News Round-Up

Feb 8: Sunak told to apologise for transgender jibe; House prices rise; Porsche updates Taycan

Here are the headlines on Thursday, February 8

Time 6:48 am, February 8, 2024

Sunak facing calls to apologise for transgender jibe in Commons

Rishi Sunak is facing calls to apologise for making a ‘dehumanising’ transgender joke in the House of Commons while the mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey visited Parliament.

Brianna’s father, Peter Spooner, said the prime minister should say sorry for the ‘degrading’ remark made during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Sunak had accused Sir Keir Starmer of having difficulty in ‘defining a woman’ during an attack on Labour party U-turns.

Labour to drop £28bn-a-year green spending pledge

Labour will abandon its policy of spending £28bn a year on environmental projects in a major U-turn following months of uncertainty about the pledge.

An announcement on the party’s flagship green prosperity plan is due to be made on Thursday.

Sir Keir Starmer is expected to confirm that the pledge is being scaled back due to changes in the economic landscape since it was first unveiled in 2021.

Government unveils new protest laws to ‘crack down on dangerous disorder’

Protesters who climb over war memorials or try to hide their identity could face jail under government plans to change the law.

Police in England and Wales will be given powers to arrest protesters who cover their face in a bid to avoid prosecution, while people who scale national monuments could face a three-month prison sentence and a £1,000 fine, as part of the proposals.

The measures – which will be added to the Criminal Justice Bill currently being considered by Parliament – will also make it illegal to carry flares and other pyrotechnics at protests amid efforts to ‘crack down on dangerous disorder’, according to the Home Office.

Netanyahu rejects Hamas ceasefire demands and vows to secure ‘absolute victory’

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected Hamas’s terms for a ceasefire and hostage-release agreement, calling them ‘delusional’.

Netanyahu vowed to press ahead with Israel’s war against Hamas, now in its fifth month, until achieving ‘absolute victory’.

He made the comments shortly after meeting US secretary of state Antony Blinken, who has been travelling around the region in the hope of securing a ceasefire agreement.

Met Office warns of disruption to travel with up to 25cm of snow forecast

Up to 25cm of snow is forecast in parts of England and Wales on Thursday, as the Met Office issued weather alerts and warned of disruption to travel.

Amber weather warnings for snow have been issued for parts of northern England and north Wales, while a mixture of yellow rain and snow warnings will be in force across the four nations.

The Met Office said that as milder air begins to arrive from the south, there is a chance that snow could turn to ‘freezing rain across some higher routes above 200 metres’.

Events to mark 50th anniversary of UK’s worst single trawler tragedy

Events are being held across Hull to mark the 50th anniversary of the loss of the Gaul, which is said to be the UK’s worst ever single trawler tragedy.

The Gaul sunk off the coast of Norway on the night of February 8 1974 with the loss of 36 lives. Thirty of the crew came from Hull.

The tragedy has always been surrounded in controversy but a 2004 inquiry rejected theories that the vessel was deliberately sunk by the Soviet Union or pulled down by a submarine. After its publication, many families of the victims dismissed the report by the Wreck Commissioner which concluded the ship sank in heavy storms after the offal chutes were seized open.

Average UK house price jumped by £3,785 in January, says Halifax

The average UK house price jumped by £3,785 month on month in January, marking the fourth month in a row of increases, according to an index.

Property values typically rose by 1.3% compared with December, Halifax said.

House prices increased by 2.5% annually – the highest annual growth since January 2023.

Asda workers to strike for 48 hours

Workers at one of Asda’s stores are to stage a 48-hour strike over claims of a ‘toxic’ working environment.

Members of the GMB at the site in Gosport, Hampshire, will walk out on Friday until midnight on Saturday.

The union said its members had rejected a company offer aimed at resolving the row.

Sainsbury’s boss refuses to rule out job cuts under plan to slash costs by £1bn

The boss of Sainsbury’s has refused to rule out job losses under plans to slash costs by £1bn as the chain revealed it will cut general merchandise and clothing space and expand its food offering.

The UK’s second biggest supermarket unveiled a strategy update that will see it boost food space across all its near-600 supermarkets, while focusing expansion efforts on 180 of its ‘highest potential’ sites, which will see about 10% more space dedicated to food.

But it will also cut its general merchandise and clothing offering across many shops, with between 20% to 30% less store space for non-food ranges in the 180 shops. The retailer suggested jobs may be in the firing line, as it said it would cut costs by £1 billion over the next three years, while investing in technology and artificial intelligence (AI).

Wednesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Uber reports first annual profit since 2019

Uber has reported its first full-year profit since going public in 2019 and its shares hit an all-time high as strong bookings in the final quarter of the year pushed revenue beyond Wall Street expectations.

Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said ‘2023 was an inflection point for Uber’ after struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic when government lockdowns kept millions at home.

Uber has focused on cutting costs and building up a food-delivery division, which has since become a major revenue driver. Uber’s ride-hailing service has gradually bounced back too and figures from the fourth quarter suggest the company is moving in the right direction.

Nestle to discontinue Breakaway and Yorkie biscuit bars

The Breakaway and Yorkie biscuit bars are to disappear from shelves following a decline in sales, maker Nestle has announced.

Nestle said the chocolate-covered Breakaway will no longer be produced from March, to make way for new products. It was launched in 1970 by Rowntree Mackintosh before being acquired by Nestle in 1988.

As well as the Breakaway, Nestle is also discontinuing Yorkie Biscuit bars – not to be confused with Yorkie chocolate bars, which are ‘staying for good’. It follows Nestle blaming falling sales on its decision in November to discontinue the Caramac bar after 64 years.

Porsche’s Taycan receives comprehensive update with increases in range and performance

Porsche has unveiled an upgraded version of its Taycan electric model.

One of the biggest changes to the Taycan is the inclusion of a larger battery – now 12kWh bigger than before at 105kWh – which unlocks a top range of 422 miles on rear-drive, single-motor Taycan models equipped with the optional Performance Battery Plus. Charging speed has also been bumped up to 320kW.

Prices for the new Taycan will kick off at £86,500 for the standard rear-motor version, rising to £95,900 for the 4S, £134,100 for the Turbo and £161,400 for the Turbo S. The most expensive version in the range stands as the Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo, which comes in at £162,500.


Rain will continue its march northwards, turning to sleet and snow as it hits north Wales, northern England and Northern Ireland, reports BBC Weather. Mild under the rain in the south with highs of 12 degrees, but it’ll be around four degrees in the Midlands and in the north.

Again, the rain will carry on pushing northwards tonight – it’ll be lighter by the time it gets to Scotland, though. More rain in the south of England. Heavy at times.

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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