Michelle O'Neill and Emma Little-PengellyMichelle O'Neill and Emma Little-Pengelly

News Round-Up

Feb 5: Power sharing returns to NI; Train drivers’ strike continues; Lucky Saint sales jump

Here are the headlines on Monday, February 5

Time 6:39 am, February 5, 2024

Sunak and Varadkar to mark return of powersharing at Stormont

Prime minister Rishi Sunak and Irish premier Leo Varadkar are to visit Stormont as they mark the return of devolved government in Northern Ireland.

Sunak and Varadkar will meet each other, as well as the leaders of the new powersharing Executive which was formed on Saturday, ending two years of political stalemate.

The Executive, headed by Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill (pictured top, left) and the DUP’s Emma Little-Pengelly (pictured top, right), will also hold its first meeting on Monday as it begins the task of trying to deal with Northern Ireland’s strained finances.

Further disruption for rail services amid ongoing train drivers’ strike

Rail services will continue to be disrupted on Monday because of ongoing industrial action by train drivers in their long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

A series of strikes started last week coupled with an overtime ban which has led to widespread cancellations across England.

Aslef members at Chiltern, Great Western Railway (GWR) and CrossCountry will be on strike on Monday, leading to widespread cancellations of services. Chiltern and CrossCountry will not run any trains on Monday, while GWR said its services will be ‘extremely limited’.

Police manhunt for chemical attack suspect enters fifth day

The manhunt for alkali attack suspect Abdul Ezedi has entered its fifth day with a £20,000 reward in place for anyone with information leading to his arrest.

Metropolitan Police officers have been searching for the 35-year-old since Wednesday after a 31-year-old woman suffered potentially life-changing injuries while her daughters, aged eight and three, were also hurt in the attack in Clapham.

The force said the last sighting of Ezedi, who is from Newcastle, was at 9.33pm at Tower Hill Underground station in east London on January 31, shortly after the attack in Clapham.

Houthi Red Sea campaign is having economic consequences, Sunak says

The prime minister has said the Houthis’ ‘illegal’ harassment campaign in the Red Sea is having ‘economic consequences’, as he defended the UK taking part in a third wave of air strikes.

There have been fears that the attacks on commercial ships in the Middle East could drive up the price of goods in the shops, as cargo firms are forced to re-route their vessels via longer and more costly routes to avoid clashes with the rebel group.

Rishi Sunak said the UK on Saturday had acted in ‘self-defence’ when taking part in joint air strikes with the US to target Houthi sites in Yemen. He repeated that he ‘won’t hesitate to protect British lives’, in a signal that he would be undeterred from continuing to approve further RAF bombing raids if the Houthis do not desist.

Hundreds of post offices ditch National Lottery sales under new licence

The National Lottery’s new operator has revealed that around 900 post offices across the UK will no longer sell draw tickets and scratchcards under the new 10-year licence.

Allwyn, which took over the licence from Camelot on February 1, told the PA news agency that nearly a fifth (19%) of the 4,800-strong network of post offices that previously sold National Lottery products had not signed up to continue.

It comes after Post Office Limited decided last year to end its group contract with the National Lottery. Allwyn said more than 600 postmasters had chosen not to sign up, with reasons cited including religious beliefs or low lottery sales.

Funds to help schools install subsidised car chargers and sell energy to drivers

Schools in England will be able to apply for grants to buy and install electric vehicle chargers, and then sell the energy back to motorists.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that state-funded schools and other learning institutions will have access to a grant providing up to 75% of the cost to install chargers, with funding available for up to £2,500 per socket, up from the previous £350 limit.

The chargers can be used for staff and visitors, but the DfT officials said it could also help schools to generate revenue by making the power outlets available to the public.

Lucky Saint cheers sales jump after bumper December

The UK’s largest dedicated alcohol-free beer brand has revealed a festive sales surge as it said shoppers have found ‘new occasions’ to have a pint.

The boss of Lucky Saint said it traded ‘particularly well’ over December, as many drinkers have moderated their alcohol consumption throughout the year and not only for Dry January.

Emma Heal, chief executive of the brand, said the brand has benefited from customers choosing to drink beer on more occasions amid the growth of non-alcoholic options.


Heavy rain for the far north of Scotland with up to 170mm of rain fall predicted, reports BBC Weather. For the rest of the country it’ll be cloudy and murky with the odd spot of rain. Mild at 12 degrees but it’ll be turning colder as the week progresses.

The rain will move south tonight into central areas and it’ll be persistent. Cloudy and drizzly elsewhere.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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