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News Round-Up

Jan 30: Rwanda Bill clears first Lords hurdle; Train drivers strike; Rowan’s Defender at auction

Here are the headlines on Tuesday, January 30

Time 6:45 am, January 30, 2024

Rwanda Bill clears first Lords hurdle as Archbishop Of Canterbury issues warning

Rishi Sunak’s proposed Rwanda asylum law has cleared its first major hurdle in the House of Lords, but faces a bruising ride as the Archbishop of Canterbury warned it is ‘leading the nation down a damaging path’.

In a withering rebuke to the scheme to send asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats on a one-way flight to Kigali, the Most Rev Justin Welby accused the government of outsourcing the country’s ‘legal and moral responsibilities’ and signalled he may yet seek to block it.

But ministers argued that the Bill was ‘the moral course’ and ‘the humane thing to do’.


Cameron aims to stop Middle East conflict from ‘spilling over’ during new visit

Lord Cameron will pledge that Britain will ‘do everything’ it can to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from ‘spilling over borders’ during a return visit to the Middle East.

The Cabinet minister will this week make his fourth visit to the region since being appointed foreign secretary in November as he presses for a de-escalation of tensions.

Starting in Oman, the senior Conservative peer is expected to call for stability amid Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and an immediate pause in the conflict in Gaza as he looks to work diplomatically to stop the Israel-Hamas war from escalating into a wider conflict.


Drivers’ strike poised to cause disruption to train services

Train services on some of the country’s busiest commuter routes will be crippled on Tuesday because of another strike by drivers.

Members of Aslef are launching a wave of fresh walkouts in a long-running dispute over pay. Services are already being affected by a nine-day ban on overtime which started on Monday.

On Tuesday drivers will strike at Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Thameslink and South Western Railway followed by walkouts at Northern Trains and TPE on Wednesday, at LNER, Greater Anglia and C2C on Friday, at West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast and East Midlands Railway on Saturday February 3 and at Great Western, CrossCountry and Chiltern on Monday February 5.

Stormont powersharing set to return after DUP executive backs deal

Powersharing in Northern Ireland is set to return after the DUP party executive backed a government deal aimed at addressing its concerns over post-Brexit trade barriers.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he would drop the blockade on devolution at Stormont once the government implemented the various legislative assurances and other measures it has offered his party.

Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton Harris welcomed the step and made clear the government would deliver on its end of the deal.

Covid inquiry: There was political desire for differentiation in Scotland – Gove

Michael Gove has told the UK Covid-19 inquiry some of the language used by Scottish government officials led him to believe there was a ‘desire for differentiation’ from the UK government during the pandemic ‘for the sake of advancing a political agenda’.

Giving evidence to the inquiry as it sits in Edinburgh, Gove referenced evidence the inquiry heard last week of WhatsApp messages between Scotland’s former first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and her then chief of staff, Liz Lloyd, about starting ‘a good old-fashioned rammy’ with the UK government so she could ‘think about something other than sick people’.

Levelling up secretary Gove told the inquiry that the ‘temptation’ at ‘certain points’ to seek political advantage is ‘clearly there’ with the Scottish government, given the ’cause to which they have devoted their lives (independence)’.


Cheaper tea and milk help shop price inflation fall to lowest since May 2022

Shop price inflation fell in January to its lowest rate since May 2022 as retailers offered heavy discounts to entice customers, figures show.

January’s shop prices eased to 2.9% higher than a year ago, down from 4.3% in December and below the three-month average of 3.9%, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index.

Inflation on non-food products fell to 1.3% in January, down from 3.1% in December – the lowest rate since February 2022. Food inflation also slowed, to 6.1% in January from December’s 6.7%, the ninth consecutive fall and the lowest rate since June 2022.

Monday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Millions able to view prescriptions on NHS app for first time

Millions of people in England can access and view their prescriptions on the NHS app for the first time.

Patients will be able to see when their prescriptions have been issued and see their prescribed medication, while people waiting for elective treatments will be able to see the average wait time for their procedure at their local trust.

Health secretary Victoria Atkins said the update will make the access to care ‘easier for everyone’.

Laurence Fox loses High Court libel battle over social media row

Laurence Fox has lost a High Court libel battle with two people he referred to as paedophiles on social media.

The actor-turned-politician was sued by former Stonewall trustee Simon Blake and drag artist Crystal over a row on Twitter, now known as X, in October 2020.

Fox called Blake and the former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, whose real name is Colin Seymour, ‘paedophiles’ in an exchange about a decision by Sainsbury’s to mark Black History Month. In a ruling on Monday, High Court judge Mrs Justice Collins Rice ruled in favour of Blake and Seymour, dismissing Fox’s counter-claims.

Lloyds to scrap mobile bank branches which help ‘as little as two’ customers

Lloyds Banking Group is shutting down its mobile banking service this year, after revealing plans to shed 1,600 jobs across its branch network as it moves ahead in the shift towards online banking.

The banking giant has been informing staff and customers of plans to scrap the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland mobile branches in May. Lloyds runs the service as an alternative to high street branches, with vans visiting towns and cities across the UK.

A spokeswoman said: ‘Customers have used our mobile branches much less over time and some locations now have as little as two customers using the service.’

Rowan Atkinson’s Land Rover Defender heading to auction

A rare Land Rover Defender currently owned by actor Rowan Atkinson is heading to auction next month.

He’s selling his prized Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition, which was one of the final models to mark the end of the production of the original Defender in 2016.

It’ll go under the hammer at the historic motorsport show Race Retro, held at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry on February 25 and has a guide price of £65,000 to £85,000.

Weather

A cold start for the south east with a few lingering drops of rain, reports BBC Weather. I’ll clear later and will be dry and bright elsewhere. Cooler than of late with highs of 10 degrees.

A dry night for most of the country with just patchy cloud, while for the south there will be mist. It’ll become increasingly windy in the north.

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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