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News Round-Up

May 8: Johnson and Sturgeon set for clash; Portugal bookings through the roof; Taskforce set up to prevent pet theft

  • Here are the headlines for Saturday, May 8

Time 1 month ago

Clash expected over Scottish independence

Boris Johnson has set himself on course for a constitutional clash with Nicola Sturgeon if she pushes ahead with plans for a second Scottish independence referendum.

Counting continues in the Scottish parliamentary contest, with the SNP leader’s hopes of achieving a majority on a knife edge.

It is almost certain the SNP will win its fourth term in power at Holyrood, and Ms Sturgeon said ‘when the time is right’ she will offer Scots ‘the choice of a better future’ in a second independence referendum.

Portugal bookings go ‘through the roof’

Portugal’s placement on the government-approved green travel list has prompted a ‘surge’ in bookings from eager holidaymakers, one travel firm has said.

The Department of Transport revealed at 5pm on Friday that the European nation was one of just 12 destinations that travellers will be able to visit from May 17 without having to self-isolate on return to England.

David Child, head of PR and brand at Thomas Cook, said bookings for Portugal were ‘through the roof’ immediately after the announcement as people had been ‘poised, ready and waiting to go’.

Travel bosses call for more on the green list

Travel industry bosses have urged further clarity on when other holiday destinations could be added to the quarantine-free green list amid criticism the government had been too cautious in its approach to unlocking international travel.


Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel are among just 12 destinations which will be on the green list from May 17 – with some countries on the list still not accepting holidaymakers.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the removal of the ban on international leisure travel was ‘necessarily cautious’, but sector leaders warned it could ‘delay the industry’s recovery’.

Train passengers get WhatsApp assistance

Rail passengers will be able to use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to receive details of transport options for completing journeys after travelling by train.

The new system will feature customised information on all modes of travel including walking, cycling, buses, trams and taxis, industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said.

Users arriving by train at Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Liverpool and Northampton will even be offered the opportunity to book an e-scooter through rental firm Voi.

Government taskforce to prevent pet theft

A government taskforce has been set up to look into tackling the ‘deplorable’ crime of pet theft.

In March, DogLost, a UK charity that helps victims of dog theft, recorded a 170 per cent increase in the crime, from 172 dogs reported stolen in 2019 to 465 in 2020.

The taskforce will look into what is contributing to the increase in thefts, and recommend solutions to tackle the problem.

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Labour set to win Senedd election

Welsh Labour looks set to win the Senedd election after the party fought off challenges from the Tories to key red wall seats in North Wales.

Labour First Minister Mark Drakeford said his party had ‘exceeded expectations’ and ended Friday with 30 seats, just one short of a majority.

The results of eight remaining regional seats, for South Wales Central and South Wales East, will be announced on Saturday, though Labour is not expected to pick up any more from that number.

FTSE hits record high since pandemic

The FTSE 100 jumped to a new record high since the pandemic struck the UK as trading sentiment improved over the progress of the global economic recovery.

European markets sprang higher at the start of trading as Chinese exports unexpectedly saw growth accelerate last month despite the pandemic and tensions with other countries.

London trading was boosted by the surprisingly good set of figures, while better-than-expected data for the UK construction industry also buoyed sentiment.

London’s top flight closed 53.54 points higher, or 0.76%, at 7,129.71 on Friday.

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Rain but warm in places

There will be rain today in southern and western areas, according to the Met Office, with it particularly heavy over hills. 

Northern Ireland will be brighter, while it will brighten up today it will be windy and mild in most places.

However, in the southeast and London it should be rather warm today.

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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