The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived at Windsor Castle ahead of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral this afternoon.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived at Windsor Castle ahead of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral this afternoon.
Pro-independence parties won a majority in Scotland's parliament on Saturday, paving the way to a high-stakes political, legal and constitutional battle with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the future of the United Kingdom. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the result meant she would push ahead with plans for a second independence referendum once the COVID-19 pandemic was over, adding that it would be absurd and outrageous if Johnson were to try to ignore the democratic will of the people."There is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson, or indeed for anyone else, seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our own future," Sturgeon said."It is the will of the country," she added after her Scottish National Party (SNP) was returned for a fourth consecutive term in office.The British government argues Johnson must give approval for any referendum and he has repeatedly made clear he would refuse. He has said it would be irresponsible to hold one now, pointing out that Scots had backed staying in the United Kingdom in a "once in a generation" poll in 2014.The election outcome is likely to be a bitter clash between the Scottish government in Edinburgh and Johnson's United Kingdom-wide administration in London, with Scotland's 314-year union with England and Wales at stake.The nationalists argue that they have democratic authority on their side; the British government say the law is with them. It is likely the final decision on a referendum will be settled in the courts.UK’s Johnson: Referendum would be ‘irresponsible and reckless’"I think a referendum in the current context is irresponsible and reckless," Johnson told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.Alister Jack, the UK government's Scotland minister, said dealing with the coronavirus crisis and the vaccine rollout should be the priority."We must not allow ourselves to be distracted - COVID recovery must be the sole priority of Scotland’s two governments," he said.The SNP had been hopeful of winning an outright majority which would have strengthened their call for a secession vote but they looked set to fall one seat short of the 65 required in the 129-seat Scottish parliament, partly because of an electoral system that helps smaller parties.Pro-union supporters argue that the SNP's failure to get a majority has made it easier for Johnson to rebut their argument that they have a mandate for a referendum.However, the Scottish Greens, who have promised to support a referendum, picked up eight seats, meaning overall there will be a comfortable pro-independence majority in the Scottish assembly.>> Independence the 'elephant in the room' as Scotland goes to the pollsScottish politics has been diverging from other parts of the United Kingdom for some time, but Scots remain divided over holding another independence plebiscite.However, Britain's exit from the European Union - opposed by a majority of Scots - as well as a perception that Sturgeon's government has handled the COVID-19 crisis well, along with antipathy to Johnson's Conservative government in London, have all bolstered support for the independence movement.Scots voted by 55%-45% in 2014 to remain part of the United Kingdom, and polls suggest a second referendum would be too close to call.Sturgeon said her first task was dealing with the pandemic and the SNP has indicated that a referendum is unlikely until 2023. But she said any legal challenge by Johnson's government to a vote would show a total disregard for Scottish democracy."The absurdity and outrageous nature of a Westminster government potentially going to court to overturn Scottish democracy, I can't think of a more colourful argument for Scottish independence than that myself," she said.(REUTERS)
It feels eerily familiar: end-of-lockdown excitement, meeting friends in the sunshine, and even the possibility of a holiday abroad. The numbers are almost identical too. Last year, as this May, new Covid-19 cases drifted well below 2,000 a day. Then as now, summer (and freedom) was unleashed at last. But we know how 2020 ended. A brutal spike and an equally brutal lockdown. Educations were trashed. Christmas was cancelled. So if we do – as many suspect we will – get a new winter take-off of what appears an ever-more seasonal virus, will we face the same misery again? Vaccine threats Last year, cases began to pick up again towards the end of August, and by the end of September were over 10,000 a day again. This time around, the Government hopes, vaccines will halt that rise. All adults will have had their first jab by the end of July. But there’s a wrinkle to the success of the rapid rollout, as the virus potentially surges back in the autumn the most vulnerable people, including the elderly, will have had the longest gap since their first injections. “We might see some immunity waning, particularly among older people,” said Prof Sarah Lewis, professor of molecular epidemiology, University of Bristol. No wonder that this week Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi announced autumn boosters, most likely for everyone over 50. The second big threat is not waning antibodies, but new variants of the virus itself, which have previously shown they can be deadlier or spread faster, and partly elude the protection conferred by some current vaccines. The impact of such mutations can be dramatically seen in the statistics for last November, when the post-summer surge in cases was abating, only for a huge third wave to crash over Britain as we retreated indoors for winter. The “Kent variant” forced us into a new lockdown. As with waning antibodies, there is an official response to the variant threat too: the Government this week announcing almost £30 million to build labs at Porton Down specifically to monitor vaccines efficiency against worrisome mutations of the virus.
UK high-speed trains cancelled after cracks found in carriages. Passengers face ‘significant’ disruption as GWR and LNER suspend services in order to inspect trains
Tom Bradby, the ITV news anchor, has been accused of breaking impartiality rules by publishing a tweet in support of a second Scottish independence referendum. The broadcaster said denying the Scottish National Party (SNP) the chance to hold another vote on the issue if it achieves a pro-independence majority in the elections would make a "mockery of democratic devolution". Mr Bradby, 54, wrote on Twitter on Friday night: "If the SNP can assemble a pro-independence majority here tonight or tomorrow, I just can't see how it would be credible to deny them another referendum. "It would make an absolute mockery of the principle of democratic devolution." His comments attracted criticism from some social media users, who accused him of straying beyond the bounds of impartiality expected of newsreaders.
UK government ‘failed to consider gender’ in its response to Covid pandemicSage overlooked the heavy toll suffered by women when developing policies to combat coronavirus, says study ‘Decisions to close schools meant that mothers on the lowest incomes are nine times more at risk of losing their job due to childcare responsibilities’: Clare Wenham, global health policy expert. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
As Labour loses another chunk of its red wall heartland, people in the Conservatives’ newest seat say their switch in allegiance could be permanent if promises of employment are realised
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel "firmly rejects" pressure not to build in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday following days of unrest and spreading international condemnation of planned evictions of Palestinians from homes in the city claimed by Jewish settlers. Tensions over Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem have stoked daily confrontations. East Jerusalem is among territories that Palestinians seek for a future state.
Some viewers believed comedian went ‘too far’
Chris Eubank Jr mocked Billy Joe Saunders following his old rival’s defeat by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as he laid down his own challenge to the Mexican pound-for-pound king. Saunders was pulled out of his super-middleweight title unification fight in Arlington, Texas on Saturday night after a suspected eye socket fracture sustained during an eighth-round onslaught left him unable to see. The defeat was the very first of the 30-year-old’s 31-fight professional career and saw him lose his WBO belt, with Canelo - who already held the WBA (Super) and WBC gold after victory over Callum Smith in December - now hoping to face IBF champion Caleb Plant in an undisputed 168-pound showdown later this year.
Labour wants to move on from Brexit, but English voters just won’t let themKeir Starmer may have hoped to put the referendum behind him, but its effects on voting patterns seem to be intensifying Labour party leader Keir Starmer leaves his home in London on 8 May. Photograph: Hollie Adams/Getty Images
While Salmond tanked, pro-unionist tactical voting made its mark in ScotlandAnalysis: Scotland’s ‘least popular politician’ warns that his party would be more vigorous post-election Alex Salmond, the Alba party leaders, styled himself as the man to keep the SNP honest. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA
Check out that golden shield.
The UK has recorded another five COVID deaths and 2,047 more cases in the latest daily figures. It compares with seven deaths and 1,907 cases this time last week, while the latest seven-day rolling average is 11.3 and 2,080. On Friday, 119,240 first vaccine doses were administered across the UK, and 449,716 second doses were given.
Parents in Bromley, south-east London are on alert as it has emerged that four attempts to snatch children have been made in a week. The Metropolitan Police said that two boys were approached separately by a man in the borough on April 30 between 4pm and 4.30pm. One of the boys, aged 11, was asked if he wanted a lift by a man in a black van on Whitmore Road in Beckenham, while an eight-year-old was approached in the nearby wooded area of Kelsey Park. The Met received another report on Thursday of a male school pupil being followed by a man along a street on the previous day. Despite what the police called a "lack of similarities" with the incident indicating it was not linked with the first two reports, the force urged parents to “remain vigilant”. Earlier in the week, one parent tweeted to say: “Two hooded men on foot and another in a car attempted to abduct my son on his way home from school. "They chased him into the park [Croydon Road Recreation Ground] but he ran into the basketball courts for two older teenagers for help, the men then disappeared." "Our son maybe shaken up but he is safe at home with us," she added. "I don't want any parent to be posting about their missing child in the coming days/weeks/months! So I'm raising the alarm." It led to Jane Holland, the headteacher of Clare House Primary School writing a letter to parents to warn them about the latest report, as well as addressing students in an assembly. The latest incident involved the "perceived" attempted abduction of a young girl at The Glade shopping centre on Friday. Two males were said to have been walking behind the girl in the south-east London borough when one attempted to grab her hand as it was raised in the air, before walking off. The Met said the incident is not believed to be linked to any of the others. Superintendent Andy Brittain, of the Met's South Area Command said: “When we are made aware of potential incidents of this kind, we investigate them thoroughly. “I am aware of varying reports online both in the news and on social media and I fully understand the concerns of parents in light of these reports. “I would encourage the public to remain vigilant, but not to be unduly alarmed. Child kidnappings or abductions are, thankfully, incredibly rare, but we are not complacent. "In order to provide reassurance to the community we have heightened our visible presence in areas where youngsters may gather and I urge anyone who feels worried or concerned to approach my officers. “In addition, please be assured that if we have reason to believe that there is a specific danger we will make sure that our communities are fully aware immediately. “I would strongly encourage members of the public to approach our officers if they have any concerns or have any information that could prove to be beneficial to our investigations.” None of the children were abducted or harmed in any of the four reported incidents, the Met said.
Angela Rayner has been sacked as chair of the Labour Party, as Sir Keir Starmer began a major reshuffle of his top team. Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor, and Jon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, were also said to be facing the sack. A reshuffle had been planned for next month, but sources suggested it had been brought forward following the party’s poor performance at the local elections. Ms Rayner has been blamed by party insiders for the selection of Dr Paul Williams, the losing candidate in the Hartlepool by-election.
‘This seems extremely unwise advice,’ he said
An undercover investigation has claimed Prince Michael of Kent was willing to use his royal status for personal profit, and to seek favours from Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The Conservative politician said ITV 'shouldn't be willing to indulge this behaviour' by continuing to give work to John Barrowman.
Scottish nationalists are set to push for a second independence referendum with pro-independence parties holding a majority in the Scottish parliament, although British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he would block any such vote. In a referendum in 2014, Scots voted 55%-45% to remain in the United Kingdom, but both Brexit and the British government's handling of the COVID-19 crisis have bolstered support for independence among Scots, and demands for a second vote. The ruling nationalist Scottish National Party said it would seek to hold a referendum if pro-independence parties won a majority in elections this week for a Scottish Parliament.
Footage posted on Twitter shows a man wielding a knife in front of shocked shoppers at the famous department store on Oxford Street. A spokesperson from the Met Police said the injured man is not in serious condition and an investigation is ongoing. “He is one of seven people arrested as part of this investigation for offences including affray.”