Johnson confirms plans for police bill
Boris Johnson has vowed to ‘look forward’ past the pandemic as he confirmed plans to bring back a controversial bill designed to boost police powers in the Queen’s Speech.
The prime minister, fresh from a buoyant set of local election results in England for the Conservative Party, said next week’s state opening of parliament would see fresh attention placed on his government’s so-called ‘levelling up’ agenda.
As part of his legislative proposals, he is set to bring back the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, a draft law that was shelved during the last parliamentary session after it sparked violent protests in some places across the UK.
Prince Michael accused of ‘selling access’
An undercover investigation has claimed Prince Michael of Kent was willing to use his royal status for personal profit, and to seek favours from Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The Queen’s cousin told undercover reporters posing as investors from South Korea in a virtual meeting that he could be hired for £10,000 a day to make ‘confidential’ representations to Putin’s regime.
The revelation was made by Channel 4 Dispatches in collaboration with the Sunday Times, who set up a fake South Korean gold company called House of Haedong and approached five members of the royal family with an offer of a role.
Israeli police clash with protestors
Israeli police have clashed with Palestinian protesters outside Jerusalem’s Old City during the holiest night of Ramadan in a show of force that threatened to deepen the holy city’s worst religious unrest in several years.
The clashes come after police blocked busloads of pilgrims headed to Jerusalem for prayer at Islam’s third holiest site.
Police defended their actions as security moves, but these were seen as provocations by Muslims who accuse Israel of threatening their freedom of worship.
Lords cap of 600 being undone
Proposals to cap the House of Lords to 600 members should be written into law as progress on slashing numbers is being ‘undone’ by the prime minister’s political appointments, a committee has recommended.
The fresh call for action follows concerns after nominations made in January by Boris Johnson took the total number of peers to more than 830 – compared with 650 MPs in the House of Commons.
The make-up of the appointments, including political donors and the prime minister’s own brother, fuelled accusations of ‘cronyism’ as Johnson opted to fill up the red benches, going against recommendations made to his predecessor.
Cracks found in trains
Rail disruption is expected to continue throughout the weekend after services were cancelled across the country due to cracks in some trains.
Hitachi 800 trains were pulled from lines on Saturday as a ‘precautionary measure’ after the fault was found in some trains, and Great Western Railway (GWR) and London North Eastern Railway (LNER) have advised people not to travel on Sunday.
Hull Trains and TransPennine Express (TPE) were also affected, but the Hull operator said that by 1.30pm on Saturday its normal services had resumed.
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Travel companies hail Friday the ‘best day’
Travel firms have hailed the ‘best day’ for holiday sales in months following the government’s green list announcement.
On Friday, the Department for Transport revealed that travellers will be able to visit 12 destinations – including Portugal – from May 17 without having to self-isolate on return to England.
Tui, the UK’s largest holiday company, spoke of seeing a rise in customer demand in the wake of the announcement, particularly for trips to Portugal.
1.1m houses with planning yet to be built
More than 1.1m homes granted planning permission in England in the past decade are yet to be built, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
It said 2,782,300 homes have been granted planning permission by councils since 2010/11, but over the same period there have been only 1,627,730 completions.
This leaves a gap of 1,154,570 homes, according to the LGA’s analysis of government data.
Showers and thunder
A band of cloud and rain across central parts of England will turn more showery today, said Met Office.
Elsewhere there will be sunny spells but also showers, which will be heavy in the west and in the south-east later with a risk of thunder.
It will be warm in southeast England but this will turn into rain and some thunder tonight, while it will be clear elsewhere.