News Round-Up

May 9: Tory Natalie Elphicke defects to Labour; Trains strike continues; JLR updates Defender

Here are the headlines on Thursday, May 9

Time 6:51 am, May 9, 2024

Labour faces backlash after Natalie Elphicke defects from Tories

Labour MPs have criticised Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to welcome Tory defector Natalie Elphicke, the second MP to cross the floor in two weeks.

Elphicke quit the Conservatives just moments before Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, hitting out at Rishi Sunak’s ‘tired and chaotic government’ and accusing the prime minister of failing to deliver on his promise to ‘stop the boats’.

But her debut as a Labour MP has not been welcomed by all of her new colleagues, with some raising concerns about comments she made after her then-husband was convicted of sexual assault.

Rishi Sunak criticises ‘extremists’ ahead of on-campus antisemitism talks

Rishi Sunak has condemned ‘extremists at the National Union of Students (NUS)’ who he says opposed the Union of Jewish Students’ (UJS) support for ‘the principle of a Jewish state’.

Ahead of a meeting with the UJS and Jewish charity the Community Security Trust (CST) to ‘listen and learn from their experiences’ on Thursday, the prime minister warned of ‘students and academic staff being targeted, threatened, and assaulted simply for being Jewish’.

Writing for The Times, he said: ‘Only last month, the UJS were themselves subject to a shameful attempt to get their organisation kicked out of the NUS purely because of their support for the principle of a Jewish state.’ He dubbed such opposition to the UJS as the work of ‘extremists at the NUS’.

Fresh travel misery for rail passengers

Rail passengers face a third consecutive day of disruption on Thursday because of a strike by train drivers which will again cripple services.

Members of Aslef at LNER, TransPennine Express and Northern Trains will walk out for the day following similar action over the past two days at other operators.

TransPennine urged people not to attempt to travel as it will not be running any services on its routes. Disruption is also likely on the day after strike action and services may start later and finish earlier than usual. Northern said it will also not run any services on Thursday.

Home Office stops publishing number of Channel crossings blocked

The government has stopped publishing the number of migrants prevented from crossing the Channel in small boats after less than a week following ‘consultation with the French’.

The Home Office began publishing the number of migrants who had been blocked from making the crossing over the weekend alongside its daily update on the number of those arriving in the UK.

But in a late update on Wednesday evening, the department said it had paused publishing the statistics on prevention ‘until further notice’. The update said the government would continue to publish daily statistics on arrivals and would ‘provide further updates on the publication of prevention data as soon as possible’.

Cameron to call for Nato to set 2.5% defence spending target

Nato countries should agree to spend 2.5% of GDP on defence, at an upcoming summit in Washington, the foreign secretary will urge on Thursday.

In his first major speech as foreign secretary, Lord Cameron will call on Britain and its allies to ‘out-compete, out-cooperate and out-innovate’ their adversaries in an ongoing ‘battle of wills’.

Lord Cameron will say July’s summit ‘must see all allies on track’ to meet the commitment set out in 2014 to spend 2% of GDP on defence, and then ‘move quickly to establish 2.5% as the new benchmark for all Nato allies’.

Wednesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Recyclables to go in one bin under simpler collection rules, government says

Households in England will be able to put recyclables in one bin under simpler collection rules, the government has said.

The Environment Department (Defra) announced on Friday that the same materials will be collected from homes, workplaces and schools across the country in order to end the confusion caused by councils operating different systems.

Under the new rules, people will be able to put plastic, metal, glass, paper and card in one bin. Councils will also be able to co-collect food and garden waste.

Home buyer inquiries flatlined in April amid affordability challenge – surveyors

New home buyer inquiries fell back in April following three months of increases in a row, according to surveyors.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said its latest survey of property professionals suggests that a recent recovery in buyer demand has mellowed slightly, with the market seeming to have been impacted by mortgage rates edging up over the past few weeks.

A net balance of 1% of property professionals reported new buyer inquiries falling rather than rising in April, following a balance of 6% reporting inquiries rising in March. The regional feedback on buyer demand is mixed, with a notable loss of momentum mainly seen in London and southern parts of England, Rics said.

Defender gets upgraded for 2024 with new comfort-focused features and more power

JLR has updated its Defender with a series of interior changes and the introduction of a new engine setup.

A key new addition comes in the form of a Captain Chairs Pack for the spacious Defender 130, while the new Signature Interior Pack brings 14-way electrically controlled front seats, as well as second-row seats with climate controls and winged headrests. There’s also a new Sedona Edition 110 that has a range of ‘Sedona Red’ coloured elements.

A new diesel engine has been added to the Defender range, too, with the new D350 bringing 348bhp and 700Nm of torque – an increase of 50Nm over the previous model – which aims to give the Defender better responses in all types of driving.


Another dry day with plenty of sunny spells once any low cloud has dispersed, reports BBC Weather, although northern Scotland will see showers. Highs of 22 degrees.

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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