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  1. Grenfell Tower fire: Theresa May calls for cladding investigation 27 June 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Nearby residents are scrutinising the response in the aftermath of the fire There should be a "major national investigation" into the use of cladding on high-rise towers, Theresa May says. It comes as it was revealed cladding from 95 towers in 32 local authority areas in England had failed fire safety tests - all of the samples submitted after the Grenfell Tower fire. The probe could be a second phase of the public inquiry into the west London fire, the PM's official spokesman said. At least 79 people are feared to have been killed in the blaze on 14 June. Earlier, an open letter to Mrs May from residents on the west London estate warned that the investigation of the fire must leave "no stone unturned". 'No stone unturned' Before Grenfell, tower block fires in England were at an at least seven-year low, figures show. According to newly released Home Office statistics, there were 714 fires in purpose-built blocks of 10 storeys or more in England in the 12 months to April - compared with 1,261 fires in 2009-10. Of those high-rise fires last year, 56 spread further than the "room of origin" and three people died, compared with 12 fatalities in 2009-10. Who are the victims? Guide to what happened? Six questions for the investigation In an open letter released on Tuesday morning, people who live at the Hurstway, Testerton, Barandon and Grenfell Walks on the Lancaster West estate said: "The investigation must leave no stone unturned. "It must identify each and every individual and organisation who must bear responsibility and accountability for this tragedy and the mishandling of the aftermath. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionGrenfell locals Layla and Hassin on how they're coping with mental health issues"There must be swift recommendations to ensure there can be no chance of a repeat of this disaster elsewhere. It said the bereaved families and survivors needed time to recover and grieve - "not least in view of the paucity of support they have been afforded by the state and its agencies in the immediate aftermath". The blaze, believed to have started in a fridge-freezer, destroyed 151 homes in the north Kensington block and in the surrounding area of the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The response to the fire has come under scrutiny. 'Massive inconsistency' Questions were raised about the cladding used on Grenfell in the immediate aftermath of the disaster and a nation-wide operation has taken place to identify and test buildings with similar cladding. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption"I can't do that to her": Sabah Abdullah lost his wife in the Grenfell Tower fireThe firm that supplied Grenfell Tower's cladding has ended global sales of the product for use in high-rise blocks. Where have cladding tests failed? Tower fails preliminary tests But it is no "great surprise" samples have failed fire tests, director of the Centre for Window and Cladding Technology David Metcalfe said. He said it was never "entirely clear" under the regulations whether or not the products used in cladding had to be of limited combustibility. What a filler material consists of is not defined, he explained, and regulations do not say "specifically the cladding should be of limited combustibility". "Timber isn't an insulation product, it's not a filler material, so there's nothing stopping you using timber on a high-rise building - but the government now are saying that all cladding should be of limited combustibility - there is a massive inconsistency there." The government had a new "strict interpretation" of the rules, he said. The letter from residents, part of the Justice4Grenfell campaign, demanded their voices were "heard and fully included" in the inquiry into the blaze. "We support the survivors and mourn the dead - they are our families, friends and neighbours, many of whom are still missing," it said. Mrs May ordered a full public inquiry into the fire the day after it happened. The group said bereaved families and survivors should be given funding for legal representation in that probe. View the full article
  2. Conservatives agree pact with DUP to support May government 26 June 2017 From the section UK Politics Image copyright PA Image caption The talks have taken two weeks to conclude The Conservatives have reached an agreement with the Democratic Unionists which will see them support Theresa May's minority government. The deal comes after two weeks of talks between the parties since the election resulted in a hung Parliament. The DUP's 10 MPs will back the Tories in key Commons votes, starting with the Queen's Speech later this week, but there will be no formal coalition. The talks focused on financial support for Northern Ireland and Brexit. The DUP has claimed the UK government has agreed to improve the treatment of military veterans in Northern Ireland as part of the agreement but played down reports that it had sought £2bn in extra funding for Northern Ireland in return for their support. BBC Politics Live: Rolling text and video updates Military Covenant 'part of DUP-Tory deal' DUP MP plays down reports of £2bn deal Mrs May shook hands with DUP leader Arlene Foster as she and other senior party figures arrived at Downing Street on Monday to finalise the pact. The two leaders then watched as Conservative chief whip Gavin Williamson and his DUP counterpart Jeffrey Donaldson signed the documents in No 10. Under the so-called "confidence and supply" arrangement, the DUP will line up behind the government in key votes, such as on the Queen's Speech and Budgets, which would threaten the government's survival if they were lost. On other legislation, however, the DUP's support is not necessarily guaranteed - although the Northern Ireland party is expected to back the majority of the government's programme for the next two years after many of its more controversial policies were dropped. Image caption The two sides met in the Cabinet room Theresa May fell nine seats short of an overall majority after the snap election, meaning she is reliant on other parties to pass legislation, including relating to the terms of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. The support of the DUP will give her an effective working majority of 13, given that Sinn Fein do not take up their seven seats and Speaker John Bercow and his three deputies - two of whom are Labour MPs - do not take part in votes. Several senior Tories had advised her to govern without any formal agreement with the DUP, arguing the unionist party would not be prepared to bring Mrs May down and run the risk of triggering a fresh election given their longstanding hostility to Jeremy Corbyn and other senior Labour figures. Former PM Sir John Major warned that a formal association with the DUP could undermine attempts to restore power-sharing government in Northern Ireland while some MPs said the DUP's socially conservative stance on issues such as gay marriage and abortion could damage the party in the longer term. Labour have demanded details of how much the deal will cost UK taxpayers and what financial promises have been made. But the Tories and DUP have said the pact will give the UK much-needed stability as it embarks on the Brexit process. View the full article
  3. Lib Dems seek end to pay cap for emergency services 25 June 2017 From the section UK Politics Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Police have been stretched by attacks in London and Manchester The public sector pay cap should be scrapped in recognition of the work of the emergency services following recent disasters, says Tim Farron. The outgoing Lib Dem leader said firefighters, police and medical staff "deserve so much better". The pay cap, which has been in place since 2012, limits pay rises for public sector workers to 1% a year until 2020. Ministers have said that wage restraint in the public sector helps protect jobs and repairs the public finances. Grenfell Tower: Praise for 'heroic' firefighters UK terror attacks: Home secretary says police stretched Heroic public sector staff deserve more pay - Hunt But Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said earlier this month he had "a great deal of sympathy" for the case made by nurses for an end to the pay cap because of the "enormous amount of goodwill and time given free of charge" by staff. Labour and the Lib Dems both pledged to scrap the 1% pay cap in their 2017 manifestos. In the past few months there have been terror attacks in London and Manchester, and the Grenfell Tower fire disaster. Mr Farron said the pay cap should be replaced by pay rises in line with inflation. His party says the cap means that emergency service staff are seeing their wages cut in real terms, with the average firefighter set to be an estimated £1,423 a year worse off, in real terms, by 2020-21. Mr Farron said: "Terror attacks in London and Manchester and the Grenfell Tower tragedy have reminded us how our emergency services deal with the most terrible of events with professionalism and courage. They deserve a pay rise, not a pay cut. "This is about choices. During the election campaign, Theresa May reacted with indifference when asked why nurses were having to resort to using food banks. "But in recent months we have seen time and again that our emergency services run towards danger when others run away. They deserve so much better. "The Liberal Democrats call on the government to stand up for our firefighters, police, doctors and nurses and give them the pay rise they deserve." 'Recruit, retain, motivate' Home Secretary Amber Rudd admitted last week that terror attacks in the past three months had left police resources "pulled very tight". A Treasury spokesperson said: "The whole country truly values the extraordinary professionalism and courage that the police and the emergency services have shown in recent weeks and it is crucial that the public sector continues to recruit, retain and motivate the highest quality staff. "Pay restraint is one of the many difficult choices the government has had to make to protect jobs while helping to put the UK's public finances back on track. "The independent Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that our current pay policy will protect 200,000 public sector jobs." View the full article
  4. Camden flats: Council 'tried to prevent' tower closure 24 June 2017 From the section UK Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionCamden residents react to tower block evacuationsThere was "absolutely nothing" that could be done to keep four London tower blocks open after fire safety concerns were raised, Camden Council says. Residents of 650 flats in tower blocks on an estate in the Swiss Cottage area were evacuated late on Friday. But 83 have so far refused to leave their homes on the Chalcots Estate. The council's Labour leader, Georgia Gould, said the council had acted "as swiftly as we possibly can" to ensure people's safety. Ms Gould said the fire service "told us they could not guarantee our residents' safety in those blocks". "I know it's difficult, but Grenfell changes everything and I just don't believe we can take any risk with our residents' safety and I have to put them first. "I offered to pay for fire stations to be stationed outside all of those blocks so we could have a couple of days to get the work done but the message was there was absolutely nothing I could do to make those blocks safe that night." Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionAir beds laid out in Swiss Cottage leisure centreShe said that if people still choose to not leave their homes then it would "become a matter for the fire services". The estate's cladding is similar to Grenfell Tower in west London, where a fire is feared to have killed 79. Chalcots was refurbished between 2006 and 2009 by the same firm, Rydon, that oversaw work at Grenfell Tower in 2015-16. Camden Council says it will remove external thermal cladding from five tower blocks on the Chalcots estate. It also said there were concerns about the insulation of gas pipes going into flats, and fire doors. The council initially announced the evacuation of one tower block, Taplow, but later extended the move to all five tower blocks it had checked. In the early hours of Saturday morning, the council then announced that one of the five - Blashford - did not need to be evacuated, and residents could return, because it is smaller and has "several different design elements". Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionCouncil leader Georgia Gould: "People are very, very distressed"The council has secured 270 hotel rooms so far. Emergency accommodation was set up at Swiss Cottage leisure centre and at the Camden Centre in King's Cross. "We're encouraging all residents to stay with friends and family if they can, otherwise we'll provide accommodation," the council said. The decision to evacuate the buildings was made at 18:30 BST on Friday. The work is expected to take three to four weeks. Residents will be allowed in at the weekend to collect more possessions under escort from the fire brigade. How the residents reacted Image copyright EPA Teacher Kim Price, who lives in Blashford tower with her 14-year-old son, said: "We've had two letters in two days saying 'you're not safe' then 'you're safe'. I don't really know what to do." Edward Strange said the evacuation was a "complete overreaction", given that two previous fires in the block were easily contained. "I've got a young daughter, a wife and a cat, I've also got a job. They said it'd take four to six weeks. If the council says four to six weeks it'll take four to six months." Peter Bertram, 94, who has lived on the estate for 46 years, said: "My neighbour told me 'Get this and that'. It happened so quick, I don't have the energy for that now." Confusion as evacuation begins Bob O'Toole, chairman of Chalcots Estate residents' association, told BBC Breakfast that contractors had been working overnight in several of the tower blocks. "A lot of people are annoyed because of the way [the evacuation] was done. They're saying it was left too late in the evening. But Camden Council didn't get the information till late, and they acted on that as quickly as possible." Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionSajid Javid: "Absolutely the right decision" to evacuate buildingsCommunities Secretary Sajid Javid said the local fire service for the Chalcots Estate found multiple other failures in fire safety and, as a result, had made "this quite correct decision". "Public safety is absolutely paramount, you cannot put a price on people's lives. So local authorities have to do whatever it takes to get their buildings safe." Image copyright AFP Image caption The estate recently underwent a £66m refurbishment Image caption Samples from the tower blocks on the Chalcots estate were examined this week Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, said people who were in towers where cladding was being investigated would be "living in fear". "People need to give significant weight to the voice of residents, and if they do want to be moved, if they feel unsafe and haven't been reassured, then provision should be put in place [to move them]." Camden Council agreed a contract with Rydon Construction to refurbish the Chalcots estate in May 2006 at a cost of £66m. The work took more than three-and-a-half years. Five towers received new cladding and 711 flats were modernised with new wiring, heating, kitchens and bathrooms. Friday night's announcement came as the Metropolitan Police said the Grenfell Tower fire started in a fridge-freezer, and outside cladding and insulation failed safety tests. 'Safety comes first' for tower block dwellers Visual guide to the Grenfell Tower fire London fire: Who are the victims? A national operation to identify buildings with cladding similar to that used in Grenfell Tower has seen local authorities send samples for independent tests. The Department for Communities and Local Government said 14 residential high-rise buildings in nine local authority areas have now been found with cladding that raises safety concerns. Do you live in one of the affected tower blocks on the Chalcots estate in Camden Council? Email us at haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk You can send your pictures and video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk You can also contact us in the following ways: Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay WhatsApp: +447555 173285 Upload your pictures/video here Text an SMS or MMS to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (international) 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. 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  5. Camden flats to be evacuated over cladding 23 June 2017 From the section London Image copyright Getty Images More than 100 homes in a tower block on a council estate in Camden, north London, are be evacuated because of safety concerns over cladding in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire. Camden Council says residents in 161 flats in one of five blocks on the Chalcots estate are affected. Similar cladding was used on the building to that which sparked the blaze in North Kensington on 14 June. A total of 79 people are feared dead after the Grenfell fire. View the full article
  6. Grenfell Tower: Hotpoint fridge freezer started fire 23 June 2017 From the section UK The Grenfell Tower fire in London started with a faulty fridge freezer, and outside cladding failed safety tests, police say. 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
  7. Brexit: EU citizens deal fails to allay fears 23 June 2017 From the section UK Politics Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMay: I want to give EU residents certaintyProposals from Theresa May to allow EU citizens to stay in the UK have not allayed the fears of those affected. Mrs May unveiled plans at a Brussels summit on Thursday, which would grant a new "UK settled status" to EU migrants who had lived in the UK for five years. But Europeans living here said they are still "panicked" and the proposals give "more questions than answers". Britons living in the EU are also worried about what it will mean for a reciprocal deal. May unveils Brexit offer for EU citizens Brexit: What is at stake in EU-UK talks? Brexit: All you need to know The settled status would give EU citizens the right to stay and access healthcare, education and other benefits, after the UK's exit deadline - which is 30 March 2019. The prime minister also promised to streamline the system, including doing away with an 85-page permanent residency application form. However, no cut-off date has been specified from Downing Street and further details of the plans will not be released until Monday. Bulgarian Maria Spirova, who has been living and working in the UK for five-and-a-half years, said she was still concerned about what the scheme would mean for her future, despite the announcement. "I am panicked on the inside," she told BBC Breakfast. "I arrived here before 2014... but [the proposals] open more questions than they answer. Image caption Maria Spirova worries if she will be able to stay living and working in the UK "It was the British public that voted to leave, we didn't vote, and we have had no control over our future as part of this country. "With Mrs May saying there could be no deal, what happens to us?" Anne-Laure Donskoy, founding member of the 3million - which aims to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK - said the offer was "neither fair, nor really serious". She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The announcement that Theresa May made really falls short of our expectations. "It is like a teaser this statement, it gives you general direction of travel potentially, but there are things in the statement that need to be unpicked." On the other side of the Channel, British people are also concerned about what their futures hold. 'We feel betrayed' Glynis Whiting has been living in Brussels for 20 years and has taken the decision to adopt Belgian citizenship because of her concerns. "People are worried, people are angry and we have had 12 months of this," she told Today. "We didn't get a vote and we feel betrayed and disappointed." John Brown has been living in Belgium for 21 years. He said: "It is when you get down to the nitty gritty, you uncover all the real issues, and I don't think any generous offers will get down to the real details." But speaking at the start of the second day of the EU Summit, Mrs May said she wanted to reassure EU citizens in the UK that "no one would have to leave", adding: "We won't be seeing families split apart." She said there had been a "constructive start" to the talks, and that the UK had "set out the issues that we want to start talking about early in the negotiations" - including citizens' rights. Labour's Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, criticised Mrs May's plans as "too little too late" and "falling far short" of the unilateral guarantee he says his party would offer. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also said the proposals left too many unanswered questions. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that the offer was "a good start". Both the UK and the rest of the EU say they want to come to an arrangement to secure the status of the 3.2 million EU citizens in the UK and the estimated 1.2 million Britons living in EU countries. The European Union has said they should continue enjoying the same rights, enforceable by the European Court of Justice, but the UK has said rights should be upheld by British courts. UK opposition parties had urged the government to make a unilateral guarantee to the EU migrants - but ministers have insisted a reciprocal deal is needed to ensure British expats are protected. View the full article
  8. Brexit: May unveils 'fair and serious' offer on EU citizens 22 June 2017 From the section UK Politics Image copyright Getty Images About three million EU citizens living in the UK would be allowed to stay after Brexit, Theresa May has proposed. A new "UK settled status" would grant EU migrants who had lived in the UK for five years rights to stay and access health, education and other benefits. Proposals were unveiled at a Brussels summit but are dependent on EU states guaranteeing Britons the same rights. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the plan a "good start", but Labour said it was "too little, too late". Many EU citizens in the UK, and Britons living abroad, are worried about their status once Brexit happens. The UK's exit deadline is 30 March 2019. Addressing other EU leaders at her first summit since the general election, the prime minister said she did not want anyone to have to leave or families to split up. "No one will face a cliff edge," she said. "The UK's position represents a fair and serious offer, one aimed at giving as much certainty as possible to citizens who have settled in the UK, building careers and lives and contributing so much to our society.'' 'Dreamer' Tusk says UK may yet stay in EU Brexit: All you need to know Mrs May said the UK wanted to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK - and the rights of UK expats in other European countries. Image copyright AFP Image caption Angela Merkel said she wanted the "widest possible guarantee" for EU citizens But Downing Street has not yet specified what "cut off" date will be for new residents, after which the guarantee would no longer apply. It will be no earlier than March 2017, when the UK formally began leaving the EU by issuing the Article 50 notification, and no later than March 2019 when it will actually leave. Those arriving up until the point of departure would have a "grace period" - expected to be two years - to build up the same "UK settled status", she told EU leaders. Mrs May also said the system would be streamlined, doing away with an 85-page permanent residency application form which has attracted complaints. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the PM was already on a collision course with her European counterparts over her plan for the rules of the new system to be applied by a British court - Brussels has insisted it must be the European Court of Justice that oversees it. But she added that the offer was intended to be a symbol that the UK was getting on with Brexit at a time of turmoil at home, in the wake of the general election result which led to Mrs May losing her Commons majority. Our correspondent said the full details would not be unveiled until next Monday, and it was not yet clear if the offer was as generous as that put forward by the EU a month ago. Details on issues such as the rights of EU citizens' relatives abroad and their descendants, were not yet known. 'Uncertainty for a year' Labour's Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said: "Labour has been clear that people should not be bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations. "The prime minister's offer is too little too late and falls far short of the full and unilateral guarantee Labour would make." Giving a "clear commitment" that there would be no change in the status of EU nationals in the UK would help deliver the same deal for UK nationals living in the EU, he added. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the plans left too many unanswered questions. "Theresa May could have given a guarantee from day one, instead she has allowed our friends, colleagues and neighbours to live in uncertainty for a year," he said. "Even now, Theresa May continues to insist on using EU nationals in Britain as bargaining chips and has failed to provide a full and clear right to stay for all." German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters she wanted "the widest possible security guarantees for EU citizens" from the Brexit deal and called the offer "a good start". She added: "But there are still many many other questions linked to the exit, including on finances and the relationship with Ireland. So we have a lot to do until [the next EU summit in] October." Both the UK and the rest of the EU say they want to come to an arrangement to secure the status of about 3.2 million EU nationals living in the UK, and 900,000 Britons overseas. The EU had already proposed that EU citizens in the UK and the estimated 1.2 million Britons living in EU countries should continue enjoying the same rights, enforceable by the European Court of Justice. UK opposition parties had urged the government to make a unilateral guarantee to the EU migrants - but ministers have insisted a reciprocal deal is needed to ensure British expats are protected. The gathering of 28 EU member states' leaders came the day after measures to enable Brexit dominated the Queen's Speech. Mrs May's Conservatives are still trying to secure the Commons support needed to pass their programme. Mrs May was not present when the leaders of the remaining 27 EU states held a brief discussion about Brexit after her presentation. View the full article
  9. London fire: Kensington council chief quits 22 June 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Protesters gathered outside Kensington Town Hall last week to demand support The chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council has resigned amid criticism over the borough's response to the Grenfell Tower fire. Nicholas Holgate said Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid had asked for him to go, but Mr Javid has not commented. Mr Holgate said last week's fire in North Kensington, in which at least 79 people died, was "heart-breaking" but his presence would be a "distraction". Residents had condemned the initial relief effort as "absolute chaos". In a statement issued by the council on Wednesday, Mr Holgate, who has been in post since 2014, said it was the "highest priority" of the council to help families affected by the fire. He said the communities and local government secretary had on Tuesday "required the leader of the council to seek my resignation". 'Grief stricken' Mr Holgate said: "Despite my wish to have continued, in very challenging circumstances, to lead on the executive responsibilities of the council, I have decided that it is better to step down from my role, once an appropriate successor has been appointed. "There is a huge amount still to do for the victims of the fire, requiring the full attention of this council and many others. If I stayed in post, my presence would be a distraction." What we know so far Who are the victims? Visual guide to what happened He added: "Whilst the public inquiry and other investigations will get to the truth of the causes of this tragedy and the management of its aftermath, I strongly believe that councillors and officers have always endeavoured to have the interests of our residents at heart and will continue to do so." Nicholas Paget-Brown, the leader of the council, said it was with "regret" that he had accepted Mr Holgate's resignation. Image copyright AFP He said: "The council has been grief stricken by the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire and has sought to provide the greatest level of support we can to victims. "That is a huge challenge and Nicholas has led from the front in seeking to do this." The Department for Communities and Local Government would not comment on the resignation. Since the fire on 14 June, some Grenfell Tower families have been staying in hotels and B&Bs, and there were concerns that more permanent housing would be offered in other parts of the country. However, residents said Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council had provided little support or information. Government staff and other London boroughs were drafted in to help with relief efforts in the wake of the fire, with humanitarian assistance being provided by the west London borough of Ealing. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionTheresa May on Grenfell fire: "As prime minister I've taken responsibility"The council's £8.6m refurbishment of the tower has also faced questions, with suggestions that new cladding fitted during the refurbishment could have made the blaze worse. The refurbishment will be one issue looked at by a full public inquiry into the fire, ordered by Theresa May last week. The PM, who is among those to have faced criticism after she failed to meet survivors in the immediate aftermath, has apologised for "State" failures after the blaze. She is expected to make a statement about the fire in the House of Commons on Thursday. She told MPs on Wednesday: "People were left without belongings, without roofs over their heads, without even basic information about what had happened, what they should do and where they could seek help." And the government announced that 68 social housing flats in Kensington Row, about 1.5 miles away from Grenfell Tower, would be made available to survivors. Meanwhile, the funeral of 23-year-old Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali, who was among the first victims of the fire to be named, also took place on Wednesday. His family, who arrived from war-torn Syria, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attended the ceremony, called a Janazat, at an east London mosque. A number of inquests were also opened and adjourned on Wednesday, with the coroner finding: Retired lorry driver Anthony Disson, 65, died from inhalation of fire fumes Farah Hamdan, a 31-year-old nursery nurse, died from smoke inhalation Her husband, Omar Belkadi, 32, who worked as a courier, died from inhalation from fire fumes Abufars Ibrahim, a 39-year-old shopkeeper, had been visiting his mother in the tower. The coroner said he had been found at the foot of the building and died from multiple injuries Khadija Khalloufi, a 52-year-old married woman, also died from inhalation of fire fumes View the full article
  10. Queen's Speech 2017: May promises 'humility' 21 June 2017 From the section UK Politics Image caption Much of the traditional ceremony will not feature this time Theresa May has promised to work with "humility and resolve" as the government prepares to outline its legislative programme later. Brexit is expected to dominate the Queen's Speech, which will cover a two-year period instead of one. It is also expected to include measures on domestic violence and car insurance. The Conservatives are still trying to agree terms with the Democratic Unionists to secure their support for Mrs May's minority government. It means some manifesto pledges are likely to be scaled back or scrapped. Sources from the DUP have warned that the party cannot be "taken for granted", although it is expected to back the Queen's Speech when MPs vote on it next week. What to expect from the Queen's Speech What might not be in it? Don't take us for granted, DUP tells Tories The speech is written by the government but read by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament. It is the main ceremonial event of the Parliamentary calendar - but this year's will look different, with much of the usual formalities dispensed with and the Queen wearing "day dress" instead of her usual robes. The speech will be delivered at 11:30 BST and will be covered live on BBC One, Radio 5 live and online. MPs will begin debating its contents in the afternoon. Brexit laws With Brexit talks now under way, the government is expected to set out the laws needed to leave the EU - irrespective of the final deal agreed with Brussels. At the heart of this is the so-called Great Repeal Bill - which will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. It will also copy existing EU legislation to the UK statute book, and Parliament will decide which bits to retain. A dressed-down Queen's Speech Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionScaled back Queen's Speech will look a little different The Queen will arrive at Parliament in a car, rather than horse-drawn carriage There will no royal procession into the House of Lords chamber and the Queen will wear "day dress" rather than robes Her crown will be driven to the Lords in its own car, but she will wear a hat instead It is the first state opening with "reduced ceremonial elements" since 1974 This was agreed because of timing issues caused by the snap election - rehearsals clashed with Saturday's Trooping the Colour event Other areas where Brexit-related laws are expected include immigration, customs and agriculture. The government has cancelled next year's Queen's Speech, so this one will cover a two-year period to give MPs more time to debate all the Brexit legislation. Mrs May said the speech would be about "grasping the opportunities that lie ahead for the United Kingdom as we leave the European Union". She said: "The election result was not the one I hoped for, but this government will respond with humility and resolve to the message the electorate sent. "We will work hard every day to gain the trust and confidence of the British people, making their priorities our priorities." First the government needs to get a Brexit deal that "commands maximum public support", she said. Image copyright PA "While this will be a government that consults and listens, we are clear that we are going to see Brexit through, working with Parliament, business, the devolved administrations and others to ensure a smooth and orderly withdrawal." Ministers have said some parts of the Conservative manifesto would have to be "pruned" following the election result. These could include controversial plans to reform adult social care funding, axe the winter fuel allowance for well-off pensioners and expand grammar schools. Manifesto pledges that will feature include: a Civil Liability Bill, designed to address the "compensation culture" around motoring insurance claims a Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, establishing a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner to stand up for victims and survivors and monitor the response of the authorities a Tenant's Fees Bill, banning landlords from charging "letting fees" Labour and the Liberal Democrats each plan to put forward alternative versions of the Queen's Speech. However, the Conservatives appear to have the numbers to get theirs through the Commons. The Lib Dems said their version would call for continued membership of the EU single market and customs union after Brexit. Party leader Tim Farron said: "This is a government with no clue, no direction and no mandate. "The Conservatives may be scaling back on their domestic agenda now that they have no majority to deliver it." View the full article
  11. DUP warn Conservatives: Don't take us for granted 20 June 2017 From the section UK Politics comments Image copyright Reuters Image caption DUP leader Arlene Foster visited Downing Street a week ago Democratic Unionist Party sources have urged the Conservatives to give a "greater focus" to their negotiations. A senior DUP source said the party could not be "taken for granted" - adding that if the PM could not reach a deal, "what does that mean for bigger negotiations she is involved in?" No deal has been reached after 10 days of talks between the parties. But sources told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg they believed a deal would still be done. BBC Editors: What to expect in the Queen's Speech A simple guide to what's happening The Conservatives are hoping the DUP will sustain their minority government. The warning from a senior DUP source to BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport comes the day before the government's Queen's Speech is presented to Parliament. Although they have not reached a final deal, DUP leader Arlene Foster has said it is "right and proper" that her MPs support the Conservative government's first Queen's Speech. 'Going well' A Conservative source said it was important the party "gets on with its business" as talks continue by putting forward Wednesday's Queen's Speech. Earlier cabinet minister Chris Grayling predicted a "sensible" deal would be reached. The transport secretary said the talks were "going well", adding that the DUP, which has 10 MPs, did not want another election or Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street. Theresa May is seeking to negotiate a so-called "confidence and supply" arrangement whereby the DUP will throw their weight behind the government in key Commons votes, such as on the Queen's Speech and Budgets. It is a week since DUP leader Arlene Foster visited Downing Street for talks with Theresa May, with reports that a final agreement is being held up by discussions over extra funding for Northern Ireland. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionScaled back Queen's Speech will look a little differentShould Mrs May lose any votes on the Queen's Speech, which are expected to take place next week, it would amount to a vote of no confidence in the government and put its future in doubt. But Mr Grayling told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he did not expect this to happen. "The talks are going on but one thing I am absolutely certain of is that the DUP do not want to see another election and Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street," he said. "We are having good, constructive discussions and I am confident we will reach a sensible agreement." Former Prime Minister Sir John Major has urged Theresa May to reconsider her approach, saying a deal with the DUP could threaten the Northern Ireland peace process and "carry baggage" for his party. He has said the Conservatives should be able to govern anyway with the DUP's tacit support. Asked about the repercussions if there was no agreement, Mr Grayling replied: "I am not pessimistic about this. I think we will have a sensible arrangement. "We have got some days until we have a vote on the Queen's Speech. It is not on Queen's Speech day. The vote happens many days later as we have an extended debate first and I am sure we will have a sensible arrangement between the parties when that time comes." The DUP had made it clear, he added, that they did not want "an unstable government undermining our union" and wanted to see us "go ahead with the Brexit negotiations with a sensible government in place". View the full article
  12. UK weather: Fifth day above 30C predicted, matching 1995 By Mario Cacciottolo BBC News 20 June 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Getty Images In the week the sunshine never ends, the UK is close to matching a sizzling June run not seen in two decades. If Wednesday's temperature tops 30C - and forecasters confidently predict it will - that will be five days in a row. The last June that we sweltered for so long was 1995, when the heat affected us so much Robson and Jerome stayed at number one for the entire month. And if Wednesday reaches 33.9C, it will be the warmest day in any June since 1976 - the classic long hot summer. BBC Weather says it is "very likely" that these temperatures will be reached this week. The Met Office has issued an amber Level 3 heat warning until Thursday. It has advised people to stay out of the sun and to show awareness for people who may be vulnerable people, such as the elderly. Weather Watchers' picture gallery Tuesday is the fourth consecutive day where the temperatures have exceeded 30C somewhere in the UK. Monday was the UK's hottest day of the year so far, with 32.5C being reached at Hampton Water Works in Greater London. Image copyright PA Image caption It's not just humans who need to keep cool - animals do too Of course, not all of the UK has seen particularly high temperatures - Edinburgh hovered around 18C on Tuesday, while Belfast was about 19C. However, by early afternoon on Tuesday it was 27C in Bristol, 30C in Chivenor and 30C in Hampton Water Works. And excessive heat should be seen in its proper context. While these temperatures are high for the temperate climate of the UK, they are lower than many parts of the world usually experience. For countries like Portugal where fires are currently raging and people have died, heat can be particularly deadly, while heat waves in India can also prove fatal. And even in the UK, the heat can be problematic for older people, leading to bodies like the NHS, the charity Age UK, and the Royal Voluntary Service all issuing advice for the elderly when the temperatures rise. These include: Drinking six to eight glasses of water or fruit juices a day Dressing appropriately, such as in a hat and loose-fitting, light-coloured clothes Staying out of the sun during hottest parts of the day Also the RSPCA regularly issues warnings about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars. And for those (human) Britons simply trying to get a good night's rest, there's the #TooHotToSleep hashtag on Twitter. But the British obsession with its recent temperatures has given rise to the rolling of eyes in other parts of the world, especially places like Australia. The news.com.au website has written a story about Brits not coping with our temperatures "as high as, hmm, 32C". Suffice to say, some of the reaction to this story on Facebook has not been sympathetic. "You sure wouldn't want to be in Australia in the middle of summer. Walk outside and you'll look like a shrimp on the Barbie," writes Julie Rae, while Mark Whiting scoffs that Britons "need to get out more". He also mentions how the town of Birdsville "nudges the 50C mark". However, a few people commenting on that same story have offered a more understanding point of view. Lawton Rose points out that "the UK is just not built for this sort of weather", while Australian Daniel Richardson also posted that hot weather feels like "a different kind of heat when you live in an old city designed to mostly just handle cold". Perhaps those Aussies with scathing views of Brits sweltering in the heat are grumpy because it's their winter right now. Just take a look at Bondi Beach. Image copyright Getty Images Meanwhile, in much of the UK... Image copyright Getty Images View the full article
  13. Finsbury Park attack: Community holds vigil 20 June 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Getty Images The head of the Met Police and faith leaders joined a vigil on Monday night after the Finsbury Park terror attack. Commissioner Cressida Dick was among hundreds who took part after a van hit worshippers near the Muslim Welfare House mosque and community centre. Prayers took place on Monday night after worshippers broke their fast, but leaders said it was quieter than usual. Darren Osborne, 47, from Cardiff, has been held on suspicion of attempted murder and alleged terror offences. The Metropolitan Police said he was being held on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionFootage shows the suspected attacker being tackled before police arriveHis family members have said they are ""shocked" and "devastated". Mr Osborne's mother, sister and nephew said in a statement: "We are massively in shock, it's unbelievable. It still hasn't really sunk in." They added that their "hearts go out to those who've been injured". What we know so far In pictures: Finsbury Park attack Welsh hire van in mosque terror attack Theresa May's statement in full 'Everyone is on edge' after attack The attack took place shortly after midnight on Sunday night, close to Muslim Welfare House on Seven Sisters Road. The driver of the van was detained by bystanders before police arrived. Nine people were taken to three London hospitals after a van struck pedestrians. Two were treated for minor injuries at the scene. Several of the injured are believed to be seriously hurt. Those who were injured had been helping a man who had collapsed. He later died but it is not clear if that was because of the attack. Faith leaders addressed a crowd at the vigil outside nearby Finsbury Park Mosque. People from across the community had gathered in solidarity and to lay flowers. After a short silence, chairman of the mosque Mohammed Kozbar told those attending that the attack was "on our families, on our freedom, on our dignity". He said the man who died was a father of six children. The Bishop of Stepney, Rt Rev Adrian Newman, said "an attack on one faith is an attack on us all". Ms Dick said the incident was "quite clearly an attack on Muslims", and the community would now see more police, including armed officers, in the area, "particularly around religious establishments". Later, Muslim worshippers attended midnight prayers. At the scene, the BBC's Simon Clemison said: "People came to prayer just as they would have done. "It was pretty full - although one of the leaders of the mosque said it was quieter, he felt, quieter for one of the busiest times of Ramadan." He said there were some reservations amongst worshippers, about the media, and about decision-makers. But there was also positivity as people came from other parts of the capital to pray with the community. Image copyright PA Image caption Police have been gathering evidence at the scene of the attack The government is working to tackle hate crime and "all forms of extremism" the home secretary has said. Writing in the Guardian, Amber Rudd said: "We must unite the might of community spirit and the full force of the law to ensure every person in the UK is protected. Let there be no doubt we will be tough on terror wherever it strikes. And last night's attack was terrorism." She said this latest "attack on Britain" united everyone in grief and anger, adding: "It is vital, now more than ever, that we stand together and do not allow people who seek to use hate to divide us to succeed." Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Officers have been carrying out searches at a property in the Cardiff area Security Minister Ben Wallace said the suspect was not known to the security services, and was believed to have acted alone. The BBC understands Mr Osborne grew up in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and has lived at more than one property in Cardiff. He is also believed to have lived in Swindon. Police searches are being carried out in the Cardiff area. It is the fourth terror attack in the UK in three months, after incidents in Westminster, Manchester and on London Bridge. Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack was "every bit as sickening" as the others. She visited Finsbury Park Mosque on Monday and held talks with faith leaders. Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn also visited the area, telling the BBC that "an attack on a mosque, an attack on a synagogue, an attack on a church is actually an attack on all of us". View the full article
  14. Finsbury Park attack suspect named 19 June 2017 From the section UK Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionFootage shows the suspected attacker being tackled to the ground before the police arriveThe man arrested on suspicion of carrying out the Finsbury Park terror attack is 47-year-old Darren Osborne from Cardiff, the BBC understands. He was held after a van hit Muslims who had been attending evening prayers at a north London mosque. They had been helping a man who had collapsed. He later died but it is not clear if it was because of the attack. Mr Osborne was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and later further arrested over alleged terror offences. Police are carrying out searches at an address in the Cardiff area. View the full article
  15. Finsbury Park: 'Several hurt' as vehicle hits pedestrians 19 June 2017 From the section London A vehicle has struck pedestrians "leaving a number of casualties" in north London, police said. One person has been arrested following the incident on Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park. Officers were called at 12.20 BST, the Metropolitan Police said. London Ambulance Service said: "We have sent a number of resources to an incident in Seven Sisters Road." View the full article