Johnson accused of putting off voters as Tories down hundreds of council seats
The Conservatives suffered a net loss of almost 400 councillors as a day of vote counting delivered a bruising set of local election results for the prime minister.
Ministers conceded it had been ‘tough’ for the ruling party, particularly in the south of England where it lost ground to Labour in London and the Liberal Democrats in its ‘blue wall’ heartlands, but warned against extrapolating the results on a national level.
As the losses trickled in throughout the day, Tory figures continued to publicly raise the prospect of Boris Johnson being replaced as party leader as one senior pollster suggested middle and upper class voters had distanced themselves from the PM after his fixed-penalty notice for breaking Covid laws.
Keir Starmer denies Covid law breach as police probe ‘curry and beer’ gathering
Sir Keir Starmer said a lockdown curry and beer gathering being investigated by police was purely for work purposes and did not breach coronavirus rules.
Durham Constabulary announced on Friday it was investigating claims an evening event attended by the Labour leader with other senior party figures and activists while campaigning last year might have broken pandemic social distancing regulations. Police said they had U-turned on an earlier ruling after receiving ‘significant new information’.
Police have not revealed what additional details sparked the probe but The Times reported a ‘key factor’ was confirmation deputy leader Angela Rayner attended the evening. Labour had previously denied she had been present.
Sturgeon hails ‘resounding victory’ for SNP in Scotland’s council elections
The SNP is ‘Scotland’s dominant political force’, Nicola Sturgeon insisted, as her party once emerged as the winners of local government elections north of the border.
The first minister and SNP leader said, when the results from all 32 councils in Scotland were counted, her party had secured a ‘resounding victory’.
Her comments came after the SNP returned the highest number of councillors in Thursday’s election, with its tally increased by 22 to 453, while Scottish Labour was able to capitalise on the collapse of the Tories in Scotland.
Counting set to resume in NI Assembly with Sinn Fein poised for historic victory
Counting is set to resume in the Northern Ireland Assembly election later with Sinn Fein firmly on course to emerge as the largest Stormont party.
When counting was suspended on Friday night, just 47 of the 90 seats had been filled following a lengthy process, with only four out of 18 constituency counts completed.
Sinn Fein currently has 18 seats, while the DUP have 12, the Alliance Party eight, the Ulster Unionists (UUP) four and the SDLP on three, with one seat going to TUV leader Jim Allister and one to independent unionist Alex Easton.
Harry and Meghan back for Jubilee but Queen omits them from balcony at Trooping
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their children are to attend the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations but have been omitted from the Trooping the Colour balcony appearance by the Queen.
The Queen has limited the Trooping the Colour balcony appearance to working members of her family, with the Duke of York and Harry and Meghan missing out.
The symbolic move by the Queen has been interpreted as a snub to Harry and Meghan, who quit the monarchy for a new life in the US two years ago, and to Andrew, who was cast out of the institution over his civil sexual assault case.
Mercedes collaborates with will.i.am on custom supercar
Mercedes has teamed up with musician will.i.am to create a custom take on its AMG GT 4-door saloon.
Called the will.i.AMG, the one-off vehicle has been created with help from famed automotive customising firm West Coast Customs. Revealed ahead of the Formula 1 Miami GP, the will.i.AMG takes elements from other famous Mercedes models, including headlights from the G-Class SUV. It even has a custom badge on the front with a bear-like logo that has been dubbed ‘Bear Witness’.
The whole car is part of a project called ‘The Flip – Innovation for Purpose’ that aims to give children from disadvantaged communities better access to science, technology, engineering, arts and maths education.
Edinburgh Airport vehicles make switch from diesel to vegetable oil
Vehicles at Edinburgh Airport are now powered by vegetable oil in a bid to cut carbon emissions.
Thirty-four vehicles have switched from diesel to hydrotreated vegetable oil, which is a renewable alternative and eliminates up to 90 per cent of net carbon dioxide emissions.
The airport has plans to change another 30 vehicles to vegetable oil in the next few weeks and months.
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16,000 jobs at risk as convenience store chain McColl’s collapses
Convenience chain McColl’s has confirmed it will collapse into administration, putting 1,100 shops and 16,000 workers at risk.
The troubled retailer held talks with its lenders on Friday morning in the hope they could extend their loan agreements.
Supermarket giant Morrisons, which is a major wholesale partner, also tabled a last-ditch effort to buy the business, which it said would have “’kept the vast majority of jobs and stores safe’. However, the company confirmed ‘the lenders made clear that they were not satisfied that such discussions would reach an outcome acceptable to them’.
A more settled day in store as high pressure sweeps in, reports BBC Weather. Most of the UK will see patchy cloud and plenty of sunny spells. An odd shower is possible.
Any showers will quickly pass leaving a dry night for most. Variable cloud for most parts; thicker cloud in the south-east.