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  1. Carrying acid in public could lead to six months in jail 14 October 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Getty Images People caught twice carrying acid in public will receive a mandatory six-month prison sentence, the Home Office has proposed. It is aimed at curbing the number of acid attacks committed, which has more than doubled in five years. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she intended to ban the sales of corrosive substances to under-18s. About 21% of such attacks were committed by under-18s between November 2016 and April 2017. 'Lives ruined' Ms Rudd said the government was sending a message that "the cowards who use these [acids] as weapons will not escape the full force of the law". The new legislation would make it an offence to possess a corrosive substance in public. An individual caught with the substance would have to prove they had good reason for possessing it. If a person is caught twice with acid, they would serve a minimum six-month sentence if over the age of 18. At this year's Conservative Party conference, the home secretary announced plans to ban sales of the substance to under-18s. She said: "Acid attacks are absolutely revolting. "We have all seen the pictures of victims that never fully recover - endless surgeries, lives ruined." Recent years have seen a number of high-profile acid attacks across the UK.. Image caption Andreas Christopheros was a victim of mistaken identity In 2014 Andreas Christopheros, from Truro in Cornwall, was attacked at his front door with sulphuric acid in a case of mistaken identity. He was left with permanent facial scarring and he remains blind in one eye. David Phillips, 49, from Hastings, Sussex, admitted assault causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Mr Christopheros said: "[The acid attack] impacted every aspect of my life. "From the moment I've woken up, every morning it takes me about half an hour to regain my sight. "I've lost my eyelids three times now from the contractions of the scars." The proposed legislation on acid would mirror the 'two strikes' rule which makes knife possession an offence. The Home Office is also considering criminal proceedings against online retailers who deliver knives to a buyer's home. It is hoped the measure would curb the sale of blades to children or teenagers. View the full article
  2. Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust back in special measures 13 October 2017 From the section Norfolk Image caption The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is based at Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich A mental health trust has been put back in special measures after its board "failed" to address serious concerns raised since 2014, a report says. The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which rated the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) as inadequate, has called for a host of improvements. It is the only such trust in England to be put in special measures and only came out in October last year. The NSFT said it was "disappointed" by the report. Ex-footballer 'neglected by hospital' Head of troubled health trust retires 'Unsafe' trust out of special measures In its report, the CQC says the board of the NSFT, which was first put in special measures in February 2015, had failed to ensure "unsafe environments were made safe". CQC's chief inspector of hospitals Ted Baker said: "It is extremely disappointing that on our return to NSFT we found the board had failed to address a number of serious concerns. "The trust leadership... must ensure it takes robust action to ensure improvements are made and we will continue to monitor the trust closely." Image copyright NHS Image caption Michael Scott retired as chief executive of the trust at the end of September The CQC adds that it has "a lack of confidence" that the trust, which was inspected in July, was using performance data to ensure a quality service. Its key findings are that: There were concerns that "not all potential ligature risks" had been removed and there were concerns about the level of training in suicide prevention The NSFT board has not ensured that there are "sufficient staff to meet patients' needs safely" There was "insufficient capacity to manage crisis at night". Norwich crisis calls were diverted to a mobile after 21:00 and if the staff member was busy it diverted to a voicemail A lack of availability of beds means patients did not "always receive the right care at the right time" The trust's Dragonfly unit in Lowestoft was praised for its work with young people. Mother's anger over death A mother has criticised the NSFT after her son killed himself five days after being released from a mental health unit. Henry Curtis-Williams, 21, was detained under the Mental Health Act by police after he was seen peering over the top of Orwell Bridge in Ipswich. He was put in the care of the NSFT but was released the following afternoon. Five days later he hanged himself. Image copyright BBC/Pippa Travis-Williams Image caption Pippa Travis-Williams' son Henry killed himself five days after being detained under the Mental Health Act His mother Pippa Travis-Williams, from Ipswich, feels the trust should have done more for her only son. "I cannot begin to describe how I feel other than I feel I've been completely robbed of the future I had planned for the last 21 years with my son," she told BBC health correspondent Sophie Hutchinson. "I will never attend his graduation from university, I will never attend a wedding and see him have grandchildren. I've been robbed of everything. It's heart-breaking." Jane Sayer, director of nursing at the trust, said: "We are really saddened when things do not go as well we would want for our patients, but it is not appropriate to discuss individual cases via the media, particularly when they are the subject of an ongoing complaint, investigation or an upcoming inquest." The CQC said the trust was being placed in special measures - which means a director will be attached to the trust to ensure the improvement plan is carried out Julie Cave, NSFT chief executive, said that the trust accepted the recommendations of the CQC report. "Anyone who cares about mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk is going to be disappointed in these results, as we are at NSFT," she said. "In short, we have not made enough significant improvements over the past year and that has resulted in this retrograde step in our CQC ratings and in our progress. For that we apologise to our staff, to our service users and carers, and to our stakeholders." Analysis By BBC News health correspondent Sophie Hutchinson Last year, when the trust was taken out of special measures, many patients and families were shocked and warned it had not improved. Today, questions are being asked about whether inspectors acted too hastily. The CQC has said it took the decision to take the trust out of special measures because it believed the service was improving. Now, it has said it is very disappointed and will keep a close eye on things, taking further action if necessary. For trusts that do not improve after special measures there is the possibility of breaking them up and starting again with a new organisation. There are also questions about funding. The Norfolk and Suffolk trust redesigned its services in 2013 as a response to a 20% cut in its budget, cutting staff and frontline teams. In the five years since, four have seen cuts to its budget. And other mental health trusts have concerns. A few months ago, a survey by NHS Providers found a third of mental health trust chief executives in England expected their finances to deteriorate over the next six months. But in a statement, the Department of Health said it is "undertaking probably the most widespread programme of mental health transformation in Europe, supported by our rigorous inspection regime and a record investment of £11.6 billion last year for mental health services." View the full article
  3. No cash in Budget for 'no-deal' Brexit, says Hammond 11 October 2017 From the section UK Politics Related Topics Brexit Image copyright Getty Images Taxpayers' money should not be spent on preparing for a "no-deal" Brexit, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said. Writing in the Times ahead of next month's Budget, Mr Hammond said he would spend only when it was "responsible" to do so. The chancellor said he had a responsibility to be "realistic" about the challenges of leaving the EU. His comments came after Theresa May refused to say on Tuesday how she would vote in another EU referendum. After the prime minister revealed this week that the government had plans for a Brexit scenario without a trade deal, Mr Hammond stressed the importance of avoiding a no-deal end to negotiations with the EU. He said he would be "prepared for all outcomes, including a no-deal scenario" but added that the best stimulus for the economy was "certainty". This - he wrote - could be achieved by "reaching a deal on the terms of our future long-term relationship with the European Union". An extra £412m has already been allocated to government departments to prepare for Brexit over the next four years. PM's Brexit vote hesitation may haunt her EU's Tusk warns over 'slow pace' of talks On Tuesday, Mrs May - who backed Remain in last year's vote - was repeatedly asked if she would now vote for Brexit. She told LBC radio: "I don't answer hypothetical questions." The PM added: "I voted Remain for good reasons at the time but circumstances move on." Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMrs May said she would not answer "hypothetical questions"Presenter Iain Dale asked Mrs May why she could not say she had changed her mind, given that she was leading the country into Brexit. "Yes and I'm prime minister ensuring I'm going to deliver Brexit for the British people," she replied. Pressed again, Mrs May said: "I am being open and honest with you. What I did last time round was I looked at everything and I came to a judgement and I would do exactly the same this time round. "But we are not having another referendum and that's absolutely crucial." Downing Street sources suggested it was "ridiculous" to say her comments raised doubts about whether she would deliver Brexit, as some critics suggested. Mrs May's second in command, First Secretary of State Damian Green, was asked the same question. Mr Green, who was a board member of the campaign to keep Britain in the EU, told Channel 4 News: "I don't resile from anything I said during the election campaign." He told Newsnight "it would have been" better had the country voted Remain. Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson said: "It is staggering that even the prime minister isn't convinced by the government's approach to Brexit." Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage tweeted: "How can Theresa May negotiate Brexit without believing in it?" View the full article
  4. Theresa May won't say if she'd vote for Brexit now 10 October 2017 From the section UK Politics Related Topics Brexit Image copyright LBC Theresa May has refused to say how she would vote if there was another Brexit referendum. The prime minister, who backed Remain in last year's vote, was repeatedly asked if she would now vote for Brexit. She replied: "I don't answer hypothetical questions." The PM who said the UK had a "brighter future" after Brexit during the election campaign, added: "I voted Remain for good reasons at the time but circumstances move on." EU's Tusk warns over 'slow pace' of talks Presenter Ian Dale told Mrs May Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had switched from Remain to Leave because former Chancellor George Osborne's gloomy economic predictions had failed to come true. He asked Mrs May why she could not say she had changed her mind, given that she was leading the country into Brexit. "Yes and I'm prime minister ensuring I'm going to deliver Brexit for the British people," she replied. Pressed again, Mrs May said: "I could say I would still vote Remain or I would vote Leave just to give you an answer to that question. "I am being open and honest with you. What I did last time round was I looked at everything and I came to a judgment and I would do exactly the same this time round. "But we are not having another referendum and that's absolutely crucial." Mrs May's second in command, First Secretary of State Damian Green, also refused to say whether he would back Brexit if there was a referendum now. Mr Green, who was a board member of the campaign to keep Britain in the EU, told Channel 4 News: "I don't resile from anything I said during the campaign." But he added that it was a "meaningless" question and "purely hypothetical". View the full article
  5. 10 October 2017 From the section Business BAE Systems planning to cut almost 2,000 jobs in military, maritime and intelligence services, firm says This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  6. Fairy lights bomb plotter Zahid Hussain jailed for life 9 October 2017 From the section Birmingham & Black Country Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionFairy lights bomb plot: Zahid Hussain guilty of terror preparationA man who planned to bomb a railway line with a device made from fairy lights and a pressure cooker has been jailed for life. Zahid Hussain, 29, from Birmingham, filled the appliance with 1.6kg of shrapnel and made "improvised igniters" from the festive decorations. Hussain became radicalised reading books and websites in his bedroom. He was convicted of preparing for an act of terrorism in May and sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on Monday. Midlands Live: Would-be bomber 'committed' to multiple attacks; chip shop shooting 'targeted' Image copyright West Midlands Police Image caption Hussain was spotted climbing down a storm drain near the West Coast Main Line His trial was told he wrongly believed his non-viable pressure cooker "bomb" was capable of causing devastation. In the days running up to his arrest, in August 2015, Hussain had made repeated visits to a section of the West Coast Main Line, which the prosecution said was to research a possible attack. Following his arrest books on guerrilla warfare were also discovered, including one which talked of mounting attacks on railways. His computer showed he had an interest in so-called Islamic State and events in Syria. Image copyright West Midlands Police Image caption Police found a homemade bomb of a pressure cooker and Christmas lights Sentencing "dangerous" Hussain, Mr Justice Sweeney said that had his device been viable, it would have been capable of causing a "significant explosion". The judge concluded that on the evidence and reports of several expert psychiatric reports, Hussain had - during the time of the offence - and still did, suffer with paranoid schizophrenia. The judge said a life sentence was "appropriate" in view of "the level of the danger that you pose, and the impossibility of predicting when it will come to an end". Hussain will serve a minimum of 15 years. View the full article
  7. Border Force officer held in guns and drugs inquiry 9 October 2017 From the section England Image copyright National Crime Agency Image caption Six men have been charged as part of the police operation in France and south east England A Border Force officer is among 12 people arrested by police investigating a group suspected of importing drugs and firearms into the UK. The officer, 36 and from Dover, was detained by French police near Calais with three other British nationals. All four remain in custody. Eleven firearms, 74lb (34kg) of cocaine and 16lb (7kg) of heroin were seized. Eight men were later arrested by the Met Police in Kent and London, six of whom have been charged. The six are accused of conspiracy to import firearms and class A drugs and are due to appear at Barkingside Magistrates' Court, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said. They are: Christopher Hendra, 29, of Dunlin Walk, Sittingbourne, Kent Liam Attwell, 18, of Becketts Close, Ashford, Kent Terry Willett, 31, of Long Meadow Way, Canterbury, Kent Daniel Duvall, 36, of Coldharbour Lane, Maidstone, Kent Craig Brabon, 36, of Hazebrouck Road, Faversham, Kent Christopher Whitehead, 40, of Orpington, south-east London The other two men were released as the investigation continues. Searches by NCA officers have taken place in the Dover and Folkestone areas. Dave Hucker, head of the NCA's anti-corruption unit, said: "This operation has brought together law enforcement from both sides of the Channel, and we believe we have prevented the importation of a significant quantity of class A drugs and firearms to the UK." View the full article
  8. 7 October 2017 From the section UK Image copyright @damohack A number of people have been injured in a collision with a car near the Natural History Museum in London, police say. The Metropolitan Police said one person had been detained following the incident in Exhibition Road in South Kensington. A BBC reporter at the scene said she had been told by police the injuries were minor. Police said inquiries are under way to establish the circumstances and any motive. BBC reporter Chloe Hayward was leaving the Natural History Museum as the incident happened. "I could see a car diagonally across the road, looking like it was going into one of the boulders on the side of the road, and I could see a crowd of people around what was clearly one or two people on the pavement," she said. She added there were now armed police at the scene. "We have had lots of police coming onto the scene, helicopters above, and I can see an ambulance which is definitely having someone put in, but it isn't clear how bad that injury is." An eyewitness who was walking to the Science Museum on the same street, said: "When waiting for the light, we heard what I thought was gunshots and saw a car drive over the pavement. We just ran. My friend dived on the floor and cut her hands. The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "When it calmed down we walked back to where we'd been and saw a gentleman on the floor being restrained by police." View the full article
  9. Sir Edward Heath 'would have been questioned' over abuse claims 5 October 2017 From the section UK Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWho was Edward Heath?Sir Edward Heath would have been questioned over sex abuse claims if he was alive when they came to light, police have said. Wiltshire Police launched Operation Conifer in 2015 when the former PM was accused of historical child sex abuse. The Conservative politician would have been interviewed under caution over seven claims, including the alleged rape of an 11-year-old, they said. No inference of guilt should be drawn from this, police stressed. The allegations include one of rape of a male under 16, three of indecent assault on a male under 16, four of indecent assault on a male under 14, and two of indecent assault on a male over 16. 'Paid encounters' The earliest, dating from 1961 when Sir Edward was Lord Privy Seal, alleged he had raped and indecently assaulted an 11-year-old boy in London "during a paid sexual encounter in private in a dwelling." Another two of the seven claims relate to "paid sexual encounters." The Sir Edward Heath Foundation called the report "profoundly unsatisfactory". In a statement, Sir Edward's former cabinet secretary, Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, and chairman of the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation, Lord Hunt of Wirral, said the report neither justifies or dispels the "the cloud of suspicion". "All those who knew Sir Edward Heath or worked with him are, without exception, convinced that the allegations of child abuse will all be found to be groundless," it said. Who was Ted Heath? Government to pay £1.1m for Sir Edward Heath inquiry Ex-PM Heath was 'completely asexual', says adviser Sir Edward, who led a Tory government from 1970 to 1974, died in 2005, aged 89. Operation Conifer - which spanned 14 UK police forces - said a total of 42 claims related to 40 different individuals, with alleged offences from 1956 to 1992 - while Sir Edward was an elected MP. The report concluded there was not enough information to meet the threshold for interview for 19 of the claims. Among these were two cases where police said there was reason to suspect the individuals "intentionally mislead" them. One of the two has been cautioned for wasting police time. In three further cases, the investigation found that those reporting alleged abuse were "genuinely mistaken" in naming Sir Edward as the perpetrator. As part of the £1.5m investigation, three people unconnected to Sir Edward were arrested for offences related to child abuse, one of whom is still being investigated. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has said it would investigate further. "In regard to the allegations concerning Sir Edward Heath, the inquiry will investigate whether there was any knowledge within Westminster institutions, and if so, what actions were taken," a spokesman said. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionLincoln Seligman, Sir Edward's godson, talks to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programmeAhead of the "closure" report's publication, Sir Edward's godson said he believed the investigation was flawed and called for a judicial inquiry into the police's handling of the abuse claims. Lincoln Seligman, who knew Sir Edward for 50 years, said: "If you make a mass appeal for victims you are sure to get them, whether they are legitimate or not. "A proper investigation should have taken place, but that's not what happened," he told Radio 4's Today programme. "Our thinking is that he will be completely exonerated but I fear, even if he is, that damage has been done and that seems grossly unfair." Following the report's publication, Mr Seligman told the BBC: "These are still just allegations and I do not believe them." Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Edward Heath, seen aboard Morning Cloud in 1971, was a world-class yachtsman Other friends of Sir Edward's have also criticised the investigation, and a psychologist who advised detectives claimed it was based on the allegations of a handful of fantasists. One of Sir Edward's closest advisers told the BBC that the former Conservative leader was "completely asexual". Lord Armstrong of Ilminster said he "never felt a whiff of sexuality about Ted Heath, whether it was in relation to women, men or children". Analysis By Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondent The 109-page summary closure report into Operation Conifer outlines the meticulous police approach to what has been one of the most politically sensitive investigations in recent years. The inquiry was subject to three reviews to ensure it was being conducted proportionately and in line with police procedure. An independent scrutiny panel provided further oversight. There have been mistakes along the way, including the decision to make a public appeal for information outside Sir Edward's former home in Salisbury, but the overall impression is that this was as thorough an investigation as it could have been. Nevertheless it leaves the question - what next? Sir Edward can't be prosecuted, but he can't be formally cleared either. Image copyright PA Image caption Mike Veale, chief constable of Wiltshire Police, said the operation was "fair and rigorous" During the course of the lengthy investigation, the police have defended their response, with Chief Constable Veale insisting Operation Conifer was neither a "fishing trip" nor a "witch-hunt". Chief Constable Veale said officers have "gone where the evidence has taken us", whether it supported the allegations or not. He said: "The report does not draw any conclusions as to the likely guilt or innocence of Sir Edward Heath." Referring to the political pressure on Operation Conifer to be scaled down or scrapped, Mr Veale said the scrutiny panel overseeing the process said it was "fair, sensitive and rigorous". He went on to praise the investigation team who had "not buckled under the pressure of relentless external speculation and criticism". The findings of the investigation will be passed to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. The seven victim disclosures for which Sir Edward would have been interviewed under caution: 1961, London: Sir Edward allegedly raped and indecently assaulted boy, 11, during a paid sexual encounter in private in a dwelling 1962, Kent: Sir Edward allegedly indecently assaulted a ten year-old-boy during a chance encounter in a public place 1964, Sussex and London: Sir Edward allegedly indecently assaulted a 15-year-old boy in three paid sexual encounters 1967, Guernsey: Sir Edward allegedly indecently assaulted a 15-year-old boy in a public building 1976, Jersey: Sir Edward allegedly indecently assaulted, over clothing, an adult male at a public event 1992, Wiltshire: Sir Edward allegedly assaulted an adult male after consent was withdrawn in a hotel Between 1990-1992, Wiltshire: Sir Edward allegedly indecently assaulted a male, aged between 12 and 14 years, in private gardens View the full article
  10. Theresa May: Tories rally round PM after speech woes 5 October 2017 From the section UK Politics Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionFive things that went wrong with May's speechTory MPs have rallied round Theresa May after her conference speech on Wednesday was marred by mishaps. James Cleverly said he was "proud" of the PM for contending with a persistent cough and a prankster and John Redwood said MPs backed her "strong message". However, it is thought dozens of MPs are discussing the possibility of trying to persuade Mrs May to stand aside. But it is not clear whether they will have enough support to move. Cough sweet In the keynote address in Manchester - billed in advance as Mrs May's opportunity to assert her authority after her decision to call a snap election backfired and amid continuing Brexit divisions within the party - she apologised to activists for her shortcomings during this summer's campaign. She put forward a range of new policies, including an extra £2bn to build 25,000 new council houses and social homes for rent by 2021 and draft legislation for a cap on standard tariff energy bills, which she said were part of her mission to improve people's lives and promote a "British dream". PM struggles through interrupted speech May revives promise to cap energy prices Security review after PM pranked Could May have fixed her croaky voice? However, the aftermath of the speech was dominated by the prime minister's struggle in delivering it and questions about what it meant for her future. A nagging cough and croaky voice forced the PM to almost stop on more than one occasion but she sought to make light of her troubles, cracking a joke when Chancellor Philip Hammond handed her a cough sweet. A succession of cabinet ministers, including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt, praised the speech afterwards. A Number 10 source confirmed it had received calls from colleagues "offering support" to the prime minister and declared "resignation is not an issue" for Mrs May. What now for May? Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption'Nothing quite like it' - Laura Kuenssberg on PM's speechBy Laura Kuenssberg, BBC political editor Politics is certainly cruel, and clearly the prime minister was the victim of some appallingly bad luck. A former minister told me that after the election and Grenfell it would only have taken one more event to trigger her exit and this "was the event". In normal political times, it is probably the case that what one minister described as a "tragedy" would have led to a prime minister being forced out or quitting. But these aren't normal times. Allies of Theresa May say Wednesday's events have shown her resilience and determination in spades, demonstrating exactly why she deserves to stay in the job. Read more from our political editor Mr Redwood, a former minister in John Major's government, said Mrs May had a "lot more to give" in her role and that in discussions with colleagues after the speech he detected a "lot of warmth and support for her". "I and many Conservative MPs like me are fully behind her and we are sorry for her that her voice went at the wrong moment," he told the BBC. "We don't think that tells us very much about what she is going to do for the country which is what really matters. People feel, as I do, that it is a pity that her big day was spoilt by those two things. "But we do not think it spoils the underlying message and the strong point she made to the party that it is our job to get on delivering a strong Brexit." Security review Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi said the PM had shown her "grit and determination" in the face of adversity and "of course" would stay on as leader. "When she gets a good deal from our Euro partners the whole narrative will change," he told Channel 4 News. "She is focused and will deliver." Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Simon Brodkin was arrested for his stunt but later released Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Downing Street said the prime minister had suffered from a "conference cold" Image copyright Labour Party Image caption After the Conservatives stage set malfunctioned, Labour posted this spoof on social media Security at future Conservative events is to be reviewed after a comedian was able to get within yards of the prime minister and hand her a mock P45 redundancy notice. Prankster Simon Brodkin - also known as his TV persona Lee Nelson - was arrested by Greater Manchester Police after briefly interrupting the PM and giving her a sheaf of paper he claimed was from Boris Johnson. He was later released, with the police saying he had "legitimate accreditation" to attend the event. To add to Mrs May's woes, some of the letters fell off the conference stage backdrop behind her during the speech. By the end it read: "Building a country that works or everyon." Labour seized on the confusion, publishing a spoof image on social media suggesting their opponents had run out of ideas, while also criticising Conservative housing and energy policies as limited and timid. And former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft said there was an air of a party that did not "know what it is doing". "One thing the week needed to do was take a step towards restoring the Conservatives' reputation for competence," he wrote on Conservative Home. "On that front, unfortunately, there is a way to go." View the full article
  11. Scottish government backs ban on fracking 3 October 2017 From the section Scotland politics The Scottish government has said that fracking "cannot and will not take place in Scotland". Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs that the existing moratorium on fracking should go on "indefinitely". He said MSPs will be given a vote on the issue later in the year before a final decision is taken. A moratorium on the technique has been in place since 2015, and ministers have also ruled out underground coal gasification over environmental fears. Ministers commissioned a series of expert reports on the controversial oil and gas extraction technique, and a public consultation was launched in January 2017. Mr Wheelhouse said the consultation came back with "overwhelming" opposition to fracking, with 99% of responses opposed to fracking. Watch the fracking statement on Holyrood Live Shale gas is currently processed in Scotland at a site in Grangemouth, having been shipped in from abroad, but cannot be extracted from beneath Scottish soil under the current moratorium. Some political parties and green groups argue that fracking causes environmental damage, but others point to potential economic benefits. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had said she was "highly sceptical" about fracking, noting "big questions" about its potential impact on the environment, health and local communities. Members had previously voted to support a ban on fracking, but SNP members abstained from that vote. What is fracking and why is it controversial? Image copyright Stuart Wallace/Ineos Image caption The first shipment of shale gas from the US arrived at Grangemouth in September 2016 Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. The extensive use of fracking in the US, where it has revolutionised the energy industry, has prompted environmental concerns. The first is that fracking uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the fracking site, at significant environmental cost. The second is the worry that potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site. But the industry suggests fracking of shale gas could contribute significantly to the UK's future energy needs Find out more.... View the full article
  12. Monarch rescue flights 'to cost £60m' 2 October 2017 From the section Business Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWhat happened when passengers turned up at Manchester airport for their flights?Flights returning 110,000 holidaymakers from overseas after Monarch's collapse will cost about £60m, according to the airline regulator. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has called the flights the UK's biggest repatriation exercise in peacetime. Monarch Airlines ceased trading on Monday and all its future flights and holidays have been cancelled. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) hopes that about 12,000 customers will be flown home by the end of the day. The government is set to pick up the tab for the UK's biggest ever airline collapse, but is talking to card companies about sharing some of the cost. About 860,000 people have also lost bookings, and are being advised to speak to their card companies or insurance providers about refunds. Monarch employs about 2,100 people and reported a £291m loss last year. Latest updates What are your rights? 'Shock and anger' among passengers Four reasons Monarch failed 'Crisis' coming for budget airlines, says union Theresa May's official spokesman said the prime minister "feels hugely sorry" for those affected by a "very distressing situation". Monarch - the UK's fifth biggest airline - was placed in administration at 04:00 BST - a time when the airline had no planes in the air. Passengers were then sent text messages informing them flights had been cancelled - but some customers were already at airports. Terror attacks in Tunisia and Egypt, increased competition, and the weak pound have been blamed for Monarch's demise. Advice to Monarch customers Customers in the UK yet to travel: Don't go to the airport, the CAA says Customers abroad: Everyone due to fly in the next fortnight will be brought back to the UK at no cost to them. There is no need to cut short a stay. Those with flight-only bookings after 16 October are unlikely to have Atol scheme protection, so will need to make their own arrangements Customers currently overseas should check for confirmation of their new flight details - which will be available a minimum of 48 hours in advance of their original departure time All affected customers should keep checking for more information The CAA also has a 24-hour helpline: 0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland and +44 1753 330330 from overseas Who has been affected? Alan Jee was due to get married in Gran Canaria on Saturday and arrived at Gatwick airport with 30 members of his family. "I have spent £12,000 on my wedding and now I can't even go and get married," he said. "I am gutted, absolutely gutted, and my missus is in tears, an emotional wreck." Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionNatasha Slessor had worked as cabin crew for Monarch for nearly four yearsJohn Shepherd, from Tamworth, had been due to fly to Cyprus on Tuesday with his 92-year-old father. He said they had already managed to book flights on another airline - costing a "fair bit of money", but he added: "I'm worried we've lost all the money on the flights." Holidaymakers and staff 'devastated' by airline collapse What has gone wrong? Monarch reported a loss of £291m for the year to October 2016, compared with a profit of £27m for the previous 12 months, after revenues slumped. It had been in last-ditch talks with the CAA about renewing its licence to sell package holidays, but failed to reach a deal. Blair Nimmo, from administrator KPMG, said its collapse was a result of "depressed prices" in the short-haul travel market, alongside increased fuel costs and handling charges as a result of a weak pound. However, Monarch chief executive Andrew Swaffield said the "root cause" was terrorism in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as the collapse of the market in Turkey. Image copyright PA Image caption Departure boards at Luton airport showed cancelled Monarch flights He said it had been carrying 14% more passengers than last year - but for £100m less revenue. Mr Swaffield said employees could "hold your heads up high and be proud of what you achieved". Monarch's owner, Greybull Capital, had been trying to sell part or all of its short-haul operation so it could focus on more profitable long-haul routes, and said it was "very sorry" it had not been able to turn around its fortunes. What have the authorities said? The CAA has organised 34 chartered planes from 16 different airlines - EasyJet and Qatar Airways among them - to return passengers to the UK over the next fortnight. About 56,000 Monarch customers are due to be flown back this week, of which more than half are in Spain, according to the CAA. Chief executive Andrew Haines said passengers would not be charged for the repatriation flights, which would match Monarch's original schedule "as closely as possible", adding: "There will undoubtedly be some disruption". He said "the nature of administration" meant Monarch's fleet was not immediately available for use. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMonarch passengers will not have to pay to be repatriated, Dame Deidre Hutton saysMr Grayling said: "This is a hugely distressing situation for British holidaymakers abroad - and my first priority is to help them get back to the UK." The transport secretary said the Department for Work and Pensions would give support to those affected and that airlines had already told him they may seek to employ Monarch staff. EasyJet said it would be "really pleased" to hire former Monarch employees, saying it had 400 cabin crew vacancies at Gatwick Airport and 100 at Luton, as well as job openings for pilots and head office staff. Where are Monarch holidaymakers? Last year, Monarch carried 6.3 million passengers to 40 destinations from Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Leeds-Bradford and Manchester airports. According to the CAA, the 110,000 holidaymakers currently overseas are in at least 11 countries, including Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. Replacement flights are currently scheduled to fly to 33 airports. Have you got a flight booked with Monarch? Are you Monarch staff? Email us at Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: WhatsApp: +44 7555 173285 Send pictures/video to Upload your pictures / video here Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Text an SMS or MMS to 61124 Or use the form below Your contact details Name (optional) Your E-mail address (required) Town & Country (optional) Your telephone number (optional) Comments (required) If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions. Terms and conditions View the full article
  13. 2 October 2017 From the section Business Monarch Airlines has ceased trading, Civil Aviation Authority confirms, meaning all future bookings are cancelled This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. If you want to receive Breaking News alerts via email, or on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App then details on how to do so are available on this help page. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  14. Hammond to announce 'more money' for Northern Powerhouse rail 2 October 2017 From the section UK Politics Image copyright PA Chancellor Philip Hammond is to announce an extra £300m to improve rail links in northern England, in a speech to the Conservative party conference. Plans to electrify the whole Trans-Pennine route had previously been axed. But the new money will be used to ensure HS2 will link to faster trains between Liverpool and Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and York - so-called Northern Powerhouse rail. Mr Hammond will also allocate £100m for 33 road schemes, from existing budgets. May: We 'listened' on student fees May promises £10bn Help to Buy boost Tories greeted by large protests Theresa May urged to sack Boris Johnson The Northern Powerhouse rail scheme is being drawn up by local authorities and business leaders to create connections between HS2 and cities not directly on its route. It is likely to rely on "bi-mode" trains that can run on diesel and electric power. Mr Hammond will say cities in the East Midlands, such as Leicester, would also benefit from the new cash. "This investment will go towards ensuring HS2 infrastructure can link up with future Northern Powerhouse and Midlands rail projects - helping the towns and cities of the North reach their full potential." The new road projects include 10 in north-east England, 13 in north-west England and 10 in Yorkshire and Humber. Analysis: Up steps Hammond By Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent in Manchester Philip Hammond is not one of your hard hat, fluorescent jacket, photo op kind of politicians. But he will embrace his predecessor's pet project, the Northern Powerhouse today, if not George Osborne's love of building site attire. Alongside the sections of the speech about money for road and rail projects though, look out for his remarks on capitalism. They are interesting for two reasons. The first is the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's new influence on the political agenda. His remarks last week about capitalism's "crisis of legitimacy" had already prompted the prime minister to intervene, just a day later, with her defence of the market economy. And now up steps Philip Hammond with his own take on the same song. The second is the glimpse it offers into an internal Conservative debate about how to take on Mr Corbyn. Accept he is at least partially onto something, and tack a little left. Or stick to a full-throated defence of the free, albeit regulated, market. The chancellor is also set to use his conference speech to mount a defence of free market economics, which he claims is coming under assault from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. He will say: "Our economy is not broken: it is fundamentally strong. "And while no-one suggests a market economy is perfect, it is the best system yet designed for making people steadily better off over time and underpinning strong and sustainable public services for everyone. "As this model comes under renewed assault, we must not be afraid to defend it." Image copyright PA The Conservatives kicked off their week in Manchester by announcing plans to freeze student fees and pledge an extra £10bn for the Help to Buy scheme as part of an effort to win over younger voters. Mr Hammond will say in his speech: "We are the party of progress. The party that makes a clear commitment to the next generation - that they will be better off than us; and that their children will be better off again than them." The government is, meanwhile, under pressure to pause the national roll-out of Universal Credit amid mounting concern families forced to wait six weeks for their first payment will be left destitute and homeless. Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke is expected to announce new guidance to job centres for giving cash advances to claimants, in his speech to the Tory conference later. Prime Minister Theresa May said she and Mr Gauke were "looking at" ways to help affected families but they are not expected to halt the rollout, despite pressure from 12 Tory MPs, a former government adviser and Labour. View the full article
  15. Brexit: Boris Johnson sets out four Brexit conditions 30 September 2017 From the section UK Politics Related Topics Brexit Image copyright PA Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has again intervened on Brexit, setting out four conditions he says are necessary. Speaking to the Sun ahead of the Conservative party conference, Mr Johnson insisted any transition period after Britain leaves the EU should not last "a second more" than two years. He said the UK should not abide by any new European rules during that time. Meanwhile, Theresa May has pledged to listen to the concerns of young voters following a "disappointing election". Theresa May 'driving from front' on Brexit 'May speech not changed by Boris Johnson article' As Conservatives gather in Manchester for their conference, starting on Sunday, the prime minister said: "I understand the concerns raised, particularly by young people. "My determination to act on those concerns, and crucially, to fulfil the promise of my first speech on the steps of Downing Street, is greater than ever." Mrs May is seeking to reassert her authority as she goes into her first party conference since she lost her government's majority in the general election. The annual gathering of Conservative members comes after six months of Brexit negotiations in which there has been no significant breakthrough. Mrs May said that, while she was focused on getting the best deal with the EU, she was also committed to making Britain fairer - in particular for the younger generation. But just a week after her major speech on Brexit in Florence, her foreign secretary has again set out his own position. Mr Johnson had previously outlined his "vision" in an article for the Daily Telegraph, which prompted Mrs May to say: "This government is driven from the front." In his interview with the Sun, he called for four conditions for Brexit, which were then described by the paper as his "four red lines": Transition period must be a maximum of two years UK must refuse to accept new EU rules during that period No payments for access to the single market after the end of the transition period UK must not agree to shadow EU rules to gain access to the single market He says: "The crucial thing I want to get over to Sun readers about Brexit is that it is going to be great and we need to believe in ourselves and believe we can do it. It is unstoppable." Mr Johnson also touches on other subjects in the interview - calling for a faster increase in the minimum wage and for public sector pay rises. Though he dismissed suggestions of any leadership ambitions, his comments are likely to fuel speculation that he is still positioning himself for the top job. While Mr Johnson gives his reassurance that Brexit will be "great" - the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson told the Times that "over-optimism" about Britain's future outside the EU "sells people short". May 'must be ready to quit talks' Eurosceptic Tory MPs have said the UK should walk away from Brexit talks by Christmas unless the EU shows it is serious about a free trade deal. The Leave Means Leave campaign has urged Mrs May to speed up talks with the EU. The group - which includes ex-minister Owen Paterson - said the PM should not be afraid of a "no deal" scenario. Countdown to Brexit: UK imports and exports in six charts Frictionless borders: learning from Norway In their letter to Mrs May, they say: "To delay the end of the transition period until after the projected 2022 general election could jeopardise the entire Brexit programme." Mrs May must make clear that British courts must no longer be bound by European Court of Justice rulings after the moment of withdrawal and that the UK will be free to negotiate, sign and implement trade deals with other countries during the transitional phase, the group argues. Image copyright Bristol Port Company Image caption The MPs say there is "nothing to be feared" in failing to negotiate a deal The group, which also includes Tory backbencher Peter Bone and former minister David Jones, also ask for clarification on whether the UK will be obliged to abide by new regulations and directives during the two-year period. They are planning to use the party's week in Manchester to put pressure on the prime minister over Brexit, with high profile backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg due to speak on the issue at a Leave Means Leave fringe meeting. On trade, they say the UK should be prepared to tell Brussels by the end of this year it is prepared to default to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules if there is no prospect of "serious" negotiations on a new trade deal. Critics say moving on to WTO rules would result in new tariffs and other trade barriers on exports and imports. But Brexit supporters say it is in the EU's interest, as well as other countries, to give the UK most favoured trading nation status, thus eliminating or minimising the impact of any penalties. Handing the EU an ultimatum, in effect, by the end of the year, they say, would increase the UK's leverage in the remaining talks as well as providing certainty to business. View the full article