News Round-Up

Mar 19: MPs overturn Lords’ changes to Rwanda bill; Princess of Wales spotted; MG3 priced up

Here are the headlines on Tuesday, March 19

Time 6:40 am, March 19, 2024

Sunak maintains hope of spring Rwanda flights after seeing off Lords’ challenges

Rishi Sunak has maintained hopes of spring flights carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda as the government overturned all attempts by the House of Lords to change to its deportation legislation.

The government saw off 10 amendments from peers to the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, after a minister had accused the Lords of trying to ‘wreck’ the legislation.

The parliamentary showdown over the flagship Bill will continue on Wednesday, when peers may again seek to press for changes in a process known as ‘ping-pong’. The Commons goes into its Easter recess at the close of business on March 26, with peers heading away from Westminster a day later, meaning that if the Lords maintain their resistance to the legislation it is unlikely to pass before the break.

Kate filmed smiling alongside William during Windsor farm shop visit

The Princess of Wales has been filmed smiling alongside her husband during a visit to a farm shop in Windsor.

Kate’s recovery from surgery appears to have progressed after footage obtained by The Sun showed her and William at the local business on Saturday.

Kate’s absence from public life, following abdominal surgery on January 16, has led to wild conspiracy theories on social media about her whereabouts and health. The online speculation increased after irregularities were spotted in a Mother’s Day photograph of Kate and her children, which led to the princess admitting to ‘editing’ the image and apologising for any ‘confusion’ caused.

Extra £58bn funding for grid needed, report claims

An additional £58bn will need to be invested in Great Britain’s electricity grid in the first half of the next decade to ensure that it can supply the power to keep homes and businesses going, a new report has found.

The Electricity System Operator (ESO) said on Tuesday that around 20,000 jobs could be created in the largest build-out for seven decades. Nine in 10 of these jobs will be outside London and the South East.

‘Great Britain is about to embark upon the biggest change to the electricity network since the high voltage transmission grid was established back in the 1950s,’ the report said. It called for ‘swift and coordinated’ progress, without which the country’s climate ambitions might be at risk.

Zac Goldsmith banned from driving for 12 months after speeding

Former environment minister Zac Goldsmith has been banned from driving for a year after he was caught speeding seven times last year.

The Conservative peer, 49, broke speed limits in his hybrid electric Volkswagen Golf on London roads in Paddington, Chelsea and Twickenham between April and November 2023.

As he disqualified the Tory environmentalist from driving, District Judge Daniel Sternberg warned that drivers who speed ’emit more harmful emissions’ even in hybrid and electric cars.

Nursery costs rise by 7% while spaces drop, survey suggests

A part-time nursery place for a child under two now costs an average of £158 per week while only a third of English council areas have sufficient childcare for full-time parents, the latest annual survey of the Coram Family and Childcare charity has found.

The research shows that the cost of 25 hours per week for a child under two had risen by 7% on 2023 with the most expensive area being inner London where the average cost is £218 per week.

A total of 34% of English councils reported sufficient childcare places which was a decrease of 14% on the previous year while 35% reported having enough spaces for children under two. The survey also points to a drop in childcare places for children with disabilities with 6% reporting sufficient spaces, which is down 12% from 2023.

Monday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Netanyahu agrees to send officials to US to discuss prospective Rafah operation

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to send a team of Israeli officials to Washington to discuss with Biden administration officials a prospective Rafah operation, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has said.

‘We’ve arrived at a point where each side has been making clear to the other its perspective,’ Sullivan said. Talks will happen in the coming days he said, and are expected to involve military, intelligence and humanitarian experts. The White House has been skeptical of Netanyahu’s plan to carry out an operation in the southern city of Rafah, where about 1.5m displaced Palestinians are sheltering, as Israel looks to eliminate Hamas following Hamas’ deadly October 7 attack.

Local roads near ‘breaking point’ as pothole repairs reach eight-year high

The rate of pothole repairs on local roads in England and Wales has reached an eight-year high, according to a new report.

This shows highways are heading towards ‘breaking point’, according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), which carried out the research.

The annual Alarm survey found that local authorities expect to fix 2m potholes in the current financial year. That is up 43% compared with 1.m during the previous 12 months, and is the highest annual total since 2015/16 when 2.2m potholes were filled in.

2024 MG3 prices and specifications revealed

MG has revealed prices and specs for its eagerly-anticipated MG3 hybrid supermini.

The range will start from £18,495 for the basic SE model and will come as standard with dual screen technology, 16- inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, MG Pilot safety features and a reversing camera. Trophy trim adds a 360-degree camera and heated seats and steering wheel.

The new Hybrid+ powertrain for the MG3 is a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor that produces 134bhp – making a 0-60mph time of 7.8 seconds.


Cloud will break up leaving a day of sunny spells for the south while other areas will hang onto cloud and showers, reports BBC Weather. More rain will push into the far west and south-west later. It’ll feel warm in some areas with highs of 17 degrees.

That rain will push in further to cover most of the country, apart from the far south-east. Northern Scotland will escape the heaviest of the rain and it’ll be chilly there.

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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