Uk News & Politics

LONDON - British defence minister Ben Wallace said on Thursday he believed there was a way to address Turkey's concerns over Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Finland and Sweden formally applied on Wednesday to join NATO, a decision spurred by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but Turkey has objected, accusing the countries of supporting groups that it deems terrorists. "I think there is a way through. I think we will get there in the end and it is very important that we listen to all members and their concerns in that process and we will certainly be listening to Turkey," Wallace told parliament, adding he would be speaking to his Turkish counterpart. (Reporting by Muvija M, Writing by Kylie MacLellan, editing by Elizabeth Piper)...
Sam Bright and Sascha Lavin explore how the ‘Zoomtowns’ phenomenon is putting a burden on local property markets
LONDON - The European Union will not give a new mandate to Brexit negotiator Maros Sefcovic as Britain seeks changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol agreed as part of the Brexit deal, the bloc's ambassador to London said on Thursday. Speaking at an event in Westminster, the ambassador, João Vale de Almeida, reiterated that the EU would stick to its existing mandate for Sefcovic in talks with Britain. Britain has said that the bloc's refusal to budge on its negotiating mandate for the talks is "hugely disappointing". (Reporting by Andrew MacAskill, writing by Alistair Smout, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)...
LONDON - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday discussed longer-term security proposals for Ukraine and ways to get grain exports out of the country, Johnson's office said. "The leaders discussed progress in negotiations and agreed to step up work with allies, including the U.S., France and Germany, to define the longer-term security architecture for Ukraine," the spokesperson said after a telephone call between the two leaders. "They looked at options to open up critical sea and land supply routes for Ukrainian grain stocks, and committed to direct their teams to work urgently on the next steps." (Reporting by Michael Holden; Writing by William Schomberg)...
By Jennifer Rigby LONDON - A smattering of monkeypox cases in Britain has prompted authorities to offer a smallpox vaccine to some healthcare workers and others who may have been exposed, as a handful more cases were confirmed in parts of Europe. Monkeypox is a usually mild viral illness, characterised by symptoms of fever as well as a distinctive bumpy rash. There are two main strains: the Congo strain, which is more severe – with up to 10% mortality – and the West African strain, which has a fatality rate of about 1%. First identified in monkeys, the viral disease typically spreads through close contact and largely occurs in west and central Africa. It has rarely spread elsewhere, so this fresh spate of cases outside the continent has triggered concern. In the United Kingdom, nine cases of the West African strain have been reported so far. There isn't a specific vaccine for monkeypox, but a...
LONDON - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not face any further action over rule-breaking parties held in Downing Street during the coronavirus pandemic, the BBC's political editor said on Twitter on Thursday. Johnson, who has previously apologised after receiving a fine, has dismissed calls to step down over gatherings held in his office and residence, an investigation into which has now been concluded by police. (Reporting by Muvija M, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)...
AV Deggar considers how the Vote Leave coalition may react to emboldened separatist forces in Scotland and Northern Ireland
LONDON - The full report by senior British civil servant Sue Gray into alcohol-fuelled events in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Downing Street offices and residence is expected to be published next week, a source in the Cabinet Office said on Thursday. Gray published an interim report in January, but said the full report would be withheld until the end of the police inquiries. The Met said on Thursday they had now completed their investigation. (Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Michael Holden)...
LONDON -British police said on Thursday they had ended their investigation into COVID-19 lockdown parties held at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Downing Street office, saying they had issued a total of 126 fines. Johnson and finance minister Rishi Sunak were both fined last month over a gathering in his office to celebrate his 56th birthday in June 2020 when social mixing was all but banned. It led to widespread calls from opposition politicians and some in his own party for him to resign. "Our investigation was thorough and impartial and was completed as quickly as we could, given the amount of information that needed to be reviewed and the importance of ensuring that we had strong evidence for each FPN (fixed penalty notice) referral," London Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Helen Ball said. "This investigation is now complete." Downing Street did not immediately respond to a request for comment. P...
LONDON - Britain said on Thursday it planned to legislative action to ensure abortion services were commissioned in Northern Ireland, following what it called "inaction" from the province's health department and its currently devolved executive. "It is absolutely unacceptable that the Executive and Department of Health have failed women and girls, meaning that they cannot currently access the same basic abortion healthcare that is available to women and girls in the rest of the UK," Britain's Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis, said. "That's why I am acting to remove any further barriers to delivering services." (Reporting by Muvija M; editing by Michael Holden)...
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration raises concerns about housing people seeking asylum in temporary accommodation
As the strength of professional feeling over Legal Aid intensifies – will these groups force the system to the point of collapse?
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Rising energy bills, increased food costs – and yet benefits have not risen with inflation, leaving families struggling to make ends meet, Sian Norris reports
Thomas Perrett unpicks why the Conservative Party is considering rebooting the long-discredited housing policy
LONDON (Bywire News) - The Emissions Trading Scheme authority has revealed that participants of the ETS have given up allowances equating to over 99% of emissions in 2021, the year the operation launched.  On Wednesday evening, the ETS authority said that since May 1, a total of 107,858,729 allowances had been provided to cover the total emissions for 2021 consisting of 107,862,714 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. It went on to say that all those participating must surrender allowances equal to their recorded emissions for the 2021 scheme year by April 30. According to an overseeing body, the less than 1% of people who fail to comply with the surrender regulations will face a fine. Since Jan 1 2021, the UK ETS has been fully operational, as a substitute for Britain's involvement in the European Union's ETS. Its first phase ends in 2030. (Reporting by Nora Buli in Oslo; Editing by Edmund Blair and Klaudia Fior)...
FILE PHOTO: Smoke billows from a chimney in the early morning hours during a smoggy day near Ramsgate, April 10, 2015. Local media reports that southeastern England could reach the highest level of air pollution today. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
LONDON - Tamils who resettled in Britain after fleeing the Sri Lankan civil war held a vigil in London on Wednesday, with some likening the island nation's current economic crisis to the conditions they faced during the decades-long conflict. The gathering of Tamils seeking justice for those from their community who were killed in the South Asian country during the war, coincided with Sri Lanka's worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948 that has forced out its prime minister. "The current crisis in Colombo reminds me of our struggles during the war. Shortage of fuel, food, medicine - the Tamil-dominated parts of Sri Lanka faced the same issues then as what the entire nation is facing today," Thanikai, 42, who came to Britain eight years ago, told . He is amongst the hundreds of thousands of Tamils who fled the conflict, which ended in May 2009 with the Sri Lankan government defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels. Human...
By Padraic Halpin DUBLIN - Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald on Wednesday said Britain's proposals to override some post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland were "astonishing" and yet another move by London that only serves to boost the Irish nationalist party's quest for a united Ireland. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss set out steps on Tuesday to try to break a deadlock with the European Union on the Northern Ireland protocol, lining up a new law to unilaterally ease the movement of goods if talks with Brussels fail. The move further inflamed relations with the EU, including neighbouring Ireland, which said the path chosen by London was of great concern. Sinn Fein, which became the largest party in British-run Northern Ireland for the first time at elections this month, added its disapproval on Wednesday. "My first reaction is one of dismay, again, because this is just a repeat performance of the kind of bad faith,...
By Alistair Smout LONDON - A lack of clear information out of China in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic has left the whole world in a worse situation, British health minister Sajid Javid said. Javid, speaking before a G7 health ministers conference on Thursday where pandemic preparedness will be discussed, said that better information sharing would help avoid a repeat of the COVID crisis. He suggested that secrecy by China had contributed to a slow global response. "Had the world had more information about what was happening in China early on, I think we'd all been in a much better place today," he told in an interview. "If COVID had emerged in a European country or the United States and many other countries that are much more open and transparent, I think the world response would have been quicker." He said he supported the establishment of a new G20 financial intermediary fund in principle, aime...
By Edwin Waita NAIROBI - A 16-year-old British schoolboy who is on a quest to become the youngest person to fly around the world solo, landed his small plane in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, on Wednesday. Mack Rutherford, who started his journey near the Bulgarian capital Sofia in March, is looking to clinch a Guinness World record currently held by compatriot Travis Ludlow, who was 18 when he completed a circumnavigation last year. "I'm hoping, with this journey, to inspire young people to follow their dreams," Rutherford said after clambering out of his two-seater single prop ultralight aircraft, at Wilson Airport. The plane's manufacturer, Shark Aero, deemed the journey too risky and declined to partner with Rutherford's project. "Mack is no doubt a skilled pilot. However, we do not feel comfortable pushing the age limit to the lowest possible point for journeys where a certain level of risk cannot be avoided,"...
As the Prime Minister’s former chief aide reveals the direct line between Johnson and billionaire media moguls, Sam Bright explores how they may have shaped Government COVID policies