stars – a talent that has now rightly been recognised on the world stage. So far, so good.

But the triumph is undeniably bittersweet. If this is a coup for Britain and British cooking, it’s less so for women. That such an award even exists confounds many, particularly when the recipients are of Smyth’s calibre. Her career to date stands up against the very best in the world, male or female – at just 28, she was Gordon Ramsay’s head chef at Royal Hospital Road before she went on to open her own place last year, Core by Clare Smyth, in London’s Notting Hill (not to mention having catered a certain high-profile wedding recently).

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19/06/2018 03:55 PM
Bodycam footage shows flat where Grenfell fire started – video

The Grenfell Tower inquiry has been shown thermal camera footage of the moment firefighters entered the flat where the blaze started. They can be seen going into flat 16 at 1.08am and walking into the kitchen to tackle the source of the fire. The video shown alongside highlights the speed at which the fire progressed

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19/06/2018 03:51 PM
Police use drone to locate missing person in Norfolk – video

Police in Norfolk used a drone to locate a missing 75-year-old man. Peter Pugh had gone walking with his family and friends on Saturday evening before becoming separated from the group. He remained there overnight before being rescued on Sunday afternoon. He was airlifted to hospital, where he is being treated for hypothermia

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19/06/2018 02:17 PM
Tributes paid to three graffiti artists killed by train in south London

Street art world remembers men as local Tory leader is condemned for ‘scum’ tweet

Tributes have been paid to three graffiti artists killed by a train in south London.

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15/06/2018 10:27 AM
Upskirting happened to me and now I'm fighting to change the law – video

Gina Martin was at a festival when a man took a photograph up her skirt and shared it with his friends. When the police told her they could not do anything because upskirting was not a crime, she started a campaign. This is how a 26-year-old woman with no legal or political experience is trying to change the law

Update: Since we published this video MP Christopher Chope objected to the upskirting bill meaning that it won't be passed into law on 15 June. Gina Martin has vowed to keep campaigning 

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14/06/2018 09:36 AM
Fires break out in London and Glasgow a year after Grenfell Tower disaster – video

Fires broke out in high-rise residential blocks in London and Glasgow on the morning of commemorations to mark the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Nearly 60 firefighters and eight fire engines were sent to tackle the blaze on the 12th floor of the block in Elmira Street, Lewisham, at 4.14am. Within two hours, emergency services in Glasgow attended a fire in a high-rise in the Gorbals area of the city. Video shows thick black smoke billowing from the 14th floor of the block on Commercial Road

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11/06/2018 07:23 AM
UK weather: forecasters predict long hot summer

Following hottest May on record, Britons will bask in above-average temperatures for next few months

Britons can look forward to a hotter-than-average summer this year, according to forecasters who expect the recent spell of good weather to continue over the next three months.

With the country still basking in the glow of the warmest and sunniest May on record, the Met Office anticipates that the fine weather will last throughout June, July and August.

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