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Could This Be You? A UK-Based Lottery Winner Still Hasn’t Claimed Their £76m Prize

By Rachel McGrath

Check your tickets, people...

The hunt is on for a lottery winner who won £76m earlier this month, but is yet to claim their prize.

Under lottery procedures, if no valid claim for a major prize is made within two weeks of the draw, the location in which the ticket was bought can be publicised.

As a result, it’s now been revealed that the EuroMillions ticket – which won on Friday 2 November – was sold in the Boston and Skegness region, Lincolnshire.

Its owner matched five main numbers and two Lucky Star numbers to win the entire jackpot.

Lottery players are being urged to “triple-check” their tickets in case they’ve won the huge sum. The winning numbers were 5, 15, 17, 37, 44 and the Lucky Star numbers were 7 and 11.

Andy Carter, senior winners’ adviser at the National Lottery, said it was “desperate to find this mystery ticket-holder and unite them with their winnings”.

“We’re urging everyone to try checking in the pockets of clothing, in wallets, bags, down the back of the sofa and anywhere a missing ticket could be hiding – someone out there could literally be sitting on a fortune,” he said.

“We have the champagne on ice and our fingers crossed that the lucky winner comes forward to claim their win.”

The ticket-holder has until Wednesday 1 May, 2019 to claim their prize. If they don’t come forward by then, the winnings – and the interest it’s generated – will go towards lottery-funded projects.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/euromillions-lottery_uk_5bed5af6e4b09f4670075201

      

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Toxic Is The Word Of The Year - Here's What That Says About The World We Live In

By Stuart Thomson

The selection of ‘toxic‘ as the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2018 sets the scene for 2019 as well. The level of toxicity, especially in politics, is increasing and nothing is being done to try to reverse the trend.

Toxic (meaning “poisonous; relating to or caused by poison; very bad, unpleasant, or harmful”) is a perfect picture of modern politics and political discourse having moved beyond the traditional environmental and health meanings.

The toxic political environment has been heightened in the UK by the discussion over Brexit and with PM now having a deal to present to Ministers, Parliament and the public, there is a real danger that we are entering the toxic phase of the process.

It is too easy to ‘blame’ social media for what is a less polite and consensual politics. Whilst social media may have given President Trump a direct connection with the world, it has also been a great driver for change, helping for instance shed light of the appalling behaviours that has given rise to the #MeToo movement. Social media’s empowering of voices empowers a range of voices.

Complaints of an echo chamber are not the fault of social media companies but of those who choose to limit their intake and ‘block’ a view of the world with which they do not agree. Free will and choice are being expressed.

The more extreme a position one side of the argument takes then the other side appears to have to take an equal and directly opposite position. The perception of being consensual or trying to adopt a middle way is currently a sign of weakness, a betrayal of real principles of a compromise too far. If social media is to be blamed then the ‘traditional‘ media is not without fault as well. The media, in their bid for balance, then seems obliged to carry both extreme views to ensure that a fair debate takes place.

Even the occasional mainstream journalist is reverting to toxic language and having to delate tweets.

Part of the toxic political environment is also the rise of the language of violence, especially directed towards female politicians and other leaders, alongside the very real threat of actual violence. Now social media companies can do more where it comes to such threats.

Politicians, as well as more generally across societies, are adopting more extreme positions in arguments with little listening done on either side. But this is often deliberate. The language is part of the political tactics to appeal to certain groups of voters. Responses to the ‘other side’ rely on attacks on the people rather than the being based on facts.

The smallest comment is then taken as a personal slight as if those involved are looking for the opportunity to hit back with even more extreme claims. It’s almost as if both sides appear to be goading each other.

But other words on the Oxford Dictionaries shortlist also seem to sum up the toxic nature of debate.

Cakeism – “is the belief that it is possible to enjoy or take advantage of both of two desirable but mutually exclusive alternatives at once.” This most often comes up in relation to Brexit with Boris Johnson as the most vociferous advocate of cakeism.

Gammon – “a derogatory term for an older middle-class white man whose face becomes flushed due to anger when expressing political (typically right-wing) opinions” and, although not in the list, the ‘left-wing’ alternative is ‘snowflake’. Both words have a sneering and completely dismissive nature.

Unfortunately, it may be that the only time that we move away from this toxic political environment and culture is when the more extreme views fail to deliver on their high promises. That though supposes that such ‘defeats’ do not create an even higher level of disappointment and toxicity in future years.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/toxic-word-of-the-way_uk_5bec6446e4b0618097566a50

      

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Jacob Rees-Mogg Launches Stinging Attack On Theresa May As He Openly Threatens Her Leadership

By Isabel Togoh

Eurosceptic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg launched a stinging attack on the integrity of the Prime Minister and her draft Brexit deal, before hinting that he would submit a letter of no confidence in her leadership.

The European Research Group chair is reportedly set to submit such a letter today, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Referring to the deal, he told the House of Commons on Thursday morning: “My right honourable friend, and she is unquestioningly honourable, said that we would leave the Customs Union. Annex two says otherwise.

“My right honourable friend said that she would retain the integrity of the United Kingdom. A whole protocol says otherwise.

“My right honourable friend said that we would be out of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Article 174 says otherwise.

“As what my right honourable friend says, and what my right honourable friend does no longer match, should I not write to my right honourable friend the member for Altrincham and Sale West?”

BREAKING Eurosceptic Tory leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to submit letter of no confidence in Theresa May as Conservative leader later today, sources confirm

— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) November 15, 2018

Said MP is Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, a backbench body which would oversee an increasingly likely vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Some 48 letters are needed to trigger the vote, which would plunge her leadership into (even more) turmoil.

May responded: “I have made absolutely clear that some difficult choices have had to be made in relation to that protocol. Those choices have been made because I believe, and I strongly and firmly believe it is important that we do ensure that there is no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“But as I have said before, and my honourable friend has heard me say before,” she said as she turned to look at a visibly frustrated Rees-Mogg, “we will be working to ensure that that protocol does not need to be put into place.”

Should I not write to my right honourable friend the member for Altrincham and Sale West?
Jacob Rees-Mogg

She added: “What we are negotiating alongside that withdrawal agreement is not something that will be of a temporary nature, it will be a lasting future relationship with the European Union which will last for decades to come.

“In that future relationship, we will no longer be a member of the customs union, we will no longer be a member of the single market, an end to free movement will have been delivered, the integrity of the United Kingdom will have been maintained, the jurisdiction of the European court in the UK will end, and we will come out of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy.

“So I ask my honourable friend to consider the nature of the future relationship we will be delivering with the European Union, which does indeed deliver on the commitments that I have made.”

It has been a tough morning for May, who has seen a slew of resignations from her government – including two Cabinet ministers – all before midday.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey have both quit in protest over her withdrawal deal, which she announced yesterday.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/jacob-rees-mogg-launches-stinging-attack-on-theresa-may-as-he-openly-threatens-her-leadership_uk_5bed5f5fe4b09f4670075cad

      

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What The Archers Taught Me About Universal Credit

By Debbie Bannigan

When was the last time you took in an episode of The Archers? Last week? Last month? Sometime this lifetime? Whatever your radio habits, it’s unlikely that you’ll have missed out on Radio 4’s flagship rural drama, since it’s probably the longest running soap on the planet. It’s got a catchy old theme tune too.

Whenever you last caught an episode, one perennial storyline is likely to have threaded through the plot.

Diversification.

Whether it’s Eddie Grundy’s seasonal venture into turkey-rearing, or Pat and Tony trialling leisurewear hand-knitted from organic yoghurt, The Archers‘ cast of characters is constantly experimenting with new enterprise. And rightly so. Anyone who runs a business knows that it’s risky to rely on a single income stream. Farmers, whose livelihoods are vulnerable to the vagaries of the weather, the market and whatever foods are ‘on trend’ this season, know this more than most.

The advice is to develop a diverse portfolio of products. If a hot summer affects crop yields, at least the ice-cream business will flourish. It’s just plain common sense. Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) even publishes advice about it.

Sadly, the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) doesn’t seem to have read it.

Their flagship benefit system – Universal Credit – takes several benefits and rolls them all up into a single payment. This has been hailed as a masterpiece of simplification. Where applicants used to fill in several forms and submit details over and over, now they just have to do it once and – hey presto – a single payment of benefit lands in their hands, from which they can meet all of their outgoings.

Having seen the chaos of the old systems, and experienced the frustration of applicants trying to co-ordinate their communication with multiple agencies, I can understand the attraction. Sadly, the reality is flawed.

Universal Credit leaves our poorest and least resilient neighbours reliant on a single source of income. OK, maybe two, if they’re on ‘in work benefits’, but it’s still building in a vulnerability that, inevitably, makes hard times even harder to manage. If anything goes wrong – and it does – there is nothing to fall back on. No rent, no food, no electricity or gas, no bus fares. There’s no chance to prioritise to keep body and soul together because everything crashes out at the same time.

And crash out it does, from day one, because Universal Credit isn’t paid for five weeks after it’s claimed. That’s five long weeks with nothing, absolutely nothing. Debt is inevitable, whether unpaid bills or unaffordable debt. Stress comes as standard.

Add to that the cruelty of ‘Sanctions’. Fail to comply with a requirement and your payment can be stopped. Even if it’s your only source of income (which Universal Credit is designed to be) and even if the reason for the sanction is unreasonable and out of your control.

Is it surprising that more and more people are reliant on food banks? That rent arrears are skyrocketing? That – even according to our local Tory council – Universal Credit is forcing people into homelessness?

This week’s edition of BBC’s Panorama shone a brief spotlight on the inevitability of destitution that lies at the heart of the Universal Credit system. Instead of supporting people in need, it twists and breaks them. Instead of helping them to create a solid foundation, it builds in risk. If we’re all, at best, only three pay cheques from a park bench, many of our poor, sick and disabled friends who needed the help of Universal Credit are already there. As a welfare safety net, Universal Credit has far too many holes.

Ask any of The Archers‘ farming families and they’ll tell you that relying on a single source of income is not a good idea. OK, so they’re fictional, but the issues that the programme covers about income diversification aren’t. Neither are the issues that our neighbours are facing, day in and day out, from reliance on Universal Credit.

The Labour Party has pledged to stop the roll-out of Universal Credit and – most importantly – to fix it. Since Universal Credit has already been rolled out here in Rugby, it’s the fix that we need. When I say ‘fix’, I mean a complete overhaul to make sure people in need aren’t pushed further down the poverty ladder, offering advice and support rather than treating claimants as quasi-criminals and providing access to genuinely affordable housing to bring rents down.

And yes, let’s learn a thing or two from The Archers and build diversity and resilience into the system too.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/what-the-archers-taught-me-about-universal-credit_uk_5bec62abe4b023ecac06ea82

      

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The Waugh Zone Thursday November 15, 2018

By Paul Waugh

1. MEXIT DAY LOOMS?

We are just 134 days away from Brexit Day. But when the country staggers over the finish line on March 29, there will be many more miles in this marathon left yet. That’s one of the main takeaways from Theresa May’s newly published deal with Brussels, as the date and nature of the UK’s ‘real’ exit from the EU is pushed further into the distance. And the big question this morning is whether the PM herself will still be in post next month, let alone next Spring. The growing sense of rebellion in the Tory party was starkly confirmed as Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab sensationally quit, followed by Esther McVey. Earlier, Northern Ireland Minister Shailesh Vara quit his post in protest at May’s plans. I wondered whether he would be a lone firework or the spark for more explosive resignations worthy of bonfire night. Now, ministers and backbenchers have the PM’s own Exit Day in their hands.

I’d be amazed if every MP reads all 585 pages of the densely-worded Withdrawal Agreement published yesterday, though some may manage to get through the seven-page ‘Outline Political Declaration On The Future Relationship’. The ‘wins’ for May include getting zero tariffs, no quotas and a ‘sliding scale’ of regulation to allow as frictionless trade as possible. That’s a prize that senior Government sources told us was something no other advanced economy had gained from the EU. But what worries both Tory and DUP MPs is the lingering presence of differential treatment for Northern Ireland, the lack of a means to unilaterally pull out, plus the more likely prospect of extending the transition period beyond December 2020. The very fact that the final end of transition is described in the text as ‘20XX’ (the blank will be filled in by the summit later this month) underscores how nervous No.10 is about the idea of further lengthening the UK’s limbo status.

For the PM the legalese of the document is not the main focus. Her overarching message is essentially ‘trust me, this is the best deal you’re ever going to get’. Brexit for her means messy compromise and the real split in the Tory party is now not between Leavers and Remainers, but pragmatists and idealists (or ideologues). The EU’s Donald Tusk this morning tried to make it easier for May to sell her deal back home, saying: “As much as I am sad to see you leave, I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible, for you and for us.” Yet if the PM needed any reminders of the pain ahead, Norman Tebbit told LBC radio that May’s deal “smells of Neville Chamberlain coming back from Munich”.

2. SHOTS FIRED

Vara’s resignation (exclusively revealed by HuffPost) certainly got the day off to a difficult start for No.10. His letter stated “This agreement does not provide for the United Kingdom being a sovereign independent country leaving the shackles of the EU”. The son of an immigrant carpenter (once described as a “future Conservative Party leader” by Lord Alexander of Weedon), his departure underscored the Northern Ireland issue. More importantly, it looks like the trigger for much bigger trouble for the PM. A hundred years from the end of the First World War, Vara may turn out to be the Gavrilo Princip of The Great Tory Brexit War: the man who fired the first shot that lead to the political assassination of Theresa May.

And it is Raab’s resignation that is the nightmare that No.10 had dreaded, both because of the impact it will have on Brexiteers already determined to vote against the deal and because of the direct threat it poses to her very premiership. This is a fast moving story and who knows how many more Cabinet ministers will have quit by the end of the day. Late last night, Raab still intended to be in post today. But either he failed to get extra reassurances from the PM or he just mulled it over and came to the conclusion the deal could not be improved. He said this morning he “cannot in good conscience support” the draft text. Raab’s resignation leaves the UK without a minister in charge of the most important policy of the Government. Yet given that civil servant Olly Robbins has been doing most of the real negotiating, maybe we won’t even get a replacement that soon. The PM is her own Brexit Secretary after all (though maybe David Lidington will step into the breach temporarily?)

It’s all a far cry from the image No.10 wanted to project last night, as aides informed us that ministers ended the five hour Cabinet meeting with glasses of wine (red and white). No one had threatened to resign, no vote was taken explicitly but ‘Cabinets always proceed by collective agreement’, we were told. That fiction was brutally exposed as it emerged that 11 ministers had raised serious concerns about the deal, and one source says that Raab himself at one point described it during the discussion as ‘indefensible’. Work and Pensions Secretrary Esther McVey was very ‘emotional’ during the debate, demanding a formal vote should be recorded. Now she’s quit too. Let’s see how much of a Cabinet the PM has left by the end of the day. Never before has the Cabinet table’s notorious ‘coffin-shape’ seemed more apt.

3. COUP DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

Politics is a numbers game at heart. The Cabinet has a mere 29 members. Yet it’s the 80-strong European Research Group, plus more than 20 Remainers, that the PM was worried about when it comes to getting her deal through Parliament. The more pressing problem now is whether there will be the required 48 names needed for a vote of confidence. Jacob Rees-Mogg sent his own letter to MPs last night within just eight minutes of the Brexit deal going online, so it seems he didn’t bother to read it to conclude that no deal was better than this deal.

Mogg and the ERG have constantly said that they want to ‘change the policy not the personnel’. Given they think the policy hasn’t really changed (though the PM will try to make it look like she’s ‘chucked Chequers’ by abandoning the phrase ‘common rulebook), the logic of the backbench Brexiteer group is that they now have to change the leader. Mogg last night said tenure of No.10 was a ‘leasehold not a freehold’. And his deputy Mark Francois, when asked about the vote of confidence letters, said: “A lot of colleagues are very unhappy with this deal. I would rule nothing out.” The coup, or at least the attempted coup, is on.

Now, it’s worth saying that despite even Raab’s resignation and the threat of more, May can still win a vote of confidence if she gets a majority of just one. Don’t forget that John Major survived even after a third of his entire Parliamentary party voted against him. Yet Major managed to get enough votes for Maastricht at the end of the day. May just hasn’t got the votes to get this Brexit deal through in its current form. And as we revealed yesterday, there’s even more trouble ahead even if, by some miracle, she could have won the ‘meaningful vote’. Tory MPs are planning to pile in killer amendments to the Withdrawal and Implementation Bill, a move that could ruin the whole ratification process by the European Parliament. As one Brexiteer said to me yesterday, echoing the IRA’s infamous line: “We only have to get lucky once.”

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR…

This never gets old. Enjoy this classic The Day Today sketch as Brussels Correspondent Peter O’Hanraha-hanrahan explains how an EU deal was arrived at. Includes the all-too-topical line:’ “When I spoke to finance minister Reinhardt earlier today, he said he didn’t like the deal, but he had to go along with it….”

4. ALTERNATIVE ULSTER

As if all that wasn’t enough, the DUP are so unhappy with May’s plans that they now look certain to vote against them. The very existence of their confidence and supply deal that props up the PM in power looks in danger too. The Brexiteers and the DUP have a much stronger alliance than May and Arlene Foster. It’s a great irony that plans to prevent further violence in Northern Ireland, by keeping open the border with Ireland, have in fact led to political violence in the Tory party.

The DUP’s Sammy Wilson wasn’t afraid of making the analogy yesterday, comparing the way the EU had treated the UK with the IRA’s own punishment beatings: “And unfortunately the Prime Minister has allowed that punishment beating to be administered. That punishment beating in my belief will damage the UK and damage the UK constitution.” In case we didn’t get the message, he added: “We fought against a terrorist campaign to stay within the UK, we’re not going to let the EU break Northern Ireland just as we didn’t let the IRA do so.”

5. NO BREXIT AT ALL

May rolled out what seemed her last ditch tactic to get MPs to back her deal, warning they had to choose between backing her plan or “leave with no deal or no Brexit at all”. The line had been roadtested by William Hague earlier in the day but that didn’t make it any less palatable.

When I asked No.10 under what circumstances the PM felt that there could be ‘no Brexit at all’, a Downing Street spokesman said: “You should see that through the prism of Parliament, in that the main opposition party has actively said that Brexit can be stopped, there is a People’s Vote Movement which we have set out our opposition to, and any other number of important votes that will have to occur between now and the 29th of March.” The People’s Vote campaign saw it as a huge shot in the arm for them. But I wonder if it may also have sparked the resignations too, as Brexiteers really do fear Labour allying with Remainer Tories to re-run the whole race.

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Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/the-waugh-zone-thursday-november-15-2018_uk_5bed3870e4b09f467006df3f

      

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Lucy McHugh Murder: Stephen-Alan Nicholson Charged With Killing 13-Year-Old

By Rachel McGrath

Lucy McHugh

A 24-year-old man has been charged with the murder of 13-year-old Lucy McHugh.

Stephen-Alan Nicholson, of no fixed abode, is set to appear at Southampton Magistrates’ Court today.

He has also been charged with rape of a child under 13 and two counts of sexual activity with a child under 16.

One of the counts of sexual activity with a child dates back to 2012 and involves a 14-year-old girl.

McHugh was stabbed to death and her body was found by a member of the public in woodland at Southampton Sports Centre on 26 July.

Detectives say the 13-year-old left her house in Mansel Road East at 9.30am on Wednesday 25 July.

Lucy’s mother Stacey White described her as “a smiling, content little dolly who everyone adored and cherished”.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/lucymchugh-murder-case-man-charged_uk_5bed1f03e4b03af8926699bf

      

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10 Cheap Hostels You Could Easily Mistake For A Fancy Hotel

By Rachel Moss

Hostels can be the easiest way to nerator, Venice

The Generator Venice has mosaic floors, glass chandeliers and a stone fireplace with intimate and luxurious common areas. The interiors are dark and moody, in the best possible way. Each room has an picturesque view looking out onto either the gardens, the pool, the Grande Canal or San Marco.

Rooms available: dorm beds from £15 per night and twin private rooms from £81 per night.

Rating on Hostelworld: 8.3

6) Lub D Phuket Patong, Thailand

Lub D Patong is an ultra modern, hip and sleek destination with a huge lobby/common area, an outdoor swimming pool and a large terrace to enjoy a cocktail (or two). Bottoms up.

Rooms available: dorm beds from £17 per night and twin private rooms from £61 per night.

Rating on Hostelworld: 9.4

7) Faloe hostel, Malaysia

The Faloe Hostel in Malaysia has a super cosy and relaxing atmosphere, spotless interiors and a fantastic location, just a stone’s throw from Kota Kinabalu city centre.

Rooms available: dorm beds from £7 per night.

Rating on Hostelworld: 9.8

8) Clinknoord, Amsterdam

With modern Dutch-style interiors and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere, the hostel offers dormitory accommodation, private rooms, free Wi-Fi throughout the building and a great buffet breakfast – perfect for filling up before a day of exploring. Book worms will also love the communal book shelf and sitting area.

Rooms available: dorm beds from £15 per night and twin private rooms for £78 per night.

Rating on Hostelworld: 9.1

9) 99 Surf lodge, Nicaragua

99 Surf Lodge is a modern, minimalist, beach-front retreat, designed to keep you in contact with the ocean without giving up on comfort. Better yet, the hostel is eco-friendly, built entirely with local materials. The huge tree that frames the water is simply breathtaking.

Rooms available: dorm beds from £19 per night

Rating on Hostelworld: 8.7

10) Rambutan Townsville YHA, Australia

This hostel is the ultimate spot to kick back and chill, with a stylish rooftop pool surrounded by cabanas and pool lounges, as well as an outdoor bar and restaurant. Cushions and lanterns outside give it an extra touch of luxury, while still feeling homely and inviting.

Rooms available: dorm beds from £15 per night and twin private rooms from £61 per night.

Rating on Hostelworld: 9.0

We all work hard to earn our money – so it shouldn’t feel like hard work to spend it well. At HuffPost Finds we’ll help you find the best stuff that deserves your cash, from the ultimate lipstick to a durable iron to replace the one that broke (RIP). All our choices are completely independent but we may earn a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/10-dreamy-hostels-you-could-easily-mistake-for-a-fancy-hotel_uk_5bec26a4e4b0783e0a1e8490

      

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MPs Maria Miller and Jess Phillips On Why 'Upskirting' Bill Doesn't Go Far Enough

By Sophie Gallagher

Jess Phillips and Maria Miller.

Technology now offers so many ways to sexually harass women that the law is failing to keep up, despite new legislation such as the ‘upskirting’ bill, MPs have claimed – arguing that we risk “sleepwalking into a crisis”.

In an exclusive interview with HuffPost UK, Conservative MP Maria Miller and Labour MP Jess Phillips said the true extent of abuse such as cyberflashing is going unrecorded. While they understand why the upskirting legislation was prioritised, “it wasn’t the right bill” because it fails to address the breadth of image-based abuse enabled by new technologies.

“There are so many different ways you can abuse images online, some of which we know about deep fake, cyberflashing, revenge porn some of which haven’t even been invented yet,” Miller said, acknowledging that she has been sent unsolicited dick pics via Twitter.

Upskirting will criminalise the taking of photographs underneath a person’s clothes without consent. “What the government needed a year ago, indeed two years ago, was a more comprehensive bill against all image-based abuse. If they don’t do that now, we are sleepwalking into a crisis,” said Miller.

Phillips agreed that she had concerns about the upskirting bill becoming a “box-ticking exercise” on sexual harassment. “I sometimes worry that campaigns like upskirting are quick turnarounds not deep cultural change. That is the bit that worries me. It was knee-jerk,” she said.

The MPs also called for greater financial incentivisation of tech giants and social media through a tax levy, in order to protect their users from abuse. “Regulation of tech is long overdue,” said Miller.

[Read more: ‘Violated, Sick, Uncomfortable’: 10 Women On Being Sent Unsolicited Dick Pics]

Their comments come a week after the Women and Equalities committee called on the government to criminalise all non-consensual creation and distribution of intimate sexual images. This would cover cyberflashing – sending unsolicited dick pics via AirDrop or social media, which appears to be on the rise.

“The public is moving at a greater pace than we are on this,” said Phillips, adding that inaction was no longer an option. “Pressure from outside does leave the government with very little room to manoeuvre in doing nothing.”

After talking to, and hearing from, hundreds of women and experts on the scale of the problem, the MPs argue current available data on image-based abuse such as cyberflashing does not reflect the reality of women’s experience.

The government does not keep a centralised record of sexual harassment data. “The only organisation who are collecting centralised data year-on-year on sexual harassment is the Girl Guides,” said Miller.

The only organisation who are collecting centralised data year-on-year on sexual harassment is the Girl Guides…”

In “inevitable” that some of those responsible for image-based abuse would go on to commit contact sexual offences.

“It’s a ‘thin end of the wedge’ type argument,” said Miller. “If some people’s behaviour online goes unnoticed and unchallenged it becomes part of a continuum that will then happen on the street too.”

[Read More: Why Are Men Still Sending Women Unsolicited Dick Pics?]

The government currently defends its position by saying that anything that is currently illegal offline is automatically illegal online too, but Miller and Phillips say that this isn’t working in practice. “That only works so far,” said Miller. “When you have a crime like revenge porn the impact of posting an image online is far greater and long lasting than that image being distributed offline.

“And the even more problematic outcome of cyberflashing online (rather than in the street) is the lack of response from your victim. Your perpetrator can become immune to the response. That’s why online cybercrime is far more emboldening and damaging to both parties,” she said.

The committee is currently waiting for a response from the government on its recommendations – the deadline is late December.

“A lot of the things we are recommending can be done very swiftly – it’s secondary legislation not primary so we could really quickly see things, even in a Brexit parliament,” says Miller.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/mps-maria-miller-and-jess-phillips-on-cyberflashing-we-are-sleepwalking-into-a-crisis_uk_5bebee0ee4b0783e0a1df199

      

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Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Candle Vs Aldi And Other Cheaper Alternatives

By Rachel Moss

In Spenny vs Penny we compare the products we love, with those following in their (sometimes pricey) footsteps. Are they worth the cash? Here, we try to find the best pomegranate noir candle – trying each out for an evening to see the results.

Spenny: Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Candle, John Lewis – regular-sized £47.00 200g, small/“travel”-sized £23.00 60g.

As I watch Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir candle flicker in my living room, it’s hard to shake the feeling that I am, quite literally, burning money. The teeny-tiny 60g travel-sized sample I’m trialling costs £23.00, while you’ll barely receive change for a 50 if you fork out for the regular 200g candle.

Yet as the mixture of pomegranate, raspberry, plum, pink pepper, Casablanca lily and spicy wood fills the room, I am seduced. Despite the small size, the candle packs a punch, but at the same time, it’s not overpowering. Just a rich, perfectly balanced blend that’s not too dark and woody, not too sweet and light.

The iconic cream and black packaging is luxurious, if a little wasteful: the candle arrives with a lid adorned with a tiny black ribbon, and is then placed in a Jo Malone-branded box, nestled in black tissue paper. This is then placed in a branded shopping bag, adorned with yet another black ribbon. I imagine working on the packing line is a bit like being Rowan Atkinson in ‘Love Actually’, but I guess it’s another way to justify the price tag.

The 200g candle has an estimated burn time of 45 hours, while the smaller 60g one lasts for 18 hours. I’m pleased to see the candles are made from sox wax, which is created using soybean oil and is a sustainable.

Despite myself, I’m falling head-over-heels for a candle I certainly won’t be able to afford to buy regularly. So now I’ve developed a nose for the luxury stuff, how will the cheaper alternatives compare?

From left to right: candles from Etsy, Not On The High Street, Jo Malone and Aldi

Penny(ish): Pomegranate Noir Scented Soy Candle by BeautifullyHC – Etsy, £8.00 (90g) or £18 (160g).

BeautifullyHC, which stands for “beautifully handcrafted”, is an independent business in Cornwall selling vegan-friendly candles that’ll make you feel as good as they smell. The Pomegranate Noir candle comes in completely recyclable packaging and is made using environmentally-friendly ingredients. Not only does the candle use soy wax, but the makers go one step further to create a sustainable product, using natural, cotton-linen wicks.

When the candle arrives it immediately reminds me of relaxed, laid back Cornwall, with its understated yet attractive brown packaging and simple glass container.

The scent is described by the makers as having “top notes of juicy red fruits, reminiscent of pomegranate that fall away to floral mid tones”. While Jo Malone’s scent feels comforting and designed for deepest winter, this candle is lighter, filling the room with spring-like freshness. The smell is enjoyable but fairly subtle, which is not necessarily a bad thing; of all the candles, this is the only one my boyfriend doesn’t object to having on while we’re eating dinner.

The candle isn’t the cheapest in the list – I’m testing the £18 (160g) version with an estimated burn time of 40 hours, but a more affordable £8 (90g) version that burns for 18 hours is also available – but I wouldn’t mind paying the extra in future. Knowing your candle has sound eco-credentials also helps justify the cost.

Penny(ish): Black Pomegranate Scented Soy Candle by Lolly Rocket Candle Co, Not On The Hight Street – £9.50 (147g).

The seller describes this candle as having a “stunning and mysterious” scent, but something else comes to mind as I unscrew the cap and release the aroma: Maoams. You know, those chewy, artificially fruity sweets you (probably) loved as a child.

Now, I enjoy a Maoam as much as the next person, but I’m not sure I want my flat to smell like a sweet shop. It pains me to say it – because I’m all for supporting small businesses – but this candle has my least favourite scent of the four. It comes with an estimated burn time of 40 hours, and thankfully, the sweet scent seems less strong once it’s burning. Still, I blow it out within 30 minutes.

That said, you can tell the vegan-friendly candle is handmade with love, right down to the cute polka dot tissue it comes carefully wrapped in. The wax is environmentally-friendly soy and the jam jar-style container with screw top gold-coloured lid can be reused as a trinket box afterwards. It hasn’t got the classy appeal as some of the others, but I think 15-year-old me would have enjoyed this candle, nestled on a shelf next to Versace Red Jeans perfume, trying (and only just failing) to be grown up. That said, if you like your scents sweet, this is one for you.

Penny: Pomegranate Glass Candle, Aldi, £3.99 (290g)

With a cream and black design, Aldi’s pomegranate candle is the most closely styled to Jo Malone’s, but comes at a fraction of the price at just £3.99. Although the design is simple, I’m not a huge fan of the sticker, which reads “No 3” (what does that even mean?), but this can be peeled off easily if you’d rather have a plain glass case.

For the price, I’m impressed the candle also comes with a metal lid, which can double up as a surface protector or be used to trap in the scent when the candle isn’t in use. It’s also the largest candle of the four, at 290g with an estimated burn time of 48 hours. The double wick is a nice touch, meaning the candle really adds a blast of light to a dark corner of the room.

The scent itself is pleasant with a careful balance of sweet fruit and woody undertones, but it lacks the depth of the Jo Malone version. The smell doesn’t envelope the room like its expensive counterpart, or leave a trace long after it’s been blown out. Worth noting, the candle is the only one of the four to be made from paraffin wax.

As far as supermarket candles go though, it’s not half bad. As good as Jo Malone’s? Probably not. But it won’t bankrupt you either.

We all work hard to earn our money – so it shouldn’t feel like hard work to spend it well. At HuffPost Finds we’ll help you find the best stuff that deserves your cash, from the ultimate lipstick to a durable iron to replace the one that broke (RIP). All our choices are completely independent but we may earn a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/jo-malone-pomegranate-noir-candle-vs-aldi-and-other-cheaper-alternatives_uk_5be96d8be4b0e843889a13a1

      

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Greenpeace Ranked All Major UK Supermarkets On Reducing Plastic – Here Are The Scores

By Sara Spary

Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Aldi are trailing behind their rivals in efforts to reduce plastic, according to new Greenpeace analysis of British supermarkets.

The campaigning group has released a new report that ranks the UK’s major supermarket chains on their efforts to tackle the plastics crisis. This follows Greenpeace analysis that indicated the UK’s largest 10 supermarkets were collectively responsible for creating 810,000 tonnes of single-use plastic every year – equivalent to more than 59 billion pieces of plastic packaging.

In partnership with the Environmental Investigation Agency, Greenpeace asked Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi, Co-op, Lidl, Waitrose, M&S and Iceland to share their policies on reducing plastics and calculated a ranking based on actions Greenpeace felt “demonstrated a commitment to reducing single-use plastic.” Ocado declined to participate, Greenpeace said.

It asked the supermarkets a series of 22 questions around their plans to reduce single-use plastics, influence suppliers to do so and eliminate non-recyclable plastics, then scored each chain out of ten.

Greenpeace gave Sainsbury’s the lowest score of 3.2, while Lidl and Aldi received the joint second lowest score of 4.1.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/greenpeace-ranking-uk-supermarkets-on-reducing-plastic_uk_5bec2e85e4b044bbb1ab46c9

      

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HuffPost Verdict: Theresa May's Brexit Deal Buries Its Bad News For Tory And DUP MPs

By Ned Simons

K E Y P O I N T S

  • Theresa May has published the 585-page proposed Withdrawal Agreement and Outline Political Declaration – which together make up her Brexit deal.

  • The prime minister said it was the ‘best that could be negotiated’ and the choice was her deal, no deal or ‘no Brexit at all’.

  • It followed a marathon five-hour Cabinet meeting in which ministers eventually agreed to support the deal.

  • But several of the ministers round the table are reported to have spoken up against the deal.

  • And a move by Brexiteer Conservatives unhappy with the deal to try and oust May as leader is now said to be ‘imminent’.

The Deal

  • The backstop – which will come into force if no final trade deal is agreed – will keep the UK in a customs territory with the EU.

  • Northern Ireland will also apply additional EU rules to goods to prevent the need for border checks on the island of Ireland and putting the Good Friday Agreement at risk.

  • Under the terms of the backstop there would be a need for checks on goods traveling from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland. The DUP has consistently said it will oppose this.

  • But the agreement does not allow the UK to unilaterally end the backstop as many Tory Brexiteers have demanded. The EU has to agree.

  • The transition period, due to last until the end of 2020, can be extended just ‘once’ until ’31 December 20XX’ at the latest.

  • The UK must ask by 1 July 2020 to extend the transition if it believes more time will be needed to strike a full free trade deal with the EU.

  • Also set to upset Brexiteers is the agreement that European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings made during the transition will have ‘binding force in their entirety on and in the United Kingdom’.

  • But May believes she has won a key concession from the EU of a ‘sliding scale’ of what kind of regulatory rules the UK has with the EU in future.

  • A senior government source argued this leaves the UK as the ‘the only advanced economy that has that relationship with the EU’.

  • The Chequers plan has been rhetorically chucked in an attempt to appease Tory MPs. The PM’s plan for a common rulebook and future customs arrangement with the EU does not appear in the agreement.

What Next

  • The prime minister will make a statement in the Commons tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

  • An EU summit has been pencilled in for 25 November to rubber stamp the agreement.

  • But May now faces an uphill battle to win a Commons vote on the deal in December given opposition from Labour, the SNP, the Lib Dems, her DUP allies as well as Brexiteer and pro-EU Tories.

S N A P V E R D I C T

From Paul Waugh, HuffPost UK Executive Editor (Politics)

It’s hugely complex, stuffed full of annexes, protocols and legal ‘articles’. But just as a Budget red book often buries its bad news, Theresa May’s Brexit deal has more than a few items that will really worry Tory backbenchers and the DUP.

With more small print than the terms and conditions in an iPhone licence, one thing that MPs may find hard to swallow is Article 132. It states that the transition period for Brexit, where the UK basically adheres to many EU rules, can be extended beyond the current deadline of December 2020 to an as yet unspecified date.

Although the XXs in the text’s ‘20XX’ end date will be filled in by the time MPs vote on the deal, some Leavers will worry that it will be so far away that it feels like a ‘Hotel California Brexit’, where you can check out but never leave.

While that will fuel the worst fears of Tory Eurosceptics, what will concern May’s DUP allies is the fact that Dublin’s ‘backstop’ for the Northern Ireland border problem is still alive, though hidden deep in the document. It states that the protocols will be temporary but “shall apply unless and until they are superseded, in whole or part by a subsequent agreement”.

For May, there are things she can sell, not least getting the EU to abandon its binary choice between a Canada-style free trade agreement and a full European customs union. The ‘sliding scale’ of regulation, plus the ditching of the language of Chequers (‘common rulebook’), may be enough fudge to persuade some wavering Tory MPs. But with so much turbulence tonight and talk of leadership letters, it’s far from enough to calm a growing rebellion among her troops.

F U L L D O C U M E N T

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/theresa-may-brexit-deal-tory-dup_uk_5bebfa34e4b0783e0a1e1fff

      

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Wait, Did Theresa May Just Say There Might Be 'No Brexit'?

By Graeme Demianyk

Theresa May has floated the prospect of ditching plans to leave the European Union as she secured backing from Cabinet for her Brexit divorce deal.

Speaking from the steps of 10 Downing Street after a marathon five-hour meeting, the UK Prime Minister said MPs who will vote on the agreement with Brussels had to choose between backing her plan or “leave with no deal or no Brexit at all”.

The words were a threat to unhappy Tory Brexiteers who could derail her plans, signalling to them that quitting the bloc in itself is at risk.

But it also marks a significant shift in language from a PM who had previously offered a binary choice of “no deal being better than a bad deal”.

May said: “When you strip away the detail the choice before us is clear – this deal which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money, laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs, security and our Union, or leave with no deal or no Brexit at all.”

Quite how she would be able to reverse the result of the 2016 referendum was not spelled out, but the line had road-tested earlier in the day by ex-Tory leader William Hague as he warned Brexiteers they risk no Brexit at all if they vote ‘no’ to May’s deal.

The comments were seized on by Labour MPs who are calling for another referendum on the terms of the exit deal.

On the steps of Downing Street, Theresa May just made a huge concession. Brexit is not inevitable. We do not have to choose between her atrocious deal and no deal at all. We can still remain in the EU. Time for a #PeoplesVote.

— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) November 14, 2018

Most interesting thing about the PM’s statement – with “or even no Brexit” she acknowledges the @HouseofCommons could provide for a #PeoplesVote enabling the British people to stop #Brexit if they decide the deal we have is better than her deal ie.Brexit is NOT inevitable

— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) November 14, 2018

After a pack of spin and false claims – the PM concedes herself this is NOT a two way choice between her “deal” – and no deal. She says it could also mean NO #Brexit – all the more reason why it’s time for a @peoplesvote_uk#FinalSay for the public – with #Remain on the ballot.

— Stephen Doughty MP / AS (@SDoughtyMP) November 14, 2018

Asked by HuffPost UK under what circumstances the PM felt that there could be ‘no Brexit at all’, a Downing Street spokesman said: “You should see that through the prism of Parliament, in that the main opposition party has actively said that Brexit can be stopped, there is a People’s Vote Movement which we have set out our opposition to, and any other number of important votes that will have to occur between now and the 29th of March.”

Brexiteers are unhappy with any deal that would tie the UK too closely to Brussels, following rules which it has no part in shaping.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the influential European Research Group of dozens of Tory MPs, has warned May hasn’t “so much struck a deal as surrendered to Brussels” and that the UK “will be a slave state”.

Remain supporters are against leaving the EU broadly – and the deal specifically – for the economic damage that could be wrought on the UK.

I’ll go for, “no Brexit at all” please @theresa_may

— Catherine Russell (@catherinerusse2) November 14, 2018

Tonight she gave the choice as this deal, no deal or no Brexit at all. A referendum is coming. Buckle up. #stopbrexit

— Sarah (@kokeshimum) November 14, 2018

May getting the support of her Cabinet clears the way for a special Brexit summit in Brussels – probably on November 25 – for EU leaders to approve the deal, followed by a crucial Commons vote in which MPs will hold Britain’s future in their hands.

Speaking moments after the meeting’s conclusion, May acknowledged there would be “difficult days ahead” and announced she will outline the deal to MPs in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/theresa-may-no-brexit-at-all_uk_5bec7d74e4b057089767f6e7

      

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Tory MPs Plot ‘Guerrilla’ Campaign To Derail May’s Brexit Divorce Deal – Even If She Wins A Commons Vote

By Paul Waugh

Tory backbenchers are plotting a “guerrilla” campaign to derail Theresa May’s Brexit plan – even if she wins the crunch Commons vote on her deal next month.

Both Brexiteer and Remainer MPs have spotted that they can launch a last-ditch bid to change the proposals by amending the detailed legislation needed to implement any divorce agreement with the EU, HuffPost UK has learned.

A raft of “killer” amendments to the Withdrawal and Implementation Bill are planned by both sides, with the aim of forcing the Prime Minister back to the negotiating table in Brussels.

With Labour support, the rebels hope that they can fight a rearguard action in the New Year to get their way, even if May somehow squeaks a narrow victory in the meaningful vote in the Commons in December.

Crucially, if the Withdrawal Bill in any way materially alters the deal struck by May with the EU, it could ruin parallel attempts to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement in the European Parliament.

The fresh threat to May’s authority came amid renewed claims from some Brexiteers that an ‘imminent’ move against the PM was likely, with more MPs sending in letters to party chiefs to demand a vote of no confidence in her.

One key figure within the 80-strong backbench European Research Group (ERG), which is chaired by Jacob Rees-Mogg, said that the “guerrilla warfare” would allow MPs to wear down the whips and No.10.

“People would need to stock up on book about Algeria or Vietnam, as the wars there would set the template,” the source said.

“Them winning hardly means us losing. We don’t need to get lucky much more than once. It’s always, and ever more pressingly so, in Corbyn’s tactical interest to support us.”

Another Brexiteer added: “If May were to force through the meaningful vote with Labour support, the ERG would then wreck the legislation and so the deal would not be ratified by the UK.”

European Research Group chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg

While the “meaningful” vote motion due in December has hugely symbolic power and can be interpreted as intention of ratification of the agreement, the actual legislation is seen as more important by some legal experts.

One Labour source said that the party was also aware of the potential for the Withdrawal and Implementation Bill to give it another chance to push for its own version of Brexit.

A key amendment for Labour could be to commit the PM to renegotiating a permanent customs union, a move that could attract Tory Remainer MPs.

Some MPs may also seek to make the bill conditional on a “People’s Vote”, a new referendum on the deal. Eurosceptics, for their part, could seek to turn the legislation into proposals for a ‘no-deal’ or World Trade Organisation rules.

Anand Menon, director of the UK in a Changing EU think tank, said that the historic precedents had been set during the passage of the legislation that first made the UK a member of the European Economic Community in the 1970s.

“The sceptics get two bites at the cherry. The equivalent in 1972 was there was a majority about 80 for the [main] agreement with the European community to join. But there was a majority of just 8 for European Communities Act,” Menon said.

A 'meaningful' vote is only the first step in the process, MPs say

“When MPs see the detail in the legislation they may change their mind. You have to go through the whole Parliamentary process twice, except the second time round MPs will have had Christmas probably to sit down and ponder what they really think and to consult amongst themselves.

“They get a longer Parliamentary process in which to cause trouble. The interesting thing is when that bill is going through Parliament the European Parliament will already have started its consideration in parallel based on the fact that we had agreed it in Parliament once and things could get very, very messy at that point.

“If the amendments substantively alter the withdrawal agreement, then we have rejected it.”

The 2018 EU Withdrawal Act passed this year stated that the Government would not be able to ratify the withdrawal agreement unless four conditions were met.

The conditions were: publication of the documents, a Commons resolution motion was passed, a debate had taken place in the House of Lords and Parliament had passed legislation needed for implementation.

Meanwhile, fears of a leadership threat to May were heightened on Wednesday night. It appeared some members of the ERG had shifted their position and were ready to write letters to the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee calling for a confidence vote.

A total of 48 such letters, 15% of the Parliamentary party, are required to trigger such a vote.

Backbencher Conor Burns, a former aide to Boris Johnson, told Sky News: “There comes a point where if the PM is insistent that she will not change the policy, then the only way to change the policy is to change the personnel”

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/tory-mps-plot-guerrilla-campaign-to-derail-mays-brexit-divorce-deal-even-if-she-wins-a-commons-vote_uk_5bec4daae4b0caeec2c0ba5b

      

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The BBC Had A Hilarious Duel With A Brexit Protestor And Lost

By Chris York

A determined protestor with a useful appreciation of camera angles was today engaged in a brief battle of wits with a BBC camera crew during a live broadcast from Westminster.

Georgina Wright of Chatham House was being interviewed about Wednesday’s crunch Brexit deal talks when a chap in a blue top hat and a Union Jack draped over his shoulders wandered into shot carrying two signs.

One read “STOP THE BREXIT MESS” and the other, “THINGS HAVE CHANGED IT’S TIME TO REASSESS”.

After a few seconds dominating the screen, the BBC director in charge switched to a cropped shot of Wright, shunting the protester out of the frame.

Undeterred he simply strolled over and managed to align his signs perfectly with the new angle.

Cue a cat and mouse game of camera switching that got progressively faster and faster.

Lovely. This protester has learned about camera shots, so does his best to crash each one. The director takes on the challenge and the scene becomes a beautifully British cat and mouse game that speeds up perfectly. pic.twitter.com/IdP5EjVzst

— SimonNRicketts (@SimonNRicketts) November 14, 2018

Lovely stuff.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/bbc-protester_uk_5bec3bd1e4b0783e0a1ed22a

      

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Children's Play Centre Facing Council Closure After Noise Complaints From Neighbours

By Amy Packham

A play centre and cafe is set to close after getting repeated noise complaints from businesses below it.

Little Play Town in Odiham, Hampshire, initially received a complaint about noise a year ago, and solutions to reduce this noise have failed. Hart District Council has reportedly said this is due to “poor quality flooring”.

Virna Browne, who owns the centre, told the BBC: “As we can’t fix it, the landlord is evicting us.”

The play centre is an educational role-play facility for children aged seven and under, set up to allow kids to pretend to work in different professions.

Browne explained in the past year they have been trying to rectify the problems that their below neighbours have had with noise. She added that she wouldn’t have signed the lease on the building if she knew it would provide such issues.

The council refused to soundproof the premises because of a lack of detail provided about the impact on the structure of the building, according to The Times.

The matter came to a head recently when a complaint was made during a party planned for children with disabilities.

Browne said closing the centre means 10 staff members will lose their job.

On 12 November, the centre wrote on Facebook: “We are so sad to say that Little Play Town is being closed down by the council. We would like to thank every adult, baby and child that came to Little Play Town. I’ve loved seeing your reaction when you come in. All the wows! And the smiles, all the fun, the learning and the experiences that the kids and adults had.”

The centre added they are not looking for anyone to boycott the nearby businesses, they just wanted to let everyone know why they will be closing.

“We are still open until such time as the council enforces the noise abatement or the landlord serves us a section 146 which solicitors said, in a letter, they intend to do,” the Facebook status continued.

“So please come and enjoy these last moments with us and celebrate the time we were open, until such time that we are forced to close our doors.”

One mum who was at the party at the weekend which caused a noise complaint, wrote: “I feel awful that our party on Saturday exacerbated an awful situation with your neighbours which I was completely unaware about beforehand. All the children had a wonderful time and as always your staff very accommodating of everyone attending.”

Another person wrote: “Can we not get a petition signed to help keep Little Play Town open? There are not many places in the area we can take our little ones and this place was perfect.”

HuffPost UK has contacted Hart District Council and will update this piece when they respond.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/hampshire-play-centre-facing-closure-after-noise-complaints_uk_5bebed6fe4b0783e0a1df040

      

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