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  1. PM says Brexit plan to 'strengthen Union' ahead of Sturgeon meeting 27 March 2017 From the section Scotland politics Related Topics Brexit Image caption Theresa May has said now is not the time for another referendum on Scottish independence Theresa May will meet Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland later for the first time since the SNP announced their proposals for a second independence referendum. At the beginning of a week that will see Article 50 triggered on Wednesday, the PM will say she wants to "build a more united nation". Mrs May has said "now is not the time" for a Scottish independence referendum, as the Brexit process is due to begin. Meanwhile, Labour is due to outline its Brexit negotiation demands later. The prime minister is travelling to Scotland the day before the Scottish Parliament is expected to pass a vote in favour of seeking a new Scottish independence referendum - which Ms Sturgeon wants to hold in autumn 2018 or spring 2019. The first minister has said that a second referendum should be held ahead of the UK's EU departure to give the people of Scotland a choice between what she calls a "hard Brexit" and becoming an independent country. But Mrs May has warned that a second referendum will make the UK "looser and weaker". Downing Street says the talks are for issues surrounding the triggering of Article 50 - and not the possibility of a second independence referendum. But Scottish government sources have said the talks cannot just focus on Brexit. What is Article 50? Do voters want a second referendum? All you need to know about Brexit Brexit deal must meet six tests, says Labour Triggering Article 50 begins a two-year negotiation process to attempt to reach a deal before Britain officially leaves the EU in March 2019. The government is also due to publish its Great Repeal Bill, giving powers to amend some EU laws, on Thursday. 'Cut and paste' bill The bill will transfer EU law into British legislation. Jill Rutter, programme director at the Institute for Government, told the Today programme: "It's really a great cut and paste bill. "It repeals one thing - the European Communities Act of 1972 which took us into the EU - but then basically what it has to do is transfer the entire body of EU law into UK law." So most EU laws will stay - in the same substance as before, but in UK law instead, Ms Rutter added. Meanwhile, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has said Labour will not support any Brexit deal unless it meets the party's "six tests". Any deal must include a strong relationship with the EU and the exact same benefits the UK has from the single market, he said. 'Unstoppable force' Ahead of Monday's meeting, Mrs May will address staff at the Department for International Development in East Kilbride. She will say "the strength and stability" of the UK's union will "become even more important" as Britain leaves the EU - and the "one overarching goal" of her post-Brexit plan is "to build a more united nation". "In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that means fully respecting, and indeed strengthening, the devolution settlements. But never allowing our Union to become looser and weaker, or our people to drift apart," she will add. Downing Street has said Mrs May is reflecting the possibility of additional powers returning to Scotland from the EU after Brexit - but not to a new devolution settlement. Image caption Ms Sturgeon wants to hold a referendum in autumn next year or spring 2019 The prime minister will praise the work done by the department around the world and will insist this will continue after Brexit. "UK aid is a badge of hope for so many around the world," she will say. "It appears on the side of buildings, school books, medical supplies and food parcels in some of the toughest environments and most hard-to-reach countries on the planet. "And it says this: that when this great union of nations - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - sets its mind on something and works together with determination, we are an unstoppable force." Ahead of the visit, a spokesman for Scotland's Brexit Minister Michael Russell said there had as been "no discussion" with the Scottish government over what will be in the letter triggering departure from the EU. Indyref2: Your questions answered Brexit: What would a 'no deal' look like? Great Repeal Bill: What we know so far He added that the Scottish government had not been consulted over whether Scotland's interests will be represented, what role the Scottish government will play in negotiations, nor which powers the Tories intend to take for Westminster and which powers will be determined by Holyrood. Mr Russell said there had also been no discussion over the the financial impacts of Brexit and "the consequences for jobs and the economy in Scotland". He added: "There are clearly a lot of areas where we hope the prime minister intends to provide answers. "We believe it should be for the people of Scotland to decide their own future, which is why we will return to parliament on Tuesday to seek a mandate to begin discussions on a referendum that will put Scotland's future in the people's hands." Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning View the full article
  2. Man arrested over Westminster attack 26 March 2017 From the section UK A 30-year-old man has been arrested in Birmingham by officers investigating the Westminster attack, in which five people died. A 58-year-old man, who was arrested in Birmingham on Thursday morning under the Terrorism Act, remains in custody. View the full article
  3. Two teenagers found dead at Saltburn cliff named 26 March 2017 From the section Tees Image copyright Cleveland Police Image caption Harry Watson (left) was described as "precious" and Alex Yeoman was described as a "loving son" in family tributes Two 17-year-old boys found dead at the bottom of a cliff have been named by police. The bodies of Harry Watson and Alex Yeoman were found by officers at Huntcliff in Saltburn at about 19:00 GMT on Friday. Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances but said they were not treating the deaths as suspicious. Tributes have been left at the scene to the boys, both from the East Cleveland area. Harry's family described him as "precious" while Alex's family paid tribute to a "loving son" who will be "sadly missed". Both families are being supported by specialist officers, the force added. Police continue to appeal for witnesses who may have been in the area of the Circle Sculpture at Huntcliff on Friday to contact Det Sgt Paul Hodgson on 101. View the full article
  4. Douglas Carswell quitting UKIP 25 March 2017 From the section UK Politics UKIP's Douglas Carswell is quitting the party to become an independent MP for Clacton and says he is doing so "amicably". Mr Carswell defected from the Conservatives to join UKIP in 2014. He said he had joined UKIP because he wanted the UK to leave the EU and now "that is going to happen, I have decided that I will be leaving UKIP". Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage had demanded Mr Carswell quit, accusing him of "actively working against UKIP". View the full article
  5. London attack: Two men continue to be questioned as seven released 25 March 2017 From the section UK Media captionKhalid Masood, from school boy to killerSeven of the 11 people arrested since the Westminster attack have been released with no further action, police have said. The Metropolitan Police said two men remain in custody, while two women have been released on bail until March. Police are trying to establish whether attacker Khalid Masood acted alone. Four people were killed and 50 injured after Masood drove his car into people on Westminster Bridge and stabbed an officer guarding Parliament. PC Keith Palmer, 48, died of his wounds before Masood was shot dead by police on Wednesday. What we know about attacker Khalid Masood 'Final' photo of PC Palmer emerges In depth: Westminster terror attack Police said their investigation into the attack would focus on Masood's "motivation, preparation and his associates". Those still in custody are: A 58-year-old man from Birmingham A 27-year-old man from Birmingham A 32-year-old woman, who was arrested in Manchester, was released on bail until late March. A 39-year-old woman, from east London, was released on bail until late March. On Friday Metropolitan Police, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley appealed for information from the public, and said officers would investigate whether Masood "acted totally alone inspired by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him". The added: "There might be people out there who did have concerns about Masood but did not feel comfortable for whatever reason in passing those concerns to us." Image copyright PA/Facebook Image caption PC Keith Palmer and Aysha Frade were among the victims Two of Masood's victims, Aysha Frade- a teacher in her 40s - and US tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, died on Wednesday. Retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, from Clapham, south London, was pronounced dead on Thursday evening when his life support machine was turned off. Security of Parliament under the spotlight Attacker's mother's house searched The path from violent crime to killer Thames woman's partner planned to propose Fifty people were injured in the attack, with 31 receiving hospital treatment. Two are in a critical condition, and one has life-threatening injuries. Two officers remain in hospital with "very significant" injuries, one of whom has been identified as PC Kristofer Aves. Image copyright Travis Frain Image caption Prince Charles has visited some of the injured at King's College Hospital, including Travis Frain On Friday evening it was announced that Tobias Ellwood, the MP who battled to save the life of PC Palmer, and security minister Ben Wallace have been appointed to the Privy Council - the historic group that advises monarchs - in recognition of their responses to the attack. The Metropolitan Police said Masood, 52, who had a number of previous criminal convictions, but none for terrorism, had used a number of aliases. While he was registered as Adrian Russell Elms at his birth in Dartford, Kent, Masood was also known as Adrian Russell during his childhood. Media captionAssistant Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley makes his appealIn the early 2000s, he was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm after slashing a man across the face with a knife in a pub. Masood was believed to have been living in the West Midlands before Wednesday's attack, but had previously spent time in Luton, Crawley, Rye and Eastbourne. Image copyright PA Image caption Masood was shot after stabbing PC Palmer - both men were treated at the scene He also worked as a teacher in Saudi Arabia. Victims of the Westminster terror attack New Met recruits told of London pride London attack killed US man, injured wife Thames woman's partner planned to propose In pictures: London mourns.... and carries on The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia said Masood had been in the country from November 2005 to November 2006 and April 2008 to April 2009, during which he worked as an English teacher. In 2015, he obtained an Umra visa - allowing pilgrimage to Mecca - and was in the country from the 3 to 8 March. Image copyright Reuters Image caption Floral tributes have been left in Parliament Square Image copyright PA Image caption Flowers also continue to be left at the scene of the attack on Westminster Bridge Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning Have you been affected by these events? If you are willing to do so, share with us by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: WhatsApp: +44 7555 173285 Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk Upload your pictures / video here Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Text an SMS or MMS to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (international) Or use the form below Your contact details Name (optional) Your E-mail address (required) Town & Country (optional) Your telephone number (optional) Comments (required) If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions. Terms and conditions View the full article
  6. London attack: Police appeal for information on Khalid Masood 24 March 2017 From the section UK Media captionAssistant Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley makes his appealPolice have appealed to anyone who knew the Westminster attacker Khalid Masood to come forward with information. Assistant Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley said he wanted information about Masood's "associates and places he recently visited". The fourth victim has been named as 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes, from Streatham in south London - one of three people killed by a car on Westminster Bridge. Police said two more "significant arrests" have been made. Fifty people were injured in the attack, with 31 receiving hospital treatment. Two are in a critical condition; one has life-threatening injuries. Updating reporters outside New Scotland Yard, Mr Rowley said two police officers remain in hospital with "very significant" injuries. Live coverage What we know about attacker Khalid Masood London attack killed US man, injured wife Victims of the Westminster terror attack In pictures: London mourns.... and carries on Masood, 52, drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing his car into railings and then running into the grounds of Parliament, armed with a knife, where he was shot dead by police. He used a number of aliases and was known to police. Mr Rowley said his birth name was Adrian Russell Ajao. Mr Rowley said the investigation would focus on his "motivation, preparation and his associates". He said police would investigate whether Masood "acted totally alone inspired by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him". Mr Rowley added: "There might be people out there who did have concerns about Masood but did not feel comfortable for whatever reason in passing those concerns to us." He also said there would be a review of Parliamentary security to see if changes were needed. Media captionWar veteran Mike Crofts describes the effort to try to save PC Keith Palmer's lifeMasood - who was born in Dartford, Kent - was known to the police. His previous convictions included causing grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences. He was believed to have been living in the West Midlands, and had previously spent time in Crawley, West Sussex, and Rye and Eastbourne, both in East Sussex. Aysha Frade, a teacher in her 40s, and US tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, were killed on Wednesday, while Mr Rhodes died on Thursday evening when his life support machine was turned off. Image copyright PA Image caption A vigil was held in Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening Home Secretary Amber Rudd and London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined hundreds of people at a candlelit vigil in Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening to remember the people who lost their lives. In total, 10 people have been arrested. Nine people are being questioned by police. The latest arrests took place in the West Midlands and the North West. Three women and five men were held in London and Birmingham on Thursday on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts but Mr Rowley said one person has now been bailed. Police said searches at five address were ongoing and 16 have finished. Detectives have seized 2,700 items, including "massive amounts of computer data". Held his hand Army veteran Mike Crofts, who witnessed the attack and rushed to help PC Palmer, told BBC Breakfast it was his military training that made him react. "Unfortunately despite our best efforts we were unable to save him. "He was at the time surrounded by a whole host of colleagues who really loved him. We held his hand through the experience, talked to him throughout." Image copyright Staci Martin Earlier, a photograph of PC Palmer, 48 - thought to be the last image taken before he was killed - emerged. It was taken by US tourist Staci Martin as she posed with the officer 45 minutes before the attack. Less than an hour later, Ms Martin was in a taxi when she heard there had been a shooting and saw a helicopter and emergency vehicles. She recognised PC Palmer from the photo released after it was confirmed he had been killed in the attack. Ms Martin believes the picture with the officer must be one of the last photos of him taken alive and she feels "obligated" to get it to his family, adding: "I just want to make sure they have that of him." Dominic Grieve, the chair of Parliament's intelligence and security committee, said there was no evidence at present to suggest that Masood's "activities could have been stopped before he came on to the bridge in his car". He told Radio 4's Today programme that about 12 plots had been stopped over the past 18 months and the UK had been "extremely fortunate... it really has been a miracle it hasn't happened sooner". Asked about arming all police officers, Mr Grieve said: "The idea that arming all police is going to be a panacea and a solution to this type of problem may well be mistaken." Image caption In less than 20 seconds, the attacker caused devastation on Westminster Bridge, driving into pedestrians before crashing into railings Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning View the full article
  7. London attack: 'Final' photo of killed PC Keith Palmer emerges 24 March 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Staci Martin A "final" picture of PC Keith Palmer taken shortly before he was killed in the Westminster attack has emerged. The photograph was taken by American tourist Staci Martin who says she posed with the police officer 45 minutes before he was stabbed by Khalid Masood. It has emerged Masood, 52, was born Adrian Elms in Dartford, Kent. It is said he used a number of aliases and was known to police. PC Palmer is one of four victims killed in the attack. Ms Martin was on a visit from Florida to London when she asked to take a picture with the officer outside Parliament. "It's my first time in London and I see his hat and I'm like I have to take a picture of him with his hat," she told ABC News. "I walked up to him and said 'do you mind if I take a picture?' He said 'no problem', he was really nice." Live coverage What we know about attacker Khalid Masood London attack killed US man, injured wife Victims of the Westminster terror attack The heroes who rushed to help Family's tribute to murdered PC More stories on the attack and aftermath Vigil held after London terror attack Less than an hour later, Ms Martin was in a taxi when she heard there had been a shooting and saw a helicopter and emergency vehicles. She recognised PC Palmer from the photo released after it was confirmed he had been killed in the attack. Ms Martin believes the picture with the officer must be one of the last photos of him taken alive and she feels "obligated" to get it to his family, adding: "I just want to make sure they have that of him." Image caption (From left) PC Keith Palmer, Kurt Cochran and Aysha Frade all died in the attack PC Keith Palmer, 48, Aysha Frade and US tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, were killed on Wednesday, while a 75-year-old man died on Thursday evening after his life support machine was turned off. Masood drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing his car into railings and then running into the grounds of Parliament, armed with a knife. He was shot dead by police. The so-called Islamic State group has said it was behind the attack. The Metropolitan Police said there had been no prior intelligence about Masood's intention to carry out an attack. But he was known to the police and his previous convictions included causing grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences. He was believed to have been living in the West Midlands. Image copyright AP Image caption Khalid Masood was shot at the scene of the Westminster attack Masood is also believed to have lived at various times in Crawley, West Sussex, and Rye and Eastbourne, both in East Sussex. He also appears to have been convicted of a knife crime in 2003 in Eastbourne. Car hire company Enterprise said the vehicle used in the attack had been rented from its Spring Hill depot in Birmingham. The BBC understands Masood hired the Hyundai SUV in person, giving his profession as a teacher. The Department for Education said it had no record of him having worked as a qualified teacher in English state schools. It appears that he styled himself as an English tutor at one point. Immediately before the attack, Masood had stayed at a hotel in Brighton. The fact Masood was originally called Adrian Elms raises the possibility he changed his name after converting to Islam, said the BBC's home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw. "Although there's no confirmation of that, it could help investigators understand the path he took before carrying out the attack," he added. Three women and five men have been arrested in London and Birmingham on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts following Wednesday's attack. The Met Police says detectives are continuing to search a number of addresses, including one in Carmarthenshire, three in Birmingham and one in east London. Addresses in Brighton and south-east London have also been searched. Image caption A minute's silence was held by those who gathered in Trafalgar Square A candlelit vigil was held in London's Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening to remember the people who lost their lives in the attack. PC Palmer's family said in a statement he would be remembered as a "wonderful dad and husband". Image copyright Charlton Athletic FC Image caption Charlton Athletic paid tribute to PC Palmer by placing a scarf on the season-ticket holder's seat They also described him as "a loving son, brother and uncle. A long-time supporter of Charlton FC. Dedicated to his job and proud to be a police officer, brave and courageous. A friend to everyone who knew him. "He will be deeply missed. We love him so much." A JustGiving page set up for the family of PC Palmer has raised more than £360,000 in less than 48 hours. The Met said that as a mark of respect, the constable's shoulder number, 4157U, would be retired and not reissued to any other officer. The identity of the 75-year-old man who was confirmed as the fourth victim has not yet been released. Tributes have been paid to the other two victims as details of their lives emerged. Mrs Frade worked at a London college, while Mr Cochran was from Utah, in the US, and had been visiting the capital with his wife Melissa, who is in hospital with serious injuries. According to a family statement, the Cochrans had been celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and were due to return to the US on Thursday. Mrs Frade worked at a London sixth-form college, just a few hundred metres from the bridge. The principal at DLD College, Rachel Borland, said she was "highly regarded and loved by our students and by her colleagues". What we know so far Theresa May says 'we'll never waver' Eyewitness accounts In pictures: The scene in Westminster London commuters: You just keep going Police have said five people remain in a critical condition in hospital and two have life-threatening injuries. A total of about 40 people had been treated in hospital, police said. Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning Have you been affected by recent events? If you are willing to do so, share with us by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: WhatsApp: +44 7555 173285 Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk Upload your pictures / video here Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Text an SMS or MMS to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (international) Or use the form below Your contact details Name (optional) Your E-mail address (required) Town & Country (optional) Your telephone number (optional) Comments (required) If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions. Terms and conditions View the full article
  8. London attack: Police name Westminster attacker 23 March 2017 From the section UK The man believed to be responsible for the attack in Westminster has been named as Khalid Masood, by the Metropolitan Police. Masood, who died in the attack, was not the subject of any current police investigations, but he had a range of previous convictions for assaults. The 52-year-old was born in Kent but was believed to have been living in the West Midlands. PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade and American Kurt Cochran were also killed. Police said there had been no prior intelligence about Masood's intention to carry out an attack. But he was known to the police and his previous convictions included GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences. His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife. He had not been convicted of any terrorism offences. View the full article
  9. Seven held after Westminster attack 23 March 2017 From the section UK Seven arrests have been made in raids following the Westminster attack that left four dead, police have said. Acting Deputy Commissioner and Head of Counter Terrorism Mark Rowley said hundreds of detectives have worked through the night, carrying out searches at six addresses. The victims were a mix of nationalities, and included a woman in her 40s and a man in his 50s, he added. Seven of the injured are still in hospital in a critical condition. In the attack on Wednesday, a man drove a car along a pavement in Westminster knocking down pedestrians, leaving dozens injured. He then stabbed a policeman and was shot dead by police in the grounds of Parliament. In a statement made outside Scotland Yard, Mr Rowley said: "The inquiries in Birmingham, London and other parts of the country are continuing. "It is still our belief - which continues to be borne out by our investigation - that this attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism. "To be explicit, at this stage we have no specific information about further threats to the public." View the full article
  10. Four dead in Westminster attack 22 March 2017 From the section UK Four people, including police officer and man believed to be an attacker, killed near UK Parliament, police confirm This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. If you want to receive Breaking News alerts via email, or on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App then details on how to do so are available on this help page. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  11. Reports of shots outside UK Parliament 22 March 2017 From the section UK Shots are reported to have been fired close to the Houses of Parliament in central London. Politicians and journalists have tweeted about hearing loud crashes outside the buildings, Witnesses said they saw people being treated for wounds and reported seeing a man with a knife in the grounds. Staff inside Parliament were told to stay inside their offices. The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg said police told her someone had been shot. She said MPs had told her they heard "three or four gunshots". Tom Peck, political editor for the Independent, tweeted: "There was a loud bang. Screams. Commotion. Then the sound of gunshots. Armed police everywhere." Scotland Yard said it was called to a firearms incident on Westminster Bridge amid reports of several people injured. Transport for London said Westminster underground station has been shut at the police's request. View the full article
  12. Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness dies aged 66 21 March 2017 From the section Northern Ireland Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister, has died aged 66. It is understood he had been suffering from a rare heart condition. The former IRA leader turned peacemaker worked at the heart of the power-sharing government following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. He became deputy first minister in 2007, standing alongside Democratic Unionist Party leaders Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Arlene Foster. Obituary: Martin McGuinness McGuinness - from Armalite to armistice Decade as deputy first minister Gerry Adams hits out at UK government Mr McGuinness stood down from his post in January in protest against the DUP's handling of an energy scandal, in a move that triggered a snap election. Martin McGuinness grew up in Derry's Bogside, radicalised by discrimination and murder on the streets of his city. In 1972, at the age of 21, he was second-in-command of the IRA in Derry at the time of Bloody Sunday, when 14 civil rights protesters were killed in the city by soldiers. He had a leading role in the IRA during a time when the paramilitary organisation was bombing his home city to bits. He was convicted by the Republic of Ireland's Special Criminal Court after being arrested near a car containing explosives and ammunition. He served two prison sentences - he was also convicted for IRA membership. But his leadership potential was spotted early and he was just 22 years old when he and Gerry Adams were flown to London for secret talks with the British government: MI5 considered him serious officer material with strategic vision. He maintained that he left the IRA in 1974, making the transition to politics. Media captionMartin McGuinness - from paramilitary to politicianThe years that followed saw the IRA hunger strikes, the Brighton bombing when Margaret Thatcher and the Tory Party conference were targeted and the Enniskillen bomb in 1987, in which 11 people died. The shift to politics came slowly. Martin McGuinness was chief negotiator in the blossoming peace process and took on the post of education minister. By 2007, he was Northern Ireland's deputy first minister standing alongside First Minister Ian Paisley. The two forged an unlikely alliance - but they were working together for the same goal. He worked along DUP first minister Peter Robinson and, until January, was in office with Arlene Foster. Among the seismic moments in his time in government was the famous handshake with Queen Elizabeth II and a toast to her Majesty at Windsor Castle. In recent years, he said: "My war is over. My job as a political leader is to prevent that war and I feel very passionate about it." View the full article
  13. Article 50: Theresa May to trigger Brexit process next Wednesday 20 March 2017 From the section UK Politics Prime Minister Theresa May is to officially notify the European Union next Wednesday that the UK is leaving. Downing Street said she would write a letter to the EU's 27 other members, adding that it expected negotiations to then begin as quickly as possible. The move comes nine months after people voted 51.9% to 48.1% in a referendum. Talks on the terms of the departure and future relations are not allowed under the Article 50 process until the UK formally tells the EU it is leaving. If all goes according to the two year negotiations set out in the official timetable, Brexit should happen in March 2019. What is Article 50? What happens next? Brexit: All you need to know A No 10 spokesman said the UK's Ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, informed the European Council, headed by President Donald Tusk, earlier on Monday of the date that Article 50 would be triggered next Wednesday, 29 March. Mrs May is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons shortly after invoking Article 50. View the full article
  14. Private care contracts for councils 'being cancelled' 20 March 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Getty Images Ninety-five UK councils have had their private care contracts cancelled, as companies say they lack enough funding, a BBC Panorama investigation has found. Research for the programme suggests one in four of the UK's 2,500 home care companies is at risk of insolvency. One home care company says it cancelled its contract because it "didn't think we could do it for the money". The government declined an interview but said English councils had received £9.25bn for social care. The figure for the number of cancelled contracts comes from a Freedom of Information request, which saw 197 of 212 UK councils responding. According to the research, carried out for Panorama by Opus Restructuring and Company Watch, 69 home care companies have closed in the last three months. Many home care companies say their biggest problem is recruitment and retention of carers. The Centre for Workforce Intelligence estimates at least two million more carers will be needed by 2025 in England alone, in both in-home care and care homes, to cope with growing demand. Last October, the regulator for England, the Care Quality Commission, warned that adult social care was at a tipping point. Image caption There are 800,000 home care workers in the UK One home care company, Cymorth Llaw, which had contracts with three councils in north Wales, told Panorama it had recently stopped working with one - Conwy, which had initially paid £14.20 an hour for care. It offered to raise that to £15, but the company decided that still wasn't enough and handed back the contract. Ken Hogg, at Cymorth Llaw, said: "We didn't think we could do it for the money - it was as simple as that. "We pay as much [in wages] as we possibly can and we've always paid above what was the national minimum wage and the national living wage. "They get a mileage allowance, they get paid travelling time between their clients." Image caption Ken Hogg says council funding barely covers his care home company's costs Mr Hogg said the company was legally obliged to pay 1% pension and 13.8% national insurance contributions, along with training and other staff-associated costs, which "doesn't leave a great deal". Conwy Council said it was committed to supporting vulnerable people in communities, despite the financial challenges. Home care company Mears used to have a contract with Liverpool City Council but cancelled it in July, saying £13.10 an hour was not enough to cover costs. Mears said it needed at least £15 an hour, and like other companies across the UK, argued its costs are often greater than what councils pay. Alan Long, executive director at Mears, said: "That was a terrible thing to do for both service users and for care staff. "We absolutely did not take that lightly, but frankly what choice did we have? "We just cannot do the two most basic things that you need to do in home care - pay staff the absolute minimum of living wage and be able to recruit enough people to deliver the service that Liverpool Council actually expected from us." Bed shortages The industry's trade body, the United Kingdom Homecare Association, said many companies were really struggling. Colin Angel, its policy and campaigns director, said some care providers are "really desperate" and "really do not know whether they're going to be able to continue in business, beyond the next year". He added: "That means they're really having to make some hard commercial decisions, whether they might need to cease trading or indeed just hand back work to local councils." The nationwide shortage of carers is leaving many elderly people stuck in NHS wards, which results in bed blocking. Government figures show there are more than 6,500 people across Britain stuck in an acute hospital bed, despite being well enough to leave. In England, a third of these are waiting for a home care package. Image caption Colin Angel has concerns that more care home companies may close in the coming months Mike Furlong, manager of the Granby Rehabilitation Unit in Liverpool, told Panorama that while on average people spend 28 days at the care facility, "some patients have been with us 12 and 14 weeks because all the therapy is complete, but unfortunately there's no care package available at the end of it". Liverpool City Council said that, over the last seven years, its budget had been cut by £330m and it now needed to find a further £90m over the next three years. Samih Kalakeche, Liverpool's director of adult social services, said: "Is there a crisis in the home care services? I'll say yes, there is - and it's not just money, it's the sheer volume of demographics. "We've got an ageing population which we welcome, but we don't have enough people coming into the industry." '£2bn extra' Earlier this month, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced £2bn extra for social care for English councils over the next three years. Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales will decide how they spend their extra funding. But the industry says that with an increasingly ageing population, it's just not enough to keep pace with demand. The government has said it will be bringing forward more proposals later this year, to ensure a financially sustainable social care system. Panorama: Britain's Home Care Crisis - Monday, 20 March, 20:30 GMT, BBC One View the full article
  15. Man arrested over Finsbury Park toddler murder 19 March 2017 From the section London A man has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a one-year-old boy and the attempted murder of a girl of the same age, Scotland Yard says. Bidhya Sagar Das, 33, was arrested on Sunday evening in Hackney, east London. The children were found at a flat in Wilberforce Road near Finsbury Park on Saturday night. The boy died in the early hours of Sunday. The girl remains in a critical condition in hospital. Det Ch Insp Dave Whellams, who is leading the investigation, said: "This is clearly a tragic incident, and our thoughts are with the family of the two young children. "Despite the best efforts of medical professionals a baby boy sadly died in the early hours of this morning. A baby girl currently remains in a critical condition and is receiving specialist medical care. "Whilst we remain in the early stages of the investigation, a man has now been arrested. "I would still like to hear from anyone who may have any information regarding this terrible incident." View the full article