UK Weather: Britain To Bask In Heatwave - But Only After Thunderstorms Pass

By Graeme Demianyk

Thunderstorms will bring a wet start to the week for some parts of the UK, but sun-worshippers can expect to see the hottest temperatures of the year so far by the weekend.

The mercury could rise to 33C in the south east of England by Friday, while overnight highs of 19C throughout the week will mean muggy conditions for many.

High humidity on Monday and Tuesday will spark thunderstorms and weather warnings are in place for Northern Ireland, Scotland and much of England.

The best of the weather will be in western Wales and the south west of England, Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge said.

He said: “Thunderstorms will be fairly well scattered and not everyone will see them but again if you do catch one they’re likely to be pretty hefty downpours.

“Overall through much of England and Wales tomorrow generally speaking it’s a reasonably dry day with some bright sunny spells but there’s that risk of thundery showers which can break out anywhere in those areas.

“The most reliable places to stay dry and see the best of the sunshine really is western Wales and south-west England on Monday.”

As much as 80mm of rain could fall in Scotland, while 40mm is forecast to fall in parts of Northern Ireland and most of England.

Temperatures are likely to reach 28C in London and 21C in Wales and Northern Ireland, but will be lower in Scotland with a high of around 14C on Monday.

The highest temperature of the year so far was 28.8C in Norfolk on June 2.

The June record is 35.6C, which occurred in Southampton in 1978.



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Essex Firefighters Smash Car Window To Rescue Toddler Left In Dangerously Hot Car

By Graeme Demianyk

Firefighters were forced to smash the window of a car to rescue a toddler left in a dangerously hot car at the weekend.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service confirmed a passerby dialled 999 just after 4pm on Saturday after hearing the boy crying in Saffron Walden, Essex.

Crews arrived at the vehicle 10 minutes later at Common Hill, next to Saffron Walden Common where a musical picnic was taking place.

Reports suggest the child’s mother returned with another child shortly after firefighters broke into the car.

The temperature reached 20C (68F) on Saturday, according to the Met Office.

The fire service said it has “been called to animals locked in cars while the owners go shopping but never a child”.

Essex Police said “a referral has been made to social care”.

Yesterday afternoon our crews rescued a small child who had been left unattended in a car in Saffron Walden.

It is incredibly dangerous to leave a child, pet or anyone vulnerable in a vehicle… particularly in this heat. Please don’t run the risk!

— Essex Fire Service (@ECFRS) June 23, 2019

Essex Fire and Rescue Service tweeted: “It is incredibly dangerous to leave a child, pet or anyone vulnerable in a vehicle, particularly in this heat.”

Saffron Walden fire station posted a picture of the smashed window on social media and said: “Well a first for us! We have been called to animals locked in cars while the owners go shopping but never a child.

“We cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to leave any person, child or animal locked in a car in this heat.

“The child was rescued by our crew who smashed a window to gain entry.

“The incident has now been handed over to Essex Police for further investigation.

“First aid was given by St John Ambulance crew.”

Essex Police said: “We were called by colleagues at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to reports of a toddler locked in a car in Common Hill, Saffron Walden, just after 4.20pm on Saturday, 22 June.

“Officers attended as firefighters broke into the car and were joined shortly after by the child’s relatives. A referral has been made to social care.”



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Liverpool Homophobic Attack: Three Boys Wanted Over 'Appalling' Knife Assault On Two Men

By Press Association

Two men have been targeted in a homophobic attack in Liverpool which has left one of them with serious injuries.

The men, both in their 30s, were walking down Manningham Road in the Anfield area at 9.20pm on Saturday when they were approached by three male youths, Merseyside Police said.

The youths made homophobic insults towards them before one of them produced a knife and assaulted the men.

One of the victims sustained injuries to his head and neck described as serious but non-life threatening while the second sustained a minor hand injury.

They have both been taken to hospital for treatment and were left incredibly shaken by the incident.

The offenders are described as between 12 and 15, with one wearing a dark bubble coat and one riding a bike.

A scene remains in place on Manningham Road and extensive enquiries are ongoing in the area. Detectives are urging any witnesses to come forward.

This is Manningham Road in Anfield where two men were knifed during a homophobic attack last night… their attackers were aged between 12 and 15

— CapitalLivNews (@CapitalLivNews) June 23, 2019

Detective Inspector Tara Denn said: “This was an appalling and unprovoked attack on two men simply making their way home and we are working tirelessly to locate those responsible.

“Two men have been left with significant injuries tonight and the hate and violence that has been inflicted on them is simply unacceptable and won’t be tolerated on the streets of Merseyside.

“I would ask anyone in Manningham Road or the surrounding areas this evening to please come forward with any information.

“You may have witnessed the incident or youths making off from the scene, or even have CCTV or dashcam footage, and I would urge you to please get in touch with police.

“Likewise, if you know who is responsible for this crime, please do the right thing and let us know.

“There is absolutely no place for hate crime in society and we know how much of a massive impact it has on victims. I want to reach out to the LBGT community, who I know will be deeply saddened by this news, and reassure you that we stand with you and if you report such incidents to the police, we will do our utmost to support and protect you and bring those responsible to justice.

“We are passionate about maintaining the right of all our communities to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect, and by working closely with our partners will continue to work to eradicate hate crime of all forms.

“Victims can report directly to the police where experienced hate crime officers will treat them with sensitivity and compassion, or via third party reporting centres in fire stations, citizen advice bureaus and hospitals where the information will be passed on.”



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Sunday Shows Round-Up: Boris Johnson's Domestic Row, Brexit, And Labour's Second Referendum Problem

By Arj Singh

Boris Johnson’s row with partner Carrie Symonds, which ended with the police visiting her flat in the early hours of Friday morning dominated the Sunday newspapers and shows.

With Johnson refusing to answer questions on the issue, his proxies, critics and supporters of rival Jeremy Hunt filled the space on the airwaves, and the story is showing no sign of going away.

The ex-foreign secretary’s EU withdrawal plan also came under tough scrutiny, while Jeremy Corbyn will have heard Labour voices from both sides of the second referendum divide set out their cases ahead of what is looking like a crunch week for the leader on Brexit.

The Johnson/Symonds row

Liam Fox piled pressure on Johnson by suggesting he should answer questions on what happened with Symonds, having dodged the issue at the first hustings of the Tory leadership run-off in Birmingham on Saturday.

The Brexit-backing international trade secretary, who is supporting Hunt, suggested the story was becoming a “distraction” from the big issues in the Tory leadership race.

He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “It’s always easier to just give an explanation and move on.”

Hunt later tightened the squeeze on Johnson, telling Sky News that “someone who wants to be prime minister should answer questions on everything”.

.@Jeremy_Hunt says “we need to know basic answers” and @BorisJohnson has been refusing questions.

He adds that Mr Johnson’s prime ministership won’t be one that lasts if he is going to “disappoint people very quickly”.

More here:

— Sky News Politics (@SkyNewsPolitics) June 23, 2019

However, the leadership frontrunner was nowhere to be seen, with his backers Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak instead sent out to defend him.

Truss told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics: “There’s no point in asking me, I believe it’s a private matter, I don’t think the public are concerned about that and I think that Boris is somebody who served for eight years as mayor of London – did a brilliant job, he served as foreign secretary, people know what he’s like in office and that’s what’s important.”

But Labour’s shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne said Johnson was “completely unsuitable” to be PM.

He told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “In one sense, of course, it is a private matter, but when you’re running for public office, when you are wanting to be the prime minister of the UK, then these matters are in the public interest.

“I’ve long held the view that Boris Johnson is unsuitable to be prime minister of this country. I’ve had my run-ins with Boris – I, infamously, was almost tackled to the ground in the 2017 general election by this man.”


Johnson’s Brexit strategy also came under heavy scrutiny, with Fox joining cabinet ministers who overnight warned that the frontrunner’s claims that the UK could have tariff-free trade with the EU without ratifying a withdrawal deal was wrong.

Johnson has been suggesting that Britain could use something called Article 24 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to leave the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms – essentially a no-deal Brexit – and not see duties imposed on goods crossing the border.

Fox said this would not work unless the EU agreed. Brussels has made clear that the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May is the only exit deal available.

Liam Fox on Boris Johnson’s ‘GATT 24′ #Brexit claims: “It isn’t true, that’s the problem”

The trade secretary tells #Marr that the argument from Boris Johnson, that we can use world trade rules to avoid tariffs after Brexit, “isn’t true”

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) June 23, 2019

Fox said: “It isn’t true. That’s the problem.

“Article 24, sub section five it is, allows countries to deviate from what’s called the most-favoured nation principle.

“And that is we have to treat one and other the same, give the same access to markets.

“There are two exceptions under that part of the trade law. One says if you are going to be in a customs union. The other says if you have got a free trade agreement

“But you have to have the agreement to benefit from any temporary relaxation.”

Labour’s second referendum problem

Corbyn is facing increasing pressure to unequivocally back a second referendum and to campaign for staying in the EU and is currently consulting with unions on the way forward, with a potentially significant policy pivot coming later this week.

Senior Labour figures from both sides of the party’s deep divide over Brexit used the Sunday shows to try and sway the leader.

Former minister Caroline Flint, who represents Brexit-backing Don Valley, suggested the 26 Labour MPs who last week wrote to Corbyn to oppose another referendum vote could end up backing a Tory withdrawal deal.

Labour’s Caroline Flint tells #Marr that the number of Labour MPs prepared to back the government’s #Brexit deal “will go up” in the future

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) June 23, 2019

Only a handful of Labour MPs have previously backed the deal May negotiated with the EU but Flint said: “I think it will go up but I’ve been through this situation many times before.

“I believe that the only way to stop no deal is to support a deal.”

Flint also said she would rather support a no-deal Brexit than stay in the EU.

“I won’t be voting to revoke Article 50,” she said.

Labour former foreign secretary David Miliband meanwhile made the case for staying in the EU, telling Marr: “The politicians are honour-bound to stop playing with the unicorns, there isn’t a jobs-first Brexit, just as there isn’t a GATT 24 option for the Tories.”

He went on: “The arguments that you’re making against a second referendum that it will prolong the agony, that it will fuel the far right, that it will divide the country, those are precisely the arguments against the deals that are on offer now.”

Shadow international development secretary Dan Carden said he would vote to stay in the EU in a second referendum if no deal was the other option.

He told Pienaar: “If there was a referendum and no deal was an option and remain was an option, then I would be voting to stay in the EU.”

And Gwynne made clear Corbyn’s position was unchanged, for now.

“Is this really the Brexit you want?”

Labour’s @GwynneMP tells @SophyRidgeSky that Labour’s Brexit deal will not be presented by Johnson or Hunt as PM, so their final deal will have to be voted on by the public.

Follow #Ridge live here:

— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) June 23, 2019

He told Ridge: “Jeremy’s said that and that is because we face the risk of no deal, so that any Brexit deal that is brought to parliament, including a no-deal scenario, we will say, as the Labour party, that there should be a second referendum on those prospects, because it’s looking increasingly likely that we’re heading to no deal, that was not on the ballot paper in 2016.”

No confidence

Pro-EU Tory MPs were said to be spying an opportunity to block a no-deal Brexit by joining Labour in backing a vote of no confidence in Johnson’s government as soon as the new PM takes office next month.

It is likely this would trigger a general election and Truss said she did not believe her colleagues “would seek to bring a Tory government down and let in Jeremy Corbyn and his Marxist agenda”.

.@trussliz on delaying Brexit again in October:

“It’s the executive’s decision, it was Theresa May’s decision to go back to the EU and ask for an extension – it’s not a matter for parliament, it’s a matter for the executive.”

— John Pienaar (@JPonpolitics) June 23, 2019



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Telegraph And Mail On Sunday Accused Of 'Rank Hypocrisy' Over Portrayal Of Boris Johnson's Neighbours

By Chris York

The Telegraph and Mail on Sunday have prompted a fierce backlash after both published articles detailing the private lives of the couple who recorded a row between Boris Johnson and his partner last week.

Tom Penn has said he recorded the altercation within his own home and “after a loud scream and banging” agreed with his wife that they should check on their neighbours.

He add: “I knocked three times at their front door, but there was no response. I went back upstairs into my flat, and we agreed that we should call the police.”

After the police told Penn all was well, he then passed the recording to The Guardian.

The Mail on Sunday subsequently published an article describing Penn and his wife as a “Remainer couple” who had tried to “sink Boris”.

Revealed: The Remainer couple who called police on Boris Johnson after are a millionaire’s daughter, who got Brussels funding for pro-EU theatre festival, and her remainer playwright partner:

— MoS_Politics (@MoS_Politics) June 22, 2019

The Telegraph article described the “left-wing couple” who “admitted” taping the altercation and a columnist for the paper said in a tweet “we really need to name and shame the Boris neighbours”.

We really need to name and shame the #Boris neighbours. Maybe record their blameless, unshouty lives and give the tape to a national newspaper. Anyone know who they are?

— Allison Pearson (@allisonpearson) June 21, 2019

A genuinely quite disturbing front page.

— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) June 23, 2019

The coverage sparked a fierce debate on social media with many accusing the papers of discouraging people from contacting police when they think someone’s welfare is in danger.

Lesson: ring the cops out of concern for a woman’s welfare in 2019, end up on the front of the MoS.

— Jennifer Williams (@JenWilliamsMEN) June 22, 2019

Them being left wing doesn’t magically alter the recording they took you fucking tools. This is the weakest attempt at discrediting someone I’ve ever seen.

— James Felton (@JimMFelton) June 22, 2019

this is such an unbelievably shitty thing to do. delete yourselves.

— Zoe Gardner (@ZoeJardiniere) June 23, 2019

Labour MP Jess Phillips accused the journalists behind the story of “rank hypocrisy”.

Every single journalist saying that the neighbours shouldn’t have released the story should know that their publication has at some time or another called me and asked for information on abusive MPs. It is rank hypocrisy

— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) June 23, 2019

Tory MP James Cleverly also expressed concern that Penn had passed the recording to The Guardian, saying that was the “big element”, not the actual row itself.

The big element in the Boris story isn’t that there was a heated argument, it’s that the police were called.

The police were called by the same person who recorded Boris and gave the story to the Guardian.

— James Cleverly MP (@JamesCleverly) June 22, 2019

This also provoked outrage from commentators and at least one lawyer.

This is the worst take I’ve ever seen.

Please, if you hear loud arguing, banging & fear someone could be in physical danger, call the police. Every time.

That a minister in the government is telling people they should just leave people to it in those circumstances is abhorrent

— Josh Woolcott (@joshwoolcott) June 22, 2019

I’ve lost count of the number of domestic violence cases I’ve successfully prosecuted which only came to the police attention because of the actions of concerned neighbours. These people are literal life-savers. For MPs to discourage this for political point scoring is shameful.

— The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) June 22, 2019

It’s been a rough few days for the Tory leadership hopeful who has refused to answer questions about the incident.

On Sunday it also came to light that previous denials he has no links with controversial far-right figure Steve Bannon have been thrown into doubt, after video emerged of the latter detailing their close relationship.



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Leytonstone Murder Probe: Man Dies After Car Ploughs Into Pedestrians In East London

By Graeme Demianyk

A murder investigation has been launched after a 52-year-old man was hit by a car in Leytonstone, east London.

The collision appears to be “a deliberate act by the driver of the car” after an earlier altercation, the Metropolitan Police said.

Two men were hit by the vehicle in High Road in the early hours of Sunday, the force said.

The 52-year-old died in hospital at 5.18pm on Sunday, while a 32-year-old remains in hospital with serious but non life-threatening injuries.

Detective chief inspector Mark Wrigley, leading the investigation, said: “At this early stage, it appears that this was a deliberate act by the driver of the car.

“There had been an altercation in the street prior to this incident and I am appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information who has not yet come forward to contact police.”



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Belfast Marathon Organisers Apologise After Course Is 0.3 Miles Too Long

By Graeme Demianyk

Runners taking part in the Belfast City Marathon.

The organisers of Belfast marathon have apologised to its competitors after admitting the route was mistakenly extended.

Participants ran an extra 0.3 miles more than they should have.

It was blamed on human error after the lead car diverted from the official route.

In a statement, chairman of the Belfast Marathon Organising Committee David Seaton said: “On behalf of the organising committee, we would like to apologise to competitors of today’s race.

“Approximately 460 additional metres were added to the officially measured course of 26.2 miles.

“This was due to human error, with the lead car diverting from the official route.

“I can assure all participants that protocols will be put in place to ensure this never happens again.

“In the meantime, we are in the process of adjusting runners times to reflect the correct distance.

“Feedback on the new route has been overwhelmingly positive and we thank the thousands of spectators who lined the route to support 18,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletics.”

It comes after Kenyan runner Caroline Jepchirchir ran the fastest ever women’s time in Belfast.

She crossed the finishing line after 2:36:38 smashing the record in the city.

The course this year was changed to a faster and flatter route, organisers said.

Around 5,000 people took on the new marathon route, which is an increase of 60% compared to last year.

More than 18,000 participants took part in the event, which was held on Sunday for the first time.



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Moscow Airport: 13 Dead As Russian Plane Bursts Into Flames

By Graeme Demianyk

Thirteen people, including two children, have died in a plane fire in Moscow, Russian investigators said.

The Russian Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet plane made an emergency landing at Moscow‘s Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday due to fire on board, Russian news agencies said.

Reports suggested that there were 78 passengers on the plane, which had been headed from Moscow to the northern Russian city of Murmansk.

Interfax news agency reported that the tail was completely burned and said a rescue team was trying to find survivors in that part of the plane.

The plane, a one-year-old Sukhoi Superjet, departed from Sheremetyevo for Murmansk but shortly after taking off requested an emergency landing due to fire, according to Russian state media.

The plane had registration number RA-89098. Flightradar24 tracking service showed that it made two circles around Moscow and landed after about 45 minutes.

TV footage showed a plane landing with its tail ablaze. On the ground, black smoke billowed from the plane.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.



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Three Teenagers Seriously Injured After Falling 70 Feet From Cliffs In Cornwall

By Chris York

Waves breaking on the beach at Porthleven on a winters day looking towards the clock tower, Cornwall, England, UK

Three teenagers have sustained multiple serious injuries after apparently falling 70ft from cliffs on to a beach.

The Coastguard said it had received a call at around midnight on Sunday from a man saying he and two others had fallen down a cliff at Porthleven. The caller’s torch on his mobile phone was used to help identify their location.

The three men, one believed to be aged 18 and two aged 19 and from the local area, were airlifted to Derriford Hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries.

Their next of kin have been informed, the Press Association reports.

Devon and Cornwall Police appealed for any witnesses or those with information to come forward.

Inspector Matt Setchell said: “Initial inquiries suggest that the men have fallen around 70ft from the cliffs into the cove below.

“We are continuing to carry out inquiries to establish how they came to be on the cliff and the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the force on 101, quoting log 17 of May 5.



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Donald Trump Throws Himself Wide Open To Ridicule With Bizarre Horse Race Tweet

By Chris York

Donald Trump has claimed the result of this year’s Kentucky Derby was a result of “political correctness” after the winner was disqualified for obstructing other horses.

Race favourite Maximum Security crossed the line first but after a 20 minute consultation, judges handed the coveted title to Country House.

The president posted a tweet expressing his outrage at the decision, saying: “The Kentuky Derby decision was not a good one. It was a rough and tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch.

“Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!”

The Kentuky Derby decision was not a good one. It was a rough and tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2019

Trump didn’t explain the role “political correctness” played in the decision but his apparent anger at a winner found to have broken the rules being disqualified led some to compare the situation to his 2016 presidential election.

Sort of like how the Best Candidate didn’t win the 2016 Presidential election?

— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) May 5, 2019

I wrote this same exact tweet after you got elected.

— Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) May 5, 2019

The #KentuckyDerby is like your presidency: full of slop and with an illegitimate winner…. #Trump

— Andy Ostroy (@AndyOstroy) May 5, 2019

Such was the nature of the tweet that at least one Trump parody account appears to have given up.

How can a parody account even compete against this?

— Nice DonaId J. Trump▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️parody (@niceDonaIdTrump) May 5, 2019

I checked three times before I believed this was an actual real tweet from the president…

— KᗩTE ᑫᑌIGᒪEY (@KateQFunny) May 5, 2019

After the race, Code of Honor was bumped up to second and Tacitus third.

“No words can describe this. It’s amazing,” Country House jockey Favien Prat said after learning he had won his first Kentucky Derby.

“I really lost my momentum around the turn,” he said of Maximum Security’s foul, which came when the colt veered from the rail just as several horses were gaining ground on the leader.

The result spelled heartbreak for Maximum Security trainer Jason Servis and jockey Luis Saez, who thought they had won their first Derby before a 20-minute video review changed the outcome.

Servis and Maximum Security owner Gary West told Sports Illustrated they planned to purse any available appeals to protest the disqualification.



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MPs Could Vote On Brexit Deal Before EU Approves It, Says Theresa May

By Ned Simons

Theresa May has said she could ask MPs to vote for her Brexit deal before the EU has agreed to it.

Asked whether Brussels would need to formally approve any agreement before the Commons voted on it, the prime minister said on Monday: “It is possible to do it either way.”

May has said the so-called meaningful vote on any proposed deal will take place by March 12.

It came as Donald Tusk said delaying Brexit by extending the Article 50 process was now a “rational solution” given the how close the UK is to exit day on March 29.

Speaking at a press conference following a summit in Sharm el Sheikh, May said she still wanted to UK to leave the EU on March 29.

“Any delay is a delay,” she said. “An extension to Article 50, a delay in this process, doesn’t deliver a decision in parliament, it doesn’t deliver a deal.”

The prime minister now faces the prospect of another potentially damaging Commons revolt on Wednesday when MPs are expected to mount a fresh attempt to block a no-deal break and extend Article 50.

In recent days three pro-EU Cabinet ministers – Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark – signalled they could be prepared to vote for it if there was no breakthrough in the negotiations.

There was speculation that up to 100 Tory MPs – including as many as 20 ministers – could be prepared to join them as patience among MPs opposed to no deal is stretched to breaking point.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who drew up the amendment with Conservative former minister Sir Oliver Letwin, said it would now become the “real meaningful vote” on the Brexit deal.

In order to extend Article 50, the EU would have to agree. It was reported over the weekend that Brussels would prefer a 21-month extension rather than a short two-month delay.

Eurosceptic Tory MPs are deeply opposed to extending Article 50, with many believing it to be part of a plot by pro-Remain campaigners to stop Brexit all together.



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6 Times Olivia Colman Was As Lovely In Real Life As You Always Hoped

By Natasha Hinde

The internet was in raptures last night when Olivia Colman bagged her Oscar for ‘Best Actress’ – and it’s not just because she’s a phenomenal actor.

Many were quick to reminisce about chance encounters with Colman over the years and described how she’s just a really lovely person to be around. Well, she did describe her Oscars win as “hilarious” and tear up while kissing her award – so we don’t dispute that at all.

In the spirit of celebrating brilliant people, which is what our
Thanking The Man Who Saved My Husband’s Life

  • Revealed: The Top 10 Kindest Cities In The UK

  • Knitters Rally To Send Over 100 Handmade Blankets To Hospice After Daughter’s Heartfelt Plea
  • Via::


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    The Waugh Zone Monday February 25, 2019

    By Paul Waugh


    Nearly two weeks ago, Theresa May told her MPs “we now all need to hold our nerve” on Brexit. Within two days, her Eurosceptic backbenchers inflicted another Commons defeat to remind her just who was boss, and whose nerves were more steely. Yet despite all that, tomorrow the PM will be back in Parliament to make yet another holding statement, essentially repeating her message that the Tory party just needs to hang on for a bit longer before she gets the improved Brussels deal they all want. It feels like not so much a deliberate policy of strategic patience as a desperate, daily struggle for survival. The question this week is whether her Remainer ministers really will act to ‘stop the clock’ on the countdown to a possible no-deal exit.

    On her trip to the EU-Arab summit in Egypt yesterday, May finally confirmed she was going long. March 12 is now pencilled in as the date for the second ‘meaningful vote’ on her Brexit plan. Yes, just 17 days before we are due to leave the EU, MPs will vote on whether, when and how we will do so. Education Secretary Damian Hinds, on Radio 4’s Today programme, summoned up some masterful English understatement when he admitted: “Time is tight, there’s no doubt about that.”

    March 12 is probably not a product of May’s random date generator. It’s the day before Yvette Cooper’s own deadline of March 13, when the PM will be forced to give MPs the chance to either delay Brexit or back a no-deal scenario. The Cooper plan, due to be voted on this Wednesday, is winning more support (the FT reports previous abstainers Gloria de Piero and Ruth Smeeth are now behind it). Fellow signatory Sir Oliver Letwin meets ministers privately tonight to chivvy support. Will Cabinet ministers David Gauke, Greg Clark and Amber Rudd really vote for Cooper? Well, collective responsibility seems an elastic concept of late, and even Michael Gove hinted yesterday they may not be forced to quit, saying ministers were in “a different realm” since the 2016 referendum result.

    Will the PM herself make noises tomorrow about a possible Brexit delay? Defence minister Tobias Ellwood seemed to think she might, telling Today “the Prime Minister listening” and “You need to wait and hear what she has to say when she gets back [from Egypt]”. The ‘moderate’ Tories in the Brexit Delivery Group are set to table their own amendment requesting a delay until May 23, but without cross-party backing or lots of signatures it may not get selected by the Speaker. Its doomed anyway if it fails to win Labour’s frontbench support. The Guardian reports some in the EU want a long delay to 2021. Although May dislikes many aspects of Cooper’s bill, if it is passed you can bet she will use it to scare the European Research Group into backing her revised plan.

    The Telegraph has a fine leak of a secret No.10 paper that includes the option of May avoiding Cooper by pressing the pause button herself. More plausible seemed the other option of a “conditional vote” on any new draft wording to solve the Irish backstop problem. As I said last week, some think Attorney General Geoffrey Cox would make a statement as early as tomorrow, then MPs could vote for the draft and give May something concrete to return to Brussels with. As ever though, the ERG could be the roadblock. Some Brexiteers are wary after Gove yesterday subtly shifted the government’s language from a ‘legally binding’ change to a mere ‘legally powerful’ addition to the withdrawal treaty. By Wednesday, we may find out whose patience snaps first, Brexiteer backbenchers or Remainer ministers.

    This week, we will be getting away from Westminster to hear what northerners think about the latest state of play on Brexit. Read here about our HuffPost Listens event along the M62, taking in areas with staunch Leave and Remain votes, and a healthy mix of both.


    After a quiet 18 months, it feels like Tom Watson is firmly re-asserting the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is not the only party figure directly elected with a personal mandate from a large majority of Labour members. On Marr yesterday, Watson responded to the defection of 8 Labour MPs by announcing that if Corbyn fails to bring into his Shadow Cabinet more people from the ‘social democratic’ tradition of the party, then he will personally convene a group of such MPs to develop policy. It felt like a gauntlet being thrown down. Tonight, it might be picked up by the Labour leader himself. I’m told Corbyn is expected to address the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

    Anti-semitism is one issue Corbyn has to grapple with (see below), but of course it’s Brexit that is worrying his party too. Watson followed up his Marr appearance with a blogpost yesterday in which he warned that if May doesn’t adopt Labour’s plans for close ties to the EU then Labour “should move towards a confirmatory ballot”. And if she doesn’t adopt that plan, “I am likely to be at the rally for a People’s Vote on March 23rd”. The confirmatory ballot is an idea that is set to be tested this Wednesday with the Peter Kyle-Phil Wilson amendment, which endorses May’s deal but only on condition it is put to a further referendum.

    John McDonnell told BBC Radio 5 Live he was working with Kyle and Wilson “to see can we have a re-draft of that amendment which people could vote for. I think there’s a high possibility we could.” However, there is a possibility that the Labour front bench won’t back the plan until it appears alongside May’s second meaningful vote on March 12. There remains the problem of course that Kyle-Wilson is non-binding, at least at present. Meanwhile, Tom Watson may be pleased that a Twitter poll by Corbyn supporter ‘RachelSwindon’ found 58% prefer him as deputy leader (his nearest rivals were Becky Long-Bailey and Chris Williamson on 15%).


    Anti-semitism was a driver for Luciana Berger and some others to quit Labour last week. That’s why Tom Watson sent a dossier of 50 complaints of abuse directly to Jeremy Corbyn, saying he needed to “take a personal lead” and make new recommendations to the ruling National Executive Committee. Watson said general secretary Jennie Formby had “very patently” been unsuccessful in dealing with the issue. We could find out today whether Lord Falconer will take on a new role as an anti-semitism ‘surveillance commissioner’ for the party.

    On the Today programme, Momentum founder Jon Lansman, who is Jewish, said that it would be ‘improper’ for a party leader to intervene in what could be quasi-judicial disciplinary cases, though he said. But he also sent a strong message to Corbyn supporters, saying Berger leaving the party was a source of “regret, sadness and some shame.” Contrary to the narrative put about by many on the Left, including some in the Shadow Cabinet, Lansman added that the issue was “a widespread problem, it’s now obvious that we have a much larger number of people with hardcore antisemitic opinions.”

    He said among the hugely-expanded Labour members were “members attracted towards conspiracy theories” and “the role of social media in fomenting and spreading some of the poison is more of a problem in the Labour party” than for the Tories. Lansman said conspiracy theorists were “polluting” meetings and online. Speaking of which, several MPs think Louise Ellman could be the next to quit, not least because of fresh antagonism from her local party. For a really depressing read, see this Guardian piece on Berger’s Liverpool Wavertree. “She didn’t deserve to be treated that way,” one Labour supporter said, adding as an unthinking afterthought, “even though she is Jewish.”


    Watch this jaw-dropping example of how Donald Trump’s team have to deal with his daily failure to grasp basic facts. Makes Theresa May’s unfamiliarity with a pool cue pale in comparison.


    The Independent Group (TIG) of 11 MPs meet today and they may work out who their leader (or at least their lead spokesperson) should be. Chuka Umunna is the favourite, telling SkyNews yesterday: “I’m clear I want to play the biggest role in this group”. He added diplomatically “one of the things about the way we operate is the recognition that we’re all leaders.” Ex-Tory MP Sarah Wollaston told Westminster Hour: “I think we would all be very happy to see Chuka in that role, but we don’t know over the coming days and weeks whether others will join us and somebody else may emerge.” Shadow cabinet minister Barry Gardiner wasn’t too impressed: “The reason he wanted to leave the Labour Party was that he knew he could never lead the Labour Party. This is about personality.” I note that Ken Clarke told Radio 4 yesterday that ‘at the moment’ he wouldn’t be joining TIG.


    GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming is giving a rare speech in Singapore, setting out the ‘opportunities and threats’ of firms like Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. He’ll say governments will need help to decide “which parts of this expansion can be embraced, which need risk management, and which will always need a sovereign or allied solution”. MI6 chief Alex Younger raised questions about Huawei in December, but GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre last week suggested the risk could be managed. The challenge is a strategic one about Chinese global reach and power. Will America’s allies listen to Trump, or take another approach?


    Our latest CommonsPeople podcast features former Labour MP Gavin Shuker. The key ‘fixer’ for the new Independent Group of MPs (he registered the legal vehicle for it in January), he reveals how he cooked chicken and chicory dinners at a secret getaway where the potential defectors first met to discuss their plans. (Stephen Bush and Caroline Wheeler’s excellent Sunday Times spread underlined just how crucial Shuker’s church pastor manner was in getting the project off the ground). See how Gavin fares in this week’s quiz too. Click HERE to listen on Audioboom. And below for iTunes.

    If you’re reading this on the web, sign-up HERE to get the WaughZone delivered to your inbox.

    Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Paul Waugh([email protected]), Ned Simons ([email protected]), Rachel Wearmouth ([email protected]) and Jasmin Gray ([email protected]) and Arj Singh ([email protected])

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    Manchester And Birmingham See Highest Number Of Rough Sleeper Deaths In England

    By Isabel Togoh

    Significantly more people are dying in England’s major urban areas than across the rest of England and Wales, new figures on homeless deaths have revealed.

    Urban hotspots included Manchester, which saw 21 deaths in 2017, and Birmingham, where 18 people died.

    There were 17 deaths each in Bristol, Liverpool and the London Borough of Lambeth.

    Deaths among homeless people in England’s most deprived areas were nine times higher than in the county’s least disadvantaged places, the figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

    The latest data has collated deaths according to local authority between 2013 and 2017.

    It follows the first ever set of figures on deaths among homeless people published in December.

    Some 597 deaths were recorded in England and Wales in 2017, a rise of 24% over five years, the ONS found.

    Men made up 84% of the deaths, more than half of which were caused by drug poisoning, liver disease or suicide.

    The mean age at death of homeless people in England and Wales was 44 years for men, 42 years for women between 2013 and 2017, compared with 76 years for men and 81 years for women among the general population.



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    Boy, 17, Charged With Murder Of Glendon Spence In Brixton Youth Club

    By Sara C Nelson

    Glendon Spence died after being attacked in a Brixton youth club

    A 17-year-old boy has been charged with murder after a man was fatally stabbed at a south London youth club.

    Glendon Spence, 23, was attacked at the Marcus Lipton youth centre in Brixton at about 6.45pm last Thursday.

    He was pronounced dead at the scene in Minet Road less than an hour later.

    Scotland Yard said a boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged on Sunday and will appear before magistrates in Bromley on Monday.



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    With One Month To Brexit, We're Getting Out Of Westminster To Hear From Northern Voices That Don't Make The Headlines

    By Paul Waugh

    In Westminster, the coming week could well be a momentous one for Brexit. There will be fresh votes by MPs that could delay the whole project, buy Theresa May a few more days or simply underscore the fact that no one in Parliament can agree on anything.

    Beyond SW1, much of the public won’t be interested in the minutiae of who voted for which amendment or who defied their party whip. They may look at events in the Commons with a mix of bemusement, exasperation or even contempt.

    But even though Brexit often seems like a dialogue of the deaf, exactly how and when the UK leaves the European Union will be the biggest political event to shape our country for a generation.

    And as the clock ticks down to Exit Day on 29 March, we at HuffPost UK want to take the temperature of our body politic by listening to what the public really think, away from the bubble-wrapped claustrophobia of the House of Commons and its famous green benches.

    We will be travelling across the north of England, with the M62 motorway our rough guide, as our reporters and video team take the time to hear voices that don’t make easy soundbites or headlines.

    Stretching from the Irish Sea in the west to the North Sea in the east, the M62 corridor has a population of 13million people living in small towns, regenerated Victorian cities and beautiful moorland.

    A northerner myself, I know the region is often caricatured as the beating heart of the Leave vote, but in fact it is as varied, argumentative and vibrant as Britain itself.

    Former mill towns and rural areas undeniably tilted towards Brexit, but big cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds largely wanted to Remain. And within all of them, there were different views splitting streets, families and communities.

    We want to capture the often direct, sometimes messy, always brutally honest views of Scousers, Lancastrians and proud Yorkshiremen and women as the HuffPost Listens series hits the road once more.

    Our two reporters, Aasma Day and Arj Singh, were born and bred on different sides of the Pennines and will be recording life in their respective home counties over the next seven days. Aasma, HuffPost UK’s north of England correspondent, is based in Preston and Arj is our deputy political editor, but both are perfectly placed to get under the skin of the Brexit debate inside and outside Westminster.

    Our HuffPost Listens event last summer in Birmingham, another key area during the 2016 Brexit referendum, proved the enduring value of media organisations simply giving a voice to their readers. We are in receive mode, not transmit.

    We certainly won’t ignore all the decisions in London that ultimately affect the whole country. Throughout this week we’ll be simultaneously listening to the ‘ayes’ and ‘noes’ that carry a distinctive northern accent, and not just the ‘aye’ and ‘noe’ lobbies of the House of Commons.



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    Oscars 2019: Rami Malek Falls Off Stage Shortly After Being Awarded Best Actor

    By Daniel Welsh

    So, you know that feeling when you’ve literally just been recognised for being at the top of your game and doing better than everyone else in your field in the last 12 months, only to wind up falling over and immediately dragging yourself back down to earth?

    Yeah well,
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