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News Round-Up

Jan 15: Tories face electoral wipeout; UK to send troops to Nato drill; Pothole pandemic

Here are the headlines on Monday, January 15

Time 6:40 am, January 15, 2024

Conservatives face 1997-style electoral wipeout, major poll suggests

The Conservatives are facing a 1997-style electoral wipeout that would hand Labour a 120-seat majority, a major opinion poll suggests.

A YouGov survey of 14,000 people indicates that Rishi Sunak’s Tories could hold on to as few as 169 seats as Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour enters Downing Street with 385.

The polling, reported by the Telegraph, indicated that every so-called ‘red wall’ seat won by Boris Johnson in 2019 could be lost at the general election this year. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt could be one of 11 Cabinet ministers to lose their seats in what would be the biggest collapse in support for a governing party since 1906, according to the newspaper.

Sunak faces pressure to toughen Rwanda Bill from Badenoch and Anderson

Rishi Sunak is under growing pressure from the Conservative right to bolster his Rwanda Bill after Kemi Badenoch privately warned it needs strengthening and Lee Anderson considered rebelling.

Rebel sources said Anderson, a Tory deputy chairman, told colleagues he intends to defy the government as Tory divisions are set to be dragged back into the open in crunch votes this week.

Badenoch, the business secretary, is understood to have called for asylum seekers to be prevented from lodging individual legal appeals against their removals to Kigali. More than 50 Tory MPs have publicly backed right-wing amendments to the Rwanda Bill, which will return to the Commons on Tuesday.

UK to send 20,000 troops to largest Nato exercise since the Cold War

Britain will send 20,000 service personnel to one of Nato’s largest military exercises since the Cold War, as the alliance practises repelling an invasion by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s forces.

Defence secretary Grant Shapps will announce the deployment of Army, Navy and RAF members to the 31-nation drill across Europe during a speech in London on Monday.

He will say the contribution to the Steadfast Defender exercise will provide ‘vital reassurance against the Putin menace’ as he warns the West stands at a ‘crossroads’.

Risk posed by terrorist before Reading attacks to face inquest scrutiny

The risk posed by a triple murderer before he carried out the Reading terror attacks will come under heavy scrutiny as full inquest proceedings are due to begin.

Libyan refugee Khairi Saadallah shouted ‘Allahu akhbar’ as he fatally stabbed friends James Furlong, 36, Dr David Wails, 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, on June 20, 2020 in the town’s Forbury Gardens. Three other people, Stephen Young, Patrick Edwards and Nishit Nisudan, were also injured before Saadallah threw away the eight-inch knife and ran off, pursued by an off-duty police officer.

In January 2021, the killer was handed a whole-life sentence at the Old Bailey after pleading guilty to three murders and three attempted murders. The full inquest will look at the management of Saadallah while in prison and on probation, as well as his mental health. The assessment and response to his risk of terrorism before the attacks will also come under scrutiny.

Junior doctors in Wales begin 72-hour full walkout over pay

Junior doctors across Wales are starting a three-day walkout over pay as the Welsh government and hospital leaders warned of the pressures health services are under.

The strike begins at 7am on Monday and lasts until 7am on Thursday and could see over 3,000 doctors taking industrial action.

The Welsh NHS Confederation, which represents health boards in Wales, the industrial action was taking place on one of the ‘most pressurised weeks of the year, following recent weeks of significant winter pressures’.

‘Woeful’ Windrush compensation scheme must move faster, say campaigners

The ‘woeful’ compensation scheme for victims of the Windrush scandal must move faster amid ‘unacceptable’ delays in payouts, according to a campaign backed by Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Annie Lennox.

The Justice4Windrush campaign is demanding ‘full and swift compensation’ for victims, as the five-year anniversary of the scheme being launched in April 2019 approaches.

The scandal, which emerged in 2018, saw many British citizens, mostly from the Caribbean, denied access to healthcare and benefits and threatened with deportation despite having the right to live in the UK. The government promised to right the wrongs of what had happened but the compensation scheme has been repeatedly criticised for the speed at which claims are being processed and payments made.

House prices predicted to rise rather than fall in 2024

House prices are expected to increase this year.

Property firm Knight Frank forecast in October that average values would be 4% lower in 2024, but the firm has now reversed its prediction saying prices will increase by 3% instead.

Mortgage lenders slashing their rates earlier this month is the reason for the revised prediction, Knight Frank said.

Weekend Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Record 420,000 patients waited more than 12 hours in A&E in 2023 – analysis

A record 420,000 patients had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E last year, analysis by the Liberal Democrats has shown.

The latest NHS England figures revealed a 20% increase on 2022 in people facing lengthy delays after a decision to admit them to hospital from the emergency department.

In 2023, 419,560 people – or one in 15 A&E patients – faced so-called ‘trolley waits’ of 12 hours or more, the party said. It marks by far the highest number since records began in 2011, and amounts to an average of 1,150 patients a day.

Listen to the latest Car Dealer Podcast

Neil Smith joins the team to discuss last week’s top new stories. You can listen to the show on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Pothole breakdowns reach five-year high

Pothole-related breakdowns reached a five-year high in 2023, new figures show.

The AA said it received 632,000 call outs to vehicles damaged by road defects last year. That is a 16% increase compared with the previous 12 months, and is the most since 666,000 in 2018 when many roads were damaged by prolonged extreme cold weather from the so-called Beast from the East.

The AA is part of a new coalition named the Pothole Partnership which marked National Pothole Day on Monday by sending a five-point plan to central and local government officials to press the case for more effective road repairs.


A cold but bright day for most of the country, reports BBC Weather. Scotland will see a few snow showers and these could spread to coastal areas in England, too. Temperatures will be between one degrees in Scotland and five in England, but a wind chill will make temperatures feel more like minus two to one degrees.

Tonight, show showers will fall in the north and along western coasts. Clear 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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