Storm Isha leaves thousands of people without power
Thousands of people have been left without power as Storm Isha brought disruption to the electricity and transport networks across the UK.
ESB Networks reported more than 170,000 properties in Ireland were without power while Electricity North West said crews had been stood down due to the conditions with almost 8,000 homes losing power.
Fallen trees have affected transport with Traffic Scotland reporting stretches of the M9 and M74 were among roads closed throughout the night, while the A1 southbound was closed at Thorntonloch due to an overturned lorry. Meanwhile, Network Rail imposed 50mph speed restrictions across most routes.
Sunak’s Rwanda plan faces first test in Lords with bid to delay treaty
Rishi Sunak is bracing for a battle with the House of Lords over his controversial Rwanda deportation plan.
The first test will come on Monday with a debate on a motion seeking to delay the Rwanda treaty.
Many peers have already expressed deep unease about the stalled scheme to put some asylum seekers on a one-way flight the east African nation. But the prime minister has urged the Upper House not to block the ‘will of the people’.
Parents urged to book missed MMR jabs amid ‘very real’ measles risk
Millions of parents in England are being urged to book their children in for missed measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) jabs, amid a ‘very real risk’ of measles outbreaks across the country.
Officials said the decline in the uptake of routine childhood vaccinations is a ‘serious concern’.
The new NHS campaign comes after figures showed there have been 216 confirmed measles cases and 103 probable cases in the West Midlands since October 1 last year. The majority (80%) came from Birmingham, with the remainder in Coventry. Most cases were in children under 10.
New government reforms could grant Ofcom action powers over BBC News articles
The regulator Ofcom could gain enforcement action over BBC News website articles it does not believe meet relevant broadcast standards in new government reforms aimed at improving impartiality at the corporation.
Currently, the communications regulator is only able to issue an opinion on the matter, but government recommendations say Ofcom will be given increased oversight over the BBC’s online public services, including its news site and YouTube channel.
The government said its recommendations, which focus on increasing public confidence in the BBC’s impartiality and complaints system, are expected to be implemented in a timely manner, following talks with the BBC and Ofcom.
Home Office to use £36m private boats to patrol Channel for migrant crossings
The Home Office is to use private vessels at a cost of £36m a year to patrol the Channel for small boats amid a further delay in plans to upgrade the Border Force fleet.
A ‘procurement pipeline’ document published on the department’s website shows it has tendered a contract for ‘charter of vessel(s) to support small boats operations in the Dover Straits’. The contract is due to run from April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025, with the service provider listed as ‘not set’.
The Home Office has been forced to pay for boats from the private sector as its plans to replace ageing Border Force cutters faces another two-year setback, the Times reported.
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Water chiefs ‘have pocketed £26m in bonuses, benefits and incentives since 2019’
Water company executives who may have presided over illegal sewage spills have pocketed more than £26m in bonuses, benefits and incentives over the last four years, Labour has said.
The party accused the government of turning ‘a blind eye to corruption at the heart of the water industry’ by allowing firms to openly pollute British rivers, lakes and seas while paying out millions to bosses.
Water chiefs have received more than £10m in bonuses, nearly £15m incentives and £621,580 in benefits since the 2019 general election, Labour found in its analysis of pay at nine water companies. That includes £1.4m in bonuses last year, less than half the £3.1m paid in the previous year.
Tory MPs urge Sunak to boost funding for cash-strapped councils
Rishi Sunak is under pressure from Tory MPs to boost the funding settlement for on-the-brink councils.
More than 40 Conservative backbenchers have signed a letter to the prime minister warning that without emergency cash, many councils will be forced to cut crucial frontline services and hike council tax in an election year.
Struggling councils have repeatedly called on the government to provide emergency funding to protect services for local communities, as they have grappled with rampant inflation following a decade of significant funding reductions.
Staying windy across the country today, reports BBC Weather. There will also be blustery showers in Scotland, Northern Ireland, north-west England and Wales. Temperatures milder than of late and will be between seven and 11 degrees.
A clear night for most apart from areas in northern England and north-western Scotland where showers will persist. Cloud and rain will build for the south of England, Northern Ireland and Wales, though, towards dawn.