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News Round-Up

Jan 17: Senior Tories resign over Rwanda vote; Car insurance premiums rise; New MG3 teased

Here are the headlines on Wednesday, January 17

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Time 6:38 am, January 17, 2024

Sunak faces crunch vote as Rwanda plan dealt fresh blow by senior resignations

The fate of Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda plan is in the balance as a crunch vote looms after two Tory deputy chairmen resigned to join the biggest Conservative rebellion of his leadership.

The prime ,minister is battling to see off another major revolt on Wednesday as MPs decide whether to back legislation aimed at saving the government’s flagship asylum policy.

Some 60 Conservatives supported changes to the Safety of Rwanda Bill put forward by Tory veteran Sir Bill Cash, in a sign of the scale of unease within the party during an election year. Senior red-wall MPs Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith resigned from their party positions yesterday (Jan 16) to vote in favour of changes tabled by Cash and former immigration minister Robert Jenrick.


Fujitsi urged to make £10m ‘initial contribution’ towards Horizon compensation

Bosses at the firm which developed the scandal-hit Horizon system for the Post Office have been challenged to pay a £10m contribution to a compensation fund by the end of this month.

MP Marion Fellows told Fujitsu Europe director Paul Patterson the cash would be a ‘small step in the right direction’.

She made the plea after Patterson apologised to subpostmasters who had been wrongly convicted as a result of problems within the Horizon system, and said the technology firm had a ‘moral obligation’ to contribute towards compensation. When he appeared before MPs on Tuesday, Patterson conceded there were ‘bugs and errors in the system’ as he apologised for the ‘appalling miscarriage of justice’.


Stormont recall in last-ditch bid to revive devolved government before deadline

The Stormont Assembly will be recalled later in a last-ditch attempt to revive devolved government in Northern Ireland before the latest legislative deadline.

Midnight on Thursday is the deadline according to current legislation by which the Assembly and Executive should be restored or Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris will be obliged to call a fresh election.

On Monday, Heaton-Harris said if the deadlines passes he will have ‘various decisions to make’, adding: ‘I will set out my next steps in due course’.

200,000 properties at risk because of deteriorating flood defences, say MPs

Deteriorating flood defences are putting more than 200,000 properties at increased risk of inundation, with MPs criticising the government for failing to adequately fund the Environment Agency.

The agency has failed to meet its target of maintaining 98% of ‘high consequence’ flood defences – the most common type – and has had to downgrade the number of properties it aims to protect by 2027 from 336,000 to 200,000.

A lack of resources also means that new developments are being built in flood plains without the Environment Agency or Local Planning Authorities ensuring there are flood risk mitigation measures, which the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) described as ‘unforgivable’.

Medication shortages ‘impacting upon patient safety’, pharmacy leaders warn

Shortages of certain medicines are putting patient safety at risk, experts have warned, as well as exposing pharmacists to abuse and aggression from frustrated and anxious members of the public.

Leaders from the sector told the PA news agency the system is ‘unviable and broken’, and called on the government to recognise the seriousness of the issue.

They spoke of shortages in medication to treat the likes of epilepsy, ADHD and diabetes, as well as some cancer drugs and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Dr Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMP), said the situation is ‘the worst that we have ever seen’.

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Sharp increase in civilian casualties in Ukraine, says UN

More than 100 civilians were killed by Russia’s missile and drone attacks across Ukraine during December, according to a UN report which said nearly 500 were injured.

The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine’s report, published on Tuesday, said there was a 26.5% increase in civilian casualties last month – from 468 in November to 592 in December. With some reports pending verification, it said the increase was likely higher.

Danielle Bell, who heads the UN’s monitoring mission, said: ‘Civilian casualties had been steadily decreasing in 2023, but the wave of attacks in late December and early January violently interrupted that trend.’

Met uses undercover ‘victim’ officers to clamp down on luxury watch thefts

The Metropolitan Police has used undercover ‘victim’ officers to catch robbers attempting to steal luxury watches in central London.

Two operations carried out in late 2022 and 2023 across South Kensington, Chelsea, Soho and Mayfair saw officers deployed as potential targets wearing expensive watch brands.

Opportunistic criminals who then tried to steal the watches in the street were apprehended by other undercover officers nearby, with both operations leading more than 20 convictions so far.

Quoted motor insurance premiums have jumped by 67.2% annually – index

The average quoted price of motor insurance jumped by 67.2% in the year to November 2023, according to an index.

But data analytics company Consumer Intelligence, which compiled the research, said there are some signs of a slowdown.

It said quoted premiums rose by 10.6% in the three months to November, which was significantly slower than a 22% rise in the three months to August and a 15.2% increase in the three months to May. Its research indicates that in November, motorists most commonly received a quote between £500 and £749.

MG to back small, low-cost cars with reveal of new MG3

MG will reveal a next-generation version of its MG3 supermini at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, the firm has announced.

While many other brands are looking to move away from smaller cars, MG is committing to more affordable cars with its new MG3, which will replace what is currently one of the UK’s cheapest new cars.

The new supermini, which has only been teased in a post on X, formerly Twitter, shows a more striking front-end design inspired by newer MG models, but with a similar overall silhouette.

Weather

Snow showers, sometimes heavy, for the far north, and lighter snow flurries in coastal areas of Wales and Northern Ireland, reports BBC Weather. Rainy and cloudy in the south. Bright elsewhere; temperatures will hover around zero in the north, three degrees in the south.

Tonight will be much the same as today with snow showers in similar areas. Dry with clear skies elsewhere leading to a frost and icy conditions tomorrow morning.

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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