Friday morning news briefing: Big Ben Brexit bongs farce

Danny Boyle
Big Ben is undergoing a multimillion pound restoration - REX

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Sum raised by public 'cannot be spent on Brexit bongs'

It is the battle for Big Ben to bong on Brexit night. But the campaign has descended into farce after it emerged a six-figure sum donated by Brexiteers cannot be used to fund the chiming of Parliament's Great Bell. After Boris Johnson called on the public to "bung a bob" for Big Ben to sound the moment Britain left the EU, more than £150,000 was raised on the Go Fund Me site by Friday morning. But the House of Commons Commission, chaired by the Speaker, has ruled that the money could not be used because of parliamentary regulations on financial donations. Chief Political Correspondent Christopher Hope reports on the immediate blame game in Westminster. Big Ben is being restored and the cost for it to bong rocketed to £500,000 as it would involve reinstating a floor underneath the bell. Brexiteer MP Mark Francois, who launched the crowdfunding bid, writes that it "would be completely illogical" for Mr Johnson to withdraw support for the campaign.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Long-Bailey’s Labour leadership bid risks being derailed by an abortion row after it emerged she objected to the law on late terminations. Harry Yorke reports that Labour MPs accused the pro-Corbyn candidate of holding "absolutely toxic" views. Read all we know about the five candidates vying to replace Jeremy Corbyn.

'We need laws to prevent another Molly from dying'

A father who holds social media responsible for his teenage daughter's suicide has called for new laws to force tech giants to hand over their data. Ian Russell, whose 14-year-old daughter Molly killed herself after viewing self-harm content online, has joined with the Royal College of Psychiatrists to demand social media firms share their data with mental health researchers. Backing the Telegraph campaign for new duty of care laws, he says that firms opening up their data would be an important first step. Read Mr Russell's joint article with the college.

Cat-fight over pet's care ends in £20k legal battle

A Chelsea Flower Show winner was taken to court by her neighbours after being accused of adopting their pet cat by changing its collar, taking it to the vets and letting it into her house. Jackie and John Hall were "upset and distressed" that their black and white Maine coon Ozzy spent long periods away from their home, so attached a GPS tracker in an attempt to see where it ended up. To their surprise, the cat was being "fed, groomed and cared for by someone else" at the end of their street. Read how the award-winning landscape gardener spent £20,000 in legal fees arguing the cat had made up its mind to make her house its home.

News digest

Gallery: The big picture

In what was expected to be one of his last public duties before stepping back as a senior royal, the Duke of Sussex oversaw the fixtures draw for the Rugby League World Cup. Read Camilla Tominey's article for what tickled the prince. And browse our picture editor's latest gallery.

The Duke of Sussex was in 'surprisingly good spirits' at the rugby event Credit: GEOFF PUGH for The Telegraph

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Business and money briefing

Squeeze on | Banks are reining in lending at the fastest rate since the credit crunch as fears rise over an economic slowdown, which could spell chaos for high-risk borrowers following a debt binge. Tim Wallace reports that business loans suffered their toughest squeeze on availability since the 2008 crisis in the final three months of 2019.  

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South Africa v England | Ben Stokes was cast in a familiar role on day one of the third Test against South Africa, charged with bailing England out of a tricky situation alongside Ollie Pope in Port Elizabeth. Read Rory Dollard's match report and Scyld Berry's verdict.  

And finally...

Old dogs, same tricks | An innate ability to "fetch" without any training may be the reason dogs became man's best friend, scientists have discovered. Experts have long assumed that the canine tendency to pursue an object and return it to their master arose as a result of domestication by humans over thousands of years. But a series of experiments with wolves reveals the trait is inbuilt.